17-day Xinjiang driving adventure tours

Destinations: Kashgar,Karakoram Highway, Karakul lake, Tashkorgan, Yarkand, Hotan, Taklamakan Desert, Kucha, Turpan, Urumqi and Heavenly lake

Day 1
Arrive in Kashgar
Tianyuan International Hotel or Qinibagh Royal Hotel (New)
Day 2
kashgar to Karakul lake
in the morning, stay in the city for Festival celebration and may some dancing. then drive to Karakul lake after lunch
We set out along the Sino – Pakistan Karakorum Highway, on the Pamir plateau (the roof of the world) for your visit to Karakul Lake (3600m above sea level). The lake sits at the feet of the notorious, Muztagh Ata ( 7546m ) and Gongur ( 7719m ) mountains. ‘Muztagh Ata’ means Father of the Ice Mountain and is one the most beautiful and mysterious mountains in the world.
People travel to experience the lives of another culture, which is why we spend the night in the yurt of a local Kyrgyz family and really experience another way of life.
Stay at Local family (Yurt)
Day 3
Hiking to Chaltumak village
Today, we’ll hike 15 kms up from Idara at 3700m to Chal Tumak Village at 4200m. A local style Kyrgyz breakfast of Naan bread, mild Yak tea, yogurt and Cheese, will give you the energy you need to make the journey. It should take us 4-5 hours across marshland to reach our destination. Chal Tumak is a small yurt village with about 4-5 families who feed their animals there during the summer, and move back to their homes in Kishlak (winter village) at a lower altitude
In Chal Tumak, we’ll stay with a local family, though be warned, it can be quite cold at night at this altitude, so be sure to stay warm next to the yurts yak dung stove. Wrap up well, as tomorrow we’ll be glacier walking.
Stay at Local family (Yurt)
Day 4
Chaltumak village to Base camp and back , then Tashkorgan
Most people don’t get the chance to see a glacier, let along walk on one, but today you’ll be one of the lucky few. After breakfast with a local family, we’ll hike up to the nearby glacier to experience first hand the magnificent beauty of the father of the ice mountains, Muztagh Ata, followed by a trek up to base camp at 4500m, where all adventurers begin their climbing ascent. If your health is good enough for climbing you may also try to climb part of it, perhaps up to 5000m. Although today is the most difficult part of our trek together, it’s also the most beautiful, too. Finally, we’ll trek back down to marker 204 on the nearby Karakorum Highway, where our driver is waiting for us to drive to Tashkorgan, about two hours further on. Settled in your hotel, you’ll feel comfortable again after a welcome shower to wash away the dirt of three days trekking. Hiking through the mountains in not for the faint hearted, but one that leaves an undisputable memory that will stay with you forever.
Stay at Benleixin Hotel
Day 5
Tashkorgan to Kashgar
After breakfast, you’ll have an opportunity to see the town’s ancient stone fort – still standing after 1800 years! ‘Tashkurgan’ is a translation of ‘Stone Fort.’ Walking around Tajik neighborhoods and grassland, if you desire pay a visit to Local Tajik families live around this historic town, then visit Tashkorgan Cultural museum where you will have better understanding of Tajik history, lifestyle and culture. After lunch drive back Kashgar and review the beautiful and spectacular scenery of Karakoram highway again
Tianyuan International Hotel or Qinibagh Royal Hotel (New)
Day 6
Day trip to Shipton’s arch
Shipton’s Arch is the world’s highest natural arch. This imposing, entirely natural structure, rises an amazing 366m/1200ft.
Day 7
Explore Kashgar City
Explore the rich, endless culture of the Uighurs in Kashgar, spend time by the Id Kah mosque, the largest mosque in China and marvel at the intricate architecture of Kashgar’s historic Apak hoja tomb. We’ll also spend time today in the Kashgar old town and have dinner with a local Uighur family.
Tianyuan International Hotel or Qinibagh Royal Hotel (New)
Day 8
Kashgar to Hotan
We set out from Kashgar after breakfast, stopping first in the ‘knife-town’ of Yengisar, well-known for its handmade Uighur knives. Here you can visit a local knife factory and see the artisans in action as they sculpt another perfect tool. Then it’s on to Yarkand for a few hours to enjoy local culture and do some sightseeing. For example, the Golden Mosque (built in 1533) and its graveyard which includes several hundred year old tombs. Yarkand was once the capital of many Uighur Kingdoms in ancient times and an important station on the old Silk Road. It has more than 2000 years of history. After Yarkand we’ll call at Kargilik another former hub on the Silk Road. The Tibet highway starts from Kargilik and we’ll stop off at the grand mosque (1533) here, before moving on to Hotan for the night.
stay at Tarim Hotel
Day 9
Hotan to Desert and camel trekking
Our tour guide and driver will collect you from your hotel and drive to Hotan grand bazaar to walk around and to do some shopping. also visit an old mosque and shrine out of the desert.
then drive out into the Taklimakan Desert for giving you a chance to experience the adventure life of the Caravans in the Taklimakan desert several Thousand years ago.
Upon arrival in the desert , we pack up everything on the camel and immediately begin trekking.
You’ll enjoy beautiful high sand dunes during the trek and select a place on the summit of another as the sun sets and we make camp.
Our guide will make desert kebabs for you as shooting stars light the sky and the desert welcomes you to rest. You never feel it is already midnight as you are listening the very interesting adventure life stories of Our camel man in the desert.
camping in the desert
Day 10
Desert to Keriya
Continue trekking out of the desert where our driver awaits to drive to Keria town which takes around 3 hours.
A welcome shower in the hotel is always nice to rid oneself of three days of sand and grit, but the experience and memories will remain with you forever. Camping in the desert is a rare experience that few people achieve.
Stay at Zhejiang Hotel
Day 11
Kariya to Middle of the desert
Keriya to Tazhong (the middle of the Taklimakan Desert)
Our first stop in Niya (Minfeng) for lunch and visit Niya museum. Then drive along the Taklimakan desert highway which is which is the longest desert highway in the world (522km, 324miles). The word, Taklimakan means “Sea of Death, once you come in you can never go back”. Feel free to enjoy the beautiful scenery as long as you wish.
We stop in Tazhong which means the middle of the Taklimakan desert and camp overnight.
Day 12
Desert to Kucha
Keep drive along the Taklimakan desert highway and reach Kucha by lunch time. In the afternoon, we will visit the ancient city of Subash dating from the 2nd -3rd Centuries as well as the ancient Kizil Kagha Beacon tower which was once an ancient military outpost. After that we’ll spend time at old city area and visit Kucha’s Grand mosque. The mosque itself was built in the 17th Century and is the only to contain Shariya law (Islamic Court) in China. This roof of the mosque was constructed using 300,000 eggs & cement and bricks.
Stay at Kuqa Hotel
Day 13
Kuqa for whole day
In the morning visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha caves which sit high on the cliffs over the Northern bank of the Muzat River, 75km (46miles) from Kucha city. The caves were hewn between the 3rd and 8th century and form one of the earliest Buddhist art treasure troves in China. In fact the caves were in use one century before the famous Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang.
We have lunch next to the caves and push to Tianshan mysterious Grand Canyon which is about a little more than an hours driving distance from the caves. T Tianshan Great Canyon: is located about 70km from Kucha city. The canyon is attractive not only for its color but also the shape of the mountains there. Today, Tianshan Great Canyon is regarded as one of the ten most beautiful in China. Take evening flight to Urumqi at 21:35/22:30
Stay at Tumaris Hotel
Day 14
Urumqi to Turpan
Our guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at 7:00AM local time and drive to Turpan on the first class highway for about 2.5 hour. Once you arrive in Turpan first check into the Oasis hotel, then we start our wonderful day in Turpan beginning with a visit the ancient city of Idikut (Gaochang). The city was first built in the first Century BC and later became capital of the Idikut (Gaochang) Uighur Kingdom in the 8th Century.
then Moving on, we journey to Toyup village, an old, beautiful and timeless village with a friendly Uighur community. Here we visit several local families and eat lunch with a local family in their home. This could quite likely be the highlight of your tour.
Finally, on the way back to the hotel we will stop at the Flaming Mountains which people claim are so hot and dry that “flying birds even a thousand miles away dare not to come”.
Stay at 3-star Hotel (I forgot the name but nice new hotel) I stayed when I was in Turpan
Day 15
Turpan to Urumqi
Following breakfast at the Hotel we start our another wonderful day in Turpan. Our special itinerary today includes sightseeing in Turpan and drive back to Urumqi after Lunch. First we visit Yargul Ancient city which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. The ruins of the buildings are divided into temples, civilian dwellings and government offices. Workshops and residential houses in the streets are still visible and time there is time spent in a world long disappeared.
After an hour of walking around the city area, we’ll push on to see the world famous Karez irrigation system, unique to this part of the world. The system is considered as one of the three great projects in China with the other two being the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. Then visit the Emin Suliman minaret which is a magnificent combination of ancient Uighur and Islamic architecture. It is the tallest ancient pagoda in Xinjiang and the only Islamic ancient pagoda in the country. Locals call it “pure tower.”
After lunch we’ll leave Turpan to Urumqi
Stay at Tumaris Hotel
Day 16
Day trip to Heavenly lake
Leave for Heavenly Lake after breakfast and travel 115 kms (71 Miles) over two hours by vehicle. Your stay at the heavenly lake is your time to ride horses, go boating, take photos or simply trek around the lake for as long as you like. You can eat lunch together with a local Kazak family or just pay them a visit! This is certainly the easiest way to understand the life style of the Kazak people in such a short time.
Stay at Tumaris Hotel
Day 17
Depart from Urumqi

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