Bortala Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 博尔塔拉蒙古族自治州 (bó ěr tǎ lā méng gǔ zú zì zhì zhōu)
Area: 27,200 square kilometers (10,502 square miles)
Location: in the northwest of Xinjiang, northwest China
Administrative Division: 2 counties (Jinghe, Araxang); 2 county-level cityes (Bortala, Alashankou)
Area Code: 0909
Zip Code: 833400
GDP (2019): CNY 35.429 billion (USD 5.135 billion)
Nationalities: Han, Mongolian, Uygur, Kazak, Hui
Gateway to the West China Highlighting Sayram Lake
Located in the northwest of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture neighbors Ili to the south and is bordered by the Republic of Kazakhstan to the north and west. Known as the First Gateway to West China, Bortala has Alashan Port which has become the most convenient and stable import and export channel between China and European countries.
Bortala is also one of Xinjiang's major tourist destinations. It is famous for the emerald-like Sayram Lake with snow mountains and beautiful grasslands. From the end of July to the beginning of August, the local minority herdsmen celebrate Nadam Fair here. Tourists can experience the local customs and traditional sports like horse racing and wrestling. The Aibi Lake should not be missed either, which is the largest lagoon in Xinjiang and servers as the best bird watching place in summer.
Haritureg National Forest Park: Haritureg is Mongolian for 'places over which golden eagles soar'. The forest park is a perfect summer resort located at the south foot of the Alataw Mountain in northern Bortala City. In the flourishing land of the forest, there are Buddhist caves, ancient tombs and rock paintings with unknown enigmas, and the breathtakingly beautiful natural landscape of brooks, waterfalls, and birch and spruce forests. It is a treasure land combining grasslands, valleys, and forests.
Mysterious Stone Valley: Located about 38 kilometers (24 miles) west of Bortala City at the foot of the Alataw Mountain, the Mysterious Stone Valley is the largest strange stone group in West China. It is only 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the famous lake in Junger Basin, Aibi Lake.
Other Scenic Spots: Sayram Lake, Aibi Lake, Araxang (Wenquan) County
How to Get to Bortala
1. Alataw Pass (Alashankou) is the largest inland port in West China. The Second Eurasia Continental Bridge has been connected. The railway starts from Lianyungang of Jiangsu Province in China and ends in Rotterdam of Holland. The Urumqi-Alataw Pass section of the 'continental bridge' has 140 kilometers (87 miles) of railway passing through Bortala Prefecture. It handles mainly freight trains, but there are two passenger trains shuttling between Alashankou and Urumqi.
2. Alataw Pass is 70 kilometers (43 miles) from downtown, and the railway station and bus stations there are also foreign-related establishments. The bus station of Bortala Prefecture in Beijing Road provides regular buses shuttling between Alashankou Raiway Station and other places in downtown. In addition, there are three other bus stations in the city: the East Station, the West Station and the Nongwushi Station.
The region enjoys the north temperate continental climate that is characterized by arid weather, long sunlight hours and great temperature variations between day and night. Its annual average temperature falls around 3.7-7.4℃ (38.7-45.3℉). Summer and autumn are best seasons to tour around.
Bortala Travel Tips
History: Before the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD) established the Protectorate of West Region in the vast land of northwest China, the area was inhabited by several nomadic tribes. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was under the administration of Shuanghe Protectorate. The name of the prefecture, Bortala, was derived from Bolatuoer which was recorded in the history of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Physical Features: This Prefecture is higher in the north and south, lower in the center, and the terrain gradually slopes downward from the west to the east. It has Alataw Mountain in the north and Keguqin and Boluokenu Mountains located in the south part. The centre of the prefecture is the alluvial plain formed by the Bortala River.
Local Highlights: During the summer and autumn, the Nadam Grassland Festival is held here. People of Mongol, Kazak, Uygur and Hui in gala attire will gather on the grasslands and participate in or admire the horse racing, wrestling, and horsemanship. Aken Song Fest is the most popular folk song festival of the Kazak. They sing antiphonally or play and sing as they please. These songs are usually improvisations.
Special Local Products: cotton, cashmere, medlar