Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color blue color green color
Travel in Yunnan

Tengchong County

Tengchong County (Téngchōng Xiàn 腾冲县) is situated in Baoshan City, western Yunnan Province, China. It is well known for its volcanic activity. It borders with Burma in the northwest with a boundary line of 151 kilometres long. It is 750 kilometres away from the provincial capital Kunming and 160 kilometers westward from Baoshan city.

Volcano Park The area of Tengchong county is 5,693 square kilometres. Situated at the southwestern end of the (transversely faulted) Hengduan Mountains, Tengchong topographically assumes the form of a horseshoe with the opening facing the south. The eastern most sources of the Irrawaddy issue from the high mountains in the north. The Longchuanjiang, Dayinjiang and Binlangjiang Rivers rise from among the fault mountainsides in the county. The highest point is the summit of Mount Danaozi of Gaoligongshan Mountain, 3,780.2 m above sea level and the lowest point, 930 m above sea level, is in the Suqingjiang valley. The elevation of the county seat is 1,640 m.

The crustal movement in the county is active and earthquakes are frequent. The volcanoes on Dayingshan, Shitoushan, the Greater Heikongshan, the Lesser Heikongshan Mountains erupted repeatedly. The county seat is surrounded by a group of young volcanoes.

Volcano ParkLike much of Yunnan, Tengchong offers a host of exotic Ethnic Minorities, good food, clean air and a chance to escape to the great outdoors. The thing that makes Tengchong stand apart from the usual tourist destinations of Dali and Lijiang, apart from the obvious advantages of fewer tourists, is the huge abundance of stunning prehistoric national parks.

Visitors to the southwestern Yunnan town of Tengchong will find themselves within striking distance of three of China’s best national parks, and some of the most numerous and best examples of volcanoes in Asia.

The Volcano Park is home to 97 living volcanoes. The most famous of these, Da and Xiao Kong Mountains (literally Big and Little Empty Mountains) lie 500 meters inside the park gates just past the rows of stalls selling volcano rock and other geology related souvenirs. The best value for money out of these has to be the ‘Volcano Eggs’, volcanic rocks that float rather miraculously on the surface of water.

There are two ways to fully enjoy the volcanoes. For the hands-on and healthy approach there are the stairs. Whilst there is no better way to really get to grips with the terrain than tackling it by foot and no better sense of achievement than making it to the top and enjoying that well-earned view, with about 300 very steep steps up the side of Mount Da Kong, plan to take at least one hour per volcano and beware of the sun after 11am.

For those of you who are either strapped for time, or maybe don’t feel like sacrificing yourself to the god of the volcanoes, how about taking a hot air balloon up over the Park? A snip at RMB 180 per person, the balloon holds 4-5 people a time and gives you the double excitement of a ride in a hot air balloon, combined with some of the best volcano viewing the planet has to offer. Note, however, that the balloon riding is only for the early birds among us. Strong winds after 11am can cause trips to be cancelled.

 thermal spring

Finally, for those geologists among you, the National Volcano Park has just opened a brand new Volcano Museum, complete with some English information, on the geology of the area.
Indeed, the volcanoes have been linked for a long time to the Tengchong and its development as a place of interest to the Chinese for centuries. In recent decades, the place has become famous as a dramatic mountain setting for part of the legendary “Long March” undertaken by Mao’s People’s Liberation Army. However, what really draws the crowds are the thermal springs, a soothing and much welcomed upshot (quite literally) of the ancient volcanic activity.

The main body of hot springs are to be found 10 km south of Tengchong town in the Valley of the Hot Sea. It is here that for the entrance price of RMB 60, Chinese hikers and locals alike come to kick back, relax and enjoy the soothing, mineral enriched waters that gush and bubble from the ground below.

Local products
The famous local products include jade articles, Chinese medicine, 'xuanzhi" paper, dried rice noodles, tea oil, small hats of split bamboo, preserved vegetables, articles of rattan work, etc.

Jjade articles

Getting There
There are three flights daily that make the 50-minute trip from Kunming to Tengchong. There are also direct buses from most other places in Yunnan, such as Dali. From Tengchong town to any of the National Parks, Nature Reserves or hot springs, plenty of local buses make the different journeys and nothing is more than 30 km out of town. Prices vary between RMB 2-10.

Beijing to Tengchong: 2921km
Shanghai to Tengchong: 2697km
Plane and Bus information
Beijing-Kunming: CA1403 (07:25-10:50)
Kunming-Mangshi: CA4455 (14:15-15:10)
Mangshi-Tengchong: Bus (about 3 hours)
Shanghai Hongqiao-Kunming: FM9455 (07:35-10:50)
Kunming-Mangshi: CA4455 (14:15-15:10)
Mangshi-Tengchong: Bus (about 3 hours)