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Nothing ventured...

It was an early start and eight of us piled into a small jeep – our destination was a long way from Kashgar. Our two day round trip would take us along the Karakorum Highway to the “Stone City” at Taxkorgan and the beautiful Karakul Lake...

We had been warned off this excursion as this part of Xinjiang was under lock down due to troubles a few days before we arrived. It was rumoured that around a dozen police had been killed as a response to the killing of demonstrators. Undeterred, and with our special permits, we pressed on...

Along the way we had to dodge a few flocks of sheep on the road, otherwise the road was pretty clear. As we neared the lake, the snowy mountain peaks of the Pamir ranges made a stunning backdrop to the ever winding tarmac of the highway that links China and Pakistan.

Karakul Lake is the home to a small community of Kyrgyz people some of whom still live in traditional yurts by the serene waters of the lake.

It was an unforgettable moment when the jeep pulled up – between us and the calm waters of this pristine lake sat a well maintained traditional yurt. Outside sat some Kyrgyz women who waved at us. This was set against a stunning mountain backdrop of the snow covered Mustag Ata - its summit mysteriously hidden in cloud.

I was soon sitting in one of the yurts breaking bread and ‘enjoying’ a little ihran with some of the women and children. This is what over-landing is all about... Mahja and her mother, our hosts, were very welcoming.

Part 2 - Taxkorgan

See China - Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake, Xinjiang Mahja Yurt by Karakul Lake Inside a yurt Kyrgyz woman outside yurt

Location: Karakul Lake, Xinjiang, China

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Retrospective Traveller

Retrospective Traveller - the travel memories and other traveller tales of @retrotraveller. Mainly ‘after the event’ – a retrospective look back at journeys past. You’ll find short stories, thoughts, travel experiences (some sanitised) and plenty of travel photography too... you can also find more photography on Flickr -