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  1. Deqin County in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Deqin (µÂšJ) 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't then just hanging out in town is also very rewarding; a small piece of Tibet, accessible without expensive permits.

 

Get in
There are 3 buses (leaving in the morning) from Zhongdian. The journey takes about 5 hours and is through spectacular mountain scenery (this does mean it's scary). However the awful music videos and the freezing cold can make the journey a bit unpleasant.

The bus drops people throughout the town, ending at the bus station next to a T junction.

 Deqin County in Diqing

Buses to Zhongdian (Shangri-la) depart at 07:30, 08:30, 09:30 and 12:00. Cost ¥40. The earlier buses make a lunch stop at a restaurant but be sure to check prices before taking your food. Information correct as of 18 January 2008.

 

Buses to Lhasa use from 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 came on board, but they seem not to care if there are foreigners on the bus. However, the drivers won't let you roam far during restaurant stops in towns. This trip is also risky if you are not in good health because the bus drives over 5,000m at least 3 times.

 

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

See
Travel around 10km past Deqin to Felai Si (taxi ~30Ôª) and you get an amazing view of Meili Xue Shan (Snow mountain) worth seeing at sunrise. Felai Si Temple also has a growing number of hostels and guest houses. Consider staying there instead of Deqin.

Yubeng Village (18km) - Tibetan village not accessible by any vehicles

 

Do
Hiking and treking - visit the Migratory Bird Cafe at Feilai Si for great maps (¥10) and other information (0887-6895030). 
Meili Xue Shan Nature Reserve - hike to the Tai Zi Temple and Minyong Glacier. Entrance ¥60. You can arrange transport to the reserve entrance for around ¥50 per person in a shared 4x4. Information correct as of 17 January 2008.


The biggest mistake people make when visiting Yunnan is not visiting Deqin. The second biggest mistake people make when coming up to Deqin is not allowing themselves enough time to explore all too often people remark that they wished they hadn’t spent so long in other towns like Shangri-la, Lijiang or Dali and come straight up to Deqin. Unlike other places in the area, you don’t have to look too hard to find the real “Shangri-la.” 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. Yes, all year round! In fact the best time to trek is during the winter months.

So, if Deqin is so great, why don’t people know about it?

 

The main reason for this is that there isn’t a lot of information available on the area, so the average traveler is left guessing whether it’s worth visiting or not. The fact that most travelers will have to return the way they came also puts them off visiting. (Deqin is the last town before Tibet proper in Yunnan province).

 

It’s apparent remoteness and obscurity shouldn’t deter you and the area is “must do” place. 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 .

Admission Fee:¥0

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