Kashgar (喀什) or Kashi is in the extreme West of China, the Southwest extreme of Xinjiang, at a junction between two branches of the old Silk Road.
Kashi has been an important trading centre since the days of the Silk Road, and still is today. The road from eastern and central China divides north and south of the Taklimakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the Desert.
Population is a mixture of Uighurs, Han chinese, Kyrgizs, Tajiks and Uzbeks. Together with central-asian merchants visiting for the markets and workshops, and international tourists, the city boasts a colorful ethnic varaiety.
The city is said to have the largest bazaar in Asia.
Kashgar Airport (IATA: KHG) is located 18 km north of the town center. Flights are available to/from Urumqi only.
Kashi Huoche Zhan - Renmin Dong Lu (aways east of town center)
- Korla - takes about 13-16 hours
- Kuqa - takes about 9-11 hours
- Urumqi - takes about 27-31 hours
International Bus Station - 5 Jicheng Lu
- 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
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan- takes about 16 hours including overnight stay (must have PSB permit and valid visa for Kyrgyzstan)
Kashgar Bus Station - Tiannan Lu
- Hotan- takes about 10 hours
- Tashkurgan- takes about 8 hours
- Yecheng- takes about 4 hours
The Karakoram Highway runs from Pakistan into China. Kashi is the nearest major town on the Chinese end.
- The Mal Bazaar is the livestock market, where locals from all the surrounding villages come to town on that day (Sunday) to buy and sell animals. It's held on an open (but fenced) ground. It's popular with tourists, but the market is so big it still feels like a working bazaar. Take bus 16 from the Peoples Square to get there (1 Yuan).
- The Yengi Bazaar is the handicrafts, cloths, carpets and anything-else-you-could-expect market. This market is actually open daily and is less crowded on weekdays. Bargain hard!
- Id Kah Mosque - first built in 1442, it is very 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 for the carpeted area. Open 8:50-10pm daily, closed during services, admission charge
- Tomb of Abac Hoja - massive, elegant building created in 1640 in a typical Islamic style. Also a pilgrimage site. It's 2 miles from the city center, with bus and taxi connections to the People's Square. The mausoleum is open 8:00-5:30 daily, the mosque is open daily as wel, (prayer day is friday), admission charge
- Tomb of Yusup Khass Hajip - tomb of city's much loved philosopher and poet who wrote the 13,290 line poem "The Wisdom of Happiness and Pleasure" in the Uighur language
It's best to avoid the tourists shops.
Buy local handicrafts at the workshops rather than the market if possible. Compare prices; but remember that in this part of the world once you start bargaining - people will expect you to buy. Be polite. Local specialties include kilims (carpets), and colorful central Asian hats
There are plenty of good local restaurants. For a variety of snacks and dishes, try the food stalls opposite the Id Kah mosque. The stalls abound during the evening. During the summer months there are huge heaps of melons and watermelons - cheap, tasty and refreshing.
NB:Places serving alcohol in Kashgar are not as common as in other areas of China.
- John's cafe located in the Seeman hotel can offer backpacker hospitality at 1.7 times the price of other locations, very popular among single travellers.
- Kashgar Guest House, Tawaguzi Rd., Kashgar, ☎ (0998)2612360 (fax: (0998)2614679).
- Chini Bagh Hotel 337 rooms, Telephone: (0998) 282 2103 Fax: (0998) 284 2299, Seman Lu 337
- Seman Binguan In an old Russian consulate building, the rooms are oddly-shaped with simple bathrooms, commons areas have high ceilings and military-themed oil paintings, 300 rooms, Telephone: (0998) 258 2150 Fax: (0998) 258 2129, Seman Lu 337
The price indicated in the lobby is tourism price (contact the travel agencies located in the lobby to get a discount of 40% or more. Tel 013899132103 or [email protected])
- Karakul Lake - most dramatic scenery of Xinjiang's alpine lakes
- Kashgar is also close to the border with Kyrgyzstan