In July, 2016, I take my bump to Xinjiang for two weeks to catch up on some sleep and visit China’s Far West. My first stop is Turpan (吐鲁番 or Tulufan in Chinese), an oasis town in the Taklamakan Desert.
In Turpan, together with two others who stay at my hostel, I hire a local driver to take us around the area for the day. We visit Tuyoq valley (吐峪沟 or Tuyugou in Chinese) which features an old Uighur village that is still inhabited and located on the Flaming Mountains (the famous starting point of the Journey to the West, one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels). After we arrive at the village and walk around, we realise it’s only partly inhabited.
I ask the driver: “Why are so many of the houses empty?”
He: “It’s a protected site, and the villagers aren’t allowed to build new houses. That’s why many families have moved away.”
The pictures don’t do the place justice. It’s just amazing and my personal favourite of the sights I visited in Xinjiang.
Have you ever been to that area? What was your experience?