The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region occupies fully 1/6th of Chinese territory and is home to 13 ethnic nationalities, including the predominantly Moslem Uyghurs. It is a vast area of stunning contrasts, from Turpan, the lowest point in China, to the Tian Shan or Heavenly Mountains. Departing Dunhaung we mount our bikes and head out along the edge of the Takla Makan desert, which in Uyghur means “enter and never return!”
Along this highway we will visit the Bezseklik Thousand Buddha caves near Turpan, the red sandstone hills of the Flaming Mountains, the Kizil caves northwest of Kucha, and a myriad of spectacular sand mountain landscapes. Here, in the heartland of the Silk Road, the volatile mix of eastern and western cultures has left some superb relics; cities, caves, temples and tombs.
Today the harsh environment of the Takla Makan continues to exude the mysteries that swallowed many caravans in the past. Fortunately our bikes will enable us to escape a similar fate and our fears subside as we approach our rest day in the fabled oasis and isolated market town of Kashgar, where traders from across Asia used to converge.
Far Out Factor
June 19, 2014
July 6, 2014
16 Days Riding
2 Days Resting