Introducing Sìchuān–Tibet Highway (Northern Route)
The famous Sìchuān–Tibet Hwy splits in two just west of Kāngdìng. The northern route is 300km longer than the southern route, and is generally less travelled. Following it, you’ll traverse high-plateau grasslands and numerous Tibetan settlements, often attached to a local monastery.
Making it to the other side of Chola Mountain (雀儿山, Què’ér Shān) requires negotiating a 5050m narrow pass – the highest this side of Lhasa – that takes you to Dégé and the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏, Xīzàng). You can continue on this route north into Qīnghǎi province via Shíqú. From Gānzī, you can hook back up with the southern route via Xīnlóng.
Come here prepared. Bring warm clothing; it can be frigid at these elevations even in midsummer. Remember that bus services can be unreliable – this is no place to be in a hurry.