Attractions

Top Choice Museum in Ürümqi

Xīnjiāng Autonomous Region Museum

Xīnjiāng’s massive provincial museum is a must for Silk Road aficionados. The highlight is the locally famous ‘Loulan Beauty’, the first of half a dozen 3800-year-old desert-mummified bodies of Xīnjiāng's erstwhile …
Top Choice Ruins in Turpan

Jiāohé Ruins

Also called Yarkhoto, Jiāohé was established by the Chinese as a garrison town during the Han dynasty. It’s one of the world’s largest (6500 residents once lived here), oldest (1600 years old) and best-preserved anc…
Top Choice Cave in Turpan

Bezeklik Cave Complex

This cave complex, which dates from the 6th to 14th century, has a fine location in a mesmerising desert landscape. Bezeklik means ‘Place of Paintings’ in Uyghur and the murals painted in the 11th century represente…
Top Choice Tomb in Hāmì

Hāmì Kings Mausoleum

The chief reason to visit Hāmì is for this wonderfully serene complex of tombs containing the nine generations of Hāmì kings who ruled the region from 1697 to 1930. The blue- and green-tiled main tomb is the resting…
Village in Turpan

Tuyoq

Set in a green valley fringed by the Flaming Mountains, this mud-brick village offers a fascinating glimpse of traditional Uyghur life and architecture. It has been a pilgrimage site for Muslims for centuries, as on…
Lake in Tiān Chí

Tiān Chí Lake

Two thousand metres up in the Tiān Shān range is Tiān Chí, a small, long, steely-blue lake nestled below the view-grabbing 5445m Peak of God (博格达峰; Bógédá Fēng). Scattered across the alpine pine and spruce-covered s…
Islamic Site in Turpan

Emin Minaret

Built to honour Turpan general Emin Hoja, this splendid 44m-high mud-brick structure is the tallest minaret in China. Also known as Sūgōng Tǎ after Emin’s son Suleiman, who oversaw its construction (1777–78), its bo…
Mountain in Turpan

Flaming Mountains

Near the Bezeklik Caves in Turpan are the Flaming Mountains, which appear at midday like multicoloured tongues of fire. The Flaming Mountains were immortalised in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, in wh…
Museum in Turpan

Turpan Museum

Xīnjiāng’s second-largest museum houses a rich collection of relics recovered from archaeological sites across the Turpan Basin, including a superb collection of dinosaur fossils, dinosaur eggs and various species o…
Cave in Kuqa

Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

Seventy-five kilometres northwest of Kuqa, this is the largest Buddhist cave-art site in Xīnjiāng. One of the main reasons to come here is for the incredible landscapes you see along the way: bleak and empty jagged …