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11-Day Xinjiang Middle Silk Road Tour

Route:  Kashgar – Tashkurgan – Aksu – Kuqa – Korla – Turpan – Urumqi

Activities: This tour starts from Kashgar, a historical city on the Silk Road China, and ends in Urumqi the regional capital. Then you will be visiting Karakul Lake on Karakorum Highway, Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves in Kucha, Jiaohe Ancient City in Turpan and Xinjiang Museum in Urumqi before concluding your tour.

Day 01

Place & Transport: Arrival to Kashgar Via Urumqi

Day’s Activities:Kashgar  Airport pick up

Place to stay: Kashgar

You fly in kashgar with connected flight from Beijing or Shanghai via Urumqi

We will meet you at Kashgar  Airport then transfer to Hotel


Day 02

Place & Transport: Kashgar City tour

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:Kashgar

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.

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


Day 03

Place & Transport:Kashgar to Karakul Lake to Tashkorgan

Day’s Activities:Karakoram Highway, Opal village, Red Mountain, Corner Lake & Sand Mountain, MT. Muztagh Ata (7546m) & MT.Konger (7719m), Karakul Lake

  • Karakoram Highway
  • Corner Lake
  • Mt. Muztagh Ata
  • Karakul Lake

Place to stay: Tashkurgan

Today we take a drive on Karakurum 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 villageis 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-coloured 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 visit the local Kyrgyz Yurts and listen to their stories about traditional ways of nomadic mountain life.

Picnic lunch: We will then enjoy our picnic lunch of fruits and fresh bread that we purchased in Opal village in a beautiful picnic spot overlooking the Karakul Lake. We will take 1.5 hours drive from Karakul lake to Tashkorgan. It Tashkurgan is an interesting small town located on the Pamir Plateau.  This area was extremely isolated until the rebuilding of the Karakurum 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 a certain uniqueness. This region is commonly known as the main road of the “old Silk Road” the main route leading from China to West Asia. The average elevation is 4000 meters.


Day 04

Place & Transport:Tashkorgan to Kashgar (300Km)

Day’s Activities: Tashkorgan, Stone fort, Tashkorgan grassland, Subash pass

  • Tashkorgan Stone City
  • Tashkorgan Grassland

Place to stay: Kashgar

After breakfast we will visit the Stone fort, located in downtown Tashkurgan. It has a history of more than 2000 years. In times gone by it was the central palace of the Tajik kingdom. Then we will hike around the Tashkurgan grassland and enjoy the scenery of Mt. Mutztah Ata and Mt. Pamir. We take the Karakorum Highway back to Kashgar and arrive in the late afternoon.

Note: Guests will need to carry their passports on this tour as they will be required to show these at the Gaz check point (around an hour after the colorful mountain on the first day and also on the way back to Kashgar).  Everybody at this point needs to be registered by the authorities due to its close proximity to many bordering countries. It is also advisable to bring warm clothes as temperatures can be colder than those found in Kashgar at the higher altitudes.


Day 05

Place & Transport: Drive from Kashgar to Aksu(500KM)

Day’s Activities: Sultan Sutuk Boghrahan Tomb, Mor Buddhist Pogoda, Baxkiram Uyghur Village

Place to stay: Aksu

After breakfast we will drive through the beautiful village of Baxkiram. Next we stop to see the Mor Buddhist Pagoda from the Tang Dynasty, the only Buddhist Pagoda left in the Kashgar region. After that we will stop at the Sultan Sutuk Boghrahan tomb in Atux, the tomb of the first Uygher to convert to Islam (10th Century). Then we drive on No:312 National highway to Aksu. It will take 7 hours to get to Aksu from Kashgar and we will stop for sights along the way. When we get to Aksu we will drive another 70 km to the Sacred Wood Park (Shenmuyuan). There are trees over 1,000 years old and graveyards from the 15th Century. On the way to the Sacred Wood Park, we can see Timor Peak of TianShan Mountain (7743 meters). We will arrive in Aksu for dinner.


Day 06

Place & Transport: Aksu to Kuche (Kuqa) via Bay County (320KM)

Day’s Activities: Kizil Thousand Buddha caves

  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

Place to stay: Kuche (Kuqa)

After breakfast we will set out from Aksu to Kuqa (Kuche in Chinese). On our way to Kuqa we will visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha caves, dating from the 5th and 6th century AD. These are the second best preserved Buddhist caves in China.  We will enjoy a Chinese lunch at the caves before continuing on our journey to Kuqa.

Kuqa is the biggest county of Aksu prefecture. Kuqa was previously the most important pass on the middle silk road (route) in Xinjiang. Kuqa is also a center for Buddhism in southern Xinjiang.


Day 07

Place & Transport: Kuqa Tour then to Korla (320KM)

Day’s Activities: Ancient Beacon Tower, Kuqa Grand Mosque, Kuqa old town, Subash ancient city, Iron Gate

  • Kucha Beacon Tower
  • Kuqa Grand Mosque
  • Kuqa Old Town
  • Subash Ancient City

Place to stay: Korla

After breakfast we will visit Kuqa Grand Mosqueand have some free time to stroll through the streets of Kuqa’s old town. We will then set off for Korla making a few visits on route.  Firstly we will visit the Beacon Tower, the highest tower on the silk road, at 13m high and made of mud and wood. The Beacon Tower was previously used for sending out fire signals to warn of the arrival of enemies.  We will then visit the Subash ancient city – Well preserved 1km square in size used to be the temples where Uyghur ancestors used to worship in the Buddhism periods then we will carry on our journey to Korla and have a picnic lunch on the way. We will arrive in Korla in the afternoon. Explore Korla downtown. Korla is regarded as the cleanest city in the whole of Xinjiang. We will visit the Iron Gate (Tiemenguan) the point where Silk Road travelers used to have to be registered along their route.


Day 08

Place & Transport: Korla to Turpan by crossing the TianShan Mountain (400KM)

Day’s Activities: TianShan Mountains

  • Tianshan Mountains
  • Tianshan Mountains
  • Tianshan Mountains

Place to stay: Turpan

After breakfast we will leave for Turpan. Our journey will take us across the TianShan Mountain, the range which divides Xinjiang into two parts, Northern Xinjiang and Southern Xinjiang. TianShan Mountain is known to the Uyghur people as “Tangry Tagh” which means “God Mountain”. This was due to the life sustaining properties the first Uyghur settlers found here. The first settlers inhabited both sides of the range and received water from the mountains and green pastures on which to graze their herds. We will enjoy a picnic lunch along the route. We will arrive in Turpan late afternoon and you will have free time to explore the city.


Day 09

Place & Transport: Turpan tour

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

  • Gaochang Ancient City
  • Astana Ancient Tombs
  • Tuyuk Village

Place to stay: Tupan

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 Valley.We will visit the Tuyuk Village where we can see traditional Uyghur life. Villagers live in traditional homes made of mud.


Day 10

Place & Transport: Turpan tour then drive from Turpan to Urumqi (180Km)

Day’s Activities: Kariz underground water system, Jiao he Ancient City, Emin Minaret

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

Place to stay: Urumqi

After breakfast 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 Jiao he

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).

In the late afternoon drive to Urumqi.


Day 11

Place & Transport: Urumqi tour then transfer to Urumqi 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.