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Adventure Tour on Karakoram Highway

 2015-11-26    Selina Ou    Tours    Xinjiang    3389  

Karakoram Highway is where China ties with Pakistan in the China-Pakistan Border. Known as one of the highest paved international roads in the world at an elevation of 4,693 meters, Karakoram Highway is also one of the most beautiful roads in the world. For tourists looking for some adventure experience for sightseeing, mountaineering, trekking, cycling and local culture acquaintance, a trip to Karakoram Highway is definitely something should not miss out when traveling to Xinjiang China.

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Karakoram Highway is officially known as the KKH and within China it is formally known as China National Highway 314(G314). The road has a total length of 1,032 kilometers and with 416 kilometers located within China. Connecting Xingjiang region in China with Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Karakoram Highway starts from Kashgar of Xinjiang in the northern end and traverses Tashkurgan County, Kargilik County, and Pishan County to meet Chinese-Pakistani Border at Khunjerab Pass. Famous mountains and mountain passes the Karakorum Highway crosses from west to east are Mintake Daban, Khunjerab Pass, Chogri peak, and Indirakoli pass. Also Karakorum Mountains, Hindu Kush Mountains, Pamir Plateau, and the western end of Himalaya Mountains are within the range of Karakorum Highway.

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Considered as the Eighth Wonder of the World and an engineering miracle, Karakorum Highway is famed for its awe-inspiring beauty. Though remote and rugged, Karakorum Highway provides stunning landscapes of mountains, glaciers, and lakes. Besides the natural beauty, the unique culture and customs of local ethnic people are also very interesting to know.


The following places are some of the famous highlights on the Karakorum Highway. Do not miss them!


Kashgar


Kashgar is located in southwest of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. With the strong authentic culture and customs of Uyghur nationality, and special local lifestyle, Kashgar is a must visit place in Xinjiang. Popular attractions include The Big Bazaar, Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Old Town, and Gaotai Dwellings are what to see in Kashgar.


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Big Bazaar in Kashgar.


Gez Canyon in Pamir Plateau


Gez Canyon is the gateway to Pamir Plateau and is about 130 kilometers away from Kashgar. When driving pass through Gez Canyon you will be amazed at its wondrous diversity of landscapes including the peculiar rocks and steep cliffs, rolling snow-capped mountains and towering glaciers. What outstands of Gez Canyon are its queer rocks which are of various bright colors like bluish green, orange yellow, red and iron grey and they are especially intoxicatingly beautiful in the sunshine. Also the surging Gez River which is reputed for its gray water along the Gez Canyon has very amazing scenery to appreciate.

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Pamir Plateau along Karakoram Highway


Muztag Ata and Karakul Lake in Pamir Plateau


Muztag Ata that is towering on Pamir Plateau near Tashkurgan County is a mountain peak with breathtaking scenery. Mount Muztagh Ata together with the surrounding Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m) are considered as the symbols of Pamir Plateau. In the elevation of 7,546 meters, Muztag Ata is a popular tourist destination for mountaineering because of easy access and normal climbing route.


In front of Muztag Ata there lies the beautiful Karakul Lake. Tourists can appreciate the attractive reflection of lofty and mysterious Muztag Ata and ride a yak or sheep along the lake, or gallop in the vast grassland near the lake to have some great time. Also spend some time with local friendly Kirgiz people in their yurts and experience some local lifestyle are something memorable.

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Karakul Lake


Khunjerab Pass


The Khunjerab Pass is a high mountain pass in Karakorum Mountain on the northern border of Gilgit-Maltistan and Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. As one of world’s highest border passes with an elevation of 4,733 meters, Khunjerab Pass is the highest point of Karakoram Highway and also the final climax of the trip on KKH.


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Kin from China Tour Advisors and local guard of Khunjerab Pass.


Travel to Khunjerab Pass is a great opportunity to get close to the original ecology and experience the charm of true nature. When climb up Khunjerab Pass you will get the awesome views of the surrounding magnificent mountains and deep valleys. Also there are grazing yaks and sheep on the distanced mountains are some exciting. The friendly and hospital Tajik people living around the area with their unique costumes and delicious food are something extra rewards for the trip.


Khunjerab Pass is often snow-covered during winter and is open to tourism from May 1 to October 30.

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Boundary Tablet in Khunjerab Pass


The Tajiks of Xinjiang in Pamir Plateau, Xinjiang

 

The Pamir Plateau located in the hinterland of Eurasian area on the “roof of the world” is one of the three important stations on ancient Silk Road and also the stop of the way Xuanzhang return. As the corridor junction of four cultures and three religions, Pamir Plateau has bred rich history and fabulous culture. While on the eastern part of the Pamirs there locates the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County where the Tajiks of Xinjiang live.

 

The Tajiks are mainly distributed in Taxkorgan and the rest are scattered in southern Xinjiang like Shache, Zepu, Yecheng and Pishan. The history of Tajiks can be dated back to the tribes who speaking eastern Iranian settled down in the eastern part of the Pamir Plateau more than 2,000 years ago. After years’ of development, Tajik ethnic group has fostered their unique culture and customs.

 

The Tajiks of Xinjiang are known as mountain Tajiks and they have adapted their dressing, food, and living habits to the highland conditions. Costumes of Tajiks are very beautifully and exquisitely made. Collarless long jackets with belts and tall lambskin hats lined with black velvet and decorated lines of embroidery are basics for men. Tajiks women usually wear dresses and married women wear black aprons. Dresses for women usually are in bright red color or have purple or green embroidery. Also they pay much attention to accessories like hats, hair dressings, earrings and bracelets.

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Typical Tajik costumes.

 

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Tajik girl in beautiful costumes.


To resist the severe cold climate on the highland, Tajiks take meat, butter, sour milk, and other dairy products as their food. Eating pork is a taboo for Tajiks. For tourists traveling there, the hospital Tajiks will treat them with their delicacies.

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Tajik food.


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Beautiful interior decoration of Tajik house.


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