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Karakul Lake

There is a lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains on the Pamir Plateau of northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Karakul Lake is famous for its color-changing water, and breathtaking views are a wonderland hidden in the hills. 
Karakul Lake lies about 200 kilometers from
Kashgar City, at the foot of Mt. Muztagata. At an altitude of 3,600 meters, it is the highest lake on the Pamir Plateau. The lake is 30 meters deep and covers an area of 10 square kilometers.
"Karakul" means "black sea" in the local language as the lake looks dark when the clouds block the sun. Surrounded by mountains, the lake is an ideal mountaineering camp for professional mountain climbers. If you want to climb mountains, the encampment for mountaineering can allow you to fulfill your wish.

What to Visit Around Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake is a glacial lake, it has an altitude of 3,600 meters and is the highest lake on the plateau. The snow-capped mountains are visible from the lake: Muztagh Ata, Kongur Tagh, and Kongur Tiube, to name just a few. All the peaks are more than 7,000 meters in elevation. The area has abundant water and grass. Continue to visit; you will see many Kirgiz and Tajik herders grazing here. Climbing the Pamirs, the beautiful plateau lakes make the boundless prairie more beautiful. A reception center provides rentals, yachts, camels, and horses to name, etc. 
1. Muztag Ata: Sits on the ancient Silk Road, Muztag Ata, was found in the southeastern part of Pamir Plateau. In Uyghur, "Muz" means "ice," "Tag," means "mountain," and "Ata" says "Father." At an altitude of over 7,500 meters and with a water storage capacity of about 45 billion cubic meters, it is indeed the "Father of the Ice Mountain."
Muztag Ata, with its magnificent massif of ice, is regarded as a token for pure affection by young lovers of the Tajik ethnic minority. Compared with other mountains at similar heights, the Muztag Ata is relatively easy to climb.
Note: The western slope of the ice mountain is like a perfect resort for skiing enthusiasts.

2. Kongur Tiube, belonging to the Kunlun Mountains, 7530 meters above sea level, located in Subbashi Village, Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture,
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It is the second peak of the West Kunlun Mountains. Because the mountain is covered with snow all the year-round, just like the hat on the head of herdsmen, therefore, the local herdsmen call it "Kongur Tiube", which means "White Hat"; because its height is slightly lower than Kongur Tagh, someone calls it "Small Kongur".
The north slope of Kongur Tiube is a steep cliff, and the south slope is a complex ice and snow land. It is formed by four main ridges: Northwest ridge, East Ridge, Southwest ridge and North Ridge.

The Kongur Tagh, Kongur Tiube, and Muztag Ata have added magical and beautiful scenes to Karakul Lake.

3. Stone City: Meaning Stone City in Turki, it was named after an ancient city, more than 2,000 years old. The fortress is located on a tableland northeast of the county seat of Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County. The Stone City covers an area of 100 thousand square meters and consists of ruins of the city and temple of the Tang times and government officials of the Qing Dynasty. A temple occupied the eastern part of the town. In the western and southeastern parts are found ruined houses. On the ruins of the temple, the Pulitin Office of the Qing Dynasty was built. The city is oval, and it built with sun-dried bricks on a stone foundation. It is 1285 meters in circumference outside. Only parts of city walls, the gate of inner-city, turrets, and parapet walls have remained intact. There have been excavated coins with legends of Qianyuantongbao and Sanskirt documents. The city dated from an early time and had once been the capital of the Kingdom of Jiepantuo. Inside the town were scattered with potsherds, millstones, and so on. Now is classified as an essential cultural site protected by the Autonomous Region. It will take you 1 hour to finish the visit. You can imagine the prosperity of the ancient ruin with the sightseeing of the broken bricks and walls.

                                 Opening Hours & Admission Fee

 Opening Hours  8.00 AM to 7.00 PM
  Admission Fee  CNY 50


The Legend of Karakul Lake

Native says that Karakul Lake, 3600 meters above sea level, is a mirror for dressing two peaks. Camels, horses, and yurts beside the lake are reflected in the lake, telling the story of the Pamirs. It is said that travelers can also enjoy the splendid bonfire party in the evening, the lovely Kirgiz girls and brave Kirgiz boys begin to sing and dance with us. The campfire reflected in the lake, and the taste of kebabs will make this trip unforgettable.

Nature Phoenomen of Karakul Lake

Lake Karakul's water changes its color depending on the weather. On a clear day, the blue sky lets the lake appear blue and azure. And a cloudy day makes the water look dark because of the reflection. Besides, different depths of the lake contribute to the different colors.

The Hiking Routes in Karakul Lake

Starting from Karakul Lake Reception Centre, hike for 6 hours to Kangxiwa (Kirgiz Village) - hike for 5 hours to Kuziekerzi Village. Hike for 6 hours from the side of Muztag Ata to Subash Village. Hike for 3 hours to Jiangbulak (Mountaineer Base Camp), and then walk for 3 hours to 204, then drive back to Karakul Lake. 
Note: These hiking routes are suitable for July and August.

Photography in Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake is a paradise for photographers. Every spring, summer, and winter are the best time to go to Karakul Lake for photography; the snowy mountains are quite magnificent, with a different light. The autumn grass in the Subashi grassland is bright and golden. Unlike the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Pamir Plateau is vast and magnificent, and photographs can make people feel more mysterious.

Tajiks in Kararkul Lake

Karakul Lake is the only way from Kashgar to Khunjerab Pass. On the way, you will see Tajiks, the only ethnic group in China with Europa origin. 
Tajik people are one of the 56 official ethnic groups in China that primarily reside in Xinjiang. Most of them are living in Tashkurgan ( The county near
Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan). Their nomadic population of about 40,000 is majority Muslim. Most Tajiks in Xinjiang speak the Sarikoli language.

The Climate & Weather of Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake belongs to the plateau climate of cold, arid and semi-arid. Winter is long and cold, dry and rainless, with sufficient light and heat; spring and autumn are short and windy, with less rainfall. Every August - September is the best time to travel to Karakul Lake. At this time, tourists can enjoy the scenery of Pamir Plateau and taste the fragrance of melons and fruits, to name just a few, which is quite suitable for sightseeing and vacation.

How to Get to Karakul Lake

Tourists can take the bus to Tashkurgan County in Kashgar and get off at Karakul Lake. Karakul lake is 191 km away from Kashgar, and it's not far from the base camp of climbing Muztag Ata ( It takes about 5 hours to get there by foot or by camel).

Travel Tips of Karakul Lake

1. The Kashgar border defence detachment must handle the border crossing before travelling to Karakul.
2. About Border Pass: Travelers have to send us the copies of passports and visas, as well as flight or train information, hotel information, etc. at least one week in advance.
3. Karakul Lake belongs to a plateau lake, and some tourists may have a little plateau reaction (depending on the physical condition of each person). 
4. It's a bit cold in Karakul Lake, so you should bring warm clothes and sunscreen products.
5. The new road to Karakul Lake is completed and is now all paved. 

Recommended Kashgar Tour


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