ORT Tour Information Center

The ORT information center is designed to help you plan and prepare for a trip to Xinjiang, China.  We've included information about booking with our company, visas and paperwork, weather and climate, what to pack for your trip, cultural do's and don'ts and much more.

City Weather & Climate Averages (Resource Links)


Best time for tours

  • Mountain Trekking: in general, May-November is best Karakul Lake
  • Trekking: Mid-October presents one of the best opportunities for small group trekking around Karakul Lake. The weather at this time is great and the skies are typically clear which provides greater opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty around you.
  • Yurt Stays:
    • Karakul Lake: May to October 25th. March to November-Yurts are also possibly available.
    • Heavenly Lake: April to November 15th
    • Other Tours: Can be done year round, including desert treks, though may be cold in the winter!

Weather & Climate

Home Stays / Camping

We at ORT specialize in creating realistic and authentic tours of Xinjiang. A home stay in a Uyghur home, Kyrgyz stone home, village homes near Karakul Lake or a Tajik home will give you a true look at life in Xinjiang - beyond the well-traveled tourist areas. We've included a variety of information to help you prepare for your home stay including etiquette, meal expectations, best times for home stays and much more.  The following content is accessible to ORT tour customers only.

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Time Differences:

You will want to be aware that all of China uses “Beijing Time”. However, in Xinjiang, minorities use “Local / Xinjiang / Urumqi Time”. There is a 2-hour difference. If you go based on BJ time, you would eat lunch at 2pm; based on local time you would eat lunch at 12:00pm. Be sure you know which time your guide uses.

Also, train tickets and plane tickets use BJ time; so if you are using local time for your tour, be careful not to miss your train/plane! Some bus tickets use local time and some BJ time, be sure to check your ticket carefully.

If arranging a meeting with a new local friend, make sure your clarify the time. Also be aware that this is not a time-oriented culture, your friend may not be on time to meet you. Your guides and drivers though, should be on time.  

Altitude Sickness:

If traveling along the Karakorum Highway or trekking in the mountains, you should be aware of altitude sickness. Though it will not affect most people just traveling along the highway, you should be aware of its symptoms and what to do if someone in your group begins displaying symptoms of altitude sickness.

* ORT can have a special oxygen kit on-hand at your request for a small fee.

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ORT arranges for you to travel comfortably and takes into consideration the amount of luggage you have.  Type of vehicle and number of open seats are negotiable for your comfort, convenience and individual needs.

1-2 pax

Normal Car  - seats 5 total; driver, guide, tourists and their bag

1-4 pax

4X4 Jeep – needed for certain tours, such as Shipton’s Arch

3-6 pax

Minivan – seats 10 total; driver, guide, tourists and their bags

7-10 pax

Minibus - seats 16; driver, guide, tourists and their bags

11-16 pax

Bus - seats 22; driver, guide, tourists and their bags

17-25 pax

Big bus - seats 33; driver, guide, tourists and their bags


There are many local markets throughout the week in areas near Kashgar, each having its own special characteristic. Leave the city and experience a real-life, non-toursity bazaar.

Read more: Local Markets