This 17-day small group Silk Road tour will take you not only to the most popular tourist cities along the Silk Road such as Xian, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar but also to less visited but charming places like Kuqa, Minfeng, Hotan to explore more cultural relics and natural beauty. Join this tour and follow us to travel to the western China where you will feel both rough vigor and tenderness.
Day 1 Xian Arrival
Day 2 Xian: Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square, Muslim Quarter
Day 3 Xian – Zhangye by Train: Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Day 4 Zhangye – Jiayuguan by Car: Danxia Mountain, Giant Buddha
Day 5 Jiayuguan – Dunhuang by Car: Jiayuguan Fort, Mural Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty, Overhanging Great Wall
Day 6 Dunhuang: Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang Museum, Shazhou Night Market
Day 7 Dunhuang – Turpan by Train: Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake
Day 8 Turpan: Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda
Day 9 Turpan – Urumqi by Car: Astana Tombs, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, Flaming Hill
Day 10 Urumqi – Kuqa by Train: Xinjiang Regional Museum, Heavenly Lake
Day 11 Kuqa: Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, Tianshan Grand Canyon
Day 12 Kuqa – Minfeng by Car: Taklamakan Desert, diversifolious poplar forest
Day 13 Minfeng – Hotan by Car: King Trees of Walnut and Fig
Day 14 Hotan – Kashgar by Car: Melikawat Ruins
Day 15 Kashgar: Idigar Mosque, Sunday Market, Apak Hoja Tomb, Handicraft Street and Old Street of Kashgar
Day 16 Kashgar: Karakurl Lake
Day 17 Kashgar Departure
Met by your local guide and driver upon your arrival in Xian and transfer to hotel. The rest day is free for your disposal.
After breakfast, pick up from hotel and start today’s trip with the world famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Next head to the ancient City Wall, the largest and best preserved city wall in China. Then take a walk on the Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square to pay an outer visit to Bell Tower and Drum Tower. At last roam on the most famous food street in Xian – Muslim Quarter where you will meet lots of local food and snacks.
Start today’s tour with Shaanxi History Museum which is one of the biggest museums in China housing the cultural heritage of Shaanxi Province and showing the development of the Chinese civilization. Then move to visit the nearby Big Wild Goose Pagoda which was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to keep the Buddhist Sutra brought from ancient India by Master Xuanzang. After visiting transfer to North Xian Railway Station to take the fast train to Zhangye.
Arriving in Zhangye met by local driver (no guide) at the train station and transfer to your hotel for check in.
After breakfast, we will first pay a visit to the Danxia Mountain, where you will see a truly picturesque world. Then move to the Giant Buddha which is considered the largest architectural relics in Gansu Province. Then drive to Jiayuguan in the afternoon . Upon arrival in Jiayuguan, check in the hotel for rest.
After breakfast, drive to visit Jiayuguan Fort, the very west starting point of the Chinese Great Wall. Here you will see the Great Wall constructed on cliff. Next move to the Great Wall Museum where you will get some comprehensive knowledge of Great Wall as a military defensive system in ancient China.
In the afternoon we will visit Mural Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty – a shared burial area of various ethnic groups in ancient time. The brick paintings in the tombs are quite interesting. At last transfer to visit the Overhanging Great Wall. The Great Wall here is named so because it was built almost on the cliff. After the tour, drive to Dunhuang and check in the hotel.
In the morning pick up by driver and guide and transfer directly to Mogao Grottoes, one of the four most famous caves in China and the real must see attraction along ancient Silk Road. Before visiting the real caves you will firstly learn about basic facts of the grottoes through Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition. Afterward pay a visit to Dunhuang Museum to have a glimpse of the city’s history. In the evening, take a walk in Shazhou Night Market where lots of local food and also many interesting tourists souvenirs you can find.
In the morning pick up by driver and guide and transfer directly to the Echoing-Sand Mountain. When you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands, hence the name. Walking for some time you will reach the Crescent Lake, your eyes will be feasted on the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert. In the evening transfer to train station to take the overnight train to Turpan.
Accommodation: on the train
Upon arrival in Turpan, met by local guide and driver at the railway station. Then starts today’s tour with Jiaohe Ruins, one of the most important towns along the ancient Silk Road and the largest, oldest and best-preserved earth construction in the world. Then go to visit the Karez Well— an amazing irrigation system which made Turpan a rich oasis which is honored as the “Underground Great Wall”. So it is regarded as the pride of Turpan. The last stop will be Sugong Pagoda, the largest existed ancient Islamic pagoda in Xinjiang which is also known as the Turpan Pagoda among local residents. Then back to hotel.
Today we will firstly drive to visit Astana Tombs which is called “Underground Museum of Turpan”. At last you will go to the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, a series of caves with thousands of Buddhism murals. The vivid murals show many Buddhism figures, stories, and the social life about 1,000 years ago. At last we will pay a visit to the hottest place in China– the Flaming Hill, situated at the north of ancient Silk Road. The temperature is so high that nothing grows on the hill. After that drive to Urumqi.
After breakfast, pick up by your driver and guide and transfer to Xinjiang Regional Museum to have a glimpse of Xinjiang history and costume. Then continue the tour to Heavenly Lake. Clear lake, snow mountains and soaring trees compose the charming scenery of the Heavenly Lake. Then drive to Train station to take the overnight train to Kuqa.
Accommodation: On the train
Today we will visit one of the most famous Buddhist Caves in Xinjiang, the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, the oldest Buddhist art treasure trove in China, started building around the 3rd century, even one century earlier than the renowned Mogao Grottoes. Afterwards we will explore Tianshan Grand Canyon and then drive to Kuqa. Tianshan Grand Canyon lying 48km to downtown Urumqi is the most complete and of the highest ornamental value. The Grand Canyon boasts all natural landscape in Xinjiang except for desert. So the canyon is regarded as the natural museum of the nomadism culture. After that drive to Aksu to check in local hotel. Accommodation: Kuqa
Today we will spend most of time driving along the highway in Taklamakan Desert. In desert nearby County we will appreciate grand and shocking beauty of diversifolious poplar forest. Diversifolious poplar forests in Taklamakan Desert stand straightly like handsome generals even after dying. The Taklamakan Desert is the largest desert in China which used to be the must-pass area of ancient Silk Road. In ancient time many ancient kingdoms flourished in nowadays Taklamakan Desert when there were enough oasis. Later with fading of Silk Road and frequent wars those kingdoms disappear one after one. Driving through China’s largest desert we will arrive at Mingfeng County and check in local hotel.
In the morning board the van. We will drive for 320km to Hotan. Arriving in Hotan visit the King Trees of Walnut and Fig. And then enjoy your free time.
In the morning we will go to visit the last stop in Hotan –Melikawat Ruins. The ruins locates 25km to southeast of Hotan Township and can be dated back to 1600 years old. It is said the Melikawat was part of Hotan Kingdom. And the Chinese currency of the Han and Tang Dynasties discovered in the ancient city prove the city’s role in trading activities along ancient Silk Road. In the afternoon drive to Kashgar.
After hotel breakfast, drive to airport for flight to Kashgar. Upon yor arrival, met by local guide and driver and drive to visit the Idigar Mosque, a typical Islamic architecture like domes, minarets and arches, as well as pious prayers. Next we will pay a visit to Sunday Market, also known as Sunday Bazaar, the largest international trade market on the northwest boundary line of China. Then head to the Apak Hoja Tomb, an ancient Islamic building complex and a cemetery where five generations of famous Islamic masters were buried.
At last visit the Handicraft Street and Old Street of Kashgar where bring you back to the ancient Kashgar, with narrow alleys and traditional houses built with earth or brick.
Today we will pay a full day tour to Karakurl Lake. After hotel breakfast, drive for about 3 hours we will arrive at the lake spot. The lake is surrounded by the mountain who wears snow cap almost all year round. The tranquil lake and it’s surrounding environment makes a big contrast to the bustling city area.
Pick up from your hotel by our driver and transfer you to Kashgar airport to catch your flight to next destination.