Derong County is also called as “The Sun Valley in Western China”, it is a county under jurisdiction of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. “Derong” was formerly known as “Delong“, which was originally under jurisdiction of Batang Tusi(Chieftain). Derong means “the land of canyon” in Tibetan.
The origins of “Derong Tibetans” were Tubo Tibetan from Ngari, Gyangtse, and Gongbo Gyamda when King Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet plateau in 7th century, as well as Naxi people who accompanied the army during the military expansion of Naxi King of Yunnan to south of Kham in 1451 AD-1509 AD
The county seat of Songmai Town (Zang-me) is 2397 meters above sea level, about 670 kilometers from prefecture capital Kangding, 1040 kilometers from Chengdu (via Kangding), or about 1477 kilometers to Chengdu (via Yunnan)
Best time to travel
From May to October
Subtropical dry valley climate
Most popular sites
The Ri-zhu grand ranchThe Ri-zhu grand ranch is located in the eastern part of Momugou, Derong County. It is the source region of the Labo River and is connected with the alpine meadows of Xiangcheng County, forming a large-scale high mountain pasture. This is a “birthplace” of many rivers, the terrain is undulating, bushes and bushes grow thick, and numerous rivers and streams linger. It is one of the largest pastures in the Sun Valley and is well-known for its richness in Cordyceps.
The Momu Grand CanyonThe Momu Grand Canyon is located in the east-central district of Derong County. It runs from the junction of the Ma Yi River and the Labo River in Bendu Township, and runs up the Rapo River to the narrow strip of the junction of the Ba-ri Township. There are the upper, middle and lower parts of the village along the way to the gorge. From Momu Village to the east, it is the most magnificent gorge landscape in Derong County, which is more than 30 kilometers long – Mo Mugou. There are Momu Tibetan Village, Antarctic Leaping Gorge, One-line Heaven, Tibetan Bakati Grassland, Bushongtun Grassland, Seojiucuo lake, Zechaocuo lake, and Muyong Zha Holy mountain.
Om Jia Holy LandWengjia Holy Land is located 15 kilometers northeast of the county seat of Derong County. There are several tightly-connected peaks within a radius of more than 30 square kilometers. The local collectively known as the Wengjia Holy Land. According to legend, there are 108 gold keys that open the gates to the holy sites in Tibetan areas. People only come here to get the golden keys, and then go to other Buddhist holy sites to pray for pilgrimage.
Om Jia Monastery, originally a monastery of Bon religion, was later converted to Nyingma pa. Because there are 108 characters “Om” (the first word in the six-character mantra of Buddha – Om ma ni pad me hum) formed naturally on the walls around this monastery, hence, it was named “Om Jia Monastery”, which means monastery with a hundred “Om”
Geography and climate
Derong County is located in southwest of Sichuan Province, at the junction of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet, the southeastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Derong county is 44 kilometers from east to west and 112 kilometers from north to south with total area of 2916 square kilometers.
The terrain of Derong County is high in north and low in south, and the northern ridge line is generally about 5,000 meters. The mountain, located in Xiayong village, is 5,599 meters above sea level and is the highest peak in this county. The exit point of Jinsha River, which is less than 30 kilometers apart, is only 1,990 meters above sea level. The relative height difference is as much as 3609 meters.
The climate of Derong County is classified as subtropical according to geographical zoning, and it is classified as plateau climate zone according to China’s climate zone (ie, Kangding & Yunnan climate zone).
From perspective of local climate conditions in Derong County, it is usually divided into 5 microclimate zones, namely:
–Dry river valley subtropical, with altitude 1990-2500M, average annual temperature is 14-16℃, average temperature of the coldest month is 5-8℃, average temperature of the hottest month is 22℃, annual precipitation is 308MM, the annual evaporation is 2360MM, annual relative humidity is 45%, annual sunshine hours are 1967 hours, and annual frost-free period is 245 days;
–Semi-arid warm temperate zone, with altitude 2500-2750M above sea level, average annual temperature is 13-15℃, average temperature of the coldest month is 1-5℃, and average temperature of the hottest month is 20℃. Annual precipitation is 314MM, annual evaporation is 2443MM, and annual relative humidity is 54%. Annual sunshine hours are 1739 hours, and annual frost-free period is 240 days;
–Mid-high-altitude temperate zone, with altitude 2750-3250M above sea level, average annual temperature is 9-13℃, average temperature of the coldest month is -2-3℃, and average temperature of the hottest month is 16℃. Annual precipitation is 360MM, annual evaporation is 1813MM, annual relative humidity is 54%, annual sunshine hours are 2092 hours, and annual frost-free period is 170 days;
–Subalpine cold-temperate zone, with altitude 3250-4250M above sea level, average annual temperature is 4.5-8.8℃, average temperature of the coldest month is -3.2℃, and average temperature of the hottest month is 11.2℃, annual precipitation is 510MM, annual evaporation is 1135MM, annual relative humidity is 67%, annual sunshine hours are 2512 hours, and annual frost-free period is 126 days;
–Alpine sub-frigid zone, with altitude above 4250M above sea level, average annual temperature is -1℃, average temperature of the coldest month is -9.1℃, and average temperature of the hottest month is 7.1℃. Annual precipitation is 540MM, annual evaporation is 987MM, annual relative humidity is 76%, annual sunshine hours are 2023 hours, and annual frost-free period is 120 days.
The rivers of Derong County belongs to Jinsha River of upper reaches of Yangtze River. Jinsha River flows from north to south through western and southern parts of Derong county. Jinsha River flows within Derong of 104 kilometers.
In addition, there are 3 main branches of Jinsha River in this county, namely
Ding-chu River runs through the entire territory from north to south, and it is 70 kilometers long in Derong County;
Mayi River flows into Dingqu River from east to west, which is 22 kilometers long in Derong County;
Gangche River flows into Jinsha River from east to west, and this river in Derong County is 14 kilometers long.
Population and ethnicity
By the end of 2017, the total population of Derong County was 25,859, among which Tibetan population accounted for 94.7% of total population of Derong County. Other ethnic groups include Han, Naxi, Mongolian, Hui, Qiang, Yi people.
Among them, Naxi village is the only Naxi settlement in Garze Prefecture
Da Wang Business Hotel
Add: County center, Qing-Wu Road
Phone: +86 836 592-1399
Di Xi Hotel
Add: No.12, Zha Lang Street
Phone: +86 836 592-2499
Golden Sun Hotel
Add: Waka village, Waka Town
Phone: +86 836 592-4799
Holyland Business Hotel
Add: No.1, He Xi Lower Street
Phone: +86 836 592-4766
Jie Cheng Family Inn
Add: No.13, He Xi Upper Street
Phone: +86 836 698-6666
Rong Du Grand Hotel
Add: No.4, He Xi Lower Street
Phone: +86 836 592-5666
The Sun Valley Hotel
Add: No.13, He Xi Upper Street
Phone: +86 836 592-2777
Tibetan Theme Hotel
Add: Near Bus-station, Qing-Wu Road
Phone: +86 836 592-4000
How to get Derong County
Derong county is a small county isolated in the mountains, the only way to reach this remote small county is by overland.
Starting from Shangri La city, the overland journey is about 150 kilometers, which takes approximately 3.5 hours, this is also the quickest option by far
Starting from Daocheng, the overland journey is about 270 kilometers, which takes approximately 5 hours’ drive
However there are two airports being able to shorten the long overland journey tremendously.
Distance from Derong county to
- Benzilan: 70 kilometers, about 1.5 hours drive
- Deqin : 155 kilometers, about 4.5 hours drive
- Xiangcheng: 155 kilometers, about 4.5 hours drive
- Daocheng: 270 kilometers, about 7 hours drive
- Litang: 360 kilometers, about 8.5 hours drive
- Batang: 225 kilometers, about 7 hours drive
During Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), Derong area belonged to “Qiang”
During Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD), it was land of Tubo kingdom
In Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-AD 1368), it was under jurisdiction of Mdo-khams Itinerant Marshall’s office
In Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-AD 1644), Derong area was under control of Mdo-khams Itinerant High Commandery
During the period of Ming Dynasty (AD 1568-AD 1639), it was under jurisdiction of Mu clan of Lijiang
In 7th year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (AD 1729), it was under jurisdiction ofBatang Pacification Commissioner’s Office
In 1911, Gaitu Guiliu was implanted, the area of Derong county was set up
Gaitu Guiliu, also known as “conversion of chieftain system” or “conversion of abandoning chieftain system”, refers to abolition of chieftain who originally ruled ethnic minorities. Instead, officials appointed by the central government. It began in Emperor Yongle’s period at the beginning of Ming Dynasty and was implemented on a large scale during Emperor Yongzheng’s period of Qing Dynasty.
In 2nd year of Republic of China (1913), Derong County was set up.
In 14th year of Republic of China (1925), it belonged to Xikang Special Administrative Region.
In 28th year of Republic of China (1939), it belonged to 5th administrative inspectorate of Xikang Province.
In 1950, Derong County was officially estab lished, and it was under jurisdiction of Tibetan Autonomous Region of Xikang Province.
In 1955, Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Region was renamed as Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture; in October of the same year, Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was abolished, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was established, since then Derong County has been under its jurisdiction