Hot springs in Yunnan cover the entire western side of the region from north to south. There are many options to enjoy natural hot spring rivers, small spas with hot pools and ultra-high end hot spring resorts. Though we’re not sure who is doing the counting, there is a purported 700 hot springs in the region. Every year these springs discharge about 360 million cubic meters of hot water, second only to Tibet.
Tengchong has the largest number of hot springs. There are over 80 hot springs interspersed with the volcanoes in the area. Yihong Hot Lake, Dagunguo Hot Spring, the Hamazui Fountain and Pearl Spring are but some of the more popular ones. There are also a number of mist shrouded hot fields in Ruidian, located northwest of Tengchong. The hot fields are over 3,000 feet long and 1,800 wide.
Just 80 miles southeast of Kunming, about a 1 hour drive, there many natural hot springs and a spa in the town of Mi Le. Accommodations are available if you choose to spend the night. At the higher but not highest end of the spectrum is Brilliant Spa 20 miles from Kunming. With accommodations and spa packages starting at $249/night Brilliant Spa makes for a restful and relaxing experience. Their website is in both English and Mandarin for more information.
In Baoshan, 37 miles from Tengchong is Bang Na Zhang. The area is in Long Ling County. This is a large and very popular hot spring/spa area with accommodations for those wanting to spend the night.
--Anning JinFan Forest Hot Spring
Anning is a spa town just 21 miles from Kunming. There are some beautiful natural hot springs in the trees, day spas in town and the very nice Anning JinFan Forest Hot Spring with overnight accommodations starting at 680 Yuan/night (includes use of the pools from 8:00AM – 2:00AM). The JinFan has a large swimming pool and waterslides as well as private stone hot pools with a decidedly Japanese influence. Their restaurant serves reasonably priced Chinese food. You can come out and just enjoy the peaceful grounds and pools for 88 Yuan, add in a foot massage for 118 Yuan, pools full body massage and scrub down for 138 Yuan. Their telephone number is 0871-8631588.
For about half the price of JinFang on LongXi Road is Yulong Xiuxianyuan Hotsprings, its on the right side just a few hundred meters before JinFan. It is also a peaceful environment within the same Pine forest, maybe there is just a small amount of kitsch at Yulong compared to JinFang’s more “zen” like environment and superior accommodations.
We also recommend “The Number One Hot Springs In The World” before Jingfan Senlin on the same road on your immediate right as you veer into town. Hot tub rooms start at 40 Yuan and go up to 100 Yuan. Of course their number one ranking does not include Calistoga, Santa Fe, Conundrum Colorado, Iceland or Europe, but it is still a nice place for some deep relaxation.
About 40 miles from Dali on the way to Lijiang is the Er Yuan spa and hot spring area. Facilities and accommodations are simple and inexpensive The Er Yuan Hot Spring and Spa has accommodations and pools for 300 Yuan/night. Telephone is 0872-5128888. At the highest of high end is the Banyan Tree Lijiang with accommodations starting at $US500 to just over $US2000. It is a “peaceful sanctuary of pampering and self-renewal”. Telephone is 86-888-533-1111
Heading further north to Shangri-La/ Zhongdian there is Tiansheng Qiao 7 miles southeast of Zhongdian. Tiansheng Qiao can be reached by bus or taxis are available for 30 Yuan. Accommodations are available for between 80-360 Yuan per night. About 6 miles east of town is Xiagei Hot Springs. It is located beside a river and below a cave. Private rooms are available but it is nicer to swim in the public pool. Shops sell bathing suits if you are in need of one. This is one of the few completely natural, mostly local Tibetan, clothing optional hot spring areas you will come across. At the stratospheric high end is the Banyan Tree Ringha, telephone is 86-887-828-8822. Near Yubeng there are hot springs available to the hardiest of hikers near Wenquan.