Yubeng VillageTravel Guide,Yunnan
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.
Due to its inaccessibility, the village consists of only 20 households. The villagers, as well as other Tibetans of the region, hold Meili Snow Mountain to be sacred. They believe that scaling the mountain will bring the wrath of God upon them. Oddly, no one has successfully scaled Meili Snow Mountain yet, though several mountaineering teams have tried. All gave up, except for the joint Sino-Japanese team, whose members met their end in a snowslide in the area.
Best time to go
Weather wise, is October and November, while May is also a good time when wild flowers bloom all over the mountains and valleys
Tibetan culture, alpine lakes & glaciers, mountain view
Getting there & away
Journeys typically start in Shangri-la/Zhongdian and involves traveling 120km by bus, minivan or private car to Feilaisi outside of Deqin. This portion generally takes around 4 hours. From Feilaisi, it is a 2-hour ride to Xi Dang. Most minivans and tour groups leave Feilaisi between 7:00 and 8:00AM. After getting yourself to Xidang Hot Spring, you can start trekking by foot or rent a horse or a mule for a 5-hour ride to Yubeng Village.The advantage of an early arrival is that if you are planning to take a mule all or part way to Yubeng they will be waiting in Xi Dang for you. Later arrival may mean waiting up to 30 minutes for additional mules to arrive. In case you are unable to rent a horse for a night trip over the mountain, you can always overnight at the Xidang Hot Springs facility ("Reshuitang" in local parlance) for 30 yuan per bed per person.
- Sacred Waterfall is a 5-hour roundtrip from Lower Yubeng. About 10% of the hike is level ground, 70% is a steep hike and 20% is very steep.
- Ice Lake, 7-8 hours walk from Upper Yubeng. The former Base Camp that was the departure point for the ill-fated Sino-Japanese climbing expedition that met their demise trying to climb Mei Li Snow Mountain in 1991.
- Ming Yong Glacier is usually a separate trip that begins by driving to Mingyong Village from Xidang. Sitting at 8,000 feet, Mingyong Village has become a popular tourist spot with good roads and comfortable hotels. You can walk the just under 5-mile path to Taizi Temple or take a horseback ride for 70 Yuan. Less than a mile down the same path you can climb up to Lotus Temple.
There are about 10 Guesthouses in Upper and Lower Yubeng. Most Guesthouses charge about 40 Yuan per night per person for basic accommodations and shared bathrooms or outhouses. Standard rooms with private bath and nicer décor range in price from 160-200 Yuan per night, not including food which runs about 30~50 Yuan per meal per person. Some recommendations include: the new Eden Inn, which is the first guesthouse along the path to Lower Yubeng. A bit further down the same path is the Hiker Dwelling Inn(Hikers' Home) which offers spectacular views with shared rooms starting at 40 Yuan and more comfortable standard rooms at 180 Yuan. If you continue down along the path from the Hiker Dwelling Inn and across the river you will enter Lower Yubeng. In Lower Yubeng we recommend Shenpu Guesthouse which offers basic accommodations, occasional hot showers, outhouse and great food in a warm and friendly setting.
More about Hiking/Horse-riding to Yubeng
Part I: Xidang to Yakou, a 3-4 hour hike or mule ride. Yakou is also known as Nazongla Pass, which is the top of the mountain. The path is rocky and often muddy. There are some steep sections but anyone who has decent hiking shoes, good knees and is reasonably acclimated to the altitude should have no major problems. Even if you choose to take a mule there are at least 2 steep 10-minute sections where you will need to dismount and walk on your own. Pack light! If you take a mule, the guide not the mule will carry your bag. The charge will be 10-50 Yuan per bag. There are rest stops evenly spaced at 1-hour intervals from Xi Dang to Yakou. Food, water, other beverages and a variety of snacks are readily available. Bathrooms are where you make them. There is cell phone service as far as Yakou.
Part II: Yakou to Upper Yubeng village. It takes 2 hours to Upper Yubeng and another half hour to Lower Yubeng. No rest areas, food or water suplly. The decent is a bit steep in certain areas. Many people who take the mules up from Xi Dang hike down into the Yubeng on their own.
Part III: Yubeng to Feilaisi. From Yubeng back up to Yakou is about 2.5 hours. A mule from Yakou back to Xi Dang is 2.5 hours. If you hike down it will take just over 3 hours. When you get back to Xi Dang, there are minivans waiting to transport you back to the Feilaisi for 120 Yuan per van, more people, less expensive per person.
Tips & Reminders
- The weather changes dramatically, dress in layers and bring a poncho. Ponchos can be rented in the Fei Lai Temple area or at the entrance to the mule departure area in Xi Dang.
- Fleas are occasionally a problem on mule ridings and you may want to get some "Feng You Jing"(a kind of oil) at any drugstore. Sprinkle it on your pants and socks, not the mule.
- Mule rides are paid for at the completion of the journey. You may be asked to switch mules and guides ay Yakou. If so you will pay your original guide the full amount owed to him or her and they will take care of paying the next guide for the balance of the trip.
Xi Dang to Yakou: RMB155 incl. bags
Xi Dang to Yubeng: RMB195 incl. bags
Yubeng to Yakou: RMB105 incl. bags
Yubeng to Xi Dang RMB205 incl. bags