If you’re short on time but high on adventure, then a 4-day trip on the Karakoram Highway (“KKH” for short) is for you! The KKH is considered the highest paved international road in the world, linking China and Pakistan via the Khunjerab Pass (15,397 ft). Come cycle on the Chinese side of the KKH and take in spectacular scenes of high mountain peaks (some reaching 25,000 ft), lush highland pastures, and pristine glacial lakes mixed with the colorful cultures of the Tajik, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, and Han.
This tour starts and ends at the oasis of Kashgar, an ancient silk road trading hub where goods have been bought and sold for 2000 years, and home to the Grand Bazaar (largest open air market in Central Asia) and the historic Id-Kah Mosque (largest in China).
Trip at a Glance:
Day 1: Assemble in Kashgar
Day 2: Drive to Tashkorgan, explore the grasslands
Day 2: Cycle to Karakul Lake
Day 3: Cycle to Opal for lunch, then on to Kashgar.
Day 1: Assemble in Kashgar We will begin our adventure in the ancient Silk Road town of Kashgar, where you will be picked up at the airport and transported to our hotel in the center of the city. There will be time for last minute shopping and after making sure our bikes are ready to go, we will eat dinner at a local Uyghur restaurant and casually tour nearby sites.
As one of the better-known stops along the ancient Silk Road, Kashgar offers an interesting mix of culture and history to explore. We will have an opportunity to meander through the maze of roads that makes up Kashgar’s Old City and make a stop at the yellow brick façade of the iconic Id Kah Mosque.
Day 2: Travel to Tashkurgan. At 9:00 am Beijing time we will board our tour bus and drive south out of Kashgar through the mountains into the small town of Tashkurgan, the administrative seat of the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County. Along this 300 km route, we will witness an astounding variety of geographical features. The drive to Tashkurgan should only take 5-6 hours but due to unpredictable weather, landslides, washouts and resulting road construction to repair damage, the trip could be an all-day affair! A new highway, elevated in strategic sections, is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in early Fall 2016. Travelers on this new road should find their trip smoother and shorter, but still fascinating for both geology buffs and non-geologists alike!
Once we arrive in Tashkurgan we will check into our hotel and have a relatively relaxing afternoon/evening to allow our bodies to acclimatize to Tashkurgan’s 10,500 foot elevation. Optional activities include visiting the picturesque highland pasture, sauntering through the quaint downtown streets or stopping by the famed Stone City or Tajik Museum (open Mon-Fri until 7 pm Beijing Time). Plan to take plenty of pictures of sites with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. We will dine together at one of the local restaurants in town.
Day 3: Cycle to Lake Karakul. We leave Tashkurgan early and begin our journey north back toward Kashgar, cycling 95 km (61 mi) to Karakul Lake. We will ascend 1000m in order to cross the Subash Pass, reaching an altitude of 4000 m (13,000 ft).
Thankfully, though, the hard work of cycling uphill will be rewarded with one of the most visually spectacular stretches of highway and a rapid descent of switchbacks at high speeds. These stretches offer the best photo ops of Mt. Muztaghata and potential sightings of free-ranging yaks and camels. We will eat a packed-lunch en-route, and by late afternoon we should arrive Karakul Lake where we will have lakeside yurts prepared for the night.
Day 4: Cycle to Kashgar. Early in the morning, we eat breakfast and break camp. We will begin cycling this mostly-downhill portion of the journey, enjoying the beautiful scenery of White Sands Lake, Mt. Kongur, and the colorful rock formations around Oytagh while heading toward our lunch stop in the Uyghur town of Opal.
After lunch, we cycle the remaining 50 km (31 mi) on flat, paved road to Kashgar where we end our trip with a victory photo shoot at the historic Id-Kah Mosque. Dinner will be at a restaurant in town.
Enjoy a relaxing, well-deserved swim at our hotel or choose to further explore the sights and sounds of Kashgar. At this point our trip has officially ended. Feel free to extend your stay in Kashgar, travel to other Silk Road sites nearby, or return home.
|July 7 – July 10||2016||$920|
|August 1 – August 4||2016||$920|
|August 21 – August 24||2016||$920|
|June 29 – July 2||2017||$920|
|July 24 – July 27||2017||$920|
|August 19 – August 22||2017||$920|
Prices are based on a minimum group size of 6. Discount is available for groups larger than 8, so please contact us for specific pricing and details.
Xinjiang Altus International
Zhong Qiao San Xiang #136 Door A, Office 1006