12Days Xinjiang Classic Silk Road

12 DAYS XINJIANG CLASSIC SILK ROAD TOUR

Destinations: Urumqi – Turpan – Kucha – Taklamakan Desert – Khotan – Yarkand –Kashgar –Karakoram Highway (KKH)-Karakul lake- Tashkorgan

Tour description: this is one of the classic popular Xinjiang Silk Road trip that surely you can explore the whole northern and southern Silk Road sites around the Taklimakan including Kashgar which is one of the top influential Silk Road Cultural City in Central Asia and China as well as you can also do the Taklimakan desert crossing adventure and Karakoram Highway Nomadic adventures ,and you can explore the distinctive cultural existence along the Silk Road in Xinjiang, Xinjiang is truly the different world. Different Ethnic groups and different nature makes Xinjiang very unique and attractive place in China,

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 that last minute changes also allowed , however, if you would like to do some adjustment in this itinerary or book this trip, 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 6th of the Itinerary , please also mention to us if you are interested

Duration: 12 days/11 nights

Best time: April to November

Arrival Date: depending on your conveniences

Where to Start: Start from Urumqi and end in Kashgar

DAILY ITINERARY

DAY 1 URUMQI ARRIVAL

Arrive Urumqi by flight, picked up by our tour guide and driver at Urumqi airport, and drive to Autonomous regional museum which is one of the best museums in China with its ancient Mummies and distinctive ethnic cultural exhibition, if your flight is late in the afternoon we will visit the museum next day . And transfer to hotel in Urumqi

DAY 2 URUMQI -TURPAN

After the breakfast in the hotel in the morning, visit the International grand bazaar in Urumqi, we continue driving to Turpan, visit Karez Museum and emin minarate in the afternoon,

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 in this area since mid 14th century , Turpan has some very well preserved ancient ruins that protected by UNESCO

Emin Minaret (sugong Ta in Chinese): only Islamic tower in China built in 18th century, one of the best examples of Uyghur architectural design,

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.

DAY 3 TURPAN CITY TOUR

Today we spend the whole day to visit the historical sites in Turpan , we will visit Jiaohe ancient city, Tuyuk valley , Gaochang ancient city ,

Jiaohe (Yarghul in Uyghur) Ancient City: it is called Yarghul ancient city in Uyghur and well preserved, excavated mud UNESCO 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 stores as well, were built by excavating the clay ground .that’s the distinctive different 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 UNESCO site,

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

Gaochang ancient city: called Idiqut(also called Karahoja) city in Uyghur, located 30km south east of modern turpan ,Gaochang was built in the 1st century BC; it was an important site along the Silk Road. It played a key role as a transportation hub in western China. A busy trading center, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Eastern Silk Road. There is some documented history surviving today, perhaps stories passed on through oral tradition exist to detail the history. It was burnt down in wars in the 14th century. Old palace ruins and inside and outside cities can still be seen today.

Transfer back to the hotel , in the evening ,guide and driver can take you to night market if you are interested to enjoy the street foods in turpan ,

DAY 4 TURPAN - KUCHA

Set out from turpan in the morning to Kucha after breakfast . as soon as we arrive there, we are going to visit Subash ancient city ruin, then transfer to the hotel in kucha

DAY 5 KUCHA CITY TOUR

Another ancient Buddha cultural city on the middle silk road located north part of Taklamakan desert ,Kucha was called Kusan (Qiuci in Chinese) in ancient times , Today we will visit all exotic sites like Kizil thousand Buddha caves ,Kizilgaha Beacon Tower, Kucha bazaar and Kucha Grand Mosque ,subash ancient city ruins

Kizil thousand Buddha caves: located 75km northwest of Kucha, there are 236 Buddhist Rock-cut caves; the caves are the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China, with development occurring between the 3rd and 8th centuries. Although the site has been both damaged and looted, at least 1000 square meters of wall paintings—mostly Jataka stories—remain.

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,

Kizilgaha Beacon Tower: it was watch tower used for security; date back to 8th century,

Kucha Grand Mosque: mosque in Kucha, one of the old mosques in Xinjiang which was built in 17th century.

Transfer back to the hotel in kucha ,

DAY 6 KUCHA - KHOTAN BY CROSSING THE TAKLAMAKAN

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 requeset 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

DAY 7 KHOTAN TOUR

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

DAY 8 KHOTAN - KASHGAR

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.

DAY 9 KASHGAR CITY TOUR

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

DAY 10 KARAKORAM HIGHWAY TOUR - TASHKORGAN

After breakfast in hotel we’ll take breathtaking highest and adventurous paved highways in the world to go though High Mountain range to Karakul Lake and Tashkorgan, we will visit the Opal village market ,Red Mountains beside the Gez river and Bulungku lake along the way , and you might be interested to stay overnight in nomad Kyrgyz Yurt to experience the nomadic life of Kyrgyz people in the remote mountains ,

Notice: please let us know if you are interested to stay overnight in yurt in Karakul lake instead of staying in hotel in tashkorgan , we will make prearrangements according to your request ,

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 (7649m). You will have chance to hike around the lake,

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.

Nigh in hotel in tashkorgan

DAY 11 TASHKORGAN - KASHGAR

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 Hindu kush mountain ranges are connected .therefore it has outstanding scenery of mountains,

,spend about two hour there in the morning to visit the Ethnic Tajik Museum, best preserved ruin Stone forte which dates back to 7th century, and visit the Pamir Grass land , derive back to Kashgar in the afternoon via same highway , night in hotel in kashgar

DAY 12 DEPART FROM KASHGAR

Today we will finish our silk road tour and our guide and driver will take you to airport or train station to see you off ,

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Kashgar : 120 Seman Road(beside chinibagh hotel) , Kashgar 844000  , Xinjiang PR China

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