We had two guides throughout the trip, Abdul and Omar. We had Abdul for the first part of the trip for 12 days. We then had Omar for the final leg for 3 days. Both guides were extremely knowledgeable about the places which we had visited. Abdul knows where we could get the best photography spots while Omar is a foodie!!
Our drivers were very commendable as well. The drives throughout the trip were generally quite long and despite that they were able to get us to our destination safely and in very good time. Unfortunately I can recall the first driver name – he was with us for 4 days of our first part of the trip. Hwang/Wang sifu was with us for 11 days of our second leg. He definitely contributed much to our time there as he joined in the fun with us and also helped our guides to keep an eye on us.
Overall, the trip was just excellent. I will definitely recommend Silkroad Tours to anyone planning a trip to Xinjiang.
Once arrived to Kashgar, we learned that he has a team of about 8 people and through one way or another we met and talked to a few of them and they seemed extremely friendly and seemed like they were very content with their job – one of which have been working with Ali for 13 years…
Ali doesn’t do tours anymore but does a lot of the organizing and relationships despite his office team that supports him. Ali joined us for a welcome dinner and despite him getting calls probably every 10 minutes dealing with tour questions or arrangements, he still tried to find time to get to know us and told us about himself. He even brought his own coffee machine to the breakfast hall of the hotel one day to serve us and another larger group (given most hotels in China serve instant coffee).
About the tour itself, we did a 3-day Kashgar/Tashkorgan/Kashgar tour with Ali and team, where we were paired with a tour guide and a driver – both of which were friendly and professional. The guide was knowledgeable and always catered to what we wanted to do and allowed us the flexibility to make changes as we went on. The seven-seater van was perfect for the 3 of us travellers and the accommodations was what we expected based on our arrangement. There’s so little about this part of the world that are known, and it was a great eye opener to do a tour like this with Silk Road Tours.
For anyone interested in a packaged tour, I’d definitely recommend Ali and team. For the wary traveller, do keep in mind that there’s a lot of driving on these tours and the facilities aren’t the cleanest or convenient, esp for women.
All in all, I felt that XinJiang people are genuinely friendly and that’s the same with Ali’s team, including Ali and team.
Thanks Ali and Team,
The guides were all helpful, and the drivers were safe. In particular, Alim in Kashgar, Omar in Turpan, and Arthur in Xiahe/Lanzhou were excellent. They shared some personal experiences which made the visits even more interesting.
Some highlights include:
Near Xiahe, Arthur stopped to ask a Tibetan herdsman and his wife if we could have a short visit in their tent. They obliged and made us some tsampa. In the Labrang monastery, Arthur took us to a spot to wait until monks came streaming in for morning prayers. Finally, Arthur took us to his favourite place to have “Lanzhou Beef Noodles” in Lanzhou.
In Dunhuang, it was great to climb the huge dunes, and get in behind the crowds, to experience the vast open desert. Dunhuang also has an exciting night market.
In Turpan, it was grape drying season, so Omar showed us someone hanging grapes in an air drying structure. He shared how his own family grows and drys grapes, and has benefited from being part of a karez irrigation system.
In Kashgar, the originally planned visits to a Uighur family for a dinner, and a Kyrgyz family for lunch along the Karakoram highway were unfortunately cancelled, due to changes in government edicts I presume. The current security checks to enter any restaurant or public area in Xinjiang seem like overkill, but Alim made the best of our situation, and we had an excellent visit to Kashgar. We hiked up to see Shipton’s arch, and Alim got us there early enough to be the only people around. We took a day trip up the Karakoram highway to Karakul Lake. The scenery was outstanding, but the drive was at times painfully slow, due to the ridiculous 60km per hour speed limit on the brand new highway.
Overall, we had a wonderful, memorable trip, thanks to Ali and the team.
I contacted Ali and always he gave immediate response to all my mails. Fulfilled all our wishes, was very flexible, offered very good price. The trip was being organized full of highlights in no time at all thanks to Ali’s professionalism.
Ali organized a one month private tour with driver and guide in a van for us 2 people (End of July / August 2013).
We started our trip in Lanzhou went up to the Tibetan region Xiehe, than continued our journey to Jiayuguan, Dunhung, Turfan, Kucha, Korla, across Taklamakan desert, than following the southern silk road via Hotan all the way to Kashgar. From there we went up Karakorum Highway, passing some exceptionally interesting landscapes all along our journey.
Ali provided us with an excellent driver Adil and a very professional, knowledgeable guide Hasan!
The perfect organization and the wonderful, warm hearted professional uigur guide and driver contributed to an unforgettable trip which will always remain very special to us. They introduced us to their culture and customs. Drove us very safely thousands of kilometers, provided us with the best local food and information.
I am highly impressed with the most professional organization of Ali’s service.
We had full trust in Ali Tash and warmly recommend Ali and his professional team anytime!
Thank you dear Ali, Hasan and Adil!
We spent a great time with you & wished that we could stop the time and continue travelling with you.
See you soon & our best wishes.
In Dunhuang, Mr. Lu was our driver. Even though he doesn’t speak English, I was able to communicate with him in limited Mandarin. He was very patient and his driving was excellent. On the last night, we were supposed to catch our train. The station is a ridiculous 2 hours drive away. When we were near the train station, we were blocked by a train barrier. We waited for 10-15 minutes, and it still wouldn’t lift. Mr. Lu asked around and took us to the station via a detour, ensuring that we caught our train, which we were very grateful.
In Turpan/Urumqi, we had Tuma as the driver, and Ahmed as the guide. We were not particularly impressed by Ahmed’s service. A few times, when we got to an attraction, Ahmed would just quickly tell us the attraction, and then asked us to visit it ourselves. He didn’t seem to be enthusiastic in general. I wanted to vist the museum in Tulufan. I mentioned it and again when when we drove past it, but Ahmed just ignored me…. At one point, during our visit to Flaming Mountains, the driver went off on some personal business and we all had to hang around in the blazing sun until he chose to return. Not so impressive really. We mentioned this to Ali when we got to Kashgar and he was grateful for the feedback, and apologetic about it.
In Kashgar, we got the two Abduls as our driver and our guide. A very different and much more positive experience. Abdul the driver is a friendly, fun guy who speaks a lot more English than he lets on, and we like his attitude and his driving. Abdul the guide did a good job showing us around. The two Abduls would hear what I said, and said, oh, do you want to stop here to take photos etc We were thankful for both of them.
We met Ali the boss, in Kashgar and were able to thank him in person.
Visited August 2013
As my guides were from Turpan we needed local advice and Ali Tash was suggested as the person to consult. Because of Ali’s knowledge and understanding of Kashgar and the region I was determined to use Uyghur Tours when I returned to China in 2011. I have been impressed with the professionalism and concern for my comfort and needs. Ali assigned his brother Allahbardi as my guide and Abdul keyoum as driver.
This combination has resulted in a magical and unforgettable experience that goes beyond the usual tourist sites. Ali Tash and SilkRoadTours offered me a unique and personal experience of Uighur tradition and culture that included private cooking classes in local cuisine, personal tours of historic homes as well as a vast understanding of local traditions from villages here in Kashgar and in Hotan and Yarkand. I highly recommend Ali Tash and SilkRoadTours for your travel and tour needs in Kashgar and Xinjiang Province. If you want to contact me.
my Email is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I wholeheartedly recommend SilkRoadTours for their professionalism and local knowledge which is second to none.