Tongren County also known as “Repkong County” which means “golden valley of dreams come true” in Tibetan. It is seat of Huangnan Tibetan Prefecture, located in southeast of Qinghai Province
Tongren City is adjacent to Xiahe County of Gansu Province to east, Guide County to west, Zeku County to south, and Xunhua County and Jianzha County to north. It is about 181 kilometers away from provincial capital Xining City.
Tongren County is birthplace of “Repkong Art” which is a comprehensive art integrating Tibet, Dunhuang, Central Plains, South of Yangtze River and other styles, including Thangka paintings, sculptures, pile embroidery, prints, patterns, and architectural decorations, and other types of performance.
Best travel time
Throughout a year
Continental plateau climate
Most popular sites
Longwu monastery, also known as “Rongpo Gonchen Monastery” or “Rongwo Gonchen Monastery” , belongs to Gelug pa of Tibetan Buddhism. It is the third largest monastery in Amdo after Labrang Monastery and Ta’er Monastery. It is now a national key cultural relics protection unit.
Longwu monastery was built in 1301 AD, and was originally a Sakya pa monastery. In 1605, it was converted to Gelug pa and being expanded again. Severely damaged was happened on this monastery during 10 Years Cultural Revolution in 20th century. After 1980, it was restored and reopened. Now, there are 7 Buddhist halls, 6 living Buddha residences, more than 300 monks’ dorm rooms and housing more than 300 monks.
Wutun Monastery which is 14 kilometers away east from Tongren county is another site that is visited frequently for its numerous Thangka paintings created by monks and local villagers. It is composed by two parts of which are Palden Chokhorling Monastery, also known as “Lower Wutun monastery” (Sengeshong Yagotsang) was founded in 1385 AD, and Gendun Puntsok Choling Monastery, also known as “Upper Wutun monastery” (Sengeshong Magotsang)
Gomar (Guomari) Castle is located 8 kilometers north of Tongren County. It is an important part of scenic area of Repkong historical and cultural city, and one of birthplaces of Repkong art. Walls of Guomari castle were built of rammed earth slabs, about 260 meters from east to west, 180 meters from north to south, and 11 meters high. Wall foundation is about 4 meters thick. Three gates east, west, and south were built, of which east gate is the main gate and was made of red copper (This is why Guomari means “The red door”). Alleys in castle are connected with each other, and each household has only roughly 133 square meters of land to build a two-story civil and wood “corridor-style” building, with a total of 189 households
Gomar Gompa is located 5 kilometers north of Tongren County and was founded in 1350. It has a construction area of 1,050 square meters, and suffered severe damage in 1958 and during the “Cultural Revolution”. It was rebuilt after 1981, and there are currently 150 dorm rooms and nearly 400 monks. Gomar Pagoda, also known as the Kalachakra Pagoda, is located on a square in front of Gomar monastery. It was built in 1994 with height of 38 meters and five floors. It covers an area of 1,500 square meters, even larger than Gomar monastery. It is the tallest and largest in Qinghai province
Nianduhu Monastery, also known as “Nyentok Monastery“, is located 1 km northwest of Tongren County. It was built at the end of Ming Dynasty with history of nearly 400 years. It became a subordinate monastery of Longwu monastery (Rongwo Gonchen) in the period of 1740 AD – 1794 AD. In addition to large exquisite murals and pile embroidery, there are also many religious relics that are precious.
Chukhol Hot Spring is located on northeast edge of Maixiu Forest, 18 kilometers south of Tongren City. It has beautiful scenery, convenient transportation. Every summer, the birds and flowers are more refreshing. Hot Spring flows from the fissures of metamorphic rocks in Xisha valley. It is regarded as Holy Spring by locals.
Recommended Hotels in Tongren
In general, it is no problem to get a place for overnight when travel around in this region; there are more than 35 hotels and more than 80 Tibetan home-stay in this town; among of which, the best hotel is Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
When arrive in Tongren county, follow the south bank of Longwu river entering the township. Following the main for about 3-4 kilometers, Shengyu Tianlun Hotel is on the left. It is recommended to make a early booking for staying in this hotel;
Add: De He Long Middle Road
Contact: +86 973 8797378
Hong Feng De Hotel
Add: Ying Bin Avenue
Contact: +86 973 7700111
Add: Xue Lian East Road
Contact: +86 973 8726999
Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Add: Ying Bin Road
Contact: +86 973 8315666
Add: De He Long South Road
Contact: +86 973 8797988
Yun Long Hotel
Add: De He Long North Road
Contact: +86 973 8726866 / 8726296
How to get to Tongren
There is no airport in or near Tongren, but the land transportation to Tongren City is very convenient. Generally speaking, tourists can travel to Tongren from two directions.
-1, starting from Xining, driving 165 kilometers, about 2 hours and 20 minutes to Tongren
-2. Starting from Labrang Monastery in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, drive 106 kilometers and reach Tongren County in about 2 hours and 15 minutes
Tongren Bus Station
Add : No. 51, Dong Shan Road
Contact: +86 973 872-2014
Working Hour: 08:00 am – 21:00 pm
Altitude : 2480 meters above sea level
Xiahe Bus Station
Add : Zha xi qi Street
Contact: +86 941 712-1462
Working Hour: 08:00 am – 21:00 pm
Altitude : 3000 meters above sea leve
Distance from Tongren to
- Xining : 168 kilometers, about 2.5 hours drive
- Labrang monastery : 115 kilometers, about 2.5 hours drive
- Lanzhou : 315 kilometers, about 4.5 hours drive
- Maqin County : 365 kilometers, about 9.5 hours drive
- Yushu : 950 kilometers, about 13 hours’ drive
Geography and climate
Tongren City is located in northeast of Huangnan Prefecture, 75 kilometers from east to west and 85 kilometers from north to south. Its total area is 3275 square kilometers.
Longwu (Rongwo) River runs through entire territory of Tongren City from north to south, forming eastern and western mountainous areas and central valley areas. Mountains in the territory are undulating, with ravines and valleys alternating.
Its terrain is high in south and low in north, which can be divided into four areas: River valleys, Low mountains and hills, Middle high mountains, and High mountains. The highest elevation is 4,971 meters, and the lowest elevation is 2,160 meters, with a relative elevation difference of 2,811 meters.
Climate of Tongren City is with obvious vertical changes in temperature, large daily temperature differences, sufficient sunshine and strong sunshine.
Variability of precipitation is large, with rain and hot in same season, divided into cold and warm seasons, and dry & wet seasons.
Average annual temperature of Tongren City is 5.2℃, average annual precipitation is 125.1 mm, and frost-free period is about 67 days to 152 days.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2018, total population of Tongren City is approximately 94,000, of which 63,000 are Tibetans, accounting for 72.52% of total population. It is a multi-ethnic area dominated by Tibetans, including Han, Tu, Hui, Salar, Baoan people, etc.
In 112 BC, Tongren area became nomadic land of Qiang people
In 254 AD, Tongren area belonged to Han Dynasty
In 576 AD, Northern Zhou Dynasty established General Administration Office of Kuozhou in Hualong County, and it governed area of Tongren
In 709 AD, Tang Dynasty gave area of Tongren to Tubo kingdom as a dowry for Princess Jincheng
In 753 AD, Tang Dynasty’s army attacked Tubo kingdom and recovered Tongren area
In 866 AD, Tubo’s rule over Tongren area as well as other parts of southeastern of Qinghai came to an end
In 1099 AD, Territory of Tongren County was under jurisdiction of Song Dynasty.
In 1131 AD, Jin Regimes’s troops captured Hezhou and other places, Tongren area was under Jin Regime’s rule for ninety years
In 1227 AD, Tongren area belonged to Genghis Khanate of Mongolia
In 1370 AD, Tongren area belonged to Ming Dynasty. In this year, Longwu monastery (Rongwo Gonchen) was formally established
In 13th year of Republic of China (1924), Hui people in Longwu area raised funds to build Longwu Mosque
In 18th year of Republic of China (1929), Tongren County was established
In 1949, a new Tongren County was established on the basis of initial “Tongren County“
In 2020, Tongren County was abolished, and county-level Tongren City was established; with the former administrative area of Tongren County as administrative area of Tongren City