Kanas is a lifetime trip no matter whether you are a serious photographer or a normal traveler. Its untouched natural beauty will be beyond your imagination – tranquil lake with mysterious “lake monsters”, primitive birch forest, vast grassland, beautiful bays, hospitable Tuvan people... It is all about eyes and mind refreshing.
To explore Kanas to the fullest, you need a well-designed tour package to help you arrange transfers, hotels, guides and itineraries as Kanas is so remote and without developed tourist facilities and up-to-date travel information. Our 7 Days Classic Road Trip to Heavenly Kanas Lake is such a tour package on which you will travel deep into the very essence of Kanas while enjoying the top standard of vacation – comfortable hotels, private tour guide and driver, tailor-made itinerary, etc. It is also a relaxing road adventure with many opportunities to visit some incredible natural wonders – Yardang landform, grand canyon, colorful river banks...
This tour is available all year around, but the best months are May, June, July, August, September and early October.
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 3.5 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 local 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
Day 2 Urumqi - Wu'erhe (B, L)Today's highlight: Dushanzi Grand Canyon, Wu’erhe Ghost City (Yardang Landform)
Today after breakfast, drive about 410 km (about 5.5 hours) to Wu’erhe which is located at the middle point between Urumqi and Kanas. Don’t have to worry getting bored by the long driving, because the landscape alone the road is beautiful and changeable, and you will stop by the incredible geographic wonder land – Dushanzi Grand Canyon and Wu’erhe Ghost City (Yardang Landform).
You will arrive at Dushanzi Grand Canyon first. The river of melted snow water flowed down from Tianshan Mountains into the Dushanzi plain, curved the plain like a sword and created a 200-meter-deep canyon. The river beds at the bottom of the canyon is 100~400 meters wide, while the widths of the shoulders of the canyons from one side to another are unbelievable 800m~1000m. Standing along the cliff side of the canyon, one can look down upon on the river winding in the canyon, also stretch eyesight from the vast plain to the towering snow mountains of Tianshan. It is truly a visual feast. (To enrich travelers’ experience, there are some outdoor activities are held in the scenic area, such as glass bridge, rope bridge, archery, etc. These activities need extra costs if you want to try.)
Leaving Dushanzi Grand Canyon, and keep driving about 3.5 hours to Wu’erhe Ghost City which is actually a jaw-dropping Geopark of wind-eroded Yardang Landform. It got its name from the sound of the howling wind when it passes through the rock formations. This area was a huge freshwater lake during the Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago. There used to lush plants growing on the lakeshore and many ancient animals living in the lake, such as Urhe Stegosaurus, Plesiosaurs, Dinosaurs, Junggar Pterosaurs, etc. Wu’erhe Ghost City was praised as the "No. 1 of the Three Most Beautiful Yardang Landform Geoparks in China" by China National Geographic because of its 5 kilometers long Yardang rock formations. Some of them look like the Liuhe Pagodas in Hangzhou, Temple of Heaven in Beijing, Pyramids of Egypt, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, etc. Many great movies have been filmed here including the most famous “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”. You will ride a sightseeing train to transfer between the sites. Getting off the train, it is available to walk around the rock formations to take photos. Opposite side of the geopark are many pumpjacks which are drilling oils. Karamay, the city where the Ghost City locates in, is the wealthiest city in China because of oil production.
Exiting Wu’erhe Ghost City, you will then drive a short while to Wu’erhe Town for accommodation.
- Incredible geographic wonder land - Dushanzi Grand Canyon
- Wu’erhe Ghost City's beautiful Yardang landform in the sunset
Day 3 Wu'erhe - Kanas (B, L)Today's highlight: Kanas Scenic Area
Today’s destination is the best highlight of this trip – Kanas which is about 375 km (about 6~7 hours’ drive) from Wu’erhe. There will be some stops along the road for resting, meal and taking photos. You will reach Kanas Scenic Area in the afternoon and check in to your hotel which may be in Jiadengyu Tourist Center or a local Tuvas Village, depending on actual availability. The rest time of today is free for you to relax and explore the surrounding. Whether you stay at Jiadengyu or Tuvas village, you can find many places to walk around and enjoy beautiful landscape as Kanas is actually a very large natural reserve with easy accesses to the wild nature.
- Winding Kanas River in July
Day 4 Kanas Lake Scenic Area - Hemu Village (B, L)Today's highlights: Kanas Lake, Kanas Three Bays, Taiga Trail Hiking, Fish-watching Tower
Today is a full-day exploration of Kanas Lake Scenic Area including the Three Bays, Kanas Lake and Fish-watching Tower.
Get up early to escape the crowds, then take a park bus to the Three Bays area - the essence of Kanas Scenic Area. Kanas River wriggles in valleys, and creates three zigzag bays with beautiful names - Recumbent Dragon Bay, Moon Bay and Celestial Bay. The water here is crystalline, gentle and lovely. Along the two sides of the three bays are forests with alternate colors of green, yellow and golden, changing with the seasons. The trees, sky and clouds together project in the river, and appear a colorful reflection. Looking far into the distance, you can see the imposing Altai Mountains Range. The visiting of the Three Bays can be interesting and relaxing. If you are lucky, you will see the illusory mist floating on the Kanas River in the early morning. You can walk on the well-paved plank road to the sightseeing platforms to enjoy the tranquil landscape, then walk from one bay to the next, or take park bus to save energy.
Then take a park bus from the Celestial Bay to the lakeside of Kanas Lake. There is a 5-kilometer-long plank road, known as Taiga Trail Hiking, following the eastern lake shore of Kanas to the deep wild forest. It is a scenic and relaxing experience as well as a good way to escape from the tourist crowds. You will walk through Siberian spruce forest, Wall of Root Carving, Taiga moors and reach at Tuluke Rock Painting at the end of the plank road, then return the same way.
Optional Kanas Lake Cruise – if you want to explore deeper area of Kanas, you can join the Cruise Program. The sightseeing ship sails to the heart area of the lake, the return to the lake shore, lasting about 45 minutes. Tell your guide if you get interested.
After the lakeside hiking, keep traveling to Fish-watching Tower - the highest location of Kanas Scenic Area. The Fish-watching Tower is located at 2056 meters on a mountain at the outlet of Kanas Lake. One needs to walk about 1000 steps up to reach the tower, but the rewarding is handsome - a panoramic view of Kanas Lake, and stretching eyesight to the snow mountains of the Friendship Peak (4374m).
Lastly, hop on a park bus (about 2 hours’ drive along the beautiful mountain road) to Hemu Village for accommodation. Hemu Village is an important part of Kanas Scenic Area. It is one of the most beautiful villages in China, a magic place where you can get rid of the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the creation of photography. The villagers are Tuvans who is a branch of Mongolian. The ancestors of Tuvas are believed to be solders of Genghis Khan.
- Moon Bay (autumn) - the iconic sight of Kanas
- Beautiful scenery along Taiga Trail hiking
- Panoramic view of Kanas Lake from Fish-watching Tower
Day 5 Hemu - Burqin (B, L)Today's highlights: Hemu Village Sunrise, Rainbow Beach
Get up early to catch the incredible sunrise which is also the MUST photo to be shot. When the sun rises and shines onto the mist curling up the villages, it is the moment to take one of the best pictures in your lifetime. To shoot the sunrise, you need to walk along the plank road to the high places on the mountains near to the village. After the sunrise, go back to your hotel to have breakfast. Later, you will visit a local Tuvas family to find out what’s their living like, and get treated with local snacks, fruits and drinks prepared by the hosts. Sometimes, you can even a race chance to see Tuvas playing music and dancing. The rest is free for you to relax and exploring surrounding.
After lunch, say goodbye to Kanas and drive about 4 hours to Burqin County for accommodation. En route, take a stop at the spectacular Rainbow Beach (Riverside) where stones were weathered into many vivid shapes like soaring hills, deep valley, criss-cross streets, tower, etc. After thousands years of geological changing, the “beach” has been painted into different colors – red, yellow, green, white…, presenting you a gorgeous scene especially when the golden lights of sunset shine on the riverside.
Stay over the night in Burqin County.
- Morning mist in Hemu Village in Autumn
- Visit a local Tuvas family in Hemu Village
- Spectacular Rainbow Beach (Riverside)
Day 6 Burqin - Urumqi (B, L)Today's highlight: Kalamaili Mountain Ungulate Wildlife Nature Reserve
Have breakfast in your hotel, then drive back to Urumqi. During the 685 km’s driving journey, you will take an excursion visit to Kalamaili Mountain Ungulate Wildlife Nature Reserve which is an important reserve to protect the precious wild ungulates, such as Przewalski's horses, saiga antelopes, Mongolian wild donkeys and goose-throated antelopes. In 1876, the Russian explorer Przewalski hunted a group of wild horses in eastern Xinjiang and brought them back to Russia, causing a sensation in the international biological community because this kind of horse hadn’t been found anywhere in the world before, hence the name Przewalski's horses. The Przewalski's horse is the only surviving wild horse on the earth. It retains the original genes of the earliest ancestors of all current horse, which has an important biological significance that other species cannot match. (please note it’s not 100% sure that you can see the Przewalski's horses and other wild animals as the nature reserve is so big )
Accommodate in Urumqi city.
- Przewalski's horses in Kalamaili Mountain Ungulate Wildlife Nature Reserve
- Wild donkeys in Kalamaili Mountain Ungulate Wildlife Nature Reserve
Day 7 Urumqi Departure (B)Urumqi airport/train station drop off
Today is free until your tour guide and driver escort you to catch your flight/train to the next destination. Your lifetime Kanas tour ends.
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This is a marvelous road trip. You can set off for this adventure from Urumqi or Kanas. Sayram Lake (2,073m) is one of the most beautiful lakes, as well as the largest and highest alpine lake in Xinjiang. It is about 20 km long from east to west, 30 km wide from north to south, covering an area of about 454 sq kilometers. The lake is the farthest place that the warm air of the Atlantic Ocean can reach, hence the romantic name “the last drop of the tears of the Atlantic”. Karajun is a rare grassland wonder which is greatly different from those vast and plain grasslands in Inner Mongolia. With an altitude of 1305-3957 meters, it is a typical natural prairie of alpine & flower meadow.
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” .
Turpan surprises visitors with spectacular natural landscape - vast expansion of desert, lush and exuberant valleys of grape, tenacious desert plants, and Silk Road history. In Turpan, you can spend 1 day visiting the highlights in the city area, including Karez System – the brilliant irrigation project, Turpan Museum – the best place to discover Turpan from all perspectives and Jiaohe Ancient City – a disappearing city of earth. On the next day, you can explore surroundings Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves with precious murals, Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon with breathtaking landform and Mazar Village – an old Uyghur village. Besides, Kumtag Desert is also recommended if you love the wild desert view and desert activities.
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room
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.
we made it back to Shanghai. It was a great trip even with rain, COVID, and Sophie's personal issues.
we enjoyed the trip very much. Thanks a lot for organizing everything so brilliant it was really fantastic!
Thank you for your help in sorting out my few days ago. I will certainly be asking you for help in the future, now to start thinking about my 10 day break, beginning of April!
We did quite a lot of research for travel agency before heading for our first trip to Lhasa, Tibet; since foreign travelers to Tibet have to purchase a tour. China Discovery did a great job in helping us get the Tibet Tourism Bureau permit, booking our train tickets from Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa; and organizing a private Tibetan guide, Tenzin, and a driver, for our 5 days in Tibet. They also helped us with all Covid-19 safety measures and authorization requirements). Great sceneries and sites, especially Yamdrok Lake, Khambala pass (4800m), Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Deprung Monastery. Our guide Tenzin spoke very well in English and was very helpful.
My suggestion: No need to visit Summer Palace; suggest organizing visit of Yack herd with Nomads in higher plateau and in Snow area. Otherwise, very good and Tenzin was excellent
"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!
Xinjiang can satisfy all your desires about different styles of travel, no matter you are seeking for nature fun, culture experience or some adventures. Generally speaking, Kashgar, Turpan and Urumqi are most popular as the Golden Triangle. They provide you Silk Road history and culture as well as Xinjiang featured scenery – beautiful lakes, gorges, mountains, etc. They are the best options for the first-timers, needing about 6~8 days. Kanas, with tranquil lake and bays, primitive villages and ethnic culture, is strongly recommended too. A trip to Kanas usually takes about 4~7 days. If you prefer natural landscape, the western Xinjiang offers you superb grassland, alpine like, wild flowers. Recommended places include Sayram Lake, Karajun Grassland, Naraty Grassland, etc. The southern Xinjiang has many hidden gems for an in-depth adventure, such as historical Silk Road cities, Takilamakan Desert, Hotan, Kuqa, etc. Such a trip usually costs over 10 days, but it is definitely worth your time and effort.
Xinjiang is far away from the sea with surrounding high mountains, forming an obvious temperate continental climate. The temperature difference is large; the sunshine time is sufficient; the ultraviolet ray is strong; the air is very dry. Since Xinjiang has a vast area, the climate differs a lot by regions. Generally speaking, the southern Xinjiang is hotter than northern Xinjiang; northern Xinjiang has more rainfall than the southern area. You can easily find different places to travel in different seasons.
♦ April to June: Ili Apricot Valley, Tianshan Tianchi Lake, Sayram Lake, Tashkurgan, Naraty Grassland, Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar, etc.
♦ July to August: Urumqi, Sayram Lake, Karajun Grassland, Naraty Grassland, Kanas, Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar, etc.
♦ September to early November: Kanas, Taklimakan Desert, Populus Euphratica in Tarim Basin, Kuqa Grand Canyon, Tashkurgan, Naraty Grassland, Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar, etc.
♦ Mid November to March: Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar, Kanas, etc.
Getting there: it usually takes a longer time than other China cities to get to Xinjiang. Travelers usually arrive in Urumqi first by flight or train then transfer to other cities of Xinjiang. 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 Dunhuang (about 4.5 hours), Lanzhou (about 11 hours), Xining (about 9.5 hours), etc. Kashgar is the secondly-used arrival hub. It operates some domestic flights to Xian, Chengdu, etc.
Getting around: from Urumqi, you can keep traveling by flights to Kashgar, Kanas, Kuqa, Ili, etc. Actually, traveling by driving is more popular than taking flight and train, because the best scenery can usually be reached by car. But it's hard to travel by public bus to many remote scenic areas.So let a travel agency like China Discovery arrange transfer for you is the best choice.
Apart from a few major cities such as Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan whose hotels have complete facilities and wifi. In many other places, especially in some remote scenic spots, accommodation is relatively simple and basic, such as Kanas, Sayram Lake, Naraty, Tashkurgan, etc. where you can stay in a guesthouse, a homestay or a local yurt. Also, during the busy season from June to October every year, hotel occupancy will be much higher than normal days, so it is necessary to book your hotel in advance.
China Discover has included accommodation in our every tour package so that you don’t have trouble with booking hotels on your own. All our hotels are well-selected, comfortable, well-equipped with friendly services.
● Remember to always follow your groups instead of heading to the heart regions by your own, or you may get lost. Cell phone signal may be weak or zero in the grassland or forest areas in Xinjiang, stay calm.
● Wear the harness correctly when enjoying horse riding and follow the direction to keep safe!
Xinjiang’s Uyghur food and other local cuisine will be a memorable part of your trip. The local Uyghur food is famous throughout China and popular among travelers. There are not only Uyghur foods, but also traditional Chinese food, Hui food, Kazakh food, etc. Some hotels and restaurants in bigger cities, such as Urumqi, Kashgar, Turpan, Ili, etc., also provide western food and coffee.
We usually cover your breakfasts in your hotels and lunches during your trip. Dinner is your own chance to explore local food or other food you are interested in. Feel free to let your guide know your dinning interest and requirement in advance so that you can arrange meals accordingly.
Hemu Village - Beautiful Peak - Kanas Lake Scenic Area
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