The Karakoram Hwy (KKH; 中巴公路; Zhōngbā Gōnglù) over the Khunjerab Pass (4800m) is one of the world’s most spectacular roads and China’s gateway to Pakistan. For centuries this route was used by caravans plodding down the Silk Road. Khunjerab means ‘valley of blood’ as local bandits used to take advantage of the terrain to slaughter merchants and plunder their wares. Today, it's a far more welcoming place, not to mention an easier journey, with a new road and a high-speed rail link to Pakistan under construction at the time of writing. Whatever you do in Xīnjiāng, do not miss this incredible journey.
The main (and practically the only) town between Kashgar and Pakistan is Tashkurgan, a surprisingly modern and sprawling town with a devastatingly beautiful mountain setting. This is where the bus journey to Pakistan begins, and it's also as far as most travellers not entering Pakistan itself are able to go.