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Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

In Brief: Photos from a seven-day adventure along the Silk Road in Xinjiang Province.

Team photo! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The hiking team in the Baicheng Landform, somewhere between Korla and Kashgar!

For this seven-day adventure we followed a less well-known strand of the Silk Road, making our own ‘journey to the west’ as we passed by several oasis towns also visited by the monk Xuanzang on his journey to India in search of Buddhist scriptures to bring back home.

We started out in Korla, and drove all the way over to Kashgar, passing through places like Kuqa, Subashi, and Aksu, and stopping off for a night in tents near the Baicheng Landform.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words – keep reading to see about 100,000 words worth of pictures!

(Like the look of this trip? See the full itinerary of our Korla to Kashgar Silk Road trip here.

Journey to the West

We travelled by jeep, and broke up long distance drives by stopping for picnics and walkabouts - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We travelled by jeep along the Silk Road, breaking up long distance drives by stopping for picnics and walkabouts.

Kuqa

We drove from Korla to Kuqa after flying in from Beijing via Urumqi.

The mosque in the old town of Kuqa - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The mosque in the old town of Kuqa.

You can just see the man on top of the roof. You can't hear what he's doing though –  blowing the call to prayer - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

You can just see the man on top of the roof. You can't hear what he's doing though – blowing the call to prayer.

Inside the mosque - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Inside the mosque.

He had a strong sales pitch for the stone bracelets on the table - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

He had a strong sales pitch for the stone bracelets on the table.

In Kuqa we saw a lot of donkey and cart arrangements - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

In Kuqa we saw a lot of donkey and cart arrangements.

We had to get a photo with the man responsible for all this bread - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We had to get a photo with the man responsible for this huge piece of nan bread.

Here’s how they cook the bread - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Here’s how they cook it.

The finished product - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The finished product.

Colourful clothes for a spot of shopping - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Colourful clothes for a spot of shopping.

Outdoor barber in Kuqa - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Outdoor barber in Kuqa.

Hand-rolled cigarette - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Hand-rolled cigarette.

We bought some of this lamb to cook at our campsite - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We bought some of this lamb to cook at our campsite.

Soup for sale - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Soup for sale.

A pretty lady taking a break from her store at the market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A pretty lady taking a break from her store at the market.

We met this man at a market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We met this man at a market.

We couldn’t survive on nan bread alone, though - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Dinner at the hotel.

Baicheng Landform and the ruined city of Subashi

Not far from Kuqa are some amazing landscapes and Silk Road relics.

The hiking team in the Yardang Landform, somewhere between Korla and Kashgar! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The hiking team in the Baicheng Landform.

We hiked through here for around an hour - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We hiked through here for around an hour.

Subashi ruins - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Subashi ruins.

Another angle of the large tower at the center of the ruins, with layers of rammed earth visible where the brickwork has fallen away - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Another angle of the large tower at the center of the ruins, with layers of rammed earth visible where the brickwork has fallen away.

We took a good walk about the ruins, walking between different parts - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We took a good walk about the ruins, walking between different parts.

A smooth stone from the river. Some of us like to collect interesting rocks - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A smooth stone from the river. Some of us like to collect interesting rocks.

Team photo! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Team photo!

A different angle of the main area of the ruins - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A different angle of the main area of the ruins.

Quite a large site - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Quite a large site.

More ruined buildings on a cliff above the river - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

More ruined buildings on a cliff above the river.

Kizil Grand Canyon and 'Ghost City' camping

To break up the long drive between Korla and Aksu we spent a night camping.

The Kizilgaha Beacon tower, an impressive Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) structure near the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The Kizilgaha Beacon tower, an impressive Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) structure near the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves.

Red cliffs at the Grand Canyon near Kuqa - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Red cliffs at the Grand Canyon near Kuqa.

Yanjing’s high jump - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Yanjing’s high jump.

They say the lines in the rock are caused by rain, wind, and sand blown by the wind - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

They say the lines in the rock are caused by rain, wind, and sand blown by the wind.

From when we visited the big canyon: just enough room to squeeze in for a group shot! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

From when we visited the big canyon: just enough room to squeeze in for a group shot!

We decided to set up camp by the 'Ghost City' - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We decided to set up camp by the 'Ghost City'.

View of the campsite - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

View of the campsite.

Here's that lamb we bought earlier on the trip - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Here's that lamb we bought earlier on the trip.

In China, the words for watermelon translate roughly as ‘melon from the west’. Very appropriate to find them here - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

In China, the words for watermelon translate roughly as ‘melon from the west’. Very appropriate to find them here.

It's dinner time! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

It's dinner time!

Setting off on a hike through the 'Ghost City' - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Setting off on a hike through the 'Ghost City'.

After a night of camping we drove on to Kashgar, passing by Aksu on the way

Aksu and the Yardang Landform

We arrived in Aksu on the fourth day of the trip.

Noodles and ‘Dapanji’, which translates as ‘Big Plate of Chicken’ – another very appropriate name - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Noodles and ‘Dapanji’, which translates as ‘Big Plate of Chicken’ – another very appropriate name.

One of the group modelling some of the local fashion - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

One of the group modelling some of the local fashion.

Happy salesperson and a happy customer - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Happy salesperson and a happy customer.

Big cliffs at the Yardang Landform - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Big cliffs at the Yardang Landform.

Sheep below the cliffs - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A lonely shepherd (and herd) below the cliffs.

We seemed to find this kind of rock all along the way - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We seemed to find this kind of rock all along the way.

The drivers swore this was a natural mineral, not just some broken glass - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The drivers swore this was a natural mineral, not just some broken glass.

Coloured cliffs in the distance - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Coloured cliffs in the distance.

A really interesting mix of colours in the rocks - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A really interesting mix of colours in the rocks.

We hiked up into the hills. (Move below?) - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We hiked up into the hills for a closer look.

We hiked along the ridgelines - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

And then along the ridgelines.

Our hike took us closer to the cliffs - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Our hike took us closer to the cliffs.

More colourful hills - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
More colourful hills - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
More colourful hills - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
More colourful hills - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
More colourful hills - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
Looks a little like the danxia landform in Zhangye - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Looks a little like the Zhangye Danxia landform in Gansu.

Coming down from the ridge - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Coming down from the ridge.

Our road west went right below the cliffs - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Our road west went right below the cliffs.

A much-needed rainstorm in a very dry area of the world - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A much-needed rainstorm in a very dry area of the world.

Kashgar

We arrived in Kashgar on the evening of the fifth day of the trip, leaving us plenty of time to explore the city in the next day-and-a-half.

Apples and peaches for sale - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Apples and peaches for sale.

We're about to visit the Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We're about to visit the Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine.

This is the Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine.

Little lambs lined up for sale at the Kashgar livestock market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Sheep lined up for sale at the Kashgar livestock market.

A herd of sheep, having their tails trimmed - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A herd of sheep, having their tails trimmed.

A young girl at the market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A young girl at the market.

More things for sale at the market, including whips and bells - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

More things for sale at the market, including whips and bells.

A youngster hiding behind his mother's skirts - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A youngster hiding behind his mother's skirts.

A kind of dumpling, being sprinkled with water before baking - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A kind of dumpling, being sprinkled with water before baking.

We noticed these were a hot item - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We noticed these were a hot item.

Chipping off ice for a yoghurt concoction - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Chipping off ice for a yoghurt concoction.

Taking the sheep to market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Taking the sheep to market.

Camels at the livestock market - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Camels at the livestock market.

Sheep - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Sheep.

Kashgar's Old City

Plums for sale - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Plums for sale.

Shopping for hats - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Shopping for hats.

Just right! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Just right!

Shopping for scarves - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Shopping for scarves.

Young ladies out for a stroll - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Young friends out for a walk.

Colourful clothing on these ladies out for a stroll - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Really colourful clothes.

Ceramic jars and pots in the old city of Kashgar - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Ceramic jars and pots in the old city of Kashgar.

The wares of a ceramics store - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

The wares of a ceramics store.

In the narrow streets of Kashgar's old city we chanced on a wedding - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

In the narrow streets of Kashgar's old city we chanced on a wedding.

Dancing - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Dancing.

Kids having fun - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Kids having fun.

We visited a local family for lunch on the last day of the trip - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

We visited a local family for lunch on the last day of the trip.

A lovely setting for a big lunch - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

A lovely setting.

Plenty of food! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Plenty of food, too!

Cheers for a fun trip! - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Cheers for a fun trip!

Flying back

We flew back to Beijing via Urumqi, a long journey that took us back over the areas we crossed on the way to Kashgar.

Flying back, we passed over some familiar coloured mountains - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Flying back, we passed over some familiar coloured mountains.

Views of mountains - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Views of mountains.

This area looks very dry - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

This area looks very dry.

Mountains - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Mountains.

Mountains beside a lake and a town - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Mountains beside a lake and a town.

Bonus: lizards

If you like lizards, then we've got a few photos for you!

A little lizard - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
A little lizard - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
A little lizard - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
A little lizard, seen in a desert area - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06
Another lizard - Along the Silk Road from Korla to Kashgar, 2014/06

Were you on this hike or trip? How did you like it? Please send us your comments about what was good and/or what we could do a better job of. We'd love to hear from you!

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