While much of the Tibetan plateau is still held in the grip of the tail end of winter, with snow still on the ground and ice still covering the surfaces of many of the lakes, there is one place where the spring has already spring. One of the lowest areas of Tibet in terms of altitude, Nyingchi is the garden of Tibet, with wide meadows and lush river valleys, set against the backdrop of snow-capped alpine mountain scenes.
This beautiful region of Tibet sees spring come earlier than the rest of the plateau, due to its lower altitude and milder climate. Reminiscent of the Swiss Alps, Nyingchi is one of the most beautiful and least visited prefectures of the Tibet Autonomous Region, yet has one of the most stunning attractions on the plateau, and one which only lasts for a short time every year.
What is the Peach Blossom Festival?
One of the most popular festivals in the area of Nyingchi, the Peach Blossom Festival is an annual event that is held in March and April to celebrate the blossoming of the Nyingchi peach trees and the coming of spring in the area. March in Nyingchi sees the temperatures warming up and the climate getting milder, with clear skies across the area as the early spring flowers begin to bloom, marking the onset of spring in Tibet.
The date of the Peach Blossom Festival varies from year to year, as the festival is only held once the peach trees have begun to blossom. The festival lasts for about a month, being held on different days in different places across the prefecture.
This year’s festival is set to be a great event and will be including the Nyingchi section of the China Forest Challenge Racing, an annual event across China that has coincided with the festival in Tibet for the first time. As well as the opening ceremony, the festival will include dances and cultural performances; a “Foods of the Peach Valley” expo and a “Gifts of the Peach Valley” produce expo; games, competitions, and night-time star-gazing activities; the 2019 Tibet Himalaya Auto Cross-country Competition; and the amazing 17th Annual Online Peach Blossom Photography Exhibition.
Where is the Peach Blossom Festival held?
The Peach Blossom Festival is held in several different places across Nyingchi, as there is no single field for the peach trees; they grow wild all over the prefecture. As March rolls around the trees bloom into blossoms along the riverbanks and roadsides, in villages, mountains, fields, and valleys, and just about anywhere you can imagine, so the festival is held in many different places where the trees are blossoming.
The blossoms start to bloom in a specific order, based on the increasing temperatures of the region, and usually, Bome County is the first place to see the buds of the peach trees starting to open. Bome is quickly followed by Zayu County, then Mainling County, Nang County, Bayi District, and finally Gongbo’gyamda County. These wild peach trees thrive in the milder climate of Nyingchi, and later in the year, the peaches themselves are a good harvest for the local farmers.
The first of the Peach Blossom Festivals for 2019, this small settlement lies around 5km to the south of Bayi Town and is popular with visitors because of the convenient location. With a delightful river bubbling through the village and the surrounding mountains giving a backdrop to the stunning peach blossoms, Gala Village has been the opening event for the Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival for many years.
One of the most fertile stretches of the valley around Bayi Town, the Niyang River is a rich water resource that leaves the riverbanks festooned with peach trees. The river has many Tibetan villages along its course, and these are prime sites for the Peach Blossom Festivals.
Lying around 230 kilometers to the east of Bayi Town, Bome County is a heavenly land filled with peach blossoms at this time of year, and another popular place for visitors to get the best out of their trip to Nyingchi for the festival. A picturesque part of Nyingchi, even the road into the area is lined with peach trees bloom with pink and lilac flowers. The meadows in the area are filled with color and the view from the hillsides is one of a sea of lilac and pink stretching as far as the eye can see.
How to get to Nyingchi
There are two ways to get to Nyingchi, by flight or by road. As yet, the new Lhasa Nyingchi Railway is not yet open. You can get flights from several places in mainland China including Chengdu, Chongqing, and Guangzhou, which have flights daily to the Nyingchi Mainling Airport, also known as the Lin Zhi Airport. While this is usually the best option for tourists visiting the low-altitude prefecture, you can also fly in from Lhasa’s Gonggar International Airport.
However, the most often used route to Nyingchi is by car from Lhasa. The route to the peach blossoms lies along the Lhasa and Yarlung Tsangpo river valleys, a trip of around 400 kilometers along the G318 National Highway. Once, this route would have taken 7-8 hours to drive along, plus a stop along the way. Now, however, with the new high-speed expressway, you can get from Lhasa to Nyingchi in half the time, which makes it well worth the drive to get to see the peach trees in full bloom.
If you are thinking of taking a trip to see the stunning peach blossoms in Nyingchi, or take in one of the many Peach Blossom Festivals in the area, then get in touch with us, and we can help you arrange the tour of a lifetime in the Nyingchi Peach Valleys.