For centuries, the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar in western Xinjiang has been a meeting place for locals, merchants and travelers along the Silk Road. It’s a great place for travelers to wander, purchase souvenirs and people watch.
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.
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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 and increased security have 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 I 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. Another of my favorite souvenirs is the Uyghur pottery.
- 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.
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.
How to Visit the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
If you’re planning to visit the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar, I’d like to share a bit of information to make that easier. The bazaar is located on Aizirete Rd (艾孜热特路) the east side of town, a short walk from the east gate of the Old City.
There are multiple entrances to the bazaar, all of which require a security check. This includes putting your bag through a scanner, walking through a metal detector and possibly getting checked by wand.
Here are the important details to know:
- Bazaar Name: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar 喀什大巴扎 / Kāshi dàbā zhā
- Transportation: Buses 7, 23 or 27. It’s better to walk or take a taxi, though.
- Admission Fee: Free
- Hours: ~10am Beijing time until sunset
Final Thoughts | Kashgar Bazaar
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.