Sunday, September 7, 2008

Karakuli Lake

The journey through the Karakoram Highway into Xinjiang China typically ends at Kashgar, a fascinating city to visit in its own right. But in between that and Tashkurgan, the border town of China and Pakistan, lies a gem of exquisite beauty that simply deserves recommendation.

Karakuli Lake, a highland lake at 3600m, sits below the majestic grandeur of the Pamir range. The reflections of the ice-covered peaks of Mt Khongur and Muztagh Ata on the lake itself is certainly one of the highlights of the visit. Treks can be done round the lake, and even to the base of Muztagh Ata itself. However, due to the altitude, make sure you are properly acclimatised.

Around the lake itself, small pockets of Khirghiz living in their yurts can provide for an interesting night stay in Karakuli Lake. However, the ugly side of tourism has emerged as the Chinese government seems to be building a fence and some "resort" round the lake and charging for entrance fees! My stay outside the fenced area, with a Khirghiz family was alot more authentic I feel. But of course, you'll have to live with its basic facilities, which means no heater in the cold night, and enduring nature's calling if its gets too cold outside. It actually snowed in the night even though it was late summer/early autumn!

Transport to Karakuli can be easily arranged in Kashgar, with many travel agents providing the service. If coming from Pakistan/Tashkurgan, the bus from Tashkurgan to Kashgar passes by Karakuli lake, and you can easily get the driver to alight you here. Again, highly recommended for me!


Rebecca said...

Wow! Incredibly beautiful photos and what a phenomenal place. Than you for sharing with those of us who may never make it. Stunning.

Wanderer said...

Thanks for dropping by! It's really a special place, and I hope you do make it there one day to see it in person!! :)