Meili Snow Mountain, Diqing

Why is Meili Snow Mountain So Special?

Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1930s, they were praised by American scholars as the most beautiful mountains in the world. Meili Snow Mountain boasts numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks, thirteen of which are more than 6,000 meters above the sea level. The highest peak Kawagebo, which rises to 6,740 metres, has never been summited.

Where is Meili Snow Mountain – Location

Meili Snow Mountain is located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) northeast of Deqin County of Yunnan Province, sitting on the border of Yunnan Province and Tibet. It lies close to the northwestern boundary of the province and is bounded by the Salween River on the west and the Mekong on the east. The Meili are subrange of the larger Nu Mountains, themselves a constituent range of the Hengduan group. 

Legend about Meili Snow Mountain

Legend says that originally Kawagebo was a demon mountain. After eight plagues and disasters, the Padma Sambhava, the founder of the tantric sect, finally conquered kawakbo mountain god. Thus he was enlightened by Padma Sambhava, and he accepted precepts for laypeople, converted to Buddhism. Kawakbo is the head of the eight sacred mountains and lead the other sacred mountains to maintain the harmony and tranquility of nature.

How to Get There?

By plane: Fly directly to Shangri-la city (Zhongdian), and then take a local bus to Feilai Temple in Deqin County, which is the best jumping off point to view Meili Snow Mountain. 

By scheduled bus: There are regular bus routes to Feilai Temple from a number of nearby destinations: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang (albeit, via Shangri-la), and Shangri-la itself.

By charter bus: One of the easiest ways to get to Feilai Temple is to take a charter bus. A number of even easier ways to get to Feilai Temple is to hire a minibus, a car, or a cross-country jeep – they are available everywhere.

History and Culture

The Meili Snow Mountains is a holy land of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists. It is a multi-religious Tibetan area with Tibetan Buddhism as the main body and co-existence of Catholicism, Christianity and Islam. In 1268, the founder of the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism living Buddha, Karma Pakshi made a pilgrimage to kawakbo and determined the route of the Inner and Outer Circumambulating Pilgrimages around Meili Snow Mountain. Thousands of devout pilgrims from Tibet, Qinghai Province, Sichuan Province and Gansu Province worship together and encircle the holy mountain Pilgrims, making this mountain more mysterious.

What to See at Meili Snow Mountain?

Sunrise/Sunset: The golden sunrise on the dramatic snow-capped peaks of Meili Snow Mountain is a must-see for most tourists who want to admire the spectacular scenery of this mountain.

Glaciers: There are four big glaciers at Meili Snow Mountain: Mingyong, Sinong, Niuba and Nongsong. The longest and the largest glacier is the Mingyong Glacier.

Natural Resource: The mountain possesses diversity plants and also provide habitat for many wild animals, such as red-spotted stonecrop, lichen, pedicularis, leopard, clouded leopards, takin, etc.

Best Positions to View Meili Snow Mountain

On the National Highway No. 214: Tourists could see a panoramic view of Meili Snow Mountain on the way.

Feilai Temple Viewing Platform: It’s the perfect place to take a panoramic view of 13 peaks and enjoy the sunrise and sunset view, which is always the first stop for travellers to the snow mountains.

Wunongding Viewing Deck: This deck is located 15 kilometers south of Deqen County seat on the G214. There are 13 white towers and an open valley against the backdrop of the snow mountains.

Recommended Visiting Route

Day 1: Shangri-La – Deqin(Dongzhulin Monastery, the First Bend of Jinsha River and Feilai Temple)
Day 2: Deqin(sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain, Mingyong Glaciers, Lancang River Grand Canyon)
Day 3: Deqin – Shangri-La(sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain, Yangtze River Grand Canyon, Baima Snow Mountain)

Inner/Outer Trekking Routes

The Route of Inner Circumambulating Pilgrimage
1. Xidang Village- Ninong Village- Lower Yubeng (Sacred Waterfall and Sacred Lake)-Upper Yubeng- Xidang Spring
2. Xidang Village- Upper Yubeng (Ice Lake)- Lower Yubeng (Sacred Waterfall and Sacred Lake)- Ninong Village- Xidang Spring

The Route of Outer Circumambulating Pilgrimage
Deqin County Center- Yunling Town- Yangla Village- Yangza Suspension Bridge- Yongjiu Village (northwards) or Yongzhi Village (southwards) – Yongshitong- Dekangyading- Duokeyaka- Shusutong- Qienatong- Abing- Lakangya(near Nu River, at an altitude of 1700m)- Zhana- Longbu- Damuyaka- Gebu- Daguya(4100m)- Gezaya (4300m)- Meijiubugong- Shuoya (4828m)- Dulongyong- Meilishui (near Lancang River)- Adong River- Deqin

Best Time to Go

The ideal seasons to visit Meili Snow Mountain are in the winter and spring periods between October and May. The best season is after the end of October, when you can view the main peak because of the nice weather, clean air and the high transparency there.

However, in other seasons, to see the main peak you have to depend on your luck. You are more likely to have a chance to see the snow-covered mountain in the early morning when the sun has just come out.

Accommodate at Meili Snow Mountain

In order to meet the golden sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain, it’s highly recommended to stay here for one night. There are many guesthouses and hostels around Feilai Temple, most with viewing decks for tourists to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the sun shining over the snow mountains.

Attractions Nearby

Yubeng Village in Deqin County, Shangrila

Yubeng is a secluded small Tibetan village tucked away at the foot of Meili Snow Mountain in Deqin county, the northwestern corner of Yunnan Province. It is only accessible by foot or horse/mule. But the trip, however arduous, is worth it. Yubeng is divided into an upper and a lower section. Both parts offer fabulous views of the Mei Li Snow Mountains. Lower Yubeng is smaller, quieter and closer to the lakes and waterfalls that you will likely visit during your stay.

Feilaisi Monastery, Deqin

Feilai temple, the best place to watch goden peaks of Meili mountain at sunrise. So if u plan to watch sunrise, it’s absolutely a good idea to live at Feilai temple the night before. But actually it is unusual to see the goden peaks. The peaks of the mountains are often surrounded with clouds due to the high altitude they are. And this makes more interestings for Meili. There’s a kind of saying that, if any Japanese appears in this area then people can’t see the golden peaks that day. This is because Japanese are not welcomed by Tibetan people. Yes, they hate Japan and Japanese, just like people in notheast of China.

Lancang-Mekong River Grand Canyon

It is called the Lancang River after it reaches Changdu. The river runs south until it leaves China at the Nanla Bayout of Yunnan Province and therefrom changes its name from the Lancang River to the Mekong River. The river finally empties into the Pacific Ocean in the south of Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam.

Useful Travel Tips

► Check with the hotel or guesthouse whether there is water for shower before checking in it for its lack of water in this area.

►  Feilai Temple is the best vantage point from which to view Meili Snow Mountain.

►  It is difficult to see the mountain in its entirety during summer and autumn, due to heavy cloud cover or mists.

► The ultraviolet rays are strong and you may need to bring something anti-sunburn.

► Please keep in mind that in the mountains, do not yell or shout, that would offend the God of the Mountains. Tibetans there is always very quiet and respectful. Believe it or not, at least we do as the Romans do or show the courtesy.

Tours including Meili Snow Mountain

2 Days Kawa Karpo Meili Snow Mountain Tour from Shangri-La

5 Days Shangrila Discovery with Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage

7 Days Shangrila Meili Snow Mountain and Yubeng Village Trekking Tour

10 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Adventure and Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage Tour

10 Days Lijiang and Shangrila Exploration Tour with Meili Snow Mountain and Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve

11 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage

12 Days Yunnan Three Parallel Rivers Overland Tour with Biluo and Meili Snow Mountains