Profile Reputed as “ancestor of mountains and origin of waters”, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau boasts undulating snow-locked mountains and green lakes that reflect the starlights. The landscape here is spectacular although; its colors are mostly iron grey and brown. Only the grassland and river valley may supply some refreshing and lively colors.
Leaving “the Sunlight City”- Lhasa and going southeastwards, after passing Bayi and climbing Sejila, on the mountain pass one can easily see the lively green color. The greenery you see tells you that you are about to set your foot on “the Tibetan Switzerland”- Bomi. Bomi (it means ancestor in Tibetan) lies in the southeast of Tibet, the bordering region of Himalaya and Lianqing Tanggula.
It is called “the Tibetan Switzerland”, “the bright pearl in the green ocean” and “the Tibetan Jiangnan” for its lush forest and wealthy tourist resources. Covering 16,578 square kilometers, Bomi has 11 townships, 111 villages and a population of 310, 000, among whom, 205,000 are living on agriculture and animal husbandry. The Bomi Town, 2,720 meters above the sea level and having a wet subtropical climate (annual average temperature: 8.5℃), is often called the summer mountainous resort. Bomi’s rich tourist resources are mainly derived from its plateau charms, bright colors in the snow land and unique folk customs.
Apart from snow mountains, holy lakes, beautiful flowers on the green lawn endless forest, the locals’ hospitalities make Bomi a paradise for visitors with all purposes. They have prepared the wine of highland barley, ghee tea and hada (the Tibetan white scarf, showing one’s respects for distinguished guests) to welcome those from faraway.
Hot tourist destinations in Bomi are the Gelang Tourist Zone with Gu Village at its center (known for its harmonies between men and nature), the ruins of the Gelang Royal Palace, the picturesque Gelang Lake and the “Tibetan Switzerland”- the Gangxiang Nature Reserve. History Bomi, Called Bowo in the ancient time, is the home to the royal family – the tribe of Niecizanpu of the Tubo Dynasty before 1928.
It occupies a strategically significant position in Tibetan history, serving as a strong defense barrier against foreign invasion. The Tibetan governments of different ages all attached great importance to Bomi, allowing the crown of the local king of Bomi –Galangjiebu to be passed generation after generation. Therefore the history of Bomi is a thousand years old history of Tibetan tribes.
In 1928 the Changdu of the local government unified Bomi by force with 3,000 soldiers and military lamas. In December 1950 the Division No. 50 of the People’s Liberation Army liberated this area peacefully. In August 1951 Mr. Miao Piyi was sent here by the central government to set up the garrison headquarters and the 2nd Office for the Liberation Committee. In October 1959 the local autonomous government was established.
Scenic Spots Gelang Going from Bomi westwards and turning northwest after the Kala Bridge for about 30 km one will get to the Gelang Village, Guxiang. Below the flat village is the mirror-like green lake Gelang. The 2 square kilometers big lake abounds with weeds, flowers, birds and fish. Standing beside the lake one sees a gorgeous picture that includes the peaceful lake water, exuberant forest, small villages, and farmlands and so on. Gelang is a piece of god-blessed land. Before 1717 it was the capital of the Gelang Tribe.
It was unimaginable that the forest here can hide such a huge army. The strategic location of Bomi is best depicted by the Chinese idiom: “one man holds the pass and ten thousand men fail to break in.” This may well explain why the local government could confront the much stronger Tibetan government for such a long time. The Gelang Royal Palace seems to tell the visitors about the glory and courage of the King of Bomi.
The Guxiang Lake The Guxiang Lake, situated in the Guxiang Village, west of the Bomi town, is a part of Bomi’s mother river- Palongzhangbu. 35 kilometers from the town and 2,600 meters above the sea level, the lake is 5 km long, 1-2 km wide and 20 meters deep. The lake came into being as a result of the landslide in 1653 that blocked the river. Today it is among the most well-known fresh water lakes in the southeast of Tibet. Surrounded with mountains, the lake is simply pretty, tranquil and vast. Owing to its mild climate and low altitude, the pine and cedar trees are evergreen on the lake banks for the four seasons of a year.
Additionally the tourists can see herds of cattle browsing on the grassland, schools of naughty fish in the clear water and groups of birds singing above the lake surface. Like Shangri-La, the lake is also a paradise for fish and fishermen. The Yigong Lake The Yigong Lake, part of the Yigongzhangbu River in the west of Bomi, took its form after the big landslide in 1900. The lake is 16 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, about 2,150 meters above the sea level.
On its northwest is the Tanggula Mountain Guiqing, which is covered with snow and ices during the whole year. On the other side of the lake lies the pretty White Village where the trees are evergreen. The village on the bank of the lake is a good place for viewing the snow mountain and spending holidays. The Bomigang Nature Reserve The 4,600 – hectare Bomigang Nature Reserve is situated at the southern bank of the Palongzhangbu River, 22 km west of Bomi and 2,700 meters above the sea level.
It boasts plenty of high mountains and primitive forests which are dominated by precious spruces and Hua Mountain Pines. The number of spruces in the Reserve is four to five times as many as that of the forest in northeast China and three to four times as that of North America and West Europe. The most preferred seasons for sight seeing and scientific research here are spring and autumn. In late March and early April when driving on the highway of the nature reserve, you may not be able to resist the temptations of the blossoming flowers on both sides.
Then you may stop your car and record the pretty landscape with your camera in order to bring your memory back to this unique spring in your future life. Golden October is the ripening season for the local wild peach. Falling down to the ground after getting mature, the red wild peaches impress their eaters with sweet juice. Another attraction in the forest is the dense cedar woods.
As the legend goes, one should avoid entering the heart of the forest; otherwise, the mountain goddess might take him or her away. The legend tells a fact that the cedar wood is so dense and vast that one may easily get lost in it. Nevertheless the comely and astonishing nature always invites people for exploration and challenge. The Bomi people are very friendly and hospitable.
The guests are normally welcome with hada, the highland barley wine and ghee tea before the banquet. In the dinner one may taste such great local food as Bomi fish, mushroom, Tibetan pork, and yoghourt etc. Despite being a remote town, Bomi provides all the modern recreation facilities that make Bomi a home away from home for the visitors. Bomi- a piece of fabulous land blessed with pretty landscape, abundant natural resources, long history and hospitable residents, is opening her arms to welcome guests from afar. Here is a paradise for all, to name just a few: tourists, holiday goers, photographers, artists and biologists.
The Bomi County lies in the neighboring area between Himalaya and Nianqing Tanggula of east Tibet, somewhere between Highway No. 83 and No.103. It borders with the Basu County in the east, with the Counties of Luolong and Bianba in the north, with the Counties of Jiani and Gongbujiangda in the west and with the Counties of Chayu, Motuo and Nyingchi in the south. It is also on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway No.318, 636 kilometers from Lhasa, 234 kilometers from Bayi and 360 kilometers from the Bangda Airport. Bomi, “Bowo” in Tibetan, means grandfather. The rugged countryside is surrounded with peaks with a river valley in the heart. Bomi has a land area of about 16,578.24 square kilometers and at latitude of 4,200 meters on the average base. Two main rivers Palongzhangbu and Yigongzhangbu meet at Tongmai and flow further to the great turning of the Grand Canyon.
How to Get There?
Nyingchi (127) – tongmai (89) – Bomi is a particularly dangerous section of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. Lack of public bus on this route, the visitors can take a cross-country van for about 150 Yuan to go to Bomi. On sunny days one will see the warrior-like grand Peak of Nanjiabawa when coming by the mountain pass of Seqila.
The 10 kilometers long Tongbai Highway (it connects the Pailong Zhuang Autonomous Village, the start of the mountainous road to the great turning of the canyon and Motuo) is a real natural barrier full of landslides, cave-in and other disasters. After passing Tongmai where some highways are being built, for another 40 kilometers’ drive on high quality blacktop, one will finally get to Bomi. In the much-commercialized town of Bomi there run many three-wheel cabs. It costs you only five Yuan by cab to go to any destination inside the very small town. There are long distance buses to Changdu from here on unfixed schedule.
It is a piece of god-blessed dreamland with neither harsh winter nor burning summer. In March and April each year the peach blossoms form a gorgeous watercolor with the green barley paddy and golden rape flowers. The best season also falls in July and August when the road conditions is the best