11-Day Xinjiang Southern Silk Road Tours

  • Destinations:Kashgar; Karakul lake; Tashkorgan; Yarkand; Hotan; Taklamakan desert crossing; Kucha; Korla; Turpan

  • Highlights: Drive along the Karakoram Highway, experience local culture of Uighur people, visit Sunday market in Kashgar and explore the ancient cities along the Southern Silk Road

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Day 1
2016-08-16 (Tuesday)

Day one arrive in Kashgar

Today’s activities: pick you from Kashgar airport and transfer to your hotel

Stay in: Kashgar

Details: Our professional tour guide and driver will welcome you at Kashgar airport and transfer to your Hotel . Have a good rest after a long flight journey. Our guide will give you a phrasebook which helps you learn some common Uighur phrases

Day 2
2016-08-17 (Wednesday)

Explore Kashgar city

Today’s activities: Visit Grand mosque, Apak Hoja tomb, Old city, livestock market, Sunday market

Stay in: Kashgar

Details: Explore the rich, endless culture of the Uighurs in Kashgar. First visit Livestock market which is the most interesting and traditional part of the Sunday market, then push to the largest bazaar in Central Asia at the Kashgar Sunday Main Bazaar, then spend time by the Id Kah mosque, the largest mosque in China and marvel at the intricate architecture of Kashgar’s historic Apak hoja tomb. We’ll also spend time today in the Kashgar old town and have dinner with a local Uighur family

Day 3
2016-08-18 (Thursday)

Kashgar to Tashkorgan—-Karakul Lake

Today’s activities: Drive on KKH, Opal Village, visit Karakul Lake, Stone fort, Tajik family, Kyrgyz family

Stay in: Local family yurt next to the lake

Details: We set out along the Sino – Pakistan Karakorum Highway, on the Pamir plateau (the roof of the world) for your visit to Karakul Lake (3600m above sea level) on the way. Then Keep driving till Tashkorgan . Tashkurgan Tajik autonomous county was once an important hub on the old Silk Road. The area borders Pakistan and Afghanistan and is connected to them via the Kunjerab Pass. After arriving at Tashkurgan, you’ll have an opportunity to see the town’s ancient stone fort – still standing after 1800 years! ‘Tashkurgan’ is a translation of ‘Stone Fort.’ Walking around Tajik neighborhoods, and pay a visit to Local Tajik families live around this historic town. Then drive back Karakul lake People travel to experience the lives of another culture, which is why we spend the night in the yurt of a local Kyrgyz family and really experience another way of life.

Day 4
2016-08-19 (Friday)

Karakul Lake to Kashgar

Today’s activities: Hiking around Karakul lake and drive back Kashgar

Stay in: kashgar

Details: Get up early in the morning to welcome the sunrise between the Kongur and Muztagh Ata peaks above your yurt. Eat a typical Kyrgyz breakfast and walk around Karakul Lake. Distance around the lake is around 13 kms and takes between 3 to 4 hours. We can also visit Subash village which is about 7km from Karakul Lake if you desire. Concluding our morning excursion, we return back to Kashgar in the afternoon after lunch. Return journey should take 3.5 hours

Day 5
2016-08-20 (Saturday)

Kashgar to Hotan

Today’s activities: Drive along the Southern Silk Road, stop in Yingsar, Yarkant, Kaghilik for sightseeing

Stay in: Hotan

Details: We set out from Kashgar after breakfast, stopping first in the ‘knife-town’ of Yengisar, well-known for its handmade Uighur knives. Here you can visit a local knife factory and see the artisans in action as they sculpt another perfect tool. Then it’s on to Yarkand for a few hours to enjoy local culture and do some sightseeing. For example, the Golden Mosque (built in 1533) and its graveyard which includes several hundred year old tombs. Yarkand was once the capital of many Uighur Kingdoms in ancient times and an important station on the old Silk Road. It has more than 2000 years of history. After Yarkand we’ll call at Kargilik another former hub on the Silk Road. The Tibet highway starts from Kargilik and we’ll stop off at the grand mosque (1533) here, before moving on to Hotan

Day 6
2016-08-21 (Sunday)

Hotan to desert and start camel trekking

Today’s activities: Visit Hotan Sunday market after breakfast and after lunch Drive to Desert, pack up camels and start trekking

Stay in: Camping in the desert

Details: After breakfast you have chance to visit Hotan Sunday market . first visit livestock market and then main bazaar.

After lunch, drive out into the Taklimakan Desert. Upon arrival, we pack up everything on the camel and immediately begin trekking. You’ll enjoy beautiful high sand dunes during the trek. During the course of the day, we’ll eat a picnic lunch amongst the dunes and select a place on the summit of another as the sun sets and we make camp. Our guide will make desert kebabs for you as shooting stars light the sky and the desert welcomes you to rest

For dinner our guide will make desert kabab for you.

Day 7
2016-08-22 (Monday)

Desert to Kucha

Today’s activities: Enjoy the Sunrise, keep driving along the desert highway and arrive in Kucha in the evening

Stay in: Kucha?

Details: Get up early in the morning and grasp the opportunity of sunrise behind the sand dunes. After breakfast Pack up camels again and continue trekking out of the desert where our driver awaits and keep driving along the desert highway to Kucha

Today stay at nice 5-star hotel and A welcome shower in the hotel is always nice to rid of sand and grit, but the experience and memories will remain with you forever.

Day 8
2016-08-23 (Tuesday)

Kucha for whole day

Today’s activities: Visit Kizil Thousand Budha caves and Tianshan mysterious Grand Canyon

Stay in: Kucha

Details: In the morning visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha caves which sit high on the cliffs over the Northern bank of the Muzat River, 75km (46miles) from Kucha city. The caves were hewn between the 3rd and 8th century and form one of the earliest Buddhist art treasure troves in China. In fact the caves were in use one century before the famous Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang. we have lunch next to the caves and push to Tianshan mysterious Grand Canyon which is about a little more than an hours driving distance from the caves. T Tianshan Great Canyon: is located about 70km from Kucha city. The canyon is attractive not only for its color but also the shape of the mountains there. Today, Tianshan Great Canyon is regarded as one of the ten most beautiful in China. Drive back Kucha after a long and exciting one day trip and have dinner before going back hotel.

Day 9
2016-08-24 (Wednesday)

Kucha to Korla

Today’s activities: visit Kucha’s Grand mosque and old city, Subash Ancient Buddha ruins and Kizil Kagha Beacon tower. Then drive to Korla after lunch

Stay in: Korla

Details: After breakfast, we’ll spend time at old city area and visit Kucha’s Grand mosque. The mosque itself was built in the 17th Century and is the only to contain Shariya law (Islamic Court) in China. This roof of the mosque was constructed using 300,000 eggs & cement and bricks. Then push to the ancient city of Subash (2nd-3rd century A.D.) as well as the Ancient Kizil Kagha Beacon tower which is an ancient military outpost. Then drive to Korla after lunch and arrive in the evening

Day 10
2016-08-25 (Thursday)

Korla to Turpan

Today’s activities: leave for Turpan after breakfast and arrive at about noon, after lunch visit Yargul (Jiaohe) Ancient city, Karez underground Irrigations system and Emin Minaret

Stay in: Turpan

Details: Leave for Turpan after breakfast and arrive around Lunch time. In Turpan, we’ll begin our local tour at the Yargul Ancient city which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. The ruins of the buildings are divided into temples, civilian dwellings and government offices. Workshops and residential houses in the streets are still visible and time there is time spent in a world long disappeared.

After an hour of walking around the city area, we’ll push on to see the world famous Karez irrigation system, unique to this part of the world. The system is considered as one of the three great projects in China with the other two being the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.

Then visit the Emin Suliman minaret which is a magnificent combination of ancient Uighur and Islamic architecture. It is the tallest ancient pagoda in Xinjiang and the only Islamic ancient pagoda in the country. Locals call it “pure tower.”

Day 11
2016-08-26 (Friday)

Turpan for whole day

Today’s activities: visit Idikut (Gaochang) ancient city, Astana tombs, Toyup village, Bizeklik Thousand Buddha caves and Flaming Mountains

Stay in: Turpan

Details: We start our another eciting day in Turpan with a visit the ancient city of Idikut (Gaochang). The city was first built in the first Century BC and later became capital of the Idikut (Gaochang) Uighur Kingdom in the 8th Century. We’ll stop in the city for about 40 minutes and then drive to Karakhoja Astana tombs, a Tang-dynasty burial ground which also known as the “Underground Museum”. Astana means “capital” in the Uighur language and Karakhoja is the name of a legendary hero of the ancient Uighur Kingdom who conquered by killing a vicious dragon.

Moving on, we journey to Toyup village, an old, beautiful and timeless village with a friendly Uighur community. Here we visit several local families and eat lunch with a local family in their home. This could quite likely be the highlight of your tour.. After lunch we visit Bizeklik Thousand Buddha caves which used to be an important center for Buddhist worship under the Xizhou Huigu government of the Idikut (Gaochang) Kingdom.

Finally, on the way back to the hotel we will stop at the Flaming Mountains which people claim are so hot and dry that “flying birds even a thousand miles away dare not to come”.

Tour cost

Quotation: Based on two pax private tour, 9795 Yuan per person

Tour includes:

  • TRANSPORT: Air conditioned Vehicles for all means of land transportation
  • ACCOMMODATION: standard rooms at 3 star hotels (one room shared by two people) , two nights 5 star hotel in Kucha
  • ENTRY fee: All entry fees to tour sites are included in the cost.
  • TOUR guide: English speaking local Uighur tour guide
  • One camel per person to ride and separate camel for luggage.
  • Camping gears like tent and sleeping bags in the desert. Meals in the desert (dinner and breakfast)
  • All expense of the guide and driver. car

Tour excludes: Meals, flights

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