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South Xinjiang: Crossing the Thousands o ...

South Xinjiang: Crossing the Thousands of Years(2)

Nov 28, 2021

二丨There is a kind of autumn called the Pamirs

Perhaps most people have not arrived here. When I arrived in person and saw and felt everything here with my own eyes, I suddenly understood how respectable this land is.

① Baisha Lake, please go once in this life

Xuanzang took the Pamirs to the West to learn the scriptures. In the "Story of the Western Regions of the Tang Dynasty", he wrote: "Pomei Luochuan is more than a thousand miles from east to west, and more than a hundred miles from north to south. The narrowness is no more than ten miles. According to the two snow-capped mountains, Therefore, the cold wind is bitter, the snow in spring and summer, and the wind blows day and night..." All at once outlines a desirable cold world. Starting from Kashgar, we drove along the Karakoram Highway, and the magnificent scenery of southern Xinjiang was endless. Glaciers, Gobi, and grasslands are like a magnificent map of the Western Regions.

The three-hour drive and the scenery of mountains, rivers, and Gobi have gradually changed from the “shocking scenery” to the “slightly different scenery” from the beginning. Suddenly the mountain turned around, and the sparkling "Brunkou Baisha Lake" came into view unexpectedly. This feeling is like a mirage suddenly appeared in the desert, and it is not really beautiful. In southern Xinjiang, which is full of desert and Gobi, Baisha Lake is a soft and beautiful existence. Except... the wind is so strong that it blows people into facial paralysis.

The white sand dunes are undulating high and low, winding for more than ten kilometers, so pure that there is no trace of impurities, and it is also illusory and true. The violent winds by the lake brought a cloud of sand and dust from time to time, as if passing through an ancient chaotic world and strayed into a different dimension.

Behind the lakeshore, snow-capped mountains stretch across the sky, the highest peak of which is Gongger Jiubie Peak, which is more than 7,000 meters above sea level.

The color of the lake changes rapidly according to the weather. The last second was still Tiffany Blue with a clear sky and a shallow lake. The next second was overcast and the lake turned dark blue again. If there is no good weather in Baisha Lake, it will affect more than half of its beauty. On the day we returned, we passed Baisha Lake again, which was a hundred times more beautiful than what we saw on the day we went. However, now Baisha Lake is no longer free, and a ticket of 48 yuan/person is needed. We did not stop and stop.

We were all playing the history of the Western Regions in the car along the way, which was very appropriate. After 17 years, Xuanzang traveled 50,000 miles and traveled through 138 countries, and finally wrote "The Western Regions of the Tang Dynasty". Between the countries with weird names, on that great journey, I don't know if he has also stood in front of the Baisha Lake, facing such a dreamy sigh.


1. Business hours: 09:30-19:00

2. Tickets: 40

3. Location: Bulunkou Township, Akto County

4. Matters needing attention: Border defense permit is required! Windy! Wear a hat! Don't exercise vigorously!

② Muztag Peak, visitors on the iceberg

Leaving Baisha Lake and driving for another 1 hour, we arrived at the foot of Muztag Peak, the "father of the glacier." If Baisha Lake is a soft and beautiful existence on the Pamirs, Namuztag Peak is the other side of its rigidity.

The top of the peak is covered with snow all year round, and under the peak is the Karakule Lake. The water is clear and bright, and it is as beautiful as Switzerland.

It's autumn, and there is a piece of golden aquatic plants in the lake, the lake and mountains, reflecting each other.

In fact, when you come closer, you will find that Muztag Peak does not look towering and tall, but because it stands on the shoulders of the plateau, it has achieved its majesty, or that it and the Pamirs have achieved each other. The permanence and height of this accumulation are beyond the reach of human beings in a lifetime. What does it mean at an altitude of 7,546 meters?

1. Business hours: 10:00-19:00

2. Tickets: 45

3. Location: At the junction of Akto County and Tash-Kurgan County

4. Matters needing attention: Border defense permit is required

③ Taxkorgan, 3200m Puli Country

Ta County is the only county in my country that borders three countries; the only place where white Tajik people live; and the world's highest border port in Shanghai, Hongqi Lafu is also here. The Tajik people have lived on the Pamirs for generations, and stationed on the border for the motherland free of charge. Approaching 21:00pm, we finally arrived in Tash-Kur Gan County. From the time the car started driving into the county seat, I kept sighing: "It's so cozy here." There are golden autumn leaves on both sides of the road, and towering snow-capped mountains behind them, which looks like a small county town outside the world. Unexpectedly, the desolate land can nurture such a beautiful county town.

There are not many accommodations in Ta County. Most of them are small hotels. We chose "Puli 3200" which seems to be the best hotel in the county. Why is it called Pu Li? Because Ta County used to be the Puli Kingdom of the Western Regions. Then why is it 3200? The front desk said that because it is 3,200 meters above sea level. Well, it is not the first day that we have seen how the people of Xinjiang choose names randomly. In Kashgar, “Auntie’s Tailor’s Shop”, “Uncle’s Scones Shop”, and various food stalls named after themselves are everywhere.。

When checking in, the front desk told us that there would be a bonfire party at the visitor center at 21:00pm. At first glance, there were still 20 minutes left. Although we were hungry and wanted to go to dinner, the damn "all came" made us decide to go to the party first hungry.

The party is free. It mainly displays the traditional folk songs and dances of the Tajik people, and also introduces the local humanities and history. The whole process is 1 hour. At the end, a bonfire will be lit for tourists to dance together.

Although we know that Ta County is very small and the catering capacity is limited, we were dumbfounded when we rushed from the campfire to the street where we ate. All restaurants, none of them have seats, all are in row numbers. We were hungry and dizzy, and we began to question each other: "So why are we going to see this party?" At 23:00pm, we finally reached the seat of "Yipin Yak Hot Pot", the hottest restaurant in Ta County.

Four people gobbled it up, completely obsessed with this delicacy. This is a local hot pot with local characteristics. The yak are all selected from the yak on the plateau. The meat is soft and glutinous, not the hard yak in the traditional sense. This has also become a meal of my deity during this trip.

When we left Ta County the next morning, we found a small road from which we could see the "Stone Town" in the distance, without buying a ticket to enter the scenic spot. Shitoucheng is the royal city of the Puli Kingdom among the 36 countries in the Western Regions. It was also the largest post on the Pamirs during the ancient Silk Road.

Perhaps for the merchants and messengers in the past, when they walked here physically and mentally and saw the Stone Town, it was like a person in the desert for a long time seeing water; but for us, we have never experienced the glaciers, snow-capped mountains, Those who have trekked in the desperate desert of the Gobi can hardly appreciate the joy of those walkers who saw the Stone Town from a distance, and they only saw a pile of stones when they went in.

1. Pamir Scenic Area: Including 3 scenic spots in Toucheng-Jincaotan-Folk Village

2. Business hours: 08:30-21:30

3. Tickets: 90 yuan

4. Matters needing attention: Ta County needs border defense permit

Taheman Township, a circulating palette

Leaving Ta County, we returned on the same road we had traveled, and we arrived at the "Taheman Wetland" in 20 minutes. This is the largest wetland in Ta County, surrounded by mountains, and it is also a rare grassland on the entire Pamirs. The herdsmen in Taheman Township rely heavily on this pasture, where cattle and sheep grazing can be seen everywhere.

Cang, brown, and dark brown, meandering river meanders and flowing lingering colors.

We flew the drone and captured this intense and layered color flow.

In the observation deck, there is a small coffee shop. Everyone ordered a cup of coffee and watched the autumn picture quietly through the glass.

Going further from Taheman Wetland is "Taheman Township." I will always remember the exclamation I made here that day. Taheman Township seems more like a small village on the Pamir Plateau than Ta County. The "tree hole" with no end in sight is like a golden tunnel. The autumn leaves on both sides of the road are densely intersecting, covering the entire road, just like walking in an oil painting.

Large tracts of Populus euphratica forest blooming on the grassland, dazzling and dazzling, make up the most beautiful look in Taheman Township. Following the direction of the wind, every inch of the air is filled with the smell of autumn.

A cow drinking water alone at the entrance of the village.

A cow walking alone on the trail.

An old Tajik grandfather sitting on the side of the road and herding sheep.

I secretly photographed him and was found, so I carefully asked if I could photograph him. He immediately stood up to arrange his clothes and smiled kindly at my camera.

These are his flocks.

This long-haired sheep is very cute and always stands up and eats the leaves above its head.

We walked for about an hour until we reached the depths of the village. I wanted to find a restaurant to eat, but every family in the center of the village, including the school and the factory, didn't see anyone. Maybe they all went out on National Day. We returned to the entrance of the village the same way, and found the only "Rostan Mujiale" where we could eat. The Mongolian Bao had the same appearance, and the Tajik people enthusiastically asked us to go in and sit.

We all ordered a portion of Xinjiang's special oily pork noodles, which was large in quantity and tasted good, 25 yuan for a portion.

During the period, a waiter of the hotel grandpa kept chatting with us, trying to tell us in bad Chinese that he is a Kezhou native, not the same as a Tajik, but the Chinese people are family, he loves China. We don't understand each other, but we talk with the same duck. Because Xiao D gave him a cigarette, he kept inviting us to sit at his house and drink milk tea. As we had to rush to Shache County for 6 hours that day, we declined. Before he left, he even chased it out and forced us a pack of toilet paper... Maybe he really wanted to give us something, but he really couldn't find one to give it. He felt very heartwarming.

1. No tickets are required for Taheman Wetland/Taheman Township

2. There is an observation deck in Taheman Wetland, which can fly drones

3. Taheman Township is a border village and cannot fly drones

4. The entrance of Taheman Township is a "golden tunnel", cars can only park at the entrance and walk into the village

三丨Shache, all prosperous will eventually dust and dirt

When we continued to the south, passed through countless misty village roads, and passed through heavy inspections to reach Shache, the staff at the gas station asked us if we were here for business, because few tourists came here. Shache is a small town located in the north of Kunlun Mountains, south of the Pamirs, and the Taklimakan Desert, and almost no one cares about it. But in the bones of Sarche, there has always been a proud lineage. Thousands of years ago, it was the "Yarkan Khanate" that dominated the Western Regions.

① Yarkand Khan Palace in the Desert

The real Mausoleum of Shache was destroyed by another Western Region country, Junggar, as early as the Yarkand Khanate. The current palace cost 300 million yuan in Shache County. It was restored based on historical records. Because Shache is surrounded by the Taklimakan Desert and the Dawakun Desert, it can be called a palace in the desert. The area of the entire palace is not large, the building structure is exquisite, the main color is blue and ocher, the color matching is fresh and out of the picture.

Symmetrical graphics, regular patterns, gorgeous, like walking into the world of kaleidoscope.

The courtyards, domes, corridors, walls, and colors all highlight the exotic characteristics.

1. Muqam music performance at 12:00/16:30

2. Tickets: 20; there is also the Mausoleum of Nisha Khan in Oman opposite the palace, tickets 25

3. Location: Wenhua Square, Altun, Shache County

② Shache Old Town, Kashgar 20 years ago

In the ancient alleys of the old city of Shache, there are still some mottled architectural ruins. Here, it is more like the old days of Southern Xinjiang. The "Azina Mosque" is located on Chasa Road and has a history of more than 500 years. Perhaps because the inside has been dilapidated, it is no longer open to the outside world. The mosque still retains its original soil structure, which is very rare.

A piece of old city wall and column top of unknown name.

Near the Azina Mosque is the old city, and there are many low dwelling houses in the ancient alleys. The alleys criss-cross like a maze. Some people say that Shache was in Kashgar 20 years ago. This sentence is too apt to describe it, and it was immediately pulled back to the 70s and 80s.

Although the houses are not as exquisite as Kashgar, people also painted the doors colorfully. This is an attitude towards life.

There are many children playing football in the alleys. They are different from the children in Kashgar. Children in Kashgar have seen many tourists, and they don't look at us more. The children here seem to have never encountered tourists. When they see us, their faces are full of curiosity, and everyone is staring at us. A little boy walked up to me and said shyly: "Hello".

I like the city of Shache very much. Even though the sky is full of sand and dust, even the sun is cold white. But in this old city that has passed through the storms of history, these streets and alleys that carry the old days can all touch me. It is not exquisite, and its broken beauty is the most unique.

③ Must-eat roast pigeon

Cities with a little bit of history have their own signature snacks. And the most distinctive food of Shache is the roast pigeon.

[Mukhamumu Hometown Restaurant] is the most famous roast pigeon restaurant in Shache, and 9 out of 10 Shache will visit this restaurant. The restaurant is on the roadside of the old city. There is an open-air courtyard.

Different from the small and exquisite roast pigeon in Cantonese cuisine, the roast pigeon here is quite big and one is enough for 2 people. The pigeon's skin is golden and crispy, the meat is firm, and the juice is retained.

Roasted pigeon skewers are half pigeons, which are more crispy than roasted whole pigeons, and the heat is really wonderful.

The lamb skewers have been eaten all the way, and every store has never stepped on thunder.

The grilled naan is not white. The noodles are sprinkled with cumin and chili, which is very appetizing.

The jelly tastes the same as the jelly we usually eat.

1. Business hours: 10:00-23:00

2. Price: roasted whole pigeon 28, roasted pigeon skewers 14, lamb skewers 10, jelly 5, roasted naan 5, yogurt 4

3. Location: Shache, No. 50, Qinaibag Road

四丨Taklimakan, through the sea of death

Taklimakan is the largest desert in China and the second largest mobile desert in the world. For thousands of years, the endless desert has discouraged countless merchants from the Western Regions. Niya, Loulan, Jingjue...These brilliant civilizations that were nurtured by the ancient Western Regions have been buried deep in the wind and sand, leaving nothing but silence. This is the day I am most looking forward to during this trip. The journey from Hotan through Taklimakan to Alla takes more than 400 kilometers and takes 8 hours. More than 10 minutes after the car left Hotan, it began to enter the desert. There will be some Populus euphratica forests in front of them, and they will gradually become scarce in the hinterland, and then there will be an endless expanse of sand dunes. Infinitely extending roads, infinitely extending deserts.

In the middle of the desert, we parked the car on the side of the road and saw the desert road with a drone.

In fact, I was shocked. I was able to build an asphalt road out of thin air in the desert called the "Sea of Death". On both sides, there were nets for solidifying wind and sand and planted with desert grass. How much manpower and material resources need to be sacrificed to accomplish this greatness? Engineering, only China! Therefore, this desert highway is not desolate and terrifying, and there are thoughtful signposts in many places, such as "Populus euphratica viewpoint", "Camel access" and so on.

I turned over the sand dunes on the side of the road and walked into a desert. Later, when Xiao D showed me the photos I took, I saw that it was so shocking. That's right, the red dot in the desert is me.

The sand of Taklimakan is super soft, and it sinks in with a light footstep. I think the word "holy" fits it well. The sand seems to have been washed a thousand times, clean enough to filter out all the dirt.

The sea-buckthorn tree is a rare plant in the desert. It is one of the oldest plants on the earth, at the same time as the dinosaurs. After more than 200 million years of vicissitudes, natural selection and survival of the fittest, dinosaurs disappeared, 96% of plants disappeared, but seabuckthorn survived tenaciously. Only with its amazing vitality can it be worthy of Taklimakan, the "Sea of Death".

In the desert of Zhongwei I visited last year, the end of the distance can be seen on the sand dunes. But here, on the shoulders of Taklimakan, there is no end that can be measured in any time. The distance seems to be far away, and behind the sand dunes, there are still sand dunes.

The texture of the desert actually made me feel in awe. Are humans considered to have conquered Taklimakan? Across the ancients, hundreds of millions of years, from the ocean to the dry sand sea, death has not stopped, and hope has been advancing.

The sea of death is no longer desolate now.

1. There are two roads in the Taklimakan Desert: Luntai-Tazhong-Minfeng 600km, Alar-Hotan 450km

2. There are gas stations on the desert highway

3. There is a "Tazhong Service Area" where you can eat on the way, it is recommended to bring your own self-heated rice to eat on the way

五 | Alar, the desert and the sleeping Populus

When passing through Taklimakan and arriving at Sleeping Populus Valley, the sun just set. As the staff of the scenic spot was going to get off work and the sightseeing car was out of service, we were allowed to drive in by ourselves. The ticket cost only 10 yuan per person. As soon as the car drove in, there were still groves of Populus euphratica that were still alive. When I got to the depths, I needed to stop and walk, and everything I saw was devastated. The endless sea of sand is covered with dead Populus euphratica. There are no branches and bark, and only a bare torso. Some are upright, some are lying, some are tilted, and they have different shapes.

In an instant, it seemed that the Jurassic Era had passed through time and space.

In ancient times, there was also a dense forest of Populus euphratica. With the drying up of the Niya River and the diversion of the Hotan River, tens of thousands of mu of Populus euphratica have collectively fallen into a permanent sleep. Living, not dying for a thousand years; after death, not falling for a thousand years; falling, not decayed for a thousand years.

It was as if a paw stretched out into the air, making the final struggle with fate.

The sky and the earth and the trees are desolate and tragic.

"Sleeping Populus", the name is really good. They didn't die, they just fell asleep. Compared with "Dead Populus", there is more fantasy of a thousand and one nights. Maybe one day, they are suddenly awakened again?

1. Business hours: close at 19:30

2. Tickets: 10/person (enter by car)

3. Play time: at sunset or after sunset, more vicissitudes of life

六 | Aksu, the wild Wensu Grand Canyon

Stayed for one night in Alar, a small city that all of us like very much, and drove to the last stop of the trip the next morning, the "Wensu Grand Canyon" in Aksu. There are two famous Grand Canyons in southern Xinjiang, one is the Tianshan Grand Canyon in Kuqa, and the other is the Wensu Grand Canyon in Aksu. Compared with the Tianshan Grand Canyon, the Wensu Grand Canyon is larger, more original, and richer in landscape. And you can enter by car. We have tickets for 4 people in one car + a total of 230 yuan for a self-driving car. There are dirt roads and sand roads in the canyon. It is really not very easy to drive, but it is not particularly difficult to drive. The off-road vehicle is the best. Our SUV is barely feasible. Driving into the canyon is completely like being in the west of the United States.

The only way to the No. 3 and No. 4 canyons is a very wide sandy land, but you must follow the wheel prints, or you will get stuck. We accidentally got stuck in the sand when we let the opposing car accidentally got into the sand and banged the accelerator several times before coming out.

Looking around, the ravines in the canyon are crisscrossed and twisted, and there are red cliffs and bizarre stone peaks and stone pillars everywhere, which are desolate and beautiful.

Two dead trees rooted in this desolate red land, facing each other.

Follow the road to Valley 3, which is the most popular place in the entire Grand Canyon, because it is too much like the Antelope Valley in the United States.

Although there is not the dreamy beam of light in the Antelope Valley, when the sun shines through the gaps on the stone walls, the light and shadow are also beautiful.

The Wensu Grand Canyon has a history of hundreds of millions of years, and it has not been over-exploited until now. Everything is authentic. If you can only choose one canyon in Xinjiang, it is recommended to come directly to Wensu. It integrates Danxia, Yadan, Karst and other structures, which is unique in our country and is a veritable "geological museum".

1. Business hours: 10:00-19:00

2. Tickets: 58/person (enter by car)

3. Location: Tokeman Hasi Village, Wensu County

4. Matters needing attention: Valley 3 is the most beautiful, Canyon 4 requires hiking


After returning from Nanjiang, I told my friends around me: "From today, I will be a travel promotion ambassador for Nanjiang! Everyone, let me go!" Yes, I really love this land. I think, in China, I may really not find a place to love more than it.

The initial "stranger" was not a measure of distance, but came from ignorance of her. The sky is very blue, the scenery is very beautiful, the sunshine is very long, there are many foods, and the prices are very low. Compared with other cities, this place seems to be another parallel world. From the Tarimu River to the foot of the Pamir Plateau, from the ancient Western Regions to the Tajik villages, from the Taklimakan Desert to the gorges hundreds of millions of years ago.. ...a section of the lost civilizations of the Western Regions, one by one, distant and ancient names, those brilliant And the prosperous past did not fall into the dust, but scattered in the vast galaxy.

It can be caught on the bricks and tiles of an ancient city, under the grassy beach of a snow-capped mountain, and in front of a grotto in a canyon. "For you, thousands of times!"

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