In far northwest China, you can discover the beauty of Xinjiang province that few get a chance to see, a totally new side of China. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit my top 7 places!
1 – Karakoram Highway
Considered by many the eighth wonder of the world, Karakoram Highway climbs to an altitude of 4.7 km above sea level and runs through some of the most arid and difficult environments on Earth. It begins in Kashgar in the far west of Xinjiang Province. The road reaches its highest point at Khunjerab Pass just before reaching the Pakistan border and continuing all the way to Islamabad. The highway offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains.
2 – Jiaohe Ruins
This site received the status of World Heritage site in 2014. These 1600 year-old-ruins once housed 6500 residents as a remote garrison of the Han Dynasty. It is one of the best-preserved and oldest ancient cities in the world, you won’t be disappointed. Wandering the streets gives you the feeling that you are travelling back in time. These ruins definitely provide travelers a different experience from the usual travelers’ choice in China.
3 – Sunday Markets in Kashgar
Although Kashgar is in China, it is here that you realize what visiting Central Asia looks like. The city was historically a key way point on the Silk Road. In the Grand Bazaar, you can buy anything from handicrafts to coats, local delicacies to second-hand merchandise. Because Kashgar is quite literally in the middle of nowhere, everyone with something to sell comes here.
From the Grand Bazaar, you can take a taxi to the Sunday Livestock Market, in the north-western suburbs of Kashgar. Attending the Livestock Market is a lively and surreal experience according to who went there. There you will find garrisons of goats, donkeys, cows horses tied in straight lines to be haggled over with hand motions. No visit to Kashgar is complete without a trip to the Livestock Market.
4 – Sayram Lake
Just a stone’s throw from China’s border with Kazakhstan, Sayram Lake is a large high-altitude lake and one of the true pearls of Silk Road. In the Kazakh language, Sayram means “blessing,” and the local population considers the lake sacred for its deep blue water. There is a legend that says the lake is composed of the tears of a couple of young lovers. Because of the lake’s beauty and its romantic associations, the lake has become a top location for lovers to take wedding photos and spend their honeymoons.
5 – The Tianshan Mountain Range
The Tianshan Mountain Range stretches 2,500km across Central Asia, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its outstanding beauty and snow-covered peaks, the mountain range hides a nearly infinite number of adventures for anyone from the intrepid trekker to the casual tourist. Don’t miss a visit to the Heavenly Lake, one of the most stunning views in Xinjiang.
6 – Taklamakan Desert
China’s largest desert and the second-largest sand desert in the world (after the Sahara of course!), “Taklamakan” is a Uighur word that translates as, “you can get into it but can never get out.” It is also sometimes called, “The Sea of Death.” This is deep into Uighur-country and is part of the southern Silk Road. A must see. Bring some water 😀
7 – Jiangbulak
In the eastern section of the Tianshan Mountain Range, you can find this massive grassland that is Jiangbulak. The name means “source of holy water” in the Kazakh language, and the area might indeed give you a religious experience. Between the wildflowers, massive barley fields, crystal blue lakes, and spiky mountains, you will find no shortage of stunning landscapes here.
I hope these 7 reasons are good enough to convince you to visit this remote but fascinating province! 😉
Source: African Time (Weixin)