Deqin / Deqen / Diqin
Tucked away in Yunnan's north-west corner
The uninspiring town of Deqin/Deqen/Diqin is the capital of the Deqin Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, right on the south-eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and at the centre of the Hengduan mountain range.
The Deqin Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture covers a total area of 23,870 km2. It includes Zhongdian, Deqin, Weixi, and some Lisu Minority Autonomous Counties. Deqin lies in the upper reaches of the Yangtze and Mekong Rivers. The elevation ranges from 1,530m to 5,545 m, and the average altitude is 3,380 m. The total population of the Deqin Autonomous Prefecture is approximately 334,000, 85% of whom are minority nationalities, including 34.8% Tibetan and 29% Lisu.
There is not much to see or to do in Deqin (Diqin). Most travellers therefore prefer to stay 12 km away at Feilaisi instead, from where one has amazing views of the 6’700m high Meili Mountain (also called Kabego or Kawa Karpo). The nearest airport is located at Zhongdian, a 5 hours drive south of Deqin. Much to the confusion of the average traveller, the Zhongdian airport is called “Diqin” airport or “Shangri-La” (Xiang Ge Li La) airport.