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 to Feilaisi

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.

 

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