Bus Drive from Urumqi to BurjinJune 27, 2009
8:40 - 10:30
Changji - Urumqi (40km) - Dahuangshan (100km)
At 8:40 we leaves Changji Dongsheng Hongfu Hotel, where we have stayed two nights and start our study trip of the Northern Xinjiang. Today is definitely the hardest day of the whole fam trip though we haven't finished our total trip yet. We are supposed to drive 760km to Burjin, a must-stop county before entering the Kanas Lake Reserve which is generally considered the highlight of of the trip for many of the participants and for me too.
First we take the highway from Changji to Urumai (40km), then further from Urumqi to Dahuangshan(100km). In the course of the 140km driving, the snow capped Tianshan Mountain is always on our right side escorting us.
At 9:50 we pass the exit for Tianchi Lake. Tianchi Lake is a not-missed attraction while travelling Urumqi or Xinjiang. Tianchi Lake is located on the north side of Bogda Peak in Tianshan Mountains, around 40km in the east of Fukang County, and 110 km away from Urumqi City.
At 10:30 we arrive at a service area at Dahuangshan highway station, the end of the Highway section, we all get off the bus and relax for 20 minutes, using toilets, walking for a while just to be relax.
10:50 - 14:00 Dahuangshan - Qiakuku ( 400km )
At 10:50 we continue to drive to Qiakutu county, where we are supposed to stop for lunch. At the Dahuangshan intersection, we turn north up to Qiqkuku Township, which is an important stop for the 760km drive from Urumqi to Burjin. Driving north means we have to say good-bye to Tianshan Mountain and approach Altai Mountain on our right side ( east side ). There are two roads leading to Burjin from Urumqi along the Junggar Basin - East Road and West Road - both roads run around the Junggar Basin. Usually people prefer to go the east road and then west road after visiting Kanas Lake.
The road circling the Junggar Basin on its east side is called "National Road No.216" and National Road No.217 on its west, a very nice tar road. The tiring drive does give you an opportunity to have a closer view of the Junggar Basin and the Gurbantunggut Desert. The Gobi we see is a little different from the Gobi in Gansu and the Gobi area in other parts of Xinjiang, especially the section from Dunhuang to Urumqi. Very often we can find some sparse grass on the Gobi, a buffer zone from Gobi to the grassland.
At 14:00 we arrive at Qiakuku Township, a nice and clean town. We are arranged to have buffet lunch at Qiakuku Hotel on the second floor. Qiakuku is a small town, very basic with two main streets dotted with simple front stores.
15:15 - 17:40 Qiakuku - Beitun ( 320km )
At 15:15 we leave for Beitun, 320km away from Qiakuku. Both Qiakuku and Beitun belong to the adminstration of Altay City. Beitun is the intersection city - to its north you can go 55km to the city of Altay further along the national road No.216 and to its east you can go 90km to Burjin, which is a short cut.
On the way from Qiakuku to Beitun, on your right side you are able to have a nice view of the Altai Mountains running from northwest to southeast. The north of Altai Mountains is Russia and Mongolia. Actually Altai Mountains are a mountain range in central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh has its sources. On your left side still you can see the Gobi desert of the Junggar Basin. We even find wild horses and camels!
Beitun is in fact a army construction unit turned county. In 1950s, when Xinjiang was liberated, some of the army troops just stopped here and stayed for ever. The former soldiers became contruction farmers or workers aiming both at protecting the border area and making production for self-reliance. Now all the army construction units have been turned into state-owned farms. The township of Beitu has been developed from the army construction unit - Unit 10 ( Division No.10 )
We stop at the center square of Beitun for 20 minutes. It is a very nice square with fantastic water fountain accompanied by beautiful music. Beitun is said to the starting place where Genghis Khan ordered his troups westward to the middle Asia and Europe.
17:40 - 19:05 Qiakuku - Burjin ( 90km )
We drive 90km eastward from Beitun and reach Burjin, a must-stop county for the final trip to the Kanas Lake. We are arranged to stay at Burjin Tourist Hotel, the best hotel in Burjin. Burjin County is located at the northwestern border of China. It borders Kazakhstan, Russian and Mongolia along 218km border line. Kanas Lake is within the jurisdiction of Burjin county. Burijin has a population of 68000 with 21 ethnic groups including Kazak, Tuwa, Han, Mongolian, Hui and more.
After buffet dinner at the hotel, we walk to the local night snack street to enjoy local food. The night snack street just a few steps away from our lodging hotel -Burjin Hotel.
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