After arriving in Urumqi , an area of the unparalleled scenery and cultural diversity, you will be greeted by your tour guide and transferred to hotel. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.
Take a driving for 120km northeast to visit the holy Heavenly Lake (Tianchi). The beautiful lake is flanked by rugged pines and cypresses, with clear melting waters reflecting the surrounding of snow capped mount Bogeda. After the tour, be transferred to the airport for your flight to Kashgar. Hemmed by deserts and the Pamirs, Kashgar is a fabled city embracing a rich mix of people and culture, with Mosques and veiled women contributing to its Middle Eastern atmosphere.
Heavenly Lake is located half way up Bogda Peak in Fukang County, 110km east of Urumqi City. As a natural alpine lake, it has an elevation of 1,980 meters. In the shape of a half moon, the lake is 3,400 meters long, about 1,500 meters wide, and 105 meters at the deepest point. With limpid water, the lake shines like a sapphire under the sun and is surrounded by green mountains. At the southeast end of the lake is the magnificent Bogda Peak, meaning ‘Sacred Mountain’ in the Mongolian language.
Today, take a visit to Zhiren Street, an old street with an amazing hand-made stuff from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. Then continue your trip to Id Kah Mosque, which is one of the largest and busiest in China. Then, you can take a short visit to Apak Hoja Tomb. If it is Sunday, the local Bazaar will be a good place for you to have a visit. This ancient market attracts locals and merchants from all over Xinjiang and nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan.
The Zhiren Street or Handicraft Street is the most characteristic place showing the distinctive custom and culture of Kashgar, with many full-time handicraftsmen working on the street and hundreds of workshops and booths alongside.
The Id Kah Mosque is the largest mosque in China. The mosque was built by Saqsiz Mirza in 1442 (although it incorporated older structures dating back to 996) and covers 16,800 square meters.
Apak Hoja Tomb is located about 5 km east of Kashgar. Built in 1640, it is the tomb of Apak Hoja and the families. As the largest Islamic mausoleum in China, Apak Hoja Tomb covers an area of 20,000 square meters, composed of gate tower, great mosque, small mosque, scripture hall and main tomb chamber.
Bazaar means a fair or market in Uygur language. Located in far eastern China close to the border of Pakistan, Kashgar has always been an important trading oasis – each Sunday the population swells by 50,000. Kashgar’s market is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating bazaars across the world.
Take a tour through the Karakurum Highway to Karakul Lake, enjoy the beautiful snow- capped mountain of Muztagh Ata and the lake. Be transferred back to Kashgar after visiting, and fly back to Urumqi.
Karakul Lake is located approximately 200km from Kashgar. At an altitude of 3,600m, it is the highest lake of the Pamir Plateau, near the junction of the Pamir Mountains, Tianshan and Kunlunshan mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7,546m), Kongur Tagh (7,649m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530m). The lake is popular among travelers for its fantastic scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue.
Kashgar Hotan (520km, 8.5 – 9 hours driving)
In the morning, drive to Hotan (520km), home to some well known archaeological sites in China. In the late 18th century many explorers from England, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, came to Hotan where some of them almost lost their lives in the desert. On the way we will drive via many oasis towns like Yarkent which was the capital of the ancient Uyghur Karahanid Kingdom of 15th century.
Famous for its silk and jade, the oasis town of Hotan or Khotan is the capital of Hotan Prefecture. With a population of 114,000 (2006), Hotan lies in the Tarim Basin, north of the Kunlun Mountains. Hotan is strategically located at the junction of the southern branch of the famous Silk Road. It provided a convenient meeting place where not only goods, but technologies, philosophies, and religions were transmitted from one culture to another.
After breakfast, drive 2.5 hours to Qira County to visit Damoko Site (140km), world-famous archaeological site at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Have lunch in the village. Back to the city and visit local family workshop of paper making.
Damoko is world-famous archaeological sites at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert and at the ends of 19th century, many explorers such as British Aurel Stein, Swedish Swenheden, French Paul Pelliot, Japanese Ottano and so on came to the village and took many precious art pieces out of the county and almost lost their lives there. Especially the wooden inscribed statues with characteristic of Persian and Gandharan art style, which are now at the British Museum and Guimet Art Museum of Paris, draw the attention of the global specialists. So many adventurous experiences of those explorers’ books have made Damoko Village even more famous.
Hotan Urumqi, Departure
Enjoy your free time then be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Urumqi. You will then take the connecting flight to next destination.
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