Together with Abdul (the camel man), three camels, a tent and quite a few bottles of water we set out into the desert. Our aim was to get a feeling for how life must have been in the past when the caravans crossed the Taklamakan, the world’s second largest sand desert. Taklamakan literally means “go in and never come back” and while this was all too often true in the past, we did not take it that literally. We went in in the afternoon and came back the next morning ;-).

Actually, we only came back to get ready for the next adventure. Together with our driver, a tent and some more bottles of water we now set out to cross the desert. Luckily (for both the camels and for us), we chose the car to attack the 500km long desert highway. Halfway through we stopped to set up the tent for the night. The location in the middle of sand dunes was magic and to know that the very same landscape spreads for hundreds of kilometres in all directions just added to this feeling. So did as well the sandstorm which made for a rough (but still beautiful) night and left us and the tent windswept and covered with a thick layer of sand.

To change the scenery we headed to Bayanbulak, a highland which consists of gorgeously vast and green pastures, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and inhabited by Kazhak nomad people and their sheep and cattle.

Back down to the heat and back in time. We spent some last days in and around Turpan, located at 50m below sea level where we discovered some fantastic sites such as the ruins of Jiaohe, the ancient capital and now utterly impressive remains of a city life 1600 years ago.

Taklamakan Desert
Xinjiang Camels_resize

Xinjiang Dunes_resize

Xinjiang Desert Night_resize

Xinjiang Mosque Roof_resize

Xinjiang Desert Tomb_resize

Xinjiang Bayanbulak_resize

Xinjiang River Bends_resize

Xinjiang Prairie_resize

Ancient City Ruins
Xinjiang Ruins_resize

Xinjiang Jiaohe Ruins_resize

Pamir Mountains
Xinjiang Karakul Lake Reflection_resize

Xinjiang Salt Lake_resize

Xinjiang Shipton's Arch_resize

Xinjiang Grand Canyon_resize

Kashgar Life Stock Market
Xinjiang Life Stock Market_resize

Xinjiang Donkey_resize