Kashgar Travel Guide

Bazaar in Kashgar China

Kashgar is an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far west of China. It is said to have the largest bazaar in Asia and has been an important trading center since the days of the ancient Silk Road, when it was the point where the two branches of the Silk Road come back together after splitting up to run along either side of the Taklamakan Desert. Unless you fly, getting to Kashgar will take time. It is well worth it though, especially if you are planning on heading to India, as the Karakoroum Highway past the beautiful Karakul Lake and through Pakistan makes for a scenic alternative to flying.

 

Best Time to Go

Kashgar has very hot summers and very cold winters, but virtually no humidity. Because of the dryness, summers are actually quite nice. Autumn and spring are also good times to visit, but while spring lasts a long time, autumn is very short.

 

Getting to Kashgar

Kashgar airport is located about 20 kilometers from the city and serves flights from Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. To get to town, you can take a taxi for 30 Yuan, a shuttle bus for 15 (it will drop you off where you want) or a public bus (line 2) for 2 RMB.

Kashgar Railway Station is located a bit too far from the center of town to walk, but bus #28 can get you anywhere for 1 Yuan. Taxis are cheap too. Trains arrive from Urumqi and stop most places in between, like Turpan. The train is the slowest way to get to Kashgar.

The International Bus Station on Jicheng Road is close enough to the center of town to walk. It serves buses from all over Xinjiang as well as international destinations in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.

 

Transportation

Kashgar is small enough that most of it can be walked fairly easily. Public buses are another option for 1 RMB per ride. Taxis are also quite cheap.

 

Accommodation

The cheapest options in town are dorm beds and you’ll find a few hostels that offer them. The Old Town Youth Hostel is the best option, but it is far from great. You’re simply going to have to lower your expectations quite a bit when staying in Kashgar and all of Xinjiang, really.

More expensive hotels will be a bit nicer and you can find a handful on Agoda’s Kashgar page, along with an excellent accommodation map. I always use their maps to scout out some locations beforehand, even when I don’t book ahead.

 

Eating & Drinking

In the evening, food stalls set up opposite the Id Kah mosque. This is by far the best place to eat in terms of price, quality and variety. You won’t find western food sold at the stalls, but there’s really no need to look for it, considering how good the local food is.

 

Things to Do

  • Yengi Bazaar: I’ve heard it’s the biggest in Asia; I’ve also heard it isn’t—either way it’s huge and you’ll find pretty much everything here; as a foreigner, you will be quoted very high prices, so bargain hard
  • The Sunday Market: vendors from all over the surrounding area come to Kashgar to sell their goods
  • Mal Bazaar: the large livestock market; take bus #16 from Renmin Square
  • Old Town: tiny streets wind through fascinating architecture; the government is tearing the old areas down, so see them soon; ¥30 entrance, but it can be avoided by entering through a back entrance and it’s probably better to use your 30 RMB buying things inside as it’s more likely it will actually go to the people and not some government official
  • Karakul Lake: beautiful alpine lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains topping 7500 meters along the Karakorum Highway to Pakistan
  • K2 trekking: you can trek from Kashgar to the world’s second highest mountain in 20 to 23 days

 

Money Saving Tips

  • while taxis are cheap, buses cost even less and so does walking
  • if heading to Karakul Lake, take the bus or hitch a ride on a truck; don’t bother with a taxi or other private vehicle
  • eat lunch at local restaurants and dinner at the food stalls outside the Id Kah mosque
  • bargain very hard at the market; the prices you are quoted will be MUCH higher than they should be

2 thoughts on “Kashgar Travel Guide

  1. Russell McMahon

    Excellent page – many thanks.
    It would be of great help if pages like this were clearly dated so that probable currency of information in general is able to be assessed . Here the date 2007 is buried in the text and may be the date at which the, to me, all important ” … the government is tearing the old areas down, so see them soon …” applies. I wish to see Kashgar before it becomes another Shenzhen – or even vaguely like unto it, and knowing if the bulldozers have beaten me would be useful.
    regards
    Russell

    Reply
    1. Daniel McBane Post author

      Thank you, Russell, for pointing out the missing dates. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that they were missing from my travel guides. All my posts in the ‘stories’ section have a date directly beneath the title and the guides are supposed to have one too. I’m planning on redesigning my site completely in the coming weeks and have added this to my list of issues to address.

      As for the government tearing down the old areas, I doubt they will ever get rid of all of them. They will likely leave one or two and turn them into living tourist attractions like they’ve done in so many other places. They were already charging an entrance fee to the areas when I was there back in 2007. For now, it seems the entrance fee is gone and tourists are no longer allowed to enter, but this isn’t really enforced and many people still visit.

      You probably don’t have to worry about Kashgar ever becoming another Shenzhen, but I do think it might become another Urumqi. That’s not much better, I suppose.

      Thanks again for bringing the issue with the dates to my attention.
      Daniel McBane recently contributed to world literature by posting..A Well-Deserved Day Off in Upper PisangMy Profile

      Reply

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