Things to Do in Xinjiang Uygur
Karakoram Highway
4.5

Top ways to experience Karakoram Highway and nearby attractions

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles19 reviews
Excellent
12
Very good
7
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JekyllHyde
Stuttgart, Germany91 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We booked the Kashgar-must "Karakoram Highway in two days" with Abdul Cafe.

Email contact was professional and in great English. Abdul answered our questions patiently and thoroughly. Phone contact was even better.

We booked the cheaper option with only a driver without guide. This is fine if you know "survival Chinese".

Expect to be in a normal sedan for 5-7 hours per day depending on the road conditions (which Abdul can inform you about beforehand) and how many times you stop for taking photos.
Roughly 60% of the way is off-road due to construction.

The views on the way are beautiful and there are many scenic spots to take photos. Be aware that there are no real options for lunch or to buy snacks and water outside the two checkpoints on the way. But there is the option of buying bread, water and fruit at the first stop, Opal village.

For the checkpoints you need a permit which Abdul organized. Should you attempt to take the local bus for this trip you need to get the permit by yourselves.

Once arriving at the lake we were greeted with yak butter tea and a smile. Soon after we headed off to Tashgorkahn to see the anticlimactic stone fort (except maybe for history buffs) and the beautiful Pamir Grasslands.
We went back to overnight in the Yurt and were greeted with a simple warm meal. Expect the host to try to sell some of her homemade crafts, which we kindly refused. Tip: Don't ask for a price if you don't want to buy.

The nights and the mornings are quite cold around the lake but there are plenty of blankets in the Yurt to slept warm. A heated Yurt is available for the faint hearted.

Uighur house rules:
1. don't blow your nose inside the house
2. When washing your hands don't shake off the water. Wait for a towel to dry your hands
3. Drink your tea with both hands
4. If you empty your bowl, expect second servings.

The next morning we took the chance for sunrise pictures and walked a bit by the lake to enjoy the peace and quite. Afterwards we headed back to Kashgar.

Our driver always put safety first. Seeing at least three completely smashed cars from recent accidents this was well appreciated.

It's a very beautiful trip and well worth while.
Written October 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SydneysiderCS
Greater Sydney, Australia38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Solo
Absolutely beautiful scenery. Definitely a highlight of my trip to Xinjiang. The China/Pakistani border was closed the day I was there, but I got close enough and the scenery was just magnificent. Altitude can be a problem so rent an oxygen bag just in case.

I stayed in the two-star Binlixin Hotel (old wing). It's not the best place to stay. Several things didn't work in the room and the bathroom is pretty dirty grotty. No hot water when I was there. The attached restaurant is handy though. Try Singapore-run Crown Inn if your budget allows. Heard good things about them.

Abdul from Uighurs Tours (in Qinibagh Hotel in Kashgar) organised the car and driver. He is efficient and responsive, and the driver, also named Abdul, was careful and friendly and also speaks a little English which really helped. Comfortable car. Recommended. Their office is in the Qinibagh Hotel on Seman Road, Kashgar.
Written May 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kidman255068
Brisbane, Australia52 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Family
The amazing thing is that on such a superb road the speed limit is only 80 for cars and 60 for bus/trucks .Be ready for multiple security check stops .
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Letramm
Melbourne, Australia68 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Couples
n August 2013 my partner and I ventured into Xijiang primarily to visit Kashgar and travel to the border region near Pakistan.
For foreigners I had read a great deal and understood that the checkpoint at Gaz would provide some challenges. China controls very strictly travel up to the frontiers. (We later witnessed the through checking of buses and cars en route)

We were draw to Kashgar by its very old markets, its primary location on the Silk route, its history with Marco Polo and Genghis Khan to mention only a few of the attractions. We wanted to experience the old town, the food and culture.

We were not disappointed and spent over 5 days in the area. We researched a suitable guide to enrich the experience and better connect us with the area and people. Often I have traveled without tours and guides to add to the flexibility and immerse in the culture but in this case considering the region challenges and some unrest in recent times (fine for foreigners) I handed over to our guide Waheed. The beauty of the guide and driver combination was total flexibility.

We found ourselves landed in the old quarter of Kashgar to stay day one. We were taken to the most exquisite local restaurant a veritable Aladdin's cave of an experience veiled, bejeweled women and superb food, all very magical.

We set off on the famous Karakoram Highway up to the Pamir Plateau over the following days to Oytagh Glacier, Karakuli Lake under the magnificent Mt Muztagh and stayed in a Felt Yurt with a Kyrgyzs family who invited us to dinner. The following day up to the Pakistan border (all at altitude). Returning to Tashgurkan, the stone fort and on to Kashgar and her markets and back streets.

There is a life time of memories in the above passages. How to choose a guide. I opted to research and use word of mouth. I looked for some one who had lead expeditions on Mt Muztagh thereby proving their organisational skills (I am an old mountain climber and know what it takes).

I found and recommend Waheed Karakhan waheedtour@gmail.com who was the most delight engaging guide. He was sensitive to our every need and had that wonderful capacity to read between the lines and cater accordingly in an unobtrusive way and was totally intune with what we were really looking for. His wealth of regional and cultural knowledge is astonishing. What I found important was his connnectedness to a range of locals and officials along the Karakoram Highway. That opened doors instantly. His driver was excellent and believe me on the treacherous Karakoram Highway you need a driver of his skill, maturity, patience and judgement.

contact me on any point please. Phil
Written September 9, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jandSydney
sydney7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2012 • Friends
With a group of 7 friends I toured Xinjiang in September. We researched the places to go & things to do & then contacted Old Road Tours which is a Kashgar based tour company run by Uyghur brothers. The response was immediate, all communication easy and all our plans were accommodated at a very reasonable cost. Through the professionalism, friendliness & flexibility of the guides from this company who speak excellent English we were able to explore this fascinating region & develop some understanding of the local culture. The drivers & modes of transport were excellent. It is possible to travel with this great company in comfort or at many levels of adventure. We chose bazaars, local meals (yum!), villages, Kashgar, a trip over the Karakorum Highway, Karakul Lake, Dunhuang caves, Turpan, Hotan to name just a few. Our trip was two weeks which was a fleeting visit. If you have any interest in the Silk Route this is the region to visit & this is the company to choose. They'll give you a travel experience that is authentic in a region they know & love.
Written October 5, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

xally85
Malaysia34 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Couples
A drive through Karakoram will allow you to see endless variety of landscape, from snow capped mountains, to red mountains with their minerals, the Gez river and of course the famous Karakul lake.

Beautiful view, not to be missed.
Written April 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adri B
Costa Rica15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Couples
Islamja 是一个非常棒的司机一个不可思议的人。开车非常小心,在每一个需要拍照的地方都会停下来让游客拍照,让大家休息和上厕所。我们在喀什的一家青旅拿到他的电话号码。我们到Tashkurgan一直走Karakoram高速公路,走了一晚上,第二天我们住在karakol湖边的Guilis,睡在蒙古包里。你们可以通过电话预定18719937554。我可以想象冬天睡在蒙古包里是非常冷的,我们六月住在这里加上暖气很舒适。如果你想找更暖和的房子住,Islamja也能帮你在Gulis帐篷附近找到。Islamja能说普通话、维吾尔语、当地语言和一点英语,但没关系,我相信你能找到相互交流的方法,他态度非常好,如果他的客人开心他也会非常开心!想联系他就打这个电话13899182327

Islamja is a great driver. He drives always carefully and will stop as many times as you need to take pictures enjoy the view or just stretch or go to the toilet!. We got his contact recommended by the international youth hostel recommendation in kashgar. We did the Karakoram highway all the way to Tashkurgan for a night, and the second day we slept at Gulis yurt on the Karakol lake (you can book with her at phone number: 18719937554). I can imagine in winter yurts can be really cold during the evening (we were there in June and it was ok because they have heating) but if you need some place warmer Islamja also can suggest a guest house near Gulis yurt! Islamja's speaks mandarin, Uighur the local language and a bit of English, but anyway even if you're not a mandarin native speaker I'm sure you can find the way to understand each other if you speak basic Chinese, he has a great attitude and will do as much as he can to keep his guests happy! To contact him call him at 13899182327.
Written October 30, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

alikarim
Dallas, TX1,253 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Couples
We took this trip from Kashgar to Tashkurgan with Thirsty Camel Tours. Abdul was our guide and spoke excellent English, and has an excellent grasp of the local area history, customs, people and their way of life. We started early in the morning from Kashgar, and stopped for breakfast at Opal village, a small Uyghur ethnic town. Breakfast was Polo (pilau) and local tea.

Beautiful scenery along the way as we entered the Karakoram mountains on our left, and the Pamirs on our right. Snow-cap mountains accompanied us along the way. We stopped at Karakul lake, which was a beautiful crater lake on a Pamir plateau high up in the mountains, with Muztagh mountain towering above the Karakul lake. A very beautiful site, with local yurts along the side of the lake. You can trek around the lake on foot, or rent the horses. Place was a little cold and windy, so be sure to take warm clothes.

Then drove onto Tashkurgan, and the road turned into an off road drive because of the KKH that is currently being reconstructed into a nice highway. Because Of recent rains in the area, the roads were quite muddy and bumpy. You do pass small villages, but it is mostly remote agricultural outposts. We did see some Chinese army activities and buildings in remote areas; expected since this is close to various borders (Kyrghiz, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan). Drive to Tashkurgan took over 10hrs due to the road construction, multiple photo stops etc, and also a couple of police checkpoints. To cross this area, you do need to get prior approvals in Kashgar, which Abdul had handled and managed beforehand.

Tashkurgan is a good size Tajik town, very clean with wide boulevards. Stayed at the Crown Inn, which is the best hotel in town. The Local Museum, theStone Fort and the Grasslands are great spots to soak in the history and beautiful views around Tashkurgan
Written August 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SilkRoadExpeditions
Kashgar, China28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Friends
as everyone elso discribed ,karakoram highway day trip or two from kashgar might be the most accessible beautiful outdoor trip , i would highly recommend a a day trip ,otherwise overnight trip until tashkorgan , don't forget to make a stop at opal village which is mostly local uyghur populated village ,nice stop for snacks and lunch for the way , it would also be nice view if you would stop at the red coulored mountain range once you enter mountain part of the road , please bear in mind that you can not take picture of the army checkpoint wich is called gez on the way , make sure that you have your passport with you to pass through ,
stop at bulung kul lake and karakul lake , there are kyrgyz yurts beside the lake can offer accomodation and food ,
list of top spots on the karakoram highway on the china side would be :

opal village ,bulungkul lake , karakul lake ,muztagh ata , subash pass(4000m) ,stone forte relic ,down town of tashkorgan , khunjirap pass(4900m,)
Written December 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Flavia C
Shanghai, China50 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
Our road trip on the Karakoram Highway (Chinese side) was amazing. We traveled with Old Road Tours who arranged our drives for us and our accommodation during the 3 day trip to Khunjarab Pass via Tashgurkan. We spent 1 night in a yurt on the side of the Karakul lake and, no matter how cold it was, it represented definitely a high point during our 1 week staying in Xinjiang Province. Highly recommended!
Written October 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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