(English version from the text posted in Jun/2014)
According to travel guides, Dao Cheng isn’t much more than a stop on the Tibetian Highway that links the Sichuan Province to Lhasa, capital of Autonomous Region of Tibet. But this proximity to the Tibetan plateau offers a breathtaking scenery in a wild aridity, where little vegetation nestles, in the valleys that also shelter for small villages.
Although the location and the fact that the majority of the inhabitants are of Tibetans, in Dao Cheng (also written as Daocheng) little can be found of this culture, with almost all the old urban mesh of the city being replaced by new avenues, wide sidewalks and modern buildings imitating the style of local architecture. Crossroads where almost any traffic circulates on the rhythm of traffic lights, and where the surviving traditional buildings resist in the backside streets, many still without pavement.
Along the streets of brown monotony stands the presence of groups of men and women, whose physical characteristics of tall and sturdy bodies, dark skin and faces with strong features. Women wearing colorful thin-striped aprons that stood out from the dark tones of their long dresses and men in heavy coats over their shoulders, or wrapped in their long sleeves around their waists, and broad-brimmed hats shading their faces, stand out from the discreet Chinese presence that nevertheless dominates the city’s commerce, where it is an arduous task to find a place to serve traditional Tibetan gastronomy.
Observed the calm atmosphere of the city, with the traffic lights change from green to red without a vehicle passing, where dogs sleep sluggishly along the walks wrapped in dust that evenly covers the city. An atmosphere of stagnation hangs out only broken by nightfall which carries with it the music emitted by the speakers placed in the central square of the Dao Cheng were daily and the local population gathers performing traditional Tibetan dances.
… and the sky, with its intense blue tone and scattered white clouds, where light strikes the eyes and invites the skin to the protection of the shadows, where the air is hot and dry and where, at the slightest physical effort, the altitude leaves the heart beating hard in the chest.
Bus from Zhongdian (Shangri-lá) to Dao Cheng:
Departure: 7.30 AM, every day (only one bus a day, so it’s better to buy the ticket one day in advance)
Cost: 109 yuan
Duration: around 11 hours (including stop for lunch).
From Shangri-lá Old Town to Zhongdian Bus Terminal you just need to take the bus number 1 to the bus terminal, for 2 yuan. Note that the buses start around 6.30 in the morning, so if you need to stay in the Bus Terminal early you may need to catch a taxi, which is around 10 yuan.
População: 30.000 habitantes
Altitude: 3753 m