Kashgar, shortened from Kashi Gar which means "a place of jade" in Uyghur, is the westernmost city in China. Flanked by the Tarim Basin to the east and the Pamir Plateau to the west, Kashgar was the converging point for the Southern and Northern Silk Roads 2,100 years ago, serving as the transportation hub and gateway for China's economic and cultural exchange with the West.

Kashgar has an old and new city. The main streets in the old town almost all lead to the 15th century Id Kah Mosque. Every Friday at dawn, one can hear the muezzin standing on the minaret, calling the faithful to prayer, his voice resonating over the fields. Beyond downtown attractions like Id Kah Mosque, Tomb of Xiang Fei, and the Grand Bazaar, popular day trips from Kashgar include Karakul Lake, Mount Muztagh Ata, the Stone Fort, and Khunjerab Pass border crossing to Pakistan. With its bustling bazaars, Islamic architecture, and proximity to majestic mountain landscapes, Kashgar offers a multi-faceted travel experience.

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Eid al Fitr

Eid al-Fitr, meaning "Festival of Breaking the Fast," marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. In Xinjiang, it is known as Rozi Heyt, coming from the Persian "Rozi" meaning fast. Before sunrise, Muslims in Kashgar gather to share the pre-fast suhoor meal. Then they abstain from all food, drink and smoking until sunset. The daylight hours are spent focusing on prayer and spiritual reflection. Once the fast is broken at sundown, Kashgar comes alive with joyful celebrations. Families don new clothes, exchange gifts and visit loved ones. Neighborhoods fill with the smells of hearty evening meals as friends and relatives gather to dine together. For a month, the city observes this cycle of dawn-to-dusk austerity followed by lively nights of feasting. For visitors, Eid in Kashgar offers a taste of Uyghur traditions and a glimpse into the spiritual devotion surrounding Ramadan, as the city marks the end of a period of sacrifice with gift-giving, charity and renewed appreciation for life's blessings.

Gurban Festival

Korban, meaning "sacrifice" in Arabic, is an important religious holiday for Muslims in Xinjiang including Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Hui. Homes are cleaned and special holiday pastries prepared in the days leading up to Korban. On the morning of the festival, Muslims bathe, dress in fine clothes and gather at mosques for prayer services. In Kashgar, Uyghurs hold lively Meskalam folk song and dance performances in city squares and rural areas. The squares are also lined with colorful tents and stands filled with traditional foods and snacks to enjoy. Other ethnic groups like the Kazakhs, Tajiks and Kyrgyz take part in activities like sheep fighting contests, horse racing and wrestling matches during the Korban celebrations. For visitors, Korban offers a window into the traditions of Xinjiang's diverse Muslim communities as they mark this important religious holiday with feasting, competitions and expressions of cultural heritage. Join Kashgar locals to experience the hymns, dancing and community spirit that make Korban a treasured celebration.

Best Travel Time

The best travel time for Kashgar is in August, September, and October each year. At this time, the climate is mild, the fruits and melons are ripe, making it extremely suitable for sightseeing and vacation, and it can be a feast for the mouth. Lake Karakuri is also the most beautiful during this season, suitable for hiking.

Dressing Guidelines

Turpan's scorching summers and frigid winters necessitate proper attire when visiting this oasis city. Average annual temperature is 14°C, but summers see highs around 30°C. Expect 99 days above 35°C and 28 days surpassing 40°C. Though long at 152 days, Turpan's dry summer heat is tolerable given the stark temperature drop at night.

Winters plunge below -17°C on average, requiring layers of warm clothing. Situated in a basin, Turpan offers respite from sun exposure. Still, bring hats, sunglasses and ample moisturizer for the intense desert sun.

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen keep you cool in summer. Swimwear, shorts and short sleeves are fine. In winter, bundle up in parkas, wool sweaters, thermals, gloves and scarves. Check forecasts and dress accordingly to comfortably experience Turpan's bazaars, ruins and vineyards against the backdrop of the Flaming Mountains. Proper attire enhances your trip through every season.

Religion and Culture

Turpan's scorching summers and frigid winters necessitate proper attire when visiting this oasis city. Average annual temperature is 14°C, but summers see highs around 30°C. Expect 99 days above 35°C and 28 days surpassing 40°C. Though long at 152 days, Turpan's dry summer heat is tolerable given the stark temperature drop at night.

Winters plunge below -17°C on average, requiring layers of warm clothing. Situated in a basin, Turpan offers respite from sun exposure. Still, bring hats, sunglasses and ample moisturizer for the intense desert sun.

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen keep you cool in summer. Swimwear, shorts and short sleeves are fine. In winter, bundle up in parkas, wool sweaters, thermals, gloves and scarves. Check forecasts and dress accordingly to comfortably experience Turpan's bazaars, ruins and vineyards against the backdrop of the Flaming Mountains. Proper attire enhances your trip through every season.

Customs taboos

Turpan's scorching summers and frigid winters necessitate proper attire when visiting this oasis city. Average annual temperature is 14°C, but summers see highs around 30°C. Expect 99 days above 35°C and 28 days surpassing 40°C. Though long at 152 days, Turpan's dry summer heat is tolerable given the stark temperature drop at night.

Winters plunge below -17°C on average, requiring layers of warm clothing. Situated in a basin, Turpan offers respite from sun exposure. Still, bring hats, sunglasses and ample moisturizer for the intense desert sun.

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen keep you cool in summer. Swimwear, shorts and short sleeves are fine. In winter, bundle up in parkas, wool sweaters, thermals, gloves and scarves. Check forecasts and dress accordingly to comfortably experience Turpan's bazaars, ruins and vineyards against the backdrop of the Flaming Mountains. Proper attire enhances your trip through every season.

Self driving

Driving in Kashgar, Xinjiang

Overall, road conditions in Xinjiang are quite good. Except for some dirt roads to remote sights, there are paved highways between major towns and cities, passable for regular cars barring extremely poor surfaces.

The good roads, flat terrain, and lack of curves around Kashgar make it easy to speed - which is very dangerous. Highways aren't closed circuits. Expect pedestrians, donkey carts, sheep herds, and construction zones around villages and towns. Road quality isn't designed for high speeds either. Watch for blown tires, especially in summer when they're common in Xinjiang.

When self-driving in Kashgar, obey speed limits, watch for livestock and people along roadsides, and take precautions against flat tires. The open roads may seem ideal for speeding, but safety must come first. Driving cautiously will allow enjoying the scenery while avoiding accidents.

Safety considerations

The Uyghur people of Kashgar are highly influenced by Islam and conduct themselves with propriety. Thus, south Xinjiang remains relatively safe with violent crime rare. Past turmoil was politically motivated rather than targeting tourists.

To avoid issues:

- Dress and behave respectfully around mosques and religious sites. Both sexes should keep shoulders and knees covered.

- Ask before photographing locals, especially women and children.

- Travel in small groups and avoid deserted areas or lingering after dark.

- Do not participate in protests or photograph police/military.

- Keep valuables concealed and documents secure at hotels.

With cultural sensitivity and common sense, Kashgar offers a window into China's Uyghur traditions and rich history as a Silk Road trading hub. Enjoy the sights, but remain alert in public.

Equipment

When visiting Kashgar, prepare for hot, dry conditions:

- Drink plenty of water and use lip balm to prevent chapping.

- Wear breathable clothes, hats, and sunscreen when outdoors.

- Many sites involve trekking or horseback - pack sturdy, broken-in hiking shoes.

- Bring medications, especially for heat-related illness. If going to high elevations, bring remedies for altitude sickness too.

- Avoid the midday heat by starting hikes in the early morning when temperatures are cooler. This offers ideal conditions for sunrise viewing as well.

- Carry snacks and electrolyte supplements to maintain energy levels.

With the right gear like moisture-wicking clothes, sun protection, and proper footwear, you'll be equipped for full days of exploring Kashgar's ancient Silk Road history and breathtaking mountain scenery. Just remember to pace yourself and stay hydrated in the desert climate.

Other tips

Worth noting - Xinjiang Time is 2 hours behind Beijing Time since it's farther west. The sun rises later, so work hours and attraction opening times start later as well, around 10am.

Adjust your internal clock accordingly and plan mornings leisurely. Late sunsets also make for extended evenings to explore bazaars and restaurants.

Other tips:

- Research visa requirements for China and necessary permits for restricted areas. Allow adequate processing time.

- Have some basic Mandarin phrases handy or use translation apps when language barriers arise.

- Confirm policies at attractions in advance - some have dress codes or prohibit large bags/selfie sticks.

- Bargaining is expected at bazaars. Start low and move closer to ask price. Don't feel pressured.

- Tipping is not common but appreciated at higher-end restaurants and hotels.

Syncing to local time and researching details will make travels in fascinating Xinjiang go smoothly. Just relax and enjoy this beautiful region's natural wonders and rich culture.

Kashgar Surrounding Cities