• Tag Archives Niya
  • May 12, 2017: Niya-Qiemo (200 Km) by local bus

    china-1-051It took eight camel stages to Peter and Kini to reach Niya from Qiemo (Cherchen). Their guide was Aziz… but let Peter do the talking: “He was an obsequious and ingratiating Turki, neither particularly efficient nor particularly honest, but recommended by his command of bad Chinese”… The description is really up to the point (it may be true or not, but in any case, we imagine Aziz, and I wonder how many people I know like him, nor efficient, nor honest, but knowing the inside talk of – medicine, computers, taxes, laws – whatever). And Peter continues: “He wore a black three-cornered hat, and a rusty bottle-green coat tied round the waist with a scarf which might have been a dirty tricolour”.

    And they depart Cherchen, through a less desert country than expected “June and July are not good months to travel the Takla Makan and we had a certain dread of the desert. At first it seemed less naked, through not less desolate, than expected”.

    So, we travel in May, that does not mind that it would be a better month to travel the Takla Makan, but… we may wander if there is a good month to travel it.

    And what is to be seen in this stage?
    If we decide to stop midway, we may visit Endere (supposing that no permit is requested, or we can get one)stein_endere_4 although it does not seem really interesting.

    In Qiemo one thing to do is to visit the
    Toghlarek Villa, which is a small museum of domestic tools, and it is also home of the mummy of the “man of Cherchen” and we should probably go also to the Zaghanluk Cemetery, 15 minute drive away.

    And the other is to organize the next stages, it would be interesting to hire there a 4 WD car (with driver of course) to follow the Cherchen River to Karghilik, and if possible, to continue with this driver the next stages, beyond Karghilik, were things really become interesting. We should stay from Saturday 13 to Monday 15 in Qiemo, but if we are able to get a car there, probably we may stay one day more, or slept somewhere in between Qiemo and Charkilik (350 Km through the main road)

    To May 2017 Trip:
    2017: Hotan Keriya
    May 2017: General View of the trip Part 1
    May 2017: General View of the trip Part 2

    Rather interesting link on this area, done by a cyclist cyclist link

    Camels (wild?) from adam blog linked above. Photo is not so good, but they represent the area
    Featured photo: Carlos Griell. Birds on a dune. Atacama
    Endere ruins: from the internet
    Last photo: Guangzhou food market, Carlos Griell, 1997

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    2008-01-27 at 03-11-33

  • May 10: Keriya-Niya (125 Km) by local bus. Traveling the South Silk Road

    Relax Should I say that, speaking about Hotan, one of my guides says: “Hetian (sic) is an extremely dusty town – with very little charm”? Well, the same guide (the Silk Road by Judy Bonavia) says “In the desert east of Hotan, a tarred road leads towards Keriya, Niya, Qiemo and Karkilik. There is no much to see on the road and the small towns offer little attraction but for their lively and colorful markets”

    So, one may wander why to go from an extremely dusty town to other places that offer little attraction, through a road where is no much to see ? and the answer to it is important, and it is, probably, the cornerstone of this journey. Different people may travel the South Silk Road for different reasons, to fulfill a dream, of course, but also to be a traveler who has done a difficult trip, out of the beaten paths, or because the traveler likes the ever changing light of the sand deserts, or because China fascines, or all these reasons. I love small, lost and dusty towns. I hate tourists (although I am one, of course).

    Each person, doing a trip like this one, must accept that other fellow-travelers may have different expectations, and not everyone may be interested in waking up at three in the morning to see the sun rising on a sea of dunes, or like the idea of a day bus instead of a night bus, to see a road in with there is nothing to see.

    8134650999_1dbce92322Other people may be thrilled by the idea of following a mythical route, to go through Oasis Cities, to see pristine Asian bazars, to overcome difficulties (“meio” – impossible, is the most hear word by a foreign traveler in China), and finally, to go back with eyes full of images…

    This is a very short stage (125 Km) and, afterwards, we will have two nights (assuming that we may find a hotel open to foreigners) and one full day. The afternoon of the first day may be devoted to see the sunset on the desert, or just staying there, strolling at the bazar. And, on the second day, we may hire a car with a driver to go to the old Niya, 115 km North supposing that the ruins can be visited without a permit.


    To May 2017 Trip:
    2017: Hotan Keriya
    May 2017: General View of the trip Part 1
    May 2017: General View of the trip Part 2

    Sleeping after a job well done (near Caldera Costa Rica). From the Author
    Sea of dunes near Copiapo (Featured and last image) From the Author
    Mosque in Niya: from the Internet

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    Atacama. Chile

  • May 8, 2017: Hotan-Keriya (301 Km, by bus)

    f04da2db148411a79e562dFor Ella and Peter it was the end of the desert part of their trip. It will be the begin of ours. Our initial contact with traveling outside the beaten paths. First stage, 301 km, by bus if possible, if not through shared taxi. What to see in this part of the trip: Towards South, at 50 km the Kunlun Range, that form the South border of the Taklamakan. The peaks in the area between Hotan and Keriya are 7 and 6.000 meters high.

    Let us talk about bus travel. If you do searches in Internet about bus travel you will find a lot of horrible accidents. Of course, there are bus accidents, as there are plane accidents, and all of them are quite picturesque. So, they generate a lot of pictures. Traveling by road in China is, of course more dangerous than traveling by train or by plane, but it is not like a death penalty. We will (probably 🙂 ) survive to accidents, although surviving to 50 chinese fellow travelers may seem some times difficult. So, we will start light, with a 300 Km first stage, from Hotan to Keriya and one day stop in Keriya afterwards. Really there is not a lot to see in Keriya (Lonely Planet remains silent about it). There is a mosque, and the typical (I imagine dusty) life of a small oasis city on the fringes of the desert.


    This stop will be to discuss, to analyze, to reset expectations eventually.

    This part of the trip (or probably the whole trip) is about countrysides, desert life, and people more than about cities, or going to places

    This is what I expect to see on the right side of the road: 325729

    and this on the left side


    and this in front


    but of course, I do not know if visibility through the windows of and old chinese bus will be enough, if we will not be to tired to do anything other than to sleep… so many questions, so few answers!


    Link to: Trip Itinerary Part I

    Photo Credits: From the Internet
    Featured photo: Kumlun Range from above with the Taklamakan
    Mosque in Keriya
    Kumlun range from the distance (although probably we will be farther away)
    Takla Makan
    Again, Kumlun Range

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  • Xinjiang-Qinghai trip May 2017: Highlights. Part 1 (Level of difficulty: 3 in a scale of 5)

    Altun-Mountains-InternationalHunting-FieldThis is the first part of the summary of the stages of the journey, the easy part, from Kashgar to Charkilik, (1.400 km), two full weeks, traveling from city to city, by Railway first, by bus later. No problems are forecasted. If possible I will try to organize a tour on the roads of the desert, following the Cherchen river. There are nice photographs for this area in Google Earth

    The second part has a part of mystery, the Altun Mountains, the frontier between Xinjiang, and the Uyghurs and the Qinghai and the Mongols, from the Taklamakan to the Tsaidam. Although everything is China, paved roads East of Charkilik are scarce. In the next post I will present the alternatives from Charkilik to Xinning.

    I will comment each stage in further posts, in the meanwhile, feel free to add your comments, or join me through the contact form at the end of this post, I will send you the Google Earth waypoints and and I will keep you updated

    The map setup as featured image shows the principal cities in the trip, all in the South of the Takla-Makan

    This is the plan:

    Wednesday May 3, 2017 (yes, is not a typo, 2017, so, you are still on time to join 🙂 : arrival to Kashgar, start of the trip. Visit to the city and the market, but reserving Sunday market to Hotan
    Two days in Kashgar

    Friday May 5: Kashgar-Hotan (485 Km) by train. Of course, we will skip some Oasis cities (amongst them Kargilik and Guma) but there is no a lot of things to see in there… and there is also the Uyghur unrest in this area, and Westerners may seem as chick peas in a dish of green peas. Visible, to say the least.

    Saturday May 6: free in Hotan

    Sunday May 7: Hotan Sunday market, quite more original than Kashgar, this is a link ‘s

    Monday May 8: Hotan-Keriya (301 Km) by local bus. Lonely Planet does not say anything about this city, but, as it may be the first really exotic place. I propose to stay one full day to get acquainted with the journey, and to take a break after the first stage in bus.

    Tuesday, May 9: Keriya.

    Wednesday May 10: Keriya-Niya (125 Km) by local bus. Same as above… nothing to see there, but it would be a shame to go directly, non-stop to Qiemo (Cherchen)

    Thursday May 11: Niya. Sip green tea, and look for a camel to make a selfie riding it.

    Friday, May 12: Niya-Qiemo (200 Km) by local bus, or, eventually, people more fond of “couleur locale”, may step down at Kamagazi and see the Ruins of Endere

    Saturday, May 13 to Monday May 15: Qiemo. It would be nice if we can organize a tour in the desert to reach the next stage, Charkilik by a diverted path: Following North East the Cherchen river through several villages, to the road 218 (Ruoqiang-Korla), and then making a right to Charkilik, 50 Km away

    Tuesday, May 16: Option A (simple and direct), Qiemo-Charkilik (315 Km) by bus. With the option to stop in Washari and organize a shorter tour through the desert

    Wednesday May 17: free (either lost in the desert 🙂 ) , or sleeping in a truckers khan in Washari

    Thursday, May 18 to Saturday 20: Free in Charkilik

    Until here this is the easy part. From Charkilik, there are almost no paved roads going West. A blogger said that there is a minibus leaving everyday towards West (at least, it existed in 2014) to provide transportation for mine workers to the asbestos mines in Mangnai which is already in the Qinghai.From the mines there are buses or transportation to Golmud or the Transdesert Highway.

    2011-01-09 at 12-44-40

    Contact Form to get the .kmz (Google Earth) file with the itinerary