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Kashgar Travel Guide

Kashgar Travel Guide 2023

Kashgar or Kashi (coordinates: 39°24′21″~39°37′28″N, 75°48′56″~76°35′23″E) is a county-level city and the seat of the government of Southern Xinjiang’s Kashgar Prefecture. This oasis city lies on the north slope of Pamirs Plateau and west edge of Tarim Basin, and borders Kashgar Prefecture’s Jiashi (Payzawat), Shule and Shufu Counties in the east, south and southwest and Artus of Kizilsu to the west.

Kash” means jade stone in Turkic and “Gar” refers to stone or mountain in ancient Iranian. In ancient Qin and Han Dyansties more than 2,000 years ago, Kashgar was the site of the Shule Kingdom. Along with Zhang Qian’s travel to the West Regions in the West Han Dynasty, it became one part of the territory of China and a vital border town on the southern route of Silk Road. Kashgar is a witness of the fusion of the Eastern and Western cultures and harmony coexistence of multi-ethnic groups and different spiritual beliefs. Kashgar’s long history, profound, brilliant and diverse culture, rich products and strong and pure folk customs have won the city a famous saying: Not Been to Kashgar, Not Seen in Xinjiang. Today, Kashgar is one of the top must-visit destinations on Xinjiang bucket list as the cultural heart of Xinjiang. The city has kept many historical sites like Kashgar Old Town - shooting location of The Kite Runner, Xinjiang’s biggest mosque - Id Kah Mosque, traditional trade in Kashgar Bazaar, etc. Besides, Kashgar serves as a gateway to Tashkurgan and other destinations in Southern Xinjiang.

Why Visit Kashgar:

  • Long History & Rich Culture - With plentiful historical sites, like the Kashgar Old Town, Ancient Tea House, Gaotai Ancient Homes, Kashagr City itself is an excellent history teller. Each visitor in Kashgar can feel the splendid ethnic culture and profound history in every corner and every sight, and imagine trade prosperity during the ancient Silk Road period.
  • Incredible Pamirs Plateau Landscape - When getting out of Kashgar to Tashkurgan, the scenery along the Karakoram Highway on the Pamirs Plateau will be a never-to-be-forgotten memory. The magic argentate sand mountain - Baisha Mountain, gem-like clear Baisha Lake, majestic snow mountain - Muztagh Ata, serene mirror-like Karakul Lake and wild landscape are truly visual feast and mind abstersion.
  • Ethnic Harmony & Best-preserved Ethnic Art, Skill and Customs - Main ethnic groups of Kashgar include Uygur, Tajik, Hui, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Kazak, Mongolian, Russia, Sibo, Manchu, etc. Each minority keeps their own culture of food, dressing, language and traditions. Their coexistence is both tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Kashgar, Xinjiang. Kashgar Old Town is a living museum full of fabulous architectural arts and cultural symbols. Each kid and young woman here is an inborn good dancer and singer. Many local craftsmen still make utensils and musical instruments with traditional skills.
  • Strong Islamic Culture - Islamic religious culture has long been combined with ethnic people’s lives with over one thousand years of history. Islamic culture in Kashgar has the longest history, the biggest influence and the most followers. Kashgar Prefecture has 42% mosques of Xinjiang and Kashgar city has over 600 mosques mainly in the old town area. It’s common to see Muslims pray daily in Id Kah Mosque. When Coban Festival and other grand festivals take place, the scene is sensational and awe-inspiring.
  • Transfer Center in Southern Xinjiang - Kashgar and Urumqi are two only cities in Xinjiang with international flights. Therefore, it’s popular and convenient to travel from Kashgar to other destinations in Southern Xinjiang, such as Tashkurgan, Hotan, Korla, Kuqa, Aksu, Shache, etc.
  • Land of Melons and Fruits - Strong sun and long sunshine duration helps melons and fruits in Kashgar incredibly sweet and juicy. From spring to autumn, travelers can taste different seasonal fruits, like pomegranate, fig, watermelon, grapes and mulberry.
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Top Attractions & Things to Do

Northern Xinjiang feasts all visitors’ eyes with massive natural beauties, like Heavenly Lake of Tianshan near Urumqi, fairyland Kanas Lake, colorful Rainbow Beach, breathtaking Anjihai Grand Canyon, fascinating Kalajun and Narati Grasslands in Ili. While Kashgar in Southern Xinjiang will touch your heart and impress your eyes deeply with both cultural charms and natural wonders. Downtown Kashgar has lots of historical sites you can visit, such as Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb, Kashgar Bazaar... It’s also popular to travel from Kashgar to Tashkurgan along the Karakoram Highway on Pamirs Plateau to explore mystical Tajik culture and view transcendent natural beauty.

Know more Top Attractions & Things to Do in Kashgar

Kashgar Travel Guide
Kashgar Old Town (Kashgar Ancient City)

The soul and essence of Kashgar & setting of the Kite Runner. It is a huge over 2000-year-old labyrinth neighborhood where thousands of traditional residences stand along the crisscrossed alleys. Lovely happy kids and local life scenes are wonderful photography inspirations.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Ancient Tea House

This family inherited two-storey building of classic Uygur architectural style is the only century-old tea house in Kashgar and a famous cultural landmark in Kashgar. Many locals like to drink tea, chat with friends and spend afternoon leisure time here.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Id Kah Mosque

The biggest mosque in Xinjiang and the holy religious center of Kashgar. The mosque has a long history of nearly 600 years and many typical Islamic buildings. It’s a sacred place where Muslims pray and hold Muslim festivals, like the Corban Festival.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Abakh Hoja Tomb

It’s a big family graveyard which buried Abakh Hoja and 71 other family members. Apart from the glorious history of her family, the tomb consists of lots of beautiful and spectacular ancient Islamic buildings, like glazed bricks, elegant domes and minarets.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Kashgar Bazaar (Kashgar Western & Central Asia Bazaar for International Trade)

As the biggest international market in northwest China, the bazaar is the best place to experience Xinjiang’s Bazaar culture. You can walk around, see numerous products, purchase Xinjiang’s dried fruits, special handicrafts and try some local snacks like the locals.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Sunday Livestock Market

A bustling livestock market that only opens every Sunday. Traditional ways of trade are used to buy lambs, cattle and camels. Visitors can see the old trading, taste fresh mutton, delicious snacks and dishes in the market.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Karakul Lake & Muztagh Ata

The most impressive scenery on the drive to Tashkurgan. Snowy majestic Muztagh Ata - famous “the Father of Ice Mountains” reflects on the serene and sapphire-like Karakul Lake, presenting an awe-inspiring sight with the blue sky and floating clouds.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Baisha Lake & Baisha Mountain

The peaceful aquamarine water of Baisha Lake and the silver sand mountain with artistic curves are rare-seen gems on Pamirs Plateau. You won’t close your eyes and stop admiration for its beauty once you pull over.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Tashkurgan Stone City

This spot is a famous ruins of an ancient city with a long history of over 2,000 years. This engineering feat was a work of ancient Tajik people, and is one of the most famous stone cities in China.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Tashkurgan Golden Grassland

Lies down the Stone City, it is a large wetland where the Tashkurgan River flows through, sheep leisurely grazing on the vast green grassland, grandiose snowy mountains stand in the distance.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Kashgar Museum

This small local museum highlights the brilliant history of the ancient Silk Road. Many ancient stone implements, bronze wares and cultural relics of different dynasties are exhibited.

Kashgar Travel Guide
Gaotai Ancient Homes

The terraced residences on the loess high cliffs are the over 600-year-old Uygur neighborhoods. These earth & wood-made buildings is the only preserved traditional block of Western Regions style in China.

Kashgar Weather & Temperature - Best Time to Go

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Kashgar’s climate is Warm Temperate Continental Arid with four distinctive seasons, featuring long hot summer and short cold winter, fully year dry, little rainfall and long sunshine duration. The annual average temperature in Kashgar is about 11.7°C and its mean annual precipitation is 61.5 mm. The hottest month is July with daytime temperature going up to above 30°C and January is the coldest time when the temperature usually drops below zero during the day and -10°C at night.

The early Spring months of March and April are still a little chilly. The city starts to get warm enough until April. Summer has dry air, hot sun and more clear days, but not as hot as the burning city - Turpan in Northern Xinjiang. September and October of Autumn offer cool temperatures for travel. The temperature falls sharply to unpleasant cold from November and lasts the entire winter to next February and March. So, it’s highly suggested that you travel to Kashgar between April and October. August, September and October are the best times when the temperature is fairly comfortable; fruits are most sweet and scenery of Baisha Lake, Karakul Lake & Muztagh Ata on the way to Tashkurgan is the most beautiful. Some interesting Tajik festivals will be held in Autumn after the harvest season as well.

Tips: Always drink lots of water, prepare sunblock, warm clothes against the huge temperature difference between day and night and respect ethnic culture whenever you visit Kashgar.

Read more about Kashgar Weather, Climate, Seasonal Things to Do & Packing Tips

Kashgar Transportation

Kashgar International Airport Kashgar Railway Station Kashgar Train Travel with China Discovery

Get to Kashgar

By Air: Kashgare Prefecture has two airports in service - Kashgar International Airport (IATA: KHG) in Kashgar City and Ye’erqiang (Yarkand) Airport (IATA: QSZ) in Shache. Kashgar International Airport is the most important and commonly used one. At present, the airport mainly operates domestic flights between Kashgar and Xinjiang’s Urumqi, Aksu, Altay, Hotan, Yining, Bole, Korla, Shache, Tumxuk and Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Ngari (Tibet), Chengdu, Chongqing, Changsha, Guangzhou, Jinan, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Zhengzhou. Regional air travel is short while flying from destinations beyond Xinjiang takes a longer time. There are a few international flights served to Kashgar from Pakistan and neighboring countries. The airport lies about 9 km, 20 minutes’ drive from Kashgar Old Town.

>> Kashgar International Airport & Flights

By Train: Kashgar is linked with other regions within Xinjiang and places out of Xinjiang by the Southern Xinjiang Railway and Kashgar-Hotan Railway. Kashgar Railway Station is the one and only train station used. You can take a train to Kashgar from Aksu, Kuqa, Korla, Turpan, Shache, Yecheng, Hotan, Gansu’s Jiayuguan, Zhangye, Lanzhou, Tianshui, Chengdu, Guangyuan in Sichuan, Xian in Shaanxi. Most are long-distance overnight trains arriving on the next or third day.

>> Kashgar Railway Station & Trains

Get around Kashgar

China Discovery’s Private Transfer is Top Recommended

Kashgar is not big and it’s very easy and convenient to get around Kashgar. Public transportation is mainly used by the locals. For travelers, taking a private car is the most efficient and recommended way, in view of time cost and language communication. If you travel with China Discovery, you can conveniently take our private car during your entire Kashgar tour, including the airport/train station/border port pick up, drop off, transfer among all attractions and travel to Tashkurgan and other surrounding destinations. You will take a clean, comfortable, licensed and non-smoking car accompanied by a local tour guide and experienced driver.

>> How to Get to & around Kashgar

Kashgar Accommodation: Where to Stay

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Because Kashgar is one of the top destinations in Xinjiang and attracts more and more tourists, its accommodation naturally has been improved in recent years. The city provides a large section of accommodation choices, ranging from luxury star-rated hotels to budget hostels and guesthouse. According to personal trip itinerary, budget and preference, tourists can easily find a nice place to stay overnight.

Downtown Kashgar, especially Kashgar Old Town, is the most popular accommodation area, since there are a large number of hotels of different styles and rates. Accommodating in this area, you will enjoy transport convenience to major landmarks, like Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Bazaar, etc. In the old town, there are some hotels built with local ethnic features. Besides, travelers in a tight schedule can stay in hotels near the airport and train station, but the facilities are not as good as that of downtown, and transport to tourist attractions takes more time. For travelers who plan to make a day trip to Karakul Lake only, Kashgar City remains the best place to stay.

5-Star Luxury Hotels in Kashgar: Radisson Blu Kashgar, Nanjiang Global Harbor International Hotel, Qinibagh Rotal Hotel (both within 15 minutes’ drive to Kashgar Old Town)

Other Recommended Kashgar Hotels: Tianyuan International Hotel, Vatica Kashgar Ancient city of Muir, Atour Hotel (Kashgar Old City Pedestrian Street), Orange Hotel Kashgar Old City.

Read more about Places to Stay in Kashgar & Recommended Kashgar Hotels.

Useful Kashgar Travel Maps

To help you better know Kashgar’s exact location, top attractions to visit in and around Kashgar and major distance & transfer between airport, train station and downtown attractions, here we specially make some useful maps of Kashgar. Read the following maps to better plan your trip to Kashgar.

Kashgar Travel Guide

Kashgar Attractions Map

Kashgar to Tashkurgan

Kashgar to Tashkurgan Travel Map

Other Popular Destinations in Xinjiang

Covering an area of 1.66 million square meters, almost one in six of China’s total territory, Xinjiang is a wonderful land full of charms. Northern Xinjiang (Urumqi, Karamay, Altay, Kanas, Tacheng, Ili, Bortala-Sayram Lake) and Southern Xinjiang (Kashgar, Tashkourgan, Aksu, Khotan, Kuqa, Koral, Bayingol...) are two main travel regions. Apart from Kashgar, there are more amazing natural beauty and cultural highlights awaiting your exploration. Discover the most classic destinations below.

Other Popular Destinations in Western China

Though far away from the eastern and central developed cities, northwestern China is a beloved dream land for tourists to trace back to the ancient Silk Road and discover less-tourist landscape and experience the diverse minority culture. As one of the birthplaces of many ancient Chinese civilizations, you can also find time-honored relics in this region. Here are four best places selected for you to enjoy the stunning plateau scenery, vast deserts and glorious culture and history, making a special, meaningful and memorable adventure. You can easily travel to these charming places from Xining. (Check all destinations in China.)

Kashgar Map

Chinese Name: 喀什

Chinese Pinyin: kā shí

English IPA: ['kæʃga:]

Area: 1,056.8 Square Kilometers

Population: 711,300

Average Altitude: 1,289 meters

Language: Uygur Language, Mandarin, Tajik Language, etc.

Tel Code: 0998

Zip Code: 844000

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Xinjiang Kashgar Tour

Usually, tourists travel to Kashgar from Urumqi, Xinjiang’s gateway and the most important transfer center. In Urumqi, you can take 1 day to visit the Xinjiang Museum and other landmarks, one more day for the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan Mountains. Spending a one-day trip in the Nanshan Pasture is strongly recommended during summer. The most popular Kashgar trip itinerary is to spend 2 full days exploring the highlights like the Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb, Kashgar Bazaar, etc. Most travelers like to extend the Kashgar tour to Tashkurgan, and take 2 days to visit the spectacular Baisha Lake, Karakul Lake & Muztagh Ata along the Karakoram Highway and catch a glimpse of the mysterious Tashkurgan & Pamirs Plateau with visits to Stone City and Golden Grassland.

Xinjiang is a vast land full of natural wonders and ethnic cultural treasures. We strongly recommend extending your journey to more wonderful places in Xinjiang. If you love nature, there are many destinations in Northern Xinjiang worthy of a exploration, such as the fairyland Kanas Lake and serene Hemu Village nearby, Turpan with Flaming Mountains, Jiaohe Ancient City, Karamay (Ghost City), Sayram Lake, Ili (Apricot Valley, Kalajun, Nalati Grasslands), etc. Culture fans can travel to other regions in Southern Xinjiang, like Hotan, Taklamakan Desert, Lop Nor, Korla, etc. A classic Xinjiang discovery with Urumqi, Turpan and Kashgar takes 8 days. In-depth Xinjiang exploration requires a longer holiday. If time allows, you can follow the ancient Silk Road from Xian, across the Hexi Corridor in Gansu (Lanzhou, Zhangye, Jiayuguan and Dunhuang) to Xinjiang, continue to visit holy land Tibet and beautiful Qinghai and other lands of China.

As a reliable and professional travel agency with many years’ experience, We China Discovery masters first-hand and comprehensive travel guide. Traveling with us, you can enjoy a memorable Xinjiang trip as our other guests. Select a suitable itinerary from our most popular Kashgar tours below, or contact us to customize a special trip on your own.

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10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour (Xian/Dunhuang/Turpan/Kashgar)

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