It’s one of the highest places on earth, even higher than Lhasa! Visiting this place is really experiencing the roof of the world. Amoungst Tibetans it’s famous as the birthplace of several Dalai Lama’s. But it’s also been an important center of the Tibetan resistance against the Chinese occupation.
All in all it’s a promising place! I’d suggest you take the time to get to know the people and the local culture. As I say in the video: we were kind of shocked when we entered and found many things under counstruction. So shocked we immediately booked our way out! Which I actually did regret later on. Let me tell you why 🙂
Things to do in Litang
One of the first things we did was a hike to the monastery. It’s an amazing place. A peaceful walk to get there, accompanied by monks and friendly, old Tibetans. The monastery itself is a big complex. We didn’t went inside, but only to see it from a small distance is already amazing. And look the other way too, from here you’ll also have a good view over the city. Which looks much better from above, than from your van or bus 😉
Talking an other way back from this monastery up hill, we crossed a second big complex too. Not sure about any name or location, but ask for the monasteries in your hotel and they sure can tell you where to go.
You’ll find a lot of traditional houses and nice little streets in this town. For example when walking to the birthplace of the 7th Dalai Lama. Lots of candles are burned inside of his house still, by many locals. You feel the holiness very well. It’s great to be here. No other foreigners, just smile and blend in with the locals!
One of the most memorable experiences of our whole trip was a place we found with 4 big praying wheels. You can see a shot of it at the beginning of the video. People were walking and praying, joining and leaving as they wished. At the back of the wheels, there was a picture of the Dalai Lama, which was greeted every by all who passed by.
I felt encouraged to join in, and walked for what felt like a really long time. It felt special to be part of this group for a few moments, with our ‘task’ of keeping the wheels running. It brought me great calmness.
What I love most about Litang is the people. Only few will speak English, but all seem so friendly and open! I travel for the people, and I left here with a big smile.
Getting to Litang from Shangri-La
If you walk the same path we did, Litang is not the easiest town to reach. From Shangri-La you need to go to Daocheng first. If you go by public transport, you’ll spend the night here. You could go to Yading nature reserve from here, if you’d have some spare time.
From Daocheng you continue your travel to Litang. We went by minivan, which I would definitely recommend. It’s quite fast (only a few hours) and you’ll have the whole afternoon to spend in Litang.
Though this part of the trip might take 2 days of travel (at least by public transport) you’ll find some of the most amazing views along the way!
NOTE When coming from Shangri-La, you’re probably used to the high altitude already. But if you come in from lower places, please be aware of altitude sickness. It’s not unlikely to happen in one of the highest towns on earth 😉
Where to sleep in Litang
Peace guesthouse is highly recommended by many travelers, and also by us. There is word online that Long Life, the amazing owner of this place, has left the building. But no worries! By 2016, when we visited, he was definitely back again. He is friendly, very helpful and understanding. Even when we were clearly not the happiest (and therefor easiest) travelers at the time of arrival, he took the time to listen to us and arrange our trip forward and stay with Angela in Tagong. The rooms of this place are not the best ones you’ll find in the country. But sure some of the best ones you’ll find in town.
Where to eat in Litang
Recommended by Lonely Planet we went for lunch at Tian Tian restaurant, and didn’t regret. Especially the friendly smile of the owner is outstanding. The food is good and warming, though nothing fancy or spectaculair. You’ll find this restaurant at the big road, not far from Peace Guesthouse. Ask directions locally.
We visited this place, making videos for our Youtube channel.
Watch the whole playlist, right here!