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Caravans and passes: The original caravan route seems to have followed the south side.At the time of the Han Dynasty conquest it shifted to the center (Jade Gate-Loulan-Korla).The Tarim ended at the now-dry Lop Nur which occupied a changing position east of Loulan.
At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759, Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling, nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungar people, while the Tarim Basin (Altishahr) was inhabited by sedentary, oasis dwelling, Turkic speaking Muslim farmers, now known as the Uyghur people. North side: The Chinese called this the Tien Shan Nan Lu or Tien Shan South Road, as opposed to the Bei Lu north of the mountains.
The new Highway 217 follows the Khotan River from Khotan to near Aksu.
A road follows the Yarkand River from Yarkand to Baqu.
The Yarkand, Kashgar and Aksu Rivers join to form the Tarim River which runs along the north side of the basin.
Formerly it continued to Loulan, but some time after 330AD it turned southeast near Korla toward Charkilik and Loulan was abandoned.