Locked away in the westernmost corner of China, closer to Tehran and Damascus than to Běijīng, Kashgar (喀什; Kāshí) has been the epicentre of regional trade and cultural exchange for more than two millennia.
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Must-see attractions for your itinerary.
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…
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…
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…
Kashgar Old Town
The Old Town is the soul of Kashgar, and as such the government has spent much of the past two decades knocking it down block by block and building a…
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 Xinjiang),…
Abakh Hoja Mausoleum
This 3-hectare mausoleum complex was built by the Khoja family, who ruled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. Widely considered the holiest Muslim…
At the end of a 45km drive northeast of Kashgar are the ruins of Ha Noi, a Tang-dynasty town built in the 7th century and abandoned in the 12th century…
This regional museum is not as good as some of the other excellent local museums in Xinjiang, but it's free and includes an incredible 6th-century…
Latest stories from Kashgar
May 5, 2017 • 5 min read
The unmoving landscapes of the Silk Road, which passes through the far northwest reaches of China, have enchanted travellers for millennia. Sights along…
Apr 18, 2017 • 6 min read
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Kashgar Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 喀什 (kā shí) Population: 4,633,800 Area: 162,000 square kilometers (6,255 square miles) Location: in the southwest of Xinjiang, northwest China Administrative Division: 1 county-level city (Kashgar); 11 counties (Shufu, Shule, Yengisar, Yopurga, Payzawat, Yarkant, Poskam, Yecheng, Makit, Marabishi, Tajik Taxkorgan Autonomous County) Area Code: 0998 Zip Code: 844000 GDP (2018): CNY 89.012 billion (USD 13.452 billion) Nationalities: Han , Hui , Uygur , Kirgiz , Tajik , Uzbek
An Ancient City Keeping the Strongest Uyghur Customs
Recommended Tour Itinerary
Classical Silk Road : 14 days, Urumqi, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang, Xi'an, Shanghai Trip to Urumqi, Kashgar : 6 days along Silk Road Hiking Adventure
How to Get to Kashgar
Kashgar Airport, located about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) north of city center, is capable of accommodating incoming and outgoing flights to destinations both domestic and international, including Urumqi, Hotan, Kuqa, Aksu, Kirghizia, Islamabad, Osh, Andijan and Uzbekistan. Kashgar Railway Station, only about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away from the city center, has daily trains running to and from Urumqi. It is also easily accessible by long-distance bus to go to other cities in and around Xinjiang from this city. Traveling around the city, the city-bus and taxi are good options. Shache Airport ia located in Xianglan’gan Village of Shache County in Kashgar City, 21 kilometers (13 miles) away from the center of county. From Shache Airport, passengers can fly from/to Urumqi, Hotan, Korla and Kashgar.
Mainly a continental climate; long periods of sunshine and little rainfall; vary greatly with topography as plain climate, desert climate and mountain climate; frost-free period of 215 days; short warm winter and long cool summer; vary considerably between day and night; clear four seasons; average temperature: 11.8 C annually with the lowest of -24.4 C and the highest of 40.1 C; rainfall: 61.5 mm annually. The best time to pay a visit is between August and October when the sky is blue and there is blossom and fruit on the trees. It is recommended that you wear a light top with long sleeves and a hat for protection from strong UV radiation.
Kashgar Travel Tips
Kashgar Travel Guide
Updated November 2023 , The Kashgar Travel Guide was originally written in August 2018
Kashgar : The important Silk Road trading post at the junction of the Northern & Southern Routes in the extreme western fringes of China.
Closer to the Middle East than it is to Beijing and a world away. Home to Uyghur people, a suppressed ethnic minority within China, yet the majority in the Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region.
I personally didn’t enjoy traveling in the Xinjiang Region, not because of anything to do with Xinjiang itself, but because of the constant military and police security checkpoints.
With that said, Kashgar seemed to be the most relaxed of the areas I was able to visit in Xinjiang, really bestowing on it the oasis it’s been known to be for the last two millennia.
Learn what to see, where to go, what to eat and where to sleep in this Kashgar Travel Guide.
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What To See & Do
There are a number of things to see in Kashgar. Sadly most of the old town has been removed and replaced by new buildings.
Most mosques have had their minarets taken off and signs with Chinese propaganda hung at the entrances. With that said the Uyghur culture is strong and you can still see important aspects of their lifestyle in Kashgar.
Sunday Livestock Market
About a 30 minute drive outside of Kashgar every Sunday this livestock market kicks off from about 8 am to 6 pm. It’s a great place to see the Uyghur, as well as Hui ( Dungan ), Tajik, Uzbek, Kazakh and Kyrgyz traders from all around Kashgar and the surrounding area come to trade livestock.
You’ll see trucks, carts, and pens full of sheep, camels, horses, cows, and donkeys. Watching the men haggle with their hand gestures is quite interesting. Make sure and get some freshly prepared lamb samsa and chai before you leave.
The Grand Sunday Bazaar
This is the main bazaar in Kashgar that happens every day, however, it’s far more lively on Sundays. Grab some silk, spices, tea, carpets, and doppa caps here.
Kashgar Old Town
Most of the true Old Town has been demolished and some parts re-built in the typical Chinese let’s-tear-down-and-rebuild-in-a-Disneyified-manner-and-build-a-new-building-that-looks-old , and others built into very Chinese looking characterless big buildings. In the government’s defense, the structures were dilapidated and had sewage issues. You aren’t allowed to visit what remains of the true Old Town, however, there’s no guard on duty there until about 9am. So get an early start and sneak in and out before his shift starts.
Id Kah Mosque
This is the big yellow mosque in the main square. This is the largest mosque in all of Xinjiang. Non-Muslims may enter outside of prayer times. Entrance is 45 RMB per person.
Abakh Hoja Mausoleum
One of the holiest sites in all of Xinjiang built by the Hoja family in 1640. The architecture is worth coming to visit, and it’s a major pilgrimage site for Muslims around Xinjiang. 30 RMB to enter.
Located in Kashgar’s Renmin Quare there is a massive Mao Statue. I mean, when in China, right?
Mor Buddhist Pagoda
With only one pagoda remaining from the 7th century, this was where monks came to worship until most of the pagodas were destroyed in the 12th century.
Tomb Of Yusap Khas Hajip
Tomb of the Kashgari poet Yusap Khas Hajip who wrote the famous Uyghur poem The Wisdom of Happiness and Pleasure. 30 RMB to enter.
Tomb of Mahmud Kashgari
Mahmud Kashgari compiled and created the first Turkic Language dictionary in the 11th century. The tomb is also home to a mosque and sacred spring. 30 RMB to enter. Located in Upal, about an hour drive south outside of Kashgar.
A beautiful lake located about a 5 hour drive south of Kashgar. A nice stop if you’re planning to travel between Kashgar and Tashkurgan. Nearby along the Karakoram Highway toward Tashkurgan you can find the turquoise Bulungkol Lake.
Shipton’s Arch (Toshuk Tag)
Likely the highest rock arch in the work at 2,973m in altitude. Located about 2 hours drive west of Kashgar as you drive toward the Irkeshtam border crossing with Kyrgyzstan. A good stop for those bound for or coming from Kyrgyzstan.
Travel Or Cycle The Karakoram Highway
For the adventurous, you can cycle or travel the Karakoram Highway. The Karakoram Highway starts in Kashgar in the north, continues south to Tashkurgan and then heads south to cross the Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan and eventually ends in Islamabad in the south. This is a bucket list trip for many as the KKH is one of the highest paved roads in the world and Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved border crossing in the world. Note that to travel south beyond Tashkurgan on the KKH you need a Pakistani Visa which must be applied for from your home country usually.
Read: Crossing Khunjerab Pass & The Gilgit-Baltistan Travel Guide to plan for the KKH
How To Get To Kashgar
You’ll arrive to Kashgar either by road, train or by air.
By Plane : Kashgar Airport has direct connections to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Internationally there are direct flights to Islamabad, Pakistan. A taxi from the airport to the center of Kashgar will cost around 30 RMB. Many times taxis operate as shared taxis so others may climb in with you and you can split the fare.
By Car & Bus : You can reach Kasher from Urumqi, Hotan, Tashkurgan, Kuqa and more by bus or car. You can also travel by road over the Irkeshtam Pass from Kyrgyzstan , the Khunjerab Pass from Sost, Pakistan, or over the Qolma Pass from Tajikistan. Traveling to Kashgar from Sost usually requires an overnight stay in Tashkurgan.
By Train : Kashgar isn’t yet connected to China’s high-speed network. All trains ( much like buses ) will take an eternity. You can reach Kashgar by train from Urumqi, Turpan , Kuqa, and Hotan. Note that train stations in Kashgar and Xinjiang require you to go through a painstaking number of security checkpoints.
Want To Visit Turpan?
Turpan In One Day Travel Guide: The Hottest Place In China
How To Get Around
Kashgar is small enough that you can get around by foot as most things are not more than 15-20 minutes walk apart. Though some of the outlying sites as well as sites outside the city you may want to get a taxi.
The train station you’ll want to either get a taxi or take bus #28 to reach the center of Kashgar. From the airport grab a taxi.
Where To Sleep
Most accommodations in Kashgar will not accept foreigners at this time. One that has been confirmed to take foreign guests is Ancient City Yashe Hostel.
Where To Eat
Trying traditional Uyghur food is a must in Kashgar. Uyghur cuisine is related to Central Asian cuisine but it tastes 1,000x better. Make sure and try lagman, plov, samsa, manti, kawaplar, and non. Of course, there are a scattering of Sichuan restaurants around town as well.
Going across Irkeshtam Pass? Check out my Kyrgyzstan travel guide
Wanna combine China & Tajikistan ? Read about crossing Qolma Pass
Not up to sort a trip on your own?
Check out this private Kashgar 2 day tour
Book one of these multi-day Xinjiang and Silk Road tours
Looking to save some money? It’s usually cheaper to book tours once you arrive in Kashgar.
Heading to Kashgar Soon?
Have any questions not answered in the Kashgar Travel Guide? Ask in the comments!
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3 thoughts on “kashgar travel guide: xinjiang’s oasis in the chinese far west”.
Any update how to reach in 2022?
As of now it still sounds like China has some really strict entry rules (Covid).
Thank you! I arrived in Kashgar and used your advice here, very helpful!!
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Far West China
Ultimate Travel Guide to Kashgar in Xinjiang, China
Kashgar China At a Glance
- Chinese Name: 喀什 (Kāshí) or 喀什噶尔 (Kāshígé’ěr)
- Uyghur Name: قەشقەر
- Population: Approximately 1,000,000
- Transportation: Kashgar China has an international airport, train station and bus service.
- Trivia: Kashgar was a stand-in for Afganistan in the movie Kite Runner
Visiting Kashgar, China is a chance to travel back in time more than a century. It is a city that epitomizes life during the times of the Silk Road caravans and Great Game struggles despite all of the recent Chinese modernization. Walking the small, mud-brick alleyways of the Old Town is an exciting adventure (even though a good portion of the Old Town is being destroyed ) and the area surrounding Kashgar has a lot to offer.
It is possible to ride a camel in the Taklamakan Desert one day and then be traveling up the Karakoram Highway to the high-altitude pass between China and Pakistan. If at all possible, Kashgar is one city that you must visit during your travels around Xinjiang.Because of its location at the foot of a major mountain pass (not the Karakoram Highway heading into Pakistan) and along the edge of the world’s 2nd largest desert (the Taklamakan), Kashgar was an important hub of activity for Silk Road merchants. Throughout the centuries, power shifted between many groups including the Mongol, Han and Uyghur people.
–> Traveling to Kashgar? <– Check out the FarWestChina Xinjiang Travel Guide !
Kashgar has been a favorite of many travelers for over 100 years, dating back to ancient explorers like Sven Hedin and Albert von Le Coq. It offers great scenery – access to both the mountains and the desert – as well as many interesting sites to see. Walk through the alleys of the Old Town, visit the Apak Khoja Mausoleum to hear the fascinating story of the Fragrant Concubine, visit the famous Sunday market and of course take a tour of the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in all of China.
Once you venture outside the city limits, you can visit the ancient stone city near Tashkorgan, the newly-discovered Shipton Arch, and the city of Yengisar – home of the famous Uyghur knives.
You could easily spend a week in Kashgar alone, but it’s possible to enjoy most of what the city has to offer in 3-4 days (not including the Karakoram Highway). Make sure to save enough time for Kashgar in your itinerary!
Useful Kashgar China Links
– Chini Bagh Hotel: recently renovated – Taiyuan International : center of town – Seman Hotel : an old favorite
– Old Town Hostel : highly recommended – Pamir Hostel : equally recommended
Kashgar Destinations at a Glance
Kashgar’s Id Kah Mosque
Kashgar’s most popular site and China’s largest mosque.
Kashgar’s Old City
Step back in time and enjoy dirt alleys and mud-brick homes.
The Apak Khoja Mausoleum
Home of the famous Fragrant Concubine and other great stories.
A natural phenomenon only recently rediscovered.
Other places to visit in Kashgar ▸
Transportation to/from Kashgar, China
Flying to/from kashgar, china.
You can fly the following routes to/from Kashgar (often referred to as “Kashi” for booking sites):
- Kashgar to Urumqi Flights
- Kashgar to Beijing Flights
- Kashgar to Xi’an Flights
- Kashgar to Chengdu Flights
- Kashgar to Yining Flights
Taking the Train to Kashgar
Trains, on the other hand, are not only a cost-effective way to travel to Kashgar, but they also allow you to see much of the south Xinjiang countryside. Make good use of the train schedule below to help plan your trip to Kashgar.
Kashgar City Map
Below is a 2017 city map of Kashgar. If you would like a higher resolution map to download and bring with you on your trip, consider purchasing the FarWestChina Xinjiang Travel Guide or just the Kashgar Chapter . Thank you for your support!
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Top 6 Kashgar Attractions | Things to Do in Kashgar 2023
As an important trade and cultural centre of Xinjiang as well as the Silk Road for more than two millennia, Kashgar is one of the most popular and interesting destinations in Xinjiang even in China. There is the largest bazaar in Asia, the famous master Abakh Hoja Tomb, the holy Id Kah Mosque of Muslims, the peaceful Kashgar Old City which keeps the most athentic trandition of Kashgar. If you want to add some stunning landscape, don't miss the Karakul Lake where you can also get a glimpse the "Father of Iceberg" - Mt. Muztagata. China Discovery here selects the best attractions in Kashgar for your reference. Just tell us your favorite attractions or any other experience you want to add into your itinerary and we will customize a private Kashgar tour as you expect.
8 Days Classic Xinjiang Tour including Urumqi Turpan Kashgar Tashkurgan
No.1: Kashgar Old City - Where the Soul of Kashgar Lies
Kids Running in Kashgar Old City
Local People are Chatting
Type: Old Cities, Culture & History
Best Seasons: All year round
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 hours
Opening Hours: All day
Address: No. 10 Yawage Road, Kashgar City 喀什地区喀什市亚瓦格路10号
Kashgar Old City is a block of tranditional houses, shops and streets which has a history of more than 2000 years. It is the best place to experience authetic custom and the lives of Kashgar people, thus a must-go for a Kashgar trip.
Here are many things to do in Kashgar Old City . You can wander in the crisscross lanes at will to appreciate the colorful buildings, walk into various handicraftes shops to see local potteries, hats, flowerpots, etc. try different special snacks such as grapes, Nang (staple food of the Uygur and Kazak nationalities), and goat milk ice cream. The famous Kashgar Century-old Teahouse, Id Kah Mosque, and Gaotai Ancient Homes are all in Kashgar Old City. You can take your time having a pot of tea and spending a leisure afternoon at Kashgar Century-old Teahouse, witnessing grand worship ceremony at Id Kah Mosque, and reliving the scene of The Kite Runner in Gaotai Ancient Homes.
☛ 4 Days In-depth Kashgar Tour ☛ 6 Days Urumqi to Kashgar Dream Tour
No.2: Karakul Lake - Pristine Alpine Lake on Pamirs Plateau
Karakul Lake & Reflection of Muztagh Ata
Karakul Lake in Autumn
Type: Lakes, Nature & Landscape
Best Seasons: May ~ October
Address: Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture 新疆喀什克孜勒苏柯尔克孜自治州阿克陶县
Karakul Lake is located about 190 km from the Kashgar City, Xinjiang. It seats at the foot of the Muztagh Ata (7546m), and along the Karakoram Highway, which is reputed as the most beautiful border highway in the world. At an altitude of 3600m, Karakul Lake is the highest lake on the Pamirs Plateau. It features in the amazing combination of lake scenery and snow mountain views. At its surrounding, there are three giant mountains - Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m) which remain snow-covered throughout the year. The best seasons to visit Karakul Lake are summer and autumn when travelers come to see the unreal scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue.
Apart from the scenery of the lake itself, what you can enjoy on the way is also fabulous. Driving along the highway, seeing the mountains, lakes, valleys passing by, you are really away from the bustling world and a sense of freedom arises. If you have more time, keep driving to Tashkurgan and explore the mysterious Stone City that was built more than 1300 years ago.
☛ 4 Days In-depth Kashgar Tour to Karakul Lake ☛ 5 Days Legendary Pamirs Tour from Kashgar to Tashkurgan
No.3: Id Kah Mosque - Kashgar' Religious Center & the Largest Mosque in Xinjiang and China
- Id Kah Mosque
Main Pray Hall in Id Kah Mosque
Type: Religious Sites, Historical & Cultural Sites, Landmarks
Best Seasons: April ~ October
Recommended Visiting Time: 1 hour
Opening Hours: 10:30~19:30; closed between 14:00-16:30 during daily worship
Tickets: CNY 45 for Tourists; Free Admission for Muslims
Address: Kashgar Old Town, Kashgar City, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang 新疆喀什地区喀什老城
Id Kah Mosque, covering an area of 16,800 square meters, is the largest mousque in China, and one of three largest in Central Asia. It is located in the west of Id Kah Square in Kashgar Old City. Getting close to Id Kah Mosque , you will be impressed by the elegant blue gate of mosque. The mosque with classic religious elements and distinctive ethnic features is considered an outstanding example of Uygur’s ancient building and a spiritual symbol of Kashgar. In Kashgar, it’s the best place to experience strong Islamic culture and exotic architectural style.
Id Kah Mosque is the holy land for the Muslims. Everyday, there are thousands of muslims worshipping here. The worship is particularly grand on Fridays and Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) as well as Day of Arafah (Corban Festival). In the history, Id Kah Mosque used to be a school where Islam culture was taught. Many scholars and honored clergies graduated from here.
☛ 8 Days Urumqi Turpan Kashgar Xinjiang Tour
No.4: Kashgar Century-old Teahouse - Epitome of Kshgar People's Daily Life
- Kashgar Century-old Teahouse
Scene at The Kite Runner
Type: Teahouses, Culture & Custom
Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Tickets: Free (a pot of tea is about CNY 30-40)
Kashgar Century-old Teahouse is a teahouse passed down from generation to generation of the Mamat family for over a hundred years. It conserves the good memory of Kashgar people, which gains it many routine customers, who are usually elderly people and have been drinking tea here every afternoon for decades.
Kashgar Century-old Teahouse gains increasing popularity among tourists as it is one of the settings of the movie The Kite Runner . After that, tourists come in flood from home and abroad. It is very relaxing to have a cup of tea here in the afternoon, talking to the locals and enjoying the occasional singing and dancing. It used to provide local tea only. But after adjustment, it now also offers Uygur medicinal tea flavored with cloves, ginger, white pepper and cardamom, coffee, flower tea, fruit tea and snacks such as Nang, bean jelly, yogurt, roast mutton, and noodles to satisfy different needs of customers.
☛ 6 Days Urumqi to Kashgar Dream Tour
No.5: Abakh Hoja Tomb - Grand Tomb Complex & Story of Legendary Xiang Fei
Abakh Hoja Tomb
Charming Desert with Changing Colors
Type: Historic Sites, Religious Sites
Opening Hours: 9:30-21:30
Tickets: CNY 30
Address: Haohan County, about 5 km to the northeast of Kashgar downtown 喀什市主城区东北大约5公里的浩罕乡
Abakh Hoja Tomb is a typical Islamic architectural complex, as well as a famous tomb groups of a large Islamic family of five generations. It was known as Abakh Hoja Tomb because a local Islam master named Abakh Hoja was buried here. He had enhanced the spread of Islam in Kashgar area, which later earned a great reputation for him and his family.
This site is also famous for the lengend that one of the imperial concubines of Emperor Qianlong (Qing dynasty) - Xiang Fei who married Qinglong for national unity. Qianlong was attracted to Xiang Fei because she smelled fragrantly. Later Xiang Fei passed away in Beijing and it is said that she was transfered back to Kashgar and buried there. Every day at 10:30, 12:00 and 18:00, there will be opening performances with actors dressed in gorgeous costumes sing and dance.
☛ 9 Days Taklamakan Desert Ancient Silk Road Tour from Kashgar
No.6: Kashgar Bazaar - Buy Everything You Want in Kashgar
Kashgar Live Stock Market
Kashgar Western and Central Asian Bazaar for International Trade
Type: Bazaars, Markets
Recommended Visiting Time: about 2 hours
Opening Hours: 10:00~18:00 (Closed on Monday)
Address: Kashgar Live Stock Market is about 12 km to the northwest of Kashgar Downtown; Kashgar Western and Central Asian Bazaar for International Trade is opposite the eastern gate of Kashgar Old City.
Bazaar means “market” in Uygur. It is the busiest place in Kashgar. There are many bazaars in different scales. The most popular two are Kashgar Live Stock Market (喀什牛羊大巴扎) and Kashgar Western and Central Asian Bazaar for International Trade (喀什中西亚国际贸易市场).
Kashgar Live Stock Market is held on Sunday only. Therefore, if you are in Kashgar on a Sunday, don't miss this grand scene. From dawn, carts of cattle, sheep, horses, donkeys, camels and so on, are transported to the market from the surrounding villages. The buyers are negotiating with the owners for an acceptable price and then bring the animals home. Vendors also come early to sell noodles, pancake, roast mutton, ice tea... There are also many villagers that come here just to watch the scene of bustle.
Kashgar Western and Central Asian Bazaar for International Trade, also called Kashgar Grand Bazaar, opens from 11:00-20:00. It has a history of more than 2000 years. In ancient times, the market was renowned as the largest market in Asia. Merchants on the Silk Road who came from China, Europe and other countries gathered here to exchanged needed goods with each other. There are now more than 5000 stalls with nearly 10000 kinds of goods. If you want to buy some interesting stuffs, go to the northern side of the market where you can find everything of interest to foreign visitors, including the spice market, musical instruments, fur caps, souvenirs and carpets.
☛ 4 Days In-depth Kashgar Tour to Karakul Lake
How to Plan A Kashgar Xinjiang Tour
How to Get to Kashgar: From mainland cities - you can take domestic flights from Beijing (about 6~7 hours), Xian (about 4 hours), Chengdu (about 6~7 hours), Shanghai (about 8 hours), Guangzhou (about 8 hours), Jinan (about 7 hours), Zhengzhou (about 7 hours), etc., or provincial flights from Urumqi (about 2 hours), Korla (about 1.5 hours), Yili (about 1.5 hours). From the borders - you can also get to Kashgar from land border ports, such as Kalasu Port, Irkeshtam Port, Torugart Port, Khunjerab Port. If you need transfer, we can send a tour guide and driver to pick up you from the borders.
Best Time to Visit Kashgar: suitable for travelling all year around, but May to October is most comfortable and beautiful.
Top Places to Visit Kashgar: Kashgar Old City, Karakul Lake, Tashkurgan (Stone City, Golden Grassland), Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Bazaar
Plus arrival and departure days, you’d better plan at least 4 days for your Kashgar trip . If you want to extend your trip to Tashkurgan , you need at least 5 days. You can spend 2 days exploring attractions in Kashgar city and its old town, such as Kashgar Bazaar, Kashgar Old City, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb, Ancient Tea House , etc., then have a day trip to Karakul Lake from Kashgar. If you want to experience something more authentic, Tashkurgan , about 3.5 hours’ drive from Kashgar, is strongly recommended.
After Kashgar tour, you can take a flight to Urumqi to marvel at the alluring Heavenly Lake and visit the mummy and Silk Road exhibitions in Xinjiang Regional Museum, then keep traveling to Turpan to see the grape valleys, visit historical Jiaohe Ancient City, etc. For an in-depth Silk Road journey, you can travel from Kashgar to Hotan, Kuqa, Taklamakan Desert , etc., which usually need about 8~13 days. If you love landscape, don’t miss out the Kanas Lake in northern Xinjiang.
☛ 6 Days Urumqi to Kashgar Dream Tour - Best Xinjiang Tour for the First-timers ☛ 8 Days Urumqi Turpan Kashgar Xinjiang Tour ☛ 13 Days Xinjiang Silk Road Adventure Tour
Kashgar and Xinjiang regions can also be connected to other Silk Road destinations easily, such as Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Zhangye, Xian , etc. Qinghai, Tibet, Inner Mongolia are also some recommended extensions of Kashgar Xinjiang trip. Find recommended Silk Road tours here or contact us to tailor-make a trip of your own if you want to discover more destinations.
☛ 10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour from Xian ☛ 11 Days Wild In-depth Silk Road Adventure Tour ☛ 15 Days Classic Ancient China Silk Road Tour with Bullet Train Experience
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Recommended Kashgar Tours
Top 3 Kashgar tours chosen by most customers to explore Kashgar in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour (Xian/Dunhuang/Turpan/Kashgar)
Xian / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar - Tashkurgan
6 Days Urumqi to Kashgar Dream Tour - Best Xinjiang Tour for the First-timers
Urumqi / Kashgar / Karakul Lake / Tashikurgan / Kashgar
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Kashgar Old City - the Seoul of Kashgar
Xinjiang Travel Restrictions : Xinjiang is open to tourism including Urumqi, Kashgar, Kanas, Yining, Korla, and Aksu. Contact us for more details or scan the QR code to check the up-to-date travel restrictions in English of different cities in China.
In downtown Kashi, there is an old city made of yellow mud bricks standing on a small hill – Kashgar Old City. The Old City has been rebuilt, so it's more like a new town on the old city location. But the architecture there retains its traditional style.
You can still observe local life there: children playing on the streets, small shops selling food and souvenirs, and craftsmen making bronze ware.
- Highlights: local life, beautiful mud carved walls, visit to a local family
- Location: downtown Kashgar, about 15 minutes' walk from the famous Id Kah Mosque
- Time needed: 2 hours
A Mazy Adventure through Small Alleys
Kashgar Old City contains many Uyghur houses; 630 homes with more than 2,450 people, all of whom are Muslim.
Situated in a precipitous location, the mud-thatched buildings are densely packed together. Numerous small lanes crisscross the old city, stretching into every corner. It's like walking in a maze, exploring the small alleys in the old city.
Beautiful Islamic and Uyghur Architecture
Inside the old city are many buildings hundreds of years old. Most are two or three stories tall. Each house is typically equipped with a staircase leading to the top of the building. The mud bricks feature Islamic and Uyghur styles, with flower-carved decorations.
Each house has a courtyard, the size of which varies according to the terrain. All the yards grow popular Muslim trees and flowers, such as mulberry, fig, pomegranate, almond, grape, rose, or China rose. The yards are heavily shaded, providing a tranquil environment for relaxation. Inside the bigger yards, owners have even built pergolas for growing grape vines.
Trading Center City of the China Silk Road
The old city has a history of over 2,000 years. It is said that Banchao, the Eastern Han dynasty's envoy to the Western Region, once stayed here on a journey. During the Kalahan dynasty, there was a summer palace here.
The word Kashgar means "place where jade gathers". After the foundation of the China Silk Road, Kashgar become an important stop on the route, and developed as a major trading center. Nowadays you can still see some small shops selling hats, blankets, and local food; and craftsmen making bronze ware, pottery, and musical instruments.
Kashgar is still a big city in western China, with many direct flights from Urumqi.
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If you are interested in visiting the most westerly city of China and having a mazy adventure, why not let us help you plan a tour of Kashgar? You can visit Kashgar on our Silk Road tours as follows:
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THE 10 BEST Kashgar Sights & Historical Landmarks
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1. Abakh Hoja Tomb
2. Gaotai Ancient Homes
Recommended Sightseeing Experiences (9)
3. Id Kah Mosque
4. Hongqilafu Mountain Boundary Marker
5. Ga Er Ancient City
6. Appak Hoja Mosleum
7. Abaheming's Tomb
8. Hasi Tomb
9. Shipton's Arch
10. Amannishahan Memorial Mausoleum
11. Mo'er Pagoda
12. Tajike Herdsman Village
13. Hannuoyi Ancient City
14. Hajifu Cemetery
15. banchao city, 16. jirigala relay house.
17. XiangXie DaJie
18. AiMin DiXia Jie
19. tiannan shangye jie, what travelers are saying.
- Abakh Hoja Tomb
- Id Kah Mosque
- Shipton's Arch
- Ga Er Ancient City
- Gaotai Ancient Homes
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Kashgar travel guide
Kashgar in brief Kashgar or rather Kashi in Uyghur, is a city located at the west border of China and southwest part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Considered as the end of China's west frontier, the city is bordering the countries of Kyrgyzstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the west. Situated in a mountainous region, Kashgar is surrounded by many mountains of high renown all over the world especially for its hike features: Tianshan Mountains in the north, Kala Kunlun Mountain and Kunlun Mountain in the south, Pamir Plateau to the west and finally Taklimakan Desert to the east. Kashgar is definitely a place where the humid Yunnan climate will feel like a dream! This city of far west China enjoys a hard desert climate punctuated by hot summers and cold winters starting at -10C (14F) to 32C (89.6F), and is also home to a large Muslim community where Chinese Han represent just a few people. Still, lush vegetations and cultures can be found in the surrounding valleys, astonishing scenery for this part of the country surrounded at the same time by desert. The city of Kashgar is from another world: looking dramatically different from the rest of Xinjiang, Kashgar is just a plac... More information about Kashgar »
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Kashgar- an ancient pearl between the West and the East
The Silk Road- this famous ancient route system has been connecting two main civilization areas for thousands of years. It has been like a bridge between the West and the East. The West has been known for its highly developed classical empires- Greek, Roman, and the European kingdoms. And the East has been known for its “Subcelestial Empire”, now known as China, and its surrounding smaller kingdoms. But the vast spaces in the middle, between these civilizations, has been always veiled in mystery and legends about giant mountains, deserts, and unknown nomadic tribes. And there, in the middle of this remoteness is Kashgar, an ancient trade center, full of things to reveal. Let’s make a journey to Kashgar and dive into its history and reality.
Table of Contents
Where is Kashgar
Kashgar (Kashi- 喀什) is known as the westernmost city in China. And China is so big so that its westernmost point is almost in the middle of Eurasia- the largest piece of land on the Earth. So, geographically, Kashgar is in Central Asia, somewhere in the middle of the Silk Road routes. It is also the largest city of the southern part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, built on the western edge of the large Tarim Basin.
I knew about Kashgar for many years, since I have always wanted to cross Eurasia from west to east. I have looked a lot of maps, and this city was an important point on such a route, just like it has been for the ancient people. Crossing from the plains of Europe, then through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, crossing Pamir and Tianshan, and finally arrive on their eastern side, where Tarim Basin begins, has been always an exciting challenge.
So, let us now start exploring Kashgar. What kind of city is it? What secrets it has to reveal? And since it is an ancient city, where a lot of civilizations have left their traces, let us as usual make a short trip through its history.
History of Kashgar
First, let’s take a look at the physical map of Asia, particularly to its central part. You can see the highest mountains on the Earth, known as “The Top of the World”- Himalaya, Tibet, Kunlun, Karakoram, Hindukush, Pamir, and Tianshan. And Tianshan is more separated from the other mountains of this group, stretching like a horn on the northwest.
Then you can see a large oval between Tianshan and the other high mountains, like a giant yellow eye. This is the Tarim Basin, locked far from any oceans on the Earth, with its vast sandy Taklamanak Desert on its bottom.
But exactly there, on the northern and the southern edges of Taklamakan, there are two fertile oasis chains. The northern one stretches between the desert and Tianshan, and the southern one- between the desert and the Kunlun Mountains. They join together on their western ends into a large oasis land. This is Kashgaria- the land around Kashgar, which is not only located on a very strategic position on the Silk Road (in the middle of Asia) but also on a place with good agricultural conditions.
So, it is not strange that there have been a lot of wars for this piece of land. Many civilizations, kingdoms, and empires fought for Kashgar and left their traces there. As a result, Kashgar has a long history, and it is worth to make a short trip through it.
Ancient period and Shule Kingdom (until 177 BC)
Since thousands of years, known and unknown cultures have set foot on the oasis of Kashgaria. They were mainly from the Persian language family- Saka, Tokharians, Wusun, Yuezhi and some others. And the first known state on this place is known as Shule Kingdom, which was independent until the arriving of Xiongnu and the Han Chinese.
Han and Xiongnu (177 BC to 150 AD)
During that period, there were constant wars between these two competitors- Han Empire of China and the nomadic Xiongnu Empire. But since Kashgaria is located too far west, its Shule Kingdom remained, sometimes as a vassal of Han or Xiongnu, sometimes fully independent, until the arriving of the Kushans.
Kushan Empire and the White Huns (150 to 552)
The Kushan Empire was a strong formation, stretching from the north of today’s India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan into parts of Central Asia. It gained control over Kashgaria for around 173 years, but then its time has passed. Temporary, during the 4th century, the area was divided between a few local independent kingdoms. And then- the next candidates for Kashgaria arrived- the White Huns (Hephthalites). With some interruptions, they ruled over this place until 552, when most of Central Asia was conquered by the Turks.
Turk Khaganates (552 to 648)
The Turks established their large khaganate from the Caspian Sea to the middle of today’s China. But such a vast nomadic empire couldn’t remain united for a long time and it soon divided into two main parts, as Kashgaria remained under the Western Turk Khaganate.
Tang Empire and the Tibetans (648 to 791)
Two strong empires competed for Kashgaria during that period- the Chinese Tang Empire and the epic Tibetan Empire. And Kashgar often changed its masters. But during that time a third invader wanted to swallow it- the Arabs. They conquered Kashgar in 711, but couldn’t remain in their hands and the Chinese took it back. Anyway, finally, both Tang and the Tibetan empires weakened and lost the city, which got new masters- the Uyghurs.
Uyghur Khanate (791 to 840)
The Uyghurs created a strong empire, covering most of today’s Xinjiang. They ruled over Kashgar for half a century, until their empire collapsed, and the city was conquered by the Karakhanids. However, the Uyghurs remain from that time as the main ethnic group in the area until now.
The Karakhanids (840 to 1134)
They were another Turkic group of people, ruling over Kashgar and much of today’s Xinjiang. This time they introduced Islam to this region. Most of this period was peaceful. There is a famous poet, lived in the Karakhanid’s capital in today’s Kyrgyzstan, but died in Kashgar- Yusuf Khas Hajib, and now you can see his tomb in the city.
Karakhitai (1134 to 1218)
It is another dynasty, another ethnic group, this time of Chinese and Manchurian origin. They created the Western Liao Empire, ruling over a large portion of today’s China, including Kashgar, until the Mongol conquest. And during this whole period, the Karakhanids remained as vassal rulers under the Karakhitai’s control.
The Great Mongol Empire (1218 to 1348)
Nothing in Central Asia has escaped the invasion of Genghis Khan and his Mongols. He created the largest in-land-area empire ever existed, and Kashgar was a part of it. But since this empire was highly unstable, it soon was divided between the sons of Genghis Khan, and Kashgar remained under the rule of Chagatay’s dynasty.
Moghulistan and the Timurids (1348 to 1466)
Then other branches of the first Mongol Empire arose. One of them was Moghulistan (or Eastern Chagatai Khanate). So they were descendants of Genghis Khan’s son Chagatai. Kashgar remained under their control and they later turned into Islam. But then another Mongol empire emerged from the west- the Timurid Empire of Tamerlan. He conquered Kashgar and it was devastating. The Timurids ruled over the area for 40 years, before it back again in the hands of Moghulistan’s Chagataids.
The local kingdoms- Dughlats, Yarkent, and the Dzungars (1466 to 1759)
Eventually, the era of the Mongols and their descendants came to an end, and a new period of often changing powers and control over Kashgar began. This period was a period of instability and wars, so Kashgar had to pass through times of destruction and times of rebuilding. The main two powers who controlled Kashgar at that time were Dughlats and the Yarkent Kingdom.
Other pretenders for the power over Kashgaria were the White and Black Khojas, somewhere during the time of Yarkent. During the 17th century, some religious leaders also played a significant role in the political life of Kashgar. The most famous of them was Afaq Khoja, who is today associated with the story (or legend) of the „Fragrant Concubine”. Now his Mausoleum is one of the symbols of Kashgar. Later the next invader came- the Dzungars (which were the last nomadic empire of Central Asia), but Kashgar still preserved its autonomy.
Qing Empire (1759 to 1913)
The Chinese army of Qing conquered the whole Xinjiang, including Kashgar, but there was some local autonomy existed in the area, and the power of the Khojas, descendants of Afaq remained, although under the control of Qing. However, they also often revolted against Qing and there were short periods of independence. But the biggest revolt was the so-called Dungan Revolt in 1862 when many Muslim groups united against the Chinese. As a result, Kashgaria gained independence for almost 15 years, before reconquering again by Qing.
Modern China (1913 until now)
After the fall of Qing, the whole Xinjiang enters a messy and unstable period, during which wars and human disasters were not rare. One of these is the civil war in 1933-1934 between the Chinese Muslim army and the local Uyghurs and Kyrgyz. There are two battles in Kashgar, which devastate the city. After the Communist Revolution in 1949 Kashgar and the whole Xinjiang remained firmly incorporated in China, and it was (and still is) a period of much stability. Although the tension remains (and sometimes broke into occasional violence), in general, everything is in peace now. Yes, this peace is gained by the strong police presence, which can be seen everywhere in the city, but that’s no problem since it doesn’t disturb the normal daily life. On the contrary, as a result, the crime level is lower than in the rest of China.
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Our journey to Kashgar
All of this made Kashgar an attracting place to visit and explore. And we were quite excited to plan a trip to the middle of the Silk Road, in the heart of Asia.
Our journey to Kashgar was a part of a longer Xinjiang itinerary, and we reached Kashgar from Turpan , by train. We arrived at late evening, the railway station was in partial repair and we were really surprised when we got down from the train, that nobody checked us, nobody even checked out tickets (as in every railway stations in China).
We got a taxi and arrived at our hostel, called Maitian, and located near the East Lake (东湖公园) park of Kashgar. It was late for us (around 11:30 pm), but not for the locals, who live at least „two hours later” as in the whole Xinjiang. We planned to stay in Kashgar at least 4-5 days, during which we have included a 2-3 days trip to Tashkurgan, on the Chinese side of the famous Karakoram Highway. But on the next day, our first full day in Kashgar, we had to explore the interesting places within the city.
Places to visit in Kashgar
So, as you can assume, Kashgar should have a lot to see, within the city and around it. You can expect a strong presence of history and culture, and there is indeed such a presence. We visited its main landmarks, and there are more that we couldn’t visit. Anyway, let’s explore Kashgar and see what does it have to present.
Kashgar Old City (喀什噶尔老城)
It is the main and most important place to see in Kashgar. The Old City is large, spreading into two parts, separated by a wide boulevard. But first, have in mind that it is not the original “Old Kashgar”. The original one used to be located north of East Lake Park, but it was gradually demolished, since it has been found unsafe, and its mud houses (probably) easily to collapse.
Yes, that may sounds disappointing, but let’s think this way: there are many cases of this kind in the history, from ancient times until now- for various reasons capitals, other cities, palaces, and other clusters of buildings or constructions has been moved from one place to another, and their second versions were often better and more beautiful than the first.
The same is true about the Kashgar Old City, just its moving didn’t happen hundreds of years ago, but only during the last 10-15 years. And I have to confess that its new version now is really beautiful, clean and attractive, built on a hill, with surrounding fortress wall.
One of the best starting points for exploring the Kashgar Old City is its East Gate (东门). From there you enter another world like it has been hundreds of years ago. Beautiful 2 or 3-storeys houses in old traditional Uyghur style, souvenir, and daily life stock shops, cute cafes, small gardens and decorations- it can be seen everywhere on the streets. You can leave the main streets and enter some narrow alley between the house, and there you can see the life of the locals as it is. And eventually, you will arrive at the old center of Kashgar- Id Kah Square and its Id Kah Mosque.
Id Kah Square and Id Kah Mosque (艾提尕尔广场清真寺)
Id Kah Mosque is one of the Kashgar’s symbols and it is really old (not newly constructed or moved). It is built by Saqsiz Mirza during the Moghulistan era, around 1422. Now it is known as the largest (in area) mosque in China since a large part of it is a park. It has a few buildings, and it is religiously active currently- every Friday thousands of local Muslims go there for worship.
During its recent history, a few assassinations have happened there, two of them during the Kashgar wars in 1933-1934, and the last- in 2014. But now it is a safe place to visit since the mosque is serving also as a cultural and historical museum. Entrance fee: 30 CNY
And the square in front of it is one of the favorite places for the locals. There are a lot of other beautiful buildings in old traditional architectural style, including a tower and many bazaars (shops). There is an Uyghur Museum in the area, although currently closed for renovation.
All this- the Old City and Id Kah area can be explored together, in one tour, since they are in the same city area. But to proceed further your exploration of Kashgar, you have to leave this area. The next very important landmark of Kashgar is Afaq Khoja Mausoleum.
Afaq (Abak) Khoja Mausoleum (香妃墓)
It is something like the „Taj Mahal” of Xinjiang. Built around 1640, it is a tomb of several Afaq Clan’s generations. The tomb is initially built by a Sufi master, who came in the area to spread Sufism, and his son Afaq Khoja was not only a religious leader, but also entered in the political life of Kashgar.
Later many Afaqi members were buried in the Mausoleum, but one of them is of special attention. Whether it is true or not, it is believed that she was the so-called „Fragrant Concubine” (Xiang Fei- 香妃), an Uyghur girl, a descendant of Afaq Khoja family, serving as a concubine of Emperor Qianlong, and carried in the Mausoleum after her death.
Although the Uyghur version of the story is different, and in general, it is not clear what is a reality and what is just a legend, now this Mausoleum (whether there is a real „Fragrant Concubine” inside or not) is considered as a symbol of peace and friendship between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. On the other hand, the Muslim Uyghurs consider it as a Muslim holy place.
Today it consists not only of the Tomb, but a large garden with a pond, and several more Islamic buildings, including a mosque. Thus the whole complex is a beautiful masterpiece of architecture, culture, history and park design. Entrance fee: 30 CNY
Yusuf Khas Khajib Tomb (玉素甫·哈斯·哈吉甫墓)
Now lets back in time and from the era of Afaq Khoja (17-18th centuries) to jump to 11th century. It was the period of the Karakhanids, ruling over Kashgar and a large part of Central Asia. At that time, there was a man from Balasagun, the capital of the Karakhanid Empire near today’s Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. His name was Yusuf, called also Balasaguni.
Yusuf was a notorious poet and he wrote his famous masterpiece Kutadgu Bilig- „The Wisdom Bringing Good Fortune”. Later in his life, he moved to Kashgar, where he presented his work and in return, he gained the title Khas Hajib (which means something like „Chancellor”). He died in Kashgar, and today we can see his tomb- a beautiful structure, surrounded by a yard, built in traditional Uyghur Islamic style. Entrance fee: 30 CNY.
Now, let’s back to our modern time and taste more of the real Kashgar life. Some of the most colorful places in this part of the world are the bazaars- the open-air markets, where you can see and feel the most authentic of the local life and culture.
East Bazaar (东巴扎)
This is the main bazaar of Kashgar, located just east of East Lake Park. We visited it on our way back from Afaq Khoja Mausoleum since it is on the same boulevard. From its north entrance, you can see some beautiful traditional buildings, one of them serving as a gate of the bazaar.
At first sight, it looks just like a normal market, where you can find everything- products for daily use, souvenirs, fruits, spices, decorations…just everything. But what makes it more interesting is the people inside- most of them local Uyghurs, wearing their traditional caps, called „doppa”, women with their specific clothing, and their market behavior of selling and buying. So even you don’t like shopping, it is still really worth to walk inside the bazaar, diving in its unique atmosphere.
It is another very attractive bazaar. It is for domestic animals- cows, sheep, goats, horses, hens, etc. (no pigs). There you can see a lively trade, sell and buy, and many local people from the city and the nearby villages.
This market is located northwest of Kashgar, near the intersections of roads G314 and X435 (it is its new location). But it is working only on Sundays. So if you visit Kashgar during the other days of the week, you can’t see this bazaar. However, if it is Sunday, don’t miss this opportunity!
Local people, culture, food
Yes, finally, the city and its people are a “must-visit site” themselves. Here you can feel a strange mix of Central Asia with Chinese and Arabic signs on the streets everywhere. You can see the locals, most of which look different than the Chinese. And although there is some hidden tension in the air, all the people live a normal peaceful life.
One of the things that can make you feel the local atmosphere is the food. Since it is influenced by Islam, there is no pork. But you can enjoy beef, lamb, and chicken. There are various dishes, made by these kinds of meat, including a lot of vegetables, spices and other products. Mostly you can enjoy Leghman (Lamian)- a noddle dish, Polu- which is rice mixed with meat and vegetables, Kawaplar (Kebab)- beef or lamb on a skewer with spices, and Dapanji- a big plate with chicken and many vegetables, usually spicy. See more about the Uyghur cuisine here .
There are a lot of restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Uyghur cuisine, but now I would focus on the places where you can eat outside, in an open-air style, which gives you a special unique local feeling. There are two places where you can enjoy that- both in the Old City. The first one is in front of Id Kah Mosque, and the second one- right behind the southern gate of the Old City.
But maybe the most essential for Kashgar and the whole Xinjiang is the fruits. Yes, the best fruits in China come from Xinjiang, and they are some of the best in the world! Watermelons, Hami melons, grapes, peaches, apples, you have to try them in Kashgar. Xinjiang fruits are so delicious, that they became symbols of many Xinjiang cities. The Hami melon is a symbol of Hami, the grapes are a symbol of Turpan. And the symbol of Kashgar is the pomegranate.
How to reach Kashgar
There are several ways to reach Kashgar- by plane, by train, by bus, or by other transport like a car or even bicycle.
If you want to reach Kashgar by plane from the interior of China- there are direct planes from Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. And since Kashgar is quite isolated from the rest of the country, it takes a few hours to reach it- around two hours from Urumqi and 5-6 hours or even more from the cities of the east.
You can reach Kashgar by plane also from Pakistan. First, you fly to Islamabad, and then- by direct flight to Kashgar.
This is how we reached Kashgar. Currently, there is only a normal (slow) train from the east of China and Urumqi. The railway comes from there and proceeds to Hotan. The trains to Kashgar are not the best and newest slow trains, but at least it is a cheap way to travel to this city.
There is a bus from Urumqi, which arrives in Kashgar for 24 hours, so it can be an option too. There were buses from Osh and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, but as far as I know, the bus from Bishkek is not stopped, and I am not sure about the bus from Osh. Maybe the reason is the strengthening of the border area control.
Until recently, it was possible to travel from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass (the border with China), then by bus through Tashkurgan to reach Kashgar. But now Khunjerab Pass is much restricted and crossing from Pakistan to China on the Karakoram Highway is much more difficult, nearly impossible (the regulations often change, and even the local officials sometimes don’t know about the changes).
By other transport
Yes, there are other ways to reach Kashgar, most of them usually difficult or even weird. You can reach Kashgar from Urumqi, from Hotan (and the whole southern way from Xining, Qinghai) by car, hiring a driver or even hitchhiking. Yes, you will pass several police check-points, but they will not stop you to proceed, just have to register there.
You can still reach Kashgar from Kyrgyzstan (through Irkeshtam and Torugart Passes), from Tajikistan (through Qulma Pass) and (probably) from Pakistan (through Khunjerab Pass), but only by a travel company arranged car (with all necessary permits) and a lot of money. Maybe you can also reach Kashgar from Lhasa (Tibetan Autonomous Region), but again- only by a travel company (at least within Tibet).
Another adventurous way to reach Kashgar is by bicycle, but again- only from Urumqi or another place inside China. But if you try it from a neighboring country- Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Pakistan, or the Tibetan Autonomous Region, currently it would be really difficult (if not impossible).
Accommodation in Kashgar
As in many other cities in China, especially in Xinjiang, many hotels don’t accept foreigners. So you have two options. First- choose an expensive, splurge hotel. Usually all they can accept foreigners and if you are ready to spend more money for such a hotel, you would not have any problem. Second- choose a hostel. There are two good hostels in the Old City: Kashgar Old City Hostel and Pamir Youth Hostel.
Another good hostel (where we spend several nights) is Maitian Youth Hostel, which is more like a cheap hotel, and some of its rooms are more like normal hotel rooms. And since it doesn’t like so attractive, foreigners usually don’t prefer it, but it is still a good option- at least you can reach it by taxi, while you have to walk to those inside the Old City.
Besides these, there are still a few more options which you can check, such as Qiniwak Hotel, Kashgar Guesthouse, Seman Hotel, and Hotel Eden. They are mid-range in price. Anyway, you better still check their availability to accept foreigners. See more about the accommodation in China here .
Where the next?
After you explore the city itself, you can “attack” some nearby places. But have in mind that you would be not allowed to reach everything located within the border area, which is very close to Kashgar.
Tashkurgan and Karakoram Highway
It is the most beautiful and attractive place to see near Kashgar. This is the Chinese section of the famous Karakoram Highway and it passes through really stunning places and landscapes. You can enjoy two fantastic lakes- White Sand Lake (白沙湖) and Karakul Lake (卡拉库勒湖). There you can see two breathtaking snowy peaks. These are the highest peaks of Pamir- Kongur Tagh and Muztagh Ata. And finally, you can explore the local Tajik culture and history of Tashkurgan.
But now, from this year (2019) you can do it ONLY by a travel company, which can be arranged from the Kashgar Travel Center since Karakoram Highway is located within the border area.
It is a natural wonder, located in the mountains northwest of Kashgar, known as the tallest natural arc on the Earth. Now it is turned into a National park and is easy reachable by paved road. But, as far as I know, since it is still within the border area, now you can’t just go by yourself, but only by a travel company, arranging the necessary permits.
Mahmud Kashgari Tomb
This is much nearer to Kashgar and is a historic site. It is located in a small town, called Upal, southwest of Kashgar, but still not in the border area, so you can reach it by yourself. The place is related to a notorious scholar and translator, lived in the 11th century and died here.
Mor Buddhist Pagoda
A historic site, located northeast of Kashgar. This is the largest presence of Buddhism in the area. It was built in the 7th century and destroyed in the 12th century during the Karakhitay era. Now only its ruins have left.
This desert is considered a part of the Great Taklamakan Desert. But in fact, it is separated from it, it is only a small “sand island” within agricultural land. That’s why in my opinion it is more proper for tourists, rather than travelers since it is made a tourist attraction, with camels, ATVs and other tourist gluttonies. They get money from the tourists and let them think that they are in Taklamakan Desert. That’s why we skipped this place and chose another desert site, which IS Taklamakan Desert- Maigaiti N39.
Taklamakan Desert- Maigaiti N39 area
This place is further east from Kashgar, some 3 hours by car. And it is really at the edge of Taklamakan Desert. It is called N39 because it is located exactly at the 39th north parallel line of the Earth. Yes, there is now another tourist site, again with camels, ATVs and desert jeeps (which are expensive, and too short in the same time). But this time the desert is more than 1000 km long and 400 km wide, so you can easily just go away from the tourist place and walk alone in the sands (being careful and not penetrating too far inside the desert without preparation, especially in summer, it can be dangerous!).
Yes, finally, this experience is “the cherry on the cake”. Needless to say, reaching the K2 Base Camp on the Chinese side is a serious challenge. Of course, it requires at least a 2-3 weeks trip, a travel company and a lot of money, since K2 is on the border with Pakistan.
From the trips around Kashgar, we chose Tashkurgan and Karakoram Highway, then the trip to Taklamakan Maigaiti N39.
Then we left Kashgar, proceeding our Xinjiang trip. We back to the northeast, to Urumqi, from where we planned to explore Tianshan mountains and to reach Taklamakan Desert again from the north. And our journey to Kashgar remained as a very important and unforgettable part of our trip on the Silk Road to the Chinese Far West.
See more about Kashgar here in this video:
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Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.
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- China Daily PDF
- China Daily E-paper
Kashgar to facilitate trade with key areas
Kashgar prefecture, in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, expects to facilitate China's further opening-up to Asia and Europe through a newly established free trade zone.
Kashgar, located in southwestern Xinjiang, has three ports and is located near two ports in neighboring Kezilesu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture, linking countries including Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. It also acts as a gateway to Russia and European nations.
Its total trade value surged 89.7 percent year-on-year to reach 61.04 billion yuan ($8.42 billion) from January to September, data from the local government showed.
The China (Xinjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone was established on Nov 1. It covers 179.66 square kilometers and comprises areas in Kashgar prefecture, Urumqi and Horgos. The development has boosted the confidence and expectation of business owners conducting cross-border trade.
At the unveiling ceremony of the Kashgar Area of the zone in mid-November, a first group of 35 companies received business licenses with project funds worth more than 17.6 billion yuan, covering sectors such as trade and logistics, electronics, new materials and automotive parts.
Zhi Fu Holding Group from Guangdong province has invested 2 billion yuan to build a hotel and a gold, diamond and jade trade center in Kashgar.
A Zhejiang-based trading company plans to invest 1 billion yuan to build an industrial park to manufacture daily necessities, textiles, apparel and accessories.
"With good policy support, we are confident of prospering in the international market," Yang Caiping, chairman of the company, told Xinjiang Daily.
Leveraging the advantages of international trade and logistics channels, the area will expand and strengthen its foreign-oriented economy, with a focus on developing industries such as processed agricultural products, textile and garments, and assembled electronic products, according to the overall plan for the zone.
The 28.48-sq-km Kashgar Area will also develop modern service industries such as international logistics and cross-border e-commerce, and create a commodity processing and distribution base connecting markets in Central Asia and South Asia.
"The area will follow high-standard international economic and trade rules, and deepen cooperation with neighboring countries in industries, resources, talent, technology and finance, in order to build a demonstration model for China's westward opening-up," said Nie Zhuang, Party secretary of Kashgar prefecture.
He added that efforts in reform and innovation will be intensified to build the Kashgar Area into "a highstandard, high-quality free trade zone with a favorable business environment, convenient investment and trade, advantageous industry clusters, shared resources and efficient management".
China’s crackdown on mosques is expanding beyond Xinjiang, report says
The Chinese government has expanded its campaign of closing mosques to regions other than Xinjiang , where for years it has been blamed for persecuting Muslim minorities , according to a Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday.
Authorities have closed mosques in the northern Ningxia region as well as Gansu province, which are home to large populations of Hui Muslims, as part of a process known officially as “consolidation,” according to the report, which draws on public documents, satellite images and witness testimonies.
Local authorities also have been removing architectural features of mosques to make them look more “Chinese,” part of a campaign by the ruling Communist Party to tighten control over religion and reduce the risk of possible challenges to its rule.
President Xi Jinping in 2016 called for the “Sinicization” of religions, initiating a crackdown that has largely concentrated on the western region of Xinjiang, home to more than 11 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
A United Nations report last year found China may have committed “ crimes against humanity ” in Xinjiang, including through its construction of a network of extrajudicial internment camps believed to have held at least 1 million Uyghurs, Huis, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz.
Chinese authorities have decommissioned, closed down, demolished or converted mosques for secular use in regions outside Xinjiang as part of a campaign aimed at cracking down on religious expression, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately answer faxed questions seeking comment on the report and its official policies toward Muslim minorities.
One of the first known references to “mosque consolidation” appears in an internal party document from April 2018 that was leaked to U.S. media as part of a trove of documents known as the “Xinjiang Papers.” The file instructed state agencies throughout the country to “strengthen the standardized management of the construction, renovation and expansion of Islamic religious venues” and stressed that “there should not be newly built Islamic venues” in order to “compress the overall number (of mosques).”
“The Chinese government is not ‘consolidating’ mosques as it claims, but closing many down in violation of religious freedom,” said Maya Wang, acting China director at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government’s closure, destruction and repurposing of mosques is part of a systematic effort to curb the practice of Islam in China.”
In Liaoqiao and Chuankou villages in Ningxia, authorities dismantled the domes and minarets of all seven mosques and razed the main buildings of three of them between 2019 and 2021, according to videos and pictures posted online and corroborated with satellite imagery by the group’s researchers.
Additionally, the ablution hall of one mosque was damaged inside, according to videos obtained by the group.
The Associated Press could not independently verify the changes described in the report.
The policy of “consolidating mosques” was also referenced in a March 2018 document issued by the government of Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia. According to the paper, the government wanted to “strictly control the number and scale of religious venues” and called for mosques to adopt “Chinese architecture styles.”
The paper suggested the “integration and combination of mosques” could “solve the problem of too many religious venues.”
In Gansu province, several local governments have detailed efforts to “consolidate” mosques.
In Guanghe County, where the majority of the population is Hui, authorities in 2020 “canceled the registration of 12 mosques, closed down five mosques and improved and consolidated another five,” according to the government’s annual yearbook, referenced in the Human Rights Watch report.
News reports also suggest the Chinese government has closed or altered mosques in other places around the country, occasionally facing public backlash. In May, protesters in Nagu town in southern Yunnan province clashed with police over the planned demolition of a mosque’s dome.
Best time to visit Kashgar , China
The best time to visit Kashgar is September-October
In summer, the average maximum temperature is around 33℃ (90℉), but temperatures can sometimes reach as high as 35℃ (95℉) on the hottest days of the year. In the colder months such as January, temperatures usually get down to an average minimum of -10℃ (15℉).
If you’re keen to see the sights of Kashgar during the day, the sun stays up the longest around July. May sees the most amount of rain in a month if you’re ok with chancing getting drenched, so if you’re looking to stay dry, visit in October instead.
If you want to learn everything you need to know about the best times to travel to Kashgar, the weather and stats by month and so much more, make sure you keep reading. Once you’re ready, we’ve included a bunch of our favourite online booking tools to help you find the best deals on flights, accommodation and anything else you’ll need for your trip. Happy reading!
Quick links: Fast facts / Seasons / Average temperatures / Monthly climate / FAQs / Map
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Before you continue, it’s important to know when the seasons are in Kashgar as they might be different to yours depending on where in the world you’re travelling from. Kashgar is in the Northern Hemisphere, so the seasons fall during these months:
Average temperatures in Kashgar
If the temperature is a big factor for you to help you decide when to visit, the chart below shows the average minimum and maximum temperatures in Kashgar for each month side-by-side so you can easily see the difference in weather throughout the year. To see the temperatures in both Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F), hover or tap the shaded boxes on the graph.
Kashgar climate by month
If you already have a rough idea about which months you might want to travel, the section below shows a detailed breakdown of the climate in Kashgar for each month so you can see if it all suits your wants and needs. Scroll down, or use the quick menu below to jump to your preferred month.
Kashgar in January
- Average temperature: -7℃ (20℉)
- Average high temperature: -2℃ (28℉)
- Average low temperature: -10℃ (15℉)
- Average humidity: 63%
- Average sunny days: 26 days
- Average rainfall: 3mm (0") over 2 days
- Average snow days: 5 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in January, make sure you pack a thick snow/winter jacket, thermals and some extra layers as it's always very cold.
Add visitor or local insider tips >
Kashgar in February
- Average temperature: -1℃ (30℉)
- Average high temperature: 3℃ (37℉)
- Average low temperature: -5℃ (24℉)
- Average humidity: 58%
- Average sunny days: 22 days
- Average rainfall: 6mm (0") over 2 days
- Average snow days: 6 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in February, make sure you pack a thick snow/winter jacket, thermals and some extra layers as it's always very cold.
Kashgar in March
- Average temperature: 9℃ (48℉)
- Average high temperature: 13℃ (56℉)
- Average low temperature: 5℃ (41℉)
- Average humidity: 35%
- Average sunny days: 25 days
- Average rainfall: 6mm (0") over 5 days
- Average snow days: 2 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in March, make sure you pack a thick snow/winter jacket, thermals and some extra layers as it's always very cold.
Kashgar in April
- Average temperature: 17℃ (63℉)
- Average high temperature: 21℃ (71℉)
- Average low temperature: 12℃ (54℉)
- Average humidity: 25%
- Average sunny days: 23 days
- Average rainfall: 9mm (0") over 6 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in April, make sure you pack a light jumper or hoodie for the evenings and some light clothes for the daytime.
Kashgar in May
- Average temperature: 22℃ (71℉)
- Average high temperature: 26℃ (79℉)
- Average low temperature: 17℃ (62℉)
- Average sunny days: 21 days
- Average rainfall: 19mm (1") over 8 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in May, make sure you pack t-shirts for the daytime and maybe a light jumper for the evenings as it cools down a bit.
Kashgar in June
- Average temperature: 26℃ (78℉)
- Average high temperature: 30℃ (86℉)
- Average low temperature: 21℃ (70℉)
- Average humidity: 22%
- Average sunny days: 19 days
- Average rainfall: 14mm (1") over 8 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in June, make sure you pack t-shirts and shorts.. It stays pretty warm most of the time.
Kashgar in July
- Average temperature: 28℃ (83℉)
- Average high temperature: 33℃ (90℉)
- Average low temperature: 23℃ (74℉)
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in July, make sure you pack t-shirts and shorts.. It stays warm all day and night.
Kashgar in August
- Average temperature: 27℃ (80℉)
- Average high temperature: 31℃ (87℉)
- Average low temperature: 22℃ (72℉)
- Average humidity: 26%
- Average rainfall: 13mm (1") over 7 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in August, make sure you pack t-shirts and shorts.. It stays pretty warm most of the time.
Kashgar in September
- Average temperature: 21℃ (70℉)
- Average high temperature: 25℃ (78℉)
- Average low temperature: 17℃ (63℉)
- Average humidity: 30%
- Average rainfall: 13mm (1") over 6 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in September, make sure you pack t-shirts for the daytime and maybe a light jumper for the evenings as it cools down a bit.
Kashgar in October
- Average temperature: 14℃ (57℉)
- Average high temperature: 18℃ (65℉)
- Average low temperature: 10℃ (50℉)
- Average sunny days: 28 days
- Average rainfall: 2mm (0") over 2 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in October, make sure you pack a warm jacket or coat.
Kashgar in November
- Average temperature: 4℃ (39℉)
- Average high temperature: 8℃ (46℉)
- Average low temperature: 1℃ (33℉)
- Average humidity: 48%
- Average sunny days: 27 days
- Average snow days: 1 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in November, make sure you pack a thick snow/winter jacket, thermals and some extra layers as it's always very cold.
Kashgar in December
- Average temperature: -4℃ (24℉)
- Average high temperature: -1℃ (31℉)
- Average low temperature: -7℃ (19℉)
- Average humidity: 60%
- Average rainfall: 4mm (0") over 1 days
- Average snow days: 3 days
What to pack: If you’re heading to Kashgar in December, make sure you pack a thick snow/winter jacket, thermals and some extra layers as it's always very cold.
😎 When should I go to Kashgar for the hottest weather?
☀ when does it rain the least in kashgar, ☔ when does it rain the most in kashgar, 🌤 when should i go to kashgar if i want the most daylight, kashgar map.
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