Visiting the Ghost City 魔鬼城 | Xinjiang: Far West China

Visiting the Ghost City 魔鬼城

May 3 | No Comments

What do you get when you combine two Americans, six Filipinos, a bunch of cameras, camels, dinosaurs, and a big red bus? Answer: quite a party!

Destination: The Ghost City
Location: 100km north of Karamay (about 1 1/2 hours by bus)

This “city”, which is more of a geological park, got its name from the sounds that are made when the frequent winds whistle and howl through various rock formations. This location has been made famous by various movies which have shot scenes here, only one of which you might know – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Having personally never seen this movie, I don’t know which part was filmed here, but we have now seen where they did it! How exciting.

Ok, first, let me back up a bit so I can share a few stories and pictures. All 8 of us (Tiff, me, and the 6 Filipinos) decided a couple weeks back to take a tour to the Ghost City during the May Holiday. Last year we got a full week off for this holiday – a bit like Spring Break in America – but this year the powers-that-be decided that too much time off at once was bad for business, so they cut it to 3 days. The tour we bought included three places – a river valley, a dinosaur park, and the Ghost City. All of us boarded a bus with about 25 other subdued Chinese people who were just a bit uncomfortable with the loud atmosphere we brought. Example: all of us singing a karaoke song to pass the time on the big red bus. You don’t have to be Chinese to understand why that would turn heads.

Our first stop was a river valley that wasn’t much to see except for one thing – trees. We actually saw Chinese people taking pictures hugging trees! Why? I mean, we have trees here in the city, but these were old trees, trees with big trunks, and they took pictures because this was the first time they had seen a tree so big that two people together couldn’t put their arms around.

Stop number two was a dinosaur park – a park dedicated to the site where dinosaur bones had once been excavated a few decades ago. Were the bones on display? No. Did they show where they were unearthed? No. Was the entire park shaped like a big dinosaur with fake dinosaurs walking around everywhere? Of course! The redeeming part of this park was the many and different places we could take pictures and goof around. Check out the slide show to the right of this entry for examples of these pictures.

Finally, after a short lunch, we made our way to the Ghost City. We made a quick stop to ride some camels and the rest of the time was spent walking around the park and snapping many pictures. There’s really no way to try to describe to you the enormity and beauty of what we saw, so I think it’s best to let pictures and one video do the trick. If you’re receiving this via e-mail and can’t see all this, log onto the website for better results.

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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