Scene Introduction

KangdingKangding or Dardo in Tibetan, is the largest city and capital of Ganzi Tibetan Prefecture. It is tucked in a valley of the Tibetan Plateau about 325km west-southwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan. For hundreds of years, the city has been the trade center of the Han Chinese and Tibetan cultures. It's also the traffic hub of west Sichuan and the gateway to Tibet.

Kangding is at an elevation of 2,616m and offers a welcome relief from the pollution and overcrowding of the larger cities of the Sichuan plain. By far the largest city in Western Sichuan it is mainly ethnically Han Chinese with a notable Tibetan presence and flair, particular in its shops, restaurants and the local lama temples. For centuries, it has been the meeting place of different cultures and therefore is home to memorial to the Ancient Tea Horse Trail. It serves as kind of last outpost before the wild Tibetan mountains and passes of the Chengdu-Lhasa highway and the historical Tibetan region of Khamba. The views of the neighboring alpine peaks down the river are spectacular. Outdoor activity opportunities abound with particular focus on hiking and growing influx of bikers in the summer. There also is an authentic "hot springs" nearby and a cable car in the city that takes you up the mountainside. It can get very cold here in the winter and if you venture up you will most likely be the only tourist in the city.

For decades, Kangding has been well-known throughout China for a folk song entitled "Kangding Love Song", which was recently repopularized by pop singer William So. While travelers are more allured by the stunning scenery in surrounding areas consisting of snowcapped mountains, glaciers, serene lakes, sweeping grasslands, red-cheeked horsemen, and monasteries, as well as its unique Khampa charm hailing from mixed cultures. The city was regarded by some western tourists as where Tibet really begins.

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