Aba County, also known as “Ngawa County” in Tibetan, is a county under jurisdiction of Aba(Ngawa) Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. The county seat is Aba Town at an altitude of 3,290 meters, 509 kilometers from provincial capital Chengdu, and 246 kilometers from prefectural capital of Barkham City. It is the 2nd largest Buddhist resort after Lhasa across China. There are 42 monasteries in this small town, and houses about 20,000 monks in total.
Aba County is located on southeastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is an important transportation hub connecting southwest to northwest of China, as well as an important commercial center and material distribution center for Golog Prefecture and Aba Prefecture
It is adjacent to Zoige County and Hongyuan County to east;, Barkham City to south, Maqu County, Jigzhi County and Banma County to north, and Zamthang County to west
Best time to travel
From May to October
Plateau cold temperate semi-humid monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Kirti Monastery, also known as “Geerdeng monastery” in Chinese Pinyin or “Kirti Namgyel Dechen Ling” or “Kirti Kalari Gon Tashi Lhundrub” in Tibetan, located in the northwest corner of Aba town, it was built in 1870 AD and is the largest Gelug pa monastery in this county. It covers an area of 18,000 square meters and houses more than 1,000 monks and 14 living Buddhas.
Shenzuo Scenic Area, located in Chali Township,about 55 kilometers away from Aba town. The resource types of the scenic area are diverse and the scale of resources is large. In the area, forest, water, folk culture, religious culture and others coexist.
Nyanpo Yutse Scenic Area, located in the junction of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, has a total area of more than 500 square kilometers. Nyanpo Yutse is an eco-tourism area dominated by glacier, snow-capped mountains and lakes. Nyanpo Yutse Mountain ranks 8th among top 10 sacred mountains in Tibetan areas. The highest altitude is 5141 meters, and about 39 kilometers away from Aba County.
Manzhatang Wetland Grassland is located in northeast of this county, including grasslands of Maierma, Jialuo village, and Jiake Ranch, with an average elevation of about 3,400 meters. There is a vast grassland in this area, which is a pasture of northwest Sichuan. It is also source of Yellow River water system, and connected with Zorge and Hongyuan National Wetland Reserves.
- Kirti Monastery
- Longzang Tala Tibetan Village (5 km from downtown)
- Langtong View Platform (3 km miles from downtown)
- Langyi Monastery (1.5 km from downtown)
- Wa’erma monastery at Maikun Tibetan Village (1.5 km from downtown)
- Viewing platforms for Sunrise (10 km from downtown)
- Gemo Monastery (25 km from downtown )
- Chali Monastery (25 km from downtown)
- Shenzuo Girls Tibetan Village (10 km from downtown)
- Anshen Lake (5 km from downtown)
- Anqiang (5km from downtown)
Geography and climate
Aba County is about 146 kilometers from east to west, 145 kilometers from north to south, covering an area of 10352 square kilometers, its terrain slopes from northwest to southeast
Nyanpo Yutse (Nyanpo Yutse) in northwest of this county has an average elevation of over 4,900 meters, and the highest peak is 5,154 meters; there are vast plateau grasslands in north and east, and hilly grasslands in west and central. Altitude decrease from 5154 meters to 2936 meters above sea level
The landforms of Aba County are divided into hilly plateaus and flat plateau areas in northeast; central and western basins and plateau mountain areas; and there is a transition from plateau mountains to alpine valleys.
It has distinct dry and rainy seasons. Average annual precipitation is 712 mm, and wet season (May to October) is concentrated in precipitation, and accounting for 90% of a year.
Annual average temperature is 3.3℃, sunshine is sufficient, the temperature difference between day and night is large, there is no absolute frost-free period throughout a year, and relative frost-free period is 33 days
Two major water systems, Yangtze River and Yellow River, flow through Aba County. Among them, Achu River and Ma’erqu River are source streams of upper reaches of Yangtze River; Jiaqu and Xiakequ flow northward into Yellow River.
Population and ethnicity
As of end of 2018, Aba County has a total population of 81,600, and Tibetan accounts for 94.1% of total population.
It is a county dominated by Tibetan ethnic minorities. Other ethnic groups include Qiang, Hui, Han, Zhuang, Miao, Manchu, Salar
How to get to Aba County
The easiest and quickest way is to take flight to Hongyuan airport, which is only 110 kilometers southeast from Aba county, then switch to local vehicle to get to Aba county;
Aba Hongyuan Airport (AHJ)
Add: 48 km from Hongyuan
Contact: +86 837 7735566
Altitude: 3,535 meter
Dep from Chengdu
Cha Dian Zi Bus Station
Add: No. 289, West 3rd ring road;
Contact: +86 28 87506610
Altitude: 460 meter
Dep from Aba
Aba Bus Station
Add: Qia Tang Middle Road
Contact: +86 837 248-1528
Altitude: 3290 meters
Distance from Aba County to
- To Langmu Si: 330 kilometers, about 5.5 hours’ drive
- To Labrang monastery : 410 kilometers, about 9 hours’ drive
- To Tongren: 620 kilometers, about 10.5 hours’ drive
- To Huanglong: 350 kilometers, about 7 hours’ drive
- To Garze (Kanze): 420 kilometers, about 10 hours’ drive
- To Serta: 335 kilometers, about 8.5 hours’ drive
In early Tang Dynasty, 168 Chieftain districts were setup in this area, and were placed under jurisdiction of Jiannan Dao (County), of which Aba area was under jurisdiction of Songzhou district
In 638 AD, Aba area was under control of Tubo kingdom
In Yuan Dynasty, the chieftain official system was adopted, and local officials were hereditary and managed by native officials
During Ming Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Panzhou Wei
During Qing Dynasty, Songpan Ting(County) was set up, and governed Aba area
In 1912, Aba area was under jurisdiction of Songpan County
In 1951, the county-level government of Aba Tibetan Autonomous Region was established
In 1954, The establishment of Aba County was activated
In 1956, Aba County was officially established