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Heavenly Lake

Two thousand meters up in the Tianshan range is Heavenly Lake, a small, long, steely-blue lake nestled below the view-grabbing 5445-meter Peak of God. The area is one of the few unspoiled places in China. The crystal water reflecting the snow-topped peaks, fluffy white clouds and blue sky create a breathtaking view. Lying at the mountainside of the snow-crowned Bogda Peak, the Heavenly Lake is surrounded by numerous towering verdant dragon spruces, tall and straight. The lake also has various waterfalls. With constantly changing clouds and mist, they form a splendor and open plateau landscape.

Known as Yaochi in ancient times, Heavenly Lake is the Summer Palace of the legendary Heavenly Empress. So many places in the Heavenly Lake are related to her. The venerable elm standing beside the lake is said to be the avatar of the Heavenly Empress's hairpin. The deep Dragon Pool, which lies just under the Heavenly Lake, is said to be her swimming pool.

In summer, the beautiful lake is an ideal cool resort. Boaters on the lake see the ever-changing silvery mountains soaring into the blue sky. Their slopes are highlighted with verdant pasture and flamboyant wild flowers. Fishing at dusk has its own special charm. A day in this fairyland promises a restoration.

Many believe that the lake is home to the Lake Tianchi Monster. It is unknown whether the monster and legendary Kun are related, neither about its existence. On September 6, 2007, Zhuo Yongsheng (director of a TV station's news center run by the administration office of the nature reserve at Mount Changbaishan, Jilin) shot a 20-minute video of 6 seal-like finned "Lake Tianchi Monsters" near the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). One of them showed the creatures swimming in 3 pairs in parallel. Another showed them together, leaving ripples on the volcanic lake. If you are curious about the mysterious monster, never miss the wonderful Heavenly Lake.

To really enjoy the place, it is better to stay overnight so as to have the time to hike around and be there when the crowds are gone and the speed boats and tour boats are retired. Once the crowds leave in the late afternoon, the lake and the valley regain peace and quiet. People can go for strolls on the mountain paths, or they can hike or ride horses up to the glacier plains where the scenery is simply stunning. If the sky is clear, you can enjoy the stunning celestial display and maybe campfires or meals with your Kazakh hosts.

Location: at among hills of West Bogda Peak southwest of Fukang County
Transportation: In addition to the tour buses from Urumqi that proceed up to the lake, there are special cable cars that can be caught at the base of the mountain. These offer a more direct experience of being 'one with nature' for the journey up the mountain.
Ticket: Entrance Charge: CNY125 (April 1 to October 31); CNY60 (November 1 to March 31)
Inter-zone Vehicle: CNY90
Queen Mother of the Western Heaven Temple: CNY 10
Zoology Museum: CNY 10
Cable Car: CNY 35 (whole trip); CNY 20 (single trip)
Electric Bus: CNY 5 (single trip)
Painted Pleasure Boat: CNY 50
Mosquito Craft: CNY 35
Barge: CNY 20
Opening hours: From 08:30 to 20:00 (April to October 31)
From 10:00 to 18:00 (November 1 to March 31)

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