Top things to do

Top Choice Market in Kuqa

Uchar Darvaza Bazaar

The best place in Kuga for Uyghur food is this street at the junction of Tianshan Zhonglu and Youyi Lu. Kebabs, noodles and samsas (baked mutton pies) are all served hot and fresh, though our favourites are the chic…
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 …
Ruins in Kuqa

Sūbāshí

Sūbāshí was a Buddhist complex that thrived from the 3rd to 13th centuries. It's less visited than other ancient cities in Xīnjiāng, but with its starkly beautiful desert setting, it's worth the trip – Sūbāshí is a …
Mosque in Kuqa

Great Mosque

Kuqa's Great Mosque, rebuilt in 1932 on the site of a 16th-century original, is the second largest in Xīnjiāng. (The largest is the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar.) It's a wonderfully quiet and meditative space, with a hu…
Barbecue in Kuqa

Yàlì Náng Kēngròu

It's all about meat at this Han Chinese place in Kuqa's new city, where nevertheless a very Uyghur style of cooking is served up (complete with beer!). Choose your meat platter from the photo menu, or simply order d…
Hotpot in Kuqa

Xiǎohǎi

Xiǎohǎi makes for a welcome change to the rigours of eating lamb kebab day in, day out, though as no English is spoken you may struggle here without a Chinese speaker. If you're unfamiliar with hot pot, the process …
Market in Kuqa

Sunday Bazaar

Every Sunday, a large bazaar is held next to the bridge over the Kuqa River on Renmin Lu, which leads into the Uyghur Old Town – about 2.5km west of the modern town. The market is no rival to Kashgar’s, but you won’…
Bakery in Kuqa

Xīntián Cafe

This bakery is a great breakfast option, and offers a range of pastries, cakes and sandwiches, as well as good coffee. Upstairs there's a cosy seating area where there are even waffles pizza, chicken wings and steak…
Mosque in Kuqa

Rasta Mosque

The charmingly painted Rasta Mosque, about 2.5km west of the modern town, draws a throng of worshippers at Friday lunchtime. The rest of the time it's quietly neglected and you're welcome to wander into its courtyar…
Noodles in Kuqa

Chóngqìng Lǎotàipó Tāntān Miàn

This cheap and cheerful noodle bar serves up a range of simple dishes in the Chóngqìng style (read: very spicy). It has a pictorial menu, friendly staff and cheap, cold beer, a rarity in these parts.