This 12-day tour will take you to the top attractions along the Silk Road. From the beautiful Qinghai Lake to the immense Bardain Jaran Desert, you will marvel at how magic the nature is. From the stunning Mogao Grottoes to amazing Karez Well, you will appreciate the wisdom of the ancients. Your guide will provide you loads of background knowledge on the spots, and you just enjoy your journey.
Day 1 Xining arrival: Ta’er Monastery
Day 2 Xining: Qinghai Lake
Day 3 Xining – Zhangye by Bullet Train: Matisi Grottoes
Day 4 Zhangye – Alax Youqi by Car: Bardain Jaran Desert
Day 5 Alax Youqi – Zhangye by Car: Giant Buddha Temple
Day 6 Zhangye: Danxia Mountain
Day 7 Zhangye – Jiayuguan by Car: Jiayuguan Pass, Wejin Art Gallery
Day 8 Jiayuguan – Dunhuang: Yulin Grottoes
Day 9 Dunhuang – Turpan by Train: Mogao Grottoes, Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake
Day 10 Turpan: Jiaohe Ruins, Karea Well
Day 11 Turpan – Urumqi by Car: Heavenly Lake
Day 12 Urumqi departure
Upon your arrival in Xining airport/train station, our local guide will wait you by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to your hotel in Xining.
If the flight arrives in morning, we will arrange the visit to Ta’er Monastery, one of the famous Tibetan Buddhist temples in Qinghai Province. If you happen to travel to the temple in first month, fourth month, six month or ninth month of Chinese calendar, you will have chance to experience the royal temple fair in the temple. Accommodation: Xining
After hotel breakfast, pick up from hotel lobby and then drive for about 2.5 hours to visit Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt water lake in China. Tourist will meet the most beautiful Qinghai Lake in July and August when rape flower in their full bloom. Qinghai Lake is one of the best residential place for various kinds of birds. Each summer thousands of birds fly to Qinghai Lake to escape from hot summer and the ground of grove will be covered with birds’ stool. We will arrange a lake cruise for you to visit Bird Island in the lake. After the visiting here back to hotel in Xining, Accommodation: Xining.
In the morning take the fast train to Zhangye. On the way you will appreciate Qilian Mountain Ranges in the train. Arriving in Zhangye you will visit Matisi Grottoes (Horse’s Hoof Temple). Highlight of the over 70 grottoes are Buddhist grottoes culture and Yugu Minor Ethnic culture. Accommodation: Zhangye
After breakfast meet the guide and driver and drive to Alax Youqi. After lunch you will head for the Bardain Jaran Desert, one of the most beautiful desert in China. Walking at desert entrance to appreciate the lake and sand dune scenery. Today you will stay overnight at Mongolian yurt and enjoy local dinner. Accommodation: Bardain Jaran Desert
In the morning please continue your time in desert scenic area and then drive back to Zhangye. After arrival pay a visit to Giant Buddha Temple which is considered the largest architectural relics in Gansu Province. The Buddha Figure is so large that only the ear could keep 4 adults at one time. And the highlight of the temple is a Sleeping Buddha. Accommodation: Zhangye
After breakfast we will head for the Danxia Mountain where you will see a truly picturesque world makes up of red, white, yellow and other color’s rock. Finishing the tour in Danxia Mountain we will drive back to hotel. Accommodation: Zhangye
In the morning we will check out Zhangye hotel and drive for about 2.5 hours to arrive at Jiayuguan. In Jiayuguan City we will firstly visit Jiayuguan Pass, the very west starting point of the Chinese Great Wall. Then move to visit Weijin Art Gallery which is actually the shared burial area of all ethnic group. The brick painting in tombs reflect some basic facts of local life in ancient time. Accommodation: Jiayuguan
In the early morning pick up from hotel and transfer to Dunhuang. On the way we will stop to visit Yulin Grottoes, the sister-caves of Mogao Grottoes. From the existed murals we could find Buddhist and Bodhisattva figures of various sizes and paintings telling Buddhist stories. The must visit cave is the Cave No 25 which was made in Golden Tang Dynasty. Then continue driving to Dunhuang City and check in hotel. Accommodation: Dunhuang
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. In the afternoon, continue to visit the Echoing-Sand Mountain. When you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands, hence the name. A short Camel Ride will leave you a unforgettable memory. Riding along the mountain to reach the Crescent Lake, your eyes will be feasted on the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert. After the happy time in Crescent Lake we will take the overnight train to Turpan. Accommodation: on the train
Upon arrival in Turpan, met by local guide and driver at the railway station and transfer to the hotel. After a short rest, start to visit the 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. Followed by the Karez Well — an amazing irrigation system which made Turpan a rich oasis. Accommodation: Turpan
In the morning board the train and drive to Heavenly Lake and cruise on the lake. 100 kilometers away from city of Urumqi, Heavenly Lake gives the impression of nobleness, elegance and beauty. Clear lake, snow mountains and soaring trees compose the charming scenery of the Heavenly Lake. Come to Heavenly Lake, and you will find words are so weak for the surrounding. It will make you totally relaxed no matter you are sitting in a boat, walking in the mountains, or just standing by the lake. Then back to hotel in Urumqi. Accommodation: Urumqi
Pick up from hotel and transfer to airport for your flight departing Urumqi.