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National Monument Tenchong

The old town in a volcanic landscape.

National Monument Tenchong

The old town in a volcanic landscape.

Tengchong

Tengchong

Tengchong was the main town west of the Nujiang River and across the Gaoligongshan Mountains in western Yunnan in an area with a geological park, volcanoes and hot springs.

The town was of major importance as a trading town on the Southern Silk road between Burma And China.

As the major trading town and a gateway into China the town even boosted a British Consulate for some time.

The Burma Road did not pass through Tengchong because a more southern route was chosen to meet up with the railhead at Lashio in Burma also it was considered to build the road to the port of Bhamo on the Irrawaddy River.

There were plans for the American constructed Ledo Road to go more north to avoid Japanese strongholds further south but the collapse of the Japanese forces in Burma changed this again and the Ledo Road connected with the Burma Road at the 105-Mile Junction just before Wanting at the border.

The old British Consulate in Tengchong.
Some Brits in front of the old Britisch Consulate in Tengchong.
The old British Consulate in Tengchong.
Some Brits in front of the old Britisch Consulate in Tengchong.
The old road through the Gaoligongshan Mountains.
The old road through the Gaoligongshan Mountains.

Accross the Gaoligongshan Mountains

To reach Tengchong one not only has to pass the Lancangjiang and Nujiang rivers but as well the Gaoligongshan Mountains.

Tengchong was therefore more connected to Burma then to China and this gave the city a special atmosphere. Some years ago a new modern motorway was build with an enormous suspension bridge across the Longjiang River. This together with the new airport has opened up Tengchong and the isolation is broken.

Nowadays Tengchong is a popular tourist destination because of its mild climate and abundance of hot springs and jade.

Tengchong city gate.
The horse caravan monument outside the rebuild city gate is to remind one on the function Tengchong had on the Southern Silk Road.

History

The area of Tengchong has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

For hundreds of years the Southern Silk Road, the road linking China and the Indian sub-continent, passed the town with convoys of silk coming from Sichuan, going west and precious stones going east. Because of this the town became the most important jade trading town in China. Marco Polo passed the town when he returned to China from his visit to the Burmese court in Mandalay.

British Consulate

The former British Consulate in Tengchong underlines the importance of the town that was located on the Southern Silk Road.

Work was started in 1921 when Tengchong was easier to reach from Burma then from central China.

Restoration is now nearly completed and the building will be a central part in a new city park that will replace the market and storage area that now surrounds the building.

In 2011 restoration work started on the building (See pictures) and the building is back in its original state. There is however for the moment no new function for the building and development work of the area around it is still ongoing.

Renovation work on the old Britisch Consulate in Tengchong.
Renovation work on the old British Consulate in Tengchong.
Building work on the British consulate in Tengchong.

In 1921 work was started on a British Consulate in Tengchong. It took some ten years to build this rather Scottish looking building. A lot of time was spent to train local craftsman in western style building techniques. The building only functioned for ten years as consulate, in 1942 the British had to flee for the Japanese army.

War damage on the wall of the British consulate in Tengchong.

During WW-II the building was used by the Japanese forces occupying Tengchong and the building got damaged during the 51 day long siege of the town. The walled city could only be taken after a massive air bombardment that breached the city wall and allowed the Chinese forces to enter the old town.

British consulate in Tengchong.
Tengchong war memorial graves.
The national cemetery at Songyuanshan in Tengchong is one of the very few places in China where there is a war cemetery.
Repainting the grave stones at Tengchong.
The Tengchong War memorial.
Monument at the top of Songyuan hill.

National Cemetery at Tengchong

The recapture of Tengchong in 1944 cost the life of 3346 Chinese and 19 American soldiers and nearly all the Japanese troops that had occupied Tengchong since 1942.

Hall at the National Cemetery.
Portrait of Sun Yat-sen flanked with "Second United Front" flags at the central hall of the cemetery.

The allied soldiers are buried at a hill in Songyuan (Pine tree park) just at the edge of Tengchong.

The cemetery was completed in 1945 but soon got neglected after the communist takeover. The cemetery has been restored and even extended in recent years and now functions as well to educate the visitors.

American section on the National Cemetery at Tengchong.
The 19 grave stones of the Americans that died during the campaigns in Western Yunnan.
Tengchong Museum.
A new museum dedicated to the WW-II history of Western Yunnan is located next to the National Cemetery at Tengchong Songyuan Park.

This is one of the better museums in Yunnan and has a large collection of real items from the WW-II period such as an original American inflatable raft used to cross the Nujiang during the Salween campaign.

Stilwell and Chennault statues at the National Cemetery park in Tengchong.
Stilwell and Chennault brotherly standing together in the park connected to the National Cemetery in Tengchong. Stilwell was the driving force behind the campaign to reopening of the Burma Road and Chennault's air force bombed the town walls to aid the recapture of Tengchong. In reality the two absolutely didn't like each other and had completely different ideas about how the war in China should be conducted.
Part of the commemorative wall at the National Cemetery
The commemorative wall at the National Cemetery depicting the Flying Tigers and their successors and the Burma Road.
Road through the volcano park.
Road through the geothermic park with two old volcanoes.
Water mills in the park.
Old watermills at the park.

Tengchong geothermic park

The geothermic park includes volcanoes, hot springs and even a wetland. Various volcanic rock types are found in the area including basalt and pumice stone.

The park is a nature reserve as well and one can find monkeys and deer in the park.

The Tengchong area is dotted with hot-spring resorts. These hot-springs and the jade attract a lot of Chinese visitors. The mild climate makes it possible to visit the area year round.

With the opening of the Tengchong airport in 2007 tourism has gone up in the Tengchong area but there are still lots of quiet spots to be found.

Volcano near Tengchong.
The volcanic park is a good place for hiking and cycling.
Selling pumice stone.
Pumice stone for both practical and decorative use.
Monkey in Tengchong volcanic park.
With a bit of luck one can see some wildlife in the park.
Basalt rock at the Tengchong geothermic park 1.
Basalt rock in the geothermic park near Tengchong.
Basalt rock at the Tengchong geothermic park 2.
Close-up of basalt rock in the geothermic park.
Wetlands park near Tenchong.
The wetlands park near Tengchong.

Tengchong bridges

Tengchong county has a selection of special old bridges.

Chengde bridge near Tengchong.
Chengde Bridge.

See our bridges page for more information.

Tongji bridge in Tengchong.
Tongji bridge.
Heshun.
The small reservoir in Heshun.

Heshun

Heshun village lays just next to Tengchong. The village is a major tourist attraction with newly build jade shops forming the first facade. But behind them there is still a charming village and after the hordes of day-trippers have gone the place is quite nice.

Ancestral temple in Heshun.
Heshun has many different ancestral temples hidden in the mountain site just next to the village.

Heshun is very suitable to stay overnight and has several local guest houses.

See our Heshun page for more information.

Tengchong

Location: 25°01' N. 98°29' E.

Altitude: 1667 meters / 5469 feet.

Heshun

Location: 25°00'50" N. 98°27'27" E.

Altitude: 1580 meters / 5183 feet.

Web information source suggestion:

British consulate in Tengchong External link on the GoKunming website.

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