Another 10 hours of even bumpier bus ride from Kangding got us to Seda, the town closest to Larung Gar. By close, I mean real close! Only 20 minutes away by public transport. No more sore bums! Hoorah!
We left Kangding around 6-7 am and got to Seda just before sundown. Sounds pretty much like our Chengdu-Kangding trip. Sigh. Packing everything in one week is pretty damn tiring. The long travel time means we lose one day of sightseeing.
We planned to spend a night at Luhuo before going to Seda, but we found out that the only bus that goes through Luhuo comes from Kangding. We couldn’t book tickets beforehand, and had to rely on luck that there will be seats for the six of us. There’s only one bus a day. Since we can’t afford to miss it, we decided to head directly to Seda from Kangding.
We stayed at the only youth hostel we could find online. The staff sort-of speaks English, and were more than happy to pick us up from the bus station for free.
At an elevation of 4000m, the air was significantly thinner than Kangding. Three of us had altitude sickness. My husband and a friend has constant headaches. Another friend puked nonstop at night. With the exception of the two heavy smokers in our group, all of us suffered from shortness of breath at night and therefore had trouble sleeping. I have no idea why the heavy smokers were not affected in the slightest. They said it was something to do with them being accustomed to having less oxygen in their body?
Temperature at night gets down to 0 °C. Yep, practically winter. Which makes it very inconvenient for us backpackers since the rest of our travel were to be conducted in the summer heat.
The next morning we returned to the town square to find it occupied by Tibetans selling cordyceps. That’s like the elixir of life for people practicing TCM. Well, I’m exaggerating, but Google cordyceps and you should have an idea of how amazing the stuff is.
I bargained the worm for 3RMB per piece. Cordyceps sold at TRT (同仁堂) go for the price of hundreds of RMBs. I thought this was a good deal, but after a while, the worms I got became mouldy. The ones I bought previously at TRT never turned mouldy, so I guess they properly dried them.
Although Seda is a part of Sichuan, it felt more Tibetan. The inhabitants are Tibetan. The food is Tibetan (yak meat, yak butter, yak meat, yak butter everywhere). The main language isn’t even Mandarin. Seda was interesting, and if it wasn’t for our group getting really sick, I think we would have stayed at least a day longer to just absorb the view and atmosphere Seda has to offer.