Arrival at Urumqi in Xinjiang, 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 you will be transferred back to downtown, you can then take a short visit to Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, which is believed to be the largest outdoor market in town.
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.
Erdaoqiao is situated at the Erdaoqiao Block of South Jiefang Road in Urumqi, where you’ll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and many antique items. The market has special space for grand ethnic songs and dances performances, and the folk street is furnished with a miniature landscape of Xinjiang’s attractions. On Sunday, there are more stalls and more goods than any other days.
Today, you will take hours driving to Turpan, on the way, you will pass Urumqi Wind Power Mill, which was built for producing electrical power in the area. After cross the valley of Tianshan we will arrive in the lowest depression of China-Turpan City. Upon arrival, visit the mysterious death city, the Ruins of Jiaohe Ancient City, which reveals traces of a prosperous ancient trading center and military stronghold 1,600 years ago. And then visit Emin Minaret (Sugong Pagoda) – the biggest ancient pagoda existing in Xinjiang and the only Islamic ancient pagoda in the country and ancient Karez Well, the underground water supply and irrigation system.
Jiaohe meaning in Chinese where two rivers meet was once the most forward outpost in the West for ages. Historical records and excavation reveal evidence of a prosperous ancient trading center and military stronghold from 1,600 years ago. Owing to the arid climate and remote location, Jiaohe remains relatively intact, leaving us a rare example of an earthen castle, the largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city in the world.
Emin Minaret is the largest extant ancient Islamic tower in Xinjiang. Standing 2 km (1.24 miles) east of Turpan, Emin Minaret was built in 1777 in honor of a heroic Turpan general named Emin Khoja.
Karez Well is reputed as one of the three major construction projects in ancient China, together with the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. The history of this unique underground irrigation system can be traced back over more than 2,000 years.
Turpan Urumqi Kashgar
Have another day excursion in Turpan that including the visit to Gaochang Ancient City, which was an important garrison town on the Silk Road, Grape Valley, Flaming Mountain and Bezeklik Caves. After the tour, be transferred back to Urumqi for your flight to Kashgar.
Flaming Mountain Gaochang Ancient City located at the east of Turpan, the city-state that ruled the area from the 9th century to the 13th. The city was actually founded a few hundred years earlier than that, and gradually became known as a trading post on the Silk Road.
The Grape Valley is located in Flaming Mountain. From ancient times, this place has been famous for the cultivation of the sweetest, tastiest grapes. Be enticed by the sight of bunches of green pearl-like grapes hanging from the vines in splendid profusion. It’s a great relief to recline in the shade of the green leaves and delight in the fresh juicy fruit, appreciating the coolness after the heat outside.
The Flaming Mountains are so named because in the evenings the red clay mountains reflect the heat and glow of the desert and seem to burn. Situated on the northern edge of the Turpan Basin, and stretching over 100 km long and 10 km wide, this is an intensely hot part of the desert without a single blade of grass to be seen for miles.
Bezeklik Caves is located in a gorgeous valley of the Flaming Mountains. More than 100 caves were hewn out of this cliff face between the 6th and 9th centuries by Buddhist monks who farmed the valley below. They were abandoned at about the same time as Gaochang Ancient City and Jiaohe Ancient City after the Muslim take over of the region in the late 14th century.
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.
Be transferred to the airport for your flight to next stop.
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