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Home Travel in Yunnan Gaoligong Mountain
Gaoligong Mountain
Travel in Yunnan


The Gaoligong Mountains, (gāo lí gòng shān 高黎贡山), are a mountainous sub-range of the southern Hengduan Mountain (héng duàn shān mài 横断山脉) Range. It is characterized by its natural landscape of biological and climate vertical belts, various types of vegetation, and a great variety of plants and animals. In 1983, the Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve was established, and in 1992, the World Wildlife Fund, designated it a level A grade protected area. In 2000, UNESCO accepted it as a Biosphere Reserve member. The reserve is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (yún nán sān jiāng bìng liú bǎo hù qū 云南三江并流保护区), established in 2003, and as such a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


gaoligong2Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve lies at the conjecture of Baoshan City (bǎo shān shì 保山市), Tengchong County (téng chōng xiàn 腾冲县) and Lushui County (lú shuǐ xiàn 泸水县), west of Yunnan Province. It is to the west side of Nujiang River (nù jiāng 怒江) and at the Sino-Myanmar border. The Reserve lies between east longitude of 98o34′- 98o50′ and north latitude of 24o56′- 26o09′. It runs through the southern section of Hengduan Mountains from south to north. Covering a total area of 120,000 hectares with forest coverage of 85%, the Reserve is about 9 kilometers wide from the east to the west, and 135 kilometers long from the south to the north. It is the drainage divide between the Nujiang (Salween River) and the Irrawaddy River.


gaoligong3The Reserve lies in the central subtropical zone. Due to its location in southwest monsoon zone of the Indian Ocean, wind often blows from the west. The high peaks and deep valleys of the Mountains have created in this mountain area three different climate zones, namely, subtropical, temperate and cold temperate. From the foot of the mountain to its top there are concretely 6 different types namely south subtropical, mid subtropical, north subtropical, warm temperate, mid temperate, and cold temperate zones. The precipitation increases gradually from 736.7 millimeters on the east slope with an elevation of 755 meters, 1,763 millimeters on the west slope with an elevation of 1,440 meters to 3,904.4 millimeters at the top with an elevation of 3,210 meters. This constitutes a unique multi-level climate and an entire subtropical ecosystem resulting in its strikingly splendid landscape of biological and climate vertical belts, which leaves people an impression that different section of the mountains is in different season even on the same day.

Physical Features

As part of Hengduan Mountains, Gaoligong Mountain is long and narrow and its terrain is south-to-north, higher in the north and lower in the south, with a relative height difference of more than 2,827 meters. The highest peak, Wona (wò nà shān 握那山), is 3,916 meters above the sea level. To the east of Wona Peak lies the Great Nujiang Canyon (nù jiāng dà xiá gǔ 怒江大峡谷) ranking second of its kind in the world.

gaoligong4The Gaoligong Mountain is surrounded by scores of volcanoes, and therefore the Reserve is rich in geothermal resources. There are 4 scores of hot springs with marked curative effect on skin diseases and rheumatism. In the Reserve, steams and waterfalls can be seen here and there. Tingming Lake (tīng mìng hú 听命湖) on the top of the mountain is a crate lake formed several hundred years ago, and it is limpid and transparent.


Vegetation here is vertically and obviously distributed into 9 types, including monsoon evergreen broadleaved forest, temperate coniferous forest, mountain liverwort shrub, cold temperate grassy marshland, etc.

gaoligong5Recent research shows that there are more than 1,000 species of higher plants in the Reserve. The evergreen broad-leaved forest in the east and west mountain areas is one of the best-preserved forests in Yunnan Province. The evergreen broad-leaved forest here is mainly composed of camphor trees and camellia, etc. The Reserve is proper habitats of over 20 precious species such as Phoebe nanmu (nán mù 楠木), and Tsuga Chinensis. In addition, it is rich in medicinal, oil, and fibrous plants and has preserved rare medicinal plants in China and the world as a whole.


gaoligong6The unique geographical location and climate features make Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve a paradise of wild animals. Hengduan Mountains extending from south to north was called by zoologists as the source of mammals, forming a complex fauna pattern with both new and ancient types and a feature of transition from south to north. Among a great variety of animals, there are over 30 species under state protection such as antelopes, Hylobates hoolock leuconedys, Nycticebus coucang bengalensis, clouded leopards and civets. Among them, antelopes that enjoy the same reputation with giant pandas and golden monkeys are indigenous animals of Gaoligong Mountain. There are more than 300 species of birds such as silver pheasants, golden pheasants, peacocks, sunbirds and various Garrulax canorus.

Travel Guide

The Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve is made up of three distinct areas. One part is found in the south-central part of the mountain range and covers an area of 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres). Around 9 kilometres wide, and reaches over approximately 135 kilometres from north to south - across parts of Lushui County, Baoshan City Prefecture and Tengchong County.

gaoligong7Another large part of the reserve is the Dulongjiang River (dú lóng jiāng 独龙江) area, west of Gaoligong Mountain, and home to the Derung people (dú lóng zú 独龙族).


 No guns or flammable and explodable stuffs are allowed to be taken into the natural reserve area. In order to protect the environment people are not allowed to hurt any trees, flowers or animals. Don't litter. Don't drive any private cars into the area. Don't dress pure red clothes or trousers into the area. Don't use flash lamp when take photos with animals.