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Kashgar

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Kashgar (喀什; Kāshí; Uyghur: قەشقەر) is in the extreme west of China and the Southwest extreme of Xinjiang. It is also at a junction between two branches of the old Silk Road.

Contents

Understand[edit]

Kashgar has been an important trading centre since the days of the Silk Road, and still is today. The road from Eastern and Central China branches out to both the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the desert.

The local population is a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks, boasting a colorful ethnic variety.

The city is said to have the largest bazaar in Asia.

Get in[edit]

Travelling in this area has several options, with a direct relationship between how much you are willing to pay and how fast you want to get to your destination. Trains are the slowest and only leave a few times a day, but are the best value for money. Be sure to book train tickets at least 7-10 days in advance in the summer months to guarantee a sleeper berth, as they fill up quickly.

By plane[edit]

Kashgar Airport (IATA: KHG) is 18km north of the town centre. Flights are available to/from Urumqi, as well as direct flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou. As of July 2013, discounted tickets from/to Urumqi cost between 700-800RMB.

It is also linked with Pakistan's capital Islamabad,through Rayyan Air a Pakistani private carrier{|www.rayyanair.com}} & chartered cargo and passenger services.The return fare between Kashgar and Islamabad is just USD 330. Rayyan Air also offers very affordable services from Kashgar to Dubai, Jeddah and Istanbaul via Islamabad at USD 800/1100 and usd 1400 respectively. Rayyan Air office contact at Kashgar is 13899100802 and Islamabad office tell phone- +92 333 777 99 24/26/27/28/33. Email address- reservations@rayyanair.com.

A taxi to the city should cost about 30 yuan by meter. Shuttle buses leaving from the International Hotel at People's Square are available for 10元 per person. The airport has its own shuttle bus that goes from the airport into any location in town (just tell the driver where you are going) for 15元. There is also a public bus that goes to/from the airport to most locations in town, the line 2, for 1元. To get to the public bus, you must walk straight out of the front entrance of the airport, past the airport gates, and turn right. There is a bus stop about 20 meters walk towards the town. Alternatively, board the bus about 20 meters to the left of the entrance at its terminus.

By train[edit]

Kashgar Railway Station (喀什火车站; Kǎshì Huǒchēzhàn) is the main train station in the city. It is on Renmin East Road (人民东路; Rénmíndōnglù). Although it is east of the town centre, the distance is too far for walking. Bus 28 connects the city including Renmin Square (人民广场; Rénmín Guángchǎng), to the train station. From the train station, walk out and turn right and you will probably see a bus waiting there already. The fare is ¥1 and is paid onboard. If you do not know where you are going, get on bus 28, get off at Renmin Square and figure things out from there; the downtown is walkable and Xinhua Bookstore (新华书店; Xīnhuá Shūdiàn), is right next to the main square where you will be able to purchase the best maps of Kashgar for about ¥5-8 (however, these maps are only in Chinese).

From the train station, Qinibagh and Seman Hotels can be reached a couple of stops after Renmin Square on bus 28 and then walking uphill for about 5 minutes; the people on the bus can probably help you and most people on the street know where these places are.

Kashgar is at the end of the Urumqi-Kashgar line. Destinations of interest include:

  • Korla - takes about 13-16 hours
  • Kuqa - takes about 9-11 hours
  • Urumqi - Fast train K9788 - takes 24 hours, departs at 13:15 ,Train 7558 - takes 32 hours, departs at 8:15
  • Turpan - about 22 hours by the fast train

Kashgar–Hotan Railway has been completed and is now also open. Stops include but are not limited to:

  • Yarkand - takes about 4 hours
  • Hotan - takes about 10-12 hours

By bus[edit]

International Bus Station is at 5 Jicheng Road

  • Korla- takes about 16 hours
  • Kuqa- takes about 11 hours
  • Urumqi- takes about 24 hours
  • Sost, Pakistan- overnight stay at Tashkurgan required at own expense
  • Hotan- takes about 10 hours . If you take the night bus, it takes about seven hours, letting you out in front of Hotan's Jiaotong Bingguan (Traffic Hotel) at 3:30am.
  • Tashkurgan- takes about 8 hours
  • Yecheng- takes about 4 hours
  • Ili- takes about 26 hours

To Kyrgyzstan[edit]

  • To Osh, two weekly direct sleeper buses (Mon and Fri) are leaving at 10:00 (Beijing time) and the trip takes about 18 hours. The price is pricey at ¥580 and the buses depart from Kahsgar international bus station(North of town on the road to the Airport).

It is less expensive, and maybe even faster, to get to Osh, or at least to Sary Tash in Kyrgyzstan using a combination of service taxis and trucks.

At Kashgar’s International Bus Station you can get a shared taxi/van from outside the bus station to Wuqia, arrive early, but not too early, as Chinese Immigration doesn’t open until 11AM Beijing time (Chinese immigration checkpoint). If you arrive at 7AM Beijing time, you should get to the immigration checkpoint before 11AM or just after, including the waiting time for the car to fill up. The drivers will find you when you arrive; it is 30 Yuan per person, just make sure you’re clear about the price. It will help if your travel party in larger so you can fill the seats quicker. You do not need to line up for a bus ticket.

If you’re looking for other people to share costs, walk around to all the Youth Hostels in Kashgar – Pamir and Old Town are a good place to start.

You’ll probably then be dropped off somewhere in the town close by to the immigration checkpoint. Although, sometimes it is a far walk away, so getting a taxi is advisable, from anywhere in town it should just cost 10-15 Yuan to get to the checkpoint.

From the checkpoint, it is now illegal to hitch hike the rest of the 150km road to the Kyrgyz border. The Chinese officials will help you organise a car for this leg of the journey. It is 150 Yuan per person and again, you’ll have to wait until it is full before it leaves, so the larger your travel party the better. Although, if you are solo there have been reports where the border guards have gotten irritated and just let travellers get on a truck heading towards the Kyrgyz border.

The road between the first checkpoint to the border is on and off terrible, some parts are new and paved, others are bumpy and muddy. There is still a lot of new road construction going on in the area, give the 150 kilometres at least 3-4 hours. There are a dozen checkpoints along the road and the last one before the Kyrgyz border reopens at 2:30PM so if you get there, just hang tight. If you’re lucky your driver will be allowed to drop you off on the Kyrgyz border, if not, the border is around a 2-kilometre walk, down hill.

From the official Kyrgyz borderline it is a further 3 kilometres or so to immigration. The guards will cheerfully check your passports and will help you hitch a ride with a truck for this 3 kilometres, although sometimes, depending on traffic, it can be faster to walk. Immigration on the Kyrgyz side is straightforward; they check your passports, take a photo of your face and stamp you in; after that there is another check of passports and stamps and another photo of you is taken.

To get from the border to Sary Tash it will cost you around 10USD, if your car is full, or you can hitch a ride with a truck; this takes around 2 hours. To get to Osh a taxi will cost 6000 Som for the entire car, which can fit 6 people so sharing is advisable; this takes 4-6 hours. Alternatively, hitching a ride to Osh is also possible and you’ll be expected to pay around 10-20USD, however, very few trucks plough this route during night hours, so if you are hitching, be prepared with food and water to bunk up somewhere along the way. Also, another fun part about this is that you will probably be asked, on multiple occasions, to go into someone’s home for food and drink. You may also opt for just going to Sary Tash and getting a shared ride to Osh the next day. (This is as of September 2013)


  • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan- You will need a special permit if you're a foreigner. Most foreigners use the services of a travel agency. There is a direct bus, it takes about 16 hours including overnight stay (you must have PSB permit and valid visa for Kyrgyzstan).

By car[edit]

The Karakoram Highway runs from Pakistan into China. Kashgar is the nearest major town on the Chinese end.

Get around[edit]

Most of Kashgar including the bus station, bazaar, main square, downtown (with the notable exception of the animal market) can be reached on foot within 15-20 minutes of each other if you are not carrying huge amounts of baggage. The train station is too far to walk but is reachable with public bus 28 which, among other places, stops at Renmin Square (人民广场; Rénmín Guángchǎng), the main square. The international bus station is near the city and walkable.

The old town and narrow alleyways are pretty much only explorable on foot.

Cross streets carefully in Kashgar as no pedestrian crossings are available.

Cycling is an option but the traffic is somewhat dangerous, so only do this if you are experienced with this kind of traffic environment. Bicycles can be rented at major hotels such as Qinibagh for typically less than ¥30/day.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Mor Buddhist Pagoda. Mor Buddhist pagoda is located about 40kms northeast of Kashgar city,.Mor Buddhist Pagoda was built in 7th century during the Tang dynasty and destroyed 12th century. Nowadays only left one pagoda, next to pagoda is a platform. The pagoda is the place where the monks in the city to come and do their worship. The Mor pagoda has three square layers, each a little smaller than the one below it. The bottom layer has circumferences of more than forty-eight meters, the second layer forty meters and the third layer thirty-two meters, while the pagoda stands more than twelve meters high. The platform beside the pagoda was one of the central temple structures, and in its side walls were carved niches housing Buddha figurines. But now there aren’t any figures left, and even the niches themselves are barely invisible.  edit

Bazaars[edit]

  • Mal Bazaar, (Take bus 23 from the East Bazaar (near the Normal University) to get there. Around 40 mins ride. 30 RMB by taxi from the city). Sundays. The livestock market, where locals from all the surrounding villages come to town to buy and sell animals. It is held on an open and fenced ground. It is popular with tourists, but the market is so big it still feels like a working bazaar.  edit
  • Yengi Bazaar. Daily. The handicrafts, cloths, carpets and anything-else-you-can-expect market. Less crowded on weekdays. Bargain hard!  edit

Old Town[edit]

  • Old Town. There are two parts of the old town worth visiting - 1) Areya Street, which has nice, uyghur styled architecture and has a bit of history 2) 'Gaotai residence' (Gaotai Minju) which are old slum-like mud houses that can be seen very prominently from Donghui Park. It used to cost 30 RMB to get in, but no tourists are officially allowed now due to safety concerns - worries that the mud houses may collapse. There's no one enforcing this though, so visitors are still free to wander around.  edit

Other sights[edit]

Id Kah Mosque
  • Id Kah Mosque. Open 8:50AM-10PM though closed during services. First built in 1442, it is distinctive for its yellow walls and Central Asian architecture. Women are generally not allowed inside, but modestly dressed foreigners should have no problem. You should remove your shoes before entering the carpeted area. ¥20.  edit
  • Tomb of Apak Hoja, (It is 3km from the city center, Bus number 20 From Renmin Square , or taxi). 8AM-5:30PM, prayer day is Friday. A massive, elegant building created in 1640 in typical Islamic style. Also a pilgrimage site. This is also the resting place of the "Fragrant Concubine", although the historial mentions of her rebellion against the Chinese imperial army are delicately omitted in the tomb's accompanying introduction. ¥30.  edit
  • Tomb of Yusup Khass Hajip. The tomb of Kashgar's much loved philosopher and poet who wrote the 13,290-line poem The Wisdom of Happiness and Pleasure in the Uighur language. ¥30.  edit
  • Tomb of Mahmud Kashgari, (About an hour's drive from Kashgar in Upal). The tomb of an Uyghur scribe, famous for compiling a dictionary of the Turkic languages in the 11th century. This picturesque complex is situated on a hillside and includes a mosque and a sacred spring. Upal boasts a lively bazaar too. yen;30.  edit
  • Davakul Lake, [1]. Davakul Lake is located 130 km from Kashgar, on the southeast tip of Taklimakan Desert. Davakul means "curing lake" in Uyghur language. It is one of the nearest place to Kashgar to do one or more days camel trekking in the Taklamakan Desert. ¥30.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • karakoram tours (http://www.silkroadexpedition.net), kashgar to kunjirap pass, [2]. karakoram highway trip is one of the best trip to do when you are in kashgar (,two day) edit
  • muztagh ata climbing and trekking around the karakul lake, [3]. it takes 18 to 22 days total to climb muztagh ata which is 7546m, and one of the best mountains to skii after summit,and it is non technical climb that you can all the way walk up to the summit , and you can also trek around the muztagh ata base camp and karakul lake area for week or two ,  edit
  • k2 trekking, [4]. trekking to k2 from kashgar is one of the adventurous expeditions in the world , it will be total 20 to 23 days expedition including your arrival and departure (,22 days) edit
  • Shipton's Arch Trekking, [5]. It is one day trek done in steeply walled canyons and over Rocky River bed terrain. The arch is 500 meters high and 100 meters wide which is least known of the natural wonders of the world (,1 day trek) edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

The price of everything is negotiable in Kashgar, adding to excitement of shopping. Be polite in bargaining, but be mindful that merchants will overcharge you as a foreigner especially if you do not speak Uyghur or Chinese; so bargain hard. Price differences between locals and foreigners can easily amount to several hundred yuan so be careful. Local specialities include various carpets made in locally or imported from surrounding countries, Yingisar Knives, colourful Uyghur hats for men and women (doppa, kalpak),wood works, ceramics,jewellery,local jades and musical instruments.It is also good to buy some dried local fruits to try during your trip in Xinjiang.[6]

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are plenty of good local restaurants and street food.

  • Food stalls. For a variety of snacks and dishes, try the food stalls opposite the Id Kah mosque. The stalls start operating during the evening. There are a few well known restaurants in town that serve a meal of polo for 18 RMB  edit
  • Sunday Market. The Sunday market also has good things to eat.  edit

It may be wise to avoid anything with ice as the ice in Kashgar is usually carried in large blocks and frequently placed on the ground so they may not be clean. During the summer months there are huge heaps of melons and watermelons - cheap, tasty and refreshing. The going price for a hami melon (哈密瓜; hāmìguā) is around ¥1 per kilogram, so in total, it costs ¥2-5 per melon depending on the size. Buying, washing, and cutting it yourself is probably the most hygenic way to eat these fabulous tasty fruits. If you are staying at a hotel, you can also easily buy a simple cutting knife at any of these markets for about ¥1-3 as well so you should be all set.

  • Altun Orda Restaurant is the local restaurant with reasonable prices. It is not only good place to taste some local dishes but also to see the local architecture of Uighur people. Try the specialty pollo or rice pilaf with raisins. Tel: +86 (998) 2583555
  • Karakoram Cafe (新疆), 87 Seman Road (新疆喀什色满路87号2822669), +86 (998) 3422888, [7]. Western style. Quality food, hot drinks and service that speak English, this may be an oasis in the middle of hectic Asia. Prices are a little pricey but if you can afford it, it is worth it.  edit
  • K2 Rooftop Cafe, Rd Nuo'er Beixi (Right to the North of Id Kah Mosque), +86 (998) 2823376. Western style. Fine coffee& pizza, iced drinks, dessert and waiter that speaks good English, the terrace that covered with plants has great view of the mosque and the old town. The cafe is within the Kashgar Pamir Hostel.  edit
  • Shawarma (Continental food), 110 Seman Road (Just north of Eden Hotel and Fubar on Seman Road). Owned and run by a native Pakistani, this is the place to get home-made Pakistani food in Kashgar. Serving mostly daily specials, such as a spicy ground beef platter or curried chicken, the taste of the food is impressive. Ask politely in advance to have delicious falafel or hummous made to order. DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE 10-20 Yuan.  edit
  • Yasin Kariagim Silk Road Uighur Restaurant, 库木代尔瓦扎路 Kumudaierwazha Road (Just off the main old city shopping road that runs up the west side of the Id Kah Mosque), 2820008. Popular among the locals, this place serves very fresh meat. In fact, sometimes they have no more meat to offer because they've sold out. Buy a nan bread fresh out of the oven from one of the many local bakers on the side of the road and bring it with you. Get lamb skewers and liver skewers and enjoy it with your nan bread. 10-20 Yuan.  edit
  • Sultania Cafe, Corner of Seman Lu and Xi BeI Lu. newly opened in July 2013, no english menu, but pictures and English speaking owner from Turkey who likes to make recommendations The kitchen does Turkish, Uirugh, Chinese and Kazak food. Great atmosphere inside and out. Mid range priced restaurant. 15 to 100 rmb. Mid range.  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

There are not as many places serving alcohol in Kashgar as in other areas of China.

  • John's Cafe, (In Qiniwak Hotel (ancient british consulate)). Offers backpacker hospitality at 1.7 times the price of other locations, and is very popular among single travellers. Managed by Jack who speaks fluent english. Seems to be closed in the off-season  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Kashgar Pamir Youth Hostel (喀什帕米尔青年旅舍), F3, Building A, Distric 7, Id Kah Mosque Bazaar, Rd Nuo'er Beixi, (Right to the North of the Mosque) (bus number 28 from train station, get off by Minmao stop), +86-998-2823376, [8]. A new Uighur style hostel centrally based with dorm beds and shared bathrooms and doubles. There is a rooftop cafe serves coffee and meals. Its terrace is covered with plants and has a good view of the mosque square. There is a English library with free internet. Other services: Information/ laundry/ hot water/ public kitchen. . 50Y/Night, 60Y With AC.  edit
  • Kashgar Old City Youth Hostel (喀什老城青年旅舍), NO.233 in Wusitangboyi road (bus number 28), +86-998-2823262, [9]. A hostel centrally based with dorm beds and shared bathrooms. Beds were previously very hard, but in spring 2012, the hostel purchased new mattresses that are much more comfortable. Enclosed with a central courtyard with eastern styled areas. Seems to be very popular so a booking is suggested. No longer serves breakfast and no kitchen area available. . 35Y/Night.  edit
  • Qiniwak Hotel (喀什其尼瓦克宾馆; Kāshí Qíníwǎkè Bīnguǎn), 144 Seman Road (色满路144号; Sèmǎnlù) (Occupies the building that used to be the British Consulate, at the cross road with Nuoerbeixi), +86 998 2981158. Offers dorm style bedrooms in the adjacent building. More expensive doubles have free internet. Business center, currency exchange, gift shop, ticket office, karaoke, massage and sauna available. Chinese and Western Restaurants as well as coffee shop and bar. Dorms ¥50 in a three bed room; discounted rates for doubles ¥160 including breakfast.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Kashgar Guest House, Tawaguzi Road, +86 998 2612360 (fax: +86 998 2614679).  edit
  • Chini Bagh Hotel, 337 Seman Road, +86 998 2822103 (fax: +86 998 2842299). Prices for a double start at ¥60 in the older building.  edit
  • Seman Hotel (Seman Binguan), 337 Seman Road, +86 998 2582150 (fax: +86 998 2582129). In an old Russian consulate building, the rooms are oddly-shaped with simple bathrooms, common areas have high ceilings and military-themed oil paintings, 300 rooms. Prices for a double start at ¥100. Dorms from ¥40.  edit
  • Hotel Eden[10] email=Alimkashgari@yahoo.com' phone +8613399770339-+8615099003657 is right on the edge of the old town. Double Rooms are ¥238 per night incl. breakfast.Fantastic yogurt on the ground floor restaurant although served at room temperature. The ground floor restaurant of this hotel is one of the "happening" scenes of Kasghar among locals and is usually packed with affluent local Uyghurs.


Splurge[edit]

  • Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel (喀什天缘国际酒店; Kāshí Tiānyuán Guójìjiǔdiàn), 8 Renmin East Road (人民东路8号; Rénmíndōnglù), +86 998 2801111 (fax: +86 998 2802266). Four star hotel with large rooms with free internet and mini bar. Business center, gift shop, ticket office, karaoke, spa, massage and sauna available. Chinese restaurant coffee shop and room service. The restaurant is not good, but the 24 hour spa, massage and sauna are excellent. Listed rates for doubles ¥780-1,880 including breakfast.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Karakul Lake - Scenic alpine lake, located on the road to Tashkorgan and Pakistan. A mini bus departs at 11:30 (Beijing time) from the main bus station, costs 55Y , 4 Hours. As of June 2013, foreigners do not need a permit to visit the lake, but Chinese citizens should arrange a permit in kashgar for 10Y. A couple hours past the lake is the tranquil Tajik city of Tashkurgan, which provides beautiful mountain vistas near the border of Tajikistan. Spend the night there before heading back down the Karakoran Highway and enjoy the quiet town and its peaceful pastures.
  • Kashgar is also near the border with Kyrgyzstan, which can be accessed via the Irkeshtam and Torugart passes.



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