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Altay Travel Guide

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  • Wolong Bay, Kanas Lake
    Wolong Bay, Kanas Lake
  • Altay Street Scene
    Altay Street Scene
  • The Moon Bay, Kanas Lake
    The Moon Bay, Kanas Lake
  • The Fairy Bay, Kanas
    The Fairy Bay, Kanas
  • Five-color Shoal
    Five-color Shoal
  • Altay Kanas Lake
    Altay Kanas Lake
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Phone Code: 0906
Postal Code: 836500
Area: 10,825.7 square kilometers (4,179.8 square miles)
Population: 190,000 (2011 statistics)
Nationalities:  Kazak, Mongolian, Uygur, Hui
Neighboring Areas: Burqin County, Jeminay County, Mongolia

Location: Altay is located at the north of Xinjiang Province, neighbouring Mongolia to the north. It is 670 km (about 416 miles) from Urumqi. The city lies between 86°53′ and 88°37′ eastern longitude, and between 47°27′ and 48°38′ northern latitude.

 Physical Features: Altay city is located at the southern foot of the Altai Mountains and the northern edge of the Junggar Basin, so the northern part of the city is higher than the southern part. The landform of the city mainly consists of the northern mountainous areas, the southern hilly area and the alluvial plain among mountains.

 History: Altay was named after the Altai Mountain and later renamed Altay in 1954. Since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) the area was occupied by nomadic tribes and began to be ruled by the central government during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). In 1874, the 13th year of the Emperor Tongzhi’s reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), the government built Chenghua Monastery, and since then permanent residents began to live in the area.

 Attractions: AlAltay attracts visitors with its picturesque landscape. The famous Kanas Lake, known as the oriental Sweden, boasts charming lakes, snowy mountains and verdant plants. The Irtysh River originating from the Altai Mountain, flows through Altay and finally flows into the Arctic Ocean. It is the second longest river in Xinjiang and famous for the beautiful scenery. There are also many rivers, lakes and grassland. Further more, over 60 sites of ancient cliff paintings, sarcophagus and tombs have been discovered, from which visitors can learn more about the history of the area.

 Air: There are regular flights between Urumqi and Altay City. There are also flights connecting Urumqi and the Kanas Airport in Burqin County, which is located on the way to the Kanas Lake. 
 Trains: Trains to Altay are not available now, but visitors can buy the train tickets from Urumqi to other cities in China at the train ticket outlets in Altay Long-distance Bus Station.
 Bus: Long-distance buses are available between Altay and other counties and cities in Xinjiang, such as Urumqi, Karamay, Kuitun, Burqin and Beitun. The Altay Long-distance Bus Station is located on Tuanjie Road.
 Rent A Car: Visitors can also rent a car from Urumqi to Altay. The cost is CNY 1,000 to 1,400 for a single trip.

 Weather: Altay has a temperate continent climate. The average annual temperature is 4°C to -4.2°C (39.2 – 24.4°F). The mean temperature in January is -24°C (-11.2°F) and 22.3°C (72.14°F) in July. The lowest temperature in winter could drop to -16°C to -21°C (3.2°F to 5.8°F). Winter is cold and usually lasts 4 months from November to the following March. Summer is cool but short. Spring in Altay is dry and windy, and autumn is cool and pleasant. The best time to visit Altay is between July and September.

 Dining and Shopping 
Mutton, beef, milk tea and all kinds of dairy products are local people’s favorite food. Visitors are recommended to have a taste of the Roast Whole Lamb, shish kebab, yogurt and milk tea. Local products in Altay include embroidery, tapestry and fur products.

1. The temperature changes a lot between day and night, especially in mountainous areas, so visitors are suggested to take a warm coat even in summer.
2. Kazak people are the majority living in the Altay area, and they have some taboos in daily life. Please respect their custom and habits when visiting the area.

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