22Days Xinjiang Whole Explore



Destinations: Urumqi-Turpan-Kanas-Hemu-Karamay-Sayram lake-Narat-Bayanbulak-Kucha-Taklamakan desert crossing-Khotan-Kashgar-Karakoram Highway(KKH)-Karakul lake-Tashkorgan


Tour Description: This tour begins in Urumqi and ends in Kashgar that you can experience the all the must see places in xinjiang and silk road towns along the south and north Silk Road by driving across Tianshan range and the Taklimakan desert in the south. Taklimakan second largest shifting desert in the world, as well as you can also experience the one of the world's most adventurous Karakoram highway and also enjoy the beautiful landscape in Tianshan Mountain range UNESCO protected natural reserve, in the further north you can see the Siberian ecological system Kanas lake and Hemu village ,you can explore the whole ethnic group and their unique culture and distinctive landscape of Xinjiang which has more wet greenery landscape in the north ,and more dry and continental landscape in the south with snow capped high mountains peaks. This could be your lifetime experience to follow the track of Marco Polo and 

Tour Overview: This is a private tour, we will assign private guide, car, van and bus in each city and no other participants will be allowed to join in your group. Also the tour is totally flexible. Moreover, if you would like to do some adjustment in this itinerary, please feel free to contact us ,in what area you are not satisfied, we can adjust the itinerary according to your every request.

Additional Requests :if you have any requests including home staying with locals, learning Uyghur food ,visiting food markets, please mention to us when you book the trip , we will make special arrangements without changing the program

Camping in Taklimakan desert : camping one night in Taklimakan desert with riding camels can be included in the itinerary without adding extra days it can be scheduled to be on Day 5th of the Itinerary , please also mention to us if you are interested

Duration: 22 days/21 Nights

Best time: May to October, but highly suggested in June/July and early August

Arrival Date: depend on your convenience

Where to Start : Start from Urumqi and end in Kashgar



Arrive Urumqi by flight, picked up by tour guide and driver at Urumqi airport, and Stay overnight in hotel in Urumqi


First visit the Autonomous regional museum for two hrs and visit the international grand bazaar in the morning , we will drive to turpan in the afternoon, arrive turpan in the evening and transfer to hotel ,



Turpan is located in the Turpan Basin which is deepest basin in China, northeastern part of Taklimakan desert. it is the Key city on the Middle Silk Road and unique Uyghur Buddha cultural City throughout the Buddha cultural period in the history of Uyghur’s until the 14th century ,then Islam became completely dominant religion in this area after middle of 14th century that Uighur Buddhist royal family escaped to Tibet after big defeat in the war between  the Islamic Uyghur’s from the west , that’s why Turpan has considerably best preserves Buddhist historical sites and some of them very well preserved ancient ruins that protected by UNESCO

 Today spend the whole day to visit historical sites in Turpan, visit Emin Minaret, Karez well Museum, Bezaklik jiaohe ancient city , Tuyuq valley, and Night Markets.

Emin Minaret (sugong Ta in Chinese):  Islamic Uyghur mosque with tallest minaret in China (44m, 144ft), built in 1777, an elegant and circular Uyghur traditional architecture 

Karez Wells: More than 5000km long Karez was one of the greatest constructions of China ,Turpan's Karez water system is made up of a horizontal series of vertically dug wells that are then linked by underground water canals to collect water from the watershed surface run off from the base of the Tian Shan Mountains and the nearby Flaming Mountains. The canals channel the water to the surface, taking advantage of the current provided by the gravity of the downward slope of the Turpan Depression. The canals are mostly underground to reduce water evaporation.

Jiaohe (Yarghul in Uyghur )ancient city: it is called Yarghul ancient city Uyghurs and well preserved, excavated mud ancient city ruin in the world . earliest settlers of this city was no later than 1800 years BC, it is abandoned in 14th century AD when the Islam became dominant in the area ,All the houses, even few floor high, were built by excavating the clay ground .that’s the distinctive part than any other ancient cities throughout the silk road .The city was built on a large islet (1650 m in length, 300 m wide at its widest point) in the middle of a river which formed natural defenses, which would explain why the city lacked any sort of walls. it is recently protected by UNESCO

Tuyuk valley: lovely old valley in which the small typical Uyghur village located, when we walk around the village we can absorb the Uyghur old residential lifestyle in Turpan

Bezaklik Thousand Buddha caves: complex of Buddhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to the 9th centuries. There are 77 rock-cut caves at the site. Most have rectangular spaces with rounded arch ceilings often divided into four sections, each with a moral of Buddha. The effect is of entire ceiling covers with hundreds of Buddha murals. Some ceilings are painted with a large Buddha surrounded by other figures, including Indians, Persians and Europeans. The quality of the murals varies with some being artistically naive while others are masterpieces of religious art.

 Night in hotel in Turpan


After breakfast in the hotel,  we will drive to Urumqi and from Urumqi we will continue drive to National park touristic site Heavenly lake (Tianchi in Chinese) , it is located 120 km east of Urumqi, Hike around the lake and Kazakh lunch and dinner would be in the Yurt, and stay overnight in Kazakh Yurt beside the lake



Have breakfast with Kazah family beside the Lake and drive to Burqin town ,Burqin  which is northern most town closer to the Kanas Lake, We will drive along the beautiful pasture and we will have great view of Altay mountains for photography, and arrive Burqin in the evening ,night in hotel in Burqin


Drive from Burjin to Kanas national nature reserve in the morning; enjoy the stunning view of Kanas lake, we can hike there, and enjoy the Siberian ecological diversity, unique lanscape and location made Kanas to be of the Siberia Ecological System which connected with Irtish river to north pole , and nature reserve forest area, Kanas lake located in the north of xinjiang where borders with Russia ,Mongolia and Kazakhstan and surrounded by beautiful Altay Mountain range , stay overnight in Kanas lake




Today we do Nomadic cultural explore around the area by visiting the ancient Tuva people (they were also called forest people) who believed to consider themselves Genghis Khan descendent when Genghis Khan was waging war towards west from Mongolian pasture, but actually they are one of the Turkic speaking people who believe in Buddhism and Shamanism, hiking in the village, and also visit the another Turkic speaking people Kazakhs, and drive to Hemu village to stay overnight there ,



Depart from Hemu and kanas area to head out for Karamay , we will visit the Ghost city along the way ,

Ghost city: ghost City. Called so, because when wind blow, eerie noises can be heard, sounding like supernatural spirits. The city is comprised of the rock formations that seemed to appear from nowhere amidst the never-ending desert you must cross to find it. They are formed because years of wind erosion. Those weather-sculpted rocks resemble large castle, tall skyscrapers, animals and so on, just use your imagination to match a jagged rock with an object, maybe later that formation will be named the name you given. Then arrive Karamay in the evening, check in Hotel in Karamay



After breakfast in hotel in Karamay , we will drive south west to Sayram lake which is one of the beautiful highland lake in xinjiang ,we will stay overnight in one of the Kazakh yurt beside the lake ,dinner will be in Kazakh family ,


Today we drive to Yining (Ghulja city),one of the very beautiful Soviet style Uighur city located in the Ily valley ,drive two hrs there from the lake and we will visit the old town area of the city in the afternoon , night in hotel in Yining ,



Drive from Yining in the morning through Ily valley to Narat , explore the Narat Pasture in the afternoon and back to hotel to stay overnight in Narat ,


After the breakfast in hotel in narat , we will drive 1 and half hour to Bayanbulak , on the way stop for photographs and arrive Bayanbulak by lunch time  , we will have lunch in Bayanbulak and drive further inside the pasture to see the largest Swan Natural serve in the World , we will enjoy the sunset view of Bayanbulak grassland which is very special and drive back to hotel ,


Today we will drive south to cross the tianshan mountain range to be in kucha city , old silk road cultural city which has significant Buddha architecture and ancient ruins and caves , we will stop and visit the Chongkul lake ,Tianshan grand canyon and Kizil thousand Buddha caves ,then arrive kucha in the evening , Night in kucha



Kucha is Another ancient Buddha cultural city on the middle silk road located north part of Taklimakan desert ,Kucha was called Kusan (Qiuci in Chinese) in ancient times , Today we will visit all exotic sites like ,Subash ancient city ruin, Kucha bazaar and kucha grand mosque ,kizilgaha beacon tower ,

Subash ancient city: it is the ruins of ancient Buddhist Kucha city, temples and some residential houses still visible, establishment date back to 2nd century BC,

Kucha Bazaar: exploring the Uyghur people on the Market, absorb the Uyghur culture.

Kucha Grand Mosque: built in 17th century, one of the largest mosques in Xinjiang,

Beacon Tower: was city defense tower during the Kucha Buddhist kingdom 

night in hotel in kucha


Today is going to be our very exciting and adventurous part of our trip, we drive across the vast Taklamakan desert from north to south, second largest shifting desert in the world, full day driving on the new desert highway to reach Khotan southern oasis city in the middle of desert located south of Taklamakan , we will get our lunch prepared in the morning and drive on the highway cross the desert ,

Today you can have option to request us to ride camels in the desert and camping overnight in sand dunes , if you are interested you can mention it to us , we will make the arrangements ,


Arrive Khotan in the afternoon and transfer to hotel to take rest


Khotan was very important city and non touristic Uighur city in the southern silk road, and also was one of the earliest Buddhist states in the world and a cultural bridge across which Buddhist culture were transmitted from India to China, Khotan was established as City in 300BC and completely Islamitised in 1006 AD, so you can visit some ancient Buddha ruins, as well as it's thousand years old of historical major products such as its famous nephrite jade and pottery factories and silk weaving factoris

Full day excursions to Khotan grand Bazaars, Jade River, ancient style of silk weaving work shop, Imam Asim Tomb


Night in hotel in khotan



Today we will head up to the northwest of Taklimakan from Khotan to Kashgar and visit the Karghilik (Yecheng in Chinese), Yarkand along the way and arrive Kashgar in the evening,


Yarkend:  was capital of Uyghur Empire in 16th century, Uyghur medieval cultural city where you can visit the Altunluk Royal Mosque and Royal Mausoleum, visit Uyghur UNESCO twelve Muqam Music composer and famous Uyghur musician Amannisa Khan Mausoleum who was queen of Yarkand Uighur Empire lived in 16th century.




Kashgar has been claimed "the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in Central Asia", although the city is becoming more developed, Kashgar unspoiled city, pearl of Silk Road , Gate way to central and south Asia located at the intersection of the southern and northern Silk Road ,

Being the Islamic cultural center and one of the influential touristic cities in Central Asia and China, Kashgar still Authentic ,old Silk Road soil still exist ,you must be the luckiest person to witness this old city before all be changed and disappear .


Notice your optional choice : We could arrange to visit one of the family to have lunch with them in old town and also we can take you to night food market to enjoy the local Uighur Cuisines open street ,

So far today we will do full day excursion in this city, and visit Kashgar Sunday livestock Market, south and central Asia Market, Apak Hoja tomb, Idkah Mosque and Kashgar old town, and enjoy the Uyghur local cuisines like kebab, hand pulled noodle in best Uyghur food restaurant in kashgar.


Kashgar Live stock Market:  Open field agricultural market only held every Sunday, Uyghur farmers type, very local atmosphere, business is all about the animals like sheep, yaks, goats, donkey, cows, camels and horses,


South and Central Asia Market: it is regular commodity market that has all sort of goods, Market attracts more than hundred thousand people every Sunday from nearby towns around the kashgar and from central Asian countries as well.


Apak Hoja tomb: Mausoleum is finest examples of Uyghur Islamic architecture in China, large dome of 17m is at the center surrounded by four corner minarets with strips and arabesque floral patterns initially built in 1640, powerful religious and political leader Apak hoja’s five generations of relatives buried inside the tomb,


Idkah Mosque:  Being largest mosque in China and 12th largest in the world, Idkah mosque is unique best preserved Uyghur architecture in now days and can hold more than 20 thousand worshipers on Friday prayer. The mosque built in 1442


Kashgar old town: well preserved more than 1000s years old Uyghur residential area, people began to settle down there 11 hundred years ago after Uyghur people converted to Islam during the period of Great Karakhanid Dynasty which had been dominated whole central Asia from 9th century to 13th century, Kashgar was a capital .and it was cultural, political and important transportation hub in Central Asia’s silk road, it is treasure of silk road. Karakhanid dynasty imperial palace was also located in this old town, and still some parts of palace wall visible 

Because of it’s unique natural old fashion medieval style, old town attracted the attention of Hollywood to shot the film “Kite Runner”, most parts of the film was shot in this old town,

And more than 60 thousands of Uyghur families still live here behind hand-carved poplar doors, many in tumbledown rentals, others in two-story homes that vault over the alleys and open on courtyards filled with roses and cloth banners. Current architectural and life style of people directly derived from Medieval Karakhanid Uyghur culture. Possibly we have chance to visit one of the family. 

Nigh in hotel in Kashgar



After buffet breakfast in the hotel. we’ll take breathtaking highest and adventurous paved highways in the world to go though High Mountain range to Karakul Lake, and stay overnight in nomad Kyrgyz Yurt, visit Opal village ,Red mountains along the Gez river ,Bulungkul lake on the way , after you arrive at the karakul lake , you can do some hiking around the lake for few hrs in the afternoon ,


Karakul Lake: it is rare highland lake in the world at the elevation of 3600m, located on the side of Karakoram highway ,200km south west of Kashgar ,it is surrounded by many snow capped high mountains like Mt Muztagh Ata(7546m) and Konggur (7719m). 


Kyrgyz Yurt: made of stone, still some are made of local embroidered mats; it is living house of local Kyrgyz people settling around the karakul lake, talk to them, stay with them and get to know their adventurous life in the remote mountains going to be your lifetime experience.

Night in Yurt beside the lake


After Kyrgyz breakfast in Yurt , Start driving further up to Tashkorgan Tajik town in the after noon after we have hiked to the Muztagh Ata glaciers  ,after the lunch in Tashorgan we will drive further up to the Kunjirap pass which is highest pass in the world (4850m) , enjoy the surrounding scenery of Pamir mountains and Hindikush mountains Visit the intersection view of karakoram and hindukush mountains connected by Wakhan corridor which used to be old silk road to Afghanistan from kashgar ,Drive back to tashkorgan in the evening to stay overnight in the hotel, in the evening guide and driver will take you to the local markets and downtowns in tashkorgan


Tashkorgan is only western most Entry and Exit gate of western China ,mountain Tajik people live in surrounding area and it is important town in the Karakoram, located south west of Kashgar ,borders with Badakhshan province of Tajikistan, Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan and Pakistani Kashmir where Karakoram, Pamir and Hindikush mountain ranges are connected .therefore it has outstanding scenery of mountains ,


After breakfast in hotel ,Spend few hours in the morning in tashkorgan to visit the Ethnic Tajik Museum, best preserved ruin Stone forte which dates back to 7th century, and visit the Pamir Grass land ,and drive back to kashgar by same Karakoram highway , Arrive kashgar in the evening and transfer to hotel ,

Day 22  DEPARTURE  FROM  KASHGAR                                

Guide and driver will Transfer you to the airport or train station according to your schedule  and end the your ,. If you depart in the afternoon, we might also can arrange short activity before you go to airport


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