Trekking

The most popular tourist attraction in Meili Snow Mountains is Mingyong Glacier ’cause the trip can be done in a day. Most tourists stay a night in Feilaisi, hire a car in the morning, drive to the glacier and visit the temples there, and return to Feilaisi for the night. Feilaisi has magnificent views of the whole mountain range (weather permitting) but the village itself has turned into a cluster of hotels. Except for taking photos there’s nothing else to do. In the morning the tourists flock at the viewing platform taking photos of the first rays of rising sun hitting the peak of Miancimu. This viewing platform and a huge wall were built last year blocking the view from the hotels. From Xidang it’s also possible to hike to Mingyong.

Mingyong village and the glacier

A bit more adventurous tourists head to Yubeng. Xidang is where the road ends, so to get to Yubeng you have to either hike or ride a mule. The trek starts from Xidang Hot Springs. (Don’t be fooled by the name. There’re springs but no pools, just showers. The water comes from the spring, though.) The distance to Yubeng is 18 km but the hike to the pass takes 4-6 hours and it’s a steep ascend. From the pass to the village it takes about 1-2 hours. Yubeng consists of upper and lower village, and it takes around an hour to walk from upper to lower. In Yubeng you are in a valley in between three of the snow mountains. You can stay in the guesthouses in the village and do day treks from there.

On the way to Yubeng

Yubeng Upper village

Yubeng Lower Village

The day treks include Glacier Lake (Bing Hu, 8-10 hours there and back).

On the way to Glacier Lake

Glacier Lake

Holy Waterfalls. These are holy for the Tibetans so it’s a pilgrimage site. The locals are supposed to do this at least once a year. The pilgrims want to circumambulate the falling water three times. The water comes from a glacier so it’s freezing. Afterwards you’re not allowed to wash yourself for a week, at least not your hair. Because of the holiness of the waterfalls the road there is lined with mani rock piles. Every rock in the pole is a prayer. One year we visited the falls in late autumn. We were very disappointed to see that there were hardly any water in the falls, just some dripping along the mountain side. But the younger brother of my Tibetan family started to chant to the falls, and the water came. We were able to do the three rounds, and when he stopped chanting the water also stopped flowing. This trek takes around 5 hours.

Holy Waterfalls

You can also hike to Holy Lake which is located in 4 370 m.

From Yubeng you can return to Xidang either the same way you went in or hike around the mountains through Ninong. This route is 38 km but it’s mostly down hill from Yubeng to Xidang. The change from the old growth forests of Yubeng area to the moon landscape of Mekong river valley is huge. But this route is also a bit dangerous as sometimes you need to cross water flowing over the path balancing on slippery stones and sometimes the path is very narrow and the fall down is hundreds of meters. If it’s windy or raining you also have to pay attention to falling rocks. Three tourists have died on this trek.

Along the Yubeng river (Photo by Katja Järvinen)

About half way on this trek there’s an empty house. The Tibetans believe the house is haunted. In the picture that my cousin took of it there’s a ball of light in the pitch black doorway into the house. Also bears sometimes come in there at night. I stayed in this house for two nights with a friend of mine. I have to admit that I didn’t sleep very well and a mouse looking for food outside of our tent almost scared me to death.

On the way to Ninong

On the way to Ninong (Photo by Katja Järvinen)

Ninong (Photo by Katja Järvinen)

The most demanding hike around here is the kora around the mountain range. The whole pilgrimage takes 6-12 (or more) days depending whether you use cars when possible or walk the whole way. The route goes over 4 high passé into Tibet and the back to Mekong river valley. In principle, you need the Tibet permit for this about there’re ways to get around that. You can also walk part of the kora and turn down to Nujiang valley.

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10 responses to “Trekking

  1. You did a good job, friend. Have you married with local people or just live there single? How brave you are.

  2. Just me. Not really brave, maybe just stupid 🙂

  3. No, you are very brave, I really admired you. You lived there for several years, so what support you living there?

  4. It is very likely that I’ll be in Xidang and Yubeng within a year. If you are still there, I definitely will go pay you a visit!

  5. wow, i am amazed!! will you be there this early June,2012? me and my husband are planning to do the hike there, let us know!

  6. Are you still there? We’ll be in Yubeng next week.

  7. Hello, I’m not sure if you’re still checking this blog. In case you are, could you give some advice on the trail condition in the winter? I’m thinking of a Jan trip. Thank you!

    • Hi! I’m checking this occasionally. It’s always up to your luck but generally January shouldn’t be a problem. Winter is the dry season so it rarely snows. Winter is also the best season for seeing the mountains and not many tourists around. March is the worst as then it starts raining and it’s still cold enough which means lots of snow.

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