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Kuqa Gorge
Travel in Xinjiang

Kuqa Gorge
Kuqa (or Kuche) Gorge
(kù chē dà xiá gǔ 库车大峡谷), also known as the Keziliya Grand Canyon (kè zī lì yà dà xiá gǔ 克孜利亚大峡谷) in Kuqa County (kù chē xiàn 库车县), Aksu Prefecture (ā kè sū dì qū 阿克苏地区), was discovered in summer of 1999 by a young Shepherd. In 2003, due to it unique scenery, it was elected as one of the Top Ten Beautiful Canyons in China. UNESCO has organized experts to observe and study the gorge twice.

Kuqa  GorgeThe Kuqa (or Kuche) Gorge, situated in the southern part of the Tianshan Mountains (tiān shān 天山), is about 64 kilometers north of Kuqa County in Xinjiang. The Kuqa River (kù chē hé 库车河) is a tributary of the Tarim River (tǎ lǐ mù hé 塔里木河), and local Uygur people call its valley “Kizilia” (kè zī lì yà 克孜利亚) with its meaning “red cliffs.” A typical earth-rift ravine, the gorge extends more than five kilometers in total, composed of a main valley and seven branch valleys. It is 1,600 meters above sea level on average and its highest peak reaches 2,048 meters; it is between 150-200 meters deep and at its narrowest point is only 1.2 meters wide.

Cause of Formation
The whole gorge comprises red sandstone and conglomerate of the Paleogene Period. With the up-thrust of the Tianshan Mountains, these red rock strata were subjected to all sorts of folding and bending, with the help of water and wind erosion, created the gorge’s grotesque, jagged peaks and rocks.

Kuqa GorgeThe peaks and rocks are in various shapes, which arouse your imagination. Different lights in different time add to the charm of the gorge. At sunrise, sunset as the wind gets up, as mists rise or sounds echo, as light and shade shift and change----its mystery and strangeness is beyond words. The gorge is indeed a good choose for Photography.

Kuqa is a corruption of the name “Qiuci.” (guī zī 龟兹) The cultural heritage of the ancient Qiuci Kingdom in Kuqa is a delight of the Silk Road. Recently the remains of the Thousand-Buddha Cave created during the heyday of the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝)(618-907) were discovered in the Kuqa Gorge. Its grotto murals compare well with those of the Dunhuang Grottoes (dūn huáng shí kū 敦煌石窟) of the same period. It fully reflects the combination of Han Nationality culture (hàn zú wén huà 汉族文化) and Qiuci culture during the early period.

Transportation (Go from Beijing)

By Airplane:
Beijing—Urumqi City (wū lǔ mù qí 乌鲁木齐)—Beijing
Twelve flights daily 
Full price (economy class): CNY 2410+ CNY 100 (tax)
Discount: Depend on tourist season
Flight time: 4 hour 5 minutes one way
Urumqi City—Akesu City (ā kè sū 阿克苏)—Urumqi City
Seven flights daily
Full price (economy class): CNY 1210+ CNY 70 (tax)
Discount: Depend on tourist season
Flight time: 1 hour one way
Urumqi City—Kuqa County—Urumqi City
Only one flight daily
Full price (economy class): CNY 840+ CNY 70 (tax)
Discount: Depend on tourist season
Flight time: 1 hour 30 minutes one way

By Train:
Beijing—Urumqi City—Beijing
Only one flight daily
Train No: T69 (18:36—10:42) / T70 (20:03—13:50)
Run Time: 40/41 hour 6/47 minutes one way
Price: lower hard sleeper (CNY 652) lower soft sleeper (CNY 1006)
Urumqi City—Akesu City—Urumqi City
There are other two trains to run daily passing Akesu City from Urumqi lasting more 18-25 hours.
Train No: 5806/5807 (22:10—17:28) 5805/5808 (12:56—10:09)
Run Time: 19/21 hour 18/13 minutes one way
Price: lower hard sleeper (CNY 153) lower soft sleeper (CNY 244)
Note: “T” means limited express train with air-conditioner. “Only figure” means general train with air-conditioner.

By Overland:
In Urumqi taking by bus at Nanjiao Bus Station (nán jiāo qì chē zhàn 南郊汽车站) to Akesu is Kuqa Gorgeabout CNY 120-210/person lasting about 7 hours. The fare by bus from Akesu City to Kuche County is about from CNY 23-32/person.
From Kuche County to Kuqa Gorge is about CNY 12/person.
In Urumqi taking by bus at Nanjiao Bus Station to Kuche County is about from CNY 53-84/person.
In Kuche County rent a private car to Kuqa Gorge is about CNY 200.

Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
Tel: 0997-6780333  6780366
Best Time to Visit: All Year
Location: Kuche County, Akesu Region
Travel tips:
Be sure to take warmer clothes for the nights and always carry plenty of drinking water even in the cooler months. Because Kuqa Gorge is located Gobi, the temperature at day is high and at night gets cool soon.
Be sure to respect local ethical customs and traditions.
Please take sunbonnet, sunglass, umbrella, and suntan oil in summer.