If you just have 4 days and want to see as many aspects of Xinjiang as you can, just go to Urumqi and Turpan - top two destinations that you can't miss. Turpan is an oasis along the edges of a vast desert and a charming outpost along the Silk Road while Urumqi is the provincial capital with attractive suburbs. Because of the short distance, traveling them together is convenient.
This 4-day Turpan Urumqi tour takes you to enjoy some of Xinjiang's most extraordinary natural landscapes - barren red sandstone hills, eroded city ruins, snow-capped mountains, greenish-blue waters, etc., as well as the cultural relics along the ancient Silk Road. You will start your tour from Turpan, which is well connected with other Silk Road cities (like Dunhuang, Zhangye, Lanzhou…) by train and then drive to Heavenly Lake of Tianshan for a nature feast and go to Urumqi for a short glimpse at last.
Day 1 Turpan ArrivalUrumqi airport/train station pick up
Welcome to Turpan - China's hottest city and its highest temperature reaches about 50°C in summer and an outpost on the Silk Road and a lot of cultural heritage sites can be explored. Meet your tour guide and driver at the airport/train station, then transfer a short while to the downtown of Turpan. Check in to your hotel. The rest time is free for you to relax. Feel free to ask for recommendations of places to go from your guide.
How to get to Turpan? There are nonstop flights to Turpan from Lanzhou (2.5 h), Changsha (4.5 h), Zhengzhou (4.5 h)… as well as high speed trains from Xian (12.5 h), Xining (8 h), Lanzhou (10 h), Zhangye (6.5 h), Dunhuang (3.5 h)…
Warm Tip: Be ready for the hot weather in Turpan, especially in Flaming Mountain and always remember to drink more water.
- Turpan North Railway Station
Day 2 Turpan Sightseeing (B, L)Today's highlights: Tuyuk Valley, Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez System
After breakfast in the hotel, you will drive to Tuyu Valley along Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon, which condenses the essence of the landscape of Flaming Mountain - the hottest spot in Turpan. Flaming Mountain is immortalized in the Chinese classic Journey to the West as a blazing mountain that the monk Xuan Zang has to pass through. Finally, they use a magic fan to extinguish the blaze and go on with their trip. Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon splits the whole mountain in half and you will clearly admire the unique landform - red sandstones looking like flaming fire, distinctive rocks showing the uncanny workmanship of nature and deep gorge with crisscross valleys. The magnificence, strangeness, danger, and elegance of Flaming Mountain are fully shown here.
The winding road hanging on the cliff of Flaming Mountain will soon lead you to Tuyuk Valley (Tuyugou in Chinese) which is an Uighur valley with lots of historical sites. Mazar Village, the oldest existing Uighur village with a history of over 2,600 years, is a big highlight of the valley. Mazar Village holds a significant status in Buddhism and Islam. It is said that 6 Muslims came to China and started preaching there, so Mazar Village is called Eastern Mekka. Before Islam, it once was a Buddhist center as well. Many Buddhist caves can be found in the village, but the statues and murals failed to survive. The villagers still live peacefully in the village and you can clearly see how they run their daily lives in the old mud adobe houses.
Next to drive back to Turpan City to discover the brilliant project of Karez System. Together with the Great Wall and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Karez System is regarded as one of China’s Three Greatest Ancient Projects. It is a special kind of irrigation system consisting of vertical wells, underground canals, ground canals and waterlogging pond. The vertically dug wells are linked together to channel the water which occurs during summer rain season, or is melted from snow mountains of Tianshan range to desired farmlands in the desert area. Visiting Turpan Karez Museum, you will not only see the pictures and models detailing the history of Karez System, but also visit the real underground tunnels.
Your last stop is the famous relic - Jiaohe Ancient City - an ancient city that was strategically located along the ancient Silk Road. Perching on a plateau, it acted as a natural barrier from the attacking enemies in the old times. Now, it is renowned as the best-preserved earthen architecture in the world. The interesting sculptures, videos and some other displays in Jiaohe Cultural Village Museum will give you an appreciation of the history of Jiaohe City before you start exploring. Then, take a shuttle bus to the core scenic area. Walking up along the pathway uphill, you can see many historical structural remains, including the residential area, official area and Buddhist temples. It is also available to walk to the central platform for a more awesome view of the whole park. When the night drops, you will feast on a breathtaking sunrise over the ruins.
Stay overnight at Turpan.
- Jiaohe Anicent City Sunset
- Vertical Well of Karez
- Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon
- Traditional Mud Houses in Mazar Village
Day 3 Turpan - Tianchi Lake (B, L)Today's highlight: Heavenly Lake full day exploration
In the morning, you will drive about 4.5 hours to Heavenly Lake (or Tianchi in Chinese) which is only about 290 km away from Turpan downtown. To protect the authenticity of the natural environment, our private car can only bring you to the entrance of the park. You will then shift on to a park bus to the parking lot around the lake area. Walking about 15 minutes, you will get to the lakeside of the Heavenly Lake. The rest time is free for you to stroll along the periphery of the lake, breathe the remarkably fresh air, and soak in the wonderful scenery. With an altitude of 1980m, Heavenly Lake and its alluring surroundings truly offer you a visual feast like heaven, featuring in serene alpine lake, rugged slopes with snow-capped mountains, pure glaciers, wild forest, vast grassland as well as unique ethnic culture.
Generally speaking, there are three ways to explore Heavenly Lake. You can go to walk around the lake, take a boat cruise, or ride a cable car to the mountain top. If time allows, you can even enjoy all the experiences. The Boat cruise and cable car need extra fees. Tell your preference to your guide who will then arrange accordingly for you.
- Walking around the lake. Plank roads were constructed to encircle the lake. But since the lake is very large, it takes about 5 hours to finish the circle. You can decide the hiking length on your own according to your physical condition and time. Fee: free.
- Boat Cruise on the lake. It is very popular among travelers to take a boat cruising to the deeper area of the lake and back, which is leisure and scenic. There are modern ships, Chinese-style ships and high-speed boats available at different prices. Fee: about CNY 100.
- Panoramic view from Maya Mountain. If you want more landscape, you can take a cable car up to Maya Mountain where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Heavenly Lake and a closer view of Tianshan Mountain Range. Fee: about CNY 220.
After the landscape trip, take a park bus to exit the park, and drive back to Urumqi
- Aluring Heavenly Lake scenery in autumn day
Day 4 Urumqi Departure (B)Today's highlights: Xinjiang Regional Museum, Red Hill Park, International Bazaar
This morning after breakfast, you will be taken to have an educational visit to the Xinjiang Regional Museum. It is the most important ancient Silk Road themed museum in China which exhibits about 50,000 historical relics including more than 400 National First-class relics (60% of the total in Xinjiang). Among all the exhibitions, the most unique exhibition is the Mummy Hall. It collects 10 more than 4000 years old mummies which were mostly found in Loulan Ancient Kingdom Ruin and preserved almost intact. Loulan Princess, the most famous mummy in the museum, will definitely strike you with its typical European face. All these important exhibitions help you learn deep into the history and culture of Xinjiang as well as ancient Silk Road.
Continuing your Urumqi city tour, you will move to Red Hill Park which is regarded as the symbol of Urumqi. It is the most popular place for the locals to relax and gather. For travelers, it is a great place to experience folk culture and living style. Finding a higher location in the park, you are rewarded with a pleasant panoramic view of Urumqi city. Leaving the Red Hill Park, you will get to Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar to enjoy a leisure stroll. If you want to purchase some souvenirs, here is the best place.
The rest of today is free for you to relax until you are escorted to catch your flight/train to the next destination. Tour ends.
- Urumqi city view from Red Hill Park
- Uygur dancers at Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar
Kanas is an area resplendent with virtually untouched natural beauty - turquoise lake, beautiful rivers and bays, pure snow mountains, thick wild forest, fresh air and peaceful Tuva minority villages. It is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in China. Its major attractions are Kanas Lake, Kanas Rivers, Kanas Three Bays, Hemu Village, Beautiful Peak, etc. To explore Kanas to the fullest, you should stay at least 3 full days in the nature reserve, usually 1 day for Hemu Village and 2 days for Kanas Lake Scenic Area (Kanas Lake, Kanas Rivers, Kanas Three Bays…).
Your Xinjiang tour is not complete without Kashgar. It is the best place in Xinjiang to experience authentic Xinjiang culture as well as ancient Silk Road atmosphere. In Kashgar, you can stroll leisurely around the Kashgar Bazaar to find the trading tradition that has lasted more than 1500 years on the Silk Road and experience the Livestock Market if you are in Kashgar on Sunday, explore the traditional living quarter of local Uyghur people and enjoy a relaxing tea time in the Ancient Tea House, drive out the town to enter into a magnificent world of landscape and adventure – Pamirs' beautiful Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata, the “father of glaciers” .
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel
and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2023.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.45. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.
Today is wonderful! Thanks. We really enjoyed. I have to collect the photos from a few different phones, but I will send you some and write a review. We were so happy to have Amy guiding us. And she was very patient with our kids. If we are able to take another trip, we will definitely contact you.
Sure we had a great day with Kai so I’d be more than happy to write a review.
thank you so much for asking.
I can only say that we had a fabulous time. The driver was the best driver we had in a long time and the guide was knowledgeable, helpful and always spot on.
In a difficult situation (the police found us interesting and inquired after our travel itinerary etc.) he handled it very well.
I will definitely recommend you and might ask you for information on another tour in Sichuan, soon.
I have had a fantastic trip. This guide is amazing really knowledgeable.
Yesterday was great. Ellen is a perfect tour guide. Sure we enjoyed very much.
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Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar - Tashkurgan
Urumqi / Turpan / Kumtag Desert / Urumqi
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