Travelling to Dzogchen
Dzogchen Monastery is located in Dege district, in the Kham Region of Eastern Tibet. The area has been open to foreigners since the year 2000 so no special travel permits are required, a regular China visa being sufficient. The high elevation, around 4000m, can be a problem for some people, so it may be prudent to travel leisurely and stop off on the way. Bottled oxygen is available in the main towns en route.
The Location of Dzogchen Monastery
The Route to Dzogchen Monastery
Most people start their journey from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. From there the only way into the mountains is by road. The journey usually takes 2 to 3 days depending on road conditions and transport. Travel at night is best avoided, so overnight stops are made along the way in towns with hotel accommodation, usually Kangding, Ganzi or Daofu. Faster Land Cruiser style vehicles can manage the journey in just over a day, but given the taxing road conditions it is safer and more enjoyable to allow at least 2 days for the journey.
The Route from Chengdu to Dzogchen Monastery
Transport to Dzogchen Monastery
Four wheel drive vehicles can be rented through travel agencies in Chengdu. Expect to pay around 800 - 1000 RMB/yuan per day for a car and driver, depending on the vehicle. Petrol should be included in the price, but the driver will probably expect his meals and accommodation to be paid for. Smaller vehicles can sometimes be found to make the run between Ganzi and Dzogchen (3 to 4 hours) for around 60 RMB/yuan per person or 350+ per car, one way.
Buses run every day and are usually cheaper than hiring cars, although journey times are longer. It generally takes 3 days to get from Chengdu to Dzogchen and requires at least one change of bus. Buses leave from the Xin Nan Men bus station in Chengdu for Kangding and Ganzi. From either of these towns one should take the Shiqu bus and get off at Dzogchen village. From there make your way down through the village and up into the monastery valley.
Cars can be hired from the village, but prices may be higher than in Ganzi. Daily buses to Shiqu, Manigango and Ganzi pass by on the main road above Dzogchen village. Private cars also make the trip to Manigango or Ganzi for around 60-80 RMB/yuan per person. To catch either of these stand by the road head from morning and wait for one to stop.
Read more about visiting Dzogchen