7-Day Meili Snow Mountain Trek

The scenery on this trek will impress even the experienced mountain trekker with its variety: alpine forest, stunning waterfalls, glacial lakes and quaint Tibetan villages, all set against a backdrop of the towering Baimang and Taizi Snow Mountains. With comfortable guesthouse facilities, well-marked trails, and horses available as needed, this is the perfect way to experience the wilds of Tibet without leaving China.

Tour starts/finishes: Zhongdian
Fitness required: High-Excellent
Time of year available: March-November
Time of year recommended: May-June (wildflowers), mid-October to mid-November (autumn leaves)

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Around Zhongdian (L, D)
Spend the day around Shangrila, to get accustomed to the altitude. Visit Songzanlin Monstery, home to over 700 monks, and go bike riding out the Napa Lake Watershed visiting Hamagou, Xiao Zhongdian and other villages on the way. That night, join with the local Tibetans in the town square for some spirited dancing. Overnight in Shangrila.

Day 2: Zhongdian-Feilaisi (B, L, D) Travel from Zhongdian to Deqin, traversing several mountain ranges. Pass by Benzanlin, a small Tibetan town built by the river and have a wander around the streets. Further up the road, you will pass what is commonly referred to as the “Omega”, the first bend of the Jinsha River. As you near Deqin, enjoy your first views of the Meili Snow Mountains. Overnight at a guesthouse in Feilaisi.

Day 3: Feilaisi-Xidang-Upper Yubeng Village (B, L, D) Get up in time to see the sun rise over the Meili Snow Mountains. Drive for an hour to Xidang Village where you will begin your hike to Upper Yubeng Village. Today’s hike will be strenuous – we will climb from 2,500 m ( 7,500 ft ) to over 3,500 m ( 10,500 ft ) at the pass – passing through beautiful, pristine alpine forest. (Total distance for the day: 17 km , 6 hours) Stay overnight at a guesthouse in Upper Yubeng.

Day 4: Upper Yubeng – Ice Lake- Lower Yubeng Village (B, L, D) Walk for 3 hours (6km) from Upper Yubeng Village to the “Camp” then for another hour (3km) onto the Ice Lake. Hike back down to Lower Yubeng Village (3 hours). Stay overnight in a guesthouse in Lower Yubeng.

Day 5: Lower Yubeng Village-  Holy Waterfall- Lower Yubeng Village (B, L, D) If the weather is good, we’ll wake up to a clear view of the Mt. Kawagebo glacier. After breakfast we will hike to the Holy Waterfall ( 7 km , 2-3 hours), from which Yubeng’s name originated. Buddhists coming to this area on pilgrimmages circumambulate the waterfall 13 times with the belief that this act will set them free from all sins from this life. In the early afternoon we’ll walk back to Yubeng Lower Village (2 hours) where we’ll rest up for the long hike the next day.

Day 6:  Yubeng-Ninong-Xidang-Feilaisi (B, L, D) Set off very early for the long (approx. 10 hours), but amazing walk along the least traveled path of Yubeng, from Lower Yubeng Village back to Xidang, via Ninong. Drive for an hour back to Feilaisi where you will stay the night.

Day 7: Feilaisi-Zhongdian (B, L) Set out very early for the 5 hour drive back to Zhongdian.  On the return journey visit the Dongzhulin Monastery, a large Buddhist monastery, built seven years prior to the Songzanlin Monastery, housing a treasure trove of ancient artifacts.  Tour concludes.

Tour prices

The following table shows the price per person for groups of varying sizes. The budget and comfortable options differ in terms of transportation and accommodation. Please see price inclusions below for details.

2 people 3 people 4-5 people 6-7 people 8 + people Single supplement
Budget 4950 CNY 4000 CNY 3300 CNY 3100 CNY 2900 CNY 300 CNY
Comfortable 5700 CNY 4400 CNY 3950 CNY 3600 CNY 3250 CNY 800 CNY

Price inclusions

  1. Accommodation: Budget: 3 nights in guesthouse dorm rooms, 3 nights in nice guesthouses ; Comfortable: 3 nights in comfortable guesthouse accommodations, 3 nights in 3-star standard hotels
  2. Entrance tickets: Songzanlin Monastery (115 CNY), Napa Lake Watershed (40 CNY), Meili Snow Mountain Scenic Area (228 CNY), Dongzhulin Monastery (30 CNY), First Bend of the Jinsha River (30 CNY)
  3. The following activities: bike hire in Shangrila
  4. All transportation: Budget- Transportation is by public buses for the majority of the time and hired vans for Days 6 and 7 ; Comfortable: Private transportation for the duration of the tour
  5. Meals : 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners as indicated on the itinerary. Lunches and dinners will be standard Chinese food including rice and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Breakfasts will be a combination of Chinese breakfast foods (noodles, steamed buns, eggs) and western food (pancakes, fried eggs) where available. On long hiking days you will take a picnic lunch.
  6. Guide: An experienced English speaking tour guide

Price exclusions

  1. Horse hire for personal use or luggage
  2. Snacks, drinks and western food
  3. Travel insurance
  4. Personal expenses such as phone calls or laundry


  1. Surcharges will be charged for peak travelling times such as Chinese New Year, May Day (May 1st-7th) and National Day (October 1st-7th). For tours at these times please contact us for a customized quote.
  2. In the winter period (mid-November-March) a 4WD is recommended due to heavy snow. This may increase the trip price.
  3. The prices quoted are to be used as a guide only. A final tour quote will be provided to you at the time of enquiry which may be higher or lower than the price listed above.


Below are some images from previous tours in this area. Click to view larger images.

Travellers’ feedback

Andrea Onken writes…

It was a fantastic trip all around- Jonathon, the weather, the Zang people and the place.  This was a stunning part of China to walk through, and your organization and guide were top-notch!  Thanks again.

Rohan George writes…

Thanks for arranging the perfect itinerary for my 11 year old son and myself. Everyday was a new experience that far exceeded expectations. Everything was well-organised and our guide Yeshi, was a great source of information and fun to be around. Meili Snow Mountains, the Holy Waterfall, the Ice Lake and Yubeng village were all unforgettable highlights. I never expected Western China to be so raw and pristine. To sum it up in Oliver’s words (my 11 year old) “I feel like I’m in Lord of the Rings”.

SONY DSCRich Nickell writes…

The trip was wonderful. It was exactly what we were hoping (even better) for as a father and son trip. Lily was a great guide. She took great care of us! Gave us space when we needed it and also kept us moving when needed too. The driver did a great job safely taking us through the mountain passes. We had a awesome time as the trip was a perfect match for us and our style. Again Thanks to Backroads, Lily and the driver!


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