mesmerising beauty of Kanas, Xinjiang 醉美喀纳斯

(Distant Xinjiang – Part 3 of 6) – Part 2 of 6 here

photo courtesy of May

photo courtesy of May

5 – 8 August 2015
We started our journey from Urumqi (烏魯木齊) at 11am, going through oil city Karamay/Kelamayi (克拉瑪依) with a stopover at Karamay Devil’s City(烏爾禾魔鬼城), an interesting landscape with wind and rain eroded earthen mounds before reaching quaint Burqin/Bu’erjin (布爾津) after nightfall at 10pm to stay for a night. We would continue our journey up north the following morning to Kanas (喀纳斯) which is 3.5 hours away from Burqin for an overnight stay before returning to Burqin on 7 August and then heading back to Urumqi the day after.

Xinjiang is vast with endless stretches of sun-scorched mountains and deserts and we saw almost nothing but miles and miles of wilderness along the way with very minimal vegetation if not barren but the scenery started to change as we were north-bound. The stark landscape softened gradually and boundless grassland and pastures dotted with cows, goats, horses, camels and yurt houses belonged to the nomadic Kazakh (哈薩克族) of ethnic majority in the region beginning to appear as we cruised up the mountain in the last leg of our journey from Burqin to the much looked-forward to Kanas in the Altay Prefecture (阿勒泰地区) in northern Xinjiang.

The views along the journey started to change from these…

oil excavation by the road side in oil city Karamay (克拉瑪依)

oil excavation by the road side in oil city Karamay (克拉瑪依)

black gold! it went on for miles on both sides of the road... 真的是遍地黃金!

black gold! it went on for miles on both sides of the road… 真的是遍地黃金!

barren desert with only wind turbines

barren desert with only wind turbines

people set up yurt houses along the way and sell stones they picked up from Gobi Desert... just look at the landscape!

people set up yurt houses along the way and sell stones they picked up from Gobi Desert… just look at the landscape!

to these…

grassland with Kazakh's yurt houses and animals in a distance... yurt house - 氈房, 又名哈薩包, 是哈薩克族人遠祖以來的住房

grassland with Kazakh’s yurt houses and animals in a distance…
yurt house – 氈房, 又名哈薩包, 是哈薩克族人遠祖以來的住房

nomads settling down comfortably on grassland

nomads settling down comfortably on grassland

beautiful green pasture and mountains, what a difference from the barren Gobi Desert

beautiful green pasture and mountains, what a difference from the barren Gobi Desert

obstacles on the road!

obstacles on the road!

As the journey was long we took breaks on the road…

the van that has clocked in hundreds of miles taking us around Xinjiang (from left: May, our guide Xiao Gong for Burqin and Kanas, host Mr Zhang and driver Xiao Wang)

the van that has clocked in hundreds of miles taking us around Xinjiang
(from left: May, our guide Xiao Gong for Burqin and Kanas, host Mr Zhang and driver Xiao Wang)

Mr Zhang with all the ladies in bright colours

Mr Zhang with all the ladies in bright colours

caught in action... :)

caught in action… 🙂

Due to the long winter, Kanas is only open for tourists from May/June to September/October. Although we were there in August before the autumn colours and winter snow, we still found the scenery captivating and alluring.

“Kanas” means beautiful, rich and mysterious in Mongolian (蒙古语中的“喀纳斯”是美丽富饒,神秘莫测的意思).

Moon Bay (月亮灣) of Kanas Lake

Moon Bay (月亮灣) of Kanas Lake

the pastures on the right look like two giant footprints...

the pastures on the right look like two giant footprints…

amazing rays of afternoon sun pierced through the clouds captured during a river cruise on Kanas Lake

amazing rays of afternoon sun pierced through the clouds captured during a river cruise on Kanas Lake

after the river cruise we tackled these to get to the top on the mountain to have a better view of the lake that changes its colours in different seasons...

after the river cruise we tackled these to get to the top on the mountain to have a better view of the lake that changes its colours in different seasons…

half way there --- what a view...

half way there — what a view…

let me pose for a picture, and catch my breath...!

let me pose for a picture, and catch my breath…!

Fish-watching Pavillion/Guanyu Pavillion (觀魚亭) on the top of the mountain, our target! (Betty and Emma were already up there and waving at us!!!)

Fish-watching Pavillion/Guanyu Pavillion (觀魚亭) on the top of the mountain, our target!
(Betty and Emma were already up there and waving at us!!!)

getting closer...

getting closer…

almost there....

almost there….

phew, the last step!

phew, the last step!

part of the architecture of Guanyu Pavillion/Fish-watching Pavillion apparently there is a Chinese version of Nessie (aka Loch Ness Monster) in Kanas Lake and hence the name of this pavillion!

part of the architecture of Guanyu Pavillion/Fish-watching Pavillion
apparently there is a Chinese version of Nessie (aka Loch Ness Monster) in Kanas Lake and hence the name of this pavillion!

Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake

kanas xinjiang

kanas xinjiang

surrounding scenery

surrounding scenery

yea, we made it!

yea, we made it!

and me too!

and me too!

surrounding scenery

surrounding scenery

meandering paths for coming up and going down

meandering paths for coming up and going down

we took the path on the right to go up the mountain and admired the scenery of the impressive Kanas Lake all the way up while coming down, we took the path on the left to enjoy the wild flowers

we took the path on the right to go up the mountain and admired the scenery of the impressive Kanas Lake all the way up while coming down, we took the path on the left to enjoy the wild flowers

wild flowers on the way down

wild flowers on the way down

one last look at the Guanyu Pavillion on the way down

one last look at the Guanyu Pavillion on the way down

Although many foreigners have been to Xinjiang, not all of them had the opportunity to travel so far to witness the beauty of Kanas in the northern part of Xinjiang that borders with Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Truly blessed we were to have had the chance to travel thus far, to see so much and to experience and savour something that cannot be expressed by words but only be felt with the heart!

(End of Part 3 of 6) – Part 4 of 6 here

2 thoughts on “mesmerising beauty of Kanas, Xinjiang 醉美喀纳斯

  1. Pingback: colours of northern Xinjiang and ethnic Tuwa villages 北疆色彩和圖瓦人的民族風情 | Colourful Threads of Life

  2. Pingback: art in nature – the mysterious Yadan landforms 天然的藝術品 – 雅丹地貌 | Colourful Threads of Life

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