On the last day, we traveled across Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture before making our way northward into Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture. On both sides of the highway were spectacular views of velvety green hills with fir trees and fields of lavender. We passed a few roadside stores selling wild berry jams and honey in the glorious Guozigou Valley.
The last scenic stop of our trip was Sarim (Sailimu) Lake. The local Kazakhs would tell you that June is the best time of the year to visit since the flowers are in full blossom, the swans are here for their summer sojourn and their herds have just been relocated here from their winter pastures. You might also be able to catch a few tournaments where the Kazakhs would put their best horses on show.
Albeit rushed, this journey across China was an enjoyable prelude to a much-anticipated field season and it was a fantastic opportunity to catch a glimpse of the rich variety of cultures and landscapes this country has to offer.
Left: views of Guozigou Valley. Right: views of Sarim Lake.