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Tianshan Lake

  Situated in the Heavenly Mountain (Tianshan) range, 115 km (71 miles) northeast of Urumqi, Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Lake) is one of the main tourist attractions in China. Used to be known as Yaochi (Jade Lake), the lake is particularly refreshing for those arriving in Urumqi from the barren deserts elsewhere in Xinjiang or from China's numerous granite cities. It is hemmed in by majestic snow-crowned peaks west of Bogda Mountain and it is geologically a moraine lake 3,400 meters (1,1125 feet) long, 1,500 meters (4920 feet) wide, 1,980 meters (6494 feet) above sea level. Covered firs, pines and cypresses and white snow, it boasts a spectacular sight- reminiscent of Switzerland or the Rocky mountains but somehow with more vibrancy and color. Amidst fields of wild flowers grow morel mushrooms, while peppermint and rhubarb, while higher up the mountain are edelweiss and the rare, creamy Snow Lotus (Saussurea involucrate), which grows from rock crevices and is believed to have magical powers as medical cure.

Tourists usually spend one day, take a boat ride on the lake, ride or walk along the lake shore. The wild and tranquil scene is stunning and pristine. You can also stay in one of the many yurts owned by locals, with a mat on the floor and a bowl of milk in the morning. Buses leave daily from the bus station and the Hongshan Park in Urumqi.

Admission: 30 (RMB)



.Red Hills

On the east bank of the Urumqi River, Red Hill, 910 meters or 3,000 feet high, at the very center of the city, resembles a mighty wriggling dragon. This reddish-brown hill is dotted with small pavilions and at the top stands a nine-storied, gray-brick pagoda called Zhenlong Pagoda (Pagoda to Suppress Dragons), 8 meters (26.3 feet) high, facing Yamalike Hill. It has a legend that in 1785 and 1786 the city suffered from severe rive flood, caused, it was supposed, by a vicious dragon. If the two mountains (Red Hill and Yamalike Hill) joined, the Urumqi river would be blocked and drown the city. In 1788, Shang An, the governor of Urumqi, had two pagodas built at the top of each hill to suppress the dragon. Now the pagoda still remains intact. There used to be many famous buildings on the hill. During the time of the nomadic Oyrat Tribe, an "Ebo" - the name for a kind of cairn used by the tribesmen to worship and offer sacrifice to their gods was built here; in the Qing, Temple of the Jade Emperor and Temple of the Great Buddha; Palace of the Dipper were built at the foot of the hill. Those splendid temples used to hold Buddhist activities and attracted swarms of worshippers. Unfortunately they were burnt down by warlords later.

Now with emerald greenery the Red Hill is a landmark of the city.

Admission: 30 (RMB)


    West Poplar Valley in the Southern Mountains

The "Southern Mountains" generally refers to the mountain area at the northern foot of Karawuquntag Mountain, a branch of the Tianshan Mountains to the south of Urumqi. This place is not only an excellent natural pastureland but also an ideal summer resort for sightseeing visitors. There are dozens of parallel valleys and ravines running from west, with the West Poplar Valley as the most famous one.

Seventy-five kilometers south of Urumqi, the West Poplar Valley is located in the transition zone between low mountains and the mountains of intermediate height. At an elevation of 2,100 meters, it has an annual rainfall of 500 to 600 millimeters. The valley, screened by snow-capped peaks and dotted with tall and straight dragon spruce trees, is covered with a carpet of green grass. Setting off the deep shade of the green trees are white yurts scattered here and there, and small exquisite villas, elegant and quiet sanatoriums, reception houses for foreign guests and snack bars make the valley even more attractive. When making an excursion into this place, visitors are welcomed as guests to the yurts of the local Kazak herdsmen and always offered fragrant milk tea, mare's milk, cheese and delicious roast lamb. They can entertain themselves to their hearts' content with singing and dancing in threes and fours and ascend the heights, threading their ways through the deep woods, to enjoy the picturesque landscape. Young visitors who are found of horsemanship can hire fine horses for a few coins from the local Kazak herdsmen, and make use of the whip to urge on the horse to gallop across the vast pastureland.

At the far end of the valley, one finds the landscape even more spectacular. From a striking precipice hiding in the green trees, a waterfall two meters wide cascades forty meters, floating down like a white silk in the air, roaring down to the bottom and spraying fine water droplets and mist onto the rocks covered with mosses and the green leaves on both sides, just like a drizzle making people feel pleasantly cool.




Kunming Spring City Golf Tours

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