No Man's Land - Qinghai Galaxy Shooting Tour: Preparation

Departure to the most desolate places

No Man's Land - Qinghai Galaxy Shooting Tour: Preparation

Why Qinghai

Haixi Prefecture in Qinghai is probably the region I am most familiar with besides Xinjiang. Numerous times I've been on Google Earth and traveled around this area, finding all the ruins and even marking out the various settlements from back in the day against local histories.
The people in Little Red Book will only tell you that there are ruins at Cold Lake, but I also know that Cold Lake is divided into multiple locations such as No. 4, No. 5, Old Base, and Chalengkou. They know that there is an emerald lake in Monya, and I also know that there is an asbestos mine in Monya, and there are kilns near Huatugou that were left behind during the banditry.
Because I grew up in an industrial and mining city, I have always been very kind to such industrial ruins. I also went home to take pictures of a semi-abandoned factory: Abandoned living area of Baikouquan oil production plant in Karamay. The ruins in Qinghai are relatively well preserved because of the arid climate, and the abandoned buildings are not swallowed by plants. So I've always wanted to visit Qinghai.
The previously planned route tends to be similar to the Netflix's Qing Gan Loop, which starts in Xining, goes as far as Dunhuang, and then takes the Hexi Corridor back. There are a lot of ruins near this line, Mangya, Lenghu, Boro turn well, Yumen, Liuyuan part of the city also count, right? But the time needed to walk down this way is too long, caught in the "come here to see more, more to see no more time" of the deadly cycle.
Last year, I went to the west of Sichuan, and used a smart camera to find light pollution in advance, calculated the time to shoot the Milky Way before the moon rose, and decided to shoot the starry sky in a place outside of Inaccessible. However, at that time do not know photography, not only did not find a foreground, even focus will not.
FYI: the Internet said screw to infinity and then screw back a little way do not use! I've been screwed! How to focus the starry sky? If it is a micro single is very simple, find a brighter stars on the screen, focus to the point of light looks minimal.
So I have not shot the Milky Way nagging, one day this year suddenly thought, the Dragon Boat Festival holiday moon impact is very small, very suitable for shooting the Milky Way. Dragon Boat Festival holiday is not much, don't be too greedy, focus on playing well enough on the sea west.

Planned route

The goal this time is clear: industrial ruins + shooting starry sky. I will not start from Xining, from Xining will have a lot of time on the road, and after the Qinghai Lake can not go to see it, Chaika Salt Lake do not go, do not go to the words of others willing.
There is no big city in Haixi, not many places to rent a car, I chose the airport and train station to rent a car in Qinghai's second largest city of Golmud as the starting point of this trip.
Out of my personal obsession, I also want to go to the Monya asbestos mine and the tin iron mountain.
The route was roughly as follows.

Daily Itinerary

  1. Shenzhen ✈️ Xining ✈️ Golmud
  2. Golmud-Mangya asbestos mine - Huatugou.
  3. Huatugou - Mangya Jade Lake - Old Mangya - Black Gobi - Lenghu No.5 base.
  4. Lenghu No.5 base - Mars Highway - Water Yadan-Dachaidan.
  5. Dachaidan - Dachaidan Lake - Xitie Mountain - Golmud.
  6. Golmud 🚄 Xining ✈️ Shenzhen.
This route has tried to avoid backtracking, who knew that eventually took several hundred kilometers of backtracking, later on.


I like to find out all the information in advance, plan the route and alternative routes, and choose what to eat at each place, so it's a relief to travel with me. Some people like to have everything planned out, but I enjoy being in control of the trip. It wasn't hard to find travel companions, after asking some people and finding two ex-colleagues, we were able to make a group of four people in a car.
In the early morning of June 11, my girlfriend and I left for the airport to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight. In order to save money, fly Xining I chose Long Dragon Airlines Shenzhen took off through Zunyi flight to Xining, to Xining, you have to take the plane again to fly to Golmud.
It was afternoon when I arrived in Golmud. The blinding sunlight and dry air gave me the illusion of being back in Xinjiang. But the significantly hotter sun and cooler wind will still make you realize: you've arrived at the plateau.
Street view of Golmud
Street view of Golmud
After landing, we picked up the car, checked in at the hotel, took the camping equipment we sent here for rent a few days ago, waited for the last member to arrive by train from Xining, and went to one of the better ranked local barbecue restaurants to eat the Qinghai specialties of kang-boo lamb chops.
That's when something happened that made people laugh and cry.
Although the last one to arrive was my former colleague, we hadn't met. When she said she had arrived at the restaurant, the three of us went in and informed the shopkeeper that there were four of us and one had already arrived. So the shopkeeper took us to a private room where a girl was eating the food. I did not notice anything wrong.
The three of us sat down and prepared to order, exchanging pleasantries as we did so. I noticed that she had already ordered a kangkong lamb and had eaten only the potatoes. At that time I was a little upset: how can you order food so quickly and eat all the meat? So do we still need to pay for this?
It is not a big deal to be upset. We continued our pleasantries and ate the rest of her potatoes and the eggs she had just served.
She introduced her itinerary: "...... I went to the Cocoanut today.
"Huh? Didn't you just arrive?" I was surprised.
"Wait ......", I thought of an embarrassing situation, took out the phone to "confront": "Is this you? "
Then I called the colleague, and sure enough, it was not her in the box.
I wiped the two rooms I had just keyed out, and after apologizing we rushed out of the booth.
I thought it was her who was being rude, but it turned out to be us who had somehow barged into her compartment and eaten her food!
Then the right person was found and we had dinner in another compartment.
After eating, go to the supermarket to purchase supplies, and go to bed early tonight, tomorrow all day to catch up on the road.