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Yubeng paradise at the junction between Yunan, Sichuan, Tibet

Updated: 2 hours ago

Yubeng village 雨崩, nestled in between Meili Snow Mountain, is a Tibetian village locked in paradise, secluded from the world due to challenging accessibility on roads.

We were lucky to ride from Xidang Village 西当村, just a day before it closed for upgrading. Before, you could reach Yubeng Village on foot or donkey. But with the temporary road closure, the only way to the village would be from Ninong. #yubengvillage

We were stuffed into the truck like sardines with our 3 day bag-packs. They only leave the village when the seats are full. The precarious journey navigated up a steep, narrow dirt road that twisted and turned sharply, with no visibility of oncoming traffic and space barely enough for one vehicle. Each bend brought a surge of adrenaline as we meandered through rugged terrain, clinging to the edge of cliffs. We grabbed any available handle in the truck and held on for dear life for a harrowing 30 minutes. Got out of the truck stirred and shaken, but the scenery that greeted us ahead restored much calmness!

alps of china
Yubeng is a hamlet divided into Upper and lower village
azaleas, shangrila hikes, yubeng hikes
Azeleas dots the mountains as we head down to upper Yubeng

DAY 1 Yubeng ( hike to sacred waterfall)


  • 12km back and forth

  • 500m appx elevation gain

  • total time, 6 hours

  • highest point 3657m


scared waterfall in tibet, shangrila hikes
Early June, snow is rapidly melting, the 2nd half of trail was hot and dry!

We started the hike from Upper Yubeng 3150m to Lower Yubeng to the sacred waterfall 3800m at mid day. We trekked through cypress forest and uncovered trails. It is best to divide this hike into 2 parts. The 1st part through the cypress forest was cool and filled with sound and smell of nature. There is a horse service available to the middle hut where the uncovered trail begins. It was a pleasant 4.5km trek through paved trail.

However this all changed when the wooded trail ended, transitioning into an entirely exposed, sun-baked path! It was a big challenge to hike up 1.5km under the scorching afternoon sun! Honestly there were many parts when I thought of giving up! I found myself struggling for breath during extended parts of the ascent, likely due to altitude sickness, and exacerbated by the heat!

Note: Bring enough water if you are here in late spring or summer! Should I take Dimox (for altitude sickness)?


Day 2 (hike to glacier lake)


  • 14km back and forth

  • 800m elevation gain

  • total time 8 hours

  • highest point 3800m


Although I gave this hike a miss, but from accounts of those who did both the hikes, they were in awe by the grandeur of the ice river! There is always a feeling of insignificance when you stare into the beauty of nature!


The photos don't do the glacier lake justice. You will have to see it to experience the majestic glacier above!

Day 3 ( Yubeng village to Ninong gorge)

  • 14km to Ninong

  • 1300m decent

  • 5 hours

We started our journey around 7.3am in hope to beat the heat at the exposed part towards the end of this hike. This hike can be divided into 3 parts.


Part 1: Meandering though the village path towards the gorge. Sections of the hills filled with azaleas, and early forest berry blooms. Grazing goats and yaks at grassy cliffs and occasionally flat plains. Gentle descend.


Part 2 : Trekking along the gushing gorge, strong and powerful flow of water. Ninong river is one of the tributaries of the Yangtze river. The descend is steep as it hugs along the cliffs along the roaring gorge. It was shaded at most parts by tall towering pine trees.


Part 3 : The gorge deepens and the landscape grew more dramatic, the terrain became increasingly barren and rocky, devoid of trees. The descend is moderate. Despite starting off at 7.30, by 1100, the sun shone overhead, offering no respite from its scorching heat. About 2km before the trail ended we came across a whimsical pavilion perched on a cliff precariously, where we stopped for a much-needed water break. Few of us who had ran out of water had little choice but to buy the overpriced bottles being sold.



At the end point of the hike in striking distance, we hurried as much as our strength could muster. We had a hearty lunch to refuel before regrouping to our next stop, on bus this time.


longest river in china
Where the Ninong river meets the the Lancang river

Reflections


Yubeng is truly a hidden gem removed from the buzz of the outside world, yet available, modern facilities for basic comfort. I believe one needs to be fairly fit to tackle 3 consecutive days of hiking at elevations of 3000m. The daily regimen of waking up at 6 am to prepare for the 7 am hike seemed a bit too much for me, so I was really glad to take a day off and wander around the little hamlet, which consists of no more than 50 households. The views from most of the inns in Upper Yubeng offer a fantastic panorama of glaciers and snow-capped mountains. It was surreal to see this stunning scenery from my bedside each day! #yubenghikes

This place is cut off from mass travellers and still maintains a rural charm. Here, you can see ladies wearing their tribal costume for none commercial reasons, meat and fish cured and smoked at their homes, self-sustained by growing crops and raising herds.


The trip was organized by Nova Adventure and escorted by their own staff, in our case, the ever caring Winnie. The trip was made easier as she ironed out any discrepancies along the way, leading us confidently and sweeping back to check on everyone and helping us with photo shots! Our other local guide Sarsi, fed us with detail commentary of the local cultural while serenading us with the Tibetian cultural songs that were always about mountains, rivers and snow.


chinese preserved pork, chinese ham, yubeng village
Not as aesthetic as the Iberico ham but packs a punch! YUMS








Date visited: June 2024



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