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Lake Karakuli

Location:Tuyougou Valley's (Tuyoq in Uighur language) Mazar Village (Mazacun in Chinese) is about 70 kilometers west by road from Turpan. The Subeixi Village on the other side of the canyon is about 76 kilometers away from Turpan by Road G312. It is about 2 kilometers south of Road G312
Opening time: about 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Best time for visit: It is best time to go is in the summer. From about November until about April, the place is too snowy and freezes.
Recommended time for a visit:2 hours
Open: about 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Tickets:There is no entrance fee since this isn't a government regulated site. People may try to charge you one at the main entrance, but don't pay it. There is also apparently no travel permit required, though one can be got for 50 RMB from the police station in Kashgar.

How to Get There

1) There is a daily bus that costs about 45 RMB or about 7.50 USD that goes to Lake Karakul and then on to Tashkurgan on the Karakoram Highway G314. It leaves at about 9:30 am Beijing Time or 7:30 am Xinjiang Time. The trip takes 5 or 6 hours. It might be possible to hire a taxi for about 400 RMB or about 60 USD round trip. The taxi trip takes more than 4 hours one way. From the lake area, it might be possible to find taxi rides back to Kashgar for about 150 RMB.


The lake has a maximum depth of 242 meters. This makes it reflect the surrounding mountains and gives it a variety of hues depending on the weather. There are three peaks near it that are over 7,500 meters or 24,600 feet. Muztagh Ata is 7,548 meters tall, Kongur Tagh is 7,646 meters tall, and Kongur Tiube is 7,530 meters tall. For comparison, this is higher than any mountain in North America. The two Kyrgyz villages and Kyrgyz herding their animals gives the place an exotic feel, and people can go for rides on the camels or horses. Though the Kyrgyz might try to gauge people on prices, economical meals and places to stay can be found by checking around for what is available. Yurt prices per night start about 35 RMB or about 5 USD. The Chinese hotel and non-native accommodations cost more, and it is said that they try to rip people off. It is probably best to bring your own clothes, food that you like, toilet paper and water. A very warm sleeping bag is useful because even during the summer the place is very cold at night.

Since the lake is on the Karakoram Highway, the beautiful and exotic scenery during a ride from Pakistan or Kashgar is interesting in itself. People can see various ethnic groups such as Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Uighurs and others during a journey between Kashgar and Pakistan. Unlike what people say, hiring a travel guide, a permit or an entry fee to the lake area are not mandated. To avoid a lot of hassle, it is probably best to plan a trip by yourself by using taxis, buses or local transportation and by finding accomodations with the Kyrgyz people once you get there.
During the summers, there is short green grass with grazing animals near the lake, but in the fall the land around the lake turns brown like the color of camels. If the sky is clear, the blue sky and snow-capped mountains reflecting in the lake is something to remember and makes for beautiful photos.


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