Yubeng Village is a secluded Tibetan village tucked away at the foot of Meili Snow Mountain near the city of Shangri-la, in the northwestern corner of Yunnan Province. The only way to reach the village, which is surrounded by mountains on all sides, is by non-motorized means, such as by foot or on the back of a horse or a mule. But the trip, however arduous, is worth it, for Yubeng is a charming little village which, due to its inaccessibility, consists of only 20 households. The only access road over the mountain is suitable for non-motorized traffic only.
Yubeng Village is divided into an upper and a lower section. From the upper village, tourists can visit the site of the former base camp of the joint Sino-Japanese mountain-climbing expedition that ended in tragedy in 1991 (their remains were first found in 1998). The local villagers, as well as Tibetans of the region in general (they all belong to the Zang culture, a Tibetan sub-group that is not recognized by the state as a separate ethnic minority), hold Meili Snow Mountain to be sacred, and believe that scaling the mountain will bring the wrath of God upon them. Oddly – or perhaps not so oddly, depending on your relationship to mysticism – no one has successfully scaled Meili Snow Mountain, though several teams have tried. All have given up, except for the joint Sino-Japanese team, whose members would meet their end on the mountain.
The lower village offers a less macabre and more inviting sight: Yubeng Waterfall. In addition, there are other scenic sites in the lower village, such as an official seal dating from China's ancient past, testimony to the fact that Yubeng Village indeed has a long history.