Kuqa (Kucha)

Kuqa Overview

  • Kuqa is located 400km to the west of Urumqi. It is a small town with a long history and largely Uigur population. One of the most famous Chinese Buddhists, the fourth-century linguist and scholar Kumarajiva, came from here. The wealth of the trade caravans subsidized giant monasteries here. Today there is little evidence of Kuqa’s past wealth and the city is divided into two parts, the old to the west and the new to the east.

Best Time to Visit

  • The best time to visit this province is in the autumn, when the days are long, the sky is clear and temperatures more bearable. Another excellent reason to visit at that time is the abundance of delicious melons and other fruits and vegetables which are then available.

How to get there?

  • Distances from Beijing and Shanghai

    Beijing to Dunhuang - about 2900 KM
    Beijing to Urumuqi - about  3760KM

    Shanghai to Dunhuang - about  3200KM
    Shanghai to Urumuqi - about  4070KM

    Plane and Train information
    Beijing to Dunhuang              One flight a day (07:40-10:50)
    Dunhuang to Turpan              One train a day (20:16-08:32)
    Urumqi to Kashgar                Three flights a day -(18:50-20:30),(20:20-22:00) or(21:05-22:45)
    Kashgar to Urumqi                Three flights a day -(11:00-12:40), (11:00-12:55) or (16:05-17:45)
    Urumqi to Beijing                  Two flights a day -(14:30-18:15) or (15:15-18:40)

    Shanghai to Dunhuang - No direct flight between Shanghai to Dunhuang. People departing from Shanghai will have  to fly to Xi’an and then transfer to Dunhuang)

    Shanghai Pudong to Xi’an     One flight a day (08:15-10:35)
    Xi’an to Dunhuang                One flighta a day (13:35-15:55)
    Dunhuang to Turban                One train a day (20:16-08:32)
    Urumqi to Kashgar                  Three flights a day (18:50-20:30), (20:20-22:00) or (21:05-22:45)
    Kashgar to Urumqi                  Two flights a day (11:00-12:40) or (11:00-12:55)
    Urumqi to Shanghai Hongqiao  One flight a day(15:20-20:05)

    Beijing toUrumuqi                  T69 (18:44-10:50)   40hours 6 minutes
    Urumuqi to Beijing                 T70 (20:03-13:38)   41hours 35minutes

    Shanghai to Urumuqi            T52(20:48-15:17)     42 hours and 29 minutes
    Urumuqi to Shanghai            T51(18:57-14:49)     43 hours and 52 minutes

    There is no rail line to Kuqa. Flights connect the city with Ürümqi and the airport is a very short taxi ride east of the new city. The bus station is in the far southeast of the new city, with connections to and from Kashgar, Khotan, Yining, Ürümqi and Turpan, though all of these journeys take between one and one-and-a-half days.

What to see

  • The Kilzil Thousand Buddha Caves are located 73km west of Kuqa. Years of war and natural erosion have destroyed some of them, so that now there are 236 grottos left, which house about 10,000 square meters of mural paintings.

    In the first century, the Subashi Temple was built, 23km north of Kuqa. It reached its peak during the 6th-8th centuries. During later years, the temple hosted over 10 thousand monks and many hierarchs came from central China to promote and develop Buddhism. It was destroyed by wars of the 9th century, so that today only the Subashi Ruins remain.

    The Kuqa Great Mosque is the second large mosque in Xinjiang. It is believed to be constructed in the 1500s. The prayer hall is about 1,500 square meters an con hold about 3,000 persons.

    The Taklimakan Desert is China’s largest desert and there is hardly any place in the world which is that far away from any ocean. As its rolling sand dunes stretch out over 3,376,000 square kilometers, Taklimakan is one of the eight biggest deserts of the world. The dunes may be up to 200 meters high and have almost no vegetation. The temperatures vary 20 to 30 degrees Celsius from day to night and although there are not many animals that can survive in this tough weather conditions, there is a great wild-life. So it is one of the last areas were wild camels can still be found

Useful Information

  • While you are visiting Xinjiang, it is important to be aware of the time zone being used. Although officially run on Beijing time, Xinjiang people also use there own system. If Beijing time is used it means that the sun doesn't raise until 9am and it is still light at midnight in the summer months. When making travel arrangements, be sure which time zone or system is being used or you could get caught out.


More Information

  • Food
    Roast Whole Lamb、Shish kebab、Roast Steamed Stuffed Buns、Sin Kiang Lamb Rice、hand-pulled noodle、Nang、grilled fish and so on. Dairy food includes cow milk, goat milk, horse milk, fresh cream, buttermilk, dried and fresh curds, yogurt, and fermented milk. These are both food and drink.