Xinjiang was definitely saving the best ’til last, although lunch at Ali’s family’s home was a definite pre-Kashgar highlight.
The main treats encountered in this part of the world were:
- the livestock market – strangely (or not) reminiscent of Hereford’s Wednesday market. The more famous “Sunday Market” was really not much more than a very busy bazaar – and we saw lots of those during the trip.
- the stunning Abakh Hoja tomb was definitely the highlight, although we only had three quarters of an hour at the site which also includes two beautiful mosques – not to be confused with the Id Kah mosque in the city centre square, which had been remodelled along Chinese lines into a vast open space with even the santised shopping streets kept at a distance.
- a day trip along the Chinese part of the Karakorum Highway (KKH) to Lake Karakul. The mountain scenery was a breath of fresh air after the deserts of Xinjiang, but not a patch on the Hunza valley….
…. plus we were in Kashgar when the earthquake hit Kyrgyzstan and the hotel room definitely wobbled! Twice.
I’d definitely return to Kashgar. Visiting at the end of Ramadan, I don’t we got to see the Old Town at its best – most of the shops were shut. Even so, these smaller scale streets were nice enough to wander through and – as we discovered on our last evening – livelier after dark and away from the main drag.