6 Best Places to Shop in The Silk Road, China

Handicraft Street

Running alongside the Id Kah Mosque is a narrow lane known as Handicraft Street. In either direction you'll find merchants selling everything from bright copper kettles and wedding chests to Uyghur instruments and wood carvings.

Wusitang Boyi Lu near Jiefang Bei Lu, Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu, China

Huajue Xiang Market

In the alley leading to the Great Mosque, the Hua Jue Xiang Market is one of the best places to find souvenirs. From embroidered bags and trinkets to lamps and musical wooden frogs, all kinds of wares are available for sale. Expect the antique you're eyeing to be fake, no matter how vehemently the vendor insists that your find is "genuine Ming Dynasty."

Huajue Xiang right by Great Mosque, Xian, Shaanxi, 710004, China

Jianguo Lu Wholesale Market

This market sells everything from traditional Tibetan clothing to favorite local foods.

Jianguo Lu, opposite main bus station, near Binhe Dong Lu, Xining, Qinghai Sheng, 810000, China

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Sunday Market

Kashgar's famous Sunday Market consists of two bazaars with a distance of almost 10 km (6 miles) between them. The Yengi Bazaar on Aizilaiti Lu (Aizerete Road), about 1½ km (1 mile) northeast of the city center, is open every day, but on Sunday the surrounding streets overflow with vendors hawking everything from boiled sheep's heads to sunglasses. In the covered section you can bargain for decorative knives, embroidered fabrics, and all sorts of Uyghur-themed souvenirs. Behind the bazaar, rows of sleepy donkeys nod off in the bright sunlight, their carts lined up neatly beside them. For the best photos, however, you'll need to head over to the Livestock Market, a 20-minute taxi ride northwest of town. Every Sunday, farmers here tug recalcitrant sheep off their trucks, scarf-shrouded women preside over heaps of red eggs, and old Uyghur men squat over baskets of chickens, haggling over the virtues and vices of each hapless hen. In the market for a camel? You can buy one here. In the small shops surrounding the market you can get an Old World–style straight-razor shave from a Uyghur barber or grab a bowl of laghman noodles, knowing that it's flavored with meat that is very, very fresh.

Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu, China

Uyghur Musical Instruments Workshop

At this shop you can watch the owner or his apprentice working on Uyghur string instruments—stretching snakeskin or inlaying tiny bits of shell to make a Uyghur guitar called a ravap.

272 Kumudai'erwazha, Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu, 844000, China

Xinjiang Antique Store

This shop has a good selection of Chinese bric-a-brac, including jade, jewelry, carpets, and porcelain. As all items come with a state-certified export certificate, you won't have to worry about getting your purchase through customs. There is a smaller branch inside the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum.