Taklamakan Desert Tourist Scenic Region
As the largest desert in China and the second largest one in the world, Taklamakan Desert means 'the place that you can enter but cannot find your way out' in the Uygur language. It covers an area of 337,600 square kilometers (130,348 square miles) with a length of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) from west to east and a width of 400 kilometers (249 miles) from north to south, and the locals often call it "the Sea of Death".
Natural Features of Taklamakan Desert
The saying goes: "He who has never been to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region won't know the vastness of China; and he who has never been to Taklamakan Desert won't know the Western sublime". Taklamakan Desert Tourist Scenic Region is under the jurisdiction of the Sha Ha Su Township, which borders Yecheng County and Magaiti County in the east, Jiangge Lesi Township in the south, Gaiyi Erqi Township in the west, and Bage'a Wati Township in the north, and it is 67 kilometers (42 miles) long from east to west and 40 kilometers (24.9 miles) wide from north to south.
Taklamakan Desert Tourist Scenic Region is home to numerous moving sand dunes that range from 100 meters (328 feet) to 300 meters (984 feet) tall, and it has a typical continental climate, featuring strong winds, low precipitation and a great difference in temperature between the daytime and night-time. The sand dunes are of various shapes owing to the strong winds, some of which are like huge dragons winding in the desert, some are like honeycombs, and some are like fishscales. The red sand dunes and the white sand dunes contrast strikingly in the desert.
At first sight, it is only an endless desert, but, as you walk in it, you perceive the beautiful, distinct desert forms and plants. The boundless desert extends into infinite waves; if you take a camel ride into the desert, the glow of the sunrise and sunset, especially the sunset scenery, is something to remember. You might see a "mirage" that is formed by the refraction of sunlight passing through different layers of air.
Numerous thick poplars, willows and shrubs grow around the desert, which form a long green corridor together, and you can sometimes come across some small animals, such as rabbits and birds, in the shrubs, adding much vigor to the desert. The best time to visitTaklamakan Desert Tourist Scenic Region is from October to November, during which the diversifolious poplars, willows and shrubs turn yellow, and it's really enjoyabletowalk in the picturesque desert. You are supposed to takemore fruit and water when traveling in the scenic area, and some warm clothes are also highly recommended to be taken with you owing to a great difference in temperature between the daytime and night-time.
Location:Tarim Basin, Aksu, South Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region,28 kilometers (17 miles) away from Shache County
Transportation:a taxi will take you there from the city center
Opening times:9:00 am to 6:00 pm
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I updated this article on December 17, 2013
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