Taklamakan Desert – “the point of no return”, is often described as the most hostile, dangerous and empty place on earth. 100 years ago, the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin spent dozens of days on his camel crossed the Taklamakan, today you can do by a vehicle within one day. Time changes, but the Taklamakan remains frightening and exciting.

Destinations: Urumqi-Turpan-Korla-Kuche-Minfeng-Hotan-Kashgar

Brief itinerary
Day 1 Urumqi Arrival, drive to Turpan. 230km (no meal)
Day 2 Turpan exploration (breakfast)
Day 3 Drive to Korla 390km, visit the bosten lake on the way (breakfast)
Day 4 Drive to Kuche 290km, visit Subashi ruins, Kuche grand mosque (breakfast)
Day 5 Kizil thousend buddha caves, Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kizilgaha beacon tower (breakfast)
Day 6 Drive to Minfeng (Niya town) and cross the Taklamkan desert along the desert road 780km (breakfast)
Day 7 Drive to Hotan, 320km (breakfast)
Day 8 Drive to Kashgar, 520km (breakfast)
Day 9 Kashgar exploration (breakfast)
Day 10 Departure (breakfast)

Duration: 10 days
Activities level: Moderate to difficult
Accommodation: tourist and first class hotels
Transport: private car with air-condition
Meals: 9 hotel breakfasts
Price: CNY 8280 p.p. twin sharing CNY 10580 p.p. single room
Size of group: min. 4 persons

Tour details
Day 1 Urumqi Arrival, drive to Turpan. 230km (no meal)
Meet on arrival at Urumqi airport and transfer to Turpan about 230 KM. Hotel check in.

Day 2 Turpan exploration (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.
Visit the Jiaohe Ruins. Jiaohe Ruins was uniquely arranged, containing an above part and an underground part. The ruins, very rare in the world, are extremely valuable for studying ancient cities.

Stop over at the foot of the Flaming Mountain, one of the hottest places on earth. Flaming Mountain has always been a famous attraction, with its harsh yet unique natural conditions, as well as abundant cultural heritage. Flaming Mountain is largely made up of bare rock. Not a single blade of grass grows on the hills of Flaming Mountain and there are no traces of birds or animals there. When the July sun heats the bare rocks, the blazing air current rolls up like burning flames

In the afternoon, you will visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. During the late nineteen and early twentieth century, European and Japanese explorers found intact murals and many were removed and dispersed around the world. Some of the best preserved murals were removed by German explorer Albert von Le Coq and sent to Germany.

You will also visit the ancient Karez Irrigation System. Karez systems are the crystallization of ancient people’s diligence and intelligence. The history dates back to 103BC. At its peak, the karez irrigation system exceeded 5,000km and was also referred to as ‘the underground Great Wall’. It is among the three ancient major irrigation projects with the other two being the Great Wall and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

The last stop is the Emin Minaret. It is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China. It was built in 1777 in honour of the heroic Turpan general, Emin Khoja.

Day 3 Drive to Korla 390km, visit the Boston lake on the way (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.
Today driver 5 hours to Korle (390 km with highway). On the way pass by Tianshan Mountain and also Bosten Lake, the largest and inland fresh water lake in China and largest reed base in China.

In Korla, you will visit the Iron Door pass, an ancient pass on the Silk Road.

Day 4 Drive to Kuche 290km, visit Subashi ruins, Kuche grand mosque (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

Today’s drive 3 hours to Kuche (also romanized as Qiuzi), (280km), was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River.

The ruins of the Subashi is the ruins of ancient Buddhist Kucha city, temples and some residential houses still visible, establishment date back to 2nd century BC,

Grand Kuche Mosque is the place for Muslim people in Kuche to worship the God. It is located in the highest place of Heidun Bazaar in Kuche County. It is the second largest mosque in Xinjiang after the Id Kah Mosque in Karshgar and has a capacity of 3,000 worshipers.

Day 5 Kizil thousend buddha caves, Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kizilgaha beacon tower (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

Full day Kuche visit Kizil thousend buddha caves, Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kizilgaha beacon tower.

Cut the third century to eight or ninth century, Kizil thousend buddha caves is the earliest Buddhist art treasure trove in China, even one century earlier than the famous Mogao Grottoes. Currently there are 236 coded caves preserved, which are divided into west and inner valley and rear mountain areas extending to over 3 kilometers (1.86 miles). On June 22, 2014, it was included in the World Heritage List.

Tianshan Grand Canyon is a mysterious canyon to explore, which has a depth of 5.5 kilometers. Located at the southern foot of the Tianshan Mountains and 64 kilometers north of Kuche County, Tianshan Grand Canyon’s natural wonders were formed by the natural erosions over the red rocks. It is made up of huge reddish-brown mountain group.

Kizilgaha Beacon Tower was watch tower used for security; date back to 8th century.

Day 6 Drive to Minfeng (Niya town) and cross the Taklamkan desert along the desert road 780km (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

Today, get up early and continue your long driving journey to Minfeng (Niya town) (780km, about 7hours). Niya, believed to have flourished from the 1st century BC to 4th century, has remained the best preserved and one of the largest ruins of the city states that were scattered along the ancient Silk Road about 1,500 years ago.

On the way, you will cross the 2nd largest shifting desert in the world – Taklamakan Desert, which means “once inside never out”. Enjoy the magnificent vista of countless sand dunes at the height of mountains on the way.

Day 7 Drive to Hotan, 320km and visit in Hotan (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

Take another driving to Hotan (320km), home to some very well known archaeological sites in China. In the late 18th century many explorers from England, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, came to Hotan where some of them almost lost their lives in the desert. On the way we will pass Keriya, an oasis town on the old Southern Silk Road.

Hotan is famous for its jade, carpets and silk. In history, Hotan has witnessed the coming and leaving of the Buddhist pilgrims. You will have a chance to visit some of the small cottage industries to see handicrafts being made by local families. You will also have a donkey cart ride to the Malika Awat Ruins.

Visit the paper making and silk making workshop, old town and Bazaar in Hotan.

Paper making in Hotan is a traditional and primitive way to make paper. It is made of the mulberry and old cloth.
Bazaar in Hotan is also very unique and traditional. Compared with Kashgar Bazaar Hotan Bazaar is not very commercial bazaar but just for local people.
Atlas Uygur Silk is made by the traditional technique that has more than 2000-years old history. The colorful silk can be bought in the bazaar.

Day 8 Drive to Kashgar 520 KM (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

In the moring take a driving to Kashgar (520km), you will pass some oasis towns like Yarkent, which was the capital of the ancient Uyghur Karahanid Kingdom of 15 th century. Visit a notable knife factory in Yengisar which is famous for knives making. Late in afternoon we will arrive at Kashgar, a main hub of the ancient Silk Road of China.

Kashgar seems more a part of Central Asia than of the People’s Republic of China. The majority of the population here is Uygur, intermixed with Tadzhiks, Uzbeks, and Han Chinese. The fabled city of Kashgar hosted Marco Polo and countless Silk Road traders upon their entry to the Middle Kingdom. While its previous glory as a trading capital has disappeared, Kashgar retains the exotic air and immense appeal of medieval Asia.

Day 9 Kashgar exploration (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast.

Today, take a visit to Zhiren Street, an old street with an amazing hand-made stuff from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. Then continue your trip to Id Kah Mosque, which is one of the largest and busiest in China. Then, you can take a short visit to Apak Hoja Tomb. If it is Sunday, the local Bazaar will be a good place for you to have a visit. This ancient market attracts locals and merchants from all over Xinjiang and nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan.

Day 10 Kashgar departure (breakfast)
Hotel breakfast and check out.

Transfer to Kashgar airport, departure

End of our services

– 9 nights hotel accommodation with twin or double standard room 3-4*
– 9 hotel breakfasts
– Driver & private transfers with air-conditional van (7 seats) as indicated in the itinerary
– All entrance ticket as indicated in the itinerary

Hotels & resorts
City: Turpan
Hotel Name: Turpan Huozhou Hotel 4*

City: Korle
Hotel Name: Lou lan Hotel 4*

City: Kuche
Hotel Name: Kuche Hotel 3*

City: Mingfeng
Hotel Name: NiYa Gongyu hotel 3*

City: Hotan
Hotel Name: Huayu International Hotel 4*

City: Kashgar
Hotel Name: Tianyuan International Hotel 4* http://www.xjtianyuanhotel.com/


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