Kashgar Sunday Bazaar | People Watching at a Silk Road Market

Kashgar Sunday Bazaar | Photos & Video

August 25, 2016 | 15 Comments

For centuries, the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar in western Xinjiang has been a meeting place for locals, merchants and travelers along the Silk Road.

Although the primary purpose of the bazaar has historically been to sell goods – everything from horses and camels to silk and household items – the reality is that people gather at the Kashgar market for one reason: the exotic and exhilarating environment.

It’s the delicious foods. The friendly villagers. The unrecognizable smells. It’s the symphony of sounds that make these Central Asian bazaars such a joy to visit.

The wonderful Kashgar Sunday Bazaar

It used to be that the Silk Road town of Kashgar had both a Sunday bazaar and livestock market that were located together on the eastern edge of town. As the city has grown and swallowed up the market grounds, however, the livestock were moved to a different location on account of their smell.

The bazaar remains in the same location its been for the past couple centuries with views of Kashgar’s Old City nearby. Modernization has certainly caused changes in Kashgar but the bazaar (and the Kashgar livestock market, for that matter) are still well-worth a visit.

VIDEO | Watch the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar

I’m going to do my best to describe the beauty of Kashgar’s Sunday Bazaar using words and give you a quick glimpse through my camera lens, but aside from visiting in person the best thing I can do for you is transport you there via this video. Give it a watch!

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Kashgar Bazaar | Anything Worth Buying?

As mentioned earlier, the primary reason to visit the bazaar is for the experience, not the shopping. I always bring enough money to enjoy some good snacks but rarely much more.

I recognize, however, that over the 10 years I’ve lived here I’ve lost my desire to buy the trinkets and souvenirs other travelers might still want. With that in mind, here’s what you can expect to find:

  • Cloth/Silk and Clothing: There’s quite a bit of cloth, silk and clothing that is sold at the market. Atlas, the most famous Uyghur pattern in the region, is on full display and usually isn’t that expensive in Kashgar.
  • Household Items: From plain pots and pans to ornate serving dishes, there’s plenty of household items on sale.
  • Traditional Uyghur Souvenirs: It’s possible to purchase items like miniature dutars (local musical instruments) and a Uyghur knife.
  • Local Nuts & Dried Fruits: This is an often overlooked but excellent souvenir, in my opinion. You’ll find entire stores dedicated to selling a variety of nuts and dried fruits from all across the Kashgar region.

Uyghur silks available for purchase

Various Uyghur silks available for purchase at the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.

Souvenirs at the Kashgar Market

Uyghur pottery available for purchase, a nice but breakable souvenir.

Inside the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar in Xinjiang, China

A look at all the clothes available for purchase inside the bazaar.

People Watching at the Bazaar

Of course, my favorite activity to do at the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar is to grab something to drink, sit down and watch the people. If you’ve never done this before, I recommend you give it a try.

Watch the ladies in their “Sunday best”. Watch the old men with their long white beards gather to chat. Enjoy the children playing around.

Here’s just a small sample of what you’ll have the opportunity to see.

Uyghur boy smiles for the camera in Kashgar, Xinjiang

A young Uyghur salesman smiles for the camera!

Uyghur shoe repairman

A friendly Uyghur shoe repairman in Kashgar.

Uyghur father and son

A father and son enjoy the weekend together at the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.

Young Uyghur seller at the market

A young Uyghur boy peddles his “cupcakes” at the Kashgar market.

Conclusion: Kashgar Bazaar

Outside view of the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar in Xinjiang, China

The good news is that despite the name, the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar is open all throughout the week. The busiest and most exciting time is on Sunday morning, but it is possible to visit the Kashgar market any day of the week.

You may not walk out carrying bags full of souvenirs but I guarantee you’ll have a memory that will stick with you much longer.

Of course, there are plenty of other things worth seeing in Kashgar besides just the bazaar. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive overview of Kashgar, you’ll find everything you need to know – what to see, where to eat and where to sleep – in the FarWestChina Xinjiang travel guide.

Enjoy your time in Kashgar and if you’d like to share about your experience at the Kashgar bazaar, please leave a comment below!

Outside the colorful Kashgar Sunday Market

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

Leave a Comment

  1. Dear Josh,

    Of course your vidéo is best than my six articles, even feautured,
    from the : http://jmmartin.unblog.fr/2014/10/20/20-000-kms-en-tricycle-couche-n10-ou-en-passant-par-la-chine/ to the
    http://jmmartin.unblog.fr/2014/11/16/20-000-kms-en-tricycle-couche-n10-quinquies-ou-en-passant-par-la-chine/ .and the last one : http://jmmartin.unblog.fr/2014/11/19/20-000-kms-en-tricycle-couche-n10-sexies-ou-en-passant-par-la-chine/

    The market of Kashgar (or Kashi) seems fantastic on your article ; a little bit as the one of Marrakech .but in your desire to share the good remembrance of your recollection, you have forgotten to talk about the storm of sand becoming, some times, from the Taklamakan desert and making the atmosphere unbreathable .

    If you added the proximity of one nuclear station near the railway station, all is not so idyllic in this part of Xinjiang and it’s not very easy to find out what’s been going on .

    Stil your article is better than mines to give the envy to visit this part of the world and the smog isn’t always present as you recall it on purpose ..

    Sorry if I have made some errors of syntax but it’s not my own language and I don’t use each day and I write it still less ..

    Sincerely yours, J.M. MARTIN

    P.S. : Your book seems very attractive .

    [Reply]

  2. Great to see the market on a Sunday, I went during the week when it much quieter, but still interesting. We went instead to the Animal market, a terrific local bus ride out of town. That was one of the best things I did in Kashgar. Thanks Josh

    [Reply]

    Josh Summers on October 5th, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    My pleasure, Deirdre – thanks as always for your excellent comment. The animal market really is worth a trip outside of town in my opinion. Very unique environment!

    [Reply]

  3. Hello Josh, I was very glad that you like Xinjiang.
    I am in Xinjiang, engaged in the tourism industry, if you have any need, you can contact me. I can take you to a lot of places you don’t know. They are very beautiful and mysterious.

    [Reply]

    Josh Summers on December 14th, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you, Ning Wang! Are you located in Urumqi? I’d be happy to hear which tourism agency you work with in Xinjiang.

    [Reply]




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