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Tengchong - Volcanoes & Ancient Towns

Located on the conjunction of the Eurasian Plate and the India Plate, the tectonic movement is fairly active and earthquakes are frequent in Tengchong. Because of this, volcanos and hot spring scenic spots are common here. The county particularly abounds in geothermal energies. There are more than 80 hot streams, boiling fountains or springs. Ten of them are with hot water temperatures of about 90 C (194 F) or above. So the county is entitled the name "Geothermal Museum".  

Tengchong County lies at the western frontier of Yunnan, China. It is 100 miles (or 160 kilometers) west of Baoshan City, of which Tengchong County is an administration subdivision, and is 466 miles (750 kilometers) away from Yunnan's capital, Kunming City. 

The climate of Tengchong is of a subtropical, mountainous type. The annual temperature averages around 14.7 C (58.5 F) and the rainfall 1,425 mm. Generally speaking, the climate in Tengchong is agreeable, suitable for travel all year round.

Tengchong is known for its long history and colorful culture; it is on the list of China's famous scenic spots and is regarded as one of Yunnan's famous historic and cultural towns. It has many titles, among other names are "the Hometown of Overseas Chinese" and " Land of Culture". Bordering on Burma on the west with a boundary line of 92 miles (148.7 kilometers), in history, it occupied an important position on the Southwestern Silk Route (Kunming–Baoshan-Tengchong-Mangshi-Ruili); nowadays it still plays a great role in border tourism and border trading. 

There are plenty of natural resources in Tengchong, such as "the Natural Botanical Garden" and "the Natural Museum."  About 34.6 percent of the county is covered by various sorts of plantations. Over 2,000 precious and rare plants can be found here. Among the cash and timber forests, there are forests of oil tea, catalpa, common China-fir, Armandi pine, walnut, and others. There are huge amounts of ornamental and medicinal plants. It is a spectacular scene if you get the chance to witness the beautiful rhododendrons in their full bloom on Gaoligongshan Mountain. 

The Gaoligong State Nature Reserve in Tengchong is also known to people as a natural botanical garden. In this area alone there are more than 1,400 species of plants. There are many rare and precious animals and herbal plants that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  

The total area of Tengchong is 5,693 square kilometers with a population of about 490,000 people, consisting of more than ten ethnic groups.  Among these groups are the Hans, Dais, Bais, Huis, Lisus, Achangs, and others.  Each of them has their own rich and colorful cultures and customs.  

Volcano Clusters

Tengchong County is one of the most famous areas in China known for its numerous and densely located volcano clusters. Altogether there are 97 dormant volcanos, 
among which 23 have well-preserved craters. They are primarily located in the Da'ying Mountains and in the Township of Mazhan. Da'ying Mountain, the most magnificent one in Tengchong, is 12 KM (7.5 miles) from town. To the northeast of the Da'ying Mountain is the highest peak of Tengchong, Longzong Mountain, which rises 2,783 meters above sea level. 

There are eight well-preserved volcanos in the National Geology Park of Volcanos with a total area of 81 sqm. It will be worthwhile if you can pay a visit to these places. Among these eight, the most popular are Dakong Mt, Xiaokong Mt, and Heikong Mt. The center of the park is located in Mazhan Township, 25 KM (15 miles) north of the county seat. The gate of the park is designed with a unique architectural style like that of an ancient Roman castle. The walls outside the gate were inlaid with volcano stones which leaves an impression of simplicity on people.

The Hot Sea

Tengchong is recognized as one of the three major geothermal areas in China, and is the only area where volcanos and geothermic energies coexist in China. Spas of various kinds are widely distributed around this region. Nowhere else in China can you find a similar place with such good temperature, pressure and the steam of terrestrial heat. Thus, it is called "Geothermal Museum". 

The Hot Sea, with an area of 8 sq KM (3 sq miles) lies 10 KM (6 miles) south of the seat of Tengchong. It has the highest temperature and the greatest volume in the Tengchong. The spring of the Hot Sea is very pure and clear, and contains many healthy mineral elements. Bath Valley and other places in this scenic area are good choices for the bathing treatment. Nowadays, the Hot Sea has become a popular place for tourism, vacationing and rehabilitation. "Big Boiling Pot" which lies on a slope northwest of the Hot Sea is a round spring of 6.12 meters in diameter with a depth of 1.5 meters. It is said there was once a bull grazing on the slope over the "Big Boiling Pot" but accidentally slipped and fell into the pot. In no time, its flesh was consumed. When its owner came to rescue it, only its bones were left. 

Heshun
 

4 KM (or 2.5 miles) south of the county seat of Tengchong is Heshun Town, which ranked first of the “Most Charming Townships of China”. Heshun Township is located beside a river, hence the village got the name "Heshun" which means along the river. Here the town is known as the Hometown of Oversea Chinese. The number of people who now live abroad equals 107% of the current population of the township. The oversea Chinese from this township live all over Southeast Asia, Europe, America, and in more than ten other countries.

The Heshun Library, built in 1924, is the earliest and largest countryside library in China. Many of its books are rare, ancient and valuable.

National Martyr Graveyard 

The graveyard covers a total area of more than 5.3 hectares and was completed on July 7, 1945. The whole graveyard includes the Memorial Hall, the Martyrs' Tombs and Memorial Tower. It is the largest and best preserved cemetery for soldiers that died in front line battlefields during the Sino-Japanese War. Its unique value and heart-rending history draws visitors from all over who come here to pay their respect and homage to the martyrs.

Beihai Wetland 

Beihai Wetland is located 12 KM (7.5 miles) north of the seat of Tengchong. It is one of the first 33 Key State Reservation Wetlands in China, and also the only national wetland in Yunnan province. It consists of Beihai Lake, Qinghai Lake and the surrounding hillsides and fields, with a total area of about 1600 hectares. It is not only a natural land reservoir but a paradise of reproducing and overwintering for many rare animals, and habitat for various precious spice plants. Its excellent natural scenery is of great value for both tourists and scientific explorers.

Recently a civil airport was opened in Tengchong. The site of the airport was in Camel Peak Village, about 12 KM (7.5 miles) from the Tengchong county seat. The opening of the airport brought back memories of the Flying Tigers. The Camel Peak Village is closely related to the American Flying Tigers and the famous Camel Peak Aviation Route. The Flying Tigers were a group of volunteer U.S. military men who were sent to Asia by President Franklin D. Roosevelt before the United States was involved in World War II to help China fight against the Japanese. The Camel Peak Aviation Route which crosses over the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas, was called the "death route." It was used to deliver urgently needed military supplies for China more than 60 years ago during World War II. The traffic time from the provincial capital Kunming to Tengchong will be shortened to 50 minutes because of the airline while a bus ride currently would take about 10 hours.

 
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