Where It's at
Songpan is an old Qing garrison town in south-west China.
Situated at 8,000 feet this bustling market town is situated
near the Shimending Mountain Range, in the midst of
idyllic countryside, pristine forests, lakes and waterfalls.
Songpan is a throwback to a more simple way of life. The
people here live a Tibetan lifestyle even though they are
said to be descendants of the Mongols themselves. Within
the old fortress walls, horses are tied up to every street
corner and multiple vendors hawk their tasty street snacks
of mystery meat skewers. The scene leaves you with the feeling
that Clint Eastwood is going to come out of the saloon at
any moment and face off with a Chinese Warrior.
The best way to explore the surrounding wilderness is to
set out from Songpan on a horse trek. Trekking operators tout
for business all over town, and expeditions range from 2 to
Where to stay
Before you set out on your trek early one morning, get a good
night's sleep at one of the travellers hotels in the area.
Most stay at the Songzhou Hotel. Don't expect much
for hot water though, let alone much water for bathing at
all. In fact, it will probably be awhile before you get completely
clean since a shower will be hard to come by on the trek as
well. Due to the popularity of the spot for trekking, a few
restaurants can be found that offer English menus and decent
food to fortify you before your send off.
- Your trekking outfitter should provide everything you need
for the trip, including meals, extra warm clothing and bedding.
All you need to concern yourself with is sitting tight in
the saddle and enjoying riding through some of the most spectacular
scenery in all of China.
- An organised horse trek will cost you the equivalent of
about $4 day. There's also a small additional charge for entry
into some of the scenic spots in the vicinity such as Ergao
Hai and the Zhaga waterfall.