Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Administrative Region, locates at frontier of northwestern China, with Urumqi as its capital city, is one of the five minor ethnic administrative regions. It is also the largest provincial-level district regarding land area in China. Xinjiang covers an area of 1.66 million km2, which accounts to 1/6 of territory of China.
Xinjiang is endowed with rich folk culture and natural resource. Here exist glaciers, lakes, forests, grasslands, rare animals, etc. They are all gifts from the nature. Xinjiang is so important in ones Silk Road tour that some people even regard Xinjiang tour as Silk Road tour.
This blog is to recommend a driving/riding itinerary which boasts the amazing natural scenery: Urumqi – Kanas Lake – Urumqi. That route covers the alpine lake hidden in the forest in deep mountain: Kanas Lake, one of the top beautiful lakes in China. The other highlight of the driving/riding route is Duku Highway whose natural scenery even beats Sichuan – Tibet Highway. To the tourists who love driving/riding tour, that can not be more attractive.
Kanas Lake lies in north part of Altay Area, Xinjiang. It is a inland fresh water lake with an altitude of 1374 meters. The lake water is mainly from Glacier melt runoff and rainfall. Looking from sky the lake takes the shape of crescent. The mini scenic areas of the lake includes camel neck lake, color-changing lake, crouching dragon lake, etc. The lake is also ideal habitat for some rare wild fishes like Hucho taimen and Brachymystax lenok. The lake came into being during the quaternary glacier period. In 2009 it is evaluated as the most beautiful lake in China by the magazine Chinese National Geography.
The best time to visit the lake are summer and autumn. And the golden forest is most loved by people.
The other thing attracts people there is the legendary water monster. It is said some people witnessed the 10-20 meters long living creatures swimming in the lake. Some times they surface alone and some times they come in group. According to the report from TV program Come Close to Science, the water monster maybe the over-developed Hucho taimen, which is called big red fish by people.
The highway connecting Dushanzi and Kuche streatches 561km. It pass through snow mountain, glacier, valley, and also many ethnic communities.
1/3 of the highway likes cliffs and precipices, and 1/5 of the highway is built on the permanent frozen soil layer. Besides, the highway meets 10 rivers of Tianshan Mountain and crosses 4 Bingdaban which is covered by snow all year round. The scenery on the way is much more amazing.
During the driving/riding you will meet many picturesque rivers. Facing these beautiful scenery one can not help but to stop now and then. Some experienced outdoor travelers often camp at river banks.
In the valley lie the river, and the mountain slope is the flat grassland. The late afternoon sunglow covers the grassland with a layer of gold. The shepherd circles the sheep with stone or wooden fence and lights the firewood in his yurt. The smoke curls slowly from the yurt… That is the normal and impressing thing you will see along the highway.
That route can be regarded as a North Xinjiang natural scenery tour. As international tourists who have language barrier and being quite alien to Xinjiang, the independent driving/riding can be difficult. If you like, you could join in the 13 days north Xinjiang tour to explore the grand, primitive, and mysterious beauty of northern Xinjiang with ChinaSilkRoadtours.