10 Days Southern Xinjiang Silk Road Tour
Destinations: Urumqi – Turpan – Kuqa – Hotan – kashgar
Our 10 day Southern Xinjiang Silk Road Tour takes you to remote and less travelled areas in far west China. It is recommended for “first time” visitors to Xinjiang and those who are keen to learn about the culture, custom, history and natural scenery of Xinjiang and its people.
Day 1: Arrival to Urumqi
Transportation: Flight, Bus/Car
Activities: Our guide and driver will meet you at Urumqi Airport then transfer you to your comfort hotel. You will be given time to rest and explore the area near to your hotel. Night will be spent in Urumqi.
Day 2: Urumqi to Turpan then Tour in Turpan
Attractions: Gaochang Ancient City, Tuyuk Village, Astana – Karakhoja Tombs, Flaming Mountain
Activities: We start our Turpan tour by visiting Gaochang Ancient City which is located 50 km southeast of Turpan. The city was built as a garrison town in the first century BC and developed into one of the key points along the Silk Road. The town was known as Kocho and ruled a wide area. In the 14th century however, it was abandoned after continued warfare between the Mongols and the Uyghurs. Tuyuk Village is a one of the oldest Uyghur settlements in Xinjiang. In this village, you can see how the local Uyghur’s living, visit their house in order to get general idea about their life style. You can have your lunch in a Uyghur family if you wish to do so. Astana – Karakhoja Tombs is a public cemetery of the Ancient Gaochang Kingdom. Archeologist excavated many tombs and found mummies, ancient books, paintings, pottery, clay figures, wood works, gold and stone wares, ancient coins, cotton and silk textiles in great value. The Flaming Mountains stretch 100 km from east to west and are about 10 km wide. In the summer, temperatures go as high as 80 C and the airflow shimmers above the mountains like a fire.
Day 3: Day Tour in Turpan then Back to Urumqi
Attractions: Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez Underground Water System, Emin Minerat, Erdaoqiao Market, International Market
Activities: We start our tour by visiting Jiaohe Ancient City which is known as Yarghul Ancient City in Uyghur language. Located about13 kms to Turpan City, it was the first capital of the State of South Cheshi which was the one of the thirty six states in the Western Region. The Jiaohe Ancient City was bordered by rivers flowing by, hence the name of ‘Jiaohe’ or ‘the city of joining rivers’. Karez System an underground gravity irrigation system developed by the Uyghur’s over centuries. Karez is composed of a series of wells along the snow-covered mountains and linking underground channels that use slopes and gravity to bring water to the surface. There are around 1600 Karez Systems in Xinjiang and length of the Karez in Turpan is around 5000 km. Emin Minaret (Tower) or Turpan Tower was built 1778 AD by Suleman, the Aqimu Boke, in memory of his father. The circular tower is 37 meters high and its bottom diameter is 10 meters. The whole sun dried brick tower tapers skywards in geometric and floral patterns. There are 77 spiral steps up to the top. After our trip in Turpan, we will be back to Urumqi then visit the Erdaoqiao and International Markets. Night will spent in Urumqi.
Day 4: Morning Flight to Kucha then Tour in Kucha
Attractions: Kucha Beacon Tower, Subash Ancient City, Kucha Mosque, Kucha Old Town
Transportation: Flight, Bus/Car
Activities:We will take morning flight to Kucha after the breakfast at the hotel. Upon our arrival to Kucha, you will be greeted and transfered to your comfort hotle for quick refresh. We start our Kucha tour by visiting the Beacon Tower which is located in the northwest of Kuqa County, about 12 km away from the town. The tower was the bulwark of a warning alarm system against enemy attacks. Subashi Ancient City was also an ancient capital of the Kingdom of Qiuci dating back to the 4thCentury AD. Tourist can still see the ruins of halls, towers, houses, pagodas and monasteries. Kuqa Grand Mosque is located in the north of the old city of Kuqa County. It is the second largest mosque in the area after the Id Kah Mosque. The construction of the mosque, which even has its own religious court, was started in 1922. Kucha Old Town is located next to the moque, we will wonder around the Kucha Old Town before going to dinner.
Day 5: Kucha Tour then to Aksu
Attractions: Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
Activities: We will visit Tianshan Grand Canyon before continuouing our journey to Aksu. Tianshan Grand Canyon isalso known as the Kezilya Grand Canyon. It is located 64 km to Kuqa town in the southern foothills of the Tianshan Mountain Range. It runs east to north for about 5.5 km and has an average altitude of 1600 m. This natural wonder was formed by erosion resulting from wind and rain. The Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves is the one of the four biggest groups of grottoes in China. 75 of the caves are still intact with well-preserved frescoes. The Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves were amongst the earliest large-scale grotto-type temples built. The special grotto structures, the themes of the murals and artistic styles reflect the Buddhist faith of ancient Qiuci. After the caves, we continou our journey to Aksu. We will be in Aksu late in the afternoon. Night will be spent in Aksu.
Day 6: Aksu to Kashgar
Attractions: Sultan Sutuk Boghrahan
Activities: We start our journey early in the morning from Aksu to Kashgar. On the way, we will visit Sultan Sutuk Boghrahan’s Tomb, who is the first person to accept Islam among Uyghurs. We will be in Kashgar late in the afternoon. You will wonder around the Uyghur Night Market in front of Eid Kah Mosque in the evening. Night will be spent in Kashgar.
Day 7: Day Tour to Karakul Lake
Attractions: Karakorum Highway, Muztagh Ata, Karakul Lake, Kirgiz People
Activities: We will start our day tour to Karakul Lake after our breakfast at the hotel. We will drive southwest of Kashgar to karakul lake. Karakul Lake is located at the foot of Muztag Ata which means “Father of Ice Mountain”, it is 7546m above sea level and located on the Karakorum Highway. Karakul Lake means black lake in both the Kirgiz and Uyghur languages. You can do some trekking around the lake either by walking or riding horse or camel. It is 3600ms above sea level. The nationalities living at the lake are Kirgiz and they live both in Kirgiz Yurts and mud stone houses. We will have chance to visit the Kirgiz yurts during our time their if you wish to do so. Kirgiz people are nomads; they raise sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, camels, cows, and yaks. Return to Kashgar early in the afternoon.
Day 8: Karakul Lake to Tashkurgan then to Kashgar
Attractions: Tashkurgan, Stone City
Activities: We will start our journey to Tashkurgan after the breakfast. Tashkorgan located on the eastern part of the Pamir Plateau, where the Kunlun, Hindukush, and Tianshan Mountain Ranges merge to form the Pamir Plateau. From here, it just 130 km away from the Sino-Pakistan border and the Khunjerab Pass which is 4693 meters above the sea level. The Tajik nationality lives here and engage in farming and animal husbandry. The Stone City is located in the north of Tashkorgan town and dates to the Tang dynasty. The city is surrounded by beautiful green pasturelands and streams with a beautiful view of the surrounding snow capped mountains. Only some broken sections of the city’s walls remain but it was once an important fort on the ancient Silk Road guarding the roads from Kashi, Yengisar and Yarkant leading to the mountain passes towards Central Asia and India. If you wish to do the Tajik family visiting, we can do so but you need to let us know earlier. After the trip, we will return to Kashgar.
Day 9: Davakul Taklamakan Desert then Kashgar City Tour
Attractions: Davakul Taklamakan Desert, Eid Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street, Kashgar Old Town
Activities:We start our trip by visiting Taklamakan Desert from Davakul Lake in Yupurga. The Taklamakan Desert is the second largest shifting sand desert in the world, covering an area of 337,600 square km. There you will have chance to ride camel or horse in to the desert. After your trip in the desert, we will come back to Kashgar then visit the Eid Kah Mosque was first built in 1442 AD and extended and renovated time and again through the ages, finally reaching its present shape and size. The mosque is the largest in all China with covering an area of 16,800 square meters. The Handicraft Streetis located next to the Id Kah Mosque and provides a place where tourists can see traditional Uyghur craftsmen engaged in making different types of articles for special and daily use. Kashgar Old Town is located in center of the city. The inhabitants of the Old Town are Uyghur’s whose ancestors have been living there since the city was established two thousand years ago. By walking through narrow streets and visiting the families there, you can learn about Uyghur culture and custom. Night will be spent in Kashgar.
Day 10: Kashgar City Tour then End of Our service
Attractions: Apak Hoja Tomb, Sunday Market
Transportation: Bus/Car, Flight
Activities: We start our tour by visiting Apak Hoja Tomb, located in the northeast of Kashgar city. Legend has it that seventy-two persons in five generations of the Hoja family are buried in the tomb. The legend goes that among the Hoja descendants buried here, a lady named Iparhan was one of the concubines of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong. She was called Xiangfei (Fragrant Imperial Concubine) because of the delicate fragrance emitting from her. Kashgar’s Sunday Market is also called The Grand Bazaar in Uyghur. It is the biggest market in Xinjiang. As early as two thousand years ago, it was the collecting and distributing center for trade. Nowadays, it has become even busier. Various special local products, handicrafts, articles of daily use, fruits and vegetables as well as all kinds of domestic animals can be found here. After the trip in Sunday Market, we will take our lunch then see you off at Kashgar Airport. This will be end of our service.