（By Mo Tingting）Traveling to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is set to continue heating up during the cold months. Located within Kanas Lake Scenic Area in the north of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hemu, one of the six most beautiful villages in China, is a primitive village. It is also known as "God's Private Land". Villagers are descendants of Genghis Khan, living in log cabins. Here, you can enjoy the snow mountains, icy lakes, grasslands, heavy snow-covered wooden houses and primitive Tuwa minority who has lived here for thousands of years.
A paradise for shutterbugs
Xinjiang is home to a raft of scenic spots, including top-rated national attractions, national geoparks and national forests. Hemu Village is situated in the Kanas Lake Scenic Area in Altay of northern Xinjiang.
Hemu, a charming small village, is surrounded by mountains and pristine natural scenery. Its natural scenery in four seasons is different. In spring, the snow on the mountain has not melted. The log cabins in front of the mountains are the characteristic of Hemu Village. Half of the wooden houses are underground, ensuring that villagers can survive in the cold winter safely. In summer, you can see the stars in the sky, and it is a good time to see the aurora. At night, villagers would sing and dance around the campfire and throw the first bowl of milk wine on the fire because they worship the fire. In autumn, it is a good season to watch the fog and eat cold-water fish. Wild cold-water fish is a unique product of the village. Winter in Hemu Village lasts for seven months, with heavy snow. Every family will make milk wine before winter comes. Milk wine is not only a drink to entertain guests, but also can warm villagers in winter. Hemu Village is probably a good place to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and enjoy the beautiful scenery in early winter.
The viewing platform is located on the hillside opposite the Hemu River. It can take a panoramic view of the village. Across the Hemu Bridge, there is a large birch forest. The sunset here is the most poetic, as if everything in the world has been left behind. After spending some time strolling in the village around its wooden huts, birch forests and Hemu River, you can hike to the top of a nearby hill for a fantastic view of the village during sunset. Surrounded by birch trees, snow-covered hills and a traditional folk lifestyle, Hemu Village exudes fairytale-like quality and is ranked among the most beautiful villages in China. If you are too tired, you can also choose to ride horses which is also a good experience. In Hemu Village, cattle, horses and sheep can be seen often, and they are also relatively gentle. But many cows are a little scared, so don’t frighten them. The ice-coated birch forest, the grandeur of the snowfields, the snow-covered ice lake and Hemu Village where one feels as if they have been reincarnated in a Chinese ink painting, are something can not be missed and, for those who come, are destined to be a part and parcel of an unforgettable memory.
Early in the winter, the morning mist fills the Hemu Village. The entire village, mountains and fields all shrouded in the mist and white snow, although pure and flawless, are not monotonous. All the houses in Hemu Village are simple log cabins, scattered in the valley among the mountains. The local ethnic minorities work in the yard and they look simple and quiet.
What to Wear: sweater, fur-lined parka, downcoat and snow boots.
Best Time to Visit: Every June to October is the best time to visit the Hemu Village, among them, from June to July, the grasslands are covered with a large number of beautiful wildflowers. If you are a winter sports fan, you can visit here in early winter.
Tuva ethnic group in the primitive village
Hemu Village is the most remote and significant residence of the Tuva ethnic group. The other two residences are Kanas and Baihaba, both in Xinjiang. Once, the ancestors of the Tuwa people found such a secluded paradise to avoid war and settled down.
The Tuwa minority is believed to be the descendant of Genghis Khan troop. It’s said that the Tuwa were originated from the old or wounded soldiers abandoned by Genghis Khan when he led his soldiers to conquer the west region. So you will see every Tuwa’s home boasts a portrait of the great Mongolian warlord — Genghis Khan — above their fireplace.
The Tuwa people maintain a close cultural connection with, and are influenced by, the Mongolian ethnic group, including the respect to their religious belief and daily way of life. They carry on their language, Turkic, although they mainly communicate in Mongolian.
Here you can enjoy some free time to ride a horse or walk around in Hemu Village, and visit the Tuwa Tribe. Far away from the city’s civilization and bustle, the village has always preserved its simple and kind folk customs, and many still make a living by hunting and grazing. Their residential area is characterized by wooden houses scattered across the village. These cottages in Hemu Village have become a symbol of the Tuva people. The roof is nailed with wood, and each door opens to the east. A large part of the log cabin is buried in the earth to keep from the cold that lasts for over half a year. The house is made up of single-deck logs with a diameter of 30 to 40 centimeters so that the house can be both warm and dampproof. Outside the house, you can see that the cooking smoke in the village rises slowly, forming a dreamy smoke belt, more beautiful than a fairyland.
Besides, diverse winter fun programs and more trains and flights have heated up the region’s winter. The Hemu Ice and Snow Park, which developed in the winter of 2016, has integrated all the elements of ice and snow play into the majestic snow mountain range. In the long winter, special winter activities like skiing, skating, bonfire parties and desert hiking are what travelers like most. To attract more visitors, in recent years, Hemu Village has launched the hot-air balloon project. The high altitude perspective also gives tourists a different sense of adventure. A bonfire party is a traditional form of celebration for herdsmen. Tourists enjoy the snow in the daytime and the evening bonfire party makes the night of Hemu Village more lively. If you want to deeply feel the charm of Hemu, you must stay here for one night. It is not only convenient to shoot the dawn, but also can see the starry sky at night. When the night approaches, the sky adorned with numerous stars creates a mysterious and mesmerizing view.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama