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BT-06 Xinjiang Explorer

URUMQI ► TURPAN ► KASHGAR ► KARAKUL LAKE ► TASHKURGAN ► KASHGAR

9 nights from UK £ TBC per person

Price based on 2 people travelling. This price is to give guidance and final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability. Trip runs May to October.
Please note: This is a private tour (not a group tour). It can be tailored to your requirements and we can also book your international flights if required. An altitude of over 4,000 meters (13,500 feet) is reached on this trip. Whilst the vast majority of people experience little more than shortness of breath there is a very small risk of more severe complications such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). Note that level of fitness and age are no indication as to whether you are more susceptible or not to AMS.

This is a land of mountains and deserts, of oasis towns and sprawling bazaars.

Start in the desert oasis of TURPAN on the Silk Road before a train to KASHGAR where you see its bustling markets and street culture more reminiscent of Central Asia than China.

Travel the awe inspiring KARAKORUM HIGHWAY winding between 7,000m mountain peaks via KARAKUL LAKE to TASHKURGAN, China’s last city.

CULTURE & SIGHTS 0
SCENERY 0
ADVENTURE 0
COMFORT 0
China Trip Guidebook
This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip - an invaluable resource!
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TRIP MAP & DESTINATIONS VISITED

BT-06 Xinjiang Explorer map

DAY BY DAY TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 - Urumqi to Turpan

Arrival in Urumqi With a Drive Through the Desert to the Oasis of Turpan

Arrival in Urumqi, the furthest city from the sea in the world, from where you will be transferred by directly the 190 km to your hotel in Turpan. This desert oasis is famous for it’s grapes, scorching summer temperatures and for being the second lowest point on earth at 154 meters below sea level. It was also an important stop on the Silk Road and it is this rich history that draws adventurous travellers today. Check-in to your hotel with free time for the rest of the day.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 2 - Turpan

Visit Ancient Gaochang, the Flaming Mountains, Thousand Buddha Caves, Karez Irrigation System & Emin Minaret

The sights of Turpan are mainly outside of the city and so we head into the desert today to explore these. We visit ancient Gaochang – a thriving city set up in the 1st century BC but abandoned in the Ming Dynasty – and the dramatic Flaming Mountains on the way to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, the ancient dwellings of the modern day Uygur people.

Returning back towards Turpan we stop at the The Karez Irrigation System, an engineering achievement up there with Great Wall as one of China’s ancient wonders and Turpan would not exist today without its ability to collect water from the Tianshan mountains to feed this oasis. Our final stop is the Emin Minaret built in 1777 and is the largest old tower in Xinjiang built in honor of the heroic Turpan general Emin Khoja.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 3 - Turpan to Kashgar

Depart on the Stunning Train Ride Across Desert & Mountains to Kashgar

After breakfast a transfer to the station for the spectacular train journey to Kashgar starting in the wide open space of the deserts around the Turpan depression before climbing by a series of impressive tunnels and switchbacks into the stunning Tian Shan mountains. Overnight the train returns to the deserts that surround Kashgar making this one of China’s classic rail adventures.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 4 - Kashgar

Arrival in This Silk Road City Before Exploring the Labyrinth of the Old City

Late morning arrival in the ancient trading city of Kashgar nestled on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. For millennia it has been an important crossroads and trading station along the Silk Road between China and Central Asia. Much of the old city doesn’t feel Chinese at all – it is certainly a long way from Beijing and despite development much of the charm of Kashgar is still alive and well. Transfer to your hotel before an afternoon tour of the labyrinth of lanes and allies of Kashgar’s Old City. Free time in the evening to soak up the atmosphere of this unique destination.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 5 - Kashgar & Shipton’s Arch

Adventurous Trip Into the Countryside to See Breathtaking Shipton’s Arch

Today take a trip out into the rugged landscape outside of Kashgar to visit remote Shipton’s Arch. Thought to be the world’s highest natural arch and known as Tushuk Tash (“pierced rock” in local Uyghur) this is a little visited but extraordinary natural feature a few hours drive from the city with much of the way on a 4×4 only road. The first foreigner to note the arch was Eric Shipton, the British mountaineer and Consul at Kashgar, who wrote about it in his book “Mountains of Tartary” published in 1947.

Return to Kashgar late afternoon with free time for the rest of the day. Note that a head for heights, reasonable fitness and good walking boots are recommended for this trip.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Picnic or Restaurant Lunch.

Day 6 - Kashgar

Free Day to Explore Kashgar & the Surrounding Sights

Today is free to further explore Kashgar. If your schedule allows this day to be a Sunday you have a chance to visit the famous Sunday Market as well as the vast Livestock Market. This day is also a good preparation day for your Karakorum Highway trip which begins tomorrow and, of course, there is plenty to see in Kashgar itself regardless of the day of the week!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 7 - Kashgar to Karakul Lake

First Day on the Legendary Karakorum Highway to Karakul Lake

Begin your road trip to Karakul Lake along the scenically stunning Karakorum Highway. This road eventually finishes in Islamabad in Pakistan and is an engineering marvels as well as the highest international road in the world. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for photos of the dramatic scenery along the way.

Basic accommodation tonight in a Kirgiz yurt at the beautiful Karakul Lake set In a breathtaking location near the junction of the Pamir, Tian Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges. Despite being at 3,600m this high altitude lake dwarfed by the higher peaks including Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m) that make an impressive backdrop and reflection in the lake.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 8 - Karakul Lake to Tashkurgan

Stunning Karakorum Highway & Ancient Stone Citadel in Remote Tashkurgan

Rise early to catch the sunrise by the lake before continuing on through the mountains to the predominantly Tajik town of Tashkurgan. Along the way you cross several high passes offering fantastic views. Afternoon arrival in Tashkurgan which means Stone Fortress and refers to its strategic location on the Silk Road between Europe and China.

Caravans converged on Tashkurgan from today’s Pakistan and Afghanistan before heading to Kashgar on their long journey to the Tang Dynasty capital of Xian thousands of kilometers to the east.

Today Tashkurgan is still the last stop before Pakistan and as far as you can travel without the necessary paperwork to enter that country.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 9 - Tashkurgan to Back to Kashgar

Return to Kashgar Along the Karakorum Highway

A long drive back to Kashgar today but with plenty of opportunities to stop for photographs and leg stretching along the way. It is impossible to get tired of driving along this extraordinary road and a different set of views can be seem making the journey in reverse.

Return to your hotel in Kashgar with free time for any last minute souvenir shopping.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 10 - Depart Kashgar

Depart Kashgar After This Classic Journey in China’s Far West

Free time until a transfer to your transport out of Kashgar. We fully expect that this trip will lead to an enduring fascination of this remote and unique part of China.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

HAND-PICKED ACCOMMODATION FOR THIS TRIP

The hotels & accommodation used for this trip are from our hand picked selection and all are excellent for their class. We also offer upgraded hotels in most locations. Click here to explore additional hotel options and let us know of any changes you wish to make.

TOUR INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

What is included?

Transport between destinations as described.

All accommodation as specified under the accommodation tab

All private transfers and any other transportation as described

All meals as specified in the itinerary

All tours as specified in the itinerary

All entrance fees to sights toured in the itinerary

24 hour emergency assistance

Visa Paperwork required in order to obtain the visas

Permits required to travel in this region

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The Chinese visa – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend Citybond Suretravel (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

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