In October 2010, my wife and I took a management position at Zhilam Hostel. Zhilam Hostel is located in Kangding (Dartsendo in Tibetan) in western Sichuan. This area is in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham. Zhilam ཞི་ལམ་ is a Tibetan word meaning "the path of peace". Zhilam Hostel is the only foreign owned guesthouse in all of western Sichuan and in all of the Kham region. Located in Bai Tuo Kan village, the hostel overlooks all of Kangding and looks out to Paoma Mountain and the snow-capped peaks of the Minyak Konka range. The hostel is inside a modern Tibetan style home. The top floor, pictured above, also has a cafe serving breakfast and dinner as well as an assortment of hot and cold drinks.
Zhilam Hostel currently has capacity for 22 people. It has 2 standard rooms with private bathroom and shower as well as 3 dorm style rooms. There is a good chance that the hostel could be expanding in 2011. The cafe serves up great western style breakfasts and dinners and also offers free wireless internet. The hostel can purchase bus tickets and arrange transportation to places such as Tagong, Danba, Muge Tso and to the trailhead of the Minya Konga (Gongga Shan) trek. Though foreign owned, the hostel is staffed by Tibetans.
My family and I plan to be in Kangding until around January 2012. If you have read any of my blog posts or my posts on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Travel Forum, you will know that I have traveled the Tibetan world extensively. In the past, I co-owned a travel agency that arranged over 400 custom tours across Tibet. Currently, I arrange high-end photography workshops across the Tibetan Plateau. I will use my past management and business experience to help take Zhilam Hostel to the next level. Our plan for 2010 was to be in Jyekundo and Nangchen, but the Yushu Earthquake in April changed all of our plans. We are quite happy in Kangding and look forward to being here for the next year or so.
Standard room #2.
Kangding is the gateway to the Tibetan world. If you plan on traveling that way, stay a few nights in Zhilam Hostel. There are plenty of things to see in the area to keep you busy for several days. For bookings, check out the website at zhilamhostel.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about traveling in the Tibetan world or which travel agencies to use, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
See you in Kangding!