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“Great views and great times! Recommendations for people using Old Road Tours”
Review of Taklamakan Desert

Taklamakan Desert
Ranked #55 of 680 things to do in Xinjiang Uygur
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Attraction details
Owner description: Nicknamed the "sea of death," this desert along the Pakistan border is considered to one of the world's most hostile wastelands.
Reviewed August 4, 2014

We went on a four day hike with Pattie. He was a lovely guy with a great sense of humour! The trip was very interesting and people are required to get the hiking permit through a guide for KK lake so a tour guide was needed. If you want to have a tour guide I would highly recommend Pattie/ Old Road Tours. We have posted our pictures on Facebook and have lots of admirers.

Recommendations to people using Abdul Tours/ Old Road Tours:

I would just suggest that people get a detailed description of the itinerary. We had thought that we were getting private accommodation but ended up in shared rooms two of the three nights. We enjoyed meeting the other people in our room and enjoyed the authentic experience staying in the sheep herders house so we were happy, but that might not suit everyone's tastes.

I would also highly recommend if you are not happy with the breakfast and lunch (We were being offered stale and sometimes fresh bread as the majority of the meal of breakfast and lunch at the beginning of our tour which is not really what you want before or right after a long trek). I did not hesitate after spending a lot on this tour to ask for home made meals/ warm food and this was accommodated for. However, I did speak to others on the trail who did not ask to change the food and they were disappointed so I would suggest asking.

Lastly, I would suggest trying to get a group together as the cost of going with just two people was very expensive, especially considering the low costs of operating in China.

6  Thank SlackerHacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 - 8 of 12 reviews

Reviewed May 17, 2014

My friend and I arrived in Kashgar with some travel ideas, which Abdul and his extended family (most of whom are also named Abdul) created a wonderful trip for us down the Karakoram Highway and to Tashkorgan. They even offered to pick us up and drop us off at the airport! They were very friendly, very professional, and fun to explore with! Highest possible recommendation!

4  Thank A4727JCandrews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

During our trip to Xinjiang we decided to spend 1 day in the desert, visiting part of the South Silk Road from Kashgar to Yarkand. We had the chance to visit Yengisar (famous for its knives), Yarkand (the core of Uygur spirit) and the Karasu section of the Taklamakan Desert were we did camel back riding for about 1 hour. The whole day was accurately arranged by Old Road Tours by Abdul Wahab and this definitely gave it a plus in terms of contents and experience.

3  Thank Flavia C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

A friend and I rented a car and driver from Old Road Tours Tour Company based in Kashgar. We started our journey from Urumqi taking the cross desert highway through the Taklamakan to Keriya, Hotan, Taxkorgan and Kashgar. It was spectacular... Our drivers were just great guys who wanted us to have a good time. We tried many different food experiences and the scenery was fabulous. If you are not used to Chinese hotels then the accommodation might seem a little minimalistic. However it is all pretty clean and tidy.

9  Thank Kim W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 24, 2012

I was back recently from an organised cycling trip across the Taklamakan Desert. It was the first time Singaporeans participated in this event, cycling from Luntai (轮台) to Minfeng (民丰).

It wasn't an easy journey to begin with – six hours to reach Shanghai, waited for five to get the connecting flight, then another five to reach the famed Urumqi (Uyghur, translated as 优美的草原), top off with a 14-hour land journey to reach the desert’s fringe. It is dumbfounding to experience the vastness of this autonomous region in China, more than 2,200 times the land mass of Singapore. You just have to behold the magnitude of its enormity yourself – towering snow-capped mountain ranges, rolling grass plains, miles of industrial establishments, and more miles of empty spaces – words fail me.

Someone said there are places you can get to by road, and there are places you can only get to by being on the road. Never been in a desert before, the sight truly beckons. Landscapes from rows of 胡杨树 that gradually thins away into 骆驼刺 to nothing but featureless windswept sand dunes, it was a sight to behold.

We pitched tents in the desert for overnights. The air was chilly, the surrounding eerily silent, lit up only by the moon. There was this 滚滚黄沙, 清风冷月 feeling. We huddled together for dinner, then a merry session with Chinese barley beers and the ubiquitous 新疆白酒 while witnessing the Milky Way amidst the sea of stars. It was as stirring as it was surreal.

Cycling across the Taklamakan Desert Highway was all about endurance. Chills at daybreaks were replaced by desert heat once the sun turned on its boilers. Saddle sore started creeping in, arms began to ache, neck began to stiffen, and mind started to get lulled and whitewashed by the featureless backdrop surrounding us. The days were spent between freezing and thawing while reeling in the desert highway. With throttles opened, we were breathing in dust and sand. The sun continued its scorched-earth policy while we sweat dirt from every pore. We had sand in our mouths, sand in our hair, sand in every orifice, sand in my PnS camera sensor and sand in our riding shorts.

Tracing back from where we came from, we looked back in disbelief and couldn't imagine we did the almost 400km of riding. Like all adventures, it began at a crossroad in life, and being exposed on the barren roads in such raw vulnerability is deliberate; one that transcends common logic and reasoning. But it turned out to be our most sublime and soaring experience. Indeed, it is a milestone etched in our lives, one which we can always revisit with delight.

Understood that this would remain as an obscure review in Trip Advisor. But to those who has this dream of cycling in foreign (and maybe forbidden lands), do drop me a mail!

28  Thank Reincarnated
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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