SEA OF APRICOT FLOWERS DRAWS TOURISTS TO PAMIR PLATEAU
Mother Nature opens up her paint box in the shadow of the second-highest peak in the world
After apricot trees bloom, farmers get out in the fields. Because they often have only small plots dotted with apricot trees, they follow the traditional way of turning the earth, using two oxen pulling a plow.
More than 400 Tajik families are scattered across the township’s valleys. Most of them are farmers. Because the blooming apricot flowers have become a tourist attraction over the past few years, several families have begun providing homestays for tourists. For a price of 50 yuan ($7.74) to 80 yuan, a visitor can stay overnight and receive three meals.
Since the flower season started in late March, Kukik, a Tajik homestay owner, said his family has earned more than 1,000 yuan a day for several days. Through farming and sheep herding, his family could barely earn 3,000 yuan a year.
From the city of Kashgar, a visitor needs at least a day to reach the township by car. Hidden deep in the mountains, many township herders are still living in poverty. The annual income provided by a herd is only 2,000 yuan, on average, said Meng Meng, the township’s Party chief.
The country has placed poverty-alleviation on the top of its agenda, and over the next five years, the local government will enact a series of measures to improve the villagers’ lives, including road and electrical projects, Meng said.
With improved infrastructure, Mamatbag Izbag, a local official, said he expects more visitors in the future.
Farmers use a wooden hanging bridge to cross a rushing river.