The Kashgar Sunday Market is a thriving and bustling market open every Sunday for the sale of livestock. Visiting the market and seeing local Uygur farmers engaged in the serious business of buying and selling hordes of animals is eye opening and delightful cultural experience. You have not seen Kashgar until you’ve seen the Sunday Market.
About the Kashgar Sunday Market
Background – The Kashgar Grand Bazaar and the Livestock market used to be combined in one large market but in October 2011 the market was split. The Kashgar Grand Bazaar for everything but live stock is in the north east of the city and the live stock market was moved to it’s current location in the west of the city.
The official name of the market is the “Kashgar Sunday Market” but it is also called the “Kashgar Animal Market” and the “Kashgar Livestock Market”.
At the market each animal type has its own section with donkeys at the rear of the market because they are bad tempered and obnoxious.
You can also buy tack (ropes, harnesses etc), meat (very fresh), fruit (outside the entrance) and meals.
The food stalls selling Uygur style noodles, nan (local flat bread), mutton, sheep head soup and other delicacies are set up at the end of the market to the right of the entrance.
Doing Business and Making the Deal – Most of the people at the market are local Uygur farmers buying and selling live stock for personal use. They will normally buy live stock for farming, breeding and for food. You can see the occasional business man there buying live stock to ship to central China for food.
The deal starts when buyer carefully examines teeth, tail, hooves and hair of the animal. If the buyer is satisfied, the bargaining starts which is very serious. The haggling is normally protracted with body language and finger guestures paying a key part of the negotiation. Once an agreement is reached, they will seal the deal with a handshake and a hug.
For larger deals or where agreements can be difficult to reach, mediators are often used to promote business and keep peace between buyers and sellers. Mediators are neutral and receive a commission if the deal goes down.
Visiting the Market – The market is chaotic, noisy, dusty, filthy, smelly, extremely hot in summer, fascinating and extremely enjoyable. The market is also very in your face so if you are a vegetarian, squeamish about where your meat comes from or sensitive about the treatment of animals, you will need to be open minded.
For cultural experience, the market is amazing and you will gain a fascinating insight into the local tradition that has changed little in hundreds of years and have a better understanding of the Uygur way of life.
Opening hours, Location and Getting There
The Sunday Market is around 6 kilometers west of the city.
You can catch the number 8 bus from the Idkar Mosque (not 100% reliable) or catch a taxi which should cost around 15rmb.