Gaochang Ruins, Xinjiang: “A few people get heat stroke every year”

gaochang ruins

One day during my Xinjiang travels in July 2016, I visit the Gaochang Ruins near Turpan. I’m impressed by how well-preserved they are and by their size. It has 45°C (113°F) during the day. I take a golf cart that stops at various spots around the ruins and get off to walk around and look at some of the preserved buildings. At one stop, I stay in the cart to recover a little from the unbearable heat. I talk with the driver, a 40-year old woman covered from head to toe in light-colored clothes, wearing protective sleeves, and a hat with a face cover that only leaves her eyes free. Her family moved to Turpan from Sichuan when she was little.

gaochang ruins

She tells me: “You are lucky because it’s a little cloudy today. It was even hotter yesterday. The hottest phase starts from 20 July and lasts through of August. It can get way over 50°C (122°F).”

“Do you work in the heat every day?”


“I do. Summer is travel season so we can’t take off. A few people get heat stroke every year. Some ride around the area on a bike, and some just walk around on foot during the day. Last year, I picked up one person who had fainted and brought him to the building at the entrance so he could cool down. We gave him electrolytes, but it still took 2.5 hours until he was okay again. He just walked around there on his own during the worst heat of the day.”

gaochang ruins

This is how red my face turns in the heat (spot the bump).

Have you ever traveled in a really hot area? I’d love to read your comments.

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Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!

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