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.

Visa Information

Most international travelers will need a visa to travel to China and it is the traveler’s responsibility to obtain the visa. We will help you in any way we can and provide a letter of invitation along with advice for the application, but as we are not the Chinese Embassy, we can only advise you on the application process, but you will need to check with the embassy in your location about required documentation and steps. As we have Americans on our team, we are most familiar with the application process for Americans and generally, Americans do have the easiest time of applying for Chinese visas, but we do also have lots of experience assisting Europeans, Australians, and other nationalities. If you would like to use a visa agency to assist you in the visa application process, we can make recommendations.

Once you obtain your Chinese visa, you can also enter Xinjiang, no permit required. There are certain areas like the Karakoram Highway where we do need to obtain a simple permit for travelers to visit. In these cases, we will need you to send a copy of your passport and any other members in your group. Failure to do so, will result in us not being able to arrange the trip for you and no refunds will be made.


Visa Extension

It is at times possible for ORT to assist customers in extending their visa. This depends upon the visa type and individual situation.

Can you issue Letters of Invitation (LOI) for China visa applications?

We are happy to issue a Letter of Invitation (LOI) and an official itinerary for customers who book a trip with us and pay a deposit.

What border crossings does ORT arrange?

Khunjerab (Hunjirab)Pass (Kashgar-Sost)

  • ORT partners with an agent in Pakistan for drop-off/pick-up in Tashkurgan
  • ORT will meet you or drop you off at Tashkurgan
  • Highest border crossing in the world
  • Tourists can only cross into Pakistan in the mornings, not afternoons.
  • Open from May 1st to December 31st, closed from January to April. (subject to change and weather conditions)

Irkeshtam pass (Kashgar-Pass)

  • ORT partners with an agent in Kyrgyzstan for drop-off/pick-up at the border
  • ORT will meet you or drop you off at the border (before/after customs)

Torugat Border Pass (Kashgar-Pass)

  • ORT partners with an agent in Kyrgyzstan for drop-off/pick-up at the border
  • ORT will meet you or drop you off at the border (before/after customs)

When can we cross those borders?

Borders are closed weekends and certain holidays. They are also closed for lunch break.

Are special permits needed for border crossings to/from neighboring countries?

A special permit is needed to cross the China-Kyrgyzstan border at the Torugat border crossing.

Torugat Border Permit: We can normally arrange this permit in one day for you or your group if you want to cross the border from China to Kyrgyzstan or Kyrgyzstan to China. To receive this permit our tour guide and driver must accompany you. Please provide us with the following information:

  • Full name (as listed on your passport)
  • Gender
  • Passport Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Chinese Visa number and type of visa
  • Date of arrival or crossing at the border and number of people

Are special permits needed to travel to Xinjiang?

No, you do not need a permit to enter Xinjiang. The major cities and tourist attractions can be accessed like any other city in China - no special permits necessary.  However, some out-of-the-way areas of Xinjiang require a special permit to access. ORT has many years of experience obtaining special permits for our guests. Here is a list of some of the more common permits that are required:

Muz Tagh Ata Climbing Permit

This is a special permit for the Adventure tourists. We can get this permit for you and your group in 30 days officially. For this permit, we need all your passport and Chinese Visa details. Additionally we must provide the office with our official climbing itinerary.

Karakul Lake Area Trekking Permit

If you would like to do some trekking around Karakul Lake, a permit is also needed. As of May, 2017, the permit price has increased and is now around 4,000-6,000 RMB per group for overnight trekking around the Karakul Lake area. Due to the uncertainty of the permit price and regulations, we cannot guarantee this price will not change. 

K2 Base Camp Trekking Permit

This is a permit for trekking in this area. We must get permission from several different related offices to get the permit. It takes about 15- 20 days. You will need to provide us with all of your passport and Chinese Visa details and confirmed trekking itinerary, which we will help you prepare. To receive this permit our tour guide must accompany you.

Niya Ancient City Visiting Permit

This is one of the most costly permits to obtain. It takes about 3-5 days to get the permit.

Bayanbulak (Bayingolin) Traveling Permit

You will need this permit to visit Swan Lake or to stay overnight there. We can arrange this permit in one working day.


Booking Policy

After finalizing the itinerary with your travel consultant, a 20% deposit is due to confirm your booking. No reservations will be made until we receive the deposit. If you would like us to make train reservations, we require full payment for those reservations. Final payment is due 30 days before your departure date. If you book a tour less than 30 days before your departure date, full payment will be required upfront to confirm your reservations.


Payment Policy

We accept the following payment methods:

1. International Bank Transfer to China: If you would like to transfer us money internationally, we will send you an invoice with our bank details on it. Please let us know if you need the account details in Chinese or English. You will be expected to cover any bank transfer fees and your bank should let you know these costs upfront. You can make the payment in other currencies such as USD or Euros. We will receive the payment in the currency you send and then transfer the money into RMB (CNY) according to the rates set by the Bank of China. All payments are settled in RMB. 

2. Domestic Bank Transfer in China/Bank of China ATM transfer: There are usually very minimal fees involved and we recommend this option if you are living in China. You can either make a transfer from your account to our Bank of China account or also go to a Bank of China ATM and transfer the money that way. In either case, we will send you the invoice and details in Chinese and English along with instructions if needed. 

3. WeChat Pay: This is another great option for those living in China. We will send you our WeChat account details and then you can directly send the money to us that way. 

4. Credit card payment online via Paypal: If you would like to pay online with a credit card or another accepted payment option through Paypal, we will email you the Paypal invoice. Paypal also charges a 5% service fee which the traveler is required to pay. You can make the payment in other currencies but the final amount will be settled in RMB according to Bank of China’s daily cash buying rates.

5. TransferWise: A convenient way to send money internationally with much lower fees than banks, but only certain countries can send money to China. For a list of supported countries, see this list.


Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your tour after booking, please refer to the below cancellations terms:

•60 days+ before, we will retain the deposit plus the cancellation fees for any train tickets

•31-59 days before departure, we will retain 50% of the tour cost plus the cancellation fees for any train tickets

•7-30 days before departure , we will retain 70% of the tour cost plus the cancellation fees for any train tickets

•If you cancel less than a week in advance, we will retain the full cost of the tour plus the cancellation fees for any train tickets

If for any reason you do not complete any portion of the tour or leave the tour after departure, no refund will be given unless Old Road Tours makes an exception.

If we need to cancel a tour up to 30 days before departure due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability, or any other external events that makes the tour not viable for us to operate, we will make a full refund minus any cancellation fees levied by hotels, airlines, train ticket offices, etc. where we cannot get a refund. If we need to cancel a tour less than 30 days in advance due to any of the above reasons, it is up to our discretion about the refund amount. This is why we highly encourage purchasing trip insurance.


Last Minute Bookings

We are happy to make last minute bookings and we try to be as flexible as possible, but due to the inconvenience and necessary time required to make last minute arrangements, we will add the below fees to your tour cost:

•For bookings 3-6 days in advance, a 300 RMB fee 

•For bookings 1-2 days in advance, a 400 RMB fee 

Please note that these fees do not apply to walk-in bookings at our office in Kashgar. 

Tour Itinerary

Due to the unpredictable nature of travel in China, and especially in Xinjiang Province, Old Road Tours reserves the right to make any necessary changes to the itinerary before or during the tour. If we need to make changes to the itinerary prior to your arrival, we will notify you and discuss suitable alternatives. During the tour, if changes need to be made, we will also let you know and discuss suitable alternatives. Traveling in China is always an adventure so please prepare to be flexible!

Train tickets are subject to availability. We reserve the right to change the ticket type or mode of transport depending on availability. If your requested train or train ticket class is not available, we will let you know and present you with alternatives.

If you want to make any changes to the itinerary prior to paying the deposit, we are happy to do that. After you pay the deposit, we will confirm all the reservations, i.e. hotels, guides, drivers, etc. If you want to make any changes to the itinerary after this, you will need to pay a fee of 100 RMB per request plus any fees charged by the hotel, train ticket offices, and other service providers for making these changes, which we will outline for you. If you would just like to add a day or more to your trip, then no fee will be charged unless it means having to change an already confirmed hotel or other reservation.

Purchasing Airfare and Train Tickets

You are welcome to book your own airfare and train tickets. We cannot purchase airfare, but we can purchase train tickets for you. We generally encourage you to book your own airfare online and we will direct you to the cheapest websites and give you guidance on which flight(s) to book. Airfare prices fluctuate throughout the year but it is generally cheapest to book 1-3 months in advance and the summer months (July-August) will be the most expensive. We recommend you use Chinese booking websites like Ctrip as international sites such as Expedia, Kayak, etc. often charge much higher prices.

Train Ticket prices in China never change but train tickets can be more difficult to purchase and availability is often limited, especially during busy travel times such as July and August, Chinese New Year, and the first week of October, which is a national holiday and many local Chinese are traveling. We are happy to help you with purchasing your train tickets. Tickets can be purchased 30-60 days in advance depending on the tickets. Generally, overnight sleeper trains can sell out very quickly, even on the first day they go on sell. High speed train tickets can often be purchased very last minute as the prices are higher than the normal trains and many locals will opt for the cheaper options. If you request for us to book a certain seat or sleeper class on the trains, we will do our best to fulfill your request, but due to the unpredictable nature of the train ticket system in China, we will inform you if we cannot and offer alternatives. We recommend booking at least 60 days in advance if you will also need to purchase train tickets for your journey.