The next destinaton is the Bole (博乐) county of the Boertala (博乐尔塔拉) Mongol Administrative prefecture, which is north east of the Yili region of Xinjiang. The main city is also called Bole. It is 524 km from Urumuchi. The streets of this city of 260,000 people are wide and clean. Mongol architecture is prominent over there.
Cotton farming is the main economic activity of the area. Many of the people who own the cotton farms are doing well as cotton prices are still good, though down from last year. How much they would make, will really depend on their acreage. As the place is rather thinly populated, the land plots of the farmers are much bigger than those in the crowded eastern provinces. Hence, it is not suprsing to see cotton farmers in Xinjiang owning nice houses and cars.
The main tourist attraction in Bole region is the Sailimu (赛里木) lake. The lake is situated in the south between Bole and Huocheng. This a 30km long by 20km wide lake is surrounded by beautiful highland grassland that has about 2000 Mongol and Kazak households. Though the lake one of the further point on earth from the sea, the water of this blue lake has strong waves just like the sea. It is becoming increasingly popular with tourits visiting Xinjiang. The Mongol people are traditional herders, but today ther are starting to depend more on tourism activities for livings. However they still maintain their traditions like making offerings to ‘Aobao’, singings, dancings, wrestling, horse racing, feasting and drinking.
Next interesting place is the Alashankou (阿拉山口) border checkpoint. This is another checkpoint at the Kazakshtan border. The difference with other checkpoints is that there is an international train line running through the checkpoint. Train from or to Europe / Kazakshtan will use this checkpoint. Most of the overseas train travellers using his checkpoint are the Kazakhtan people.