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Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2015

In Brief: Photos of mountains, rivers, grasslands and more, from a seven day trip in the Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang.

Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Views of the Bayinbuluke Grasslands.

Our trip to the Bayinbuluke Grasslands is a big looping road-trip that starts and finishes in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Province.

We had a lot of fun on this one – camping below snow mountains on the grasslands, chatting with nomads, visiting waterfalls, forests, geothermal regions, as well as helping to cook the ubiquitous lamb skewers!

We also made time to visit the Bayinbuluke Wetlands Park, which is a key spot on the migratory journey of many birds, including swans.

Huijie took a lot of photos, and had a lot of trouble narrowing down the selection – here we have 100 or so of her favourites from the trip.

After arriving at the airport we met our jeep team. Jeeps are our favourite way to travel on these long trips - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

After arriving at the airport we met our jeep team. Jeeps are our favourite way to travel on these long trips.

In Kuqa, we took a look at the second-largest mosque in Xinjiang, the Kuqa Grand Mosque - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

In Kuqa, we took a look at the second-largest mosque in Xinjiang, the Kuqa Grand Mosque.

Inside the mosque - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Inside the mosque.

Front gate of the mosque - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Front gate of the mosque.

In Kuqa we visited the tomb of the last king of Kuqa. He passed away in 2014, without a successor - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

In Kuqa we visited the tomb of the last king of Kuqa. He passed away in 2014, without a successor.

We stopped off at the Kuqa market to pick up supplies for the trip through the grasslands. In the photo our jeep team drivers are picking out some fresh lamb - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We stopped off at the Kuqa market to pick up supplies for the trip through the grasslands. In the photo our jeep team drivers are picking out some fresh lamb.

This vendor was selling a local form of icecream – we had to try some - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

This vendor was selling a local form of icecream – we had to try some.

Looks pretty good - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Looks pretty good.

Another shot of the market in Kuqa - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Another shot of the market in Kuqa.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to the ruins of Subashi, a Buddhist temple that was home to around 10,000 monks at its peak in the ninth century - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Next on the itinerary was a visit to the ruins of Subashi, a Buddhist temple that was home to around 10,000 monks at its peak in the ninth century.

Wide view of Subashi - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Wide view of Subashi.

Remains of a large building - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Remains of a large building.

Different angle on the previous building - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Different angle on the previous building.

We hiked over to the opposite side of the temple ruins - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked over to the opposite side of the temple ruins.

On our way to the grasslands we stopped for a look at this Han Dynasty-era  (206 BC-220 AD beacon tower - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

On our way to the grasslands we stopped for a look at this Han Dynasty-era (206 BC-220 AD beacon tower.

Views of cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Views of cliffs.

More of the mountains near Subashi and Aksu - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

More of the mountains near Subashi and Aksu.

An area known as the Dakziliya Grand Canyon - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

An area known as the Dakziliya Grand Canyon.

We parked up at the entrance to the canyon and walked up further - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We parked up at the entrance to the canyon and walked up further.

Weathered cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Weathered cliffs.

Further into the canyon. Spot the person hiding in the shade? - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Further into the canyon. Spot the person hiding in the shade?

Further into the canyon - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Further into the canyon.

Photo time - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Photo time.

Interesting rounded shapes - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Interesting rounded shapes.

Red colours in the hills - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Red colours in the hills.

More of the red colours in the cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

More of the red colours in the cliffs.

Wide angle view of the cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Wide angle view of the cliffs.

Mountains, train tracks, and a mostly-abandoned village - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Mountains, train tracks, and a mostly-abandoned village.

The hills in this area featured interesting shapes and colours - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

The hills in this area featured interesting shapes and colours.

A little pavilion with views of the highway and mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A little pavilion with views of the highway and mountains.

Vertical features in the hills - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Vertical features in the hills.

A waterfall flows down between switchbacks on the road over the Tianshan Mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A waterfall flows down between switchbacks on the road over the Tianshan Mountains.

Looking down a valley - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Looking down a valley.

We passed a lake, high up in the mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We passed a lake, high up in the mountains.

Horses on the meadows by the lake - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Horses on the meadows by the lake.

Really nice scenery here - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Really nice scenery here.

Views of the snow mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Views of the snow mountains.

A river coming down from the mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A river coming down from the mountains.

The yurt of a nomad family - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

The yurt of a nomad family.

After arriving at the Bayinbuluke we found a good spot to set up camp and cook dinner - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

After arriving at the Bayinbuluke Grasslands we found a good spot to set up camp and cook dinner.

All set up and ready - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

All set up and ready.

Time to make skewers - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Time to make skewers.

Prepping the skewers - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Prepping the skewers.

Almost ready to start cooking - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Almost ready to start cooking.

A little gang of dogs, attracted by the BBQ - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A little gang of dogs, attracted by the BBQ.

Oh yes! - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Oh yes!

Dinner time - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Dinner time.

This little girl came to find her dogs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

This little girl came to find her dogs.

Local herb - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Local herb.

A second course of kebabs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A second course of kebabs.

Stir-fried veges - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Stir-fried veges.

Enjoying dinner - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Enjoying dinner.

We woke up to a beautiful day on the grasslands - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We woke up to a beautiful day on the grasslands.

Getting ready for a pre-breakfast hike - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Getting ready for a pre-breakfast hike.

Ready to set out - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Ready to set out.

We hiked off, aiming to get some better views of the mountains - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked off, aiming to get some better views of the mountains.

And there they are - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

And there they are.

Photo time! - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Photo time!

We were all pretty hungry after two hours of walking - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We were all pretty hungry after two hours of walking.

Rock melons – so common in Xinjiang - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Rock melons – so common in Xinjiang.

Views of the Bayinbuluke Wetlands Park - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Views of the Bayinbuluke Wetlands Park.

Great views from up on the ridge - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Great views from up on the ridge.

We hiked on along the ridge - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked on along the ridge.

We spotted a bird down in the water - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We spotted a bird down in the water.

The hike continued down the ridge - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

The hike continued down the ridge.

Wild flowers by the river - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Wild flowers by the river.

Good spot to take a rest - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Good spot to take a rest.

Views of the river running through the grasslands - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Views of the river running through the grasslands.

Mountains and hills in the distance - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Mountains and hills in the distance.

Cliffs around the grasslands - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Cliffs around the grasslands.

We hiked back through the grasslands - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked back through the grasslands.

We saw a crane - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We saw a crane.

More birds in the water - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

More birds in the water.

We took a local taxi - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We took a local taxi.

Here’s the beginning of a forest hike - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Here’s the beginning of a forest hike.

We hiked up in to the woods - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked up in to the woods.

Heading down towards a small settlement - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Heading down towards a small settlement.

We brought some horses along with us - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We brought some horses along with us.

Flowers - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Flowers.

A valley full of flowers - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

A valley full of flowers.

We stopped beside the river for a rest - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We stopped beside the river for a rest.

Out of the grasslands, and back in town – here’s what was for lunch - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Out of the grasslands, and back in town – here’s what was for lunch.

More hiking - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

More hiking.

We hiked up through the forest - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We hiked up through the forest.

And then we hiked back down1 - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

And then we hiked back down1

Later on the trip, we stopped to look at the scenery by a large canyon - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Later on the trip, we stopped to look at the scenery by a large canyon.

Cliffs and an old river valley - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Cliffs and an old river valley.

We walked to the edge of the cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We walked to the edge of the cliffs.

An eagle flew over - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

An eagle flew over.

Another angle on the canyon - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Another angle on the canyon.

Admiring the views - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Admiring the views.

Yanjing with the Beijing Hikers flag - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Yanjing with the Beijing Hikers flag.

Group shot - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Group shot.

Lunch is served! - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Lunch is served!

Looks like beans are on the menu today - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Looks like beans are on the menu today.

Picnic by the canyon - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Picnic by the canyon.

Horses - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Horses.

We went for a walk after lunch - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

We went for a walk after lunch.

Weathered cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Weathered cliffs.

More colors in the cliffs below a high plateau - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

More colors in the cliffs below a high plateau.

Closer shot of the cliffs - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Closer shot of the cliffs.

On the way back to Urumqi we stopped to visit a geothermal area - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

On the way back to Urumqi we stopped to visit a geothermal area.

Bubbling mud - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Bubbling mud.

Great views from up top - Bayinbuluke Grasslands, Xinjiang, July 2016

Great views from up top.

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