Thursday, Urumqi Tour to Nanshan Southern Pasture

Urumqi, China
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Took a tour to Nanshan (Southern Mountain) aka Southern Pasture which is an area about 70 kms south of Urumqi with jagged mountains and a high prairie. It is inhabited by nomadic groups from Kazakhstan.

I found the tour because the company has an office right at the south entrance to the People's Park (Ren Min Park) inside the temple. They have a tour bus to a lake that leaves every day from there. The Nanshan tour bus leaves from somewhere else but came by to pick me up a little after 9 am. I was the only foreigner on the tour so the poor tour guide girl had to give me separate instructions in not great English. As usual, every move I made was closely watched by everyone else.

At Nanshan we all took the electric shuttle car to the mountain. It was very scenic but there wasn't much to do. There was a donkey and a yak to take pictures with. There were steps up to a waterfall on one side and up the mountain on the other side. They step trails weren't very long so I did all of that in about 20 minutes of the 2 hours that we had.

For the rest of the time, I casually took the long walk back to the Yurt camp and enjoyed the alpine mountains, cows, and the Kazakh horse guys and girls that were taking the horses back after the horse tours. Each horse tour rider had a Kazakh on the horse with them reaching around to handle the reigns. The key phrase is "reach around" which is what it looked like.

After that we had a Kazakh lunch and tea in a nice yurt. There was a young Kazakh girl who came with her traditional dress and hat and gave us a lively Kazakh dance demonstration. She pulled people out of the audience to dance with her and naturally I got pulled up twice to everyone's glee.

After the tour, I had a long dinner at KFC, went to get my big backpack from the hotel, caught a pirate taxi to the train station, and caught the overnight train to Yining which is close to the Kazakhstan border. Security at the train station was super tight and it took forever to get into the departure area.

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