9 days Xinjiang Silk Road nature and historical tour
Be impressed by the amazing energy of the best Xinjiang has to offer with this Silk Road adventure tour. An in depth overland trip from Urumqi to Kashgar, a border city where you could experience the cultures from different countries, such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan. Have a memorable camping to enjoy the majestic sunrise while experiencing camel riding in Taklamkan Desert, and a tranquil hike along the shore of Karakul Lake. This tour is filled with the best that all the international travelers crave to visit, including the ruins left by our ancestors.
Xinjiang is always regarded as the heart of the Silk Road since it holds countless relics left by ancient civilizations. Spending 9 days traveling across here is a great opportunity to explore the exotic culture and mysterious history of the old Silk Road.
The first destination of the tour is Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. Our local guide and driver will pick you up at the airport or railway station upon your arrival. Then drive to the downtown hotel for retire. The amazing Silk Road adventure will start tomorrow morning.
Nothing is more wonderful than starting today by enjoying the natural scenery of Tianchi Lake. After breakfast, drive to the Lake which is located 110 km. (68 mi.) east of Urumqi. With the melted snow from Tianshan Mountain as its source, the lake presents a shape which resembles a crystal crescent. Spend half of the day to walk along the shore or boat on the lake and see the ever-changing silvery mountains highlighted with verdant grassland and flamboyant wild flowers, soaring into the blue sky.
In the afternoon, drive back to Urumqi to visit the Xinjiang Museum, which houses an impressive collection of exhibits, covering artifacts and relics from more than 12 minority groups. With an English speaking guide, the museum is one of the best place to learn about the history of the Silk Road in Xinjiang.
Say farewell to this capital city as you will drive over 3 hours to an oasis city in the southeast of Urumqi, Turpan. See the largest wind power station in China along the highway. After you get settled into the hotel, drive to the Gaochang Ruins, the capital of the Uyghurs when they moved into the Xinjiang region from Mongolia in the 9th century. What is really worth a visit here is the two temples standing at the southwest and the southeast corners of the outer city. They are the few remaining architectures which still can be clearly recognized in this ancient city. During your visit, the local guide will tell you why Gaochang was such an important stop along the Silk Road thousands of years ago.
Followed by heading to the Astana Tombs, which is only 4 km. (2.4 mi.) away from Gaochang Ruins. Explore a serious of underground graves plus some well-preserved mummies, paintings and gold vessels here. This place is also called as the underground museum of Turpan. Afterwards, drive to the Tuyuk Valley for visiting a local village. Enjoy a traditional Uyghur lunch in this old Uyghur settlement of Xinjiang.
In the afternoon, spend some time to visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. This area is a grand treasure-house of Buddhist arts as you can see lots of precious artworks created by the people from different cultures, depicting their daily life and religion. Next, visit the Flaming Mountains, which is regarded the hottest place in China. Enjoy the marvelous view made by red granites reflecting the heat and glow of the desert and learn about its story from the classic novel, Journey to the West.
The tour today involves three highlights in Turpan city. First, leave the hotel in the morning for a visit to the Karez Well, one of the three great ancient projects in China. Regarded as the source of life in Turpan, Karez Well systems enjoys a long history of more than 2,000 years. Once you get there, you can not only appreciate the ancient irrigation system, but also have the chance to see the special views formed in this Well and find a perfect escape from the intense heat in summer.
In the afternoon, drive to the Jiaohe Ruins 8 km. (5 mi.) west of Turpan. With a long history of over 2,000 years, this ruin is currently the largest and oldest immature soil city in the world. Spend couple hours to wander around this ancient city, and pursue the past civilization along the ancient Silk Road. After, end the trip today by visiting the Sugong Pagoda, which was built by the ruler of the Turpan Prefecture, to honor his father in 1811. The architectural style of this pagoda displays a mixed design of Uyghur and Han features. Adjacent to the pagoda lies a mosque which has a seating capacity of a thousand people. In the late afternoon, drive to Urumqi for the flight to Hotan.
Today you will explore the traditional paper making technology in Hotan, a famous handicraft which was practiced more than a hundred years earlier than Ceylon's invention of modern paper. The raw materials for this paper consists of the bark of mulberry tree branches, and at present, there is only one family in Hotan still produces such paper. Afterwards, drive to the Yorung Kash (White Jade River) to see how local people look for jade. If you are interested in the local jade or silk products, you can go to the market for some bargains.
For the lunch, it is a good idea to taste some Hotan local snacks. In the afternoon, head to the boundless Taklamkan Desert, the second largest shifting-sand desert in the world. In local Uyghur language, Taklamakan means “The desert which buried some places under”. Spend the whole afternoon to ride a camel cross the sand dunes here. This night you will camp in the desert, we provide the best camping equipment, and the food, water, fruit for the dinner.
You need an early breakfast to catch the sunrise at the Taklamkan Desert. Immerse yourself into the magnificent views when the sun turns the color of the boundless sand dunes into golden yellow. Afterwards, drive to your next destination, Kashgar. Stop at Yarkand to visit several highlights of this ancient city. The first one is the Golden Graveyard, which is the final resting place of the royal family members of the Yarkand Uyghur Kingdom.
Next, head to the Tomb of Aman Nisahan, the burial place of a great woman in Xinjiang. Aman Nisahan was the wife of the second king of the Yarkand Kingdom. Yet what made her renowned were her poets and her transcription of the Twelve Mukam of famous traditional Uyghur music. Learn about her folktales from your local guide during your visit here. After that, take a walk around the Yarkand Old Town to see the daily life of local people, and do not miss out on a visit to the knife factory in the "knife town" of Yengisar. Arrive Kashgar in the late afternoon or evening for retirement.
Enjoy a scenic drive from Kashgar to the splendid Karakul Lake, which takes over 3 hours. Stop at the Opal Village to view the spectacular scenery of Kunlun Shan Mountains. Then enter into the mountain range and get to the Mount Muztagata, also called as "the Father of Glaciers", the lake is situated at the foot of this majestic snow mountain.
Resembling an enchanting lady, Karakul Lake is so clarity as you can even clearly see the reflection of the snow mountains surrounding the lake in the water. Spend several hours to hike on the grassland with roaming flocks and herds along the shore of the lake. Visit a local Kyrgyz family to learn about their custom and culture. In the late afternoon, drive back to the hotel in Kashgar and prepare for the next day.
Visit the highlights in Kashgar city today. Start with a visit to the Abakh Khoja Tomb, an ancient Islamic architectural complex which houses the coffins of five generations of the Apak Khoja family, including what is purported to be the body of Xiang Fei, a famous concubine in Qing Dynasty. While walking around here, notice the pillars which perfectly designed and beautifully decorated. Next with a walk around the famous Sunday Market, which is jammed with many small shops for selling numerous commodities, traditional scarves, leathers, clothes, and souvenirs. This market attracts numerous merchants from all over Xinjiang plus nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan.
In the afternoon, after wandering in the Kashgar Old Town, visit the Id Kah Mosque, the largest and busiest one in China. The mosque is located in the heart of Kashgar city, here be impressed by the old Islamic architectures with strong ethnic style and religious features. See numerous worshippers coming from different places of Xinjiang. End the tour today with a visit to the Handicraft Street. You will have the dinner tonight with a local Uyghur family.
Say farewell to your guide and drive this morning as they will pick you up from the hotel to drive to the airport or train station for departure. If you wish to continue your travels, we are experts in tailor made trips and ready to assist you in extending your stay in China.