12 Days Southern Xinjiang and Taklamkan Desert Highway Adventure

Xinjiang is a mysterious land and provides many for tourists to exlpore. This Xinjiang tour provides you the route off the usual tourist trail from Urumqi , Turpan, Korla, Kuqa, Khotan, Yarkant to Kashgar, where you can explore the western deserts and experience exotic history and culture.


  • Experience the route off the usual tourist trail.
  • Explore the western deserts and experience exotic history and culture.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Urumqi Arrival
  • Day 2: Urumqi – Turpan
  • Day 3: Turpan – Korla
  • Day 4: Kuqa
  • Day 5: Kuqa
  • Day 6: Kuqa – Hetian
  • Day 7: Hetian
  • Day 8: Hetian – Yarkant
  • Day 9: Yarkant – Kashgar
  • Day 10: Kashgar – Karakuli Lake
  • Day 11: Kashgar
  • Day 12: Kashgar Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Urumqi Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:
Accommodation: Urumqi

Airport or train station pick up and then transfer to your hotel in Urumqi city. Explore the city at leisure

Day 2 Urumqi – Turpan

Sightseeing and Activities: Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well System, Sugong Minaret
Accommodation: Turpan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning, drive to Turpan. After arrival, head to visit Jiaohe Ruins. It is a natural fortress located atop a steep cliff on a leaf-shaped plateau between two deep river valleys. Then move on to Karez Well System. Located in the Turpan Depression, it is a vertical tunnel system adapted by the Turpan people.

After that, continue the tour to Sugong Minaret. At 44 meters high, it is the tallest minaret in China. Afterwards visit a local Uyger family with vineyard, and experience their local lfestyle.

Day 3 Turpan – Korla

Sightseeing and Activities: Bezklik Grottoes, Astana Graves
Accommodation: Korla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today visit Bezklik Grottoes first, a complex of Buddhist cave grottos. Then move on to Astana Graves, an underground cemetery of ancient Gaochang residents, which is considered to be one of the humblest burial sites in China.

After that, drive about 4-5 hours to Korla.

Day 4 Korler – Kuqa

Sightseeing and Activities: Kuqa Mosque, Subashi ruins
Accommodation: Kuqa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, drive about 5-6 hours to Kuqa. Then visit Kuqa Mosque and Subashi ruins. Kuqa Mosque is the second largest mosque in Xinjiang right after the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar and Subashi ruins is a large-scale temple with main temple hall, pagoda, monk’s dormitory and the residual wall.

Day 5 Kuqa

Sightseeing and Activities: Kizilgaha Beacon Tower, Kizil Grottoes, Kuqa Bazaar
Accommodation: Kuqa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning, head to visit Kizilgaha Beacon Tower. Built with a wooden roof, it rises to the sky in the middle of the desert as typical scenery of the area. Then move on to Kizil Grottoes. The Kizil Caves are a set of Buddhist rock-cut caves which are said to be the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China occurring between the 3rd and 8th centuries.

After that, continue to visit Kuqa Bazaar.

Day 6 Kuqa – Hetian

Sightseeing and Activities:
Accommodation: Hetian
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we will drive on the Taklimakhan Dessert highway to Hetian.

Day 7 Hetian

Sightseeing and Activities: Malikwat Ruins, Khotan Museum
Accommodation: Yarkant
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today head to visit Malikwat Ruins and Khotan Museum. Lying 25 km southwest of Hotan, majority of the Malikawat ruins are buried underground in the deep sands and Hotan Museum houses over 400 pieces of cultural relics excavated from the ancient cities of Niya, Mallikurwatur, and Yotkan.

Day 8 Hetian – Yarkant

Sightseeing and Activities: Yarkent Old Town, Yarkant King Tombs
Accommodation: Yarkant
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Mornign drive to Yarkant and visit Yarkent Old Town and Yarkant King Tombs. Yarkant King Tombs is the most attractive sight of Yarkant County. First built in 1533, its structural layout and wall decorations still remain intact in classic Uygur style which attracts multitudes of sightseers.

Day 9 Yarkant – Kashgar

Sightseeing and Activities: Yingisha knife factory, Handicraft street, Id Kah Mosque
Accommodation: Kashgar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning after breakfast, drive to visit Yingisha knife factory. Then head to visit Id Kah Mosque, one of the biggest mosque in China, which was built by Saqsiz Mirza in 1442. Afterwards move on to handcraft street, which is full of unique and exotic goods. It is one of the most featured street in various local handicrafts in and around Kashgar Xinjiang China.

Day 10 Kashgar – Karakul Lake

Sightseeing and Activities: Karakul Lake
Accommodation: Kashgar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast at hotel, drive on Karakorum high way to view the fantastic scenery of Karakul Lake. On the road, enjoy the scenery of the Mt. Muztag. Karakul Lake is the highest lake of the Pamir Plateau. Enjoy the crystal water, the peaks and blue sky, and also the creatures here.

Then drive back to Kashgar.

Day 11 Kashgar

Sightseeing and Activities: Sunday Bazaar, Old Town, Apak Hoja Tomb
Accommodation: Kashgar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning, drive to visit Sunday bazzar first. It is the busiest part of the city, which covers a total area of 0.17 square kilometers with more than 5,000 stable stalls. Then head to visit Apak Hoja Tomb. It is the largest Islamic mausoleum of Xinjiang, most known as the Tomb of Xiang Fei, who is one of the imperial concubines of Emperor Qianlong.

At last, visit Kashgar Old Town, a major stop along the Silk Road, where is full of Uygur style folk residences.

Day 12 Kashgar Departure

Sightseeing and Activities:
Meals: Breakfast

Transferred to the airport or train stataion for your next destination.

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Private English-speaking tour guide;
  • Private vehicle for transfers & sightseeing with skilled driver;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Domestic train tickets of soft sleeper.

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.