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Taklamakan Desert Tarim Basin China Xinjiang Tour - 12 Days

Destination: Taklamakan Desert Tarim Basin
Duration: Twelve Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:May - Oct
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The Taklamakan Desert has an area of 337,000 km2 and includes the Tarim Basin, which is 1,000 kilometres long and 400 kilometres wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road as travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland.It is the world's second largest shifting sand desert with about 85% made up of shifting sand dunes ranking 18th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts.

There is very little water in the desert and it is hazardous to cross. Merchant caravans on the Silk Road would stop for relief at the thriving oasis towns.The key oasis towns, watered by rainfall from the mountains, were Kashgar, Marin, Niya, Yarkand, and Khotan (Hetian) to the south, Kuqa and Turpan in the north, and Loulan and Dunhuang in the east.Now many, such as Marin and Gaochang, are ruined cities in sparsely inhabited areas in the Xinjiang of China.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2400/persons 2400USD/Person

Day 1: Arrive in Urumqi
Arrive in Urumqi Diwopu Airport by air or Urumqi Railway Station by train. Our tour guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest time is free. You can have a good rest in the hotel, or roam the local streets nearby recommended by our guide.


Day 2: Urumqi-Turpan
We drive to Turpan directly today. Firstly, we arrive to visit Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, one of the largest Buddhist 'grotto' located on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flame Mountain, 45 kilometers away from Turpan city.

Pass through the Flaming Mountains named of the red clay mountains reflect the heat and glow of the desert in the evenings and seem to burn. It is an intensely hot part of the desert without a single blade of grass to be seen for miles. In July, the mountains seem to be on fire in the burning sun and become a purplish-brown colour.


Day 3: Turpan-Kuerle/Korla

Only in Turpan, you can find the Karez Well, the underground canal. It is one of the three greatest irrigation systems in ancient China together with the Jinghang Manmade Cannel, and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.

Jiaohe Ruin, an ancient ruined city is preserved pretty well due to its high location and scanty rainfall. Located in the Yarnaz Valley, 13 kilometers away from the Turpan city in the west, Jiaohe Ruin was built by the old Cheshi people in Qin dynasty and Han dynasty. It was almost dig from natural ground and the tallest building reached three stories high, which is the biggest, oldest and best preserved earth construction city in the world. The present preservation was descended from Tang dynasty during which period it had its Gold Age.


Day 4: Kuerle/Korla-Kuche/Kuqa
Visit Grand Kuqa Mosque, the second biggest mosque in Xinjiang, first built in the 17th century, but after the burnt down it was rebuilt in 1931. The great praying hall, which can accommodate 1000 prayers, is supported by 88 pillars, embellished with carved designs and in many colors, a fine example of Uygur architecture. Kizilgaha Thousand Buddha Cave, one of the four biggest groups of grottoes in China, is national Class A Cultural Relics Reserve, it lies in Mingutag Mountains in Baicheng County.


Day 5: Kuche/Kuqa 
Our focus is Subash Ancient City in Kuche, ancient capital of the Kingdom of Guici. The city is believed to be even older than the ancient Harappan civilization, which could be dated back around 4,000 years.


Day 6: Kuche-Hetian/Hotan
Whole day driving from Kuche to Hetian/Hotan.


Day 7: Hetian/Hotan
Mallikurwatur Ruins, the ancient city lies 25 km southwest of Hetian, on the west bank of the Jade Dragon Kashgar River. Situated on a 1500 m long belt, it is believed to be the ancient city of Yutian Kingdom although disputes claim it used to be a monastery compound. From 1977, potsherds, ancient coins and other items have been excavated.


Day 8: Hetian/Hotan-Yarkent
Yarkant, this city forms an oasis at the western end of the Taklimakan desert as a trade center. Mainly inhabited by Turkic-speaking Muslims, it has more than 120 mosques. Marco Polo visited the city in 1271 and in 1275; it was on the important Silk Road between China and Europe.

Amannishahan, the Uygurs are excellent at dancing. The "12 Mukams" (opera) is an epic comprising more than 340 classic songs and folk dances. After liberation, this musical treasure, which was on the verge of being lost, was collected, studied and recorded by Amannisha who is the concubine of Yarkant King.She died aged 34.


Day 9: Yarkent-Kashgar
Just for the amazing lake and moutain ahead, it's worthy of long distance driving from Yarkent to Kashgar.


Day 10: Kashgar
Drive to Karakuri Lake, a very beautiful lake and the Muztagata Mountain, the unusual shape of the mountain covered in snow all year round, it associated with Chinese legend appears to have been divided into two parts, which is especially nice in the summer, when the flowers on the trees bloom.


Day 11: Kashgar-Urumqi
Visit Abakh Hoja Tomb, a tomb of Uygur woman living Qing Dynasty who was forced to marry the Qianlong Emperor. However, the tomb is actually the tomb of her grandfather and his family including Xiangfei. Then, move to the Id Kah Mosque built in 1442 for Shakesirmirzha, the ruler of Kashgar, it is the largest mosque in China and the religious center of Kashgar. The call to Prayer booming from the mosque can be heard throughout the city center.

We will also go to the local famous Sunday Bazaar has been operating since ancient times, and the scale has become larger and larger, attracting merchants from all over Xinjiang and neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan. Farmers from the suburbs of Kashi come to the bazaar early in the morning, using various means of transportation, such as bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, trucks and donkey-drawn carts. The highways leading to Kashi are crowded with these vehicles and pedestrians on Sunday mornings, as well as with flocks of sheep.

Kaxgar Ancient City is an old city, located at the north of new Kashgar city area. Compare to the modern society it still owns its special charm of long history. 'Kaxgar' means 'colorful city' in Uygur language, although it is dusty and damaged now but it must be a colorful and wonderful city thousands years ago.

Transfer to Aiport for the flight back to Urumqi. Pick you up at Urumqi airport, and transfer to your hotel in Urumqi.


Day 12: Urumqi Departure
Our guide will meet you at your hotel, then you will be transferred to Urumqi Diwopu Airport for departure.


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