Fire mountain is situated on the north edge of Turpan Basin, Xinjiang province. It is part of the ancient silk road and also the most famous tourists spot. Locals call it as the “Keziletage”, meaning the red mountain. Why it’s all red? The mountain is formed with red sand, rocks and mudstone from jurassic of Mesozoic-era, cretaceous and the Tertiary period.
Fire mountain stretches more than 100 kilometers, the widest spot could reach up to 10 kilometers. It is about 500 meters above the sea level, with highest peak of 831.7 meters. Because of the crazy hot weather, there is no trace of plants or animals on it. Every year in summer, red mountain is scorched by the burning sun, shining sandstone gives out hot air steam like smoke of fires.
It is also the hottest place in whole China, in summer the temperature could go up to almost 50 degrees and you could literally boil an egg in a small sand pit. Because of the earth movement, there forms a lot valleys in the area. Despite the burning sun outside, it is another different green world. Grapes and melons fill the valley and give out refreshing fruit scents.
There are also some folk storys about how the mountain is formed. Legend has it once upon a time, there lived an evil dragon that only eat little boys and girls. Local villager had a big fight with the dragon and finally killed him. The dragon’s blood was flowing all over the mountain.
The famous Chinese ancient novel “Journal to the West” only adds more mysterious touch to the mountain. According to the novel, a monk called Tang Sanzang went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures and was stuck when he passed by the fire mountain, which was occupied by the Bull demon king and his wife Princess Iron Fan. His pupil, Sunwukong, had to steal the fan from the princess and blow out the fire on the mountain so their journey to the west could be continued. Today tourists still can see a stone that once was used to hitch horses of Tang sanzang, which make the trip more interesting.
Considering that the place is so big, the trip can be a little exhausting. So you have to be well-prepared visting here. At some specific spots, you might need to get off the bus and walk for a while, or ride a horse or camel. For those fruits lovers, this is the paradise. Just be aware not to drink hot water after eating a lot fruits in case you get a sick stomach.
It is worth mentioning that locals are Muslims, they don’t eat pork so keep in mind not making any jokes about porl or making them eat them. If you want something exciting, they have air slider that could see the whole fire mountain, like a red ribbon looking up from the sky, awesome view.