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Cherchen/Qiemo Travel Guide

The most famous thing about the city is an archeological find, mummies from the ancient Tocharian civilization. These are about 4000 years old with Caucasian features. One man is about two meters (6'6), a woman near 180 cm (6 feet).

Major Attractions

Zaghunluq Ancient Mummy Tomb

Fourteen 2,600-year-old famous Indo-European "Tarim mummies" still lying.

Toghraklek Manor

A Uyghur architectural gem of a warlord's home -- containing a display of ancient Zaghunluq grave artifacts and a collection more recent farm and household items.

Kunlun Square

A large town square in Cherchen.

Molcha River Rock Carvings

180km from Cherchen, collection of thousands of petroglyphs along a riverside cliff face, depict ancient life, with pastoral scenes, spiritual belief, animals, dancing and battles dating to the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Wildlife Park

Can be visited by safari in an enormous, verdant grasslands area, to see the endangered Tibetan antelope and a wide range of other wildlife

Tatleksu Jade Mine

A working visitors can tour and, afterward, try their luck hunting for jade in the nearby river

Tazhong Oil Field

Working Xinjiang's vast oil reserves in the center of the Taklamakan Desert and can be toured by visitors. (120km, overnight)

How to Get in?

By plane

One flight is available between Cherchen and Urumqi every Monday and Thursday. 3 hours trip.

By road

There are several daily long-distance buses east and west, including a daily bus to and from Hotan. The roads -- now well-paved asphalt highways -- are in good shape, both west to Niya / Minfeng and Hotan and east to Charklik / Ruoqiang and, from there, north to Korla.

Best Time to Come

The two main weather issues for visitors in Cherchen / Qiemo are heat and sandstorms. The heat is worst in summer and the sandstorms are most frequent in spring, so the best time to visit is in fall. But the good hotels have rooms with air conditioning, and most sandstorms are not crippling to commerce, transit or tourism. Still, it is a good idea to plan an extra day into your schedule along this area, in case of weather delays.

Being located on the edge of a major desert, Cherchen / Qiemo is quite hot during the summer, though it is a very dry heat. Even in summer, however, it is cooler in the mountains nearby to the south. Winters are cold, fiercely cold at night. But since there is essentially no rain or snow, and infrequent sandstorms, and all tourist and transport resources operate year-round, as long as you dress warmly, visiting the towns around the Taklamakan Desert in the winter is fine.

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