4. Nyingchi Region - Largest primitive forest area of China
Lying in the southeastern part of Tibet, Nyingchi sits at the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo. Shouldering Qamdo on the east, Nyingchi has Nagqu as the northern neighbour, with Lhasa and Shannan on the west and southwest. India and Myanmar lie on the southern border. The region includes seven counties: Nyingchi, Medog, Mainling, Gongbo'gyamda, Zayu, Bomi and Nang. On the region of 99,700 square kilometres live 159,200 people (by the year 2000). Besides the Tibetan people, there are also the Han, Monba, Lhoba ethnic minorities and the Deng people.
The local administrator's office is located at the town of Bayi, which
is 406 kilometres from Lhasa. It takes five hours to drive on the level-three
asphalt road. With an investment of 800 million yuan (US$96.6 million),
the Nyingchi Airport under construction will be completed in three years.
The direct air distance between Nyingchi Airport and Lhasa is over 300
kilometres. The airport will be able to host Boeing 737 and other medium
or small planes.
If a visitor drives into Tibet via the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, for most of the time the sojourner will face snowy mountains and vast lands. As soon as the visitor arrives at Nyingchi, he/she will be delighted at the ocean of green. The warm and humid air from the Indian Ocean sweeps north along the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, bringing warmth and vapour to the area, breeding lush primitive forest. According to local forestry officials, Nyingchi hosts the country's largest primitive forest region that covers 26.4 billion cubic metres, storing over 800 million cubic metres of wood, a figure that is next only to that of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China. The number of plant species and their rejuvenation ability are next only to those of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. Among the boundless forests in Bomi, Zayu and Loyu, there are many giant dragon spruces over 200 years old. Some super giant spruces are taller than 80 metres and 2.5 metres in diameter. One such giant tree can turn out 60 cubic metres of log. Scientists call the giant spruces in Nyingchi County as "living fossils" among which the oldest ones have witnessed some 2,500 years of wind and rain. There are over 2,000 species of higher plants, including some 100 species of xylophyta, 165 species of medical herbs and fugus, forming a real plant treasure. Among the rare and precious wildlife, there are the Bengal tiger, leopard, bear, snub-nosed monkey, antelope and lesser panda.
There are eight scenic regions with 40 scenic spots in Nyingchi. The Basum Co Scenic Region has become a State forest park and rated 4A by the State Tourism Administration. The World Tourism Organization (OMT) has listed it as a world-level tourism spot. In addition, the Namjagbarwa Scenic Region includes many valuable tourism resources. There are several nature reserves including the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon State Nature Reserve. Then there are the Basum Co, Nangpo Gully, Gyaxing Gully, Bonri Sacred Mountain with its frescoes and sculptures in the Gongbo'gyamda County; the giant cypress forest, "Mulberry King," Bayi Town Scenic Region, Burqug Lamaling Scenic Region and Serkyim La Mountain of Nyingchi County; the Zarisarba Mountain and Lhe Hill's ancient tombs of Nang County; the Yarlung Zangbo Scenic Region, Namye Lhoba people's new villages and the Namye Gully Scenic Region of Mainling County; the Yi'ong Lake and Yi'ong tea plantations of Bomi; the waterfall, ivy bridge, and one-rope bridge of Medog; the sub-tropical scenery of Zayii. All these scenic spots can offer unforgettable experiences. Since the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and the Parlung Zangbo Canyon were respectively recognized as the world's biggest and third largest canyons, the region has drawn increasing attention.
Under the influence of the monsoon from the Indian Ocean, the area has neither scorching summer nor freezing winter. With ample rainfall, the air is quite humid. The sunshine is long and the frost is short. The lowest places are just around 1,000 metres above sea level. Some regions can even breed rice, peanut, apple, orange, banana, lemon and others. The region is thus compared with the fertile lands on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The local special products in Nyingchi include various medicine materials, edible fungus, orange, tangerine, sugar cane, honey peach, apple, pear, grape, walnut and other fruits. There are also the Tibetan hat and wooden bowl made in Nang County, the "Sacred Tea of Mount Qomolangma" and Tibetan knife made in Yi'ong, the bamboo ware and Tibetan wooden bowl of Zayu
Nyingchi is home to the Monba and Lhoba people, whose social custom, religious belief are very special.
The "Pearl on the Snowy Plateau" Bayi Town has be come a modern city. Flowering trees line along the Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhongshan, Fujian, Xiamen and several other straight and broad boulevards. With improving infrastructure, the living and investment environment at Nyingchi has been steadily improving. No wonder some visitors who come to Nyingchi for the first time would marvel that they never thought there would be such a beautiful city in Tibet.
The town of Bayi is located on the northern bank of the Nyang River, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River. It is 50 kilometres from the converging point of the two rivers. On the flat land, the mild weather features ample rainfall. On the slopes of the valley, giant trees thrive in primitive forests. The town is at 3,000 metres above sea level.
The newly established Bayi Town is where the Nyingchi Region's administration office is located. On the 8-square-kilometre town live 20,000 residents and a few thousand visitors. The place used to have just a few villages. After 1960, a new city gradually appeared with cultivation on the barren fields. The city has been developing at a high speed in the past two decades. From just two muddy roads, the city now has complete systems of road, power, water, sewage disposal and other facilities. With the help of other provinces and regions in China, the town has built the Guangdong and Hong Kong streets and the Xiamen Square, which add more colour to this plateau town.
The nearby region of Bayi Town is the best place to observe the industrial achievements of new Tibet. Power, wool weaving, paper, construction material, printing, farming machine, wood and food processing are some of the major industries. The town is also an important education base of Tibet. Since 1970, the Tibet Autonomous Region has set up the Tibet Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Institute, the Plateau Ecology Institute and other institutions, as well as middle and primary schools at Bayi Town.
The most famous scenic spots here include the "Summer Waterfall
and Winter Ice-Fall," the Rigyimu Co Lake and the giant cypress
forest. At about 40 kilometres to the southeast of Bayi Town, the Bangna
Village has a "Mulberry King" over 1,600 years old. At 7.04-metre
tall, the tree is 13 metres in diameter. It is said that Songtsan Gambo
and Princess Wencheng planted the tree together. At the Bajie Village
about 10 kilometres from the Bayi Town, a 10-hectare forest is formed
with the precious giant Tibetan cypress. Among the trees, the tallest
one is over 50 metres high and 5.8 metres in diameter. This giant cypress
has stood there for over 2,500 years. Going eastward from the Bayi Town,