Flaming Mountains (Huo Yan Shan)

 Flaming mountain, also called “Red Mountain”, is located in the north of Turpan in China’s northwest Xinjiang Region. It lies 6.2 miles (10 km) to the east of Turpan city, stretching about 62 miles (100 km) from the east Shanshan County to the west Turpan with a width of 5.6 miles (9 km). The average height is 1,640 feet (500 meters), while the highest peak is around 2,726 feet (831 meters). It is the hottest place in China with the highest temperature around 47.8 °C (118 °F) and surface temperature over 70 °C (158 °F) in summer. Because of the high temperature, eggs can even be roasted at that time and no vegetation exists there.

It became very popular due to a classical Chinese novel, The Journey to the West by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) writer, Wu Cheng'en, and its charming hero - the Monkey King. It is described that the Monkey King stirred up trouble in Heaven and kicked off the oven for making immortal pills. Charcoals fell from the sky to where the Flaming Mountain now lies. Therefore, the mountain is hot throughout the year. Hundreds of years later, when the Monkey King escorted his master, Tang Sanzang (a famous Chinese monk in Tang Dynasty 618 - 907), to acquire Buddhist scriptures in the Western Paradise, they were interrupted by the mountain. So the Monkey King borrowed a magic palm-leaf fan to stop the flame in order to pass the mountain safe and sound.
Flaming mountain is barren and extremely hot in summer
Barren and Hot Flaming Mountain
Flaming Mountain, Turpan
Flaming Mountain
Scientific explanation cites the Flaming Mountain, one branch of Tianshan Mountains, was formed in the tectonic plate movement on the earth's surface during the formation of the Himalayas 50,000,000 years ago. The spontaneous combustion of the underground coal seam makes this area hot.

Now, the scenic area includes the mountain, a Culture Gallery of Journey to the West, Flaming Mountain Geographic Culture Museum, Gaochang Historical Celebrities Hall and a 12-meter high thermometer. In the Culture Gallery of Journey to the West, 24 pieces of relief pictures, basing on 24 stories from the Journey to the West, lively show how the Tang Sanzang struggled to the destination. The Turpan’s culture and the geographic features can be known in the Geographic Culture Museum. 14 statues of local famous people such as Tang Sanzang, Cen Shen (a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty) and Lin Zexu (an official in the Qing Dynasty 1644 - 1911) are collected in the Historical Celebrities Hall, and all these people have close relationship with Turpan. The thermometer, recorded in Guinness World Record, has an appearance like the Golden Cudgel, the weapon of Monkey King, and the exact surface temperature is shown on it. Taking a photo with the thermometer and recording the high surface temperature may be an interesting thing.

If one intends to enjoy the wonder of the mountain, they can use carts pulled by goats or camels to travel. Just in front of the mountain, some big statues from Journey to the West, having relationship with the Flaming Mountain, are placed for photographing. The roasted egg in the sand is a popular food there. It has a flavor different from the boiled and fried ones.

How to Reach Flaming Mountain from Urumqi?

From Urumqi Southern Bus Station, there are frequent buses for Turpan and the buses are from 09:00 to 20:00 with an interval of around 20 minutes. Upon reaching Turpan Bus Station, visitors can take the bus to Shanshan and get off at the scenic spot. The buses from Turpan to Shanshan operate from 08:00 to 20:00 with an interval of around 30 minutes. Or one can try the donkey carts to the mountain.



 If visitors do not want to get off the bus to enjoy the mountain’s magnificence, they can also easily see it on the bus from Turpan to Shanshan, since the mountain stretches several miles along the road.

 The best visiting season is from June to October and during that period August is the best month. August is the harvest time for local fruits, especially the grapes. Besides, the Silk Road – Turpan Grape Festival falls on around August 20 annually and lasts for several days. Singing and dancing shows, picking grapes with ten thousands of people, intangible cultural heritage show and other various activities definitely can impress travelers.

 The best place for photographing is at the west mountain of Tuyu Valley.

 A pair of comfortable shoes is necessary, because you need to walk a long distance. Sunscreen items and sunstroke prevention medicines are necessary.

Entrance Fee CNY60
Children under 6-year-old or below 3.9 feet (1.2 m) and seniors over 70-year-old are free of charge.
Opening Hours 08:00 to 21:00 from April 21 to October 20; 10:00 to 18:30 from October 21 to the next April 20
- Last updated on Jul. 18, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Flaming Mountains (Huo Yan Shan)
Asked by Stanley from MALAYSIA | Oct. 19, 2019 09:04Reply
Any discount for those over 60 years old and students ?
Most China attractions are half price for those over 60, how about Flaming Mountains ?
Answers (2)
Answered by Blake from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 21, 2019 19:23

Yes, people over 70 can be free of charge. But I'm not sure whether foreigners can enjoy this policy. So you better take your passport in case you need it.
Answered by Stanley from MALAYSIA | Oct. 22, 2019 20:24

Blake, that is not what I asked.
Asked by Jiang Min from MALAYSIA | Nov. 03, 2017 04:05Reply
How long is the distance from Turpan city to Flaming Mountains?
is there a public transport?
Answers (1)
Answered by Terra from SINGAPORE | Nov. 05, 2017 19:21

it’s about 75km, and I was told there is a regular bus from Midtown Square directly to the scenic area.
Asked by Monika from POLAND | Oct. 14, 2016 18:57Reply
How long should it take to visit the Flaming Mountains?
Are two hours enough from getting off the bus to getting in the bus back to Turpan City?

What is the best time of the day to visit there?
Answers (1)
Answered by Juliet from USA | Oct. 17, 2016 02:03

In general, it takes one or two hours to visit it. So the time will be enough for you. You may visit it in the afternoon. Have fun! :)
Asked by livy from INDONESIA | Sep. 11, 2011 09:56Reply
What is the best time to visit Flaming Mountain? Is it in the morning or afternoon? Is is possible to see sunset there?
Answers (1)
Answered by Sandy from CHINA | Sep. 13, 2011 04:04

Better to visit in the afternoon. Yes, possible to see sunset.
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