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Summary

This travel guide offers a comprehensive itinerary for exploring Xinjiang, a diverse and culturally rich province in China. From the bustling markets of Kashgar to the breathtaking Karakoram Highway, the surreal landscapes of the Taklamakan Desert, and the cool Alpine Lake of Tianshan, this guide covers all the must-see destinations. It also provides practical tips for navigating the region's unique challenges, such as police checkpoints and designated hotels for foreigners.

๐ŸŒ„ Day 1: Arrival in Kashgar

Begin your journey in the captivating Silk Road city of Kashgar. If possible, plan to be here on a Sunday to experience the vibrant livestock market and the bustling Kashgar Bazaar.

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๐Ÿž๏ธ Kashgar Livestock Market

The Kashgar Livestock Market is a lively and colorful spectacle where locals trade livestock, offering a fascinating glimpse into the traditional Uyghur culture. The air is filled with the sounds of bargaining and the sight of animals being traded, creating an authentic and vibrant atmosphere.

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Tips

Visit on a Sunday for the full experience and immerse yourself in the lively energy of the market.

๐Ÿ•Œ Kashgar Bazaar

The Kashgar Bazaar is a bustling market offering a diverse array of goods, from aromatic spices to vibrant textiles, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region. The vibrant colors and the lively atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.

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Tips

Spend time exploring the different sections of the bazaar, interact with the friendly locals, and don't miss the opportunity to try some of the delicious local snacks on offer.

Day2: Karakoram Highway Adventure

Embark on one of the most incredible road trips on earth along the Karakoram Highway, also known as the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway.

Karakoram Highway

A scenic route running between Kashgar and the Pakistan border, offering breathtaking views of the eastern Pamir plateau.

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<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "The Karakoram Highway - from China to Pakistan", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXNcbd-yq-c", "channel": { "name": "Stef Hoffer"}, "published_date": "Aug 18, 2011", "length": "10:54" }</div>

<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "Karakoram Highway travel guide- Eighth wonder of the world", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCdPP4t9qdM", "channel": { "name": "Travel with Lens"}, "published_date": "Nov 11, 2023", "length": "15:08" }</div>

Tips

Set aside two days for the return trip from Kashgar to Tashkurgan.

๐ŸŒ„ Day 3: Return to Kashgar

  • After exploring Tashkurgan, return to Kashgar with several stops for photos and a lunch break.

๐Ÿ•Œ Tashkurgan

Tashkurgan, a town near the Pakistan border, is nestled amidst stunning mountain views and is renowned for its rich Tajik culture. The town's unique blend of traditional architecture and breathtaking natural beauty makes it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic cultural experience.

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Tips

Take your time to explore and enjoy the scenic beauty of Tashkurgan. Engage with the local community to gain insights into the vibrant Tajik culture and savor the traditional cuisine for a truly immersive experience.

Day4: Train to Turpan

Take an overnight train from Kashgar to Turpan, passing along the edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

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Kashgar Train Station

A well-secured station where you can catch a train to Turpan.

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Tips

Allow at least 1.5 hours to clear security.

Travel Information
๐Ÿ“ย ย ย Address: Kashgar, Kashgar Prefecture, China, 844001

Turpan North Station

The arrival point in Turpan, about 30 minutes by taxi from the city.

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Tips

Enjoy the surreal desert scenes from the train window.

๐ŸŒž Day 5: Explore Turpan

  • Discover the hottest place in China, with its fascinating museum, ancient ruins, and authentic Uyghur village.

๐Ÿ™๏ธ Turpan

Turpan, known for its extreme heat, is a city that offers more than just scorching temperatures. It boasts a fascinating museum, ancient ruins that whisper tales of bygone eras, and an authentic Uyghur village that provides a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the region. Additionally, Turpan is renowned for its sweet grapes and watermelons, adding a refreshing touch to the arid landscape.

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Tips

Visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the peak heat and make the most of your explorations in this unique city.

๐Ÿž๏ธ Day 6: Heavenly Lake of Tianshan

  • Enjoy the cool and fresh environment of the stunning Alpine Lake in the Tianshan Mountains.

๐Ÿž๏ธ Heavenly Lake

Heavenly Lake, also known as Tianchi Lake, is a breathtaking Alpine Lake nestled in the Tianshan Mountains. Offering a serene escape from the scorching temperatures of the surrounding desert, this picturesque destination boasts an array of activities for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can embark on invigorating hiking trails, reveling in the lush greenery and captivating vistas that unfold along the way. Additionally, the option to ride a cable car up Bogeda Peak presents an opportunity for a panoramic view of the tranquil lakes and majestic mountains. For a more leisurely experience, a delightful cruise on the crystal-clear waters of the lake provides a serene perspective of the surrounding natural beauty.

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<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "Heavenly Lake on the northern side of the Mountain of God ...", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpAkdps9vUI", "channel": { "name": "Every Nook and Cranny"}, "published_date": "Nov 11, 2023", "length": "9:34" }</div>

<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "HEAVENLY LAKE OF TIAN SHAN MOUNTAINS | TIANCI ...", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCcJeO1YqdM", "channel": { "name": "Musafir Malaysia"}, "published_date": "Apr 9, 2021", "length": "7:14" }</div>

<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "HEAVENLY LAKE - an alpine gem in Xinjiang, China", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVgJXV7kVVE", "channel": { "name": "GORDONLAWRENCEVIDEOS"}, "published_date": "Nov 25, 2015", "length": "7:00" }</div>

Tips

Take a hike from the small waterfall to the Flying Dragon Pond for an awe-inspiring journey through the verdant landscapes, punctuated by the soothing sounds of nature.

Day7: Relax in Fukang

After a day of hiking, relax in the hot springs of Fukang.

Fukang

A town at the entrance of Heavenly Lake with excellent hot spring facilities.

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Tips

Enjoy soaking in various hot and cold pools.

Day8: Explore Urumqi

Discover the remotest city on earth, Urumqi, with its multi-cultural vibe and modern amenities.

Urumqi

The capital city of Xinjiang, known for its diverse ethnicities and modern infrastructure.

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Tips

Visit the Tarim Basin mummies in the Xinjiang museum.

๐ŸŒ† Day 9: Urumqi Highlights

Continue exploring Urumqi, enjoying its food, views, and cultural sites.

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๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Grand Bazaar Food Street

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar Food Street, where the air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of Uyghur delicacies. From sizzling lamb skewers to freshly baked bread, this bustling street offers a sensory feast that will delight any food enthusiast.

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Tips

Indulge in the succulent lamb skewers and savor the traditional Uyghur bread for an authentic culinary experience.

๐ŸŒ„ Red Hill

Ascend Red Hill to witness the breathtaking panoramic view of Urumqi, where the city's sprawling landscape unfolds before your eyes. As the sun begins its descent, the sky is painted with a mesmerizing palette of colors, casting a spellbinding glow over the city below.

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Tips

Plan your visit during sunset to witness the city bathed in the warm, golden hues of the evening sky, creating a truly unforgettable spectacle.