Xinjiang offers tourists unmatched air views
Updated: 2016-07-22 11:14
By Mao Weihua in Urumqi and Xu Wei in Beijing(China Daily)
A helicopter takes a low-altitude sightseeing flight. Provided to China Daily
From the beautiful grasslands in Bayanbulak to the stunning lakes in Kanas, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has a lot to offer in terms of visually intriguing air views.
The region's first civil aviation company devoted to low-altitude tourist flights was the Hangerdi Pilot Club, which was established in 2013 in the grasslands of Bayanbulak.
It offers tourists the chance to see the country's second largest prairie from the air, as well as the snow-capped Tianshan Mountain and the area's rivers and lakes.
Bayanbulak, which means "prosperous spring" in Mongolian, is also one of the most important bases for animal husbandry in Xinjiang.
Melting snow, coupled with plenty of precipitation and abundant groundwater reserves, has lead to the formation of a large number of swamps and lakes. The area is widely-known as a wild swan reserve, with about 8,000-10,000 swans and other birds to breed here in the summer or make migrating stopovers in the spring and autumn. The best time for tourists in Bayanbulak is between April and October.
Another civil aviation club, established in Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture's Tekes county, offers tourists the chance to fly low over a planned community that resembles a bagua, or the eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality.
Tekes county was once home to the ancient state of Wusun (300 BC-300 AD) and it now boasts the largest collection of ancient Wusun tombs in China. Other attractions include the sweeping, verdant Kalajun Grassland.
The AviClub Aviation Club, meanwhile, has chosen Burqin county as its base. It seek to explore business opportunities in Fuyun county and around Kanas Lake and Koktokay.
With a total area of 788 square km, Koktokay is an ideal place for sightseeing, vacationing, hiking and scientific investigation. It means "green forest" in Kazakh and "blue river bend" in Mongolian.
Located in the north of Burqin county, Kanas has been widely acclaimed as the "Switzerland of the Orient" and "heaven for photographers".
It is home to virgin forests, pristine grasslands and the Tuva people, who are closely related to Mongolians, as well as several rare species of mammals and birds.
Kanas shares a border with Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, and its 44.78-square-km lake is shaped like a bean pod, changing color as the day progresses and flanked on all sides by glaciers.
Manas county in the Changji Hui autonomous prefecture is another scenic area that tourists can view from the air.
Xinjiang Jinsilu Phoenix General Aviation Co gives sightseers the chance to look down at a deserted jade mine and a desert park from a helicopter that flies at an altitude of 3,000 meters.
The jade mine, located in the south of Manas, would otherwise be difficult to access due to the rough terrain and seven-day journey time. By contrast, a low-altitude flight takes about one hour.
The best time for tourists in Manas or Tekes is between June and October.
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