Within 21 days, the longest trip (21 days & 7,450km), the
hottest (44C), the highest (4,950m), most temperature difference (4C in the
morning and 35C in mid-day), the most films shot (over 1,690 exposures), the
most shooting stars sighted (3), the world's closest glacier to city (Xinjiang
#1 Glacier), the world's second largest desert (Taklamagan Desert), the
most hurricanes sighted (in Taklamagan Desert), the Asia's largest wind power
generation facility, the most camels, horses, cows and sheeps sighted, the most
lamb eaten, the smellest, the most farted, and the most shit stepped on.
2007 Jul 22: We departed from Hong Kong in the morning and took the intercity through train to Guangzhou. We departed from Guangzhou 广州 Baiyun 白云 new airport and arrived Urumqi 乌魯木齐 airport in the afternoon. We stayed at 棉麻宾馆. Dinner at the Urumqi's 乌魯木齐 5.1 星光夜市.
Album: Xinjiang Day 2 - 烏老木齊--天山天池 Tianchi Lake--五彩城
2007 Jul 23: We woke up early in the morning to join the two other cars with a group of Shanghainese. They also joined the drivers we booked and they will have the same route as we do. Our first destination was 天山天池, full of tourists and obviously a commercial tourist spot which required an expensive entrance fee. Next stop we went to 五彩城 in 五彩湾 through 戈壁灘 at 準噶尔盆地. We stayed in a 蒙古包. It was full of stars at night and I even saw the galaxy and three shooting stars.
For portraits taken today, please click --> Z in Nature
2007 Jul 24: Through the 216 National Highway 国道, we headed to 布尔津 and our first destination was 五彩滩 but it was just another hot tourist spot. We did not even pay the entrance fee but rather asked Master Guo 郭师傅 to drive around. We went through a great field of Sunflowers and some other beautiful spots. We had dinner at the 布尔津河堤夜市. We lodged at 华鑫大酒店. But of course, it was not a big hotel at all.
For portraits taken today, please click --> Z on Highway For portraits taken today, please click --> In the bed of Flowers
2007 Jul 25: Another beautiful day that we followed the 232 Provincial Highway 省道 through 嘉登峪 which was a series of path round the mountains, lots of beautiful scenes such as 蒙古包, heaps of sheeps, groups of mountains. After some time driving, we reached the entrance of Hemu 禾木, and it costs quite a lot for the entrance and the shutter bus. The shuttle bus took 40 minutes to reach the center of Hemu 禾木, which is a small village inside a group of mountains. So we spent the afternoon there walking around. We stayed at the 瑞丰宾馆, a wooden lodge. We had a small room with five beds.
2007 Jul 26: I woke up around 6:30am in the morning while
everyone else sleeping and hiked around 30 minutes to a viewer's spot to shoot
pictures of sunrise. It was cold before the sunrise, absolutely.
After I finished shooting, I went down to wake them up and we strolled
around Hemu 禾木 and went to some places behind where the locals live and walked
up the hills. We were trying to do things where no other tourists were
doing. Four out of five of us stepped on whatever shit that morning.
Around noon time after lunch, we took the shuttle back to the entrance of
the place and we drove all the way back
to the start of 嘉登峪 and took a different way to Kanas 喀纳斯. Kanas 喀纳斯
is a famous tourist spot where the 喀纳斯湖 (with rumor of lake monster's
appearance) lies within. Not to forget, 喀纳斯 is one place where
it was very close to the border of Russia. Kanas 喀纳斯 was so far one of the
biggest disappointment for us as it was too commercial and expensive. The
place was very big that there are frequent shuttle buses going through the
place. After we settled down in a really primitive wooden hut with rooms
separated by thin wooden boards and broken glasses, we took a shuttle bus up the
road and walked around the 喀纳斯湖. Lots of lots of tourists. Then
we came back to our lodge in late afternoon and spent an hour or so chatting and
resting. Dinner and bed time followed.
For portraits taken today,
please click --> Z Room
Album: Xinjiang Day 6 - 喀納斯 Kanas--烏爾禾魔鬼城--克拉瑪依 Karamay
2007 Jul 27: We woke up in the morning and wanted to leave the place already. So the driver took us to a few "must go" spots such as 月亮湾, 卧龙湾 etc and we left the place. Our next destination was 乌尔禾魔鬼城 through the 217 National Highway 国道. It was late so we did not go in the tourist spot by not paying the entrance fee. Instead, we just took a few pictures from the outside. Next we went to Karamay 克拉瑪依 白碱滩區 for dinner and lodging.
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Album: Xinjiang Day 7 - 克拉瑪依 Karamay--塞里木湖 Sayram Lake
2007 Jul 28: Today's destination was to our suprise. After a few days of being disappointed, we carried no hope to any sort of lakes and mountains. After around nine hours of drives through the 312 National Highway 国道, going through a few towns such as Usu 乌苏镇, 高泉镇, 精河 etc, we arrived Sayram Lake 塞里木湖 area which all of us became so excited because of the beautiful views. Sayram Lake 塞里木湖 was at 2,071m and the temperature dropped to 6C already. We also experienced quite a small hail storm. After settling down, we picked a big 蒙古包 with a glass front door overviewing the lake. It was said the area of Sayram Lake 塞里木湖 is larger than the entire Hong Kong area. We had our dinner delivered to our 蒙古包 and it was a great meal.
Album: Xinjiang Day 8 - 塞里木湖 Sayram Lake
2007 Jul 29: Today we took the 218 National Highway 国道 going through Guozigou 果子沟, 芦草沟 and 清水河镇 and changed to 312 National Highway 国道 and arrived 伊犁. We parked at the 伊犁河大桥 and spent around an hour walking around the place. Then we started the journey again going through places such as 敦巴札, 察合台, 那拉提镇 etc through the 217 National Highway 国道. During the way, we also drove along the 天山山脉 and saw a beautiful sunset and the moon. It was at 2,400m and the temperature was 5C. Finally we reached 巴音布鲁克 at night, a very small town with only a few shops and buildings. We had our first 汉歺 since we arrived Xinjiang 新疆. We stayed at the 西域超市宾馆.
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Album: Xinjiang Day 9 - 巴音布鲁克--大龙池
2007 Jul 30: It was more of a sporty day today, also an unlucky day. We headed to the 巴音布鲁克大草原 and had a 40 minutes of horse back riding. The Goose Lake 天鹅湖 was there but I actually did not see any of them. It was really fun until I realized I lost my camera 15mm viewfinder. Nonetheless, the horse back riding was really fun. After that, we went through the worse of road condition of the trip which was the 314 National Highway 国道. It was all the way along the mountain but it was almost completely trashed by landslides because of the rain I was told. At one big bump, we had to get off our car and walked through the bump after the car went through it. It was dangerous all the way but luckily nothing big happened. The highest spot we went to was at 2,900m and it was 4C. Then we went downhill and reached the 大龙池. We finally stayed at a 假蒙古包 at 大龙池.
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Album: Xinjiang Day 10 - 大龙池--阿克苏 Akasu
2007 Jul 31: It was another day of traffic as we needed to catch the time of what we lost in the previous day. Our first destination was 大峡谷. So we spent around an hour there just to walk around. Next we went to 千佛洞 but for some reasons we did not get in there to see all those 佛像. At last, we arrived Aksu 阿克苏 which was a big tourist city in Xinjiang 新疆. We stayed at the 重庆大酒店, a good bargain with reasonable quality. During the day, the temperature difference was the highest 35C and the lowest 4C.
2007 Aug 01: It's the big day today. Finally we are heading to Kashgar 喀什, the place we were all expected. "沒有去过喀什, 就是沒去过新疆" We arrived Kashgar 喀什 quite late so we settled down and had dinner almost immediately. Afterwards, we had a walk around the place and went to an internet bar for the night. We stayed at 开元宾馆 for the night.
Album: Xinjiang Day 12 - 喀什 Kashgar--塔什库尔干 Tashkurgan (塔县) Tajik
2007 Aug 02: Through the 314 National Highway 国道, we took off from Kashgar 喀什 and headed to Tajik 塔县. During the way we went through various spots such as Karakul Lake 喀勒库力湖 and Mt. Muztagata 慕士塔格峰 (Father of mountains). We arrived 塔县 in the afternoon, lunch (more like a dinner as it was late afternoon) and strolled around for the local markets. We also hanged out with some local Uygur 维吾尔族 for some picture shooting. We stayed at the 慕士塔格宾馆.
Album: Xinjiang Day 13 - 塔什库尔干--红其拉莆 Konjirap--喀什 Kashgar
2007 Aug 03: So it was another "most" that day. We went to Konjirap 红其拉莆 after we obtained some special permit. Konjirap 红其拉莆 is a place where the national boundry is between China and Pakistan. It was located at 4,900m up on the mountain. When we arrived there, it was just 2C. We then returned directly to Kashgar 喀什 after visiting there.
2007 Aug 04: The big day was there. We decided to extend our trip for one day just because we wanted to spend more time in 喀什. So here it was. We first went to the Tomb of Abac Hoja 香妃墓 though we did not purchase the entrance ticket so we did not enter. Instead, we went to the have a walk in the nearby neighborhood and shoot some pictures. Then we went to the 大巴札 and did some shoppings. Following that, we went to the old city area 老城区 and spent much time there playing with local Uygur 维吾尔族 people and then walked all the way through some local markets and back to the famous Atlgar (or Idkah) Mosque 艾提尕尔清真寺. Just so happened they were performing the ceremony 礼拜 so we could not enter. Then we just randomly walked around the area and found our way back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. It was a beautiful, hot and fruitful day. We lodged at 其尼瓦克宾馆 for the second night.
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Album: Xinjiang Day 15 - 喀什 Kashgar--和田 Khotan
2007 Aug 05: Another big day it was. We finally took off from Kashgar 喀什 and headed to Khotan 和田 through the famous Desert Highway 沙漠公路. It was some six hours driving all the way through the world's second biggest desert, the Taklimakan Desert 塔克拉玛干沙漠. However the disappointing thing was the entire sky was more or less covered by sands and therefore the sky was more like yellow in colors, without bright sunlight. We still took some pictures on the way though. We also spotted some small to medium size hurricanes during the way in the desert. So we arrived 和田 and first visited the 核桃树王, 1,362 years old. Then we went to some minor spots not really worth mentioning. We lodged at 台州宾馆.
2007 Aug 06: Another hectic day of travelling that we went through the Taklimakan Desert 塔克拉玛干沙漠 again from Khotan 和田 to 民丰 Minfeng. We dropped by the 尼雅博物馆 but I did not get in there. We lodged at 宝瑞宾馆.
07: Nine hours drive, we arrived
from Minfeng 民丰 to Korla 库尔勒 through the desert
highway 沙漠公路 again. Korla 库尔勒 was very much a modern city so that's why I
did not take any pictures of the city. Funny thing is we had dinner at
KFC, yes, it was finally a meal of modern life. However, comparing to the
local food, I do prefer the local food. We lodged at the
For portraits taken today, please click --> Desert Z
2007 Aug 08: 206 Provincial Highway 省道 then 314 National Highway 国道, we arrived Turpan 吐鲁番 in the late afternoon again. We first dropped by 坎儿井, one of the greatest national structure in China, as great as the Great Wall, as I was told. But we decided not to get in. Then we went to 交河故城 and wanted to get in but it was too late as it closes at 7:30pm. We then lodged at 交通宾馆 and had dinner nearby.
2007 Aug 09: Our first desination today was 苏公塔 though we did not purchase the tickets again and we just took some pictures from far away. Then Master Guo 郭师傅 did us a big favor and took us to a family where he used to stay there back in some twenty years. We stayed there for a while visiting the house, saw how they 晾葡萄. We also followed 师傅's friends to 摘葡萄. It was sure a friendly afternoon visiting some locals again. Following that it was 火焰山. It was so hot, 44C, the hottest time during the whole trip. Lastly we visited 交河故城 finally, spent around an hour there and it was really hot. We then took off and headed back to 乌鲁木齐. Our first destination there was to go to another 大巴札 there and did some shoppings. We had our dinner at the 团结民族风情夜市. The grilled chicken there was awesome. We stayed at the 林安宾馆 for the night.
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Album: Xinjiang Day 20 - 烏老木齊--一號冰川 Xinjiang Day 21 - departed 烏老木齊 Urumqi
2007 Aug 10: Our last trip day for the trip. Through the 216 National Highway 国道, we headed to the No.1 Glacier 一號冰川. It took at least a couple of hours to go through the mountain to reach there. Then we had to hire some motorbikes to go up some small mountain paths for the 冰川, the world's closest glacier to the city. The motorbike drive sure was very dangerous. After that we intended to come back to the 大巴札 again for shoppings but that was when my accident happened. My foot was run over by the Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD that Master Guo 郭师傅 drives. I was then sent to the local hospital and had X-ray and examined. My left toe was bleeding but luckily there were no fracture. So our plan changed and we directly headed back to dinner and lodged at Master Guo 郭师傅's house for the night.
2007 Aug 11: We woke up early in the morning to go to the airport, which was some 10-15 minutes drive from Master Guo 郭师父's house. We said goodbye to Urumqi 乌鲁木齐 and headed back to Shenzhen 深圳. Then we took the intercity bus back to Hong Kong and arrived around 6pm. This concluded the long, wonderful, adventurous trip.
Changed: Jun 17, 2008.
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