What is the best tour in Xinjiang? Although Southern Xinjiang lies on the remote land of Northwest China, scaring off people with the toil of trudging in the last decades, it revives now among the worldwide travelers with today’s advanced transport net here help to bring its glittering cultural relics and breath-taking views before the world. This 9 days Southern Xinjiang tour by comfortable vehicles rides through the vast desert and plateau to discover Urumqi, Turpan, Khotan, Shache, Kashgar and Tashkurgan, to explore history and culture of those disappeared kingdoms and experience the local exotic flavor.
*Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery in Heavenly Lake.
*Trace the history in Jiaohe Ruins and Malikawat Ruins.
*Feel the local lifestyles in Shache Old City and Kashgar Old Town.
*Explore the unique mountains and rivers in Karakuri Lake.
*With private driver and English guide, as well as our 10+ years experience, you will love your tour and completely feel the magic of this wonderland.
- Day 1: Urumqi Arrival & Urumqi Tour (L)Xinjiang Regional Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar
Upon your arrival at Urumqi airport / train station, the English speaking tour guide and driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and your exploration begins!
The first stop will be the Xinjiang Regional Museum where you will learn more about the famed Silk Road and minority culture and appreciate the precious unearthed relics. Later, continue your visit to 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
- Day 2: Urumqi - Turpan Tour 195kms/3hrs( B, L )Heavenly Lake
In the morning, drive about 1.5 hours to visit the 2,000-meter-high Heavenly Lake in the Tianshan Mountain. The mountain is covered with snow all the year round. The Heavenly Lake Scenic Area centers on alpine lake with picturesque scenery. Snow-capped peaks are reflected in the turquoise lake, and the lake surrounded by spruce trees is smooth like a mirror. If you are interested, you can stroll along the lake or take a boat to see the lake from different angles.
In the afternoon, drive around 3 hours to Turpan and check into local hotel.
Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan
- Day 3: Turpan - Urumqi Tour- Hotan by Flight (B, L)Tuyu Valley, Sugong Tower, Karez Well, Jiaohe Ruins
Today you will officially start exploring the amazing Turpan. The stop will be Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture. Next, go on to admire the largest ancient tower in Xinjiang, Sugong Tower. Then, head to 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. The last stop will be Jiaohe Ruins, the largest, oldest and best-preserved raw-soil building in the world with a history of more than 2,000 years. You will wander around this ancient city stepping back in time to trace past civilizations.
At the end of our Turpan tour, you will head to Urumqi and be dropped off at Urumqi airport to catch an evening flight to Hotan. Upon arrival in Hotan, you will find the local driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name. Later, transfer to local hotel for good rest.
Accommodation: Overnight in Hotan
- Day 4: Hotan Tour (B, L)Malikawat Ruins, Khotan Museum
Today just follow your guide to visit the best of Hotan! Compared the most relics uncovered in desert of South Xinjiang with badly erosion, Malikawat Ruins should be counted as an interesting one worthy of visit. Plus the splendid desert views alongside, trip here will not let you down. Through the desolate broken relics, you can imagine what prosperity the temple was in and what a large scale it had.
Museum is always the best material carrier for people to have a glimpse of regional history and culture in quickest way. Obviously, Khotan Museum is such a one. During one-hour visit here, you will be introduced with the rich exhibitions including stoneware, terrines, stone paintings, coins, inscribed wooden slips and more items and impressed with the existed civilization here in remote days.
Accommodation: Overnight in Hotan
- Day 5: Hotan - Shache Tour 300kms/4-5hrs (B, L)Ye'erqianghan Mausoleum, Shache Old City
Get up early in the morning and drive about 4-5 hours to a trade center, Shache, which is also an oasis at the western end of the Taklimakan Desert. The first stop in Shache is Ye'erqianghan Mausoleum. The mausoleum was originally built in 1533 containing the remains of 11 emperors and other royal family members. Its unique layout and exquisite decoration attract plenty of visitors each year.
Next, continue your visit to the mysterious Shache Old City. This is a typical Uighur settlement where you will deeply understand the lifestyle of the local people.
Accommodation: Overnight in Shache
- Day 6: Shache - Kashgar Tour 195kms/3hrs (B, L)Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street, Sunday Bazaar
After breakfast, drive around 3 hours to Kashgar. You will start Kashgar tour with the Old Town to have a glimpse of the local people’s lifestyle and unique architectural styles. Next, go on to Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China and the most famous mosque in Xinjiang. Later, come to stroll down the local Handicraft Street, a special exhibition center for traditional handicrafts of Kashgar and Central Asia to learn further about local culture.
In the afternoon, continue your visit to the local Sunday Bazaar (Livestock Market). The products sold here are large animals such as cow, sheep, donkey, and camel. You will not only see the livestock but also witness the whole process of selling and buying from pulling the livestock carrier into the field, unloading the animals from the car, bargaining, to making a deal. It can be very interesting for people that never experience this. You can see ancient primitive ways of trading in this lively market.
Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar
- Day 7: Kashgar-Karakul Lake -Tashkurgan Tour 290kms/5-6hrs (B, L)Karakul Lake
Today you will head to the amazing Karakuri Lake. The driving lasts around 4 hours from Kashgar city to the lake, which would be a good chance to enjoy the mountain-and-lake view on the way.
Karakul Lake, the name means “Dark Ocean”, which is corresponded to its appearance: the water is deep and unfathomable, the grass growing well on the banks where Kirgiz shepherds usually stay for grazing. The Lake embraces the inverted images of the snowy pinnacles, green grass and leisure flocks and herds when sunny days while it turns to be dark and bleak in the rainy days. You must totally relax yourself after the full day sightseeing.
Later, driver to Tashkurgan for overnight.
Accommodation: Overnight in Tashkurgan
- Day 8: Tashkurgan - Kashgar Tour 290kms/5-6hrs (B, L)Tashkurgan Stone City
After breakfast, come to enjoy the unique scenery in Tashkurgan Stone City which is a famous relic along ancient Silk Route, occupying a vital position in sense of ancient military. It was the Capital of Puli Kingdom of Han Dynasty and a stronghold set by Tang Dynasty to governing the surrounding areas. The significant value in trade and politic brought it prosperous time in old time and left many treasures you can see today including pottery shard, gold, silver and jewelry, scriptures, silk…
In the afternoon, drive around 5.5 hours back to Kashgar and rest yourself at the local hotel.
Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar
- Day 9: Kashgar Departure (B)
The 9 days Southern Xinjiang tour from Urumqi to Kashgar will end today. The driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby at the appointed time and see you off at Kashgar airport. Wish you a pleasant journey!