9 Days Kanas Photography Tour

Exploring the Mysteries of Kanas

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Kanas, in Mongolian, means Mysterious Lake in the Valley, and used to be refer only the lake. But now, it is a vast region for tourism covering many scenic sites, such as Kanas Lake, Hemu Town, Baihaba, etc.

Many photographers usually get disappointed to see the actual scenery which is not as beautiful as the picture he saw on TV, video or magazine. While, Kanas is never this kind. When people who have never been to Kanas are marvel at the breathtaking views on photo galleries of Kanas, they have no idea that there is no photo that can fully describe the beauty of Kanas but your mind. Even so, you still should take a trip to see, to experience, to shoot as much as you can.

This Kanas photography tour can be customized depending on what photos you want to take, and on the weather condition when you go. Feel free to tell your interests and ideas to your personal travel consultants!

Basic Photography Info

Travel Route: Urumqi / Hemu / Kanas / Burqin / Fuyu / Urumqi

Travel Length: 9 Days

Tour Code: CT-KPT-09

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)

Itinerary Details Day by Day

Day 1 Urumqi Arrival

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Welcome to Xinjiang! Your tour guide will meet you at the Urumqi Airport. Then be escorted to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to explore the mysterious city on the Silk Road.

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Day 2 Urumqi - Tianchi Lake( B,L )

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After breakfast, drive to visit the beautiful Tianchi lake. It is located on the Tianchi Mountain. In ancient fairytale, it was the fairyland where the Heavenly Queen lived. It is the best summer resort in Xinjiang. Cruising on a boat, enjoying the breathtaking picturesque views of inverted reflection of snow mountains, flourishing plants and blooming flowers around the lake. 

Drive back to Urumqi.

Heaven lake
Day 3 Urumqi – Hemu ( B,L )

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Get up and take breakfast, then take early flight to Kanas Airport. The air trip takes about only 1 hours and 10 minutes. After arrival, your tour guide will pick you up, then transfer to today's final destination - Hemu Village.

Take a short rest in hotel, then go out to explore Humu Village and its surrounding. As one of the most beautiful villages in China, Hemu is the magic place where you can get rid of  the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the creation of photography. The vast golden birch forests and green grasslands surround the peaceful village, together appear charming colors like a oil painting. Sunset here is fabulous. You can walk up to a higher hill to find the panoramic views of Humu Village in the golden sunlight.

Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar
Day 4 Hemu – Kanas Lake ( B,L )

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Get up early to catch the incredible sunrise which is also the MUST photo to be shot. When the sun rises and shines onto the mist curling up the villages, it is the moment to press your shutter. To shoot the sunrise, you need to go to the high places on the mountains near to the village. 

The rest time is free for you to shoot anything you are interested in. As the paradise for photography, every single thing here is a perfect scene for shooting.

After lunch, we will transfer to Kanas Lake. Kanas Lake is located at the north of Burqin County on the Altay Mountain. It is a great place for summer resort, leisure sightseeing and photography. Kanas, in Mogolian, means “beautiful, rich and mysterious”. The lake was formed as a result of glacier movement of around around 200, 000 years ago.

Kanas Tour
Day 5 Kanas Lake ( B,L )

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Take your leisure time to enjoy the breathtaking landscape of Kanas Lake full day. Kanas Lake takes on different colors with the change of weather and seasons. The lake takes the shape of falcate with 6 platforms projecting inward. Every platform has its own legend.

The lake is not the only highlight. The Kanas River wriggles in valleys, and creates three zigzag bays with beautiful names – Celestial Bay, Moon Bay and Recumbent Dragon Bay. Along the two sides of Kanas River are forests with alternate colors of green and golden. The trees, sky and cloudy together project in the river, and appear a colorful reflection. To shoot these three bays, you need to get to higher elevation to get the best scenes. Besides, the vast green grassland, tranquil lakes and wild forests form pleasant colorful landscape in different seasons. Looking far into distance, you can see imposing Altai Mountains Range.

Kanas Lake
Day 6 Kanas - Burqin

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After breakfast, enjoy the beautiful sunrise, then drive about 180km to next destination - Burqin. En route, visit and shoot the spectacular Five-Color Bank which is a typical Yardang landform. Stones were weathered into many vivid shapes like soaring hills, deep valley, criss-cross streets, tower, etc. After thousands years of geological changing, the bank was paintef into different colors. The Five-Color Bank, together with the nearby rivers and trees,  present you a gorgeous scene under the sunlight.

Five-Color Bank
Day 7 Burqin - Fuyun (L)

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After breakfast, you will drive about 350km to Fuyun County.

After lunch, you will go to visit Koktokay National Geological Park where you can see many kinds of ever-beautiful and marvelous views, such as stone hills of various shapes, colorful white birches, crystal lake surrounded by green forests, gigantic seismic fault...

Koktokay National Geological Park
Day 8 Fuyun - Urumqi ( B )

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Today you have to drive about 670km back to Urumqi. Enroute you will pass through Kala Maili Ungulates Nature Reserve. Enjoy the stunning landscape along the road, and stop driving for shooting amazing wild animals, fancy scenery when necessary.

After arrival at Urumqi, take good rest after dinner.

Kala Maili Ungulates Nature Reserve
Day 9 Urumqi Departure ( B )

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Today is free for you to explore Urumqi by yourself until your tour guide escort you to airport for your flight.

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9 Days Kanas Photography Tour Map

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Practical Kanas Photography Guide

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Beautiful landscape creates successful works of photography. Thousands of photographers come to Kanas to complete the best picture in their dreams. Thanks to the diverse sceneries and experience in Kanas, each of them came with hope, and left with great works.

Best Highlights for Photography in Kanas

Grasslands, Lakes and Forests

The vast green grassland, tranquil lakes and wild forests form pleasant colorful landscape in different seasons. The loamy grasslands surround the Kanas Lake. There are flocks and herds grazing on the grasslands, kids playing around the scattering wooden houses. Outside the grasslands are the golden birch trees. This is the scenery that pleases both your camera and eyes.

Morning Fog and Sunrise

Don’t be defeated by the morning laziness, or you will miss the incredible sunrise which is also the MUST photo to be shot. When the sun rises and shines onto the mist curling up the villages, it is the moment to press your shutter. To shoot the sunrise, you need to go to the high places on the mountains near to the village. Get up around 7 o’clock, then walk up the hills. 8 o’clock is the best hour with mysterious sunlight.

Kanas Photography Tour

Beautiful Snow Mountains

Looking far into distance, you can see imposing Altai Mountains Range. The highest peak Friendship Peak(4374m) outstands from many other mountains. Its peak is always covered by snow. While on foot of mountain appears another fabulous landscape formed by wild flowers, trees and grasslands.

White Birches

The vast white birch forest is the most classic landscape in Kanas which is favored by photographers. Autumn days are best time to shoot the beauty of white birches. All leaves turn to golden color while the trunks remain to be white. Among the tall birches are some green pine trees. The golden, white and green mix together like a oil painting. Try to put the village, birches and mist together in your framing helps to take some excellent photos.

Kanas Photography Tour

Tuvan Village

Kanas is the hometown of Tuvans who claim to be the progenies of Genghis Khan. The Tuvan is a branch of Mongolian. They are wild, brave, simple and hospitable, remaining traditional nomad and hunting living. There are three largest Tuvan villages for you to visit and stay – Hemu Village, Kanas Village and Baibaha Village. It is an enjoyable and interesting to stroll in the village, and take photos of wooden houses, playing kids, farming villagers, agminate flocks and herds.

Kanas Photography Tour

Charming Rivers and Bays

The Kanas River wriggles in valleys, and creates three zigzag bays with beautiful names – Celestial Bay, Moon Bay and Recumbent Dragon Bay. As the name telling, the Celestial Bay is said to be the place where celestials live. The Moon Bay lies among mountains like a crescent moon. The Recumbent Dragon Bay is rather a lake with a beautiful island than a river bay. Along the two sides of Kanas River are forests with alternate colors of green and golden. The trees, sky and cloudy together project in the river, and appear a colorful reflection. To shoot these three bays, you need to get to higher elevation to get the best scenes.

Kanas Photography Tour

Best Season for Photography

July and August are the peak season for traveling in Kanas. While, from September to November is the best time for photography. It is the autumn during which the forests are colorful, river and lakes are clean and green like sapphire, skies are pure and high. The landscape in winter days is also amazing, but the transfer becomes difficult due to the heavy snow.

As for the best hours for shooting in a day, they certainly are hours around sunrise and sunset when the light is gentler, colors are rich, fogs happen.

Tips from Our Experts

1. Unique viewing angle and framing

Make fully use of the diverse landscape you can see in Kanas, and try to find some unique viewing angle and framing. Besides, take advantages of rich lights, especially the side backlights and projecting lights.

2. Responsible photography

Don’t do any damage to the environment while seeking for better views. When taking photos of local Tuvans, you’d better ask for permission firstly.

3. Supplementary equipment

Polariscope is very useful to reduce the reflect light and diverging light in Kanas. To shoot the sunrise and sunset, tripod is very necessary.

4. What to pack

Daytime is usually cool, while the night and early morning is cold. So remember to bring thick clothes. Beside, it is necessary to pack anophelifuge in summer and autumn.

5. Transfer advice

Road and air are two available transfers. To go to Kanas, you need to firstly get to Urumqi, then take flight to Kanas Airport which is only 80km away from Kanas Scenic Area. The air travel between Urumqi and Kanas is only about 1 hour long. If you prefer driving, you need spend two days to complete a distance more than 700km on which you will also visit some attractions.

6. Accommodation

You have many choices of hotels, including economy class to luxury class. These hotels are well located in or close to Kanas Lake.

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