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Why Visit Meili Snow Mountain?

Meili Snow Mountain (梅里雪山), known as Prince Snow Mountain, is located in Deqin County in the northwest of Shangri-La, about 176 kilometers away. It sits on the border of Yunnan Province and Tibet, where the three famous rivers - Jinsha River, Nu River and Lancang River flow. The highest altitude of Khawa Karpo (Kawagebo) peak is rising about 6740 meters, making Meili Snow Mountain the highest mountain in Yunnan Province. Till now, it is still a virgin peak for no one has ever reached the top.

Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. Kang Karpo Peak means the God of Snow Mountain in Tibetan, and is a holy land for worshiping. Known for the grandest view in Yunnan Province, Meili Snow Mountain has both numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks, thirteen of which exceed 6,000 meters, and it owns the sublime beauty of Jiangnan Area. No matter you want to make a pilgrimage to Meili Snow Mountain, or capture the incredible scene of golden sunrise shining upon its dramatic snow-capped peaks, you can fulfill your dream within 2 days from Shangri-La.

5 Days Shangri-La & Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage Tour

7 Days Shangri-La Tour with Meili Snow Mountain & Yubeng Village Hiking

Meili Snow Mountain Attractions & Highlights

13 Peaks of Meili Snow Mountain

Meili Snow Mountain is linking with Mount Adonggeni in Tibet in the north and connecting with Biluo Snow Mountain in the south. There are 13 peaks standing magnificently on the ground with altitudes over 6,000 meters, hence being called Prince’s 13 Peaks. The 13 Peaks stand for 13 Tibetan Gods in the eyes of local Tibetans. In the late autumn and the early winter, many devout pilgrims coming from Sichuan, Tibet and Qinghai would spend at least 7 days and even 15 days walking the kora. Usually, for regular travelers, it is recommended to overlook the 13 peaks linking in a row in a distance. And in the early morning, you can enjoy the unbelievable sunrise shinning upon the magnificent snow-capped peaks.

Kawa Karpo Peak (Kawagebo)

Among all the 13 peaks, the highest one is called Khawa Karpo (Kawagebo, 卡瓦格博峰). Rising about 6740 meters, Kawagebo is also the highest peak in Yunnan. It is regarded as the most beautiful mountain in the world and it is the “God of Meili Snow Mountain”. Kawagebo is the highest of the peaks holy to the Tibetan people and has an almost equal statues with Kangrinboqe Feng (Mt Kailas) in the matter of “holiness”. Since 1902, mountaineers from China, Great Britain, US and Japan all have failed to conquer the summit. In 1991, mountaineers from China and Japan lost their lives while trying to reach the peak, a tragedy which is amongst the worst ever in history of mountain climbing in China. Till now, Kawagebo Peak is the virgin mountain that no one has been ever reached to the top.

Feilai Temple

This is the best place to catch the panorama of Meili Snow Mountain. Feilai Temple (飞来寺), built in 1614, has a legendary story. The legend goes the temple constructor called Nanka Jiequ Rinpoche was in meditation and saw a Buddha flying from India and landing on the land of Kawagebo Mountain. So, he organized the local Tibetans built the temple giving it a name called Flying Temple (Feilai Temple). This temple is very small.

Mingyong Glacier

Mingyong Glacier (明永冰川) is a long glacier at Kawagebo Peak, stretching from 6470 meters to 2600 meters, with a length of 11.7 meters. At over 13 sq km, Mingyong Glacier is not only the lowest glacier in China but also an oddity - a monsoon marine glacier with tundra, taiga, broadleaf forest and meadow. It is about 26 kilometers from Feilai Temple which takes about 1 hour’s driving. To explore Mingyong Glacier and appreciate different landscape transition, you can hike between the entrance and Taizi Monastery (2720 meters), which is about 8 kilometers long. This route belongs to the primary and light hiking route, taking around 3 hours. (Tip: Instead of hiking, you can take sightseeing bus to visit the scenic area.)

Yubeng

Yubeng (雨崩), is an isolated village surrounded by the holy peaks of Meili Snow Mountain. Many travelers who have more time would like to spend 2 to 4 day trekking around Yubeng Village. What attracts numerous travelers to reach here is not only for the charming natural views, but also for its mystery and holy meaning for praying. This place belongs to the “kora site” where you can see colorful flying prayer flags, white pagodas and prayer stones in piles.

Before 2012, there is no road to Yubeng and hence it got mysterious legend. Legend has it that for centuries Yubeng Village was unknown to the outside world. One day, an old man arrived in Xidang Village and tried to buy highland barley from the villagers there. No one knew where he came from, so some of the villagers followed him when he left, but on the way over the mountain the old man disappeared. Later, the old man came back to Xidang to buy food again. The villagers objected and told him “we aren’t going to sell you barley or wheat, but just some millet.” When they loaded the food for the old man, one of the villagers made small holes on the bags. After he started his journey back home, the old man was followed again. He didn’t realize that the holes in the bags had spilled the millet along the way. However, when he reached a huge rock, he disappeared. So the villagers pried up the rock and Yubeng Village was discovered. (Travel Tip: The basic facilities has been improved a lot in the village, and electricity, mobile signal and network are available. Road to the village is in good condition.)

Must-see Attractions: Xidang Spring, Sacred Waterfall, Holy Lake, Ice Lake

Meili Snow Mountain Panorama of Meili Snow Mountain Peaks
Meili Snow Mountain Kawagebo Peak & Golden Sunrise
Meili Snow Mountain Feilai Temple
Yubeng Village Yubeng Village
Yubeng Ice Lake Yubeng Ice Lake

Best Locations to View Meili Snow Mountain

Feilaisi Observation Deck (飞来寺观景台)

Altitude: 3470 meters

This is the best location to shoot Meili Snow Mountain and amazing sunrise over the peaks. There are eight white pagodas standing in a row on the deck. Besides the 8-kilometer round sightseeing loop provides you more chance to view the mountain. Standing on the Feilaisi Observation Deck, you can see the full view of Meili Snow mountain, the winding Meili summits are overhead, and the magnificent Lancang River Gorge is under your feet, with elevation difference of 4700m. This area is the gathering place consisting of many hotels and hostels offering good point to view the mountains.

Wunongding Viewing Deck (雾浓顶观景台)

Altitude: around 3500 meters

Wunongding Viewing Deck, is also called Thirteen White Pagoda Viewing Deck. There are 13 white Tibetan pagodas standing in a row on the deck. It is another good option to catch the panoramic view of Meili Snow Mountain. You can see Feilai Temple in front of your eyes, White Horse Snow Mountain in the northeast and Wunongding Village and Lancang River Gorge in its south. No matter what angles you are trying and what kinds of pictures you want to shoot, you can get from here. Compared with Feilaisi Observation Deck, Wunongding provides wilder angle and abundant prospect.

Meili Snow Mountain Viewing Deck Feilaisi Observation Deck V.S. Wunongding Viewing Deck

Trekking in & around Meili Snow Mountain

No.1: Mingyong Glacier Classic Hiking Route:

  • Time Needed: about half day (about 6 hours)
  • Length: 25 kilometers
  • Altitude: 2230 meters - 3100 meters
  • Difficulty: Primary

On this day, you can transfer from Feilai Temple to Mingyong Glacier Scenic Area. After arriving at the entrance (2230 meters), your exciting hiking journey starts. It needs about 3 hours hiking from the entrance to Taizi Monastery (2720 meters) for 8 kilometers. Have a look and take a rest at Taizi Monastery. Then, if weather is fine, go ahead for another 2.5 kilometers to reach Lotus Temple (3100 meters). Later, hike to the Glacier Observation Deck for about 2 kilometers at an altitude of 3000 meters. Standing on the viewing deck, you can capture the tough glacier in lines - but it is not always white and clear, sometimes looks like very dirty capped by sands and small stones. Mingyong Glacier hiking belongs to the primary hiking route which is suitable for most travelers.

Option: If you are tired of hiking, you can choose to take sightseeing bus which can help you save about 2 hours’ hiking time.

6 Days Shangri-La & Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage Tour

Mingyong Glacier Viewing Deck Mingyong Glacier Viewing Deck

No.2: In-depth Hiking Experience to Yubeng Village

  • Time Needed: about 3 to 4 days
  • Length: 60 kilometers
  • Altitude: 2650 meters - 4500 meters
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Best Time: from April to June, and September to November

Yulong Trekking becomes more and more popular among independent travelers recent years. It usually starts from Xidang Spring and then reach Yubeng Upper Village or Yubeng Lower Village as base camps, and leaves from Ninong. This route is also the small kora route for pilgrims.

Day 1: Feilai Temple (飞来寺) - Xidang Spring (西当温泉) - Nazongla Yakou (那宗拉垭口) - Yubeng Upper Village (雨崩上村). It needs about 6-7 hours’ for hiking.

Day 2: Yubeng Upper Village (雨崩上村) - Xiaonong Base Camp (笑农大本营) - Ice Lake (冰湖) - Yubeng Lower Village (雨崩下村). It needs about 7 hours’ for hiking.

Day 3: Yubeng Lower Village (雨崩下村) - Sacred Waterfall (神瀑) - Yubeng Lower Village (雨崩下村). It needs about 5 hours’ for hiking.

Day 4: Yubeng Lower Village (雨崩下村) - Ninong Bridge (尼农桥). This section takes about 4 hours for hiking.

Hiking Map in and around Yubeng Village Hiking Map in and around Yubeng Village

Along the way, you will see alpine forest, stunning waterfalls, glacial lakes and tranquil Tibetan villages. It is a good way to enjoy the beautiful scenery and experience the Tibetan culture. (Option: Horse renting is available in different section on the route and if you feel tired on the way, you can rent a horse saving your energy.)

Best Time to Visit Meili Snow Mountain

The main reason to Meili Snow Mountain is for the golden sunrise shining upon the 13 peaks of the mountain. To catch this amazing scene, you should choose the best time to visit Meili Snow Mountain. The rainy season is concentrated during June to August with unstable weather this period.

The most recommended time to visit Meili Snow Mountain is from October to next May. The weather is usually dry with clear skies. The best season to visit is October to November. December to May is also favorable if you don't mind the cold weather (averaging freezing point). In other months, there is little chance to view the sunrise over the snow mountain, due to cloud. Remember to check the weather forecast before you go. The road might be closed if it snows heavily. And try to avoid rainy days, when the mountain will be shrouded in mist.

Meili Snow Mountain Best Time to Meili Snow Mountain

If you want to catch the sunrise, you need to get up early in the morning. Have a look at the following chart for reference.

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
08:11 08:08 07:47 07:10 06:40 06:29 06:33 06:46 07:03 07:17 07:32 07:55

(Note: The above time in each month is only for reference. You’d better ask for your local travel guide about the exact sunrise on your date when visiting Meili Snow Mountain.)

How to Get to Meili Snow Mountain from Shangri-La?

Meili Snow Mountain located in Deqin County (德钦县) of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the northwest of Shangri-La! It is about 14 kilometers from Deqin County within 0.5 hour’s driving. And it is about 176km and 4 hours from Shangri-La (Zhongdian).

By Private Car with China Discovery

Along the way from Shangri-La to Meili Snow Mountain, there are many attractions to be visited in one go, such as the First Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin Monastery and Baima Snow Mountain. To stop and visit the attractions before visiting Meili Snow Mountain, it is highly recommended to take our private car service including in the tour package. Our English-speaking guide will accompany you all the way and introduce you the amazing history and story behind the attractions. And our local driver will escort you to the attractions with great flexibility. If drive directly from Shangri-La to Meili Snow Mountain, it takes about 3.5-4 hours. If you explore on the way, it takes about one full day and arrives at Feilai Temple area for accommodation.

By Coach / Bus

Shangri-La Coach Station offer about 4 morning coaches to Deqin County, from where you need to change to another bus to Meili Snow Mountain. The coach ride needs about 6 hours and the bus ride takes about 20 minutes. If you are travel in group, traveling with the help of private car is more recommended to get to Meili Snow Mountain, because you can travel in an easier and more convenient way.

Learn more about: How to Get around Shangri-La

Meili Snow Mountain Transportation Map Meili Snow Mountain Transportation Map
Meili Snow Mountain Map Meili Snow Mountain Tourist Map

Meili Snow Mountain Opening Hours & Tickets

Opening Time: 08:00-16:00

Price Ticket: There are three kinds of ticket packages for visiting Meili Snow Mountain, ranging from CNY 150/pp, CNY 228/pp to CNY 230/pp. For most regular travelers, they will choose Ticket Package Two for 2 days visiting in and around Meili Snow Mountain.

  • Ticket Package One: CNY 150/pp, including the First Bend of Jinsha River (CNY 60), Wunongding Viewing Deck (CNY 60), Feilaisi Observation Deck (CNY 60);
  • Ticket Package Two: CNY 228/pp, including the First Bend of Jinsha River (CNY 60), Wunongding Viewing Deck (CNY 60), Feilaisi Observation Deck (CNY 60) and Mingyong Glacier (CNY 78);
  • Ticket Package Three: CNY 230/pp, including the First Bend of Jinsha River (CNY 60), Wunongding Viewing Deck (CNY 60), Feilaisi Observation Deck (CNY 60) and Yubeng Village (CNY 80).

Where to Stay & Recommended Hotels in Meili Snow Mountain

Most travelers would spend one night in or around Meili Snow Mountain. There are two areas for your accommodation here. The most recommended area is staying around Feilai Temple and Feilaisi Observation Deck. Most of the hotels have viewing decks, which provide tourists with a convenient way to enjoy the scenery of the sun shining over the snow mountain. But facility is very limited and breakfast are basic. Among all the hotels and hostels, you can check the following list for reference.

Hotel Chinese Name Star
Deqin Teng Yue Hotel 德钦腾悦·梅里雪山度假酒店 4 star
Deqin Shard Homeland Hotel 德钦碎片·吾乡梅里雪山度假公馆 4 star
Feilaisi Mingzhu Hotel 飞来寺明珠酒店 local 4 star
Deqin Once Upon a Time in Meili Hotel 德钦飞来寺梅里往事 3 star

Surrounding Attractions along the Way to Meili Snow Mountain

Baima Snow Mountain (白马雪山)

Altitude: 4,290 meters ~ 6,430 meters
Distance from Meili Snow Mountain: 52 kilometers (about 1-1.5 hours’ driving)
Distance from Shangri-La: 133 kilometers (about 2-2.5 hours’ driving)

Baima Snow Mountain is located on the way between Shangri-La to Meili Snow Mountain. The main peak of Baima Snow Mountain rises above 5,430 meters, with height difference over 3000 meters. It is famous for its forest and rich wildlife resources. It has seven different plant vegetation type. The best time to visit Baima Snow Mountain is from May to October. The driving to Meili Snow Mountain will pass G214 highway which offers an observation deck (4,290 meters) for travelers to get panoramic view of the whole mountain.

Baima Snow Mountain Baima Snow Mountain

The First Bend of Jinsha River (金沙江第一湾)

Altitude: 2,000 meters
Distance from Meili Snow Mountain: 86 kilometers (about 1.5-2 hours’ driving)
Distance from Shangri-La: 87 kilometers (about 1.5-2 hours’ driving)

The Great Bend of Jinsha River, also called the First Bend of the Yarlung Zangbo River, is located at 15 kilometers of Benzilan Town of Deqin, the border of Sichuan and Yunnan Province. Jinsha River is the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the longest river in China. A short visit here, you can view the U shape turn with either emerald or yellow water flowing through the sharp valley. It is a good idea to stand at the observation platform on the hill to look down the moon-shaped Bend of Jinsha River. There are some free view points along the roadside while you can only see half of the bend. (Travel Tip: Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to visit the Bend for the clear water. Summer is the rainy season of Yunnan Province and the color the river is yellow which is not recommended.)

The First Bend of Jinsha River The First Bend of Jinsha River

Dongzhulin Monastery (东竹林寺)

Altitude: 3,000 meters
Distance from Meili Snow Mountain: 80 kilometers (about 1.5-2 hours’ driving)
Distance from Shangri-La: 94 kilometers (about 1.5-2 hours’ driving)

Built in 1667, Dongzhulin Monastery, its fame just after Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La, was once rivaled Potala Palace in Lhasa. It has a legend that once upon a time, there is an eminent monk traveling here and he saw a pyramid-shaped mountain and regarded it as the embodiment of god. Hence the monastery was constructed. The Assembly Hall of the Dongzhulin Monastery is designed in earth and wooden structure with 4 floors and 82 thick columns. Dongzhulin Monastery has many precious cultural relics. There are gilded Maitreya Buddha, statue of White Drolma, Buddhas of Three Worlds, the ruler of the hell, Manjusri, 18 Arhats statues and Thakang scroll paintings depicting Buddhist stories. There are also a great number of Buddhist stupas and religious instruments and props, being a Buddhist cultural treasure house for the pilgrims. You can have better understanding of Tibetan Buddhism after visiting Dongzhulin Monastery.

Dongzhulin Monastery in Yunnan Dongzhulin Monastery

How to Plan a Meili Snow Mountain with Shangri-La?

For travelers who want an in-depth trip to Meili Snow Mountain, they would spend about 4 to 6 days in and around Shangri-La. In Shangri-La, you can have a classic discovery and feel the Lost Horizon Scene in this earthly paradise, including Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, Dukezong Old Town, a visit to Tibetan’s family. To travel to Meili Snow Mountain and capture its golden sunrise, it would be a good idea to spend about 2 days exploring along the way and staying one night around Feilai Temple, the best area to view sunrise and panorama.

5 Days Shangri-La & Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage Tour

7 Days Shangri-La Tour with Meili Snow Mountain & Yubeng Village Hiking

If you want to take the hiking experience from Meili Snow Mountain to Yubeng Village, you should spend another 3 days here.

Actaully, quite a lot of visitors prefer to travel Shangri-La with Lijiang. These two popular tourist cities are two of the superstars for a Yunnan tour, with Tiger Leaping Gorge sitting in between.

5 Days Lijiang & Shangri-La Highlights Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Want more surprises of the diverse Yunnan? Why not extending your tour to more top destinations in one go, such as Kunming famous as Spring City and convenient province capital, Dali with profound Dali Old Town and splendid Erhai Lake, Yuanyang with terrific rice terraces, Xishuangbanna with exciting tropical flavor and Dai ethnic dances, etc., which usually needs 6-15 days based on your exploration depth!

6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La/Kunming)

8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)

Songzanlin Monastery Songzanlin Monastery Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park

Travel Shangri-La with China Discovery

Looking for a hassle-free Shangri-La tour? Travel with China Discovery and let us take care of everything for you! Our professional local driver will pick you up at Shangri-La Airport or your hotel and then escort you to the attractions directly. During the journey, our English-speaking guide will accompany you all the way and tell you some interesting stories or insider travel tips for your coming Shangri-La tour.

We can also help you with the trip plan in Lijiang. The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Travel Shangri-La with China Discovery Travel Shangri-La with China Discovery

Recommended Shangri-La Tours

Top 3 Shangri-La tours chosen by most customers to explore Shangri-La in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Lijiang Old Town Full View from Wangu Tower
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Shangri-La / Meili Snow Mountain / Yubeng / Shangri-La

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Kunming / Stone Forest / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >