In the morning, we will need to go to Vehicles Administration Office to finish up the formalities, before starting our trip. Then, you will drive to Abakh Khoja Mausoleum, which takes about half an hour from the administration office. Park your car at the nearby carpark. First built in 1640 A.D, Abakh Khoja Mausoleum is the most beautiful and magnificent mausoleum in Xinjiang. This mausoleum complex belongs to the Khoja family, and is named after Abakh Khoja, a famous Sufi and political leader in the 17th century in Xinjiang. And according to legend, during Qing dynasty, Emperor Qianlong’s favourite concubine Xiangfei, whose name is Iparhan, is Abakh Khoja granddaughter. Thus, this mausoleum is also known as Xiangfei Tomb. This is a typical Islamic style mausoleum with mainly green decorative titles pave on the exterior. No matter you are single or married, you will get to see or perhaps participate in the whole process of a local wedding here (don’t worry, this is not a real wedding). Handcraft experience, savouring different types of local tea, and some local souvenirs will be given to you after a series of events. If you happened to visit Abakh Khoja Mausoleum at 12:30pm or 5:00pm, be prepared for a welcoming ceremony!
Kashgar is famous for selling everything under the sun. The local Grand Sunday Bazaar is one of Asia’s largest and most exuberant gatherings. But looking around the market, it's hard to believe you're in China. Kashgar is a melting pot of non-Chinese ethnic people. Uyghurs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and many others. Grand Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar is also called Young Bazaar by the locals. ‘Young’ here means east in Uighur. Though it is called Grand Sunday Bazaar, it opens every day, but it only kicks up a gear on Sunday. There is often ‘human jam’ in the bazaar on Sunday, so you may want to avoid visiting on that day. But it would be a brilliant opportunity if you want to experience this unique live of Uighur. There are more than five thousands of shops and booths in this bazaar. Different category of items are sold in different districts. You can find more than just spices, naan, local teas, silks, Persian carpets and other imported goods from the neighbouring countries. Authentic local food and snacks can be also found in the bazaar. You can also get some fresh local fruits here. Do spot some interesting booths selling second hand goods and antiques. Some of those booths only appear on Sunday.
Find more animals and herds than human in Sunday Livestock Bazaar. This bazaar is located besides the Karakoram Highway (known by its initials KKH, also known as National highway 35 or the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway). It only opens every Sunday. You can find sheep, cow, donkey, horse and even camel here. It is definitely boisterous, crowed, dusty and smelly here, yet a new experience for most people.
No visit to Kashgar is complete without a trip to its soul, The Old Town. As a major trading town on the ancient Silk Road, there was a robust exchange of cultural and beliefs. Kashgar Old Town is the only Islamic style neighbourhood with maze-like lanes in China. Though only few buildings survived after decades of modern replacement by the local government, you can still find traces left by the history and architectures that have withstood the passage of time. Do check out the neighbourhood around Jiefang Street, you will see some of the remaining ancient alleys and adobe houses that are over 500 years old. Stroll down those haphazardly twisted lanes and meet some friendly Kashgaris in the neighbourhoods.
Located in the heart of Kashgar Old Town is Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in Xinjiang. Though bustle and hustle on the street outside the mosque, it is always perfectly quiet inside. A wonderful place for meditation. Remember to remove your shoes when entering the main hall.
Enjoy your afternoon tea at ‘Hundred-year-old tea house’ in Kashgar Old Town. Double-level building with balcony on second floor. Taste some local snacks and cookies with special Uyghur milk tea while enjoying song and dance organised by locals. It’s very common to see groups of people dancing in the public in Xinjiang. If you are lucky enough, they may invite you to join them.
At the end of the day, drive back to Radisson Blu Hotel. Tomorrow we will visit some natural scenery on the way to Tashkurghan.
Local picking grapes