Experiencing cordycep excavation within Tibetan tourism

Baima Drolkar took out the cordyceps with great care.

On the 27th of May, at the Guoqing Ditch in the Longren Township of the Damxung County of the Lhasa, capital city of SW China's Tibet Autonomous Regionwhich lies at 4,500 meters above sea level, the tourists were experiencing excavating of the cordyceps with the help of the local herdsmen. Apart from visiting the herdsmen’s families to experience the traditional folk customs, a new method of tourism has been opened for the first time in the Damxung County of Tibet: experiencing excavating of the cordyceps in Tibet.

Due to the fact that Tibetan cordyceps are getting more and more well-known and sold at home and abroad, the cordycep’s price is going up rapidly: 500 grams of cordycep costs anywhere from several tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of RMB. Excavation of the cordycep has become an important source of income for the herdsmen living in the area which is home to the cordycep. At the same time, it is difficult for those who do not live it this area to enter the cordycep-gathering area to excavate the cordycep.

At the bottom of the mighty snowy mountains, placing the whole body close to the ground and keeping eyes peeled in the search for an organism that is a worm during the winter time and becomes grass during the summer time is something very mysterious for most people. Other than this, the price of the cordycep is very high, many people have heard about the cordycep but those who have participated in the excavation process in the field are few and far between. Even those who do belong to the cordycep industry also rarely take part in excavation of the cordycep, let alone the tourists.

The activity “The journey gathering at the bank of Lake Namco and searching for cordyceps ” which is being promoted for the 1st time by the Damxung County of the Lhasa City will combine tourism with the mysterious cordycep-excavation, therein opening a new method of deeply-experiencing tourism in Tibet. 

Damxung is located in the northern reaches of Lhasa, 170 kilometers away from the Lhasa urban district, situated at an altitude of 4,300 meters. Damxung is home to many famous natural scenes such as Namco, Mt. Nyanchen Thanglha and the Aje Marsh. In recent years, following the development of tourism at Lake Namco, Damxung has been gradually earning a reputation.

The Damxung County, with rich tourist resources, has carried out the strategy regarding an “industrially strong city” promoted by the Lhasa municipal Party committee and government,

therein continuously improving infrastructure and developing the tourist market, which made the tourist industry become more and more important to the socio-economic development of the entire county. In 2015, Damxung County realized 73.6 mln RMB incomes from ticket sales; the herdsmen that have engaged in tourism and the service industry account for over 10% of the county’s total population. The tourist industry has driven the rapid development of the tertiary-industry which includes trade, transportation, lodging and restaurants.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan, Tibet together with the entire country will realize a better-off society, to which the tourist industry can bring a great contribution. Damxung, possessing advantages in the regards of tourist resources and ideal location, will put effort into promoting the transformation and upgrade of the tourist industry as well as in driving forward the integration of cultural tourism and poverty relief activities, therein reinforcing people’s ability to cast away poverty and become better off.

“‘The journey gathering at the bank of Lake Namco and searching for cordyceps’ is a tourist product that concentrates both the cultural tourism and special experience into one.”, said Qimei Tersing, the head of Damxung County. Damxung will rely on its advantages and grasp the development opportunities regarding the world tourism construction carried out in Tibet, therein put efforts on turning the activity into the new highlight of the whole city and even of the whole region.

Starting from the 1st of June, during the one-month cordycep-excavating activity, the Damxung County will follow the 1:1 method in which will be arranged one herdsman guide for one visiting tourist; the guides will teach the tourists how to find the cordyceps, how to excavate and how to protect the environment and other vegetations after excavating the cordyceps. Each tourist coming from outside of Tibet just needs to pay 2300 RMB and then they can enjoy the activities including the cordycep excavation, a hot spring bath and sightseeing at Lake Namco lasting for 3 days with free food and housing.

Due to the high altitude (over 4,000 meters) of the cordycep-excavating site, it is recommended that those tourists who are weak and have high blood pressure, chronic cardiovascular diseases should make careful considerations before coming. At the same time, the tourists are supposed to keep warm. Once you feel uncomfortable, you must communicate immediately with the guides who will arrange ambulances and provide oxygen for free.

To be attached: Budgets

The tourists from outside of Tibet: 3 days (Day 1, travel to Lake Namsto and do adaptation exercises; Day 2, start to excavate the cordyceps; Day 3, travel to the Ningzhong Hot Spring Resort) on a budget of 2,300 RMB including lodging, insurance, guide, scenic spot tickets and hot spring fees.

The tourists from Tibet: 2 days (register directly for cordycep excavation and go to the Ningzhong Hot Spring Resort) on a budget of 1,340 RMB (transportation and scenic spot tickets are not included).