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Four-day Urumqi Tour

Materials are provided by
"Travel China weekly newspaper"

Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is located in an alluvial fan-shaped basin on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains. The city opens on to the Junggar Basin in the north. In the Mongolian language, Urumqi means "Beautiful Meadow."

In the morning, tourists can go sightseeing in the city and climb Hongshan Mountain, the highest spot in the center of the city, to get a panoramic view of the whole city.

Hongshan's main peak is 464 meters above sea level. With towering crags, the mountain was named after the cliffs, which gleam red in the sun's rays every morning and evening. The upper part of the mountain looks like the head of a tiger, so it is also called "Tiger Head Mountain." It faces Yamalike Mountain, less than 1,000 meters away. At the foot of the mountain is the Urumqi River, flowing from north to south.

On the top of Hongshan Mountain is a statue of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) national hero Lin Zexu. Standing at the "Yuantiao (looking far into the distance) Tower" on the mountain, one can view the whole city.

A gathering under a grape trellis.

A gathering under
a grape trellis.

In the afternoon, tourists can visit Xinjiang's famous bazaars. Erdaoqiao, within Urumqi proper, is very popular with tourists. The market stocks all kinds of ethnic costumes and artifacts, and local snacks are also available, including kebabs, pancakes (staple food of the Uygur and Kazak ethnic groups), Hami melons, boiled mutton and Badan apricots.

On the second day, tourists can take a bus to Tianchi Lake, about 100 kilometers from downtown Urumqi.

Tianchi Natural Landscape Reserve is located at the foot of 5,44-meter Bogda Peak, the highest mountain in the eastern part of the Tianshan range. It covers an area of 158 square kilometers, including the 71-square-kilometer Tianchi Scenic Area, within which are 20 major scenic spots.

Located in the north-central part of the scenic area, Tianchi Lake is 1,910 meters above sea level, 3.3 kilometers long and one kilometer wide on average. The lake stores 160 million cubic meters of water all the year round.

As the bus ascends the winding mountain road, tourists can feel the temperature falling. Bogda Peak is snowcapped all the year round.

In the primeval forest around Tianchi Lake grow mostly spruces, which can live as long as 400 years. They are straight and about 30 meters tall, and with diameters of 50 centimeters.

Tianchi Lake freezes up in late October and thaws in early May. In the meantime, the lake's surface is covered with ice one meter thick. In summer, the temperature stays at around 20 degrees C. It is a pleasant and comfortable place. Tianchi is not only a summer resort, but also a good alpine skating rink in winter. Coming from a glacier, the water of Tianchi Lake is pure and the ice surface is smooth. With a gentle breeze blowing most of the time, it is an ideal place for skating competitions.

The yurt of a Kazak herdsman.

The yurt of a Kazak herdsman.

On the third day, tourists can go sightseeing at Baiyanggou.

Baiyanggou is 2,252 meters above sea level. It is a famous tourist resort, 75 kilometers from Urumqi. In the area, there are craggy mountains, flocks of oxen and sheep, dense forests and brooks. Tourists can visit the yurt homes of Kazak herdsmen to drink milk tea and eat mutton. In addition, they can enjoy singing and dancing of local ethnic groups. Visitors can also rent a horse and gallop on the vast grassland.

If tourists want to enjoy night scene of the grassland, they can stay at the hostel run by the tourist zone.

On the fourth day, tourists can visit the NO. 1 Glacier.

No. 1 Glacier is the source of the Urumqi River, located 120 kilometers form Urumqi on Mount Tiangar. It is 3,800 meters to 4,000 meters above sea level, 2.4 kilometers long, averages 500 meters wide and covers an area of 19,500 square kilometers. Surrounding it are 76 large and small younger glaciers.

Visitors can take a bus southward along the Urumqi-Korla Highway to the No.1 Glacier. Marmots live on the nearby cliffs, as do beautiful snow lotus.

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