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Old Road Tours offers a variety of tours to fit your traveling needs - from short 1 day trips to 20 day treks into the heart of Xinjiang.  If you can't find what you're looking for, we can modify most listed tours or you are welcome to "Build Your Own Tour"  You decide the places to go and adventures to experience!

Xinjiang Minorities Discount Tour - 12 Days

Visit the most popular sites of Xinjiang on this tour and get to know people from many different minorities and backgrounds. From Urumqi and Turpan we'll travel south to visit Kashgar, Karakul Lake, Yengisar, Yarakant, and Hotan. Leave with a greater appreciation of Xinjiang's culture diversity.
    *Price is per person for a group of 6.
    **Varies slightly according to exchange rate.

Tour Overview

Xinjiang is famous for it’s ethnic minorities. In addition to Han Chinese and Uyghurs, Xinjiang also is home to significant populations of Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz, Mongols, Dongxiang, Tajik, and Xibe peoples. The centuries of trade on the Silk Road, the distance from Beijing and Xi’an (ancient capitals of China), and the proximity to neighboring nations and people groups, give the cities and oases of Xinjiang cultures and customs which are fascinatingly unique. Our Minority Culture Tour attempts take you into the lives and customs of the peoples of Xinjiang in a personal and respectful way.

*¥7,895RMB - p/person for a group of 5.
*¥8,450RMB - p/person for a group of 4.
*¥10,200RMB - p/person for a group of 3.
*¥11,495RMB - p/person for a group of 2.
+ For all tours between Sept. 28th-Oct. 12th, 14% will be added to the tour cost.

Includes: car, driver, tour guide, hotels, yurt (meals at yurt), camel, camel guide, tents and meals in the desert, train from Turpan to Kashgar

Excludes: meals, entrance fees, air fare, other train fares, personal expenses, tips

Cities to Visit

Heavenly Lake, Turpan, Tuyuk, Kashgar, Opal, Karakul Lake, Tashkorgan, Yengisar, Yarkant, Hotan

Sites and Specialties

Xinjiang, China, tours, Heavenly Lake, Turpan, Tuyuk home stay, Kashgar, meals in local's homes, Karakoram Highway, Karakul Lake, Tashkorgan, Yengisar famous knives, Yarakant, Hotan, camel desert trek

Cities to Visit

Heavenly Lake, Turpan, Tuyuk, Kashgar, Opal, Karakul Lake, Tashkorgan, Yengisar, Yarkant, Hotan

Day 1

Our tour guide and driver will meet you at your hotel lobby and drive to Tian Chi (Heavenly) Lake. Looking like a clear cup of water from an airplane, Tian Chi Lake sits amidst rugged mountain scenery 120kms from Urumqi city at an elevation of 1980m. Whilst at the lake, you will have the opportunity to trek for as long or short as you want through spectacular scenery and high peaks such as Bogda peak (5450m). There are many Kazak Yurts below the lake and some yurts beside it. You will have a chance to eat Kazak traditional food and drink local Kazak Ayrin (Horse milk). After lunch, we will drive to Turpan which takes about 3 and half hours from Tian Chi. We will check in at the Turpan Binguan3*.

Day 2

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Idkut (Gaochang), the Astana Tombs, the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, and the a very interesting caves in Tuyuk village. We will have lunch in a local Uyghur family in this village (it is non touristy) and taste real Uyghur food in a real Uyghur community as a local. You will have enough time to hike in the village to learn about their lifestyle. Afterwards we will travel to visit the Flaming Mountain, which is hottest place in China. Our tour guide will tell you about the Chinese and Uyghur folklore concerning the Flaming Mountain. All these will finish at around 6:00 pm local time or you have the option to say in a local home and take your cultural experience to the next level. All of this will be arranged in a non-touristy way.

Day 3

This is one of the hottest tours around Urumqi. Turpan is famous for its mysterious history and ancient cities. It is most worthwhile to visit the area when you are in Urumqi. You will learn a lot about ancient Uyghur history and civilization. A visit to Idkut ancient city in particular, will give you fascinating insights into the glorious past of prior Uyghur civilizations.

Our tour guide will pick you up from your hotel at 8:00am local time and start the tour by visiting the famous Emin Minaret, the area’s famous underground water system called Karez, and Yargul (Jiao he) the capital of an ancient Uyghur Kingdom. Dinner will be in the nearby Grape Valley with a local Uyghur song and dance performance. After our time there, we will return to our hotel Turpan Binguan 3*.

Day 4

Today, you can sleep in a little until driver meets you in the hotel lobby and drives you to Dahiyan train station to catch the fast train to Kashgar. You will arrive in Kashgar late the next morning.

Day 5

Our tour guide and driver will meet you at the train station and drive you to your hotel Yambo hotel 3*. After a hot shower in the Hotel, our tour guide will escort you to visit Idkah Mosque. The Id kah Mosque was built in 1442 as a small mosque and was expanded gradually to become one of the biggest mosques in China from 1660 on. Afterwards we will walk through the handicrafts, non-touristy walking streets. Here you will have a great opportunity to see how Uyghurs make musical instruments, knives, cradles, peep pipes, pots and so on. Your dinner will be in the local Uyghur restaurant in the old town and then talk a walk in the local Uyghur night Market near the Mosque. It is an amazing market to try all the Uyghur local snacks. You could see sheep and goat heads, legs and other cooked things for sale. Late in the evening, you will return back your hotel.

Day 6

Today we will visit the famous Kashgar market. Before we reach there however, we will first pay a visit to the tomb of Apak Hoja which is one of the best examples of Uyghur Muslim architecture in Xinjiang. Built in 1640, the tomb contains four buildings. One is a large mausoleum with 58 tombs from five generations buried there. Then we will visit the Market.

No visit to the Market is forgettable when up to one hundred thousand people gather to shop, browse and sell on Sundays. There's a very real reason this market is known as the biggest in Central Asia. The (Sunday)livestock market is especially interesting as the way of business still clings to time long past. In any business transaction, the middleman is the independent adjudicator responsible for fair play in any sale and an equitable agreement between both parties. Sales can often get quite rowdy, yet a rough handshake and beaming smile at the end of each says it all.

Your lunch will be at the popular Intisar fast food restaurant or in the Orda Polohanisi ('Palace Palau house' in Uyghur). In the afternoon we'll visit Kashgar Old Town, which is perhaps the most interesting part of Kashgar with over 2000 years of history. A traditional dinner will be served with a Uyghur family in the Old Town consisting of local delicacies. After dinner we'll stroll back down the back streets to your hotel through the atmosphere and history that make Kashgar so alluring.

Day 7

This is one of the most recommended tours between travelers. The landscape is extremely beautiful all the way to Pakistan next to some of the Earth's highest mountains including Muztagh Ata 7546m (meaning 'Father of Ice Mountains') and the 7719m giant Mount Kongur. Karakul Lake (3600m) is also very tranquil and you can see some old Silk Road inns (Caravan Saray) on the way. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn about the ways of the Silk Road past, still present in the 21st Century.

Kashgar - Karakul Lake - Tashkurgan (290km/180miles)

Our Silk Road tour guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at 7:30am local time from where we will head out along the Karakorum Highway (KKH) to Karakul Lake - the KKH was recently renamed the Sino-Pakistan Highway. On the way, we will stop off in Upal to visit the Mahmud Kashgari Tomb who was a famous Uyghur scholar in the 11th century. The scholar was particularly famous for his book named "Complete Turkish Dictionary". Upal is also an interesting village for its Monday market. In the village, we'll buy some fresh bread and fruits and some gifts (pens or pencils) for the Kyrgyz kids at Karakul Lake and set off along the famous Ghez River towards Kumtag (Sand Mountain)

The Ghez check point is only for checking passports and local IDs to Tashkurgan. Yet from this point on the road takes on a life of its own, dominated by the breathtaking beauty of mountains of three distinct colors. Rest assured, we will stop plenty of times to take photos. When we arrive at the Old Silk Road Inn, we will stop for a photo break by the Ghez River and again later on to walk next to Kum tagh. Sometimes it is not possible to cross the river due to the high waters.

From here we will drive on to Karakul Lake, where you can't fail to be impressed by the super massifs of Kongor Peak and Muztagh Ata (meaning 'Father of the Ice Mountain') over looking the lucid water of the lake. Karakul is a special place of intense beauty. Beside the lake one can see local people with their yaks, goats, sheep and camels. We will arrive at the Lake for lunch time where a Kyrgyz traditional meal awaits in a local Yurt (not a touristy Yurt).

Following lunch, you'll have two hours free time to walk besides the lake and ride horses or camels around it. Afterwards we will push on to Subash village to visit local Kyrgyz houses before driving to Tashkurgan where, on route, you will have the chance to view an old Kyrgyz grave yard beside the main road for photos. It takes about 2 hours to reach Tashkurgan and we can stop for photos as often as you wish. At Tagarma village, we will also visit a hot spring a few kms into the mountains (optional). All being well we will arrive in Tashkurgan at 5:00pm local time where you will check in to either the Pamir hotel or Stone city hotel. (booked as per your request). Later, you'll free time to walk around town. Dinner will be in one of the local Tajik restaurants.

Day 8

Tashkurgan - Tajik village - Karakul Lake - Kashgar (290km/180miles)

We will arrange a traditional Tajik breakfast for you with a Tajik family in a nearby village, with time available to walk around and visit the local mosque there. Then we will drive to Karakul Lake. On the way we will stop for break at a Tajik Graveyard, much different to either Uyghur or Kyrgyz. Lunch will be eaten back at the lake in a Kyrgyz yurt, and you will have time to hike as long as you like before we set off back to Kashgar arriving around 5:00pm local time. This tour is sure to leave with wonderful memories about Kyrgyz and Tajik villages, their houses, foods and their hospitality. Kyrgyz kids are especially extra cute with their tiny baby goats

Day 9

Kashgar to Hotan (540km/336 miles)

Our driver and experienced Silk Road guide will meet you at your hotel at 8:00am local time and drive you to Hotan. First stop is at a Yengisar Knife Factory in the famous knife town of the same name whose quality and workmanship are renown throughout Xinjiang.

Pushing on we will have lunch in Yarkant, a former capital of Uyghur Kingdoms in the Past. In Yarkant, we will visit the Golden Mosque, Amannisahan Tomb (a famous musician in 16th Century.), and Tomb of Kings during the Seidiye Kingdom and an interesting graveyard for locals in the Town. During the time of the Silk Road, Yarkant was a developed city and a major transportation hub. Throughout history, many musicians from India and Kashmir came here to learn.

After lunch, we will visit the old town and then drive on to Hotan. On the way, we will stop in Kargilik (Yecheng in Chinese) to see the Jamma Mosque and local market. We should arrive in Hotan at about 5:00pm local time and check into the 3 Star Muztagh Hotel.

Day 10

Hotan - Jiya village and Taklimakan Desert: (30km/19miles)

After breakfast, we will prepare a good pack lunch for the desert and drive out to the Imam Asim Tomb where we will go into the Taklimakan desert with camels. On the way there, we will stop in Jiya village to witness a traditional Silk and Atlas workshop and carpet factory. We will ride camels about 4 hours in the big sand dunes, camp out with out own tents and dine on real campfire food just as caravans did before us. This is an excellent way to experience real desert life. We cook using local tools and collect firewood locally – you can even help out if you like! Our camel driver always has a story or two to tell and a drowsy evening always ends a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Day 11

Imam Asim Tomb - Hotan (30km/19miles)

An early rise means a spectacular sunrise out in the desert and a fleeting moment that will remain with you forever. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs from sunup to sundown throughout the day. Beginning with a caravan breakfast, we saddle up the camels and return back out of the desert to the Imam Asim Tomb for lunch.

The tomb is particularly famous amongst locals in and around Hotan. In May, many people come from far and wide to pray at the tomb. They regard it as a holy place as there are few tombs and large mosques in Xinjiang for locals to pray in. Some local people also slaughter sheep or goats whose skulls and hides can sometimes be seen on site. Following lunch we drive back to your hotel in Hotan. After a hot shower in your hotel, we will visit the local night market.

Day 12

Today we will visit the carpet and silk factories where you can watch them weaving together beautiful carpets and making silk. This in a great cultural experience you'll not want to miss, and very educational too!
As time allows before your flight out of Hotan, you can also hunt for jade in the river bed, visit a 1,000 yr old walnut tree, or shop at the Hotan bazaar.
We will then drop you off at the airport where you can fly to Urumqi and on to your next destination.

Tour Destinations

Tour Overview

Xinjiang is famous for it’s ethnic minorities. In addition to Han Chinese and Uyghurs, Xinjiang also is home to significant populations of Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz, Mongols, Dongxiang, Tajik, and Xibe peoples. The centuries of trade on the Silk Road, the distance from Beijing and Xi’an (ancient capitals of China), and the proximity to neighboring nations and people groups, give the cities and oases of Xinjiang cultures and customs which are fascinatingly unique. Our Minority Culture Tour attempts take you into the lives and customs of the peoples of Xinjiang in a personal and respectful way.

*¥7,895RMB - p/person for a group of 5.
*¥8,450RMB - p/person for a group of 4.
*¥10,200RMB - p/person for a group of 3.
*¥11,495RMB - p/person for a group of 2.
+ For all tours between Sept. 28th-Oct. 12th, 14% will be added to the tour cost.

Includes: car, driver, tour guide, hotels, yurt (meals at yurt), camel, camel guide, tents and meals in the desert, train from Turpan to Kashgar

Excludes: meals, entrance fees, air fare, other train fares, personal expenses, tips

Cities to Visit

Heavenly Lake, Turpan, Tuyuk, Kashgar, Opal, Karakul Lake, Tashkorgan, Yengisar, Yarkant, Hotan

Sites and Specialties

Xinjiang, China, tours, Heavenly Lake, Turpan, Tuyuk home stay, Kashgar, meals in local's homes, Karakoram Highway, Karakul Lake, Tashkorgan, Yengisar famous knives, Yarakant, Hotan, camel desert trek
Categories: Discount Tours

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