Tian Shan Mountains

Tian Shan Mounatins, Xinjiang
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Tian Shan Mountains, also called Tien Shan, Celestial Mountains or Heavenly Mountains, is a large system of mountain range situated in the Eurasia hinterland. Tian Shan Mountains location makes it the furthest mountain system from the sea with widespread drought regions. As one of the Seven Mountain Systems in the world, Tian Shan Mountains stretches through four countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) with a length of 2,500 kilometers (about 1,553 miles) from east to west.

The following introduction will guide you to the part of the Tian Shan Mountains within Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. With its particular geological structure and stunning natural landscape, the mountain has been inscribed in the World Heritage List by the UNESCO on June 21st 2013.

Tian Shan Mountains spans across the whole Xinjiang, through Kashgar, Aksu, Ili, Bortala, Bayingolin, Changji, Urumchi, Turpan, and Kumul with a length of 1,760 kilometers (about 1,094 miles). It is also worth to mention that 'three mountains clip two basins' is the geographic feature of Xinjiang. With the Altai Mountains on the north boundary and the Kunlun Mountains on the south boundary, the Tian Shan Mountains in the middle is the natural geographical dividing line between Junggar Basin and Tarim Basin, so Xinjiang can be divided into two parts - Southern Xinjiang and Northern Xinjiang.
Heavenly Lake on Tian Shan Mountains
Heavenly Lake in the Mountain

In addition to the highest peak - Pobeda Peak at 7,435.3 meters (24,394 feet), there are tens of peaks along the Tian Shan Mountains including Khan Tengri (China-Kazakhstan border) and Bogda Peak. Owing to the high latitude and high altitude, those peaks are covered with ice all year round. And what makes the Tian Shan Mountains more remarkable is that a high mountain lake - the Heavenly Lake. About 110 kilometers (68.4 miles) away from Urumqi, the lake is located in a valley at 1,943 meters (6,375 feet) on the northern slope of Bogda Peak. The melt water in the lake is crystal clear and quiet like a mirror, which is very beautiful with reflection of the snow peaks and jade green spruces.

Although many peaks of Tian Shan Mountains are covered with snow all the year round, the mountain area under snow line is still abundant in animals and plant resources. Vegetation there is under rich diversity, including dense forest, green spruce, whirl pines and more than 80 species of medical plants, especially the most precious herbal medicine - Saussurea Involucrate. Being adapted to harsh climates of high altitude, it grows well on cliffs and in the clefts of rocks along the mountain. Aside from Tianshan Wild Animal Park, which is located at the southern foot of Bogda Mountain, the Southern Pasture and Ili Nalati Grassland are also famous tourist attractions along the Tian Shan Mountains which are highly recommended for visitors who enjoy horse racing and the kazakh folk customs.
Natural Pastures in the Mountain Mt. Tianshan, Xinjiang
 Travel Tips:
1. The best time to travel to Tian Shan Mountains is in summer from June to August when there are beautiful grasslands, cattle and sheep flocks and boundless rape flowers. Besides, for those who favor to enjoy the snow, they are suggested to visit the Mountain before December or after February because the mountain climate between December and February is severe cold and often with wind of force more than 8. 

2. Take along enough warm clothes even if you plan to visit in summer due to the big temperature difference between day and night in the mountainous areas. Also, pay attention to weather changes before visit, especially, the weather forecast for sandstorms. 

3. The Heavenly Lake Scenic area of Tian Shan Mountains is the most popular tourist attraction and it is close to Urumqi, so tourists are recommended to stay in hotels in Urumqi city and take through bus to the scenery spot. The single trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

How to get to Heavenly Lake in Tian Shan Mountains Area

Take a bus from Urumqi Beijiao Bus Station to Fukang, and then transfer to another bus from Fukang Bus Station to the Heavenly Lake.

How to get to Tianshan Grand Canyon

Take a direct bus from Nanjiao Bus Station in Urumqi City to Tianshan Grand Canyon.
- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Tian Shan Mountains
Asked by Karen from AMERAICA | Feb. 24, 2021 20:37Reply
Is Tianshan Mountains worth the drive?
because I have a tight amount of time.
Answers (1)
Answered by Ben | Feb. 28, 2021 17:29

Yes, it is totally worth to drive because of its breathtaking natural scenery.
Asked by cami from ITALY | Jul. 22, 2018 22:01Reply
I have six days to spend in Urumqi.
I was thinking to go to tian shan and spend there some nights? can I do it easily? any suggestion?
Answers (3)
Answered by Pierre from FRANCE | Jul. 23, 2018 01:59

Yes, you can take a bus at front and rear gate of People's Park, West Gate, Ergong Gymnasium, Beijing Road and the departure time is from 9:00—10:00 in summer.
Answered by cami | Jul. 23, 2018 03:28

is it better to go to tianshan lake or to the nanshan grassland, if u have experience about it. we have to spend 6 days. is it more convenient to buy a tent or can we find cheap places where to stay?
Answered by Pierre from FRANCE | Jul. 23, 2018 18:06

You can find some yurts very easily and I think two days are enough to spend around the lake. Both two places are beautiful, you can visit them within 6 days.
Asked by Amy from SCOTLAND | Dec. 16, 2016 10:24Reply
How do I book a yurt near the Heavenly Lake?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joe from USA | Dec. 19, 2016 00:41

Dear Amy, you needn't book the yurts at the scenic area. Just walk in, pay some money, and stay there. The locals are hospitable and friendly. Have fun! :)
Asked by Rieng | Dec. 02, 2016 09:01Reply
Is it possible to see scenic spots at Tianshan and Heavenly Lake in one day by private mini-van?
Please advise where to go first?
Answers (1)
Answered by Chloe from SINGAPORE | Dec. 02, 2016 21:20

Yes, you can tour around these in one day. Acutally, the lake is located inside the Tianshan Scenic Area. It's suggested to start off in the early morning. Then you will have more time to appreciate the impressive scenery.
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