Fēilái Sì

Buddhist Temple in Deqin & Kawa Karpo

Approximately 10km southwest of Déqīn is the small but interesting Tibetan Fēilái Temple (Fēilái Sì), or Naka Zhashi (or Trashi) Gompa in Tibetan, devoted to the spirit of Kawa Karpo. There’s no charge but leave a donation. No photos are allowed inside the tiny hall.

Everyone comes here for the sublime views – particularly the sunrises – of the Méilǐ Xuěshān range, including 6740m Kawa Karpo (also known as Méilǐ Xuěshān or Tàizi Shān) and the even more beautiful peak to the south, 6054m Miacimu (神女; Shénnǚ in Chinese), whose spirit is the female counterpart of Kawa Karpo. Locals come here to burn juniper incense to the wrathful spirit of the mountain.

Sadly, the weather doesn't always cooperate, often shrouding the peaks in mist. October and November are the likeliest months for your sunrise photo op. A ticket office near the platform sells tickets for Fēilái Sì and other sites.

The ‘town’ is actually just an ugly, expanding strip of concrete shops, hotels and restaurants along the main road. Across the road, the government has unsportingly set up a wall, blocking the view of the mountains (just walk downhill 200m for the same view).

Most backpackers stay at Feeling Village Youth Hostel, which has cheerful English-speaking staff, simple but clean rooms with electric blankets and hot water in the evenings. It’s set back from the main road; look for the sign turning right up the little alley at the bottom of the village.

On the main road, the Zàng Jí Wáng Shāngwù Jiǔdiàn has comfortable rooms with huge windows and spectacular mountain views. Prices are regularly discounted by 20%.

Restaurants on the main road serve pricy Chinese and Western meals.

To get here from Déqīn a taxi will cost you ¥40, or take a minivan (¥10 per person).