Situated in western China, abounding in picturesque scenery and activities for tourists, Tengchong is poised to become a vacation hot-spot. While the city is growing rapidly, commercialization and modernization are serving to ease accessibility without diminishing old-world charm.
Traveling with two Chinese families, my husband, son and I visited several tourist destinations in and around Tengchong, including the historic village of Heshun.
Heshun was a 25-minute ride from our Tengchong hotel, and required tickets for admission. It was definitely worth the effort and cost, but note: English-speakers are few and far between. If you have little to no Mandarin skills (like us!), you’ll be relying on your translation apps. And pantomime, of course. :o)
A hilly village whose narrow winding streets are lined with a plethora of shops…
…Heshun Ancient Village is equally appealing to history buffs, shoppers, and people-watchers.
Not to worry, bookworms. Near the main entrance to the old city you’ll find an ancient library (which is quite small and contains scrolls, no books, because this is ancient China!). And steps from the library, a small vintage book shop.
Beautiful structures abound…
…but traditional Chinese architecture is not the only eye candy. The old city is surrounded by beautiful parks and waterways.
Right Next Door
Separated from working rice fields by a narrow canal (easily crossed, with care, by concrete stepping stones), rice paddies, flower fields, and distant hills serve as ancient Heshun’s backdrop.
If you’ve got great balance and a moderate sense of adventure, after crossing the the canal, poke around until you find find the narrow sod footpaths through the rice fields.
I missed a sensational photo op, thanks to Fear of Falling Into the Muck. The extremely narrow path, which was made of bumpy chunks of grassy earth and lined by nothing more than flimsy rice stalks, could offer no guarantee of safe passage. For me, at 53 years of age with osteoporosis, a bad knee, and an extreme dislike of being wet and/or muddy, traversing this path was a definite no. (Did I mention, extremely narrow? And uneven/unsure footing, with nothing solid to hold onto to prevent a fall?) But plenty of others—including my family—braved the trails and filled their cameras with rice field photo bounty.
Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I opted to explore the adjacent flower field. Steady going, and not a bad view.
Old Meets New
Everywhere you look in Heshun, old and new worlds collide. There are scooters everywhere, even zipping over ancient bridges.
Along the ancient city’s left edge, which borders the rice fields, vendors carry goods on their shoulders; shoppers, in chic wheeled bags.
Women do their laundry at on ancient boat dock, an historic landmark…
…steps away from a super-modern coffee house.
Speaking of Coffee…
Heshun is awash in tea, but if you’re a coffee drinker and require a mid-afternoon hit, don’t give up—just keep looking! In total we spotted three contemporary coffee houses, each with wifi and requisite hipsters/laptops.
Near the end of our visit, as we were resting in some shade, my husband snagged the photo of the day.
Heshun Ancient Village is in Tengchong, China, Near Myanmar. Tengchong has an efficient airport, plenty of hotels and resorts, and all the amenities of a modern city. Note that when we visited in October 2019, construction was abundant. Slow traffic could be expected due to road work, including the installation of beautiful lotus street lamps. :0)
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