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Bayinguoleng Travel Guide

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Bayinguoleng Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, Ba Prefecture for short, lies in the southeastern part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In Mongolian, Bayinguoleng means the 'prosperous valley'. To the east, it borders with Gansu and Qinghai provinces, to the west it is next to the Hotan and Aksu regions; it is adjacent to the Tianshan Mountains in the north, and adjoins Kunlun Mountains and Tibet Autonomous Region. There are 36 ethnic groups living here, including Mongolian, Uyghur, Hui and Han.

Covering an area of 471,526 square kilometers (182,057 square miles), Bayinguoleng occupies one fourth of the total area of Xinjiang and is equal to the sum areas of Fujian, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces. Generally, the major landform of the prefecture consists of three parts, the Tianshan Mountains area, Tarim Basin area and Altun Mountains area. The hilly area covers 225,000 square kilometers (86,873 square miles), about 48 percent of the whole area of the prefecture. The plain area occupies 246,500 square kilometers (95,174 square miles) which takes 52 percent of the total area; among them, over 30 percent is the Gobi area. Hence, Bayinguoleng is the driest region of China.

Bayinguoleng has a profound history of thousands of years. During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), there were eleven kingdoms out of the 'Thirty-six Western Kingdoms' existed in this region, including Loulan, Ruoqiang, Qiemo, Xiaowan, Ronglu, Shanguo, Luntai, Yanmao, Weili, Quli and Weixu. The ancient Silk Road passed through this area. Nowadays, Bayinguoleng Prefecture is rich in tourist resources including the appealing natural attractions such as Mount Tianshan, Mount Kunlun, grasslands, lakes and the Gobi area, and the well-known historical sites, such as the Tiemenguan Pass, the Ancient City of Loulan and the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves.

Have you ever learned that Bayinguoleng has twelve 'most's of China? First of all, it is the biggest prefecture of China; it has the largest desert of China, the Taklimakan Desert, which covers 337,600 square kilometers (130,348 square miles); the longest inland river of China, the Tarim River, runs across this area; the biggest inland freshwater lake, the Bosten Lake, covering 1646 square kilometers (635.5 square miles); it has China's largest grassland on the mountain, the Bayanbulak Grassland; the largest basin in China, having an area of about 530,000 square kilometers (204,634 square miles); it has the biggest wildlife conservation area on the mountain and the largest populus forest natural reserve; it has the only swan conservation area, the Bayanbulak Swan Lake Natural Reserve; and the only wild camel natural reserve that lies in the southeast part of Altun Mountains area; it has the longest highway which is built upon the flowing desert, the Tarim Desert Highway, covering a length of 522 kilometers (324 miles); also it has the only forest park in the desert. 

 What to see: Bayinbuluke Grassland

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