Road trips reveal Xinjiang splendor

Updated: Sep 25, 2018 By Cui Jia and Mao Weihua China Daily Print
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Tarim Basin

Six days, 2,600 km

What to see:

Tarim desert poplar forest

Stretching over 100 square kilometers, it's the largest wild desert poplar reserve in the world. People can enjoy the tree-lined scenery along the Tarim River by driving on the road in the reserve.

Miran Ruins

Miran is an ancient oasis town on the southern rim of the Taklimakan Desert. The town, with a sophisticated irrigation system, was once on the ancient Silk Road. It was also a thriving center of Buddhism with many monasteries. Many artifacts found in Miran demonstrate the extensive and sophisticated trade connections these ancient towns had with places as far away as the Mediterranean Sea.

Taklimakan Desert (photo above)

It's the world's second-largest shifting sand desert and the largest desert in China. Meaning "the place of no return" in the Uygur language, the desert was a place travelers were likely to avoid. But modern-day adventurers can drive along roads built in the desert for a unique experience.

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