Xinjiang is a noble destination for travelers from home and abroad, enchanting people to pack bags with its name alone. This tour with brilliant itinerary covering the sites in Northern Xinjiang takes you to experience the most scenic adventure along Silk Road. With local expert guide and driver’s considerable commentary as well as comfortable vehicles, you will discover beautiful lakes, rivers, hills, snowy mountains, desert, woods, grassland…in Burqin, Kanas, Karamay, Sayram, Naraty, Bayinbuluk and Korla.
Gurbantunggut Desert, Kalamaili Nature Reserve, Huoshaoshan Mountain, Burqin Market, Kanas Nature Reserve, Kanas Lake, Fairy Bay, Wolong Bay, Moon Bay, Wild Duck Lake, Urho Ghost City, Sayram Lake, Guozigou Bridge, Fruit Gully, Lavender Garden, Nalaty Prairie, Swan Lake, Tianshan Mountain, Iron Gate Pass, Xinjiang International Bazaar
Private tour guide + Driver + Vehicle + Tickets entrance fee + Hotels with breakfast
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. The rest of the day is at your disposal. You can have a good rest at the hotel or freely explore the city.
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.
After dinner in Burqin, you can have some relaxing walk in Burqin Market to further enjoy the local snacks and culture.
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. 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. Walking from one bay to another and taking some pictures, you will have a relaxing time immersing yourself in the idyllic beauty and embracing nature. 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, you will see the virgin forests, Fairy Bay, Wolong Bay, Moon Bay, and Wild Duck Lake which would be a perfect chance to take nice pictures! Finishing the relaxing sightseeing, you will check into the hotel.
Early bird will be rewarded with the amazing sunrise of Kanas Nature Reserve. After saying goodbye to the this amazing place, driving for 5-6 hours to the famous oil city, Karamay.
On the way, you will pay a visit to 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.
Get up early to enjoy sunrise in Urho Ghost City. Later, drive around 5 hours to Sayram Lake. It definitely will be another highlight of your northern Xinjiang trip. 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.
Besides, you will have opportunity to see the famous Guozigou Bridge before arriving at Sayram Lake, 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.
Last, you will check in in a local wooden house in the Fruit Gully.
In the morning, enjoy yourself in Fruit Gully which connects Sayram Lake at north end and Ili River Valley at south end, stretching about 28km. In the bottom and slops of gully, grow lots of wild apple trees, apricots, walnut trees and more, hence the name. The nice geographical environment and climates here attracts various animals to nestle, making it a beautiful natural paradise for plants and animals. The best time to visit it is from May to September when trees getting green and flowers blossoming.
Later, drive to Yining to enjoy the beautiful lavender garden with the glittering snowy mountains as the background.
After that, you will head to Naraty for overnight.
Come to visit the beautiful Nalaty Prairie in the morning! Also named Ili Prairie, means “the place witnesses the sunrise firstly” by National Geographic, Nalaty Prairie impresses visitors with good quality of grass, colorful wild flowers in summer, snowy mountains and blue sky as background for the lovey animals wandering there. That’s a good place for people to approach and interact with nature.
In the afternoon, drive around 2.5 hours to Bayinbuluk, here you will visit Swan Lake-the Most Beautiful Myth of Bayanbulak. Swan Lake of Bayanbulak is the only natural reserve for swans in China, inhabited by Chinese largest wild swan population. Consisted of many interlinked small lakes, Swan Lake entertains the visitors with the inverted images of white clouds in these lakes, big or small. The swans also greet the visitors from the whole world with their elegant figures and beautiful dancing moves.
Today you will head to Korla via Tianshan Mountain, one of the 7 mountain systems in the world. Driving along the edge of the mountain, you will see the unique snow scenery since many part of the mountain is till covered with snow. If you are lucky, you will see lots of wild animals and plants on the way.
Arrival in Korla, follow your guide to find a nice restaurant to fill your stomach and have good rest for tomorrow’s exploration.
After breakfast, pay a visit to Iron Gate Pass. Lying in the Iron Pass Valley, upstream the Kongque River, Iron Gate Pass is regarded as throat on the middle route of ancient Silk Road, connecting South and North Xinjiang. Passing the gate, you are welcomed by a narrow path meandering forth with murmuring stream flowing with jagged rocks of grotesque shapes standing alongside. Those great men like Zhang Qian, Ban Chao and Xuan Zang who created incredible contribution in history also left their footprints here.
After that, drive around 6 hours to Urumqi. Upon arrival, 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.
The 10 days to Northern Xinjiang trip will end by today. We will arrange 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 for you.
The core of our service is excellent travel guides. Over 20 years, we have built up a considerable professional guide team that is knowledgeable, attentive and flexible. The most experienced and reliable guides will be arranged for your unique China tour. Our passionate guide team is full of contagious enthusiasm and keen interest to share culture and history in a pleasant manner. We are always glad at your service to lead you to explore a real China and experience authentic local life in China.
Our Driver and Vehicle
The first mission of our service is to ensure you feel safe and comfortable during your travel. The vehicles we use are air-conditioned, clean and well-maintained. Our drivers are all licensed drivers with many years of driving experience. Moreover, we offer free baby seats for families with little kids.
Food is a very important part of Chinese culture. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to taste the real local Chinese food!
Buffet breakfast will be included in the hotel if you would like accommodation to be arranged by us. Having lunch at local restaurants close and convenient to the attractions you will visit, you would enjoy the local dishes in each city. Chinese style, Vegetarian or Muslim meals are all available. If you have any other diet requirements or allergies, please feel free to let us know, we will try our best to organize it.
For daily dinner, you are suggested to have it on your own when you are exploring each city in your own time, this way would be more flexible for you to choose food as per your interest and preference.