This is a status report about the Sichuan Tibet Highway between Zhongdian and Chengdu as of early August 2009 with information about bus tickets and road conditions. As of August 2009 foreigners are allowed to travel in this area, however getting bus tickets is not always easy. The whole trip takes about 6 days (i.e. 4 on the road, 1 in Litang and 1 in Kanding).

 

Zhongdian (Shangri La) - Xiangcheng

Ticket: Booked bus ticket through a travel agency, got it without problems. RMB 75

Road: It was quite bumpy and for about one hour the drive was through the mud. Ok though. 8 hours.


Xiangcheng - Litang

Ticket: Bus leaves at 6am. Foreigners don't get a bus ticket either at ticket office or from the bus driver. It's said that the minibus drivers pay a commission to the ticket office lady and to the bus driver for not taking foreigners on board. Foreigners normally have to share a private minibus for RMB 600 between 5 travellers maximum. Advice: if you don't get a bus ticket at 6 am, wait for 1 or 2 more hours until more minibuses arrive in order to negotiate a better price (RMB 400 is said to be ok).

Road: Road was sometimes bumpy but ok, did the drive in 5.5 hours.


Litang - Kanding

Ticket: Booked ticket through a hostel, other travellers got the ticket at the bus station themselves without problems. RMB 81

Road: The road is severely damaged. Parts of the road are sealed but there are many many holes. Parts are not sealed and in a very bad condition. There are many roadworkers and the bus had to wait for them to get out of the way many times. But: the landscape is stunning, it's been one of the most amazing roads on earth! 9 hours.


Kanding - Chengdu

Ticket: Got ticket at bus station, no problem. They sell tickets for big, modern buses and smaller, older buses for the same price and the same departure time. If you want to travel on a big bus check what ticket they sell you. RMB 121.

Road: The road is good and partly brand new, travel time was only 6 hours (guide books say it's 7-9 hours).