Visit Guide to Flaming Mountains

The Flaming Mountains, or Huoyan Mountain, is a striking natural landmark that stretches across the Turpan Basin. These rugged, desert hills have a reddish-brown hue and resemble flames, especially during the scorching summer, when this is one of the hottest places in China. Immortalised in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, the Flaming Mountains are shrouded in myth and legend, which state that the intense heat radiating from them is attributed to the fiery breath of a legendary beast.

Getting There

Regular buses or taxis take you to the Flaming Mountains in 1-2 hours from Turpan, or 3-4 hours from Ürümqi.

What to Expect

Despite the harsh environment, the mountains house a unique ecosystem with drought-resistant plant species such as saxaul trees and wild onions. Highlights of a visit include exploring the unique rock formations, steep cliffs, deep gorges and narrow valleys, as well as several red sandstone caves formed by erosion over centuries. Some of these contain intricate carvings and inscriptions. Designated hiking trails allow visitors to explore the whole area on foot, many offering access to scenic viewpoints for elevated panoramic views over the vast Turpan Basin.