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Published: July 18th 2022
The guide books and travel advice web sites rate the Duku Highway as one of the most beautiful drives on the planet. I have to agree, the section that we drove was spectacular.
Our day started with what was going to be a long drive. Our instructions from the driver were to call out when we needed a photo stop. The section of the Highway that we drove on started at the Nalati Grasslands and ended up in Burqin (Beurjin). The route is numbered G217, but sometimes we were on G3014 travelling in a general Northerly direction. There are warning signs in Chinese along the route to only stop in designated parking areas. Our driver was very careful and took us safely through the winding roads, sharp bends and steep sections. Fortunately the makers of the road seemed to put parking spots right where they were required for the spectacular views.
We initially followed a river through a narrow valley. The vegetation was lush green with pine trees on the slopes. At one stage there was a beekeeper and lots of hives at another cows were crossing the road. Later we saw sheep also.
The road was rising slowly and the hills became more rugged, as we got higher the pine trees ceased and we entered a valley of rolling hills and grassland. Small farms dotted the area and the countryside opened up to open pasture. Some of the farmers now catered to tourists with quick ready to go snacks of lamb on shaslik and breads. We also encountered a number of cyclists and could see the occasional tent where people were camping.
At a larger stop that included a rest area there were vendors selling pilaf and shasliks and drinks of course. I had a Duku beer to sample it. It was pretty good. Shortly after this we must have reached a geographical barrier affecting the rainfall. The landscape became dry and arid, the mountainsides were harsh and bare of vegetation and the road passed through a long tunnel, an avalanche shelter and to prevent small rocks falling onto the road, before descending down a series of sharp curves and bends. We had crossed an area of mountains and the land became flat and dry as we finished the days drive in Burqin.
Hotel: Xinjiang Runjing at Kuitun
in late to a nice hotel. Honestly I slept I cannot remember the hotel, the food, the location. It was yet another, latish arrival, tired from a long day the important requirement was sleep. The photos on the internet look good mind you. I can only remember parts of the hotel because of my phone Camera. We had drinks in the café area of the hotel. That became dinner and the staff wanted pictures with us.
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