Travel Destinations: Tengchong, China
Located in Yunnan Province, Tengchong is a place that is often overlooked by travellers who explore China. However, Tengchong is an interesting place, with a mixture of different minority groups and some hauntingly beautiful scenery.
Tengchong has 20 volcanoes in the surrounding area, many hot springs and lots of other cultural attractions to explore. The town itself is just as interesting, although it may seem a little drab on the outside. However, as you explore this little provincial town you will still see traditional wooden architecture that used to be commonplace throughout the province.
The backstreets running off Yingjiang Xilu are the best places for you to wander and get a real feel for the town. You can explore a number of small markets in the morning, where you can pick up a number of interesting and beautiful objects as souvenirs. The first street on the left along Fengshan Lu has an interesting produce market. Carry on down the road and you will come to a beautiful covered jade market where you can occasionally see the jade being carved.
On the western side of Tengchong you will find the Laifeng Shan National Forest park (Laifeng Shan Guojia Senlin Gongyan). You can walk through the lush pine forests to reach Laifeng Temple (Laifeng Si) or else you can hike up the the summit. On the peak you will find a beautiful pagoda where you are rewarded with some absolutely stunning views.
In the western suburbs of Tengchong is the lovely Xianle Temple (Xianle Si), which sits next to the small but lovely Dieshui Waterfall. This is an excellent place if you fancy a picnic, take some photographs or make notes in your travel journal. There is also a charming village called Heshun about 4km away from Tengchong which you can combine it with.
There are quite a few sights outside of Tengchong. The Sea of Heat (Rehai) is a cluster of streams, indoor pools, hot springs and geysers about 12km southwest of Tengchong. Although the entrance fee here is quite high to go swimming, you can always pay the lower fee to take a quick dip in the Meinu Chi (the Beautiful Lady Pool). The springs here reach a temperature of about 102 degrees.
Tengchong has some wonderful volcanoes in the area, something the county here is famous for. The nearest volcano to Tengchong is Ma’an Shan (Saddle Mountain) about 5km to the northwest. Although the volcanoes here have been quiet for centuries, the reports say they won’t always continue to be so.
There are a number of nice and comfortable accommodation options in Tengchong but it is best to book inadvance before you go. The restaurants are also very good with a range of delicious dishes ready for you to try.