Kazakhstan and China
The Heavenly Mountains, stretching from Uzbekistan to Western China, hasn't changed for thousands of years. Nomads still wander the endless grasslands, and modernity has only crept in as what is necessary.
Long standing as a barrier along the Silk Roads, but even longer standing as the home of many peoples and nationalities, the mountains here are nothing short of majestic. Craggy peaks filled with snow grade to forested hillsides with dense pine trees and hidden valleys. The hillsides transform into gentle ridges with rolling meadows of bright green grass. Large and incredibly blue lakes are found in abundance here as well. Ancient nomadic cultures have thrived here, even those of the legendary, but wholly existent, eagle hunters. Nomad’s yurts dot the landscapes, often with the smell of freshly roasted mutton or milk tea. They often welcome strangers in for a warm visit by the fire, a custom they have carried from the beginning centuries to now.
Not only mountains make headway here, as the grasslands thrive here like nowhere else, including some of the world's largest. Horses and sheep roam uninterrupted as golden eagles fly overhead. A wander through these valleys, peaks and meadows, a beautiful reminder of the simplicity of life awakens. With pristine nature as your only companion, life slows down, even beckoning of a different life. One that has been lived for thousands, which may seem lost and forgotten, but is still within reach.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
We arrived in the Tianshan Mountains the first time hitchhiking from Kuqa. A kind man first dropped us off at the Tianshan Grand Canyon and the second group brought us through vast stretches of grassland.
The road from Kuqa to Kuytun had some of the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen. If allowed, stop off at Bayanbulak and spend a few days at the grasslands.
The indigenous people who live in these grasslands and mountains are special. They welcomed us in their yurts and gave us rides on their horses in the mountains.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Mountains and valleys seem never to end, yet the hospitality of the nomad's cheer you on.
As you continue the Silk Roads east, a beautiful lake stands in the way. Continue to Sayram Lake.