The Taklamakan Desert Overland Tour is one of the roadless adventure travel in the world. This part of China was forbidden to the tourist since long time. Recently it is opened for tourist. It's a great time to explore this route off the usual tourist trail. Let us open up this fascinating area for you to explore. It is one of the thrilling adventure of your lifetime.
Spring, Summer, Autumn
DAY 1 Flight to Urumqi
Your tour will begin the moment you touch down and meet your tour guide at the airport. Then your private driver will escort you to the hotel. After check-in, have a rest or arrange the rest of the day on your own
DAY 2 Turpan – Jiaohe Ancient City, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Flaming Mountains
After breakfast in the hotel, you will be transferred from Urumqi to Turpan. Jiaohe was built by the ancient Cheshi people in the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Located in the Yarnaz Valley, 8 km (5 mi) west of Turpan, it was dug out of and constructed from the yellow-gray parched ground of a narrow 30-meter-high, 1.5-km-long vertical sided island in a river. It is a good vantage point for seeing the surrounding landscape of vineyards and orchards followed by desert and mountains. The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves is the rock-cut building with the most caves and frescos contents at most in Turpan area. It is located on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flame Mountain, 45 kilometers away from Turpan city. The history of the Caves is more early than Dunhuang but unfortunately that most murals were damaged by nature or by man-made. The Flaming Mountains, the hottest place in China, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. They provide a spectacular backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan area, and have given rise to many legends and stories, such as the classic "Journey to the West".
DAY 3 Korla – Tiemen Pass, Yanqin Basin
Today, you will reach Korla. Tiemen Pass is an important pass along the ancient Silk Road. The ancient buildings of Tiemen Pass records the trails of the Silk Road. Yanqi basin is the largest fresh water lake in China. Bulrushes intersperse in large scale in the lake. It presents a rare water-town-like beautiful scenery in such dry inland areas.
DAY 4 Kuqa- Grand Kuqa Mosque, Kuche Friday Bazaar, Subash Anceint City
You will spend two days in Kuqa. Though it remains only as ruins, it was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Guici. The city is believed to be even older than the ancient Harappan civilization, which dates back around 4,000 years. Grand Kuqa Mosque is the second biggest mosque in Xinjiang, first built in the 17th century, but after the burnt down it was rebuilt in 1931. The great praying hall, which can accommodate 1000 prayers, is supported by 88 pillars, embellished with carved designs and in many colors, a fine example of Uygur architecture. There are numerous commodities like dried fruit and delicacies, clothes, shoes, leather, textiles, rugs and carpets as well as scarves, souvenirs and other goods in an eclectic mix that appeals to traveler and native alike. Open on Friday, the ‘big day’ when the farmers come to town, and those who still prefer to shop at the market rather than city shops.
DAY 5 Kuqa - Kezil Thousand-Buddha Caves
Reputed as one of the Four Great Grottoes in China together with the Mogao Grottos, the Kezil Thousand-Buddha Caves is situated at the north bank of the Muzat River and about 7 kilometers south of the Kezil Town between the Kucha and Baicheng counties in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. There are altogether 236 grottoes already numbered at the foot or on the cliffs of the Mingutag Mountain. Presently, more than 80 of the caves are still complete with well-preserved frescoes covering a total area of 10,000 square meters.
DAY 6 Hetian - Taklimakhan Dessert
You will have an exciting driving across Taklimakhan Dessert highway by private car. Taklimakhan Dessert is one of the best and largest desserts in China.
DAY 7 Hetian – Hetian Museum, the Site of Rewake Buddha Temple, Hetian River
Opened to the public in 2005, Hetian Museum houses 9,499 precious historical relics and over 600 books. Hetian is an important town on the ancient Silk Road, and one of the birthplaces of Xinjiang civilization. The Site of Rewake Buddha Temple lies in the Julakansiman desert, 40 kilometers away from the Yulong Kashi Town of Luopu County in Hetian, the national key protected cultural relic. Hetian River is the unique river, which passes through the second largest desert in the world - Takelamagan Desert. See the Gabi scenery along the river.
DAY 8 Yarkant - Yarkant King, Amannishahan
Yarkant King forms an oasis at the western end of the Taklimakan desert as a trade center Mainly inhabited by Turkic-speaking Muslims, it has more than 120 mosques. Marco Polo visited the city in 1271 and in 1275; it was on the important Silk Road between China and Europe. The Uygurs are excellent at dancing. The "12 Mukams" (opera) is an epic comprising more than 340 classic songs and folk dances. After liberation, this musical treasure, which was on the verge of being lost, was collected, studied and recorded by Amannisha who is the concubine of Yarkant King. She died at young age of 34.
DAY 9 Kashgar – Abakh Hoja Tomb, Yengisar Knife Street
Abakh Hoja Tomb was built to commemorate the Princess Xiangfei, who was married with the Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty. Abakh Hoja Tomb is an imposing ethnic palace with many collections recording the marriage of the royal family. On the way from Yarkant to Kashgar, you will visit Yengisar Knife Street. It is home to the different kinds of exquisite made Yengisar knife in this market.
DAY 10 Kashgar – Karakuli Lake
Karakuli Lake is a sparking glacial lake located at the foot of "the Father of Glaciers" – Muztagata Mountains. A railway connecting China with Pakistan goes by the lake. The lake is famous for its beautiful scenery and clarity. Colors of its water range from light to dark under reflection.
DAY 11 Urumqi – Local Bazaar, Id Kah Mosque, Zhiren Street, Kashgar Old Town
Famous throughout Asia, this ancient market attracts locals and merchants from all over Xinjiang and nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan. There are numerous commodities, like dried fruit and delicacies, clothes, shoes, leather, textiles, rugs and carpets as well as scarves, souvenirs and other goods in an eclectic mix that appeals to traveler and native alike. Open all week, Sunday's the big day when the farmers come to town, and those who still prefer to shop at the market rather than city shops. Bazaar especially Sunday Bazaar is a very interesting place so many foreigners' main purpose in Kashgar is to visit the Bazaar. Id Kah Mosque is one of the largest and busiest in China. At midday on Fridays around 10,000 people will gather to pray and study. You'll need to remove your shoes before entering the Main Hall. In the main hall you can see traditional Islamic pillars, carvings and rugs strewn over the floors. Women are advised to cover upper arms and legs, a scarf is not compulsory, but is seen as a mark of respect. This is a top attraction for most tourists in Kashgar. Zhiren Street is close to Id Kah Mosque, an old street with an amazing range of goods being crafted for sale by hand, from cookware to exotic instruments. There's not much industry in Kashgar, so everything is hand-made or imported. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewelry and other goods are seen to be made and you will marvel at incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.
DAY 12 Departure
Sit back to relieve the stress of 12-day tour of Xinjiang Province. The guide will help you with all the formalities at the airport.