China travel map - Silk Road Xinjiang Desert Discovery On 12 days Xinjiang desert tour, traveling the ancient Silk Road in Xinjiang and taking adventure to the largest desert of China – Taklamakan. Hiking or riding in this area, travelers have chance to witness the beautiful desert landscape as well as the local fold lord. You will visit popular scenic spots like Jiaohe Ruins, Karez irrigation system, Grape Valley, Aydingkol Lake, Flaming Mountain, Gaochang ancient city, Emin Minaret, Tianshan Mountain, Bostun Lake, Lop Nur Village, Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves...

Duration: 12 days & 11 nights

Destinations: Urumqi - Turpan - Korla - Kucha - Hotan - Kashgar - Urumqi

Starting Point: Urumqi

Ending Point: Urumqi

Customize Your Tour:
☑  Travel Dates  ☑ Your Interests  ☑ Your Travel Style

Arrival in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is the geographical center of Asian continent and the farthest city from the ocean in the world. Overnight at Urumqi

Drive to ancient Turpan town, an oasis town 154 meters below sea level. Full day tour in Turpan, including the Jiao He Ruins (with a history of over 2500 years), the Karez underground irrigation system, Grape Valley (Turpan is famous for its grapes, especially the seedless variety, called sultanas when dried). Overnight at Turpan.

Meal: B, L

Jiao He Ruins

Go and explore the lowest elevation in China – Aydingkol Lake. Only about 50 km from Turpan city, while the road condition is poor and bumpy. 4WD will be ready for you to get to the lake. In the afternoon, continue to explore the Flaming Mountain, the ruins of Gao Chang - an ancient Chinese Silk Road garrison town (where you will be taken by donkey cart to visit the temple area), the Emin Minaret and the Bezeklik Caves, where “Bezeklik” means “a place with beautiful decorations”. The final stop today is Tuyoq Village where it is an oasis-village in the Taklamakan desert, with a well preserved Uyghur orientation with very few outsiders’ footprints.

Meal: B, L, D

Bezeklik Cave

Drive 5 hours to Korla via express way (380km). En route we pass by Tianshan Mountain and also Bostun Lake - the largest reed base in China. Visit the Lop Nur Village after arrival in Korla, where you will learn about the lost kingdom – Loulan.

Meal: B, L, D

Drive about 3.5 hours to Kucha (280km), a quaint oasis town, once the center of a Buddhist civilization in the Tarim Basin. You will see the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves or Kizil Grotto Temples, where boasts some of the most impressive Buddhist art in Central Asia and date to the third century. The surrounding countryside is with mulberry and poplar trees and streams.

Meal: B, L, D

Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

Explore Kizil Kagha Grotto and Kizil Kagha beacon tower - the oldest one now in China. On our way to the Kizilya Valley, where the rocks in the red mountain appear to be the result of a huge explosion, you will visit the ruins of the ancient city of Subashi, or "old Kucha.

Meal: B, L, D

A long day ride (650km) to Hotan through Taklamakan Desert – the largest one in China. Estimated arrival time to Hotan is about 1800 pm. This road was the second desert highway in Taklimakan built in 2007. En route you will pass by Tarim River - the longest in-land river in China, and also possibly see some of the desert-surrounded local villages.

Meal: B, L, D

Taklamakan Desert

Take a half day tour of Hotan including the Jade River, Silk Village and a local Mosque. In the afternoon, drive half an hour deep into the desert and hop on a camel ride (3 hours). Camp overnight in the desert we sit beneath the enormous desert night sky, warming ourselves around a campfire.

Meal: B, L, D

Today, continue the camel ride to visit the ruins of Rawak Temple, where you will see the ruin of the oldest pagoda of China. It is the only temple of Gandhara style (similar form as an Indian temple) which is quite well preserved in Hotan district. The Uygur word "rawak" means "pavilion". The Buddhist temple was in the center of a group of Buddhist pagodas. The temple was surrounded by a courtyard wall. Outside and inside the courtyard there were large numbers of frescos, clay sculptures and Buddha figures scattered around. Also some wall paintings were found. On them some stories about Buddhism were painted such as a map of Samsara. After driving back to Hotan city, visit the smallest Buddhist temple in the world called Damko temple ruins (120km, 1.5 hours ride).

Meal: B, L, D

the ruins of Rawak Temple

Drive about 10 hours to Kashgar (520 km), on the way, pay a short visit to the Yarkant King’s Tomb and have lunch at Yarkan (Shache). Free time at leisure after arrival.

Meal: B, L, D

Kashgar is an oasis in the hostile Taklamakan Desert, which is a cultural and commercial crossroads.Take a city tour to the Idkah Mosque, Handcraft Street, like its name Kashgar was so called as the center of hand crafts such as iron, wood, cooper and gold products. Visit the unique local Bazaar. Then take a walk at the Old town of Kasghar and visit a Urgur family.

Meal: B, L

Idkah Mosque

Transfer to the airport and fly to Urumqi, connecting your flight to your next destination.

Meal: B

End services.

What's included

  • 1-on-1 Travel Consultant

    Your China based expert listens to your wishes carefully, provides professional advice, ensures unlimited itinerary revisions before done and 24/7 helpline service while traveling.

  • Private Local Guide and Driver

    Your guides are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and your drivers are professional, polite and patient. They are very flexible to accommodate your personal needs and happy to show you the local attractions, history, culture, foods and real life. 
    Private transfers from hotel to attractions, airport or train station are also included.

  • Accommodation to Suite Your Preference

    In each place, we hand pick hotels ranging from luxury 5 star, superior 4 star to comfortable 3 star. Luxury or cozy boutique hotels and budget guesthouses are also among your choices. You could decide where to stay to meet your taste and budget.

  • Gourmet Meals

    Most of the hotels we select offer both Western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner included are arranged in selected restaurants to taste authentic Chinese cuisine and local specialties. Thus you may also have a unique food tour.
    Meals specified in itinerary as B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.

  • Attractions and Activities Listed on the Itinerary

    Our China tour packages have included the (first/main) entry to all attractions and the expenses of activities on the itinerary (except the optional activities).

  • Internal Transportation

    Based on your needs, we could make bookings of internal transportation, including domestic flights, inter-city trains, long-distance bus, etc.

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