Kāngdìng is one of the largest cities in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan, China. Located at the foot of the Tibetan plateau over 200 kilometers west of Chengdu, Kangding is home to mix a of Han, Tibetan, and Hui minorities. As such, a rich collection of minority cuisine is easily found throughout the city.
The city itself is not particularly picturesque, though it is complimented by surrounding hills and a river that cuts through the city center. Long established as a trade route between Tibet and China, today Kangding still stands as a commercial trading center as well as a popular launching point for travelers who are exploring central and western Sichuan.
When in Kangding, the Zhilam Hostel is absolutely the place to stay. Not only do they have the best quality for value rooms in town, but they also know the area better than anyone. When you step inside the Zhilam, you immediately feel cozy and at home, the hallmarks of a great hostel. The English friendly staff is tremendously helpful, and they have a bible of multiple-day trips that they can help you plan. They even knew what areas of northern Sichuan were not possible to go to due to police checkpoints, for instance cities like Aba.
As a backpacker, Kangding is a great place to setup trips either south to Yunnan or north to Tagong and the northwestern areas of Sichuan.