Three hidden gems in China

Three hidden gems in China

Summer - along with its scorching heat and breathless days - has given way to autumn, which is probably the best season for travelling in China.

This is also perhaps the best time to visit Kanas Lake to have a chance meeting with a mysterious "water monster", navigate the less-than-1m-wide alleys in Xitang, or watch the sun dip below the horizon from a boat rolling gently on Baiyangdian lake. Here are three hidden gems that the vast expanse of China has to offer.

KANAS, XINJIANG

Situated in Burqin county of Altai city in Xinjiang, Kanas - which means beautiful, rich and mysterious in Mongolian - is referred to as the "Switzerland of the Orient". Kanas shares its border with Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, and its 44 sq km lake is shaped like a bean pod. Situated over 1,340m above sea level, Kanas Lake is famous for its natural beauty and discreet charm.

Here, you'll see the tranquil waters change colour as the day progresses.

The lake is also known for a mysterious water monster, which many believe has killed horses drinking water from the lake or resting near its banks. Myth or reality, the creature does not deter tourists. In fact, they arrive in droves to visit the lake, with braver ones seeking to unravel the truth.

Wolong Bay (or Crouching Dragon Bay) is another big attraction in the Kanas Lake area. Kanas is home to virgin forests surrounded by pristine grasslands. It is also home to the Tuva people - closely related to Mongolians - and many rare species of mammals and birds.

Do not forget to visit the neighbouring Hemu, Baihaba and Kanas villages, where the Tuva people have preserved their lifestyle and traditions.

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