How to Get to Karakul Lake | Travel from Kashgar to Karakul Lake

Located at the westernmost border of China, Kashgar is considered the city with the strongest exotic atmosphere. Apart from the attractions like Kashgar Old City and Id Kah Mosque where you can feel the local customs, there is also different landscape such as the Karakul Lake which you will be amazed at. It is one of the lakes of the highest altitude in the world. The beautiful scenery with snow-capped mountain reflected in the lake is well worth a visit. This Kashgar to Karakul Lake transfer guide will help you travel to Karakul Lake more efficiently.

Note: Tourists traveling to Karakul Lake needs to get a Border Permit (边防证) at Kashgar Administrative Service Center (喀什行政服务中心) with valid ID documents. Feel free to contact us for help if you have any trouble getting the permit.

How Far is Karakul Lake from Kashgar?

Karakul Lake is about 191 km (4 hours’ drive) to the southwest of Kashgar downtown. It is on the way from Kashgar to Tashkurgan County. So after visiting Karakul Lake, you can go back to Kashgar or continue your trip to attractions in Tashkurgan such as the Stone City.

Travel from Kashgar to Karakul Lake by Car - Most Recommended

Most people choose to get from Kashgar to Karakul Lake by charting a car. You can find some sedan cars or pickup trucks at Tashkurgan County Office in Kashgar (塔什库尔干县驻喀什办事处), which is also referred to as Chenguang Yidianyuan (晨光伊甸园) by local people. But most drivers do not speak English or other foreign languages, you can write your destination down in Chinese in advance for better communication.

Note: If you are traveling from Tashkurgan to Karakul Lake, it is also most recommended to travel by car. The distance is about 100 km, 2h10min’s drive.

Travel With China Discovery

If you don't want to worry about the language barrier with the drivers, you can choose the private tour service provided by us. We China Discovery provide comfortable and efficient transfer service for our clients who have booked one of our tour packages. Our friendly tour guide and driver will pick you up at the airport/train station/your hotel, then escort you to any location you want to visit with an air-conditioned and non-smoking vehicle. Great freedom will be given to you whenever you need to stop for sightseeing and photograph. You are sure to enjoy a comfortable, safe and efficient experience.

Far more than that, China Discovery is professional to provide high-quality customizable tour. We have got 1,460+ good reviews on, and 4,050+ China travel reviews from the customers. Before your tour, our travel expert will communicate with you one to one and make an itinerary according your own interest, need and budget. Every detail – transfer, hotels, attractions, etc. will be arranged well for you and you just need to focus on sightseeing. Feel free to contact us to start your Karakul Lake tour now!

How to Get from Kashgar to Karakul Lake Karakul Lake
China Discovery Private Transfer China Discovery Private Transfer

Travel from Kashgar to Karakul Lake by Bus

There is no direct bus from Kashgar to Karakul Lake. People usually take a bus to Tashkurghan and get off at the lake. You can take the bus at Kashgar West Bus Station (喀什客运西站). It usually departs at 11:00 in the morning and the ticket is CNY 65, but you need to get there at least 30 minutes in advance. The schedule and ticket fare are for your reference only. If you decide to go to Karakul Lake by bus, you need to go to the bus station and check the real-time information. Still, it is not recommended for independent travelers to get there by bus as getting back from the lake will also be a problem.

Road Condition from Kashgar to Karakul Lake

No matter you go to Karakul Lake by car or bus, it needs to drive along the national highway 314, which is also called Karakoram Highway or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway. Fortunately, the well-paved highway is generally in good condition. But it’s still a relatively long drive of about 4 hours. On the way along the winding path, you can occasionally see mountains and lakes. If you are traveling on a private car, it is feasible to stop by on the road to appreciate the scenery, take some photos and stretch your legs. Tourists who are easy to get carsick can take some anti-motion sickness drug 1 hour before the journey.

How to Get from Kashgar to Karakul Lake Karakoram Highway

How to Plan A Kashgar Xinjiang Tour

How to Get to Kashgar: From mainland cities - you can take domestic flights from Beijing (about 6~7 hours), Xian (about 4 hours), Chengdu (about 6~7 hours), Shanghai (about 8 hours), Guangzhou (about 8 hours), Jinan (about 7 hours), Zhengzhou (about 7 hours), etc., or provincial flights from Urumqi (about 2 hours), Korla (about 1.5 hours), Yili (about 1.5 hours). From the borders - you can also get to Kashgar from land border ports, such as Kalasu Port, Irkeshtam Port, Torugart Port, Khunjerab Port. If you need transfer, we can send a tour guide and driver to pick up you from the borders.

Best Time to Visit Kashgar: suitable for travelling all year around, but May to October is most comfortable and beautiful.

Top Places to Visit Kashgar: Kashgar Old City, Karakul Lake, Tashkurgan (Stone City, Golden Grassland), Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Bazaar

Plus arrival and departure days, you’d better plan at least 4 days for your Kashgar trip. If you want to extend your trip to Tashkurgan, you need at least 5 days. You can spend 2 days exploring attractions in Kashgar city and its old town, such as Kashgar Bazaar, Kashgar Old City, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb, Ancient Tea House, etc., then have a day trip to Karakul Lake from Kashgar. If you want to experience something more authentic, Tashkurgan, about 3.5 hours’ drive from Kashgar, is strongly recommended.

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After Kashgar tour, you can take a flight to Urumqi to marvel at the alluring Heavenly Lake and visit the mummy and Silk Road exhibitions in Xinjiang Regional Museum, then keep traveling to Turpan to see the grape valleys, visit historical Jiaohe Ancient City, etc. For an in-depth Silk Road journey, you can travel from Kashgar to Hotan, Kuqa, Taklamakan Desert, etc., which usually need about 8~13 days. If you love landscape, don’t miss out the Kanas Lake in northern Xinjiang.

☛ 6 Days Urumqi to Kashgar Dream Tour - Best Xinjiang Tour for the First-timers
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Kashgar and Xinjiang regions can also be connected to other Silk Road destinations easily, such as Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Zhangye, Xian, etc. Qinghai, Tibet, Inner Mongolia are also some recommended extensions of Kashgar Xinjiang trip. Find recommended Silk Road tours here or contact us to tailor-make a trip of your own if you want to discover more destinations.

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Shane from UK visited Karakul in February 2023 with China Discovery

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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