13 Days Best Xinjiang Landscape Tour
- Private tour guide + Driver + Vehicle + Entrance fee
This 13-day Xinjiang landscape tour will take you to some off-the-beaten places to hike in addition to the regular destinations – Kashgar, Turpan, and Urumqi.
Not only will you discover ancient architecture, a mix of diverse cultures, and a bustling international bazaar, but you will also explore the Kazakh lifestyle at Narati Grassland, enjoy the blooming wildflowers and beautiful grassland around Sayram Lake, visit the ingenious Kalajun Prairie by boat, cableway & sightseeing bus, and take in the striking views of secluded, tranquil Qiongkushitai village.
Highlights of this tour:
1. Adventure to the Pamirs Plateau, and be astonished by the stunning beauty of tranquil Karakul Lake, White Sand Lake, and awe-inspiring snow mountains.
2. Enjoy an in-depth Silk Road experience in Kashgar: stroll around Kashgar Ancient City, try authentic local food, and gain insight into local life and culture at Kashgar Bazaar.
3. Get your jaw dropped by the beautiful grassland scenery and local Kazakh folk customs of Narati River Valley Grassland & Sky Grassland
4. Enjoy a whole-day exploration of the Kalajun Grassland by boat, cableway, or sightseeing bus, and hike the Xiata Ancient Road of Tianshan Mountain
5. Spend a full day hiking and exploring the secluded, tranquil village – Qiongkushitai & take in the striking views of “The Last Tear of the Atlantic” – Sayram Lake
6. Enjoy the fantastic natural scenery of murmuring rivers, and lush meadows, as well as flocks and herds in Golden Wetland and Stone City
7. Exotic Turpan exploration including visiting the Ancient Uyghur village in Tuyugou Valley, walking deep into the ancient city ruin of Jiaohe
- Day 1: Kashgar Arrival
Welcome to Kashgar! When you arrive at the airport, your local driver will meet you at the exit gate and transfer you to your local hotel to check-in.
The rest of the day is free to explore the old city or relax at the hotel.
- Day 2: Kashgar - Taxkorgan 4-5hrs drivingOpal Village, Oytagh Red Mountain, White Sand Lake, Karakul Lake
Drive 1 hour along the Karakoram Highway to Opal Village. Along the way, shoot some of the highest and most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. Opal Village is one of the best places to taste local fruit and authentic Uygur bread.
Afterward, head for Oytagh Red Mountain, the first major attraction on Karakoram Highway that displays a red tint. Arrive at White Sand Lake, where the scenery of snow peaks reflected on the teal-colored lake must be a feast for your eyes.
Then visit Karakul Lake. It's a moraine lake surrounded by a series of high mountains. At the lakefront, there is grassland with roaming flocks and herds, creating a fair and charming picture. After the tour, we will drive to Taxkrogan County for an overnight stay.
- Day 3: Taxkorgan - Kashgar 4-5hrs drivingTashkurgan Stone City, Golden Wetland, Taheman Wetland
After breakfast, come to enjoy the unique scenery in Tashkurgan Stone City which is a famous relic along the ancient Silk Route. Feel free to enjoy the view of this ruined city, surrounding snow-crowned mountains, grasslands, and rivers...
Next to it is the Golden Wetland, dubbed as the "Pearl on Pamirs", offering you a dreamlike world of murmuring rivers, lush meadows, as well as flocks and herds. Also, visit Taheman Wetland for further sightseeing and enjoy the nice natural scenery.
In the afternoon, drive around 5 hours back to Kashgar.
- Day 4: Kashgar - Urumqi by FlightKashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Sunday Livestock Market
Today you will further visit Kashgar city. The first site will be Kashgar Old Town. Enjoy leisurely wandering in this Islamic-style city block, which highlights the centuries-old mud-brick architecture and twisting alleys through workshops.
After that, take a visit to Id Kah Mosque, the largest Islam Mosque in Xinjiang, which is a construction complex with a magnificent chapel, pagoda, garden, and scripture hall in Islamic style.
Then move to Sunday Livestock Market to get a more in-depth experience of local’s daily life. Here you can buy various things from general merchandise, local specialties, handicrafts, food, to livestock, and even second-hand items. (If the day is not Sunday when you are in Kashgar, or the market is not available due to some uncertain reasons, our local guide will arrange a local Handicraft Market instead. )
At end of the visit, you will catch an evening flight to Urumqi. When you arrive at Urumqi airport, the local driver will pick you up and transfer you to the local hotel for the night
- Day 5: Urumqi - Turpan 3-4hrs drivingKarez Well, Sugong Pagoda, Jiaohe Ruins, Kumutag Desert
After breakfast, drive around 3.5 hours to Turpan. You’ll firstly make a visit to the famous Karez Well. It is a gigantic underground irrigation system with vertical wells, underground tunnels, and tunnels above the ground. The ancient Xinjiang people used over 1,100 Karez Well to transport fresh water to the dry and hot populated areas during the past 400 years. Until today, this ancient irrigation system is still used.
Next, head to Sugong Pagoda, aka Emin Minaret. Standing 44 meters high, this over 200-year-old pagoda is the largest existing pagoda in Xinjiang and is attractive for its strong Islamic architectural style.
Continue your visit to Jiaohe Ruins. Dating back 2,300 years, Jiaohe Ruins was once an important town along the ancient Silk Road. It is now the best-preserved city of earth buildings in the world.
Afterward, drive to Kumutag Desert, where you can take a thrilling jeep ride to experience the rolling sand dunes, or ride a camel into the desert to watch the sunset (optional activities at your own expense). Stay overnight in Turpan.
- Day 6: Turpan - Urumqi 3hrs drivingTuyugou Valley, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Xinjiang International Bazaar
This morning, go to visit Tuyugou Valley, 55 kilometers southeast of Turpan, which consists of three major parts: Tuyugou, Thousand Buddha Cave, and Mazha Village. It has been a melting pot of different religions, histories, and cultures since ancient times.
Later, continue your visit to Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, nestled on the Flaming Mountainside, had been the most beautiful and important grottoes along the Silk Road.
After that, a 3 hours drive will take you back to Urumqi. Spend your time at Xinjiang International Bazaar which is filled with stalls selling various fruits, clothes, and local handicrafts... It’s a good place if you want to buy some local souvenirs or locally produced dried fruits and nuts.
- Day 7: Urumqi - Nalati - TekesNalati River Valley Grassland, Sky Grassland
Take the early morning flight to Nalati. Upon arrival, the local guide will pick you up and then escort you to the Nalati River Valley Grassland. As one of the 4 largest grasslands in the world, Nalati Grassland has been a popular pasture since ancient times thanks to the diverse meadow vegetation, lush grass, and inspiring surrounding mountains. A tourist bus will take you to meander through the scenic route with snow-capped peaks, vast meadows, and herds of cattle and sheep.
Continue your visit to the Sky Grassland, named for its elevation of about 2,200 meters. Aka Summer Ranch, it is a basin in the mountains, where you can feel the grassland so close to the sky, and enjoy a stunning vista of other grasslands at a lower altitude.
After the tour, the driver will transfer you to Tekes for the night.
- Day 8: Tekes Day TourKalajun Grassland, Kuotesu Grand Canyon
Start our whole-day exploration of the Kalajun Grassland after breakfast.
Kalajun Grassland is an attractive attraction integrating vast grasslands, dense forests, snow-capped peaks, limpid lakes, gorgeous canyons, as well as peaceful villages. Praised as "The Grassland in the Clouds", it is an ideal place to escape the bustle of the city.
The East-West Karajun Grand Grassland is the most popular part of the whole Karajun Scenic Area. Guided by your guide, take a sightseeing bus to visit the Flower Terrace, Falcon Terrace, and Dielang Valley.
Then take a cable car down to Kuotesu Grand Canyon, where you can enjoy a magical view of Crocodile Bay and a painting-like scene composed of looming mountains, undulating rivers, lush vegetation, and white yurts.
After all visits, directly leave Kuotesu Grand Canyon by boat. Then drive back to Tekes.
- Day 9: Tekes - Qiongkushitai - TekesQiongkushitai
Today is going to be a day of hiking. In the morning, drive 90 km (about 3 hours) from Tekes to Qiongkushitai.
Qiongkushitai is a bewitching original village, endowed with clear blue skies, white clouds, silver snow mountains, dark green forests, verdant grasslands, and colorful flowers.
You can hire a local horse to ride (at your own expense) through the hills and meadows, enjoying gentle winds and stunning natural scenery.
Spend a full day hiking and exploring the secluded, tranquil village. At the end of the tour, escort you back to Tekes.
- Day 10: Tekes - Xiata - ZhaosuXiata Ancient Road
An exciting hike is waiting for you today. A car ride will take you to the scenic Xiata Ancient Road which is decorated with charming scenery, alluring snow mountain views, valleys, and lush prairies.
Today, take a guided hike through this pristine natural paradise, past flower-blooming grasslands, glacier-fed rivers, mirror-like lakes, and virgin forests. If you're interested, you can explore the great outdoors by horseback riding or mountain biking (optional).
After the hike, drive to Zhaosu County to check into the hotel.
- Day 11: Zhaosu - YiningKazanqi Folk Street
Enjoy the patches of rape flowers along the road while driving to Yining from Zhaosu. Upon arrival, you will visit Kazanqi Folk Street, which is the only large-scale original cultural scenic spot in Northern Xinjiang with Uygur customs as its main theme.
Your guide will show you around local craft workshops to learn about the local arts and culture. Visit the sand painting exhibition hall and characteristic family museum, appreciate the unique residential building of Yili - European courtyard, and taste the distinctive food, such as lamb kebabs, and noodles, as well as milk ice cream and local drinks.
- Day 12: Yining - Sayram LakeSayram Lake
Today you’ll enjoy a scenic and relaxing day at Sayram Lake. This largest and highest alpine lake in Xinjiang has a romantic nickname called "The Last Tear of the Atlantic".
In summer, Sayram Lake is a fairyland, boasting some of the most spectacular sights on earth like transparent water with changing colors, snow-covered peaks, numerous kinds of wildflowers, and breathtaking sunrise & sunset.
You can enjoy an optional horseback ride to the lakeside hills overlooking the beautiful lake, or take a boat trip on Sayram Lake (charging an extra fee). The blue, clear water is like a mirror reflecting you and the boat.
- Day 13: Yining Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Then the driver will pick you up from the hotel and head to the airport for your departure flight.