No visit to Kashgar is complete without a trip to the Livestock Market, which takes place once a week on Sunday. The day begins with Uighur farmers and herders trekking into the city from nearby villages. By lunchtime, just about every saleable sheep, camel, horse, cow and donkey within 50km has been squeezed through the bazaar gates. It’s dusty, smelly and crowded, and most people find it wonderful, though some visitors may find the treatment of the animals upsetting.
Trading at the market is swift and boisterous between the old traders; animals are carefully inspected and haggling is done with finger motions. Keep an ear out for the phrase ‘Bosh-bosh!’ (‘Coming through!’) or you risk being ploughed over by a cartload of fat-tailed sheep.
A taxi here costs ¥25 to ¥30; it’s a good idea to pay it to wait for your return. Alternatively take bus number 13 or 23 from the Sunday Bazaar. Tour buses usually arrive in the morning, so consider an early afternoon visit, or come first thing for good light and fewer crowds. A few simple stalls offer delicious hot samsa (lamb meat buns) if you get peckish.