With all the negative media attention Xinjiang is receiving, it is easy to forget how beautiful and interesting this part of China is. Located at close proximity to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, it is not a surprise that the cultural and linguistic traits in the region are more Central Asian than ‘Chinese’. Not only is it a completely different experience, but the city allegedly boasts the largest bazaar in Asia, and arguably the best food in the country originates here.
Source: Margaux Schreurs
There are a few different ways to get to Kashgar from Urumqi. You could fly for around 400-800 RMB one way depending on whether it is the high season or you are willing to go at inconvenient times, and the flight takes under two hours.
If you take the bus, you can get to Kashgar International Bus Station in about 24 hours, and will set you back 90 RMB. On the other hand, the train can take you to Kashgar Railway Station in either 24 or 30 hours depending on whether you get the fast train (5826/5827) or the slow train (7556/7557). For this, ticket prices range between 90 RMB for a seating ticket on the slower train to 600 RMB for a soft sleeper ticket on the faster train.
Where to Stay
1) Kashgar Old City Youth Hostel
Add: 233 Wusitangboyi Road
Tel: 0998 2823 262
Prices: 40 RMB for a bed in a room of 6, 45 RMB for a bed in a room of 8, 100 RMB for a single room and 160 RMB for a standard double.
2) Kashgar Pamit Youth Hostel
Add: F3, Building A, District 7, Id Kah Mosque Bazaar, Nuo’er Beixi
Tel: 0998 2823 376
Prices: 35 RMB per night, 40 RMB per night with a/c
What to Do and See
1) Mal Bazaar
This livestock is full of people from surrounding villages coming to trade their livestock and other goods, most of whom come on a Sunday. Thus, although parts of the market are open on other days, the fact that the Sunday market is the largest one in Asia makes it worth planning your time around. You can also buy everything ranging from Pakistani goods to textiles, medicines, to building materials. The market is located 6 km southeast of Kashgar city and it is a good idea to take a taxi there.
2) Old Town
Kashgar’s Old Town is a must-see, as these are the last remaining traditional Uighur houses, and many of them are also disappearing quickly. You can wander around the alleys for hours, and if you are lucky, or if you ask politely, you may even be able to visit a local family’s house. For directions on how to get there, ask someone at your hotel or hostel, or your tour guide will know.
3) Id Kah Mosque
Located on Id Kah Square, Id Kah Mosque, sometimes called Aitiga’er is the biggest mosque in all of China, and the center of Islamic activities for people in Xinjiang. It was built in 1442, and is impressive to visit. The surrounding square is also really fun to people watch, as it is a good display of life in Kashgar city.
Add: Jiefang Beilu, Kashi
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00 (except prayer times)
4) Tomb of Apak Khoja
The tomb of Apak Khoja (伊達雅圖勒拉), or the Fragrant Concubine Tomb, is located 5 km northeast of Kashgar city, and is a key historical relic of the region. According to legend, 72 people from the Khoja family were buried in the mausoleum.
Where to Eat
1) Street stalls
The best food comes from the food stalls by the Id Kah mosque, or at the Sunday market. Try a variety of local snacks from kebab, polo, or other Xinjiang dishes at low prices. Try to avoid eating things with ice, but do try the watermelons which are super cheap and tasty, especially the hami melons.
2) Yasin Kariagim Silk Road Uighur Restaurant
This is one of the best places to get your skewers – the meat is extremely fresh and don’t go too late because sometimes they sell out. There are also a few side dishes that you can get with your lamb or liver skewers. Be prepared though, the staff at this restaurant didn’t speak English or Mandarin, but pointing at the menu should get you some good local grub.
Add: Kumudaierwazha Road, Kashi
Tel: 0998 282 0008
Opening Hours: 08:00-22:00
3) Karakoram Café
Known for its Western food, this café is a great find for anyone who has been on the road for a while, is living in the area or just wants to have some Western style food. The pizza is great and the staff is friendly and helpful. There is also good coffee and you can easily wile away an afternoon and relax.
Add: 87 Seman Road, Kashi
Tel: 0998 2822669
Opening Hours: 10:30-22:30
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Keywords: weekend in Kashgar central asia of China Kashgar
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