The Most Beautiful Lakes and Grasslands Along the Silk Road
You are about to take a tour of the ancient Silk Road in China, a journey that once embodied the spirit of discovery and exchange. On this journey, you will visit the magnificent grasslands and the most beautiful lakes along the Silk Road. Along the way, you will also experience the ancient cities with a rich tradition and culture, meet unique people, and learn more about their lifestyle and culture.
The most famous route on the Silk Road tour in China is beginning from Xi'an- Lanzhou- Wuwei- Jiayuguan- Dunhuang- Turpan and north to Urumqi and further to Kanas Lake, or south to Kuqa and further to Kashgar. Or continue to Hotan from Dunhuang via Ruoqiang/Hotan/Yarkhand.
It doesn't matter which route you will choose for your Silk Road trip, because each journey is unique with amazing landscapes.
One of the most visited and famous attractions along the Silk Road are the grasslands and the beautiful clean lakes.
Below you can learn more about the top 6 grasslands and the most beautiful lakes along the Silk Road in China.
Top 6 Grasslands among the Silk Road
The grasslands are covering nearly 41% of China's national land area. Most of the grasslands are situated on the plateau. Grasslands are the best places where people can relax and enjoy the fresh and clean air, and also in the aroma of the green grass in the spring and summer.
Here are the top 6 grasslands that you can visit during your Silk Road trip.
Bayanbulak Grasslands is situated in the middle of the Tianshan Mountains in central Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of northwestern China. It covers an area of about 23,000 square kilometers and with an elevation of 2000-2500 meters above sea level.
In Mongolian, Bayanbulak means "rich with spring". Recently, the Bayanbulak Grasslands is also known as Juludus or Juledus grassland.
The most visited attraction is "Swan Lake," which is only Swan Nature Reserve in China. The lake is located on the grassland, about 60 kilometers southwest of Bayin Township, Bayinbuluke District Government, Hejing County, Xinjiang.
The Swan Lake Nature Reserve is a collection of nature reserves and natural landscapes. Among the 128 species of birds in the nature reserve, white-tailed sea eagles and reed warbler are discovered in Xinjiang and recently were found the dark-bellied snow pheasants. There are 26 species of nationally protected birds.
Bayanbulak Grasslands Scenic Spot is quite extensive, and you need to purchase entry tickets.
In your entry ticket, you will have included a bus ride to the scenic spots, and also you can enjoy a horseback ride.
If you are planning to visit Bayanbulak Grassland, that might be the best in September.
The Narat Grassland Scenic Area is located in Xinyuan County, Yili Prefecture, Xinjiang. The grassland is 180 kilometers long, stretching from east to west, and it is one of the four significant prairies in the world.
There is a beautiful story about how Narat Grassland got its name, as told by the local Kazakhs.
The story is from the time when the army from the Genkis Khan's force under the command of his second son Changati was trying to cross the Illi Valley to the hinterland of Tianshan Mountain. The soldiers were exhausted, and the harsh weather didn't let them climb the mountain. The soldiers saw the beautiful valley, and started shouting "Narat, Narat," which means the sun is shining here. After that, the location is known as "Narat."
The best attraction for tourists in Narat Grassland is the local Kazakh folk costumes combined with beautiful natural scenery.
The best season to visit Narat Grassland is generally from July to October. The best time to get here is in August or September. You can rent a tent if you travel with four or five friends and together enjoy the beautiful view. It is advisable to have a jacket because there is a vast difference between night and day temperatures.
Hemu grassland is located in the mountain depression basin at the intersection of Kanas River and Hemu River in Burqin County.
The highlight of the Hemu Grassland is the fantastic scenery in pure nature. You can enjoy a shady slope covered with green grass, while the sheep are all over the mountain feeding. You can have a wonderful time filled with calmness and marvelous views.
If you visit the Hemu Village, the first thing that you'll see it will be the small wooden houses and the herds in groups. You'll be amazed by the astonishing nature and cultural landscape combined by the snowy peaks, the forest around, and the bright blue sky.
Nema Grassland has a miraculous power to take a breath from the tourists.
The best time to travel to Hemu Grassland would be in June and September.
In June, Hemu is grassy, with vivid colors, and wildflowers, together with blue sky, snow-capped peaks, and wooden house jungles, together create majestic scenery.
However, in September, the leaves of the trees turned golden yellow, and the layering of sky blue, clear water, and mountain yellow composed the most charming rural picture.
Nanshan Pasture is situated between the south of Urumqi and the north of Kalawucheng Hill of Tianshan Mountain, and it refers to a massive mountainous area.
With an extensive area of 120km2, the highlight in the Nanshan Pasture is the beautiful scenery, including majestic snowy mountains, vast grassland, green forests, besides that, the colorful meadows.
Most of the attractions in Nanshan Pasture are located in the vertical parallel gorges near Urumqi. Famous attractions in the Nanshan Pasture are Gangou, Juhuatai, West Baiyanggou, East Baiyanggou, Shuixigou, etc.
If your Silk Road route including a visit to a Nanshan Pasture, you can enjoy the stunning natural scenery, but also you can ride a horse in the grassland, or if your trip is in the wintertime, you can enjoy the snow and skiing.
The best time to visit Nanshan Pasture is from April to August. While July has the best grass all year, and the weather is cold and comfortable, a great time to stroll in the pasture with blue sky and white clouds. Winter is cold, but still, the scenery is stunning.
Kalajun grassland is one of the most famous grasslands in Xinjiang situated on the northern route of the Silk Road. It is located on the southeastern side of Tekes County.
The grassland will amaze you with snowy mountains, forests, beautiful flowers, and other spectacular landscapes. Kalajun Grassland is also a cultural place integrating historical culture and natural science.
There are several scenic spots in Kalajun grassland, such as East-West Kalajun, Kuokesu Grand Canyon, Snow Peak in the Mid-Tianshan Mountains, and Natural Forest.
The main scenic spots in western Kalajun grassland are Wangyutai, Marmot Habitat, Liangyitai, Duilanggu, Shiquan, and Yinma Bay.
Kalajun Grassland is an integral part of the world's natural heritage of Tianshan Mountain. But, the East Kalajun Scenic Area is the region with the highest attractive value and the most important biodiversity region.
In Kazakh, "Kalajun" means a barren grassland, "Kala" can be translated as dark, rich and broad, literally "Jun" means density.
If you want to enjoy the spectacular landscape and beautiful blue sky, you should visit Kalajun Grassland in the period from May to September.
Located in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County of Northwest China's Gansu Province, near Zhangye, Kangle Grassland is the most popular grassland among the Silk Road.
It is about 60km from Zhangye, and it covers an area of around 1780 sq km.
During your trip on The Silk Road, make sure that you will visit this beautiful grassland and see many attractive scenic spots, such as the Danxia Geological Scenic Area, Machangtan Grassland, Kanglong Temple, Exploration Area of Snow Mountains and Shiwo Historic Site.
The major attraction among the tourists is the nine stripes of Pinewoods at Machangtan Grassland. Here in July, Herdsmen dress in colorful costumes and celebrating their festival.
Every period of the year, the grassland has such beautiful and unique scenery to offer.
In the spring and summer, the grassland looks like a soft carpet, and in autumn, all that greenery is turning into a golden scenery, and together with the green trees, it makes the most majestic view. And during the winter, when snow covers all the grassland, you will see another beautiful and unique scenery worth to be photographed.
The most beautiful lakes among the Silk Road
There are so many beautiful lakes along the Silk Road in China, but we created a list of top 6 lakes that you can visit on your trip. Enjoy!
Kanas Lake is located in the northern part of Burqin County in the Altay Region of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region near the Chinese border with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Kanas Lake has an altitude of 1,374 meters and ranking the first in China's freshwater lakes.
The surrounding mountains create an individual view in every season, but the best view is in autumn when all nature is turning yellow. Tourists can enjoy this beautiful nature, which is so rare to find elsewhere in China.
However, the best way to feel nature is to walk through it. The area around the lake offers fascinating hiking routes. The tourists often choose to hike on the Guangyu Pavilion, which is the most popular hiking route.
One of the major attractions around Kanas Lake is Wolong Bay. Wolong Bay is 140 kilometers from the county seat on the way from Burqin to Kanas.
The best season to visit Kanas Lake is from May to mid-October, but you can also enjoy the beauty of the lake in the winter season, from mid-October to the end of next April.
Karakuri Lake is located at the foot of Muztagh, about 190 kilometers away from Kashgar.
"Karakuri" means "Black Sea ", and it is a high- glacial moraine lake. Icy peaks are surrounding the lake, and also snow ridges, especially the surrounding Muztagh Peak, add a magical and beautiful color to the lake.
On a sunny day, the snowy peaks, green meadows, and lakeside herds are reflecting in the lake, which makes the scenery extremely beautiful and breathtaking.
There are houses and wooden board houses by the lake for tourists to stay, can taste the flavorful meals, and enjoy the magnificent view of the Pamirs.
Mountaineers tourists are gathering here every summer and autumn, and are making a base camp, and it is also a place for tourists to visit.
If you like to take photos of unique landscapes, then you should come here in spring or summer, but winter can also make majestic scenery.
Heavenly Lake is also known as Tianchi Lake or Tianshan Lake. It is located at the hillside of Bogoda Peak in Fukang City of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Heavenly Lake is about 97km from Urumqi.
The lake is surrounded by snowy peaks, and with the greenish-blue water, it looks like a pearl in Tianshan Mountain.
Heavenly Lake lies at an altitude of 1980m, and it's a natural alpine lake. If visiting Heavenly Lake is included in your Silk Road route, you will be able to enjoy the natural landscape that covers Tianshan Tianchi National Park. The whole area covers 160km2, and there are 38 attractions in the park, of which eight small scenic spots.
On the two sides of Heavenly Lake, there are two small lakes: East Minor Tianchi Lake and West Minor Tianchi Lake.
During your travel around the Heavenly Lake, you will enjoy breathtaking views, a few cultural relics and historical sites near Tianchi Lake. You can also spend one night here to experience the nomadic houses called - Kazakh yurts.
The best time to visit this majestic lake is from May to August. If you are going on a Silk Road tour in winter, then you can enjoy skiing and snowmobiling in this area.
If you are not a fan of winter sports, you can enjoy the Ice and Snow Festival, which is every year from mid-November to next March.
When the Silk Road route leads you to Dunham, you can not miss visiting the Crescent Spring in the desert Gobi. It is located only 5 kilometers south of Dunhuang City.
High sandy mountains surround Crescent Lake. The crescent spring is approximately 100 meters long from north to south and is about 25 meters wide from east to west. The deepest point of the lake is about 5 meters.
Crescent Lake is known for "desert wonders" and is also known as "one of the most beautiful scenery outside the continent."
The crescent shape has been considered as one of the "Eight Great Sights in Dunhuang" since the period of the Han Dynasty, and from that time till today is a great tourist attraction.
It doesn't matter what time of the day you'll be visiting the Crescent Lake, and you will surely be amazed by the beautiful and variable scenery from sunrise to sunset. Even if you arrive late in the evening, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent view.
Sayram Lake or Sailimu Lake (in Chinese) is located in the Bortala Prefecture near the Tian Shan Mountains, Xinjiang. It is 520 kilometers from Urumqi, 160 kilometers from Yining City, Yili Prefecture. If you choose a Silk Road route that goes to the north to Kanas Lake, then this stunning lake will be on your way.
The lake lies at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level, and it has 30 km from east to west and 25 km from north to south, with a total area of 458 km².
With very pure and clean water, and surrounded by Tianshan Mountain, Sayram Lake has an area with incredible scenery that will take your breath away.
The scenic area of Sayram Lake has six regions, such as The scenic area around the lake, The grassland nomadic style area, The ecological landscape conservation area, The swan and other rare bird habitat protection area, The tourism wide scenic area and The original ecological environment maintenance area.
Summer and autumn are the best periods to visit the Sayram lake. If you travel on the Silk Road in late July to early August, then you will witness the celebration of Mongolian people called "Nadam Fair." The Kazakhs people also join in the festival.
Winter is cold, with hard wind and fog can hide the mountains.
The Liujiaxia Reservoir is located 75 km from Lanzhou City in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, only 1km southwest of Yongjing County / Linxia County, Gansu Province.
The construction started in 1958, and the first generating unit was generated in March 1969, and all were completed by the end of 1974.
Liujiaxia Reservoir has many functions, such as power generation, flood control, irrigation, breeding, shipping, and tourism.
The Liujiaxia Reservoir is very popular and worth visiting and is also known as the "Pearl of the Plateau."
The reservoir connects Dongxiang and Linxia counties in the south and Yongjing counties in the north. It has an area of more than 130 square kilometers.
You can enjoy Liujiaxia by boat on the river.
After entering the canyon, you can see the unique peaks on both sides of the bank, and the walls stand thousands of miles, you'll be amazed by changing scenery. After exiting the gorge, there is a mountain lake in front of you.
At the reservoir dam, power plants and Liujiaxia Tourism Company are providing various cruises. Tourists can take a boat directly to the Bingling Temple Grottoes at the southwestern end of the reservoir.
Enjoy your Silk Road Tour!
Travel the Silk Toad and visit the most beautiful lakes and the top grasslands on an adventure that will make you experience scenery of a lifetime. Your Silk Road tour awaits.