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10-Day Wild Landscape Hiking and Cultural Tour

Route: Urumqi – Turpan – Kashgar – Karakorum Highway –Muztagh Ata  Base Camp – Kirghiz Summer village – Tashkurgan – Kashgar

Activities: This tour is the mixture of cultural and historical activities with the wild landscape trekking deep into the mountain. The trekking part of the tour will be conducted around the Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata on Karakorum Highway in Kashgar.



Place & Transport: Arrival to Urumqi

Day’s Activities: Airport to Hotel Transfer

Place to stay: Urumqi


Day 02

Place & Transport: Urumqi to Turpan then Turpan Tour (180km)

Day’s Activities: Kariz Underground Water System, Jiaohe Ancient City, Emin Minaret

  • Kariz Underground Water System
  • Jiaohe Ancient City
  • Emin Minaret

Place to Stay: Turpan

The drive from Urumqi to Turpan is about 3 hours. On the way we can see the largest wind powered station in China (da ban cheng). After arrival and check-in, we begin our tour of Turpan. Kariz underground water system is the China’s third most important ancient engineering feat with a total length of 3100 miles and dating back more than 2000 years. Jiaohe Ancient City is the oldest, largest, highest ancient city built of mud in the World. Many cultural relics were unearthed, such as antefix of the Tang Dynasty and Buddhist scriptures at the Ancient City of Jiaohe. Emin Minaret was built in 1777,it is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang and it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China).


Day 03

Place & Transport: Turpan to Urumqi then Evening Flight to Kashgar

Day’s Activities: Gaochang Ancient City, Astana Ancient Tombs, Tuyuk Village

  • Gaochang Ancient City
  • Astana Ancient Tombs
  • Tuyuk Village

Place to Stay: Kashgar

After breakfast we drive to Gaochang Ancient City, 47 km east of Turpan. The city was built in the first century B.C; it was a key point on the ancient Silk Road. Then we head to Astana Ancient tombs, the capital tombs and underground museum of Xinjiang where many important writings, paintings and mummies have been discovered. Next we will have a traditional Uygher lunch in Tuyuk Villey. We will visit the Tuyuk Village where we can see traditional Uyghur life. Villagers live in traditional homes made of mud. After lunch we head Urumqi to take the evening flight to Kashgar.


Day 04

Place & Transport: Kashgar to Karakul Lake (200km)

Today’s Activities: Opal Village, KKH, Corner Lake, Karakul Lake, Kyrgyz Family Visiting

  • Karakoram Highway
  • Corner Lake
  • Karakul Lake

Place to Stay: Karakul Lake

Today we take a drive on Karakoram 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: Opal village is a 1 hour drive from Kashgar. It is a good location to take photos of village life and traditional activities like bread making and Uyghur food stalls. Half an hour drive from the village we will arrive in Oytagh Red Mountain. The mountain valley is surrounded by a beautiful backdrop of multi-colored mountains topped by snowcapped peaks. Corner Lake (Bulung Kul) is a tranquil shallow lake where you can take very nice photographs of the lake with stunning reflections of the sand mountains. Karakul Lake is 3600 meters above sea level. It is located between Mt. Muztagata  (7546 meters) and Mt. Gonger (7719 meters), which are said to be 2 of the 6 most beautiful mountains in the World. We will trek around the lake for about 4 Hours then visit the local Kyrgyz Yurts and listen to their stories about traditional ways of nomadic mountain life.  We will arrange for you to spend the evening with a local Kyrgyz family in their Yurt, where you will be able to experience the different culture and language of this traditionally nomadic people. you will be staying in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt.

Note: you are not allowed to stay overnight with Locals in their yurt but traditional Kyrgyz yurt near the lake.


Day 05

Place & Transport: Karakul Lake to Idara Village (15km)

Today’s Activities: Subash Village, Muztagh Ata, Kyrgyz Family Dinner

  • Mt. Muztagh Ata

Place to stay: Idare Village

The day begins with breakfast after which our luggage will be packed onto camels ready to begin our trek at 9:00am. Our guide and camel men will lead you toward Idare village, and due to the high altitude we aim to trek for an achievable four to five hours. Idare village, a settlement comprised of 25-30 stone houses occupied by Kyrgyz people, is situated 15km from Lake Karakul. We’ll arrive at Idare in the early afternoon, and you will then have the opportunity to explore the village and meet with the local children. After a nomadic-style dinner with the families we aim to go to bed early, ready for the next day’s trekking.

 Note: This trek takes you to the remote, untouristed base camp of Muztgata (4500m), the snow-capped peak of which, at 7546m, is one of the most beautiful mountain tops in the world. Glaciers flank the base camp, which sits at the foot of the trail to the summit. It is a high-altitude and adventurous trek which can be tailored to suit the abilities of the trekkers.

Trekking Tips

Good trekking shoes are required.

Long sleeved T-shirts are highly recommended as the sun is very strong at these high altitudes.

Medicine to treat the symptoms of high altitude is advised. Headache is the most common side effect from the altitude, so bringing some paracetamol is a good idea. There is a smaller risk of more severe altitude sickness, however we aim to ascend slowly to minimize the effects.


Day 06

Place & Transport: Idara to Base Camp then to Qaltumak (14km)

Today’s Activities: Small Kirgiz Summer Village Altumak

Place to Stay: Qaltumak

The destination for the third day of trekking is the very small summer village of Kyrghyz nomads, Qaltumak. During winter the people move to lower altitudes to avoid the freezing temperatures, but during summer the weather in Qaltumak is warm enough for them to stay for 4 months to feed their animals – yaks, camels and donkeys – up higher. Muztagh Ata is known by locals as The Father of Ice Mountain, and towers at a height of 7546m. We will be able to see the spectacular views of these great mountains while trying to count the hundreds of Marmeds who appear to be playing hide and seek on the slopes. You will also be given the opportunity to meet local Hayde shepherds.


Day 07

Place & Transport: Qaltumak to Idare (12km)

Today’s Activities: Tashkorgan, Pamir Plateau

Place to Stay: Karakul Lake

The car will be waiting for us as we journey from Qaltumak to the plains below, descending 900m to Idare. We will take a 1.5 hour drive from Karakul lake to Tashkurgan, an small town located high up on the Pamir Plateau. This area was extremely isolated until the rebuilding of the Karakoram highway in 1987 and even today the local community still lives in a very traditional fashion with only a single road reaching here from Kashgar, so it has retained certain uniqueness. This region is commonly known as the main branch of the “Old Silk Road” the main route leading from China to West Asia. The average elevation is 4000 meters.


Day 08

Place & Transport: Tashkurgan to Kashgar (300km)

Today’s Activities: Stone City, Tashkurgan Grassland, Subash Pass

  • Tashkorgan Stone City
  • Tashkorgan Grassland

Place to Stay: Kashgar

After breakfast we will visit the Stone Dort, located in downtown Tashkurgan. It has a history of more than 2000 years, when in times gone by it was the home of the King of the Tajik kingdom. We will hike across the Tashkurgan grassland under the watchful gaze of Mt. Mutztah Ata and Mt. Pamir. We’ll take the Karakorum Highway back to Kashgar, arriving in the late afternoon.


 Day 09

Place & Transport: Kashgar City Tour then Evening Flight to Urumqi

Day’s Activities: Apak Hoja Tomb, Sunday Market, Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street

  • Kashgar Apak Hoja Tomb
  • Kashgar Sunday Market
  • Kashgar Old Town
  • Kashgar Id Kah Mosque
  • Kashgar Handicraft Street

Place to Stay: Urumqi

We will begin our tour of Kashgar City by visiting the Apak Hoja tomb also called fragrant concubine tomb (Xingfei in Chinese). This is a very tranquil place and a beautiful example of Uyghur Islamic architecture. Next we will head to the Infamous lively Sunday market renowned as the biggest market in Central Asia. It is said you can buy anything you want from the Sunday market except chicken milk and Cow eggs. We will then enjoy lunch in a typical Uyghur restaurant. After lunch we will wander through the narrow winding streets of the historic Old town brushing shoulders with the friendly Uyghur residents. Located at the spiritual heart of old town is Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China. We will go inside and have the chance to understand a bit more about the Islamic life of the Uyghur people. We will pass down Handicraft Street where we can view pots being hammered, wood craftsmen at work and traditional musical instrument workshops. Take the evening flight to Urumqi

Note: For entering the Mosque visitors should dress respectfully, no shorts or short sleeved shirts and women should cover their heads with a scarf.

Uyghur Family Visit: we will visit on of the traditional Uyghur family on this day so that you can even enjoy of the days tour.


Day 10

Place & Transport: Urumqi Tour then Transfer to Urumqi International Airport

Day’s Activities: Xinjiang Museum

After breakfast we will visit the extensive Xinjiang Museum. It is a large integrated museum, holding all key artifacts and cultural relics central to Xinjiang region and the Silk Road. The museum is famous for its rich collections of silk artifacts dating from many periods throughout history. The museum also contains several mummies some of them dating back 4000 years, which can easily rival those found in Egypt. After lunch we will take you to the airport for your respective onward journeys.

After lunch we will take you to the airport and help you check in your flight towards home.