13 Days Adventurer Xinjiang Tour
Destinations: Kashgar- Karakorum Highway- Tashkorgan- Hotan- Niya- Crossing Taklimakan Desert-Kuqa-Korla-Turpan-Urumqi-Heavenly Lake
Our 13 day Adventurer Xinjiang Tour takes you to the Pamir Plateau on the Karakorum Highway. You will travel along the Southern Silk Road to Hotan then cross the Taklamakan Desert to Kucha. The tour will end in Urumqi after visiting Turpan and Heavenly Lake.
Day 1: Arrival to Kashgar
Transportation: Flight, Bus/Car
Activities: Our guide and driver will meet you at Kashgar Airport then transfer you to your comfort hotel. You will be given time to rest and explore the area near to your hotel rest of the day.
Day 2: Tour to Karakul Lake on KHH
Attractions: Karakorum Highway, Kirgiz People, Kirgiz Yurt, Karakul Lake, Muztagh Ata Mountain
Activities: Today we drive on Karakoram Highway in order to reach to Karakul Lake. The Karakoram highway is known as the Friendship Highway in China. The views are unparalleled along this one of the highest roads of the world. It also cuts along the collision zone of the Eurasian and Indian plates where China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan come close to one another. Bulung Kul (Corner Lake) is located besides the Karakoram Highway. The view of the lake reflecting the mountains of sand in the distance is absolutely stunning. Karakul Lake is the highest lake on the Pamir plateau where the Pamir, Kunlun and Tianshan mountain ranges meet. Surrounded by mountains which remain covered by snow throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7546m), the Kongur Tagh (7649) and the Kongur Tiube (7530m). The lake is famous for its unreal scenery and clear reflections in the water, ranging from dark green to azure to light blue. There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shores of the Karakul lake, living in yurts and mud stone houses. Night will be spent at the lake.
Accommodation: Kirgiz Yurt in Karakul Lake or Hotel in Karakul Lake
Day 3: Karakul Lake to Tashkorgan then Back to Kashgar
Attractions: Tashkorgan Stone City/Castle, Pamir Plateau, Tajik Family Visting (Optional)
Activities: We start our tour after our breakfast. Tashkurgan is 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 Tajiks are one of the few nationalities of China speaking an Indo-European and have an unique culture and cuisine. The Stone City is located in the north of Tashkorgan town and dates to the Tang dynasty. Several coins and documents from Hotan have been unearthed here. 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 Kashgar, Yengisar and Yarkant leading to the mountain passes towards Central Asia. If you wish to visit Tajik family, we can arrange it, but you must let us know in advance. After your trip, you will reture to Kashgar. Night will be in Kashgar.
Accommodation: Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel or Similar
Day 4: Day Tour in Kashgar City
Attractions: Sunday Market, Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Old Town, Appak Hoja Tomb/Fragrant Concubine Tomb, Handcraft Street
Activities: We start our Kashgar tour by visiting Apak Hoja Tomb located northeast of Kashgar city. Legend has it that seventy-two persons in five generations of the Hoja family are buried in the tomb.
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. Id Kah Mosque is a grand Islamic structure built in 1442 AD. It was 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. Kashgar Old Town is located in center of the city. By walking through narrow streets and visiting the families there, you can learn about Uyghur culture and custom. The Handicraft Street is 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. Night will be spent in Kashgar.
Accommodation: Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel or Similar
Day 5: Kashgar to Hotan
Attractions: Yingsar Knife Factory, Yarkand, Golden Grave Yard, Yarkand Old Town
Activities:Early in the morning after breakfast we leave to Hotan. Khotan is 520 km from Kashgar. On the way, we will stop several cities to do sightseeing. First is Yingsar, Yingsar is 78 km from Kashgar and is famous for making traditional Uyghur knives known as Yingsar knives. Visitors can visit workshops to observe how these sought after knives are made and maybe pick up one or two as souveniers. Yarkant is another county of Kashgar’s, and is known as Shache in Chinese. Yarkand was once the capital of a Kingdom and was an important station on the ancient Silk Road, with a history of over 2000 years. Aman Nisahan, the wife of the second king of the Yarkant kingdom and the compiler of the famous Uyghur 12 Music Mukams, is buried in a tomb in the Golden Grave Yard. After your trip in Yarkand, we will continue our journey to Hotan, we will be in Hotan late in the afternoon. Night will be in Hotan.
Accommodation: Hotan Yudu Hotel or Similar
Day 6: Day Tour in Hotan
Attractions: Hotan Sunday Market (Bazaar), White Jade River, White Jade Factory, Hotan Museum, Mulberry Paper Making
Activities: We start our tour by visiting Hotan Museum. Highlights of the museum are the mixtures of Caucasian and East Asian “mummies” reaching back two thousand years proving Hotan’s historically rich blend of peoples, cultures and religions. The Hotan Bazaar is located in northeastern corner of the city, sprawling over a vast area rivaling all other bazaars in the region. On every Sunday, the whole city and countryside community converge on the bazaar to trade, shop and enjoy themselves conjuring up a fascinating Aladdin’s world. The Jade Factory carries on Hotan’s more than 3000 years old tradition of supplying jade to central China where Hotanese jade was used to make the Imperial seals of power. Mulberry Paper Making which was thrived in the area decades ago but today it is replaced with modern equipments, it is a good place to see how the Uyghur’s used to make paper from tree barks. Night will be spent in Hotan.
Accommodation: Hotan Yudu Hotel or Similar
Day 7: Half Day Tour in Hotan then Drive to Niya
Attractions: Carpet Factory, Silk Atlas Factory
Activities: Our day starts by visiting Atlas Silk Factory after our breakfast at the hotel. Atlas is the Uyghur word for the soft and graceful silk and means “tie dyed silk fabric”. Visitors can see the whole process of handmade silk from boiling the silk worm cocoons till weaving the cloth on the looms. Legend has it that the secret of making silk passed on to Hotan when a Chinese princess was betrothed to the King of Hotan and smuggled in silkworm eggs and mulberry seeds in her head-dress. The Hotan Carpet Factory is located 5 kilometres from Hotan and still manufactures handmade carpets. Hotan Carpets were sought after in ancient times and antique carpets are collector items. Modern carpets are considerably cheaper and the factory can make custom carpets to order. After our trip to Carpet factory, we will head to Niya.
Accommodation: Niya Hotel or Similar
Day 8: Niya to Kuqa via Crossing the Taklimakan Desert
Attractions: Taklimakan Desert, Sand Dunes, Dead Poplar Trees
Activities: Our plan for today is to cross the Taklamakan Desert which is the second largest shifting sand desert in the world, covering an area of 337,600 square km. The ancient silk road traders regarded it as the “sea of death” and dreaded the camel caravan crossings through it. Many traders entered the desert and were never seen again. Marco Polo himself recorded traveller’s stories of evil spirits haunting the desert and luring unwary travellers to their deaths. After long and exciting day, we will arrive to Kucha late in the afternoon. Night will be spent in Kucha.
Accommodation: Kuche International Hotel or Similar
Day 9: Day Tour in Kuqa (Kucha)
Attractions: Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, Subash Ancient City, Beacon Tower
Activities: We will start our Kucha tour by visiting the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves which 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. 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. Kuqa Grand Mosque is the center of religious activities in Kuqa. Subashi Ancient City was also an ancient capital of the Kingdom of Qiuci dating back to the 4th Century AD. Tourist can still see the ruins of halls, towers, houses, pagodas and monasteries. Night will be spent in Kucha.
Accommodation: Kuche Hotel or Similar
Day 10: Tour in Kucha then head to Korla
Attractions:Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kuqa Grand Mosque, Korla, Iron Gate Pass
Activities: We will have half day tour in Kucha before we head to Korla. We start our tour by visiting Tianshan Grand Canyon which is also known as the Kezilya Grand Canyon. It is located 64 km away from Kuqa town in the southern foothills of the Tianshan Mountain Range. It runs east to north for about 5.5 km and formed by erosion resulting from wind and rain. The Beacon Tower 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. Leave to Korla after lunch in Kuche. Korla is known as the Shanghai of Xinjiang with its gleaming buildings and wide clean streets. The city has developed rapidly because of its proximity to southern Xinjiang’s oil wells and is the administration centre of Bayingulun Mongol Autonomous prefecture. Korla is also an important agricultural centre and Korla pears are famous throughout China. After our arrival to Korla, we will visit Iron Gate Pass which leading to Karashahar. It played an important role in protecting the ancient Silk Road from nomads raiding from the north.
Accommodation:Korla Luolan Hotel or Similar
Day 11: Korla to Turpan then Tour in Turpan
Attractions: Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez Underground Water System
Activities: We will leave for Turpan after our breakfast at the hotel. We go to Turpan by crossing the TianShan Mountain which divides Xinjiang into Northern and Southern Xinjiang. Upon our arrival, we check in and short refresh, We start our Turpan tour by visiting Jiaohe Ancient City which is known as Yarghul Ancient City in the Uyghur language. Located about 13 kms from Turpan City. It was the first capital 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’. The earthen ruins we see today date from the Tang Dynasty in the 8th Century. Turpan owes its existence the 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. It is considered as one of the three great ancient projects in China, the other two being the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. Night will be spent in Turpan.
Accommodation: Turpan Silk Road Oasis Hotel or Similar
Day 12:Tour in Turpan then Leave for Urumqi
Attractions: Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves/Grottoes, Gaocheng Ancient City, Flaming Mountain, Emin Minaret
Activities: After our breakfast at the hotel, we start our tour by visiting Gaochang Ancient City which 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.The remains of the city still testify as to its past glory, with courtyards, Buddhist temples and pagodas scattered over 10000 square m in area. The Bezklik Thousand Buddha Caves stand on the cliffs under the Flaming Mountains. There are seventy-seven numbered grottoes, about forty of which still have murals in them. The Caves were the religious temples of the HuiHu State who were the predecessor of the Uyghur’s. Although many of the cave murals were destroyed over the centuries, enough has survived to provide historians with valuable information about its past glory. Emin Minaret 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. There are 77 spiral steps up to the top. After our tour in Turpan, we will head back to Urumqi and spend the night in Urumqi.
Accommodation: Urumqi City Hotel or Similar
Day 13:Day Tour in Urumqi
Attractions: Heavenly Lake (Tianchi), Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi International Bazaar
Activities: Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is located at the northern foot of the Tianshan Mountains, and is surrounded by spectacular mountains on its east, west and south. The Xinjiang Museum serves as the archaeological and history research center of the region. The museum is famous as the home of the thousands year old Europoid mummies discovered in the deserts of southern Xinjiang at the end of the last century. International Bazaar is the biggest distribution center of ethnic handicrafts in Xinjiang, and the biggest trading center of various Uyghur Handicrafts after the Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar. It includes a banquet hall, a food court, a sightseeing tower, an open-air stage, and mosque. The Heavenly Lake is located east of Urumqi in the middle ranges of the Bogda Peak. It’s nearly 100 meters deep and covers an area of 4.9 square kms. Heavenly Lake is considered the Pearl of the Tianshan Mountains with its spectacular alpine scenery often compared to Switzerland’s. After the trip, our guide will take you to Urumqi International Airport and assist you with your checking in to your flight. This will be end of our service.