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Taklamakan Desert Highway Cross Tour - 9 Days

Duration: Nine Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All year
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The Taklamakan Desert is one of largest shifting sand deserts in the world. It is intensely dry and located farther from an ocean than any other desert. Hemmed between China's Kunlun and Tian Shan Mountains, this Chinese desert sprawls across an area of 100,000 square miles and 85 percent of the total area consists of mobile sand dunes. The Taklamakan Desert has no permanent population, and few travelers brave crossing it due to its inhospitable terrain. This infamous expanse is often referred to as the "desert of death" or the "place of no return."
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2200/persons 2200USD/Person

Day 1 Urumqi Arrival
Welcome to Xinjiang! Your tour guide will meet you at the Urumqi Airport. Then be escorted to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to explore the mysterious city on the Silk Road.


Day 2 Urumqi to Kashgar (B, L)
After breakfast, drive to visit the Souther Pasture. It is a well-known alpine pasture boasting lush grass, dense forests, snow-caped mountains, deep valleys and zigzag streams.

In the afternoon, visit the Xinjiang Regional Museum which is an integrated museum, located in the Urumqi City. It is a beautiful builing decorated by Uygur style, and has more than 5,000 arts and history relics. It features in three exhibition hall: Ethnic Exhibition, History Reclics Exhibition and Mummy Exhibition.

Afterwards, take a flight to Kashgar.


Day 3 Kashgar (B ,L)
Kashgar is the largest oasis city in Chinese Central Asia. We schedule our arrival to coincide with the Sunday morning bazaar, a massive gathering of farmers and merchants from across the area. This colorful and lively market provides a great opportunity to pick up some of the Silk Road's most interesting souvenirs, from handmade leather boots, to traditional musical instruments, to bags of fresh spices. Kashgar is also the heart of Islam within China, and thus we pay a visit to the Id Kah Mosque, the largest in mosque in China. This beautifully decorated mosque more closely resembles a mosque in Pakistan or Afghanistan than China, and will attract up to 10,000 worshippers for Friday prayers.


Day 4 Kashgar to Khotan (B ,L)
Get up early to drive across the desert to Khotan (Hetian). The modern conveniences of air conditioned vehicles provide a much more comfortable alternative to traversing this route on camel back. The road to Khotan is lined with many small oasis towns, and occasionally we stop to visit the local mosques and bazaars. Yarkand (Shache), for example, once had a larger bazaar than Kashgar and today retains the quaint atmosphere of a small trading town. If you're up for a bit of a culinary adventure, you can sample some of the traditional specialties such as laghman, a kind of noodle, poluo, a tasty fried rice pilaf, or even goat's head soup! Of course, the most popular food, lamb kebab seasoned with Xinjiang spices, is everywhere.

In the late afternoon, we arrive at Khotan, and explore the city on donkey-drawn carts.


Day 5 Khotan to Kucha via Tazhong (B ,L)
For centuries, Khotan was an important supplier of jade, silk, and carpets on the Silk Road. These goods - such as the traditional hand woven Aidelaixi silk, and intricately embroidered wool carpets - were treasured in China and Central Asia for their outstanding craftsmanship. We visit one or two family workshops to see how carpets, silk, and other handicrafts are traditionally made, and have the opportunity to pick up some of these treasures for ourselves.

We then set out for Tazhong, crossing over the heart of the Taklamakan Desert. If departing during the summer, we have the option to camp overnight in the desert. As we sit beneath the enormous desert night sky, warming ourselves around a campfire - we can begin to appreciate our relation to the vast and uncompromising wilderness around us.


Day 6 Ta Zhong to Kucha (B ,L)
After crossing the Taklamakan Desert, we will arrive at Kucha on the Northern Silk Road. This quaint oasis town, not often visited today, was once the center of a Buddhist civilization in the Tarim Basin. On the outskirts of the present day town lie the ruins of an ancient capital, and scattered around the surrounding countryside are several grotto complexes, which attest to the significance Buddhism once played here. The most important of these is the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves.

Having arrived in the late afternoon, we first freshen up at the hotel before a traditional dinner of Uygur food at a local restaurant.


Day 7 Kucha (B ,L)
During the cool of the morning, we have time to roam through the open Kucha bazaar and see the local mosque before heading out to the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves in the afternoon. The Grottos hold some of the most impressive Buddhist art in Central Asia and date to the third century. Unfortunately, many of the finer frescoes were removed by foreign archeologists in the early twentieth century; however, what remains is truly worth the visit.

The surrounding countryside is pretty area of mulberry and poplar trees and streams, which make for a very pleasant afternoon.


Day 8 Kucha to Urumqi (B ,L)
We explore some of the other Buddhist grottos around Kucha today. On our way to the Kizilya Valley, where the rocks in the red mountain appear to be the result of a huge explosion, we visit the ruins of the ancient city of Subashi, or "old Kucha." In the evening, we take a flight to Urumqi. Overnight in Urumqi.


Day 9 Urumqi Departure ( B )
Today is free for you to explore Urumqi by yourself until your tour guide escort you to airport for your flight.


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