Southwest Xīnjiāng attractions

Top Choice Natural Feature in Kashgar

Shipton’s Arch

This extraordinary natural rock arch (the rather prosaic Uyghur name means simply ‘mountain with a hole in it’) is one of the tallest on earth. The first Westerner to describe it was Eric Shipton, the last British c…
Top Choice Market in Kashgar

Sunday Livestock Market

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 Uyghur farmers and herders trekking into the city from nearby villages. By lunchti…
Top Choice Market in Kashgar

Grand Sunday Bazaar

Kashgar’s main bazaar is open every day but really kicks it up a gear on Sunday. Step through the jam-packed entrance and allow your five senses to guide you through the market; spices and teas are an obvious highli…
Lake in Karakoram Highway

Bulungkol Lake

This absolute wonder of nature is the first of the big plate-glass lakes you meet as you head up to Tashkurgan on the Karakoram Hwy. Backed by sublime sand mountains and often without a single ripple in its waters, …
Old Town in Kashgar

Kashgar Old Town

The Old Town is the soul of Kashgar, and as such the Chinese government has spent much of the past two decades knocking it down block by block and building a modern, soulless replacement. Yet it's still possible to …
Mosque in Kashgar

Id Kah Mosque

The yellow-tiled Id Kah Mosque, which dates from 1442, is the spiritual and physical heart of the city. Enormous (it's the largest mosque in Xīnjiāng), its courtyard and gardens can hold 20,000 people during the ann…
Lake in Karakoram Highway

Karakul Lake

This extraordinarily beautiful lake sits below the soaring snowcapped peak of Mt Muztaghata (7509m) and has a couple of small Kyrgyz settlements along its western shore. Famed for its perfect plate-glass reflections…
Tomb in Kashgar

Abakh Hoja Mausoleum

On the northeastern outskirts of town is the Abakh Hoja Mausoleum, a 3-hectare complex built by the Khoja family who ruled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. Widely considered the holiest Muslim site in Xīnj…
Fort in Karakoram Highway

Tashkurgan Fort

The 1400-year-old stone (tash) fortifications (kurgan) of this fort give the town of Tashkurgan on the Karakorum Hwy its name. The ruins were one of the filming locations for the movie The Kite Runner. The boggy val…
Ruins in Kashgar

Mor Pagoda

At the end of a 45km drive northeast of town are the ruins of Ha Noi, a Tang-dynasty town built in the 7th century and abandoned in the 12th century. Little remains apart from an enigmatic pyramid-like structure and…