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Home Travel in Xinjiang The Ili Grassland
The Ili Grassland
Travel in Xinjiang

Ili Grassland
There is a saying that you never know how board china is unless you have been to Xinjiang (xīn jiāng 新疆), and you never know how fantastic scene in Xinjiang unless you have experienced the fairyland of Ili Grassland (yī lí cǎo yuán 伊犁草原). The Ili Grassland boasts fertile soil and a mild, humid climate, with more rainfall in the mountains than in the river valley.


The Ili Grassland lies in a fold of the Tianshan Mountains (tiān shān shān mài 天山山脉), one of the largest mountain ranges in Asia. Surrounded by ridges on three sides, it is open on the west to humid currents of air. A vertical division of grassland belts has been formed ranging through frigid meadows, montane meadows, montane meadow steppe, montane steppe, montane desert steppe, plain desert and river valley meadows.
Ili Grassland The Ili Grassland boasts fertile soil and a mild, humid climate, with more rainfall in the mountains than in the river valley. The average annual temperature is 46.4F—50F, ideal for both pasturing and farming. Between the plain and mountains are scattered barren desert, grassland, meadow, bush and forest areas. In winter, the herdsmen usually tend their cattle on the plain and in the desert; in spring they move to the mountain slopes; in summer, they go higher to the alpine meadows; and in autumn, they return to the lowlands. The grasslands and forests are the main features of the landscape in the north. Ili is famous for the beauty of its mountains and rivers, woods and meadows. They are companions to snow-capped mountains. They are home to horses and hawks, and are like beautiful picture scrolls hanging from the towering peaks.

Nalat (nà lā tí cǎo yuán 那拉提草原), Kongnaiz (gǒng nǎi sī cǎo yuán 巩乃斯草原), Zhaosu (zhāo sū cǎo yuán 昭苏草原) and Tangbula (táng bù lā cǎo yuán 唐布拉草原) are the four major grassland areas in Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture  (yī lí hā sà kè zì zhì xiàn 伊犁哈萨克自治县). Their counterparts are located at high altitude, either on mountain plateaus or slopes, or at the foot of the mountains, neighboring large woods and deep vales.

Nalat Grassland

Nalat GrasslandIt means the sun in Mongolian and is at a relatively low altitude. As one of the four largest grasslands over the world, Nalat Grassland boasts sub-alpine poad belt, and it has been a famous pasture land ever since the ancient times, and there are wide river valley, high mountains, the crisscrossed deep gores, the flourishing forest, open grassland combined with local Kazak folk customs. You will be fascinated by the lush grass, full-blown wild flowers, and vigorous elms, spruces and poplar trees. The wide expanse of flat land is strewn with cottages and yurts, and flocks and herds graze there.

Kongnaiz Grassland

Kongnaiz GrasslandIt means “the slope of Sun” in Mongolian. Kongnaiz Grassland, in broad sense, is a general name used for grasslands in Kongnaiz River basin, mainly located in Territory of Xinyuan County (xīn yuán xiàn 新源县) with an area of over 733 thousand hectare. It is the home of Xinjiang fine-fleece sheep and Ili horse which is also called “Heavenly horse”. The landscape of Kongnaiz grassland is beautiful all the year round, especially the spring season when the grassland looks like a green blanket dotted with various wild flowers. Qiahe Waterfall (qià hé pǔ bào bù 恰合普瀑布) shaped by Qiahepu River (qià hé pǔ hé 恰合普河), 3 kilometers southwest of the seat of Xinyuan County, is one of key scenic spots in Kongnaiz. To north of the grassland lies Kuokeqiaoke (kuò kè qiáo kè 阔克乔克)(means green mountain) Mountain on whose northern slope grow tree woods and the only wild fruit in the country, including Saiwei wild apple, Maling (bramble), European plum, etc. Covering Xinyuan County and Gongliu County (gǒng liú xiàn 巩留县), a natural reserve was established around the mountain for fruit tree species resource, and a wild fruit woods improvement farm has been established.

Zhaosu Grassland

Zhaosu GrasslandAbout 2,000-3,000 meters above sea level, the Zhaosu Grassland is located on the lower slopes of the Tianshan range. With the surrounding majestic peaks, tall spruce trees, golden rape flowers, white yurts and galloping herds of horses, this grassland resembles a gorgeous painting.

Admission Fee:
Nalat Grassland: CNY 60

Best Time to Visit: July to September