Nan Shan: Welcome to Xinjiang

Ürümqi (pop 3.5 million) - Uyghur name

Wūlǔmùqí – Chinese name

Xinjiang – Uyghur Autonomous Region

Peoples Republic of China

June 24, 2017

Hello and Welcome to Nan Shan – The Southern Mountains,

In the parking lot of this popular tourist area seventy-five kilometers (46 miles) south of the city, young Kazakh women offer to take us to their summer yurts for tea or lunch.  Horseback rides are available as well as hikes through the grassland meadows up the mountainsides.

(Between May and October Kazakh families move their yurts into this area to graze their herds. Kazakhs are an important minority group in this area of China.  The border of Kazakhstan is just beyond the mountains.) 

My driver Tehran and I opt for a bowl of milk tea and fresh baked bread.  Our hostess is thankful for her guests as we take a break gazing down into the meadows and up towards the mountain peaks and hillsides with thick forests.

Aside from a modest entry fee to this area called Baiyang Gau or White Poplar Gully, the fresh air, blue skies and verdant meadows are supplied at no extra charge.

There is an expensive fee (60 RMB - almost $9.00 US) for the fifteen-minute van ride along a rushing stream and then up a steep hill to the main attraction, a twenty-meter waterfall (66 ft.) that provides a misty backdrop for the dozens and dozens of delighted visitors, young and old who simply can’t get enough of this noisy and picturesque natural phenomenon, that after all, is not that far from one of the grand deserts in the word. 

The fee is worth every penny. The merry-making Chinese visitors are happy to pose for photos both with me and for me. The young kids are particularly enthusiastic and happy to “high five” and flash that ubiquitous two-fingered V sign of “hello.”

“Welcome” to Far West China.

Welcome to Xinjiang

Welcome to China's Central Asia

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