As an ideal summer resort of suburbs in Urumqi, the Southern Pasture is about 2 hours drive from the city. Southern Pasture is in the transition area between the low and middle-sized hills. Southern Pasture consists of many features. From west to east are: Xi Baiyanggou (Xi Bai-Yang Gou, meaning "West White-Poplar [Populus alba] Gully"), Juhuatai (Juhai Tai, meaning literally "Chrysanthemum Fan", or a chrysanthemum-shaped alluvial fan in this case), Dong Baiyanggou ("East White-Poplar Gully"), Mount Zhaobi, Miao'er Gou (Miao'er Gully), and Daxi Gou (Da'xi Gully). West White Poplar Gully is considered to be the flagship feature of Southern Pasture since it is the most preferred section of Southern Pasture for horseback jaunts.
The local Kazakh herdsmen usually spend the summer at Southern Pasture tending their animal flocks, by which they are easily identified, as well as by their characteristic yurts. Besides the many hiking possibilities at Southern Pasture, the visitor can also rent a horse for a spirited gallop across the grassland, or if in groups, rent horses with a guide for an extended tour through the trails in the forested slopes of the nearby hills.
The large traditional Kazakh gatherings are more or less comparable to large traditional Mongolian gatherings. There are additionally horseback-wrestling, where the riders try to pull each other off their respective mounts; and kokpar, the traditional “every man for himself” contest that a rider tries to maintain "ownership" over the carcass of a lamb for as long as possible while being pursued by rivals who try to snatch the carcass from him, resulting in the carcass gradually being ripped and torn until, in the end, there is nothing left but a patch of skin. At Southern Pasture, you will witness a much more sanitized "Kazakh rodeo" consisting solely of "girl's whip" and sheep-roping.
The Nanshan Scenic Area Administration at Southern Slopes operates a "yurt hostel" and restaurant here, so visitors can conveniently spend the night here with fellow travelers. In addition, if one prefers it, he/she can spend the night as a guest in the yurt of a Kazakh family. In this case, the visitor will be guided on horseback to the Kazakh summer camp higher up the mountainside, since the Kazakh generally prefer to camp along the upper slopes of mountains, where the air is fresher with fewer insects.
Location: the south of Urumqi City, 60 kilometers away from Urumqi
Transportation: From the main gate of the bus station at People's Garden in Urumqi, there are regular buses departing to Southern Pasture (Baiyanggou) every day, and of course there are daily returning buses. Since the trip there and back requires a bit of time, and since the visitor will need at least 4-6 hours onsite to enjoy the grasslands, the bus to Southern Pasture departs early, usually at around 8:30 AM, or as soon as the bus is filled, if before this time. It is therefore best to be at the bus station by 8 AM at the latest.
Ticket: CNY 20
Opening hours: From 10:00 to 21:00