No matter culturally speaking or naturally speaking, Xinjiang has the richest travel resources. Silk Road, ethnic culture, Islamic culture, grasslands, deserts, snow mountain, lakes, canyons, Danxia… You can even spend several months there. But you may not have that much time or have to visit Xinjiang for several times. Don’t worry, you can visit the Golden Triangle first - Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan which represent the very highlights of ancient Silk Road, classic cultural and historical essence of Xinjiang and Xinjiang’s most reachable stunning nature. They are the three most classic destinations that any Xinjiang trips cannot miss out. As tourist centers, Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan also provides you top standard of tour services, including tour guide, transfer, hotels, food, etc. There is no doubt that the 8 Days Urumqi Kashgar and Turpan Tour is the most classic tour as well as the most enjoyable Xinjiang holiday.
This tour suits all kinds of travelers very well, no matter you want a Silk Road journey, photography trip, or family holiday, senior tour, etc. The best traveling time is from June to October. If you want to extend your trip to Kanas Lake, Taklimakan Desert, Hotan, etc., feel free to let us customize a trip for you.
Day 1 Urumqi ArrivalUrumqi airport/train station pick up and hotel check-in
Welcome to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Meet your tour guide and driver at the airport/train station, then transfer a short while to the downtown of Urumqi. 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 Urumqi? Currently, you can take flights to Urumqi from Beijing (about 4 hours), Xian (about 42.5 hours), Shanghai (about 5.5 hours), Guangzhou (about 5 hours), Chengdu (about 3.5 hours), etc., or high speed trains from Turpan (about 2 hours), Dunhuang (about 4.5 hours), Lanzhou (about 11 hours), Xining (about 9.5 hours), etc.
Free time idea: 1) 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 a pleasant panoramic view of Urumqi city; 2)Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, a great place to enjoy a leisure stroll and purchase some snacks, souvenirs, etc.
- Uygur dancers at Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar
- Urumqi city view from Red Hill Park
Day 2 Urumqi - Heavenly Lake - Urumqi (B, L)Today's highlight: Heavenly Lake full day exploration
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.
Leaving the museum, you are going to explore the Heavenly Lake (or Tianchi in Chinese) which is only about 70km away from Urumqi downtown. Your tour guide and driver will meet you at your hotel, then drive about 1.5 hours to the scenic area of Heavenly Lake. 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 surrounding 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 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 with 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 closer view of Tianshan Mountain Range. Fee: about CNY 220.
After the landscape trip, take park bus to exit the park, and drive back to Urumqi.
- Xinjiang Tianchi Lake
- Green mountains at the lakeside of Heavenly Lake (August)
- Grandiose view of Tianshan Mountains from Heavenly Lake
Day 3 Urumqi - Turpan (B, L)Today's highlights: Karez System, Turpan Museum, Jiaohe Ancient City
This morning, you will drive about 3 hours (167 km) from Urumqi to the "fire land" – Turpan. It is China's hottest city that its highest temperature reaches about 50°C in summer. Besides, it is also an outpost on the Silk Road and a lot of cultural heritage sites can be explored.
As you reach Turpan, you will firstly 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 be melted from snow mountains of Tianshan range to desired farmlands on 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.
Next, turn to Turpan Museum, an informative museum with great collections as well as a good place to avoid summer heat. The first floor has the exhibits (like dinosaur fossils, terracotta figurines, clothing, utensils, weapons…) from prehistoric ages to Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907) on the history of Turpan. There are also many Silk Road displays from which you will understand why Turpan plays a crucial role on the Silk Road for trading, water and agriculture. Getting to the second floor, you will be awed at the millennia-old mummies well-preserved as to how they were found in their tombs.
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, and 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 sunset over the ruins.
Accommodate in Turpan this night.
Warm Tips: 1) Turpan is known as the grape capital of China, and don't forget to taste the delicious grapes, drink the fruit juices and buy some dried grape seeds. 2) Be ready for the hot weather in Turpan, especially in summer, and it is advised to wear long-sleeves, sunhat, sunglasses, etc., drink more water.
- Vertical Well of Karez
- Exquisite Murals Exhibited in Turpan Museum
- First Glimpse of Jiaohe Ancient City
Day 4 Turpan - Urumqi (B, L)Today's highlights: Bezeklik Thousand Buddhas, Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon, Tuyuk Valley
After breakfast, you will be taken to have a cultural visit to Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, a group of grottoes with rich murals. They are high on the cliffs of the west Mutou Valley of Flaming Mountain. Originally drilled in the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 ~ 589), the caves have gone through about 15 centuries. There are 57 existing caves, and about 40 of them are preserved with brightly-colored murals on the stone-walls. Appreciating the glorious murals in an artistic style and listening to the old Buddhist legends, you may imagine how Buddhism spread to mainland China via Xinjiang.
After enjoying the cultural relics in Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, 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 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. Some villagers kindly ask the travelers to visit their vineyards and taste their fresh grapes or preserved fruits.
Sightseeing ends. You will be escorted back to Urumqi as well. Stay overnight in Urumqi city.
- Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
- Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon
- Peaceful Mazar Village in Tuyugou Valley
Day 5 Urumqi - Kashgar (B, L)Today's highlights: Kashgar Old Town, Ancient Tea House, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb
This early morning, you will take a flight to Kashgar, the southwestern border city of Xinjiang which used to be the epicenter of the regional trade and cultural exchange of ancient Silk Road for more than two millennia. Upon arriving at the airport of Kashgar, you will be welcomed by your local tour guide and driver, and escorted to Kashgar downtown. The rest time of today is guided tour of this legendary Silk Road city.
You will visit the Abakh Hoja Tomb first which is not a simple tomb but an exquisite architectural complex including chapels, gardens, archways, etc., as the best place in the region to admire Uygur people’s extraordinary aesthetics and skills of Islamic architecture. It also offers a rare opportunity to see and learn about funeral custom celebrated Uygur families because there is a large Islamic family of five generations whose name is Abakh Hoja buried here. The Abakh Hoja was a local Islam master who had strengthened the spread of Islam in Kashgar area, which later earned a great reputation for him and his family.Next, you will visit the landmark of Kashgar - Id Kah Mosque which is regarded as the holy shrine for the Muslims. Every day, there are thousands of Muslims worshiping here. In the history, Id Kah Mosque used to be a school where Islam culture and history was taught. Many scholars and honored clergies graduated from here. Only several minutes' walking from the mosque is the exotic Kashgar Old Town where you can experience the authentic Uyghur living style. Explore the traditional earth buildings where local people are living in, walk through the famous Handicrafts Street where you can sew how the local craftsman making handicrafts. It is a good place to buy some interesting souvenirs for your families and friends. You will also take a break and enjoy a cup of local tea at the Ancient Tea House which is more than 100 years old. The locals also like to spend some leisure time in the tea house with friends and families - drinking, chatting and playing music sometimes.Today’s activities end. Have a good rest in your hotel in Kashgar.
- Id Kah Mosque is the most influential Islamic mosque in Xinjiang
- Abakh Khoja Tomb
- Kashgar Old Town
Day 6 Kashgar - Karakul Lake - Tashkurgan (B, L)Today's highlights: Karakul Lake, Muztagh Ata, Baishahu Lakes, Pamirs Plateau
Today, you are going to visit the famous Karakul Lake which is about 190km/about 3 hours’ drive from Kashgar downtown. Although it is a long drive, you are surprisingly compensated by the constant landscape of the overwhelming Pamirs Plateau - harsh and lonely snow mountains, inhabited barrens, expansive grassland, pure glaciers, peaceful villages… Make a stop at Baishahu (White Sands Dunes Lake) where a tranquil lake lies under the towering snow mountains of Pamirs Plateau. The sands of Taklamakan Desert fly westward, get stopped by the edge of Pamirs and deposit at the slopes of the mountains, then get washed by the melting ice of the snow mountains, which is the reason why you can see white sand dunes surrounding the White Sand Lake.
You will get to Karakul Lake around noon time. After lunch, throw yourself into the breathtaking scenery of the lake and its surrounding. With an altitude of 3600m, Karakul Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Central Asia. It welcomes visitors with stunning views of pristine lake nestled against Pamirs mountains which provide an azure backdrop as they are covered with snow all year around, including three gigantic mountains - Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m). From other sides, there is a mixture of boundless grasslands, deserts and valleys. A few Kirghiz nomads put their yurts and graze their herds of sheep, horses and camels near the lake. Take your time to wander around the lake to enjoy the landscape and take photos until returning time.
Keep driving about 1 hour to Tashkurgan. Have a good rest in this beautiful Tajik town.
- Tranquil Karakul Lake in October
- Tranquil Karakul Lake in October
Day 7 Tashkurgan - Kashgar (B, L)Today's highlights: Tashkurgan Fort (Stone City), Alaer Golden Grassland
This morning, it is strongly recommended to get up early to watch the pink and golden dawn light of sunrise shining on the Stone City and surrounding snow mountains. What a peaceful and beautiful scene for really nice photography.
After breakfast, you are going to visit the legendary Stone City, also known as Tashkurgan Fort, which has stood on the hill at the northeast side of the county for nearly 2000 years. It is one of the World Four Stone Cities with great architecture value. Puli Kingdom, one of the 36 Kingdoms in Western Regions, also set its capital here. Unfortunately, most of the architectures have been destroyed by wars and natural erosion. Currently, only about 100,000 m2 of ruins survived including city, temple and residential houses of Tang Dynasty and government office of Qing Dynasty. For travelers, it is a fantastic experience to stand on the city ruin, experience the vicissitudes of the ancient city and imagine the ancient merchants, travelers, churchmen from West and East met here, or the king of the city looked upon the vast land and his people from the high castle. The fortress at the same time is a perfect sightseeing platform from which you can stretch your horizon to far grassland and desert, also admire nearby dominating snow mountains including the majestic Muztagh Ata. Under the foot of the Stone City lies the beautiful Alaer Golden Grassland. Walk leisurely on the plank roads to enjoy the spectacular long-distance views. Just as its name implies, the grassland turns to a golden world when the sunrises and sunsets come. It’s also beautiful in the morning especially when you frame the grassland with the stone city and surrounding snow mountains. Nourished by the Tashkurgan River, Alaer Golden Grassland is an important pasture for local nomads.
Lastly, you will leave Tashkurgan and drive back to Kashgar city. Accommodate in Kashgar city.
- Tashkurgan Fort (Stone City Ruin) in the morning of September
- Beautiful Alaer Golden Grassland in August
- Charming Tajik lady in Tashkurgan
Day 8 Kashgar Departure (B)Today's highlights: Kashgar Bazaar, Livestock Market
After breakfast, go to visit the famous Kashgar Bazaar which is huge, busy, crowded, amazing, chaotic, interesting and colorful. Bazaar, in Uygur, means the large market. Kashgar Bazaar has been the largest and busiest trading center of West and Central Asia since the origin and flourish of the Silk Road. Here you can buy anything Muslim millinery to authentic Iranian saffron, from pashminas to carpets, from fruits to spices, from a cradle to a camel… or find a place to sit down to enjoy some local snacks, or just experience local culture.
If you happen to visit Kashgar on a Sunday, don't miss the opportunity to experience the Livestock Market, which takes place once a week on Sunday. By lunchtime, numerous sheep, camel, horse, cow and donkey will be driven by the Uyghur farmers and herders to squeeze through the gates of the bazaars for trade. It’s dusty, smelly and crowded, but most people find it very exotic.
After the tour, you will be escorted to catch your flight or train to the next destination, or be sent to the border if you want to exit China by land port.
- Sunday Bazaar
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, 2022.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.65. 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.
Dear Lyn Wang
We had a very fine and well planned trip to Guilin and are most grateful to this great experience.
We think the tour was a fine mix of three very different and well selected locations.
We were especially grateful for the pleasant and professional guiding by Steven.
In all respects an absolutely positive experience for us.
Helle and Leif Thuesen
We enjoy our trip. The boat is very clean, the food is good and the staff nice and helpful. We enjoyed vey much the scenery from the boat. However, the includes visits were a bit disappointing. Moreover, we could not go to Chongming because of the navigation. We are globally satisfied with our stay.
Hi Rita, sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, I really enjoyed the cruise! Thank you for your help in arranging!
Hahahaha so perfect.
Matt is really good. I think i even visit more than we have in itinerary.
Matt is really good. He know how to manage the route efficiently and make the good vibes along the trip.
Thanks for all your help for our group holiday. We will be using this group for our group communication.
"Highest Standards of Quality and Honesty" is the core value of each specialized team at China Discovery.
Eveyone in our company is working hard for only one goal, which is to ensure the highest level of service, luxury, and attention to detail from the minute you begin planning your trip, to the day you return home.
Our travel consultants are professional, experienced and responsible, helping you from the very beginning to the end of your China trip!
After sending us an inquiry, one of our travel consultants will get back to you within 0.5~23.5 hrs. In the next few days, he/she will be working closely with you to formulate a customized tour plan, as well as providing professional suggestions based on your travel interests, time, and budget.
Beside, he/she will keep in contact with you during your entire tour in China, continually checking if everything is going well as planned.
We're working at Chengdu Bamboo International Tours, local based in Chengdu.
Our local guide in every destination is not only very friendly, enthusiastic but also very informative and knowledgeable.
Once you arrive in the destination, the patient and punctual guides will pick you up and take you to get under skin of the city at your own pace. By in-depth discovery and explanation, they’ll show you more about the history, culture, customs and authentic local life. Throughout the journey, they're not only expert guides who take care of all the details but also fellow travelers who are dedicated to help you explore in comfort and style.
Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!
Using our private transfer service makes you comfortable, relaxed and worry free all the way!
Our private service includes licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience and air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained cars/vans. Drivers are local, polite, friendly and helpful, taking you to your tourist sites, hotels, airport/train stations in safety. All kinds of vehicle are offered, and yours depends on the size of your group. Usually, we offer sedan cars, SUVs, business vans (MPV) and different types of buses, all with extra space for your luggage.
Our private transfer service guarantees you the highest comfort!
In each destination, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay in a great location!
The hotels we choose are based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot ranging from luxury 5 star, comfortable 4 star to budget 3 star. You could decide where to stay to best suit for your budget and likes. Generally, the hotels have both Western and Chinese breakfast with a wide choices.
If you have already got an ideal hotel, please feel free to tell our travel consultants and they'll book the hotel for you.
Have good sleep in our well-selected hotels in all the destinations of China.
We can satisfy all the dietary requirements no matter you want Chinese local food, western food, vegetarian food or muslin food.
The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.
There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.
All the dining options will satisfy your stomach!
Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi - Kashgar
Kashgar - Karakul Lake - Kashgar
Urumqi / Kashgar / Karakul Lake / Tashikurgan / Kashgar
No documents found.
[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >
“Very good experience”
“WONDERFUL 25 DAYS IN CHINA - PRIVATE TOUR”
“Awesome China tour from northeast to southwest”1,510+ Reviews