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21 Mar 2024  (1097 Views) 
Tan Kin Lian - Perspectives

Tour of Xinjiang, May 2024
I am joining a tour of Xinjiang, China in May 2024. The places of visit include Urumqi, Shihezi, Sayram Lake, Yining, Tekes, Gongliu, Naraty Grasslands, Yining and Urumqi. 

Shihezi is a sub-prefecture-level city in Northern Xinjiang, China. It has a population of around 380,000 (according to the 2010 census). It is known for being a scientific and industrial center of Xinjiang.
Here's some information about Shihezi:
History: Shihezi was established in the 1950s as a new city by the People's Liberation Army. It was built to be a base for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary organization tasked with developing Xinjiang.
Economy: The city's economy is driven by industry, agriculture, and education. Shihezi is a major producer of sugar, tomatoes, and cotton. The city is also home to a number of factories that produce chemicals, textiles, and machinery.
Education: Shihezi is home to Shihezi University, the second-largest comprehensive university under the Project 211 in Xinjiang.
Demographics: The majority of Shihezi's population is Han Chinese. However, there are also significant Uyghur, Kazakh, and Hui minorities.
Shihezi is not a major tourist destination, but it is an interesting place to visit to learn about the history and development of Xinjiang. The city is also a good base for exploring the surrounding area, which includes the Tian Shan mountains and the Junggar Basin.

Sayram Lake, also known as Sailimu Lake, is a stunning alpine lake located in the Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, China. Nicknamed "The Last Tear of the Atlantic Ocean," it boasts the title of Xinjiang's largest and highest alpine lake.
Here's a breakdown of some key features of Sayram Lake:
Location: Perched amidst the Tian Shan mountain range, near the border with Kazakhstan.
Size: With a surface area of 458 square kilometers (177 sq mi), it's vast and breathtaking.
Elevation: Sayram Lake sits at an impressive elevation of 2,070 meters (6,791 ft) above sea level.
Name Origin: The Kazakh name "Sayram" translates to "blessing," reflecting the lake's beauty and serenity.
Biodiversity: The lake and its surrounding wetlands are a haven for diverse plant and animal life, including rare and endangered species.

Yining and Ghulja are two names for the same city in Xinjiang, China. Yining is the official Chinese name, while Ghulja is the Uyghur name. The city is also sometimes referred to as Kulja in Kazakh.
Yining is located in the Ili River valley, in the northwestern part of Xinjiang. It is the capital of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. The city has a long history, dating back to the Han Dynasty. It was an important trading center on the Silk Road.
Today, Yining is a modern city with a mix of Uyghur, Han Chinese, and Kazakh cultures. The city is known for its beautiful scenery, its traditional Uyghur bazaars, and its delicious food. Some popular tourist destinations in Yining include:
The Ili River
The Khorgas Valley
The Naraty Grasslands
The Karakol Lake
The Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Museum

Gongliu County, also known as Tokkuztara County in Uyghur, is a county situated within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, administered by the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
Here's some information about Gongliu County:
Location and Size: Gongliu County covers an area of approximately 4,119 square kilometers (1,590 sq mi).
Population: According to the 2002 census, the county has a population of 160,000.
Natural Beauty: Gongliu County offers a variety of natural attractions, including ancient castles, beacon towers, prehistoric human habitation sites, fossil mountains, mirages, wild camel herds in the desert, and unique geographical features.
Potential Activities: The area is a destination for those who enjoy nature and exploration. Activities may include visiting historical sites, rock collecting, and wildlife viewing.

Tekes County is located in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, and is under the administration of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. Tekes is known for a few things:
Bagua City: Tekes County contains a unique town center planned in the shape of a Bagua, or Eight Trigrams, which is a concept from Taoist cosmology. The town is famous for its radial, circular street layout, sometimes described as a labyrinth. Legend attributes the town's design to Qiu Chuji, a Taoist master from the Southern Song Dynasty. Because of the town's layout, traffic lights were removed in 1996.
Natural Beauty: Tekes County boasts stunning natural scenery. The county is home to grasslands, mountains, forests, and lakes. Some of the highlights include the Kalajun Prairie, the Tekes Prairie, Ake Kule Lake, and the Tekes Limestone Cave and Stone Forest.
Cultural Heritage: Tekes County is a multi-ethnic region with a rich cultural heritage. The county is home to Uyghur, Han Chinese, and Kazakh ethnicities. Visitors can experience this cultural diversity through traditional food, music, and festivals.

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