Hongyuan County, also known as “Mewa County” in Tibetan, is a county under jurisdiction of Aba (Ngawa) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is the only pure animal husbandry county in Aba Prefecture that is dominated by Tibetan.
Hongyuan County is snow-capped grassland that the Chinese Red Army passed through in the Long March in the period of 1934-1935. This county was established in 1960 and named “Hongyuan” by Premier Zhou Enlai himself, which means the grassland where the Red Army passed through in the Long March.
Qiongxi Town, the county seat, is 3507 meters above sea level, about 450 kilometers south of Chengdu, 640 kilometers north of Lanzhou, and 190 kilometers away from prefectural capital of Barkham
Hongyuan County is adjacent to Zoige County to north, Aba(Ngawa) County to west, Barkham City to southwest, Songpan County to east, and Heishui County to southeast;
Best time to travel
From May to October
Continental plateau cold temperate monsoon clima
Most popular sites
Mewa monastery is a Nyingma pa monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, about 26 kilometers away from Hongyuan County. It was built in 1646 AD, and it helds 4 large scale pujas every year
“Moon Bay” , which is only 3 kilometers away from Hongyuan County, is located on the hillside by the Highway S209, you will see the clear river water draw a soothing and beautiful arc on the grassland, just like a round of curved moon, hence, it is named “Moon Bay”. There is one wooden structure observation deck, which provides a panoramic view of the entire Moon Bay scenic spot, and one rope-way is next to it, you can experience the stimulation of rapid strop on the grassland. You can also take a kayak rafting, which the whole journey is about an hour. But pay attention to the sun, you might be sunburned if there is no protective measures
E-Mu-Tang Flower Sea “E-Mu-Tang Flower Sea” is indeed a huge grassland that bloom flowers in summer time, it is large in scale and high in density, and it is very rare in the high altitude grassland and is called “the most beautiful grassland flowers” by visitors. The time for visiting this nature Natural landscape is in July and August
Wa-Qie Pagodas Wa-Qie Pagodas is the place for praying and blessings in order to commemorating the 10th Panchen Lama. Local People in Hongyuan fund and built 108 white pagodas surrounding the throne that 10th Panchen Lama used to sit for preaching. There are prayer flags that are hanged on the whole site by devout Tibetan , which makes the view of this site spectacular
Cha Zhen Liang Zi is about 4345 meters above sea level. Its topography shows alpine land-forms and high altitude plains. It is an alpine valley like grassland. There are two rivers sourcing on two sides of this mountain, one enters the Yellow River and another enters the Yangtze River, two rivers are both vital to Chinese Culture.
Geography and climate
Hongyuan County is located on eastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in the northwest of Sichuan Province and the central part of Aba and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. The county is 154 kilometers from north to south, 55 kilometers from east to west, covering a total area of 8,439 square kilometers.
The highest point of Hongyuan County is located in the southwest of county, with an elevation of 4,875 meters, and the lowest point is in Suomo River Valley in Shujingsi Town, with an elevation of 3,210 meters, and the county’s average elevation of 3,507 meters.
In the middle of the county, Cha Zhen Liang Zi (Cha Zhen Liang Zi) rises at 4345 meters above sea level, forming a natural boundary. It is the natural boundary between the north and south mountains and the hilly plateau, and the watershed between the Yangtze River and the Yellow River.
The terrain of Hongyuan County slopes from southeast to northwest, and the landform is a transition from mountain to hilly plateau. In the middle of the county, “Cha Zhen Liang Zi” rises at 4345 meters above sea level, forming a natural boundary that separates mountains in south and hilly plateau in north, it is also the watershed between Yangtze River and Yellow River.
The four seasons in Hongyuan County are not distinct, the climate is cold, spring and autumn are short, long winter, no summer,
Annual average temperature is 2.9℃, the extreme maximum temperature: 24.6℃, the extreme minimum temperature: -22.8℃,
Annual average sunshine time is 2417 hours, and annual precipitation is 860 mm, 80% of which are concentrated in May to October. Average annual snow cover period is 76 days,
With “Cha Zhen Liang Zi” as major watersheds, Dadu River basin of Yangtze River system in southeast, accounting for 21% of the county’s drainage basin, and White River and Black River basins of Yellow River system in north, accounting for 79% of the county’s drainage basin.
Swamps are widely distributed in this county, with an area of 2.4 million mu, accounting for 20% of the total area of the county. The water presents color of dark brown, undrinkable
Population and ethnicity
As of 2016, the total population of Hongyuan county was 48,727. Tibetan population accounts for 85.5% of total population of the county; Han population accounts for 13.1% of the total population; Qiang population accounts for 0.8% of total population; other ethnic groups include Miao, Hui, Yi, Mongolian, Tujia, Lisu, and Manchus , Yao, Dong, Naxi, Buyi, Bai, Zhuang, Dai people..,
How to get to Hongyuan
The easiest and quickest way is to take flight to Hongyuan airport, which is only 48 kilometers southeast from Hongyuan county. After arrival in Hongyuan by flight, then switch to local vehicle that may take 50 minutes drive to Hongyuan county;
Add: 48 kilometers from Hong Yuan county
Contact: +86 837 7735566
Airport code: AHJ
Altitude: 3,535 mete
Chengdu Cha Dian Zi bus station
Add: No. 289, Section 5th, West Third ring road;
Jin-Niu district, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 87506610
Altitude: 460 meter
Distance from Hongyuan County to
- Chengdu : 426 kilometers, about 7 hours’ drive
- Langmu Si: 215 kilometers, about 5 hours’ drive
- Labrang monastery: 373 kilometers, about 9.5 hours’ drive
- Tongren City: 511 kilometers, about 13.5 hours’ drive
- Barkham City: 187 kilometers, about 3.5 hours’ drive
- Huanglong: 233 kilometers, about 6 hours’ drive
- Garze County: 545 kilometers, about 10.5 hours’ drive
- Sertar County: 467 kilometers, about 9 hours’ drive
- Heishui County: 152 kilometers, about 3 hours’ drive
During Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), Hongyuan area belonged to Wenshan Region
During Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD), Gongzhou and Liu county were set up in the land of Hongyuan
In Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-AD 1368), Chieftain system was established, most of Hongyuan area were ruled by Song zhou, Panzhou, all of which was placed under jurisdiction of Shanxi province
In Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-AD 1644), Hongyuan area was under control of Songpan Region
In Qing Dynasty (AD 1636-AD 1692), “Gaitu Guiliu” was implanted.
Gaitu Guiliu, also known as “conversion of chieftain system” or “conversion of abandoning chieftain system”, refers to abolition of chieftain who originally ruled ethnic minorities. Instead, officials appointed by the central government. It began in Emperor Yongle’s period at the beginning of Ming Dynasty and was implemented on a large scale during Emperor Yongzheng’s period of Qing Dynasty.
During the period of Republic of China, the southern and northern parts of Hongyuan were under the jurisdiction of Lipan County and Songpan County respectively.
In 1954, Local goverment was set up in Shuajingsi to govern the area of Hongyuan, which lasted as long as 4 years.
In 1958, An official establishment was officially set up in Hongyuan Area
In 1960, Hongyuan County was officially established.