We took the bus from Kashgar to Tashkurgan that also stops at Karakul Lake. This road, named the Karakoram Highway, connects China with Pakistan. The views on the road include stunning scenery, almost completely unspoiled.
After 6 hours we arrived at Karakul Lake. Immediately a Kyrgyz boy offered us to stay in his family’s yurt for 50 yuan per person. At the lake we saw wild camels, loads of yaks, sheep and goats, some Kyrgyz yurts, fabulous scenery, and almost no other tourists.
This was one of the most fantastic experiences we’ve had in our lives.
While the lake and mountainside is very beautiful and picturesque, it was more the experience of meeting our Kyrgyz hosts, staying in their yurts and getting a snapshot of their lives and culture which was most impressive and interesting.
We also took a horse ride around the Lake for about 2 hours. The horse ride around the lake, the fantastic views location and atmosphere, the clean cool air, the lovely yurt, all these made this trip to Karakul Lake very inspiring. If you have a chance to do this trip, do it, it is an amazing adventure with almost no tourists and no entrance fee (which is rare in China).
Our rating for Karakul Lake is 10 out of 10.
At noon we hitchhiked a 2 hours ride to Tashkurgan for 30 yuan per person. It’s quite common to hitch hike here because the bus passes only once a day and it’s hard to know exactly when it’s coming. The ride to Tashkurgan is more impressive than being in Tashkurgan, but still I think this Tajik town worth a visit. We stayed in K2 hostel. The staff speak some English and it was fun staying there.
In the morning we took the 6 hours bus ride back to Kashgar. We stayed at the lake at 24.9 and it was quite cold and cool. On the next day, when we passed near the lake on our way back to Kashgar, all the area was foggy and covered with lots of snow! We were really lucky about the weather, but I kept wondering where do all the Kyrgyz go when their yurts are filled with all that snow?
In the evening we arrived back in Kashgar and had dinner in a lovely Pakistanian restaurant.