12-Day Xinjiang Silk Road Tour
Route: Kashgar – Hotan – Aksu – Kuqa – Korla – Turpan – Urumqi
Activities: Our 12 days Xinjiang Silk Road Tour is one of the popular tours among our clients in the past. It allows you to experience the diverse culture, rich history and stunning scenery of Silk Road Xinjiang.
Place & Transport: Flight from Shanghai or Beijing to Urumqi, transfer flight to Kashgar.
Day’s Activities:Airport to Hotel Transfer (Kashgar)
Place to stay: Kashgar
Place & Transport: Kashgar City tour
Day’s Activities: Apak Hoja tomb, Sunday market, Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, 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
Place & Transport: Kashgar to Karakul Lake to Kashgar (400Km round trip)
Day’s Activities: Opal willage, Oytagh red mountain, Corner Lake, Karakul Lake, Muztagh ata,Konger mountain, Karakurum Highway
Place to stay:Kashgar
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-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 return to Kashgar in time for dinner
Place & Transport: Kashgar to Hotan (540KM)
Day’s Activities:, Yegisar knife factory, Graveyard of the Yarkand Uyghur Kingdom, Tomb of Aman Nisahan,Yarkand Old town
Place to stay: Hotan
We will leave for Hotan after breakfast. On our way to Hotan we will make a stop in the county of Yegisar. Yegisar 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. Next to this is 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. We will enjoy a traditional lunch of corn noodles, pumpkin dumplings and kebab in a local Yarkand teahouse. After lunch we will continue our journey to Hotan (around four and a half hours)
Place & Transport: Hotan tour & Desert Camp
Day’s Activities:, Taklamakan desert, Imam Asim Tomb, Local silk, Carpet, Jade Workshops. White Jade River, Hotan Bazzar
Place to stay: Taklamakan Desert Camp
After break fast we will visit Hotan’s amazing Sunday Market, a huge lively market which is like taking a journey back in time, experiencing donkey gridlock. Hotan is particularly famous for its high quality Jade products; the best Jade in China being found here in White Jade River. We will visit the river and try to find some Jade for ourselves and watch the locals at work digging and sifting for the precious rock. We will also visit the white Jade factory to see how the Jade is processed and made into jewelry and ornaments. Hotan is also renowned for its high quality wool carpets. We will visit a carpet workshop to see the weaving process. Late in the afternoon we will take a camel ride out into the Taklamakan Desert and camp over night here. We will enjoy a camp fire dinner and breakfast in the desert.
Note: We will provide you with all the necessary camping equipment, tents, sleeping bags and blankets etc.
Place & Transport: Hotan to Aksu by crossing the new Desert Highway (650KM)
Day’s Activities:,Taklamakan Desert Highway, Imam Asim Tomb
Place to stay: Aksu
On the way out of the desert we will visit the tomb of Imam Asim, dating from the 10th Century. We will have lunch in Hotan before setting off for Aksu. The day’s journey will have us cross the width of the Taklamakan Desert, along the 450km long Taklamakan Desert Highway. 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 who entered the desert lost their way and were never to be seen again.
We will arrive in Aksu late in the afternoon for dinner. It is 500 km from Hotan to Aksu (around 6 hours).
Place & Transport: Aksu to Kuqa (Kuche) via Bay County (320KM)
Day’s Activities:Kizil Thousand Buddha caves
Place to stay: Kuqa (Kuche)
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.
Place & Transport: Kuqa Tour to Korla (320KM)
Day’s Activities: Ancient Beacon Tower, Kuqa Grand Mosque, Kuqa old town, Subash ancient city, Iron Gate
Place to stay: Korla
After breakfast we will visit Kuqa Grand Mosque and 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. First we will visit the Beacon Tower, the highest tower on the silk road, at 13m high and made of mud and wood. The Beacan Tower was previously used for sending out fire signals to warn of the arrival of enemies. We will then visit Subash ancient city, a well preserved 1 sq km where Uyghur ancestors used to worship in the temples of the city during 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 and explore downtown Korla. 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 were registered along their route.
Place & Transport: Korla to Turpan by crossing the TianShan Mountain Range (400KM)
Day’s Activities: TianShan Mountains
Place to stay: Turpan
After breakfast we will leave for Turpan. Our journey will take us across the TianShan Mountain Range, 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.
Place & Transport: Turpan tour
Day’s Activities: Gaochang Ancient City,Astana Ancient Tombs, Tuyuk Valley
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.
Place & Transport: Turpan tour then drive from Turpan to Urumqi (180Km)
Day’s Activities: Kariz underground water system, Jiao he 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.
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.