Khotan (和田; Hétián; also known as Kotan or Hotan), is a town on the southern (Jade) Branch of the Silk Road in Xinjiang Province in China. Khotan was once center of a Buddhist empire. The old capital, Yoktan, is about 10 km west of the current city.
Khotan Airport is located south of the city and can be accessed by taxi. Flights are available to/from Urumqi only.
Railway to Kashgar has been completed, passenger service is expected to open in a few months.
The Long Distance Bus Station is north of the city center on the main highway.
- Kashgar - takes 7-10 hours (express buses are faster)
- Korla - takes about 15 hours
- Turpan - takes about 20 hours
- Urumqi - takes about 24 hours
- Yecheng - takes about 8 hours
- Yining - takes about 40 hours (shorter as soon as buses start using the new Hotan - Aksu highway)
- Qiemo - takes 11 hours -- daily morning bus leaves from East Bus Station, not Main Bus Station
There is a road west to Kashgar, about 500km, or east via Dunhuang and on toward Central China, a long way away.
- Khotan Bazaar. Almost as large as the Sunday Market in Kashgar but more chaotic and free-spirited.
- Khotan Carpet Factory. An industry over 2000 years old in Khotan, carpets woven by hand in a small workshop, tours and sales of carpets available.
- White Jade River. Locals search the riverbead for rare white jade but beauty lies in all the other stones left behind.
- Silk Workshop, (In nearby Jiya township northeast of the center). Tours of the local silk workshop, where Atlas Silk is made entirely by hand.
- Silk Factory, (Northwest of the center). Tours of the local Shatuo Silk Factory can be made, a larger and more mechanized factory.
- Khotan Winery. Produces specialty pomegranate and rice wines.
- Desert Camp and Camel Trek. camel ride out into the Taklamakan Desert and camp over night there. You can enjoy a camp fire dinner and breakfast in the desert. Necessary camping equipment, tents, sleeping bags and blankets etc can be provided by.
The area has been famous for jade for centuries. Khotan jade is first mentioned in written history about 200BC. There are mines, but much of the stone is found in riverbeds. This is one of the few areas with black jade and white jade. Be prepared to bargain hard.
There are plenty of cheap places, but foreigners are often not allowed to stay there but are referred to the more expensive foreigner places.
- Traffic Hotel (Jiaotong Binguan), (At the main bus station). Takes foreigners. ¥30 for a bed in a three bed dorm with shared toilets down the hall; ¥100-120 for a private double room with attached bathroom.
If you decide to go by car west out of Khotan to Kashgar stop in Yengisar and visit the knife factories. Knives are handmade and you can bargain with the owner for some very nice peices.
If you stop in Yarkand you can find handmade pocket knives as opposed to the sheathed knives of Yengisar.