Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 5


We started early as we had to trace back same route till Burqin and then taking Highway 217 to go to Karamay for night stay. Highway 217 heads south from Burqin cutting through the black rock ridges crossing the vast arid flatland in the middle of big nothingness. The mountains in east side are part of Tarbagatai range the runs southwest from Altai and creates natural boundary between China (Xinjiang) and Kazakhstan. From Highway 217, road diverted to further West to Jaminay town which is the border town known as gateway of Northern Kazakhstan. This border is open for foreigners with valid Kazakh Visa, across the border road continues to Zaysan lake and further a day drive will take you to Zaysan town. Highway 217 continues to South and enters a wind eroded rock hill region that is Xinjiang’s most renowned yardang landscape. Our main attraction today was to visit the Uryhe Ghost city, which claims in entrance gate as “Ghost City of the World”, Ghost city is nothing but actually a huge area of yardang rock formations which consist of sedimentary rocks (Millions of years back this area was a lake which dried up subsequently) that was weathered away at different rates by fierce wind erosion. This place indeed another photographer’s paradise during sunrise and sunset time. We reached there around 2.30 in afternoon and thought of entering there around 5 / 5.30 to enjoy the sunset over the amazingly shaped rocks. So just south of this place a Dinosaur Park has been built for additional tourist attraction and we decided to go there first. This area of Xinjiang is gifted with various prehistoric fossils from ancient time and in Jurassic age it is believed to be one of the major areas where Dinosaurs lived. My daughter enjoyed the Dinosaur Park a lot, took lot of snaps with different models of Dinosaurs. We gone to a local small town to give our stomach some relief and incidentally we got some fried noodles here (a big change from the boiled noodles we were having for last few days). We gone back to Ghost City around 5.00 and enjoyed some great color and a lovely sunset from there. Still we had to drive for almost 100 km to Karamay town which is known as Oil Capital of China and this area contains 1/3rd reserve of total oil of China. This whole area is covered with tens of thousands oil rigs all connected by underground pipes and extracting the black gold that has made this region more famous than any considerable history like other parts of Xinjiang. Cost of living in this area is now quite high as you would find lot of expats and Chinese from other parts of country has come and settled here for finding fortunes. Many big companies specially the oil companies have setup big offices here and as a result you would find many new and good hotels around this place. Next day our plan was to go further till Kuytun and then leave 217 to take Highway 312 (Now known as Expressway G30) towards further west towards Kazakh border region to Sayram Lake.

On the way back from Jiadengyu we crossed the vast grassland once again:




Crossing the Pastureland:



Nomadic Life would touch your soul:




The Altai Grassland is going to get over after this pass, see further ahead, the desert type landscape will return:


The Highway 217 Connecting Northern Xinjiang (Burqin) to Southern Xinjiang (Hotan):


Burqin at the bank of Irtysh (Only river in Xinjiang that meets sea, rest all gets lost in Desert):


Fun time in Dinosaur Park, this is the place kid enjoyed a lot:


The small town near Dinosaur Park where we had our lunch, try to find something written in English


Entrance of Ghost Town:


Yardang Landscape:





The place looks amazing in the colors of setting Sun:





Sun Set in Ghost Town:



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