(Distant Xinjian – Part 2 of 6) – Part 1 of 6 here
We left Urumqi at 11am on 5 August and made our way to Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark (喀納斯國家地質公園) in the far north to stay for 3 nights. En route there and back we stopped to take a look at the interesting and very mysterious Yadan landforms (雅丹地貌).
5 August 2015
We arrived at oil town Karamay/Kelamayi (克拉瑪依) which is 300+ km away from Urumqi for lunch before travelling for another 100+ km and stopping at the Karamay Devil’s City or Ghost City (世界魔鬼城/乌尔禾风城, or the actual English name as stated at the site “Ghost Town of World” which I thought sounded funny).
We could have gotten into Karamay and subsequently to the Devil’s City sooner had the speed limit of the road we travelled on not been at only 40 and 60 km and full of speed traps! We thought it was simply madness as the road was in great condition and almost straight all the way, and especially we had a long journey ahead of us to get to Kanas!
It was hot when we got out of the air-conditioned van just after 5pm. We were really curious to find out what it was since the name was first mentioned during the journey but the guys had decided to keep us in suspense. While waiting for the little train to take us for a one-hour ride around the “City”, Mr Zhang bought us icicles which were very welcomed in the scorching afternoon sun. We had our shades and hats on and ready to brace the heat after the refreshing fruity icicles!
Yadan means “steep mound or hill” in Uyghur language. Yadan landform is referred to a landscape of earthen mounds in various shapes and sizes formed and carved by years of constant wind and rain erosion in the vast wilderness. Due to the strange and terrifying sounds of strong winds coupled with the sands and gravels brought up by the winds that whip through the air, and also the eerie and bizarre appearance of abandoned castles and towns come the name “devil’s city 魔鬼城”!
The actual landscape was rather impressive but I failed to capture any on camera as it was difficult on the little train with everyone straining their necks and stretching their hands out in front of you trying to take pictures at almost every turn… So I decided in the end that I would just sit back, look, absorb and capture the landscape in my mind!
7 August 2015
On the way back from Kanas, we detoured to another Yadan landform before heading to Burqin/Bu’erjin (布爾津). This one was the 五彩灘 Multi-colour Beach, Burqin Yadan landform.
We got there at 8:30pm and the sun had begun to set. Apart from being close to the closing time we were also told that there would be lots of mosquitoes when it was dark so we dashed and pushed through the crowds, and snapped a few pictures without lingering on for too long!
I believe due to the time of the day the colours of this Yadan landforms were not as vivid as they should be. When the season changes and the trees in the area begin to change colours I have no doubt that the whole scenery will be transformed!
With the heat, dryness and long daylight in Xinjiang everything seemed so harsh but all were softened when the sun eventually set…
(End of Part 2 of 6) – Part 3 of 6 here