This is the Nalati Grassland near the Sino-Kazakhstan border. This was my favourite place on the whole trip – it’s not difficult to see why.
Visitors to Nalati on a group tour have a few options to while away the time with… there are a couple of hiking routes, but as I didn’t try them out, I can’t give any recommendations or say how safe/well-labelled they are. Here’s the start of one trail though –
There’s also a sight-seeing jeep of sorts that takes you up to various scenic-viewing platforms. But the city girl has to opt for horseback-riding, right? What a rare chance – I was so excited!
The owner, Azhatae, let me take the reins for a bit after he taught me the basic commands…unfortunately I was not firm enough and the horse kept going to munch on juicy grass.
The experience costs RMB160 for two hours. They take you up a tourist trail to a spot where there’s a break in the trees and you see the endless grassland before you, and a trek back. (more about this in an upcoming post!)
These Kazakh men start riding at the age of 5, and the ladies by the age of 9, frequently earlier. I watched some teenagers race each other on a mud track – it was beautiful and thrilling to see it so up-close! More next time!