14Days Silk Road Highlights

 

      Xinjiang Silk Road Highlights Tour

 

Kashgar – Karakul Lake – Tashkorgan – Yarkand - Khotan – Taklamakan Desert Crossing – Kucha – Turpan – Urumqi - Dunhuang

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 or book this trip, PLZ Email: silkroadexpedition@hotmail.com, in what area you are not satisfied, we can adjust the itinerary according to your every request. We will arrange National Tour Guide to escort you for entire tour.

Tour Description: this trip is the highlights of Xinjiang Silk Road Tours which begins in Kashgar and ends in Dunhuang that you can experience the all magic towns like Kashgar, Karakoram,Yarkand , Khotan(Hotan), Kucha, Korla, Turpan ,Urumqi and Dunhuang along the south and north Silk Road by driving across the Taklimakan from south to north , second largest shifting desert in the world, as well as you can also witness the Islamic and Buddha cultural existence along the Silk Road,

Duration: 14 Days

Best Time: April to November

Departure Date: you choose (Recommend you to arrive Kashgar on Saturday or Thursday to catch the famous Kashgar Sunday Market

Destination: Start from Kashgar and End in Dunhuang

Proposed Hotel Arrangements for This Trip

          

City

Date

Hotels

Rate

Kashgar

Day 1,2,4

Tianyuan International

4 star

Karakul lake

Day 3

Yurt

4 star

Khotan

Day 5,6

 Jiazhang Hotel

4 star

Kucha

Day 7,8

Kucha Fandian

3 star

Korla

Day 9

Silverstar Hotel

4 star

Turpan

Day 10

Huozhou Hotel

4 star

Urumqi

Day 11,

 Tuha Petroleum Hotel

10 star

Urumqi- Dunhuang night Train

Day 12

Train

Dunhuang

Day 13

Feitian Grand Hotel

4 star

Daily Itinerary  

Day 1   Kashgar 

Arrive kashgar by crossing the border through Turugat pass or Irkeshtam pass fromKyrgyzstan, or just fly in fromBeijingorShanghai,  

Day 2   Kashgar City Tour  

 

Kashgar has been claimed "the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere inCentral Asia", although the city is becoming more developed.

Being the Islamic cultural center of China, Kashgar?now days? is very important western most special economic zone in China as it was also very important hub and earliest Islamic cultural center in central Asia's Silk Road.

So far today we will do full day excursion in this city, and visit Kashgar Sunday livestock Market, south and centralAsiaMarket, 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 andCentral AsiaMarket: 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 nowadays 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 40 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.  

Day 3      Kashgar to Karakul Lake 

 

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 on the way ,  

 

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.

Day 4  Tajik Town Tashkorgan and Back to 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 Hindikush mountain ranges are connected .therefore it has outstanding scenery of mountains ,

After Kyrgyz breakfast in Yurt , drive further up to Tashkorgan town ,spend about an hour there 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 ,

Day 5    Drive to Khotan 450km/279mile

Today we will head up to the south ofTaklimakanfrom Kashgar by takingsouth Silk Road, and visit Yarkend, Karghilik (Yecheng in Chinese), arrive Khotan in the evening,

Yarkend:  was capital of Uyghur Empire in 16th century, Uyghur cultural city where you can visit the Altunluk Royal Mosque and Royal Mausoleum,  

Day 6      Khotan Tour

Khotan was very important 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 and learning were transmitted from India to China, Khotan was establishes 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.

Full day excursions to Khotan Bazaars, Malik Awat ancient city,JadeRiver,

Day 7 Crossing theTaklimakan Desert 350km/ 220mile

Today is most adventurous part of this trip that we drive across the Taklamakan which is second largest desert in the world from south to north by new desert highway , then arrive Kucha in the evening , transfer to the Hotel ,

Taklimakan Desert:  it covers an area of 337 thousand square kilometers that includes the Tarim basin,Taklimakanmeans that ,

Day 8       Kucha 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 ,Subash ancient city ruin, Kucha bazaar ,  

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 inChina, 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,

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

Day 9      Kucha tour then Drive to Korla  

After breakfast in the hotel, today we will visit the Kucha grand mosque, and Beacon Tower in the morning, the drive to Korla (koerle in Chinese), visit the Tiemen pass when we arrive Korla,

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

Day 10       Korla to Turpan

Drive from Korla to Turpan by crossing the beautifulAghirbulakMountainpass of Tianshan mountain range. Arrive Turpan in the afternoon; visit the Emin Minaret, Karez well Museum, and Night Market.

Emin Minaret (sugong Ta in Chinese):  Islamic Uyghur mosque with tallest minaret inChina(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.

Day 11       Turpan tour  

 

Turpan is located in theTurpanBasinwhich is deepest basin inChina, northeastern part ofTaklimakandesert. 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

Today we will visit the Jiaohe ancient city, Tuyuk valley , Bezaklik Thousand Buddha Caves , then drive to Urumqi  and transfer to the hotel  

Jiaohe (Yarghul in Uyghur )ancient city: it is called Yarghul ancient city Uyghurs and well preserved, excavated mud ancient city ruin in the world.earlest 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 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 old residential lifestyle existing 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.

Day 12   Urumqi Tour  

After breakfast in the hotel, we will visit the National key touristic site Heavenly lake (Tianchi in Chinese) in the morning, it is located 120 km east of Urumqi, Hike around the lake, Kazakh Lunch in the Yurt, Drive back to Urumqi in the afternoon, then Visit the Autonomous regional museum which is one of the best museums in China, and International Grand Bazaar, take night sleeper train from Urumqi to Dunhuang,

Day 13 Dunhuang Tour  

Arrive Liuyuan Train station in the morning and transfer to Dunhuang, Today visitMogaoCaves, Mingsha MountainandCrescentLake,Yumen Pass.

Mogao Caves: a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, also known as theThousandBuddhaCaves, it is the UNESCO site which is the largest Buddha caves inChina,

Mingsha MountainCrescentLake: it is Highest Sand Dune Mountain in which little crescent oasis located.

Yumen Pass: it was most western Gate out of the Country of Han dynasty in

Day 14 Departure from Dunhuang

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

Urumqi : 436  shengli Road , Urumqi 830000  , Xinjiang PR China

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