crossing the desert and ending up in Siberia


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Asia » China » Xinjiang » Lake Kanas
June 9th 2006
Published: June 11th 2006
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this is the way from urumqi to lake kanas


crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert

it took us 13hr in a small minibus each way to get to Lake Kanas in mosly boring desert
Hi all
this week we took a long and hard drive up to the north of Xinjiang (look at the map). it is a very unique area in the boarder of china, Russia and Mongolia because it is the only place in China that have a Siberian taiga Eco-system. . the park is not so new but the tourist infrastructure is all from the past year. it is mainly built for Chinese tourists and we saw no Western people for the whole 4 days there.

To get there we took a Chinese tour group. we asked to get a tour with a English speaking guide. all we asked for is that the guide have basic English so we can know where and when to go, eat, sleep. instead we got one that not only did not talk English, he was too embarrassed to even try to communicate with us! luckily there was a girl there that knew some English. she came with her family and was not interested in the tour to really know what was happening but it was enough for us to get by with here help.

Being on a Chinese tour was an interesting
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert

13hr is beyond our limit on how much we can take for one ride :)
way to see closely how Chinese visit places. First, they never leave the tour bus farther then 50m. it can be very frustrating for backpackers to tour this way. second, they carry their lunches all day. the lunches are big pots of rice, noodles, vegetables and meat sausages and they carry them in palstic bags every time they leave the bus. you never know when you will be hungry we guess. Unfortunately the Chinese are not very environmentally friendly and not educated about how to travel and the trough their garbage out the windows even inside the park.

After 1hr in the park the group voted (without us since we don't speak their language) to
visit "another place in the park" for an extra 20USD p/p. we could not understand where but
we decided to go along to we did not loose the group. unfortunately when we got to the start of the road there the group leader told us (after talking to the guard) that we are not allowed to go and we should wait for the group 3.5hr!!! we were left stranded. we tried to understand where the group will go tomorrow (so we don't go to
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert

these are wild horses. they are an endangered species - there are only a few hundreds of these in the wild and it is very rare to see them
the same places) but all we understood is that

we are going to look for fish in the mountain

and they left. it seemed strange. but many things here are strange so we smiled and said "OK"

actualy at first we were so mad! but then realized we are free to ourselves! so we walked for 4hr in the park and it was such a refreshing walk in un-touristic nature without the group. we had good luck since the "other place" as a small river that is the Chinese - Kazakhstan boarder. we saw pictures. we missed nothing and earned a nice walk in the park

on the second day in the park we were lucky to attend a festival of the local people that live in the park - the Tuwa people. there are only 2000 of the tribe and most of them were in the festival. it was a beautiful day of chanting, praying dancing and singing. Some scholars hold the view that Tuwa people are offspring of the old, weak, sick and disabled soldiers left by Genghis khan when he led his troops to attack the West. But Tuwa elders said that their ancestors migrated from Siberia 500 years ago, and that they are
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert

still the desert can be a nice place if you take the time to enjoy it. these are rock formation in a place called " Wuerhe Ghost Town"
the same ethnic group as the Tuwa people of the Tuwa Republic of Russia. Tuwa people keep their unique custom and language.

One remake on road repair in china - when the road is in repair (even 1 meter of the road) the the whole section is closed and the bus needs to ride in the fields to detour. there are NEVER any signs to show the way and the detour in not parallel to the road. the bus needs to ride well into the fields/desert/mountains to find a way in dusty roads. usually, the main road is not visible since it is kilometers away. the driver will also never stop to ask for directions and will try his best to find a path back to the main road. somehow it always works

to conclude -we had fun, saw nice things and are hopeful it will continue this way

Hagit and Yaron




Additional photos below
Photos: 77, Displayed: 25


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crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert
crossing the Jungar desert

every few hours we stoped for a rest
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert
crossing the Jungar desert

only in places the desert was this colorful. in most places is was baren and yellow
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert
crossing the Jungar desert

basically - desert is what we saw for 2x13hr
crossing the Jungar desert crossing the Jungar desert
crossing the Jungar desert

the Chineese are very aware to get energy for there growing economy. we saw 4 large wind-electricity stations on the way
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

suddenly, in a span of less the 50km the yellow desert became rolling green fields and then dense Sibirian forest. people here are nomads and live in large tents calls "Yurts"
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

Horses are the main mode of trasportation for the locals. most of them are Kazakhs and Mongolian
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

you dont need to be 16 to get a license to drive the local motorcycle :)
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

raising herds of sheep, cows, goats and horses are the main livinghood for the locals. the herds are HUGE but we liked this lonley goat the best
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

this is Lake Kanas's most famouse photo location
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

we went there twice to photo the place in diffrent lights and colors
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

the river in the park is the Ertix River - the only river in China to flow to the Arctic Ociean, north throught Russia
Lake Kanas Lake Kanas
Lake Kanas

every place we went was like a postcard


11th June 2006

Happy birthday.
Happy birthday - Hagit. It seems like u have the best Honeymoon/Birthday ever known to men! Keep on like that. Dash to Yaron.
11th June 2006

excellent festival pictuers!
I especialy liked the girls on the rock! too bad you put the deset pictures first. Lake Kanas is the highlight.
11th June 2006

MAZAL TOV!
We also join in wishing Michal and Lior the best! (and are waiting for Lee-Kay's comments as usual)

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