The pic­turesque Tibetan styled town of Feilaisi hangs on the moun­tain­side high above the Lan­cang (Mekong) Riv­er in South West­ern Chi­na, with spec­tac­u­lar views of the Meili Snow Moun­tains, dom­i­nat­ed by Kawage­bo (Kawagarbo/Khawa kar­po) 6,740 m (22,110 ft) one of the most sacred (and nev­er climbed) peaks in Tibetan Bud­dhism.

Feilai Monastery. Where the town got it's name.

Feilai Monastery. Where the town got its name.

Peo­ple come here to either hike to the small vil­lage of Yubeng, hid­den in a val­ley at the foot of these moun­tains or just for the amaz­ing view this place affords.

There is one main road that goes through town and every­thing is built around it.

Kawagebo Peak through prayer flags

Kawage­bo Peak through prayer flags

Getting There:

From Shangri-La:
Take a bus to Deqin (58 RMB) approx­i­mate­ly 4 hours. Bus­es leave through­out the day. Your hostel/hotel can help you with the timeta­bles if you want to take the ear­li­est bus. To get to the bus sta­tion in Shangri-La (“Xianggelila Buster­mi­nal” on Maps.me) take bus # 1 head­ing North from Old Town.

When you arrive in Deqin the bus may con­tin­ue onto Feilaisi (anoth­er 15 min­utes) for 5 RMB. If not catch a mini­van or car. It shouldn’t cost more than 10–15 RMB.

Daqin as seen from the Feilai Monastery

Daqin as seen from the Feilai Monastery

What to see

Meili Snow Mountains

If you’re lucky and the weath­er is clear, the moun­tains dom­i­nate the sky­line to the West. You can get a good view (with­out pay­ing any­thing) by walk­ing down the main road (North/downhill) until the long white wall ends and there is noth­ing block­ing the view.

Sunrise over Meili Snow Mountains seen from Feilaisi

Sun­rise over Meili Snow Moun­tains seen from Feilaisi

The oth­er option is to go to the offi­cial view­ing plat­form (labeled as “Fly­ing Horse View­point” on Maps.me) and pay the extreme­ly over­priced entry fee of 60 RMB (about $9). Once inside it’s pret­ty much just a big plat­form with a bunch of white stu­pas. But if you want to get inside this view­point with­out pay­ing any­thing and are will­ing to walk a lit­tle there is anoth­er way in.

Flying Horse viewing platform

Fly­ing Horse view­ing plat­form

At the main bend in the road in town is a resort called “High Moun­tain Resort-Deqin” (Regal­la resort and spa on Maps.me). Take the small road to the left (when fac­ing it) of the resort. Just before you get to the Sad­ingna hos­tel take a dirt path on your right (looks like it’s a bro­ken line on Maps.me). Fol­low this dirt path up until it inter­sects with a paved road on top of a short steep dirt bank. (This area may change in the future and if there’s any con­fu­sion you can ask the peo­ple at the Sad­ingna Hos­tel, labeled as “sa ding na guo ji qing nian lu she” on Maps.me…yeah it’s a mouth­ful)

Once on the paved road take a right and walk for about ten min­utes. You’ll see a bunch of prayer flags. This is where I took the main pic­ture of Feilaisi. You will also see the moun­tains from here. The paved road winds around to the right and ends up at the back of the view­ing plat­form.

There is a dirt road that leaves the paved road at the sharp bend. It is cov­ered in prayer flags and I think this goes out to a view­point but I nev­er went to explore it.

Sunrise

I high­ly rec­om­mend get­ting up to see the sun­rise over the Meili Snow Moun­tains. It’s some of the most beau­ti­ful light I’ve seen. Tru­ly, it’s a unique inter­play of gold­en or pink light in and out of the clouds and across the glaciat­ed peaks. The Chi­nese have a name for the first light at sun­rise “Ri Zhao Jin Shan” which means “The sun ris­es and shines up above the moun­tains like gold”

Meili Snow Mountains at Sunrise 01

Meili Snow Moun­tains at Sun­rise

Even if clouds are fore­cast there is still a chance to see some beau­ti­ful light as you just don’t know what will hap­pen.

Feilai Monastery/Temple

If you have time you can also check out this small monastery/temple which gave the town of Feilaisi its name.

 

Feilai Monastery

Feilai Monastery

More infor­ma­tion on the tem­ple can be found here.

 

Lodging in Feilaisi

There are lots of hotels to stay at and find­ing one shouldn’t be a prob­lem. But in terms of bud­get options there are two that I know of:

Feel­ing Vil­lage Youth Hos­tel
30 RMB — Dorm Bed
0887–8416133

I stayed at the Feel­ing Vil­lage Youth Hos­tel which is a 5-minute walk down­hill from where the bus drops you off on the main road going through town.. You’ll see a sign in a dri­ve­way on your right.

Decent place, though the walls are super thin and the lev­el of hygiene in the bath­rooms have some­thing to be desired. On-site restau­rant with good afford­able food. Tri­pad­vi­sor review

Sad­ingna Hos­tel
(labeled as “sa ding na guo ji qing nian lu she” on Maps.me)
30 RMB — Dorm Bed

At the main bend in the road in town is a resort called “High Moun­tain Resort-Deqin” (Regal­la resort and spa on Maps.me). Take the small road to the left (when fac­ing Regal­la Resort) and fol­low it until it ends at Sad­ingna Hos­tel.

Leaving Feilaisi

If you are going to Xidang to hike to Yubeng vil­lage read the descrip­tion on how to get there on the hik­ing guide to Yubeng Vil­lage here.

To get back to Shangri-La you will need to get a ride to Daqin first. If you wait on the road near the view­ing plat­form you can prob­a­bly hitch a ride for free if there are peo­ple going. Oth­er­wise, flag down a van which will cost you 10 RMB. It takes 10–15 min­utes.

Pasture next to the Feilai Monastery

Pas­ture next to the Feilai Monastery

From Daqin there are bus­es leav­ing to Shangri-La through­out the day until  2:40 pm (58 RMB). It takes close to 4 hours. You can also get a seat in a van, I paid 70 RMB. It took 3 hours, so a lit­tle faster than the bus, but peo­ple were smok­ing in the van. I’d opt for the bus unless you have enough peo­ple to fill the van and are in a hur­ry.

 

Sunset on Po Toi Island

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