Xinjiang used to be the most important portion of western China when mentioning the Silk Road. In history there were about 30 kingdoms in the vast land of Xinjiang. Nowadays, the ruins of these kingdoms have become rare relics. This 16-day private tour will lead you to explore some of them such as Jiaohe City Ruins, Astana Tombs, and Subashi Ruins. In addition to the historical sites, you will also feast your eyes on amazing natural scenery including beautiful Five-Color Beach, picturesque Kanas Lake, windy Ghost City, and magnificent poplar forest. You will have an memorable and affordable traveling experience with us.
Day 1 Urumqi Arrival: Xinjiang Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar
Day 2 Urumqi –Burqin by Car: Burqin County, Five-Color Beach
Day 3 Burqin – Hemu Village by Car: Hemu Village
Day 4 Hemu Village – Kanas Lake by Car: Kanas Lake
Day 5 Kanas Lake – Karamay by Car: Ghost City
Day 6 Karamay – Turpan by Car: Jiaohe City Ruins
Day 7 Turpan: Bezklik Thousand Buddha Grottoes, Astana Tombs
Day 8 Turpan – Korla by Car: Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda
Day 9 Korla – Kuqa by Car: Diversifolious Poplars Park
Day 10 Kuqa: Kuqa Mosque, Subashi Ruins, Kizilgaha Beacon Tower
Day 11 Kuqa – Aksu by Car: Kizil Thousand Buddha Grottoes
Day 12 Aksu – Kashgar: Id Kah Mosque
Day 13 Kashgar – Taxkorgan County: Karakuri Lake
Day 14 Taxkorgan- Kashgar by Car: Stone City, Gloden Valley
Day 15 Kashgar – Urumqi by Flight: Old Town of Kashgar, Sunday Market, Abakh Khoja Tomb
Day 16 Urumqi Departure
Upon your arrival, our guide and driver will greet you at airport/ train station. Then transfer to your hotel. After a short rest your Urumqi tour will start!
The first stop would be Xinjiang Museum. In the museum you will see the relics that show the autonomous region’s history and the local conditions and customs. The highlight for normal visitors may be the well preserved mummies. After that pay a visit to Xinjiang International Bazaar. The bazaar is honored as the “Window of Xinjiang” and “Window of Central Asia”. In that typical Uyghur style grand bazaar, you will have an in-depth look of the folk culture of Xinjiang.
In the morning board the car and drive about 9 hours northward to Burqin County. On the way we will make a stop at the Five-Color Beach. The thousands of years dry and windy climate incised the strange Yardan landscape. The Erqis River flows through the beach and on the two banks of the river there appear remarkable different scenery. On north bank there are the strange Yardan landscape and on the South bank there stand dense forest.
Accommodation: Burqin County
Get up in the early morning to appreciate the sunrise of Erqis River and then drive for about 2 hours to Hemu Village – the largest village of Tuwa Ethnic people in China. At present there are only three Tuwa people exist in China: Hemu Village, Kanas Village, and Baibaha Village. All houses here are built with log which is full of old days taste. The most inviting natural scenery of the village is the autumn scenery. Not far from the village is the snow peak and the horse herds add more special taste to the village.
Accommodation: Hemu Village
In the morning we will continue the tour to Kanas Lake which is 1 hour driving from the village. “Kanas” in Mongolian language which means “the beautiful and mysterious lake”. Just like the meaning of its name, the lake owns the heart-touching beautiful scenery and has the “water monster”, a kind of large fish that seldom see. When it turns to sunny after the rain, the unique scenery “cloud sea and Buddha’s halo” will appear.
Accommodation: Kanas Lake
Today we will drive for about 6 hours to Karamay City. It would be a nice chance to enjoy the desert and oasis scenery in the car. Karamay is an outstanding New-type Industrial city with oil as its primary industry. Even the city’s name is the transliteration of the Uyghur expression which means “black oil”. We will pay a visit to the Ghost City on the way. It was evaluated as the most beautiful yardan landscape in China and was listed in the top 50 places loved by international tourists.
It will spend about 8 hours driving from Karamay to Turpan. Arriving in Turpan you will pay a visit to Jiaohe City Ruins. Jiaohe city existed from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. It belonged to Cheshi Kingdom, one of the 36 powerful kingdoms in West Regions in ancient time. At present it is the largest and best preserved earth building in the world.
In the morning we will explore the Bezklik Thousand Buddha Grottoes. The excavation of the grottoes lasted 7 centuries from the 7th century to the 12th century. There are 57 grottoes relatively well preserved and 40 of them have murals. And after lunch we will move the visit Astana Tombs – a public cemetery of people in Gaochang Kingdom. The bodies buried here were from different social hierarchy and the patterns on bricks inside the tombs explain the basic facts of these people’s life.
Before departing Turpan, we will explore 2 more sites here. The first stop will be Karez Well, the unique irrigation system in desert. In Turpan there are 1000+ Karez wells which have a total length of 5000+ meters. Together with Jinghang Grand Canal, Great Wall, they are called the Three Great Projects of Ancient China. Concludes Turpan tour with Sugong Pagoda, the largest existed ancient Islamic pagoda in Xinjiang which is also known as the Turpan Pagoda among local residents. Then drive for 5 hours to Korla.
Today we will drive along the Taklamakan Desert Highway to Kuqa. Taklamakan Desert is the largest desert in China. Under which there are many ancient cities ruins. On the way you will pay a visit to Diversifolious Poplars Park which locates on the north range of the desert. The vast desert and the tough diversifolious poplars are the excellent material for photography.
Kuqa used to be an important stop along the ancient Silk Road. We will visit 3 highlight here: Kuqa Mosque, Subashi Ruins, and Kizilgaha Beacon Tower. Kuqa Mosque is the major prayer and gathering spot of local Muslim people. Subashi Ruins are the ruins of one of the 36 Kingdoms in Xinjiang area. In the Han and Tang Dynasties the kingdom was known as “Lady Kingdom”. And Kizilgaha Beacon Tower is an ancient military outpost that stands next to Kuqa River.
In the morning we will pay a visit to Kizil Thousand Buddha Grottoes. There are 236 Buddhist caves and 10000m2 murals preserved. It locates west to all the other large scale Buddhist grottoes and its excavation lasted from the 3rd century to the 9th century. After that we will drive for about 4 hours to Aksu.
Today we will drive for about 7 hours to Kashgar, an ancient and well known Silk Road city. After arriving in Kashgar we will pay a visit to Id Kah Mosque, a typical Islamic architecture like domes, minarets and arches, as well as pious prayers. It has a 500 years history.
Today we will do a full day tour to Karakul Lake. The lake is 190 km from Kashgar and has an altitude of 3600 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by iceberg and the white cape of the iceberg reflects their images in lake. Visitors could optionally have a rest in yurt and try some local specialties. In the afternoon continue driving to Taxkorgan County. Today we will spend 7 hours on the way.
Today we will visit the Stone City, palace ruin left from the Tang Dynasty. The city was originally built in ancient time to supply accommodation for business travelers. The city still had citizens in the Qing Dynasty. The Stone City is followed by Gloden Valley. At last drive by Aoyitak glacier park we will back to Kashgar city.
After hotel breakfast your guide will meet you at hotel lobby and transfer to visit Old Town of Kashgar. It covers an area of 4.25 km2. Walking in the interlaced lanes visitors will see many nearly 100 years old folk houses. Walking out the Old Town we will pay a visit to Sunday Market (Sunday Bazaar), the largest international trade market on the northwest boundary line of China. Then pay a visit to Abakh Khoja Tomb, an ancient Islamic building complex and a cemetery where five generations of famous Islamic masters were buried. After the tour, transfer to airport for flight back to Urumqi. Upon arrival in Urumqi, met by local driver and transfer to hotel.
At confirmed time, our guide and driver will meet you in hotel. Then escort to train station or airport for departure.