Deqin County is located in the northwest of Shangrila of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. 80% of its 55,000 inhabitants are Tibetan. A small piece of Tibet, accessible without expensive permits. While because of the complicated topography and high altitude, transportation of Deqin is not that convenient. It is 182 kilometers away from Shangrila city.
History of Shangrila-Deqin Road
National Highway 214 connects Shangri-la (香格里拉) and Deqin (德钦) county. In the past, people will take about 2-3 days from Shangrila to Deqin. While now it only takes about three hours. Let’s see the development history.
In September 1958, the section from Zhongdian(Shangrila) to Deqin of the Yunnan-Tibet highway began to be constructed under the co-work of Engineer Battalion of the 42nd division of the people’s liberation army and Yunnan traffic bureau.
On July 30, 1959, the section from Zhongdian(Shangrila) to Deqin of the Yunnan-Tibet highway was completed, with a total length of 182 km and 113 km in Deqin. The completion of this road ends the no roads history of Deqin county.
On May 5, 2003, the asphalt road from Shangrila to Deqin of national highway 214 was paved totally at the total length of 182 kilometers. The average speed was promoted to 50 kilometers per hour from 20 kilometers. The snow sweeping machinery is becoming more and more advanced. The history of snow capped mountains was ended by smooth roads and advanced machinery.
On October 31, 2016, a highway tunnel network under Baima Snow Mountain (白马雪山), at the highest elevation, with the longest length and most difficulties, was opened to traffic after construction of more than six years. From then on, the journey from Shangri-la to Deqin will not have to cross the pass of Baima Snow Mountain, which now passes through Baima Snow Mountain via three separate tunnels totaling 5.2 kilometers in length. It only takes about 2.5 hours according to the designed speed.
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