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Day Tour to Yarkand and Taklamakan Desert

Activities: Visiting the knife town of Yegisar which represents Uyghur knife (manufacture) in Xinjiang and China. Visiting the Golden Graveyard which dates back to the 17th century and is the burial place of Royal family members of the Yarkand Uyghur Kingdom. Visiting the Karasu section of Taklamakan Desert in Yarkand. The Taklamakan Desert was named as ‘Sea of Death’ by ancient caravans from the ancient Silk Road.

  • Yegisar knife factory
  • Yarkand Golden graveyard
  • Yarkent old town
  • Taklimakan Desert

Place & Transport: Kashgar to Yarkant to Taklimakan Desert to Kashgar.

On our way to Yarkand, one hour East of Kashgar, we will make a stop in the county of Yingsar. Yingsar is the most famous region in Xinjiang for making traditional Uyghur knives. We will have the chance to visit one of the many knife factories here and view the making process and purchase souvenirs. Next stop a further two hours down the road will be Yarkand (shache in Chinese). In Yarkand we will first visit the Golden Graveyard.   This graveyard dates from the 17th Century and is the burial place of Royal family members of the Yarkand Uyghur Kingdom. It is known to Local people as “Golden Graveyard” as a sign of respect to the Yarkent Uyghur Kingdom.

Next to the Golden Graveyard we will visit the tomb of Aman Nisahan, the wife of the second King of the Yarkand Kingdom. Aman Nisahan is a famous Uyghur poet, musician and composer. She is most renowned for her transcription of the Twelve Mukam of famous traditional Uyghur music. She brought together local musicians, the majority of which were farmers, from the region and put their music to paper and also composed one of the Mukams herself.

We will then walk through the old town in Yarkand where we will visit the lively local market. Here it is possible to see wood and metal craftsmen in action and sample traditional food which is sold on small carts along the street. Yarkand was once the capital of the Uyghur Kingdom in ancient times, and it was an important station on the Ancient Silk Road. It has a history of more than 2000 years.

Before leaving Yarkant we can visit a local teahouse where we will enjoy a delicious traditional Uyghur lunch, of corn noodles and kebabs. Alternatively we can have a picnic lunch of fruit and bread in the desert.

After lunch we will drive for around an hour to reach the oasis village of Karasu on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert. From the village you can look out onto endless sand dunes stretching away before you. Taklamakan Desert is the second largest shifting sands desert in the World, covering an area of 337,600 square km. Taklamakan Desert is known as the “sea of death” by the silk road traders that used to cross it in their caravans in times gone by, many traders entered the desert lost their way and were never to be seen again. There is the option to experience ancient desert transportation by riding a camel over the dunes. We can also trek through the desert for up to an hour.

We will arrive back to Kashgar in the evening.

Please note we can also arrange several day camping and trekking tours to the desert around Karasu, Yarkand.