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Meili Snow Mountain

Basic Facts

Meili Snow Mountain is a holy land of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists, and ranks the first among the eight sacred mountains in Tibet (the eight sacred mountains: Mount Benri, Moerduo Mountain, Kawagebo Peak of Meili Snow Mountain, the Aemye Ma-chhen Range, Mount Kailash, Gaduojuewo, Yalxiangbo and the Himalayas).

  • Chinese: 梅里雪山 Méilǐ Xuěshān /may-lee sshwair-shan/
  • Location: about 10 kilometers north-east of Deqin County (about 182 kilometers from Shangri-La)
  • Altitude: 6,740 meters (21,221 feet)
  • Opening hours: 24 hours a day, and the best time to visit is in the morning and at nightfall
  • Suited to: adventurous people
Meili Snow Mountain Meili Snow Mountain is a holy mountain for Tibetans.

There are 13 peaks with an average altitude of over 6,000 meters on Meili Snow Mountain, referred to as the 13 prince peaks. The main peak, Kawagebo, is a snow mount in a pyramid shape, commonly known as the Goddess of Meili Snow Mountain.

So far, no one has ever climbed up to the summit of Kawagebo, which is 6,740 meters above sea level and the highest peak in Yunnan. The famous superb scenery of the sun shining over the snow mountain attracts a great number of backpackers.

Surrounded by mist all year round and famous for its mystery, Meili Snow Mountain has been worshiped by generations of Tibetans. In the 1930s, it had already been praised by the American scholars as the most beautiful mountain in the world. Under Kawagebo Peak, continuous glaciers stretch like jade dragons. With dazzling snow, they are very rare modern marine glaciers in the world.

Complex Topography and Weather

The sunrise on Meili Snow MountainThe sunrise on Meili Snow Mountain

Due to the topography from north to south, the river valley opens toward the south, which enables the airflow to rise upwards in the valley. With strong influences by monsoons, distinct wet and dry seasons, and high and steep mountains, different vertical climatic belts are formed.

Above the 4,000 meters snow line, the snow-covered mountains are high and precipitous; glaciers stretch for several miles along the valley, which are very splendid to look at; while beneath the 4,000 meters snow line, the hillsides on both sides of the glaciers are covered by lush alpine shrubs and coniferous forests.

With a wild profusion of vegetation, the vibrant colors stand out against the white snow. Natural grassland is scattered around the woods, on which animals such as bamboo partridges, river deer, red pandas, red deer and bears live actively.

Besides the complex topography, Meili Snow Mountain is much more complex in its weather changes. It may snow, rain or turn cloudy or sunny within a few seconds. The average annual rainfall is 600 millimeters, and the rainy season is generally between July and August.

In January, the temperature is 7-12 degrees during the day and 2-5 degrees at night. During the period between November and March, the weather is very nice. In winter, there are a few days of snow, which may stop visitors passing with their vehicles.

Best Positions to View Meili Snow Mountain

Feilaisi TempleFeilaisi Temple

Wunongding Viewing Deck

It is on the National Highway 214 starting from Zhongdian to Deqin County, and is 15 kilometers away from Deqin County. Standing there are 13 white towers and an open terrain, which is quite spectacular.

Feilaisi Incense Table

Feilaisi Village is on the National Highway 214 starting from Deqin County to Tibet, and is 11 kilometers away from Deqin County. The local Tibetans and the passers-by all go there to burn incense and to pray. It is the best position to shoot a panoramic view of the thirteen peaks and to look at the wonderful scenery of the sunrise and sunset.

Best Seasons to Visit

The ideal seasons to visit Meili Snow Mountain are in the winter and spring periods between October and May. The best season is after the end of October, when you can view the main peak because of the nice weather, clean air and the high transparency there.

However, in other seasons, to see the main peak you have to depend on your luck. You are more likely to have a chance to see the snow-covered mountain in the early morning when the sun has just come out.


Meili Snow Mountain

There are many international youth hostels around the scenic area of Meili Snow Mountain. Feilaisi and Mingyong villages in the Meili Snow Mountain area are strongly recommended for accommodation, as they are always the first choices for enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Feilaisi is the first stop for visitors to Meili Snow Mountain. The tourism facilities there have been maturely developed. Most of the nearby hotels have viewing decks, which provides tourists with the convenience to enjoy the scenery of the sun shining over the snow mountain of Meili Snow Mountain. It is the best position to view Meili Snow Mountain, and is also the collection and distribution center for the nearby attractions.

There are many country inns and restaurants at Mingyong Village. Yubeng Village, on the other hand, is a primitive village. It is divided into two sections, and has a reception station to provide accommodation.


There is no direct train to Meili Snow Mountain. You can transfer at Kunming, Lijiang or Dali if you travel by train. Then take a bus to Deqin County, where you can change to another bus to Meili Snow Mountain.

Every day passenger cars are available in Deqin County to go to and return from Meili Snow Mountain. In addition, there are also shuttle buses in Kunming, Dali and Shangri-La to go to and return from Deqin County.

The other recommended snow mountains of Yunnan Province.