Huocheng (霍城) has been the historic gate of entry from central Asia into China. It is just west of Yining close to Kazakshtan border. Currently, the Huocheng border checkpoint is the biggest and busiest in the western part of China. It opens daily for 12 hours. Everyday there are thousands of people, long lines of buses and trucks waiting to go through this important checkpoint.
Relationship between China and Kazakhstan seems fairly good, as there are numerous travellers and business people involved in trades and tourism activities. There is a large and thriving duty free trade complex built to house such trades involving goods from the Central Asian countries and China. Large integrated commercial complexes are currently being built to facilitate the booming commercial activities with Kazakhstan and other central Asian nations.
Huocheng is in the Yili river valley region. Over there lavenders grow very well naturally, such that at times the fields look like a sea of purple. Lavender is widely used as aromatic scent in various products including perfume. The film crew visited a local flower nursery that specialises in fragrant plants and in the production of perfumes.
The historical town of Huiyuan (惠远) is nearby. Some of the buildings have traditional Chinese architecture, and thus it has been called little Beijing. The town was rebuilt about 130 years ago after it was destroyed in a local war. The really old part that is the 240 year old ruin of a fort used by the Qing imperial army.
The film crew revisted the Nalati grassland to view the traditional horse games of the Kazak people.