Pelyul county དཔལ་ཡུལ་རྫོང་, known as Baiyu in Chinese, is located in the northwest corner of Garnze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture དཀར་མཛེས་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ་ in far western Sichuan. Pelyul is located in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham and was one of 4 counties of the historical Dege Kingdom. Pelyul sits at an elevation of 3025m. The Yangtze River འབྲི་ཆུ་ serves as the border between Pelyul county and Gonjo county གོ་འཇོ་རྫོང་ to the west. Gonjo county lies in Chamdo prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and can only be visited as part of an organized tour. Independent travel from Pelyul county to Gonjo is not allowed. Pelyul lies only a little over 6kms / 4 miles straight-line distance from the border of the TAR. It is the closest county town to the TAR.
Pelyul county is a beautiful region that is rarely visited by foreign travelers. The main reason it doesn't receive many visitors is because of it's remoteness. From Dartsendo/Kangding, it is between a 20 and 24 hour bus ride. From Garnze town, there usually is a daily bus, but it takes 8 to 10 hours. From Dege there are no public buses. Even though it is only 100kms south of Dege, the only way to get to Pelyul from there is to take a taxi or other private vehicle. If you are one of the few who make it to Pelyul, you won't be disappointed. No matter which direction you take to Pelyul, the scenery will be amazing. The route going south from Dege will follow the Yangtze river the entire way. Going this route, Gonjo county and the Tibet Autonomous Region will be just a stones throw away on the right side. A more adventurous way to reach Pelyul is taking the extremely rough dirt road from Batang. This 200kms stretch of "road" can only be accessed by a 4WD vehicle when the road is relatively dry. If there has been recent heavy rain, it might be impossible to take this route until it dries. This route is heavily forested with many glacier fed rivers and small villages to explore.
The small county town of Pelyul is lined with trees. It is small and can easily be explored on foot. There are several hotels in town with the best one being the Baiyu Huazang Hotel. The hotel offers standard double rooms with or without a bathroom as well as larger triple rooms. There are numerous decent restaurants to choose from and many small stores around to restock supplies. The county as a whole is round 94% Tibetan, with the county town being around 80% Tibetan. The Tibetan culture in this area is well preserved, especially in the numerous small towns outside of the main county town.
The biggest attraction in the area is the large Nyingma sect monastery of Pelyul. This huge monastery sits on the side of a mountain overlooking the town and valley. Currently, around 200 monks live at the monastery, though in the past the total has been much higher. The monastery was founded in 1665 by the king of Dege. At its height, there were over 100 branch monasteries affiliated with Pelyul Monastery. Set in an amazing setting, you can easily spend a day or two hiking the mountains surrounding the monastery. The highest mountains surrounding the monastery rise to nearly 5000m.
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Pelyul county is a good place to start. With few travelers, amazing scenery and authentic Tibetan culture, the few who do reach this area are not disappointed.
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