Xinjiang Sayram Lake
Home China City Tours Xinjiang Tours Xinjiang Travel 12 Days In-depth Northern Xinjiang Adventure Tour

Tour Overview

Explore the most scenic part of Xinjiang in this 12 days in-depth Northern Xinjiang tour along the ancient Silk Road! Linking Urumqi, Fuyun, Burqin, Kanas, Hemu, Kuitun and Turpan, the 12-day adventures with luxury travel service provides opportunity to visit the marvelous Gurbantunggut Desert, Kalamaili Nature Reserve, Koktokay National Geological Park, Kanas Lake, Hemu Village, Karamay, Sayram Lake, Jiaohe Ruins, Urumqi Bazaar…It’s a journey to relax your spirit into the picturesque natural wonders.

Highlights of this tour:

* Come across wild donkeys and goats running in the Gobi Desert at Kalamaili Nature Reserve, a wildlife paradise.
* Get hugely impressed by the rare and magical geological heritage at Keketuohai National Geological Park and visit the Tunnel of Mine No.3, which is the largest mine in the world.
* Revel in the unspoiled natural beauty of Kanas, walk along the Kanas River, and admire the spectacular virgin forest.
* Be rewarded with the amazing sunrise of Hemu Village, a paradise for photographers, and experience the unique lifestyle of the local Tuva people who have lived here for centuries.
* Take the shuttle bus to visit the whole Urho Ghost City, marveling at the extraordinary workmanship of nature.
* Stroll along the shores of Sayram Lake to admire colorful wildflowers and rolling grasslands.
* Have a glimpse of China’s largest wind power station and explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, which boast the largest group of caves and the most abundant murals in Turpan.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Upon your arrival at Urumqi airport / train station, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to downtown hotel for check-in. Free and easy on your arrangement for rest of the day.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi

  2. After breakfast at the hotel, you will officially start the Silk Road tour. Driving along the National Highway 216 through the Gurbantunggut Desert and feel the charm of wildlife paradise, Kalamaili Nature Reserve. If you are lucky, you may see wild donkeys and goats running on the Gobi desert.

    Passing by Huoshaoshan Mountain, you will be amazed by the vast expanse of red sea. The rocks which were not red originally turned into red due to spontaneous combustion of the underlying coal seam. It looks as if the mountain is still burning. Pull over to take some beautiful pictures here would be perfect! Then, continue driving and enjoy the spectacular scenery along the way.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Fuyun

    Xinjiang Kalamaili Nature Reserve
    Kalamaili Nature Reserve

  3. Today you will explore Keketuohai National Geological Park. It is the first national geopark with typical mines and deposits in the country. You also can visit the Tunnel of Mine No.3 which is the largest mine in the world and known as the Geology and Mineral Museum. Once you come to Keketuohai, you will be hugely impressed by the rare and magical geological heritage.

    After saying goodbye to this world wonder, you will drive for 3-4 hours to Burqin.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Burqin

    Keketuohai National Geological Park
    Keketuohai National Geological Park

  4. The mesmerizing Kanas Nature Reserve is a must-see for visitors to Xinjiang. After about 3 hours’ ride on the winding road, you will arrive at Jiadengyu for lunch, and then take the scenic shuttle bus to the legendary Kanas Lake. Because the natural beauty is unspoiled and local people still keep the original simple lifestyle here, it is dubbed as “the pure land on earth” as well as "the oriental Switzerland”. Strolling along the Kanas River to see the virgin forests, Fairy Bay, Wolong Bay, Moon Bay, and Wild Duck Lake, and take some nice photos, you definitely will love this amazing place.

    Finishing the relaxing sightseeing, you will check into the hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kanas

    Xinjiang Kanas Lake
    Kanas Lake

  5. Today you will continue the Kanas Lake tour. You may have never seen so beautiful mountain lake. As the seasons change, the lake bursts into different colors, crystal blue, dark green or even gray. If you don’t have enough time on the previous day, you can walk from one bay to another and take pictures today. You will have a relaxing time immersing yourself in idyllic beauty and embracing nature.

    After the tour, drive back to Jiadengyu and go to your hotel for a good rest.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kanas

    Xinjiang Kanas Lake
    Kanas Lake

  6. If weather permits, you can get up early to catch the stunning sunrise of Kanas Scenic Area, and then drive to Hemu Village. Hemu Village is one of the three settlements of Tuva people in China. We will enter the village on a shuttle bus. It’s truly a paradise for photographers. The tranquil village, dense woods, and herds of cattle and sheep make a picturesque landscape. You can freely walk around the village to experience the unique lifestyle of the local Tuva people who have lived here for centuries.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Hemu Village

    Xinjiang Hemu Village
    Xinjiang Hemu Village

  7. Early bird will be rewarded with the amazing sunrise of Hemu Village. After saying goodbye to the pristine village, drive about 4 hours to the Multi-colored Bay in Burqin. The scale of the Yadan landscape is not very large, but it is quite a surreal spot created by water erosion and wind erosion. Sitting on the north bank of the rippling Eerqisi River and facing the lush greenery on the opposite bank, it seems like an alien world. Because the rocks contain different kinds of mineral substances, they show different colors under the sunshine. The sunset, river, forest, and colorful bank make an incredible picture that will make you dizzy with too many things for your eyes to feast on. There is a suspension bridge at the far end. It looks like a beautiful oil painting!

    Last, drive back to Hemu for overnight.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Hemu Village

    Sunrise at Hemu Village
    Sunrise at Hemu Village

  8. After breakfast, driving for 5-6 hours to Kuitun via the famous oil city, Karamay.

    You will arrive at the Urho Ghost City following the Gurbantunggut Desert. The Ghost City is also known as “Wind City” because of the howling winds throughout the year. The eerie landform is the joint result of intermittent torrential scouring and strong wind erosion. You can tour the whole Ghost City on a shuttle bus. After visiting this seemingly horrifying site, drive to Kuitun and check into a local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kuitun

    Urho Ghost City
    Urho Ghost City

  9. Today will start with the visit to Sayram Lake, another highlight of your trip to northern Xinjiang. The lake is the highest and largest alpine lake in Xinjiang with intoxicating scenery. It also has a nickname of “Atlantic Ocean’s last teardrop” because it is the last place that the warm and humid air of the Atlantic Ocean reaches. The lake water is limpid and pure. You can stroll along the lake and enjoy the colorful wild flowers and rolling grassland.

    On the way to Sayram Lake, you will have opportunity to see the famous Guozigou Bridge which is the largest and most important bridge in Xinjiang. You will see many impressing S-shaped curves and admire the most beautiful valley in northern Xinjiang, Guozigou Valley.

    After the visit, transfer back to Kuitun.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kuitun

    Sayram Lake in Xinjiang
    Sayram Lake

  10. After breakfast, drive about 5.5 hours to Turpan, one of the important stops on the Silk Road. Along the way, you will have a glimpse of China's largest wind power station.

    Arriving in Turpan, the first scenic site will be Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture. Next, continue to explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. Among all the grottoes in Turpan, Bezeklik has the largest group of caves and the most abundant murals. It is also one of the large Buddhist cave temple sites in Xinjiang. There are 57 caves open to visitors now.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan

    Xinjiang Tuyu Valley
    Tuyu Valley

  11. After breakfast, follow your guide to further explore the amazing Turpan! The first stop will be Karez Well, an underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. This project can be called the source of life for the arid northwestern region. Then, continue your visit to Grape Valley, 11 kilometers northeast of Turpan. The valley located in the Flaming Mountain and fed by melted snow water of Buyiluke river is famous for grapes. Later, move on to Jiaohe Ruins, the largest, oldest and best-preserved raw-soil building in the world with a history of more than 2,000 years. We will wander around this ancient city stepping back in time to trace past civilizations.

    Finishing the sightseeing, drive around 3 hours to the capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi. Upon arrival, just follow your guide to tick off Xinjiang International Bazaar, the largest bazaar in Urumqi. You will see all kinds of stuff such as fruits, clothes, crafts, knives, and rugs in the bustling market. You can buy some souvenirs or local dried fruits and nuts for your family and friends if you would like to.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi

    Xinjiang International Bazaar
    Xinjiang International Bazaar

  12. The 12 days in-depth Northern Xinjiang tour will end by today. We will arrange an airport transfer for you and wish you a pleasant journey home! If you want to visit more places in Xinjiang or other Chinese cities, please feel free to contact us. We will be very happy to be helpful to you.

    Accommodation: N/A

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.


Price Includes

  • 11 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels with daily breakfast
  • Entrance tickets as listed in itinerary
  • Excellent English-speaking tour guide
  • Private transfers in air-conditioned vehicle with licensed driver
  • Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
  • Government taxes

Price Excludes

  • China Visa/flights/trains
  • Any meal
  • Any optional activity/battery car/shuttle bus/horse rides/boat cruise inside the attractions
  • Our package does not include travel insurance. Please purchase commercial travel insurance before your trip for any unforeseen circumstance.
  • Any item beyond "Price Includes"
  • Gratuities to guide and driver (recommended if you are satisfied with their services)
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