Genghis Khan’s descendant
As I mentioned you need at least two days in Kanas Lake, the following day we visited Hemu Village which is located on the south bank of Kanas Lake. Hemu Village is where Tuwa minority lives. The Tuwa minority are believed to be the descendant of Genhis Khan Troop. It’s said that the Tuwas were originated from the old or wounded soldiers abandoned by Genghis Khan when he led his people to conquer the West Region. So you will see Tuwan home boast a portrait of the great Mongolian warlord – Genghis Khan above their fireplace.
Resident in Hemu believe in lamaism/Tibetan Buddhism
Tuva believe in Lamaism, (Tibetan Buddhism). I spotted a Tibetan rocks stupa before entering the Hemu village.
A Real Village
The Hemu village is really inhabited by locals and not fake old town built to attract tourists. Over here you are able to meet the remaining 2000 Tuwan people. Yes, there are only 2,000 remaining Tuwan left in this China. The Tuwan are indigenous people of Siberia/Central Asia and speak Tuwan, a Turkic language. However they also regarded as Mongolian.
In the village you also notice Chinese propaganda everywhere. I spotted at least three of them. The propaganda are written in both Chinese and the arabic language.
Chinese Propaganda : –
- “Building a strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, beautiful socialist modern strong country.”
- “Follow the party with no doubt and walk together to build a Chinese dream”
- “Don’t forget your initial thoughts, remember your mission”
The wooden toilet in the village.
Milk Tea is Salty not Sweet!
First we went for a house visit, having some tea and snacks in the wooden cabin. The milk tea tasted salty instead of sweet as they use salt and not sugar to serve tea. (Same like the Mongolian) The snacks served are raisin, cheese curds, barley and some lollies.
No Vegetable for Nomadic
According to our tour guide, originally the Tuwan/Mongolian do not eat vegetable and fruits. They think only the animals eat grass / vegetables. They considered themselves as human so they should just eat meat, such as mutton and beef and not vegetables. But now they have included vegetable into their diet due to health benefits.
Check out the Icon – Wooden Ski, first in the World.
Inside the little cabin you will notice the whole walls are decorated with things made from animals skin. One of the iconic thing you should look out for is the wooden ski. According to archaeological discoveries, the first man who used skies is from these mountains in Altay region. Skiing was used to hunt and it spread all over the world. Not sure who created the ski tools first but they claimed they are the first. Anyway, I have a good look at the ski tools and found that these are made of wood and covered with a layer of animal fur skin at the bottom of the ski. Now they are still using such wooden ski during winter. Pretty cool.
Tuwan Distinctive Music
We were really enjoyed with the unique way of singing by the Tuwan.
The houses in Hemu Village are all made of logs, full of original taste, and are most concentrated living place of the Tuwa people in China. It is the farthest and largest village among the only remaining Tuwa villages (Hemu Village, Kanas Village and Baihaba Village). Some part of the residents’ homes now are basically changed to supermarkets, accommodations, and restaurants for travelers.
Moving China Post
Lunch at Hemu Village
Big Plate Chicken / 大盘鸡
Stir Fried Melon
Stir Fried Vegetable with Beef
Stir Fried Reddish with Beef
Beef with Onion
After our lunch at Hemu Village, we decided to do a little hiking up the hill. However we needed to cross over to a river in order to go up the hill and the bridge was broken due to heavy rain few days ago.
Water Rafting in Hemu River
I see there is water rafting in Hemu River and if you dare, why not. The water look very rough in the river so should be very good for water rafting.
So we have to choose another path, a simpler bridge to cross over to the other side.
There are many wooden stair to climb up to the top and the weather is getting warm when you do a lot of climbing up. So I have to take off my layers.
From the top, we finally can see the entire village which are made in wooden log cabin, similar to Shirakawa-Go in Japan, except the roof top is different. The Hemu Village is also surrounded by forests and grasslands. At the peak, you also able to see the Hemu river.
Rent a Costume for Photo Shoot
On top of the peak, you can get water and snacks and rent a costume for few dollars.
I rented a Kazakh costume and play around in the grassland.
The headgear of the Kazakh is pretty cute, it has the owl’s feathers sewed to the top for decoration purposes. Well, it make me look taller.
Autumn is Best Time to visit!
Hemu Village is said to have the title of “photographer paradise” and many award-winning photography works come from here. This place is most beautiful during autumn in the month of September. You got to see the different colors of the wood, ranging from yellow to orange and some red.
Horse Riding & trekking
You may want to try the horse riding, the horse owner may bring you to deserted grassland but always go in a group of few people. Please speak to agreed price before you hop to the horse.
Final thoughts :
Hemu Village is the biggest village for the Tuwa people in Xinjiang China. It is largest of the remaining Tuwa villages (the other two are Kanas Village and Baihaba Village). No doubt the scenery is beautiful in Hemu Village. The summer grass is green and the Hemu village is sheltered by the woods. In winter, the view would be different and covered with white snow. But Hemu Village only open from May to October.
I came here in summer but the best timing to visit in Autumn. However, I really love the winter of Hemu Village, seen the winter pictures here, the entire Hemu Village is covered with the white & thick snow, so unreal! We don’t get to see such old village these days.