Meili Snow Mountins, Deqin
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

CBP 2003
 Home >> Destinations >> Yunnan >> Meili Snow Mountains 梅里雪山
Updated on 17.10.2006.
Meili Snow Mountains:
Getting there/away



Pilgrimage routes



“A wonderful place to hike and explore both nature and Tibetan culture. ”

A UNESCO Site. Meili Snow Mountains (Meili) rise between the Salween River (called Nu Jiang in China) and the Mekong River (called Lancang Jiang in China) in the extreme edge of Northwest Yunnan Province. The region, still largely wilderness, is part of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2003. A report by WCMC (World Conservation Monitoring Center) on this wonderful nature park concluded that “This is an area of unparalleled biological diversity, unusually explicit geological and landscape variety and great scenic beauty.”

Pilgrimage routes. The holy Kawa Karpo (6740M), the highest peak of Meili, is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. It is recommended to fulfill the circuit of Kawa Karpo during the Year of Sheep. Local pilgrims circumambulate Kawa Karpo every year. In 2003, the Year of Sheep (once every 12 years), pilgrims came from all over Tibet as well as Tibetan regions in Yunnan and Sichuan to worship this holy mountain. There are two pilgrimage routes: the inner route including Yubeng Shenpu (sacred waterfalls) and Mingyong Glacier, and the outside full pilgrimage circuit of Kawa Karpo. The second route takes 8 to 12 days to fulfill in a pristine area without access to any vehicular road. Nowadays, these pilgrimage routes attract more and more hikers.

Rating: When you catch the first breathtaking view of Meili's thirteen 6000-meter-high peaks as well as the spectacular glaciers on the bus to Deqin, you start to believe the legend of Shangri-La. Their foothills are adorned harmoniously by beautiful terrace fields, meadows as well as traditional Tibetan houses. Not yet disturbed by too many tourists, the region is a paradise for explorers and hikers to admire soaring peaks, alpine lakes, waterfalls and glaciers, and is no doubt worth the best rating.

Yunnan government is working with Nature Conservancy, an organasition based in the United States, for the eco-tourism development in order to improve local Tibetan's living conditions and preserve the environment. One day the circuit of Kawa Karpo might become as popular as the circuit of Annapurnas in Nepal.

Best time to visit: In May and June the region is alive with enchanting wild flowers. From Mid-October to Mid-November the region is covered with marvelous autumn colors. July and August is a high season for tourism as well as rainfalls. Winter is cold and dry. Sometimes heavy snowfalls may block roads and isolate this region for weeks and months.

Getting there and away

Getting there: Meili is located in the west of Deqin. For b uses from Zhongdian to Deqin, see Zhongdian.
There are several interesting sites between Zhongdian and Deqin: Napa Lake, The bend of Lancang Jiang, Dhondrupling Gompa (Songzhanlin Si, see left photo 5), Baimang Snow Mountains (see left photo 4).

Getting away by bus: Bus station: 0887-8413322
Departure Destinations
Departure time
Zhongdian, Shangri-La 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 12:00 180 km, 6 hours. Y35. Lunch at Benzilan.
Lijiang, Kunming 11:00 (sleeper) Take a bus to Zhongdian early in the morning, you will find easily a bus to Lijiang or Kunming upon arriving at Zhongdian in the late afternoon.
Yanjing 盐井 8:30 Y35
Mangkang in Tibet.
8:00 Y73. If the passengers are not enough, the service can be cancelled even at the moment when the bus is due to depart.
Cizhong 茨中 7:30 14:00 Y21.00, 81km
Weixi 维西 7:00 Y50, 227km
Xidang 西当 8:00, 15:00 Y14.00. To go to Yubeng.
Mingyong 明永 8:00, 15:00 Y14. To visit Mingyong Glacier.
Xidang Deqin 8:00, 16:00 The second bus might leave early if there are enough passengers.
Mingyong Deqin 8:00, 16:00  
Meilishui Deqin 15:00 Y13. Meilishui 梅里水 : The finish point of big Kora.

In this remote Tibetan town, only the bus service between Deqin and Zhongdian can be guaranteed. Other links are dependent on the weather and road conditions and the number of passengers. To know the number of passengers, the bus station sells the tickets first. If the passengers are not enough, the service can be cancelled even at the moment when the bus is due to depart.

News: According to a traveler's report in Oct 2005, the bus to Xidang and Mingyong is dispatched from Qiaotou (near the bridge) rather than the bus station. Tell the driver in advance so that he can drop you off at Qiaotou before entering into the town.


Deqin Town: 德钦
Dexin Lou 德新楼: Tel:0887-8412031. E-mail:
Dormitory rooms: Y20 per bed. Double rooms: Y50. WC and hot shower are on the same floor.
Standard rooms with bathroom: Single for Y100. Double for Y150.
Clean rooms are decorated with Tibetan paintings. In the big sitting room downstairs, local maps and travel information are available. However, there is no restaurant in this hotel.
Location: Getting out of the bus station, turn left and walk 50m, the hotel is on your right.
Rainbow Hotel 彩虹大酒店: 2 stars, double standard room Y200, double room without bathroom: Y50. Tel:0887-8414248.

Feilaisi Viewpoint: 飞来寺 (see left photo2).
Excellent place to enjoy the spectacular view of Meili's 13 peaks and glaciers. More and more travelers stay overnight here instead of Deqin in order to admire the magnificent Meili at sunrise and sunset. It costs Y20-Y30 for a taxi to go to Feilaisi from Deqin. You can catch a Xidang or Minyong bus that pass through Feilaisi Viewpoint.
Meili Shanzhuang 梅里山庄: Standard double rooms: Y140. Dormitory rooms: Y20 per bed, with hot shower outside the room. Tel: 13988717636 / 13988740590.
Jihouniao Cafe 季候鸟咖啡: Good atmosphere, nice meals, a lot of travel magazines and books to read. A nice place to chat with other travelers. The cafe's profit goes to a local school for disabled Tibetan children.
News: Some middle ranged hotels was built in Feilaisi in 2005 and 2006, such as Mingzhu Hotel 明珠酒店, Nanka Hotel 南卡酒店.

Xidang: 西当 One or two lodges.

Wenquan (Hot Springs): 温泉
Wenguan Lodge:
Y20 per bed, clean, no electricity, wonderful hot springs for shower. Restaurant available.
This is the only lodge in Wenquan for tourists. There are several tents with poor conditions for Tibetan pilgrims.

Yubeng: 雨崩
Aqinbu's Shenpu Lodge 神瀑客栈(Mystic Waterfall Hotel) is no doubt one of the best choices. Tel:0887-8411082. It is located at the end of the Lower Yubeng, on the way to Yubeng Sacred Fall. Y20 per bed. Their restaurant offers potatoes, eggs and noodles. No vegetables and meat. Aqinbu and his brothers provide excellent guide services and horses.
- According to a traveler's report in July 2005, "Aqinbu's Lodge has 5-6 different kinds of vegetables, so its no longer just meat and potatoes. I stayed there for three nights."
- According to a traveler's report in 2006, Yubeng has a dozen of family run guesthouses for Y25/per night. The clean Hiker's Home 徒步者之家 is located between the upper and lower Yubeng village. Tel: 08878411173,13988705799. Hot water is available.

Mingyong Glacier: 明永 Comfortable hotels can be easily found in Mingyong Village. No recommendation from our site. Some newly renovated Tibetan style hotels look good. Prices range from Y20-Y30 per bed to Y80-Y200 per double room.


UNESCO'S World Heritage Sites: Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas

Don't miss the article on Yubeng A Holy Place in China Fights for Its Life, Body and Soul on the Tibet Environmental Watch. From the same site, you can find a profile of Deqin County made in 1997.

The Nature Conservancy's Meili project in cooperation with Yunnan government.

Several treks around the Base Camp of Kawa Karpo are proposed by CNCOOL.

A good description of the full pilgrimage circuit on Globaladrenaline.


Before Meili : Zhongdian.
After Meili
: The route to Tibet.
The national road 214 passing Deqin goes further north to Yanjing and then enters Tibet. The bus can reach the next important Tibetan town Markham(Mangkang) in one day. However the bus services from Deqin to Markham are not regular, mostly depending on the road conditions and the number of passengers. However it takes less time to reach Markham from Kunming than from Chengdu by the Sichuan-Tibet road.
Trek to Nujiang Valley: See from Dimalou to Deqin
Back Road to Tibet: Click here.

CBP 2003
Traveled to Meili in September 2003
Copyright © Chinabackpacker