Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Ghost City in China Vs Ghost Town in US

Ghost City in Xinjiang is different from the Ghost Town in the western country such as the Ghost Town I went last winter in California, Calico Ghost Town. Calico Ghost Town is an abandoned old mining town. The recent Ghost City which I explored is situated 100 km away from Karamay City / 克拉玛依, Xinjiang, northwest China. It is named after “Ghost City” due to frequent strong winds whistle and howl plus the flying sand create the mysterious yardang landform and caused various formations. The word ‘yardang’ itself is of Turkic origin, meaning – steep bank, it is formed by the wind erosion.  In Xinjiang & Gansu, you get to see a lot of yardang landform.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Internal Train

There are internal buses which look like train to bring you around this huge area. The small train will only stop at three attractions. During the ride, the train may slow down a little when it is closer to some interesting landform for everyone to take picture. There is no window in the train so it is very good to shoot picture from the small train. In the train you are able to listen to the music and the explanation in Chinese. ( I can’t recall if there is any English explanation)

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Some look like animal, seal, lion etc.

Use your imagination

You need to use your imagination to see the landform here, some look like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, some look like pyramid of Egypt, Cambodia Angkor Wat, eagle spreading its wings etc.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

China’s Three Most Beautiful Yadang

The landform here was selected as the “China’s three most beautiful Yadang” by the “National Beauty China” campaign of China National Geographic.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Visiting Kazakh Yurt / Tent

There is a Kazakh yurt at the first stop when I was there.  Don’t hesitate to pop in to have a look and say hi to the people inside the yurt.  I believe they are the camels owners, setting a yurt to stay away from the hot sun.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Camels Riding

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Strong Sunshine & Wind

There is a strong sunshine near Karamay, and the area is large. It is best to prepare sunscreen and sand proof equipment such as sunglasses, headscarves and sun hats. And the climate here is dry, so you need to prepare enough drinking water.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Extreme Driving in Ghost City

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Movie Scene

Several Chinese famous movies such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “The Seven Swords Under the Heaven”, “The Visitors on the Iceberg” were shot here.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Dinosaur Valley

About 1 billion years ago, during the Cretaceous period, this place was a huge freshwater lake and beside the lake was grow with lush vegetation. The water inhabited the different type of dinosaur, such as stegosaurus, plesiosaur, dinosaur, Junggar pterosaur and others. This place use to be a paradise for these animals but after the big earthquake, the lake here has become a land in geology term is called “Gobi Terrace”

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

The Dinosaur Valley is the final attraction.  The dinosaurs here aren’t real dinosaur but it is really a dinosaur valley billion years ago.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Karamay Oil Field

Opposite of the Ghost City, you can see the largest oil fields in China, called Karamay Oilfield. You see hundreds of jumpjack at the oil field. Xinjiang is a place full of oil and other mineral resources, I just seen the coal factory past few days and glad to see the Karamay Oilfield and their jumpjacks jumping up and down. What a stunning landscape.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Karamay in Uyghur mean “black oil”, it is the wealthiest city in China, obviously the wealth is generated from the oil drilling.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Final thoughts :

There are plenty of yardang landform caused by the wind and sand storm in Xinjiang and Urho Ghost City is one of them.  It get more famous after few Chinese movies was shot here, one of them is “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”.  Opposit the Urho Ghost City you also get to see the Karamay Oilfield, an amazing landscape with hundreds of jumpjack jumping up and down, working very hard for oil drilling. Glad to witness how the oilfield looks like in Karamay, also one of the wealthiest city in China.

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田

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60 Replies to “Xinjiang : Urho Ghost City & Karamay Oilfield 新疆魔鬼城 & 克拉玛依油田”

  1. Interesting post and some lovely pictures. The dinosaur valley look very interesting and I can understand why they have chosen it to be their last attraction of the ride, too bad they couldn’t keep some real bones though. Seems as if you had an amazing time there! A bit jealous!

  2. Your photos of the area are absolutely gorgeous! I would be so thrilled in the bus to be able to take so many photos along the journey’s path. I wonder if SPF 1000 is available? Something tells me I would get sunburned in absolutely no time!

    1. Dear Laurie,
      You certainly need SPF 1000 if there is one available in the market. The weather is unbelievable as it is in the desert and yardang landform. Without the hat and unbrella I could be killed by the heat! Lol.

    1. The landscape is amazing, different shapes and looks like different kind of animals or things. The yardang landform is caused by the strong wind and sand storm. Truly interesting landform.

    1. Dear Jeff,

      Traveling make you see how other part of the world live their life. We dont always see the best & positive sights in new place but I certainly get very interested to find out how the local live their life.

    1. Dear Dalena,
      Where I stay do not have desert so I am really into desert. Been to the Las Vegas desert too but they dont have camel riding. Quite lucky to have experience the camel riding. Slow like snail and very tame.

    1. Dear Stephanie,
      Certainly different. Ghost town in US is an abandoned town from gold or silver mining. Ghost town in China has different interpretation. Named as ghost town due to the howling of the wind.

  3. This is so interesting! It looks empty on one hand, but then filled with wonderful things hidden throughout. I want to ride a camel!

  4. This is such an interesting read and beautiful scenery. As a content creator, I always imagine the kind of pictures I would create, should I be there and this would be a top location.

  5. I’ve visited Calico Ghost Town in California. I guess now I’ll have to visit this ghost city in China for my own comparison. These pics definitely make it look like a destination worth visiting.

  6. First of all I would like to commend you with your photos are very stunning and that place that you visited was really beautiful. You can’t see any beautiful and tall building but the place itself and the natural way of forming this by nature is really incredible.

  7. That’s interesting the differences in what one country sees as a ghost town and another a ghost city. One is more abandonment and another is almost about real crazy and natural phenomenon but I can see why they think ghosts might be involved if it produces very interesting noises with the winds.

  8. The yardang landforms look really cool. I would prefer to go to Xinjiang Urho Ghost City and see the lanforms versus the Karamay Oilfield. Probaby because the landforms are in a different country and I live in the US so I’ve seen things similar to the oilfield. Beautiful pictures of the landforms!

    1. Dear Jessica,

      I agree the landscape in Xinjiang look slightly similar to US. You do have canyon landform and oilfield and plenty of mountain ranges. We don’t get to see that over here so it is pretty facinating view and sights. When I first saw the jumpjack in the states, I didnt even know it is for oilfield. LOL.

  9. Comparing Ghost cities in 2 different parts of the world! hehe this is cool! This place looks so cool. I think China has more oilfields, with its vast lands, they have treasure! Maybe yet to be discovered… you seemed to be having a time of your life girl! You’re hopping in one place everytime… 🙂

    1. This part of China is in the northwest China, every near to Russia and Kazakhstan. The landforms is incredible and the minority people who lives here look very different from the Han Chinese look. The minority Uyghurs (Turkic ethnic ) who lives here look very much like Turkish and some have brown hair and green eyes and tall nose, not the typical Chinese look.

  10. This is fascinating! Yes, Ghost City is very different from the ghost towns in the US, but the yardang formations look a lot like parts of the desert southwest here in the States. Your camel ride looks fun – I’ve always wanted to do that – maybe I’ll have to take a trip to China 🙂

    1. Dear Tachi,
      China has big desert in the northwest, part of Gobi desert sit in China too. Camel is used during the Silk Road period as the transport from the east to the west, bringing in goods to trade. One of the imporantant item is silks and well loved by the western world.

  11. I love your pics! I didn’t know China had this terrain. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. There’s a lot of diversity there…the camels, the pyramid like structures, the sand dunes and camels. It looks like a must take trip.

  12. Wow! love that its not the typical travel location! So much to learn, i think that my nephews would love dinosaur valley! thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Dear Tania,

      Xinjiang is an indepth sight seeing for travelers who have been to China multiple times. The China first timer would usually go to Beijing for the Great Wall or Xian for the Terracotta Army.

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