3 Days Tashkurgan and Khunjerab Border Tour
Activities: The highlights of this 3 -day tour include travel on the world-famous Karakorum highway, a home stay at a Kirgiz house or yurt at Karakul Lake, Tajik family visit in Tashkurgan, and finally Khunjerab Pass, the highest point on the Karakorum Highway and the frontier between China and Pakistan.
Place & Transport: Kashgar to Tashkurgan via Karakul Lake
Day’s Activities: Karakoram Highway, Upal Village, Corner Lake, Sand Mountain, Mt. Muztagh Ata, Karakul Lake
Place to Stay: Tashkurgan
Today we take a drive on the Karakorum Highway, renowned as the highest paved border crossing in the world and regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful highways. We will see the following on our drive: Upal Village is a 1-hour drive from Kashgar. It is a good location for photographing village life and traditional activities like bread making, and Uyghur food stalls. Half an hour‘s drive from the village will bring us to Oytagh Red Mountain. Here, the mountain valley is surrounded by a beautiful backdrop of multi-colored mountains topped by snow-capped peaks. Corner Lake (BulungKul) is a tranquil shallow lake affording spectacular photographs of the lake with stunning reflections of the sand mountains. Karakul Lake is 3600 meters above sea level. It is located between Mt. Muztagh Ata (7546 meters) and Mt. Kongur (7719 meters), which are said to be 2 of the 6 most beautiful mountains in the world. We will continue our journey to Tashkurgan, where we will spend the night.
Place & Transport: Tashkurgan to Khunjerab Pass then to Karakul Lake
Day’s Activities: Tashkurgan Stone Fort, Tashkurgan Grassland, Khunjerab Pass
Place to Stay: Kirgiz Yurt at Karakul Lake
Tashkurgan is an interesting small town on the Pamir Plateau. This area had been extremely isolated until the rebuilding of the Karakorum Highway in 1987. Even today the local community still lives in the traditional fashion, as only a single road reaches here from Kashgar, Thus it has retained a certain uniqueness. This region is widely known to be the primary route of the “Old Silk Road,” the original route connecting China and West Asia. We will visit the Stone Fort, located in central Tashkurgan. It has a history of more than 2000 years. In times gone by it served as the central palace of the Tajik kingdom. Khunjerab Pass located at 4693 meters above sea level is the highest pass in the Karakorum Mountains on the border between Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan) and the Xinjiang Autonmous Region of China. The name is derived from the Wakhi word for Blood Valley. This pass is the highest paved border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The roadway crossing the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved roads at Mintaka Pass and Kilik Pass as the primary passage across the Karakorum Range. On the Chinese side, the pass is 130 km (81 mi) from Tashkurganand 420 km (260 mi) from Kashgar. After the visit of the Khunjerab pass, we will return to Karakul Lake to spend the night with a local Kirgiz family.
Place & Transport: Karakul Lake to Kashgar
Day’s Activities: Karakul Lake, Muztagh Ata, Kirgiz Yurt
Place to Stay: Kashgar
After breakfast in a Kirgiz home, we will enjoy the stunning scenery of Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata before driving back to Kashgar. The ethnic group living around Karakul Lake is Kirgiz people who make their living by raising sheep, goats, camels, yaks and horses. They have permanent homes in the village within sight of the lake. However, they also have temporary yurts nestled in the mountain valleys to which they ascend during the summer for a few months to tend their livestock. Upon the approach of winter, they return to their village with their remaining animals to sell for meat in the Kashgar Sunday Market. From Karakul Lake, we will follow the same route to back to Kashgar.
Note: Permits for visiting Khunjerab Pass are only obtainable from customs officials in Tashkurgan one day prior to the visit. Therefore, not until your arrival in Tashkurgan can we try to secure your permit. In some cases, issuing the permit is refused, and there is a slight possibility that you would be unable to visit Khunjerab Pass.
Tourists will need to carry their passports on this tour as they will be required to show it at the Ghez checkpoint. Every traveler needs to register at this checkpoint by the authorities due to its close proximity to the international frontier.
It is also advisable to bring warm clothes as the high-altitude temperatures may be colder than those in Kashgar. It is also advisable to bring altitude sickness tablets for headache relief.