Head out to the “New Frontier” in China. Exploring this amazing area is like stepping into a whole other world that you never thought existed in China. Although it is best known for it’s minority Uyghur culture, Xinjiang is home to a number of different minorities and cultures living amongst the many different varied environments of this diverse province. Ranging from huge sparkling lakes to arid desert landscapes, Xinjiang presents a variety of pristine subjects and wonders for the photographically inclined. The highlights of Xinjiang, though, come from exploring the traditional lifestyles that still exist, and those that have faded away. Explore the ruins of a 2000 year old city on one day, only to be feasting with nomadic herders in their traditional tents the very next. Journey through Xinjiang, truly a land of diversity.
The planned itinerary is as follows:
– Arrive in Urumqi and transfer to Turpan, which is best known for it’s amazing fruits.
– Afternoon: Make our way out to the ancient ruins of JiaoHe and explore the vast complex. Head back to town and enjoy some free time to explore the local markets and downtown area.
– Evening: Welcome dinner and a summary of the following 9 days.
– A day full of exploration of the Turpan area: from ancient Buddhist grottoes to villages that feel as if time has left them behind.
– Late Afternoon: Transfer back to Urumqi and overnight.
– Evening: Short lecture on Landscape photography.
– Head out towards Yining, making a stop at Sayram lake for some optional Horse Riding. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of photographic opportunities as you watch the landscape changing as we drive west.
– Early morning: Transfer to Nalaty
– Afternoon: Explore one side of the Nalaty Grasslands. Walk amongst the pristine altitude grasslands, and see the local Kazak minority living a traditional nomadic lifestyle.
– Morning: Explore the other half of the Nalaty grasslands.
– Late Morning: Transfer to Bayingol
– Afternoon: Experience a sunset (or 7, according to an ancient Chinese poet) like no other at the Bayanbulak Grasslands.
– Heading south through the desert, we’ll have a change of landscape on our way to Kuqa. We’ll stop at Xinjiang’s “Grand Canyon” at TianShan. This spectacular red rock canyon provides a great opportunity for landscape photography before we make it to the markets and streets of Hotan.
– Evening: Short lecture on street portraits.
– Make our way across and through the large sand dunes of the mighty Takla Makan Desert towards Hotan. We’ll have great opportunities for desert landscapes as we make our way through.
– Afternoon: Upon reaching Hotan, we’ll visit a few historical sites in the area before heading out to explore the markets.
– Make our way to Kashgar and explore have a free evening in the town.
– Get permits for Karakorum highway
– Take a journey on the legendary Karakorum highway. Amazing Vistas of glacial capped mountains and beautiful lakes await.
– One to one image critique and portfolio creation from this trip’s images.
– Day tour in Kashgar. Explore the old town, spice market, and one of the oldest bazaars in the world.
– Evening: Farewell dinner and image showcase.
– Transfer to Kashgar airport for departure.