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Driving Tours across China

Last updated by Great Traveler at 2008/3/18; Destinations:

Day 1 June 15th Horgos / Yining (100kms, 2 hours)

We met our 6 clients at the border of Kazakhstan at Horgos on the Chinese side of the border and helped them to complete the necessary formalities. Our office had done all the ground work but it still took a few hours. We were all very excited as we set of from this ancient city through the stunning landscape to make our way to our first overnight stop, Yining. The motor homers camped in the hotel car park while I stayed in the hotel with the guide. We are looking forward to our full day on the road tomorrow.

Day 2 Yining / Sayram Lake / Jinghe (300kms)

Up at the day break, unlike the mountain areas, sun rises without any notice. We drive to the SayramLake grassland where herds of sheep & cows move along the highway. Mongolian yurts dot the ocean of grassland. The aqarmarine SayramLake is the biggest alpine lake in Xinjiang at 2073 meters elevation and covers an area of over 450 square kilometers. Surrounded by the Tarqings mountain region,its blue waters reflecting snow-covered peaks and herds of cattle grazing on its shores, it is a picture of pastoral tranquility.

We are coming at the right time of the year. Sayram is like a beautiful wowen just open her eyes and curious about the surronding world, quiet and naturaly. We are excited about riding a horse. You can also see how handsome I am on a horse back.

In the late afternoon, we drive for Jinghe where we spend our second night.

Day 3 June 17th Jinghe / Urumqi (300km)

Today we will drive from Jinghe to Urumqi. No stopping on the way as we have over 300 klms to drive. We decided to buy some more food before setting out. Our guide lead us to a bazzar, where is much bigger than we thought. Fruits and commodities are various and exotic. It is not hard to find what we need. Most of the peddlers can speak Mandarin and are friendly and open.

When we arrived Urumqi, It is 8:00pm. It is even more beautiful here at night. A smell of barbecue pervaded the air. We will stop at the Hotel Universal. Only our guide and I stay in the room. It is really nice. Well equiped, fine service. Good reccomendation for travelers.

Day 4 Urumqi / Turpan (280km)

Our motor homers decide to drop the sightseeings in Urumqi and drive to Turpan directly. It is not a long drive. We have enough time to visit karez, Jiaohe ruins and Gongsun Pogoda in the rest of the day.

Karez - Undergroud channel for navigation created in Xinjiang for its special geography.

Jiaohe Ruins- spectacular, worth visiting. Take a lot of picture there.

Day 5 Jun 19th Turpan / Hami (407km)

Gongsun pogoda- a temple and a pogoda. Small, but national

Early at 7:30am, we drive to Hami. On the way, a visit has been made to Astana Tomb. Ancient, but nothing left there. Then we drive to Baiziklik Caves. It is famous as one Thou-sand Buddha Caves, well preserved though built in the desert in 11 century. Though 30-50 minutes visit is enough, it impress me most.

In the next few hours, we enjoy the magical landscape of Gobi desert when driving to Hami. 6:00pm, we reach Heli Hotel in Hami which is really a nice place for traveller, clean and relaxing.

Day 6 Jun 20th Hami / Dunhuang (480km)

Today, we will leave Hami, the last stop in Xinjiang for Dunhuang in Gansu Province. We arrive Dunhuang hotel around 6:00pm though we set out early this morning. It is a long drive. Lying in the motor for a whole day prevent us from the hot and strong sunshine.

Day 7 Jun 21st Dunhuang

Our clients hire a coach there with our guide leading the way to see the Mogao Grottoes. I have been there several times, so trying some other places seems more meanful to me. A market is my best destination, local flavors and booths selling souvenir.

Day 8 Jun 22nd Dunhuang–Golmud (1000km)

Today we drive from Dunhuang to Golmud crossing ChaidamuBasin, a district sparsely inhabited with an altitude over 3000m. Looking out of the window, only yellowish sand and dark mountains all way long. Throughout the journey, we seldom stop for taking pictures. But it still take us a whole day to cover 1000km. At 10 pm, we arrive at Golmud.

Day 9 Jun 23rd Golmud

We will set out for Tibet tomorrow morning. A good rest is a must as well as some other preparation like food and commidities. Luckily, our local guide in Tibet, a strong and handsome man come to meet us here. Our members feel much better with him to lead the way.

Day 10 Jun 24th Golmud / TuoTuo River (420kms, 7-8 hours)

As scheduled, we will drive through the vast wilderness and Tsaidam meadow on the Tibet-Qinghai-Plateau along the road in the foot of the Kunlun-mountain and go on upwards by steep valley to cross over the 4.837- meter-high KunlunPass. Afterwards pass by the FirstBridge over the YangtseRiver and arrive in Tuotuohe yan, which is lain in the head stream of the YangtseRiver.

Setting out at 7:30. Two hours later, we have been on a place with height over 4100m. Suddenly, the sky become dark and wild snow comes without notice. Every member feel excited though it will be harder to drive. The magical weather is out of our expectation, especially when we have been fighting with the high temperature in the last 9 days.

Day 11 Jun 25th TuoTuo River /Naqu

Drive upwards from TuotuoRiver, we get closer to the most difficult part of our journey, Tibet. Getting over the 5200m high TanggulaMountain is a great chanlenge today. Thanks to the long time preparation, we are able to make it. But it is still hard to breaze at the high altitude. Two hours later, we arrive Naqu, the first stop in Tibet. Weather features: strong wind, low temperture.