From Karakul lake, a blue pearl in the middle of verdurous grasslands, to the Flaming Mountains, a hot and desertic place… Let yourself be captivated by this region, its welcoming population and fascinating landscapes!
Upon arrival in Kashgar, your driver will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. Free time for the rest of the day to wander through the old town or rest at your hotel.
This morning, you’ll start your visit of Kashgar with the Apak Hoja Mausoleum, also known as the Fragrant Concubine. This quiet and peaceful place is a very beautiful piece of Uyghur architecture. Then you’ll reach the live animal market of Kashgar, one of the biggest in the region where you will see livestock being traded. Have a look at these traditional bargains for sheep! After lunch, you’ll see the Eid Kah mosque, which is the biggest mosque in China. You’ll walk through the lanes of the old town and end your day in the Handicraft Street, where you’ll see craftsmen work with wood, iron and copper.
This morning, you’ll take the Karakoram Highway, considered as one of the most beautiful highways in the world. In the car, enjoy the scenery going by. After 1.5hrs drive, you’ll reach the Oytagh red mountain, revealing itself in front of multicolored mountains with snowy summits. After a checkpoint stop, you’ll reach the peaceful Karakul Lake (at an altitude of 3600m) located between Mount Gonger (7719m) and Mount Muztagh Ata (7546m). Finally, you’ll reach Tashkurgan for the night.
This morning, you’ll visit Tashkurgan fortress: this small town used to be a Tadjik capital. In the afternoon, you’ll hit the road back to Kashgar. If you have enough time, according to the driving journey and the checkpoints, you can stop at Karakul lake or other places for stunning panoramas and a short walk. Upon arrival in Kashgar, you’ll check n again at your hotel.
This morning, your driver and guide will take you to Shipton’s Arch, the highest natural arch in the world (457m, higher than the Empire State Building). It was discovered in 1947 by the last British general consul in office in Kashgar, Eric Shipton. You can climb it in 45mn, through a lunar landscape. Some small ladders and stairs will help you on the narrowest parts.
Free day, without services, to rest and enjoy Kashgar old town at your own rhythm: it is full of tiny alleys and lanes to find and roam around.
In the late afternoon, your driver will take you to the train station and you’ll take the night train to Turpan. In a four sleepers compartment, the night train is an unforgettable experience.
This morning, upon arrival at Turpan train station, you’ll be welcomed by your driver and guide and transferred to your hotel. Then you’ll start your visits with the irrigation system (Kariz) of Turpan, which is one of the three major engineering masterpieces of ancient China, with a history of more than 2000 years. After lunch, you’ll discover the old town of Jiaohe, which is the biggest mud town in the world. Many relics were unearthed there, including some Buddhist manuscripts. You’ll end the day at Emin minaret that was built in 1778. It is the biggest in Xinjiang, and the only Islamic tower in China.
After breakfast, you’ll explore the Bezeklik grottoes, also called the “Thousand Buddha city”. Then you’ll reach Tuyuk valley, hidden behind the Flaming Mountains. You’ll discover an old tradtional Uyghur village that will make you go back in time. You’ll have lunch at a local family. In the afternoon, you’ll explore the Flaming Mountains which are one of the hottest places in China (118°F in summer with a record at 158°F). These mountains appeared as a consequence of the tectonic plates move when the Himalayan range formed itself more than 50 million years ago.
This morning, you’ll discover the local handicraft and markets in the surrounding villages, with a visit to a traditional music instruments fabric for example. Immerse yourself in these lively and welcoming places! You’ll also visit the Astana tombs where several mummies were unearthed. Finally, you’ll explore Gaochang, an ancient town on the Silk Road dating back to the 1st century BC. In the evening, enjoy a dinner with live traditional music.
This morning, your driver will take you to Urumqi airport (~2.5hrs drive). On the way, you can stop at Urumqi Grand Bazaar. Then it will be time to take your flight back.
Emilie was very helpful when it came to improvise and change our travel plans because of Covid regulations. In Jiuzhaigou, Emilie found a very beautiful hotel for us. Seeing Pandas is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. We didn't expect it to be as heart-touching as it is. We are very grateful we could travel in Xinjiang. It means a lot to us. Kindest Simone"