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Deqin (德欽; Déqīn) is a town located in the Hengduanshan Mountains in Yunnan province. 80% of its 55,000 inhabitants are Tibetan. If you can deal with the altitude (3550m) it makes a great place to hike from, and if you can not then just hanging out in town is also very rewarding. A small piece of Tibet, accessible without expensive permits.


If you are not a hiker you might be disappointed, though a short ride out of town does provide a great view of Meilixue Mountain, which could justify the six-hour bus ride from Zhongdian.

Deqin prefecture is where the big mountains are to be found with impossibly steep valleys, mind-blowing vistas, remote monasteries and class A trekking, for all levels, available all year round. In fact the best time to trek is during the winter months.

So, if Deqin is so great, why is it not better known? The main reason for this is that there is not a lot of information available on the area, so the average traveller is left guessing whether it is worth visiting or not. The fact that most travellers will have to return the way they came also puts them off visiting (Deqin is the last town before Tibet proper in Yunnan province).

Here are ten good reasons to visit Deqin:

  • 1. Meili Snow Mountain & Mt. Miancimu
  • 2. Trek up to the Mingyong Glacier
  • 3. Trekking to Yubeng
  • 4. Trekking along the Mekong River
  • 5. Tashi's Mountain Lodge, Reringkha village
  • 6. To organize a road trip to Lhasa
  • 7. The spectacular drive up from Shangri-la
  • 8. Deqin's Tibetan Disco
  • 9. Sleeping in remote Tibetan villages
  • 10. Special ginger, lemon tea

Get in

There are four buses leaving in the morning from Zhongdian. The journey takes about 5 hours and is through spectacular and scary mountain scenery. The awful music videos, the freezing cold, windy roads and the chain-smoking fellow-passengers can make the journey a bit unpleasant. The town of Benzilan, which lies about midway from Zhongdian is worth stopping off at in its own right, and breaks the journey up nicely. The bus drops people throughout the town, ending at the bus station next to a T junction. Buses to Zhongdian (Shangri-la) depart at 7:30AM, 8:30AM, 9:30AM and 12PM and cost ¥40 (January 2008). The earlier buses make a lunch stop at a restaurant but be sure to check prices before taking your food.

Buses to/from Lhasa use the main bus terminal in Deqin. There should be no problems buying tickets which are ¥500. The ride takes 3-4 days and the bus may or may not stop at hotels during the night. There is one military check point where a soldier may come on board, but they seem not to care if there are foreigners on the bus. However, the drivers will not let you roam far during restaurant stops in towns. This trip is risky if you are not in good health because the bus drives over 5,000m at least three times.

Get around

The town has one through road winding down from the north side.


  • Feilai Temple (飞来寺; Fēiláisì), (10km away, ¥30 by taxi). Amazing view of Meilixue Mountain worth seeing at sunrise. Feilai Temple also has a growing number of hostels and guest houses. Consider staying there instead of Deqin. They are currently (May 2009) building a 5 star hotel on the main road. Very noisy and dusty, not to mention the affected view.
  • Yubeng Village (雨崩村‎; Yǔbēngcūn), (18km away). Tibetan village not accessible by any vehicles.
  • Meilixue Mountain Nature Reserve (梅里雪山景区‎; Méilǐxuěshān Jǐngqū; also known as Snow Mountain), (You can arrange transport to the reserve entrance for around ¥50 per person in a shared 4x4. Information correct (January 2008)). Hike to the Taizi Temple and Minyong Glacier. Taizi Temple has a guest house but unfortunately most of the rooms are severely damaged by a storm, there is still a few acceptable rooms, avaiable at very low prices ¥20. Only recommended if you absolutely have to stay on the mountain, otherwise go back down to Mingyong Town (July 2009). ¥60.


==Buy==saffron is a choice when you go to Deqin because this is kind of quite valuable herb.


Most of the small restaurants on the main street have good food. Tibetan cured pork is worthwhile trying.


Butter Tea (Pinyin: sū yóu chá; Tibetan: bod ja) - This is a main staple of the Tibetan diet made of yak butter, black tea, and salt. Mix it with barley flour and you have a meal known as tsampa.

  • Migratory Bird Cafe, (at Feilai Temple), +86 887 6895030, [1]. They have great maps for ¥10 and other information.


  • Dexin Tibetan Hotel, 86 Nanping Street (Left out of the bus station about 30m). Nice family run hotel able to have foreign tourists. Double en-suite ¥80 (July 2009), dorms ¥20 (Summer 2006).
  • <sleep name="Tashi's Mountain Lodge" alt="" address="" directions="In Reringkha village, just 5km outside of Deqin town on the road to Feilai Temple" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Dorms ¥25, rooms ¥40 per bed, private cottages ¥100" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">The house also functions as a local trekking centre and has current information on all the treks in the area, plus advice on how to get to Tibet from Yunnan.
  • Mingzhu hotel: price for the standard room is about 200 per night.

Get out

Public Bus

Destination Price (¥) Departures (HH:MM) Duration (HH:MM) Lunch-Stop Last Update
Shangrila 40.00 7.30, 09:30, ? 5-9:00 Depending On Weather Yes 18 January 2008

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