(Karghilik in Uigher), southeast of Kashgar, is an important stop along
the old Silk Route. It is steeped in history. Nowadays it is well-known
as the starting point of the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway.
Yecheng has a Uigher majority that is even visible in the town
centre despite an increasing Chinese population. It does not have many
sights except a beautiful 15th century Jama Masjid (Mosque) in the
centre of town and an active old town behind the mosque. There are also
many delicious Uigher eateries in the area.
Getting there & away:
Yecheng can be easily reached by bus from Kashgar. There are buses
that depart to/from Kashgar every hour between 7am and 8pm. The journey
of about five hours costs 38 RMB. If one is just passing through, one
can be forgiven in thinking that Yecheng is just a one street town on
the fringe of the Taklamakan Desert. This is because the main bus
station is a few kilometers from the town proper. But Yecheng is in
fact a town of reasonable size with a main street six lanes wide!!
Public transport to Shiquanhe in Ngari is provided by Tibetan
Antelope Transport’s sleeper buses. Their base is at Zero Kilometer
(零公里), also known as Aba (阿把), six kilometer east of Yecheng town
centre. From town, catch bus #2 at a cost of 2 RMB to get there. Tell
the driver to drop you off when he gets to Aba. Alternatively one can
catch a cab at 10 RMB.
The sleeper bus departs from a compound behind the Xiyu Binguan
(西域宾馆) every three days at midnight, regardless of whether it is full
or otherwise. The sleeper bus fare costs 500 RMB for local Chinese and
700 RMB for foreigners and the journey takes 35 hours or more. It is a
good idea to get a ticket as soon as one arrives in Yechen to avoid
having to wait for the next bus three days later. One can also call Mr.
Zhou, the local manager, for enquiries on departure dates beforehand at
There are a few hotels in Yecheng but it seems most of them are not
too keen to accept foreigners. The Jiaotong Binguan beside the main bus
station does take foreigners. They charge 30 RMB for a bed in a 3-bed
dormitory. However they will only operate the dormitory if there are
three guests; so in practice a single or two travelers will have to
take a double for 60 RMB.
The Xiyu Binguan has 3-bed dormitories at 20 RMB a bed. Apart from
being next to Tibetan Antelope’s compound, the hotel is also a good
place to enquire and look for hitch-hike options as many truck drivers
also stays here since it is opposite the Ngari documentation centre at
the start of the highway.
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