Generally, Nanshan Pasture refers to a vast mountainous area between the south of Urumqi and the north of Kalawucheng Hill of Tianshan Mountain. 40km ~ 60km to the city center, it's a famous hunting area in Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907), and it changed into a famed ranch in Qing Dynasty (1636 ~ 1912). After the founding of new China, Nanshan Pasture is now mainly served as a tourists spot. Covering an area of 120km2, Nanshan Pasture is featured in exquisite sceneries, including magnificent snow mountain, vast grassland, verdant forest sea, flying waterfall, clear stream; besides that, the colorful meadows with beautiful butterflies flying around and the unique Kazakh ethnic culture add more charm to this land. Cool temperature, fresh air and lovely scenery all make Nanshan Pasture the closest travel resort from Urumqi.
The whole scenic area covers a large area, and most of the attractions are located in the vertical parallel gorges near Urumqi. From west to east, famous attractions are Gangou, Juhuatai, West Baiyanggou, East Baiyanggou, Shuixigou, etc. All of the attractions has one thing in common – the natural scenery of the Tianshan's north side can be seen from these attractions, yet each of them has its unique characteristics.
Muxutai is located at Tuoli Town in the southern suburb of Urumqi, 55km to the city center, with an altitude of 2020m, it covers an area of 3km2. Muxutai is a meadow platform on a mountain top, surrounded by mountains in three directions, tourists can overlook Urumqi city vaguely from here. From spring to autumn, Muxutai is decorated with tens of wild flowers, yellow, purple, light blue, red, white, colorful and beautiful. Besides that, with luck, you can also see wild animals, like red deer, wild boar and marmot. This primitive charm may be the most attractive part of Muxutai.
West Baiyanggou is located at the north side of Tiange'er Peak in the south of Urumqi. Situated 58km from the city center, with an area of 612.52 hectares, West Baiyanggou enjoys a long standing reputation for being the summer resort of Nanshan Pasture. Thick firs and pins cover all over the hill side, while little streams flow pass the craggy stones, with Kazakh yurts dotted in the vast grassland. In here, there is a 70m high waterfall hanging on a cliff like a white cloth, stunning and amazing. In West Baiyanggou, tourists can ride horse to experience the quiet and serene natural scenery, or just lie down on the soft meadow under the warm sunshine, watch the eagle hovering in the sky or the Kazakh performances by the local people, enjoy the cozy which you won't have in city life.
56km to Urumqi, East Baiyanggou is situated in Banfanggou Town, covering an area of 334.4 hectares. This area is covered with thick forests, and towering old trees can be seen all around. Following the stream in East Baiyanggou, you can see a sea of firs and pines waves in a gentle breeze, listening to the murmur of nature mother. The Greenfield Villa hiding in the thick green waves appears and disappears with the move of the tree waves, as the only resort hotel in this area, the villa is not only facilitate tourists, but also bring magical breath to East Baiyanggou.
Covering an area of 500 hectares, Juhuatai is located in Gangou Town, about 50km to Urumqi, with an altitude from 2000m ~ 2400m. Juhuatai is actually an alluvial fan platform on a gentle slope. The northern side of it is dense with green pines, and southern side of it is covered by fresh grass. While on the vast platform, herds of cows and sheep is surrounded by golden and purplish red flowers, while bright sunlight cast the shadow of white cloud on the waved green grass. Walk among the grass is just like walk into an peaceful idyllic picture.
Nanshan Pasture is located about 60km to Urumqi and the transportation is rather convenient.
By Bus: tourists can take bus from South Suburb Bus Station to Nanshan Pasture directly, the running time for the bus is from 9:00 to 19:00, and it will depart every one hour.
While in Zhongqiao Bus Station, tourists can take bus to Xiaoquzi, West Baiyanggou, Shuixigou, Banfangou, Houxia, Miao'ergou, Tuoli Pasture and Nanshan Pasture to the scenic area.
By Taxi or By Private Car: from the city center of Urumqi, it will only take about one hour's drive to there, and the parking fee is ¥15 for big car, ¥10 for small car.
The main tour area of Nanshan Pasture is between 1600m ~ 2000m in altitude, and it's featured in mountainous climate. About 40% rainfall occurs in summer. Snow covered time is about six or seven months, with short summer and long winter.
The best time to visit is from April to August. From April to May, the ground is covered with red azaleas, great time to appreciate the flower scenery. However, the temperature in this time is rather low, please take some warm clothes with you. While July has the best grass in all year, and the weather is cool and comfortable, great time to stroll in the pasture with blue sky and white cloud. Winter is cold, yet the snow scenery is stunning, and tourist can go skiing during this time.
The night view in the pasture is gorgeous, reach out your hand to the sky, you will feel like as if the twinkle stars are in your hands. If you are going to stay overnight in the pasture, specifically stay overnight in the Kazakh yurts, then it's better to bring your own sleeping bag. The Kazakh yurt provided by the local people is actually an empty yurt without bed and quilt. There is a giant firing stove in the middle of the yurt, and tourists will sleep on the carpet surrounding the stove.
There is also some villas in the pasture, and the facility is better, you can take hot bath, however, the price is more expensive than Kazakh yurt.
In Nanshan Pasture, tourists can experience several activities. Riding horses in the vast grassland, make a short visit to the Kazakh yurts of local people, or just go skiing in winter and emerge yourself into the icy world.
The whole scenic area is only charge ¥20 as entrance ticket, however, there are lots of self-finance projects in the pasture. For example, riding horse is ¥40/hour, visit a Kazakh family is ¥20/time. You can check the detailed information with your guide or just ask the local people when you are going to experience these activities.
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