Kanas Travel Guide: How to Plan a Trip to the Northern Tip of Xinjiang

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China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region never lacks magnificent and unspoiled natural beauty. The Kanas Scenic Area is one of the must-see sites if you are traveling to northern Xinjiang.

Located in Altay Prefecture, Kanas presents a multi-faceted scenic region with glaciers, lakes, forests, meadows and pastures. It offers tourists totally different points of view throughout the seasons.

Wolong Bay in the Kanas Scenic Area. / CFP

Wolong Bay in the Kanas Scenic Area. / CFP

Turquoise is the main color of spring in Kanas, as meadows and trees begin to grow, while the water can turn aquamarine blue and dark green in summer. Fall is considered by many to be the most beautiful season in Kanas, as the changing hues of the birch trees blend with the greens of the spruce to create a multi-hued and colorful world. In winter, the whole area is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and wooden houses.

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in spring. / CFP

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in spring. / CFP

Picturesque area of ​​Kanas in summer. / CFP

Picturesque area of ​​Kanas in summer. / CFP

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in autumn. / CFP

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in autumn. / CFP

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in winter. / CFP

Scenic area of ​​Kanas in winter. / CFP

Kanas Lake is China’s deepest freshwater lake, covering 45 square kilometers and with an average depth of 120 meters. Visitors can take a long walk along the lake and enjoy different views from Fairy Bay to Moon Bay to Wolong Bay.

A trip to Kanas takes two or three days.

Moon Bay in autumn in the scenic Kanas region. / Chen Bo from CGTN

Moon Bay in autumn in the scenic Kanas region. / Chen Bo from CGTN

Flights from Urumqi to Kanas Airport take about an hour and a half. Then you need an hour’s drive along the mountain highway to get to the scenic Kanas area. Remember that in winter, which usually begins at the end of October, only small vehicles with less than six seats are allowed to circulate in the area.

Meanwhile, there are shuttles to and from scenic spots in the vast Kanas Scenic Area. Normally, buses are available from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Don’t miss the last bus if you are walking along the lake.

A general view of the grasslands, mountains and sky of the Kanas Scenic Area in summer. / CFP

A general view of the grasslands, mountains and sky of the Kanas Scenic Area in summer. / CFP

Hotels at the foot of the Kanas Scenic Area are typically available for six months – May through October – but remain closed during the cold winter, while the wooden houses inside the Scenic Area remain open to visitors throughout. the year. Please book early if you plan to visit the area during peak season.

A general view of the snowy world of the Kanas Scenic Area in winter. / CFP

A general view of the snowy world of the Kanas Scenic Area in winter. / CFP

Bring water and energy foods as you can walk for a very long time along the lake. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes and bring enough clothing as temperatures vary widely between locations.

(Cover photo taken by Chen Bo, redesigned by Liu Shaozhen)


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