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Travel Guide: The Silk Road // Pakistan to China: Part 4

Updated: May 15, 2020


Part IV - Kashgar, China

A thousand years ago, the northern and southern branches of the Silk Road converged at this oasis town near the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Traders from Delhi and Samarkand, wearied by frigid treks through the world’s most daunting mountain ranges, unloaded their pack horses here and sold saffron and lutes along the city’s cramped streets. Chinese traders, their camels laden with silk and porcelain, did the same.

Source: The New York Times on Kashgar City


Kashgar


Stage two of the journey - an anti-clockwise loop around Xinjiang, from Kashgar through the Taklamakan Desert and the fabled Silk Road cities an back to Kashgar.

Now that we've entered China, we're starting the second stage of our journey - from Kashgar along the Southern route of the Silk Road through the trading posts and oasis towns skirting the south side of the Taklamakan desert, then passing through the heart of the Taklamakan - the word's second largest shifting sand desert - to the Northern Silk Road Route and finally to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, before completing the circuit back in Kashgar.


Source: Silk Road Toronto

Day seven | 10 September | Kashgar, China

The first thing we did this morning was to go in search of a morning coffee. My travel companion was in dire need of his caffeine fix. After scouring the area, we were gestured into a seedy basement bar/karaoke box type place. They sat us down in our own "box" with fantastically horrific decorations and played a Will Smith video clip for us. They then attempted to charge us 20 Yuan for the coffee, which we thought was outrageous. It turns out that this is quite a standard price... oops. Too long in Pakistan, paying a handful of Rupees for tea!

I'm writing this entry 2 weeks later, after having spent several extra days in Kashgar, so it's hard to recall my first impressions of the city. We spent the morning looking for a cheaper (under 100 yuan) hotel than the one we'd checked into the previous night on our arrival but were unsuccessful. We then wandered the old and new parts of Kashgar. They are as different as night and day. The new section is made up of large roads and shopping areas, the center being the people's square with a large statue of Mao.