Top Ten China Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Walk Through Fire

Ride through fire on you way to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, 35 miles northeast of Turpan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. As tomb complexes go, the Bereklik Thousand Buddha Caves—carved deep into the cliffs of the Mutougou Valley—can't compare with Xian or the Mogao Caves. Many of the paintings have been destroyed by the area's locals who don't see the value in Buddhist shrines, but for this site, getting there is more than half the fun.

These Silk Road caves are in the middle of the Huozhou (commonly referred to as the Flaming) Mountains, where, in mid-afternoon on a bright sunny day, the red limestone hillsides appear to be engulfed in tongues of fire. The intensity of the reflected heat—where temperatures can reach a blistering 106 degrees fahrenheit—adds to the illusion.

Hire a car and enjoy the scenery as it goes by, or tempt fate by tackling the path on two wheels.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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