Welcome to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Meet your tour guide and driver at the airport/train station, then transfer a short while to the downtown of Urumqi. Check in to your hotel. The rest time is free for you to relax. Feel free to ask for recommendations of places to go from your guide.
How to get to Urumqi? Currently, you can take flights to Urumqi from Beijing (about 4 hours), Xian (about 3.5 hours), Shanghai (about 5.5 hours), Guangzhou (about 5 hours), Chengdu (about 3.5 hours), etc., or high speed trains from Turpan (about 2 hours), Dunhuang (about 4.5 hours), Lanzhou (about 11 hours), Xining (about 9.5 hours), etc.
Free time idea: 1. Red Hill Park which is regarded as the symbol of Urumqi. It is the most popular place for the locals to relax and gather. For travelers, it is a great place to experience folk culture and local living style. Finding a higher location in the park, you are rewarded a pleasant panoramic view of Urumqi city; 2. Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, a great place to enjoy a leisure stroll and purchase some snacks, souvenirs, etc.
This morning after breakfast, you will be taken to have an educational visit to the Xinjiang Regional Museum. It is the most important ancient Silk Road themed museum in China, which exhibits about 50,000 historical relics including more than 400 National First-class relics (60% of the total in Xinjiang). Among all the exhibitions, the most unique exhibition is the Mummy Hall. It collects 10 more than 4000 years old mummies which were mostly found in Loulan Ancient Kingdom Ruin and preserved almost intact. Loulan Princess, the most famous mummy in the museum, will definitely strike you with its typical European face. All these important exhibitions help you learn deep into the history and culture of Xinjiang as well as the ancient Silk Road.
Leaving the museum, you are going to explore the Heavenly Lake (or Tianchi in Chinese) which is only about 70 km (about 1.5 hrs' drive) away from Urumqi downtown. To protect the authenticity of the natural environment, our private car can only bring you to the entrance of the park. You will then shift onto a park bus to the parking lot around the lake area. Walking for about 15 minutes, you will get to the lakeside of Heavenly Lake. The rest time is free for you to stroll along the periphery of the lake, breathe the remarkably fresh air, and soak in the wonderful scenery. With an altitude of 1980 meters, Heavenly Lake and its alluring surroundings truly offer you a visual feast like heaven, featuring in serene alpine lake, rugged slopes with snow-capped mountains, pure glaciers, wild forest, vast grassland as well as unique ethnic culture.
Generally speaking, there are three ways to explore Heavenly Lake. You can walk around the lake, take a boat cruise, or ride a cable car to the mountain top. If time allows, you can even enjoy all the experiences. The Boat cruise and cable car need extra fees. Tell your preference to your guide, who will then arrange accordingly for you.
Walking around the lake. Plank roads were constructed to encircle the lake. But since the lake is very large, it takes about 5 hours to finish the circle. You can decide the hiking length on your own according to your physical condition and time. Fee: free.
Boat Cruise on the lake. It is very popular among travelers to take a boat cruising to the deeper area of the lake and back, which is leisure and scenic. There are modern ships, Chinese-style ships and high-speed boats available at different prices. Fee: about CNY 100.
Panoramic view from Maya Mountain. If you want more landscape, you can take a cable car up to Maya Mountain, where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Heavenly Lake and a closer view of Tianshan Mountain Range. Fee: about CNY 220.
After the landscape trip, take a park bus to exit the park, and drive back to Urumqi.
This early morning, you will take a flight to Kashgar (about 2 hrs), the southwestern border city of Xinjiang which used to be the epicenter of the regional trade and cultural exchange of ancient Silk Road for more than two millennia. Upon arriving at the airport of Kashgar, you will be welcomed by your local tour guide and driver, and escorted to Kashgar downtown. The rest of today is a guided tour of this legendary Silk Road city.
You will visit the Abakh Hoja Tomb first, which is not a simple tomb but an exquisite architectural complex including chapels, gardens, archways, etc., as the best place in the region to admire Uygur people’s extraordinary aesthetics and skills of Islamic architecture. It also offers a rare opportunity to see and learn about the funeral customs of Uygur families because there is a large Islamic family of five generations whose name is Abakh Hoja buried here. The Abakh Hoja was a local Islamic master who had strengthened the spread of Islam in the Kashgar area, which later earned a great reputation for him and his family.
Next, you will visit the landmark of Kashgar - Id Kah Mosque, which is regarded as the holy shrine for Muslims. Every day, there are thousands of Muslims worshiping here. In history, Id Kah Mosque used to be a school where Islamic culture and history were taught. Many scholars and honored clergies graduated from here.
Only several minutes' walk from the mosque is the exotic Kashgar Old Town where you can experience the authentic Uyghur living style. Explore the traditional earth buildings where local people live, walk through the famous Handicrafts Street where you can see how the local craftsman makes handicrafts. It is a good place to buy some interesting souvenirs for your family and friends. You will also take a break and enjoy a cup of local tea at the Ancient Tea House, which is more than 100 years old. The locals also like to spend some leisure time in the tea house with friends and families - drinking, chatting and playing music sometimes.
Today’s activities end. Have a good rest in your hotel in Kashgar.
Today, you are going to visit the famous Karakul Lake which is about 190km/about 3 hours’ drive from Kashgar downtown. Although it is a long drive, you are surprisingly compensated by the constant landscape of the overwhelming Pamirs Plateau - harsh and lonely snow mountains, inhabited barrens, expansive grassland, pure glaciers, peaceful villages… Make a stop at Baishahu (White Sands Dunes Lake) where a tranquil lake lies under the towering snow mountains of Pamirs Plateau. The sands of Taklamakan Desert fly westward, get stopped by the edge of Pamirs and deposit at the slopes of the mountains, then get washed by the melting ice of the snow mountains, which is the reason why you can see white sand dunes surrounding the White Sand Lake.
You will get to Karakul Lake around noon time. After lunch, throw yourself into the breathtaking scenery of the lake and its surrounding. With an altitude of 3600m, Karakul Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Central Asia. It welcomes visitors with stunning views of pristine lake nestled against Pamirs mountains which provide an azure backdrop as they are covered with snow all year around, including three gigantic mountains - Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m). From other sides, there is a mixture of boundless grasslands, deserts and valleys. A few Kirghiz nomads put their yurts and graze their herds of sheep, horses and camels near the lake. Take your time to wander around the lake to enjoy the landscape and take photos until returning time.
Keep driving about 1 hour to Tashkurgan. Have a good rest in this beautiful Tajik town.
This morning, it is strongly recommended to get up early to watch the pink and golden dawn light of sunrise shining on the Stone City and surrounding snow mountains. What a peaceful and beautiful scene for really nice photography.
After breakfast, you are going to visit the legendary Stone City, also known as Tashkurgan Fort, which has stood on the hill at the northeast side of the county for nearly 2000 years. It is one of the World Four Stone Cities with great architecture value. Puli Kingdom, one of the 36 Kingdoms in Western Regions, also set its capital here. Unfortunately, most of the architectures have been destroyed by wars and natural erosion. Currently, only about 100,000 m2 of ruins survived including city, temple and residential houses of Tang Dynasty and government office of Qing Dynasty. For travelers, it is a fantastic experience to stand on the city ruin, experience the vicissitudes of the ancient city and imagine the ancient merchants, travelers, churchmen from West and East met here, or the king of the city looked upon the vast land and his people from the high castle. The fortress at the same time is a perfect sightseeing platform from which you can stretch your horizon to far grassland and desert, also admire nearby dominating snow mountains including the majestic Muztagh Ata. Under the foot of the Stone City lies the beautiful Alaer Golden Grassland. Walk leisurely on the plank roads to enjoy the spectacular long-distance views. Just as its name implies, the grassland turns to a golden world when the sunrises and sunsets come. It’s also beautiful in the morning especially when you frame the grassland with the stone city and surrounding snow mountains. Nourished by the Tashkurgan River, Alaer Golden Grassland is an important pasture for local nomads.
Lastly, you will leave Tashkurgan and drive back to Kashgar city. Accommodate in Kashgar city.
After breakfast, go to visit the famous Kashgar Bazaar, which is huge, busy, crowded, amazing, chaotic, interesting and colorful. Bazaar, in Uygur, means a large market. Kashgar Bazaar has been the largest and busiest trading center of West and Central Asia since the origin and flourish of the Silk Road. Here you can buy anything from Muslim millinery to authentic Iranian saffron, from pashminas to carpets, from fruits to spices, from a cradle to a camel... or find a place to sit down to enjoy some local snacks, or just experience local culture.
If you happen to visit Kashgar on a Sunday, don't miss the opportunity to experience the Livestock Market, which takes place once a week on Sunday. By lunchtime, numerous sheep, camels, horses, cows and donkeys will be driven by the Uyghur farmers and herders to squeeze through the gates of the bazaars for trade. It’s dusty, smelly and crowded, but most people find it very exotic.
After the tour, you will be escorted to catch your flight or train to the next destination, or be sent to the border if you want to exit China by land port.
The quotation for this trip is from Request P/P
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
Flight from Urumqi to Kashgar (economy class) as listed in the itinerary;
Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
All meals as listed(“B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
Single Room Supplement;
Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
Recommended optional activities;
Excess Baggage Charges;
Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.
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