Full Name: Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture
Chinese Name: 巴音郭楞蒙古族自治州 (bā yīn guō lèng méng gǔ zú zì zhì zhōu)
Area: 482,700 square kilometers (186,372 square miles)
Nationalities: Uygur, Hui, Mongol, Han
During the early years of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD), there were thirty-six city states and kingdoms in the western region of China and eleven of these states existed in the region of Xinjiang. Since the year 60BC, the central government began to set up protectorates to administer the area. When Korla was brought into the prefecture in 1960, the prefecture government simultaneously moved to Korla.
Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture is situated in the southeast of Xinjiang, with neighboring provinces Gansu and Qinghai to the east. It is separated from Tibet by the Kunlun Mountains in the south. Within the Xinjiang Bayingolin Prefecture, it is bordered by Hotan in the west, and is in neighborhood of Ili, Changji, Urumqi, Turpan and Kumul with the Tianshan Mountains in the north acting as the boundary between Bayingolin and these regions.
The whole prefecture fits into three morphologic regions: Tianshan Mountains, Tarim Basin and Kunlun-Arjin Mountains. Mountainous regions make up forty-nine percent of Bayingolin's territory. In addition, it has the Takla Makan Desert in the center and vast plains in the north.
The prefecture enjoys a temperate continental climate characterized by aridity, lack of rainfall, much evaporation and long daylight hours. In higher mountainous regions, there is no summer heat all the year round, while in the plain areas, the four seasons are distinct. September and October are the most ideal times to visit Bayingolin.
Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture is the largest city-level administrative region possessing China's largest desert, longest inland river, largest inland freshwater lake, alpine grassland, diversified-leaf poplar protection zone, and the only forest park in a desert terrain and a swan nature reserve.
Special Local Products:
Korla pear, fig, apocynum tea, grape, liquorice
Hightlights in Bayingolin:
Bayanbulak Grassland is the largest alpine grassland in China, covering a total area of 23 thousand square kilometers (8,880 square miles). Swan Lake is a network of many small lakes located in the center of Bayanbulak Grassland. Every year around April, swans and many other birds fly from the south in succession. May to June is the season when little swan are born, and it is the best time to admire the swans. Also in the grassland, the Kunse (Gongnaisi) Forestry Center is a great natural treasury of wildlife, while also producing many precious herbs.
Tarim River is the largest inland river in China flowing through the Takla Makan Desert. Tarim River Tourist Zone lies in the Lopnur (Yuli) County, 105 kilometers (65 miles) from Korla. The tourist zone is praised to be '800 li (246 miles) of green corridor' with primitive diversified-leaf poplar trees planted along the river banks. How poetic while riding on camel back, meandering through the desert and admiring the fascinating scenery of sunrise and sunset.
Other Scenic Spots:
Bosten Lake, Ancient City of Loulan, Lop Nur
The Swan Lake is full of water filled depressions. Visitors going there should be escorted by guides.
The temperature in the Bayanbulak Grassland may change greatly, adequate clothing is suggested.
The new Korla Airport completed in October, 2007 is the second largest airport in Xinjiang. It is about 17 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of downtown Korla. At present, it mainly operates flights shuttling between Korla and Urumqi. In the near future, there will be more flights to some of the larger cities of China.
Korla passenger transport center is seated in Beishan Lu, and visitors can take public busses No.2, 12, 19 and 26 to the bus station.