Home ChinaTravel Three mountains sandwiched between two basins divide Xinjiang’s attractions into three key areas

Three mountains sandwiched between two basins divide Xinjiang’s attractions into three key areas


The geography of Xinjiang is characterized by “three mountains and two basins”, from north to south, the Altai Mountains, Junggar Basin, Tianshan Mountains, Tarim Basin and Kunlun Mountains. Almost all of the famous landscapes are located in these mountains or on the edge of the basin under the mountains. The Tianshan Mountains in the middle, separating the Junggar Basin and the Tarim Basin, divide Xinjiang into the southern and northern regions.

The northernmost part of Xinjiang is the Altay region and the largest city is the city of Altay, where an Altay mountain range stretches across. This is the first major area of Xinjiang to focus on, and a host of the most well-known attractions in Xinjiang that we are familiar with are here. Kanas, Cocoto Sea, and Haomu, among others.

The notch at the western end of the Tianshan Mountains is a natural funnel-shaped terrain area that intercepts all the warm and humid Atlantic air currents in the funnel terrain, and this area forms the Yili Valley, which has the wettest climate and softest terrain in Xinjiang. Yili is the general name for this area, the full name is Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, and the largest city is Yining. Although Yili is part of the northern border, it has a high concentration of summer attractions and is the second most popular area in Xinjiang for key excursions.

The southwest corner of Xinjiang, where the Pamir Plateau and the Karakorum Mountains meet, is the third major area of focus for excursions. From the living ancient city of Kashgar, to a host of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and other geological landscapes, all gather here.


The first major area-Altai region

! Highlights of the landscape

The northernmost part of Xinjiang, although there are not many attractions, but our earliest cognition to Xinjiang may be this scenic area. From the rumors of water monsters in Kanas Lake 20 years ago, to the shepherds of the Cocoto Sea sung in songs to this day, as well as the village of Haomu and Burqin. The modern glaciers and snow-covered alpine ice and snow chill zone with altitude drop breeds vertical landscape stratification. Lakes, rivers, fir forests, snow-capped mountains, these landscapes come together, it is difficult not to be beautiful.



It’s hard not to be beautiful! Travel time

The fir forests in Altay change their colors to yellow and green in autumn, and the natural landscape is most beautiful from September to October. In winter, it is a paradise for lovers of snow and ice tourism. In winter, Kanas and Haomu are not closed, the entrance fee is reduced by half or even free, and you can drive into the scenic spots. Want to ski you can go to the Cocoto Sea, where the winter ski resort is also one of the best in the country, there are tourists every winter to live in a period of time.


! Traveling traffic advice

1、Fly directly to Urumqi, then transfer to Altay, some cities can also fly directly to Altay. After arriving in Altay City and then rent a car, drive from Urumqi, fuel costs plus toll fees, four or five days will cost more. The two or three days of driving along the way is basically a no-man’s land with bad scenery.

2, if you really want to start from Urumqi, you can take the A-U highway S21. this is a newly rebuilt highway through the Gurbantunggut desert, nearly 200 kilometers less than the original route. Since it is a newly rebuilt highway, it is recommended to fill up the fuel in Wujiaqu City before departure. Long-distance no-man’s land may encounter no fuel in the service area.

The second most important area – Yili

! Highlights of the landscape

Along the Tianshan Mountains, from east to west, the focus of the landscape in order to have a large sea road, Balikun, Turpan, Tianshan Tianchi, Bayinbruck, Narathi, Duku Highway, Tangbula grassland, Qiongkushtai, Kara Jun, Xia Tower, Zhaosu, Yining, Daxigou, Selim Lake. There are many more attractions along the way, not to mention them all.

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