As a city on the perimeter of Taklamakan Desert, Hotan relies on both the Karakash River and the Yurungkash River to supply it with its water to survive. Being part of the Xinjiang Uqghur Autonomous Region, Hotan is largely populated by Uyghurs.
Hotan is not one of the primary tourist spots of China though well worth it for those wondering off the beaten track in search for something a bit different. Many enjoy travelling here because of the climate with warm temperatures dominating the year with winters not being too cold. There is also quite a lot to do in this area from landscapes to explore, historical sites, cultural places, to markets and factories.
The markets are always worth checking out for a good cultural and exciting experience, however if the crowds are keeping you, try the Hotan Thursday markets instead of Sundays. The Thursday markets are also a great time to go as it is a mainly outdoor market. Another Hotan attraction is the supposed longest vineyard thought to be around 1,000 miles long. It is possible to cycle part of the way down if you are the adventurous type though is best to do this when the sun isn’t at its hottest.
Some things unique to this area are well worth visiting such as seeing silk made by hand, carpets tied by hand, jade carved and paper made directly from mulberry bark and desert plants. These are all experiences that you will not want to miss out on as it gives an insight into past processes. The Hohan museum is another place to experience Hohan’s history and current treasures. It has recently been renovated with new spaces for the more recent additions.
If you are only in the area for a short while, set you sights on the Atlas Silk Workshop and the Imam Asim Shrine Complex in the morning before breaking at the Lokman Restaurant for lunch. After fulfilling your hunger head to the Hotan Museum and the Bazaar before evening when you can enjoy the Unity Square. While enjoying the evening at the Square, just a block down is the night market where you can pick out some yummy appetisers.
If one day just isn’t enough, stay at one of Hotan’s hotels. Hotan Yingbinguan has a mix of old and new with its cost ranging from room to room depending on whether you want a deluxe stay or hostel-type accommodation. One of Hotan’s best mid-range hotels is the Ilqi Hotel which is a hotel and restaurant facility just across the road from one of the city’s most popular night clubs.
One last piece of advice would be to invest in a translator or guide if you are not completely comfortable in the Chinese or Uyghur language. They are usually quite reasonable in price, though check with your hotel personnel for local advice.