Karakul Lake: Stunning Scenery and No Other Tourists! Experience of a Lifetime

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.


Karakoram Highway


stunning scenery



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.

Karakul Lake


our Kyrgyz yurt


snapshot of their lives and culture- our Kyrgyz hosts



one of the most fantastic experiences we’ve had

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.



fantastic views


Karakul Lake- no tourists and no entrance fee

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.


horse ride around the Lake



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.




Wetland of Tashkurgan

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?


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.

Backpacking Panda

About Backpacking Panda

Animator, 3D artist and travel blogger.

9 thoughts on “Karakul Lake: Stunning Scenery and No Other Tourists! Experience of a Lifetime

  1. Bridget


    I am hoping to do a similar trip, but was told that foreigners cannot take the bus to karakul lake. Did you have any check points?

    • Hey Bridget!
      We didn’t have any problems in this route, and no checkpoints. It a wonderful trip, have fun!

  2. Jehan

    Hi Savin Morad,

    I went through your blog and beautiful pictures, they all are awesome. Especially, I like the part related to karakul lake, may be it because there are a few horses in the pictures.

    plz email me , I have some questions …

  3. Prak Khan James

    Came across your blog on trip to Karakul Lake. My wife and me plan to visit this place in September 2016. Need some assistance from you regarding where to take the bus in Kashgar and we heard that there is now entrance fee to the lake, how did you bypass that?


    • I don’t remember paying any entrance fee, but if there is a price to pay now I would still go, the place is incredible and it is a unique experience…
      About the bus, it’s pretty easy to find, just ask for directions when you’ll be in your hostel in Kashgar.

  4. Indra

    Hi Sivan, I am going to have a backpacking tour to Kashgar-Karakol Lake-Tashkorgan. Can you tell me, how did you get a hitchhiking, was the road always crowd by cars? Is it easy to get a hitchhiking by a tourist? That’s one of my plan too, thanks God I found your website.

    • Hey Indra!
      An amazing tour is ahead of you, you’re gonna love it…
      About hitchhiking from Karakul Lake to Tashkorgan, it’s a matter of luck…we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for a car, but at some hours the road can be not as crowded and you might wait for a while. You’ll definitely enjoy looking at the stunning landscape while you wait. Keep in mind that most of drivers that stop there will expect a small fee for the ride. Have fun!

  5. hello .. found out ur website when i recalled our honeymoon silk road less travel- trip via couchsurfing crossing by train from chengdu to kashi there..3 days no shower i guess ☺️
    wish to bring our son sulaiman & emily one day.. priceless experience indeed, agree ?

    regards – azhar & nani

    • Thank you Azhar… definitely a wonderful experience…I am sure kids can learn a lot from the simple and beautiful life in Karakul Lake…(:

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