Comprising a massive swath of land on China's north western border, Xinjiang (Xīnjiāng, Xinjiang Autonomous Region makes up more than one sixth of China's total land mass, less than 5% of the area is habitable and the population of the entire region is less than that of Shanghai, hovering around the 20 million mark. Traveling to Xinjiang is not for the faint of heart, as the transportation infrastructure is limited, the local dialects many and the climate harsh. Though there are a number of mountain ranges in Xinjiang, including the towering peak of K2 on the Pakistani border, Xinjiang is not all snow-capped mountains; much of the province is made up of deserts. The lowest point in China, the Turpan Depression (Tǔlǔfān péndì, 吐鲁番盆地), is also in Xinjiang. (More after the jump... ) So if you're ready to haul along shoddy roads in cars with terrible shocks, if you'd like to hop on a camel and trek across an empty lake bed or if you think you'd like to munch on some Uighur cuisine on a street corner, then Xinjiang is for you. This photo was taken on the Karakoram Highway (Kèlǎkūnlún gōnglù, 喀喇昆仑公路) at White Sand Lake (Báishā Hú, 白沙湖), heading towards Pakistan. Those are traditional Turkic yurts (a sort of tent-like home used by the nomadic peoples of central Asia) in the foreground. It must have been quite a sight to behold. Luckily, our determined traveler was able to take this great picture to share with those unlucky enough not to have been there. Thanks to Lisa Weir for this great shot. If you want to see more, head over to her Picasa Web Gallery, where you'll find albums of great photos that she's gathered over four years in China. For more great images of China you can also check out our own Ctrip China Travel Flickr photostream, as featured on the Ctrip Community Page, a new social platform that brings together all the best China travel deals, travel tips and more!
Xinjiang guide | Xinjiang destinations Xinjiang on the China Travel Blog