Hidden in the forests and Snow Mountains on the border of Tibet (Xizang Autonomous Region) and Yunnan Province, there is a secluded Tibetan village, namely Yubeng, which is praised as the incomparable escape under Snow Mountains. The former Yubeng Village was a sparsely populated area with only one horse trail connecting it with the outside world. While the nowadays Yubeng has become a trekking paradise with groups of and an increasing number of global hikers coming to try hiking. The trekking route there is even praised as One of China's Top 10 Hiking Routes. Thanks to its pure landscapes full of jaw-dropping snow mountain, alpine lake, waterfall forest and glaciers, and the charming and authentic farming lifestyle, Yubeng Village has also long been reputed as "The Epitome of Shangri-La".
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Every corner of Yubeng is natural and beautiful, while there are several landmarks that almost every tourist will visit, including Upper Yubeng Village, Lower Yubeng Village, Ice Lake (or called Glacier Lake), Sacred Waterfall and Sacred Lake.
The entire Yubeng Village is composed of Upper Yubeng Village (altitude: 3150m) and Lower Yubeng Village (altitude: 3050m). These two villages are about 0.5~1 hour away from each other by foot. Those traditional houses with white walls and brown roof dotted on the slope at the foot of snow-capped mountains are really lovely. Normally, it is the Upper Yubeng Village in most of the stunning photos you've seen on the network, while it is the Lower Yubeng Village in those images with a sacred temple setting between the snow-caped mountains and their reflections on water.
Both the upper village and the lower village offer accommodation options, while the Upper is usually more popular chosen, because it is closer to the entrance of Yubeng and the Ice Lake. Lower Yubeng Village is closer to Sacred Waterfall and Sacred Lake.
Ice Lake is about 6 kilometers northwest of the Upper Yubeng Village. Hiking from the village to get there and then come back to the village needs about 6-8 hours. Therefore, hikers usually arrange one whole day to visit it.
The lake is a jade-like alpine lake hugged by the nearby meadow and snow-capped mountains. The glaciers of Meili Snow Mountain melt and then stream down the mountain cliff, forming a beautiful lake at this relatively flat area. The pure blue lake is in stark contrast to the white glacier above and the bare ridges around it, which will certainly make you in awe of the landscape. You can even hear the murmuring of the flowing water there.
Sacred Waterfall is located about 6 kilometers below the Upper Yubeng Village. A round hiking trip to get there and go back to Upper Yubeng Village needs about 4-6 hours. Amongst the three popular hiking routes in Yubeng, the route to Sacred Waterfall is relatively easier.
It is said that walking around the waterfall for three circles can cure all the diseases and eliminate misfortune. And if you bath in it, all the evils of you will disappear. There are often believers from all over the world chatting sutras for blessings there. If lucky, you will also find a rainbow hanging on the waterfall, which is extremely beautiful under the sunshine.
Sacred Lake is about 9.5 kilometers below the Upper Yubeng Village. A round hike to get there and then go back needs 10-12 hours. Visitors will not involve this hiking route in their classic Yubeng hiking tours. However, if you are extreme hikers and are looking for some adventures, this is what you like.
Amongst all the attractions in Yubeng, Sacred Lake is the most mysterious. It is off the beaten track, and even many locals never come here. Same as the Ice Lake, Sacred Lake is surrounded by mountains by its four sides. However, compared with Ice Lake, Sacred Lake is in a smaller size and its water is not that emerald. However, it is still awe-inspiring once you are standing in front of it, with the dreaming deep yellow cliffs feasting your eyes.
There is only one horse trail heading there, and along the way to get there, you can find no any signs guiding your way, plus the tough upward hiking, it comes no surprise so little hikers choose to visit it.
On your ways getting close to Yubeng and leaving it, there are also many attractions for your short visits. The most popular tourist sites include Feilai Temple, the best point to shoot the golden sunrise shining upon Meili Snow Mountain, Ninong Grand Canyon, where you will be rewarded with spectacular cliff and valley landscape, Cizhong Village, where you can take a sip of wine…
Feilai Temple is usually the first stop for almost every Yubeng visitor. It is located on the way to get close to Yubeng, with a driving distance for about 52 kilometer to the Upper Yubeng Village (2 hours around). The temple faces the famous Kawakarpo Peak, which tops the list of 8 Sacred Mountains in Tibetan Areas. Such a great location makes Feilai Temple the best place to admire the sunrise views. Therefore, visitors usually spend their first night there to wait for the breathtaking golden sunrise shining on the snow-capped peaks in the next morning.
Ninong Grand Canyon is located about 15 kilometers away from the Lower Yubeng Village (about a 3.5-hour hike). For those who do not want to follow the same way that gets to Yubeng to leave, trekking along the trails of Ninong Grand Canyon to get out is the best choice. Follow the Ninong River to wind down, you can then hike across the entire canyon. Those trails hide in the lush trees of a forest. And in May and June, there are beautiful alpine azalea and other wild flowers in pink, white or purple decorating by the two sides of the trails, guaranteeing you a fascinating hiking experience. The canyon is also amazing in summer and autumn.
Cizhong Village is about 52 kilometers south of Ninong Grand Canyon. If you go with a car, it takes about 1 hour to get there. This secluded village gets its frame because of its unique wine with a strong flavor of French. In the village, there are grapevines spreading everywhere. Every family there has instruments and skill to make wine. Famous Joseph F Rock once also visited there.
Mingyong Glacier is the longest glacier among the four biggest glaciers of Meili Snow Mountain. It stretches from the snow mountain region of above 6,740 meters above sea level to the primeval forest area of 2,600 meters, with an entire length spreading for about 11.7 kilometers. There is also a hiking trail available, which starts from the entrance gate to the Taizi Miao there. The entire route measures for about 8 kilometers. Some hiking beginners may also choose it.
There are altogether 5 hiking routes in Yubeng, and about 3 of which are the most popular, including the way to Ice Lake, the way to Sacred Lake and the way to Sacred Lake. The former two are must-tries.
No matter you are staying overnight in the Upper Yubeng Village or Lower Yubeng Village, you are required to hike northwest to Ice Lake. Hiking from the Upper Yubeng Village needs for about 5 hours, and half an hour more from the Lower Yubeng Village. You will arrive at Xiaonong Camp Base first, which was once the base camp for the Sino-Japanese mountaineering team to climb Meili Snow Mountain in 1991. At the base, you can take a rest. Then, hike for about 1 hour more, you will arrive at the Ice Lake. After the sightseeing there, hiking down along the same route, you can go back to the village.
Compared the other two routes there, the hiking to Sacred Waterfall is easier. The former half of the route is relatively flat, while the rest is a little bit steep but far from that tough than you may imagine. The entire experience takes about 4-6 hours. The time varies according to the physical level of the hikers. This route is highly recommended for those believers, especially the pilgrims.
Because of the high altitude and difficulty, seldom visitors choose the tough route to Sacred Lake, except for those adventurous extreme hikers. Different from the other two routes, the way to get close to Sacred Lake is not that much uphill and downhill but all uphill. You are required to challenge yourself to ascend up the hill for about 1,500 meters and 5~6 hours before you get there. There is no sign on the way, and the trail is hidden in the grasses. Therefore, it is very easy to get lost there. If you want to try this route, do remember to ask a local guide to accompany you and navigate your way. The way getting back from the lake to the village needs another 4~6 hours or so.
After the hiking trips in and around Yubeng Village to Ice Lake and Sacred Waterfall, visitors like to get out the village from Nibong Grand Canyon on the last day. This hiking route includes 3 sections, including the first part from the village (the Upper Village or Lower Village), then a downhill journey to the Lancang River and finally a 3-kilometer hiking along the river.
Note: There is no any other alternative option like car on this way.
Hiking from Xidang to Yubeng Village includes a 4-hour hike from Xidang to Nanzong Col and a 2-hour hike from the col to the village. This was once the only way to get to Yubeng. Therefore, you may have been seen many Yubeng travel blogs with the descriptions of this route. However, nowadays you can ride a car instead, which is officially provided by the scenic area. The fee is about CNY 150 per person for the 40-minute car ride from Xidang Hot Spring to Nanzong Col and about CNY 200 per person for the 1-hour car ride from Xidang Hot Spring to Upper Yubeng Village in direct. Considering there are more beautiful wonders like Ice Lake and Sacred Waterfall waiting for your steps in the following days, you are highly suggested to ride a car in this route to save energy.
Notes : 1) the fee mentioned above is only for your reference, it may change according to the local policy. 2) This driving road is not very well. For safety reasons, only the official cars are allowed to get to Yubeng. All the other buses and cars are required to stop at the parking lot there.
For a Yubeng tour, there are 3 popular places to stay, including Feilai Temple, Upper Yubeng Village and Lower Yubeng Village.
Feilai Temple is located on the way from Shangri-La or Lijiang to Yubeng Village. Many visitors prefer to stay overnight there to make a better preparation of Yubeng hiking and to admire the spectacular sunrise with golden sunshine lighting on the summit of Meili Snow Mountain in the next day morning. The best hotels with great view of the Snow Mountains gather at the place by the side of the view platform and the place about 19 kilometers away from the platform. There are one 5-star hotel named Songtsam Meili Lodge, three 4-star hotels and many budget hotels of 2-star and 3-star for you to choose.
Upper Yubeng Village is the best choice to stay after entering Yubeng, because it is closer to the entrance and has more inns and hostels to choose than Lower Yubeng Village. There are over 15 hotels there, all of which are of 2-star. Tough compared with the hotels in Shangri-La, hotels there are far from that luxury and modern, these adorable rustic inns and hostels have their own characters and charms. All of them also guarantee you a comfortable sleep. Some of them even have large glass windows facing the snow peaks, giving you an unbeatable atmosphere of peace.
Lower Yubeng has fewer hotels than the Upper Yubeng Village, and thus it is also quieter. As Lower Yubeng Village is closer to Sacred Waterfall and Sacred Lake, visitors who are heading to hike to these two sites in the next day may accommodate at Lower Yubeng.
The weather and climate in Yubeng in such a mountainous region with relatively high altitudes vary in different seasons and is always changeable. Spring is pleasant and has mountains of flowers, but there may be many rains. Summer is good, but there may be more rains than spring. After the rain, you may encounter with rainbows. Autumn is one of the best time to visit Yubeng. The weather is pleasant and the nearby forests and mountains will be dressed up with picturesque autumn colors. Winter is cold and has occasional snow but there are more chances to admire the stunning golden sunrise shinning on the Snow Mountains. The best time to visit Yubeng usually comes in spring and autumn, especially from April to June, September to November.
To get to Yubeng, Shangri-La is the best gateway city. Shangri-La has flights to/from Kunming, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Lhasa, etc. Upon arrival, you can enjoy a tour there first, and then book a private car service to Feilai Temple and Xidang Hot Spring, which is the most convenient and efficient way, especially for those travelling with family or group. We China Discovery have helped numerous visitors to get to Yubeng, if you are looking for private car help, please feel free to contact us.
For independent travelers who prefer the public buses, you can find a bus at Shangri-La Bus Terminal to Deqin County in the morning and early afternoon. Upon arriving at Deqin, make a transfer to another bus to Feilai Temple to stay overnight. The entire bus ride takes from 6 hours. In the next day morning after the sightseeing of golden sunrise, you can share a private car with others to Xidang Hot Spring to enter Yubeng. The car ride needs 1 hour around.
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Xidang is a popular start point to enter Yubeng because that it marks the beginning of hiking and there has optional SUV car service offered by the scenic area. If you choose to hike, the journey from Xidang to Upper Yubeng Village takes about 5-6 hours, while if you go with the car, the time will be shorten to 1 hour around. You can also ride the car to Nanzong Col in the middle way, and then try the hike. The rest hiking needs 2 hours around.
SUV Car Service:
Notes: 1) the above prices are only for your reference. There may be adjustments in peak season and according to local policy. 2) Some hikers may enter Yubeng from Ninong Grand Canyon. If so, you are required to book a private car service to the canyon first, and then hike uphill to Yubeng Village, because the canyon cannot be reached by public bus. Hiking from the canton to the village needs about 5-6 hours.
No matter where you are and when you are going to visit Yubeng, you can travel with us China Discovery to avoid the troublesome tour plan and traffic arrangement. We China Discovery has helped over a thousand hikers and nature lovers to visit Yubeng since 2011. We know very well about the Yubeng hotel, traffic, weather and every tiny aspect. And we always have the first-hand knowledge about its policy adjustment, weather change, etc. If you go with us, you can put all your energy on the trekking journey and landscape exploration. Your English-speaking guide and local driver will take care of the rest. We also guarantee you the best price on the service of the same level. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us!
Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Shangri-La / Meili Snow Mountain / Yubeng / Shangri-La
Shangri-La / Yubeng / Shangri-La
Shangri-La / Deqin / Yubeng / Shangri-La
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