Khotan, also spelled Kotan or Hotan, is a town on the Southern (Jade) Branch of the Silk Road in Xinjiang. Khotan was once center of a Buddhist empire. The old capital, Yoktan, is about 10 km west of the current city.
Hotan airport is located south of the city and can be accessed by taxi. Flights are available to/from Urumqi only.
Long Distance Bus Station
Location: 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 500 km, or east via Dunhuang and on toward Central China, a long way away.
- Hotan Bazaar - almost as large as the Sunday Market in Kashgar but more chaotic and free-spirited
- Hotan Carpet Factory - an industry over 2000 years old in Hotan, 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 - tours of the local silk workshop, where Atlas Silk is made entirely by hand, in nearby Jiya township northeast of the center.
- Silk Factory - tours of the local Shatuo Silk Factory can be made, northwest of the center, a larger and more mechanized factory.
- Hotan Winery - produces specialty pomegranate and rice wines
The area has been famous for jade for centuries. Khotan jade is first mentioned in written history about 200 BC. 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.
After 2 hours of walking from hotel to hotel I was always redirected to the expensive "foreigner" places. There are plenty of cheap places I just couldn't talk my way into any of them...yet.
Jiaotong Binguan - The Traffic Hotel at the main bus station takes foreigners. Y30 for a bed in a 3 bed dorm with shared toilets down the hall. Y100-Y120 for a private double room with attached bathroom.
If you decide to go by car west out of Hotan to Kashii/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.