Friday is the most interesting day to be in town, as humanity pours in from the surrounding countryside for the Kuqa Bazaar, filling the old town with unforgettable sights and smells. Eric Teichman, making the first motorized journey across Xinjiang, found himself greatly inconvenienced: "The streets were so packed with Turki peasants that it was difficult to force a passage with the trucks. . . . We lost our way in the maze of narrow streets round the bazaar of Kuchar and it was after 4 p.m. by the time we cleared the town."

There has been no attempt to "modernize" this bazaar, which spills out in front of the mosque, just across the Kuqa River. Get there early when the light is ideal for photography. If you're not bazaared out, it's also worth making a late afternoon trip to the new city market on Wuqian Lu, which stretches south off Tian Shan Lu.

On any day of the week, the old town is worth exploring. Make for the Kuqa Grand Mosque (Kuche Da Si), the only mosque in Xinjiang that retains a religious court (ca. 17th c.). Bus no. 1 connects the old town with the bus station, or you can hail a donkey-drawn cart.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.