21-day Silk Road expedition

 tour

For the Silk Road tour, we will start from Xian and travel all the way northwest to visit Tianshui, Lanzhou, Linxia, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Turpan, Hotan, and Kashgar. Enjoy the culture and the wonders along the Silk Road.

  • Details

  • Summary

  • Price

  • Attractions


Starting Point of Silk Road

Upon arrival at the train station, the guide will meet you at the exit and then you will be transferred to the hotel for breakfast. After that, climb up the Xian City Wall. Enjoy a stroll or even bike on the city wall to admire the city view with an overlook. Although it is impossible to make a complete tour of the city on the wall, the ride will be interesting.
After lunch, get away downtown Xian to visit the eighth wonder of the world, the Terracotta Army. From the passage of the door, prepare to marvel at the craziest project by the first emperor of China. Although the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi is never ever open, a few rooms containing objects have been observed as having accompanied the deceased. In an annex building, watch the story of the emperor and the construction of this magnificent tomb. The real size of the Terracotta Warriors will definitely leave you speechless and make you Xian tour unforgettable.
Tonight, indulge in the delicacy offered in a local restaurant, the Dumpling Dinner in Xian. Enjoy these dumplings with meat or vegetables stuffing. By the way, dumplings are the special dish for the Chinese New Year.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe

The Origin of Chinese

This morning, you will take the train to Tianshui and will arrive at Tianshui about 2pm. The guide the will take you to visit the Fuxi Temple which is dedicated to the figure of the same name. Although this name is not familiar to you, this iconic figure of Chinese mythology is the cause of several concepts. In this place of serenity, you have an excellent overview of the 64 possible hexagrams to achieve out of the eight trigrams; a real puzzle.
After dinner, you will check in the local hotel.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Dinner Included 


Maijishan Grottoes

It won't be possible to miss the Maijishan Grottoes while you visit Tianshui. On the flank of this mountain shaped haystack, discover the numerous sculptures in clay witness the evolution of Chinese sculptural art and the influence of Buddhism in China. Prepare for the thrill of climbing the staircase leading to the statues located more than 40 meters high!
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Remains of an Ancient Civilization

This morning, take the private car to Lanzhou. After 4 hours' drive along the beautiful scenery, you will arrive at the capital of Gansu.
This afternoon, take a cable car to get to the top of the White Pagoda Hill. There, you will overlook the white stupa and you can admire the Yellow River with the city extending from the other side. The panorama of the iron bridge spanning the huge muddy river bordered on one side by the buildings and on the other by a green forest will surprise you.
Then, discover the past of the area by visiting the wealthy Provincial Museum of Gansu. Dive into the history of the Silk Road and its wonders but also the remains of a very ancient civilization. Some objects or skeletons that will be presented are more than 12,000 years! A fascinating history awaits you.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe

Extraordinary Buddhist caves

Today, Take the car to the magnificent Bingling Temple Grottoes. To access the site, you will first take a cruise above the Yellow River. You can admire the unique landscapes during the cruise. Upon arrive at the caves, go to the middle of the cliffs to discover incomparable masterpieces, some represent one of the earliest Buddhist monuments of China. You can't remain indifferent to the finesse of some of these sculptures, all in a millennium ocher decor. After visit, go back to Lanzhou.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe


train T9205 (07:40-12:32) to Zhangye, train (20:31-22:39) to Jiayuguan

In the early morning, the guide takes you to the Lanzhou station to take a train to Zhangye. Upon arrival, go visit the Grand Buddha Temple in Zhangye. As soon as you enter the main hall of the temple you will understand its name. There, you will face a Buddhist statue of 35 meters long. Representing the nirvana of Sakyamuni, the statue is the longest Buddhist statue built indoors. So it is well worth your attention!
This afternoon, head for the Mati Temple Grottoes, 65 kilometers from Zhangye. Upon arrival, you will see strange shapes cliff. As you approach, you will understand that these are parts of the temple and the rest is embedded in the rock! Inside, you will find statues of Buddhists and frescoes and have a beautiful view over the plains and the distant landscape. After early dinner, you will again take a train, but this time the destination is Jiayuguan. Upon arrival, your guide will take you directly to the hotel.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe

The border of the Middle Kingdom

Today, visit the remote area of China. At the time, Jiayuguan Fortress was considered the western boundary of the country. From the watchtowers, admire the Gobi desert which will run out of sight before your eyes. Do not miss the excellent museum where you will be told the detailed construction processes of the Great Wall.
This afternoon, prepare suitable shoes for today's access to the overhanging Great Wall. First, you need to climb 150 vertical meters. You will not regret the effort once you reach the top of the Xuanbi Great Wall. There is a 360°panorama that appears in front of you. The Gobi desert with snowcapped peaks in the distance does not have a second one.
At the end of this exciting day, take a private car to Dunhuang where you spend the night.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 


Overnight Soft Sleeper Train (22:22-08:02)

Desert Oasis

Today, take the direction of the desert about ten kilometers away from Dunhuang. After climbing to the top of the first dunes, you will enjoy a splendid view of the sea of yellow sand. Like out of nowhere, you find between two dunes lies Crescent Lake whose source never dried up. Walking in this sandy stretch, listen for the tune then created by sands dripping along the dunes.
This afternoon, you will visit one of the most remarkable sites in the field of Buddhist cave art, the Mogao Caves. The few caves which you can access with your local guide will allow you to admire the frescoes and sculptures based on different centuries and civilizations. You will discover the evolution of styles but also lifestyles in ancient China and Central Asia.
By late evening, your guide will take you to the station to take your overnight soft sleeper train to Urumqi.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included 

Overnight on board

Urumqi Market

You arrive early in the morning at the station of Urumqi. Your guide welcomes you with a sign with your name and takes you directly to have breakfast at the hotel. Then you can either walk around alone in the city, either choose to stay with the guide who will take you to Erdaoqiao Market. Considered the largest Xinjiang bazaar, you can choose the old stalls or the most modern part. In both cases, you will be flooded by products of the Uighur minority out of sight. If you decide to buy something, whether it be clothes, dry fruits, jewelry or souvenirs, do not forget to haggle.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included in the hotel

Lunch Included 


Today, you will visit the Hevenly lake. It takes 2 hours to go to the Heavenly Lake which lies in the Mount Tianshan. You could stroll along the banks of the lake and take a cruise on the magical river. You will be astonished to discover a stunning natural park at Mount Tianshan, just over hundred kilometers away from deserts.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Meet the Uighur

This morning, take 2 hours' car ride in a desert to reach Turpan. Upon arrival, you will visit the Jiaohe Ruins, be ready to go back in time. This city of more than 2,000 years of history is extremely well preserved, and you will notice its development over time. As you stroll among the stone ruins, you may feel like the city comes to life before you. The atmosphere of the place and its ancient stones will leave a fabulous impression.
Then, visit the Museum of Karez water system in Turpan's city center. Inside, you will discover this ingenious irrigation system that was set up there over 2,000 years ago to supply the city, caravans of the Silk Road with water. This process can be explained using models and pictures but nothing is better than going to one of these Karez areas to understand their ingenuity in person.
This afternoon, stop for a moment at the Museum of Turpan. You will discover documents in rare languages, a presentation of ethnic groups and an exhibition of coins in gold and silver with explanations in English. There are even dinosaur fossils and archaic mummies to see!
Last, troll through the old town of Turpan. It is here you will be more in touch with the mainly Muslim local population. At many street corners, you will stumble across a mosque, so take advantage of this moment to visit one in this city. Also discover the local bazaar, where vendors sell an array of interesting products. Be sure to also taste the Uighur specialties.
Tonight you have the chance to have dinner with a Uygur family who will be happy to open the doors of their home. You will see the traditional interior of a Uygur home, but also partake in eating a traditional meal. The mixture of cultures will be present in the room, and you'll see what a delight this experience can be.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included with local family

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe


Prepare well because today you will visit one of the hottest places in China, the Flaming Mountains. Mere 10 kilometers from Turpan, you will not regret this visit. These red sandstone mountains make you feel engulfed by the rays of sun while the view from afar is enough to make you blush.
Then, go to the ancient city of Gaochang, the ancient capital of the region. Although disappeared in the fourteenth century, you can still discern the speaker as well as some religious buildings walls. A cart led by donkeys allow you to walk around the huge site without getting too tired and especially protecting you from the sun beating down. This ocean stone offers a memorable landscape. A few kilometers from Gaochang, stop for a moment to visit the Astana Tombs. In this impressive cemetery containing more than 1,000 graves, visit three tombs open to the public. Inside, you will discover not only naturally mummified by the desert air but also relics that helped the deceased to pass into the other world bodies.
Last,Take the car to the Bezeklik thousand Buddha caves, which are located about fifty kilometers from Turpan. During the trip, do not miss the beautiful scenery that will be offered. On site, you will find caves in the cliff that house the remains of priceless treasures. These remains are among the few witnesses to the area's mixture of people, which will be revealed in this ancient Buddhist center.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Accommodation
  • Economy
  • Superior
  • Deluxe

Today will make you experience the journey of caravans by spending 6 hours crossing the desert to reach Bayingol. Except the desert landscape, you will discover the largest freshwater lake in Xinjiang along the way, the Bosten Lake. To better appreciate the beauty of the place, you will make a short cruise on the clear water. There is nothing better than to be around fresh, cooling water after having been on dusty, desert roads.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Even today, get ready for a day by car. It will take 4 hours to reach Kuqa. But about twenty kilometers from the city, stop to explore the ruins of Subashi. This ancient city was the capital of the kingdom of Guici at the beginning of our era. You will admire the ruins of a civilization based on Buddhism. And traces are clearly visible with temples, pagodas, stupas and monasteries.
Then, wander the maze of streets in the old town of Kuqa. In this old town you will find the former face of this stage of the Silk Road. You will be mixed with the Uighurs and admire the latest adobe brick houses. On street corners, mosques open their doors, unless you come on a Friday, in this case, do not miss the local bazaar. Spend the night in Kuqa.

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 


This morning, head for the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves to experience the history of old Kuqa region, here, you will plunge almost 2000 years back and discover the region as it was no Chinese influence. The few Buddhist frescoes you can admire not only show you the scenes of the daily life of the time but also folk tales, rare for frescoes. On your way, stop at the Kizilgaha Beacon Tower. It will be impossible to miss, darting 15 meters in the middle of the desert landscape. Despite the passage of time, this round earth tower is still standing today; it is also the best preserved towers of all the Silk Road!

 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Today, prepare yourself for an amazing experience. For 12 hours, you will cross a part of one of the largest deserts in the world, the Taklamakan Desert. During the course, you will see different steps for this stretch of sand dunes but also the clay plains and the remains of cities disappeared. You will arrive in the evening in the village where you will step Niya relic for the night.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included 

Hotan Relics

Now, follow the road to Hotan (also called Hetian or Khotan), 5 hours from Niya. This is an important place of archaeology, where many western explorers of the late 18th century spent their life time there. Upon arrival, take a moment to visit the Hotan Cultural Museum. Inside, in addition to traditional customs and objects conveyed along the Silk Road, you will discover about 400 relics excavated after cities buried by the desert of Taklamakan. You can enjoy the mummified bodies of two Indo-European dating back over 1,500 years!
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 


Today, go on a recently discovered small Buddha Temple site in Damagou. There you can watch the world's smallest Buddhist temple. You will hardly believe that such a small temple to exist but simply a statue and a prayer space!
Then, go to the Hotan White Jade Factory to admire the few high quality parts that made the reputation of the city. This workshop still produces jades found in the riverbed of the river, to make jewelry, happiness doors or simply decorative object. You can then see the artisans at work.
This afternoon, take the road to the village of Jiya, near Hotan. Here you will visit an old Atlas Silk Workshop. As did their ancestors there 2000 years, people continue to weave the silk by hand or using authentic machines. All the manufacturing process of this unique silk will be detailed by step. Then you will understand the time, patience and skill it takes. 25 kilometers from Hotan, browse the site still half buried beneath the sand, Melikawat Ruins. Although capital of an ancient kingdom during the Silk Road, you will understand that no one can fight against the will of the Taklamakan desert. Here, only a few walls you will take in the scale of this magnificent city.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

ancient king of the desert

Go for an 8 hour drive towards the oasis town of Kasghar, western gate and commercial hub of China for over 2000 years. Upon arrival, visit the Mausoleum of Yarkand, a huge cemetery contains the graves of the main royal personages who ruled over the city until the China took possession. Amid Islamic tombs and discover some graves of particular importance.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 


Traditional Kashgar

This morning, you will head to the Kashgar Grand Bazaar. This is from the sunrise the streets of Kashgar begin to animate the sound of vendors of all kinds. Famous throughout Central Asia, you cannot miss the fervor of people ending up here.
Then,visit one of the largest mosques in China, located in the heart of the city of Kashgar, Id Kah Mosque. This religious symbol of the old town and the Uyghur people of the city will be open after hours of prayer. You will discover a site entirely typical of Uighur Islamic architecture. Still think to wear appropriate clothes.
This afternoon, go let yourself lose in the maze of alleyways of the Old Town of Kashgar. You will immerse yourself in the ancient city of the Silk Road with open Uighurs remain quiet during their life in their traditional houses. You can't miss these Gaotai dwelling houses made of earth and sometimes entangled hillside.
Last, exit Kashgar to visit the most sacred place in Xinjiang and one of the most beautiful sites in the Islamic architecture of China, Abakh Hoja Tomb. With its paced mosque, you will not believe it actually contains the graves of members of a significant Islamic sect of sixteenth century.
 

Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 


Go to the next destination or fly home

Free until be transferred to the airport for the flight to your next destination or fly home.

Notes: Possible Destinations: Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi'an, Jinan, etc.
Meals/Accommodation

Breakfast Included 

No hotel

13 destinations

Travel 5500km

41 attractions and activities

Include

  • Natural and cultural heritage ( 29 )
  • The Constructions ( 25 )
  • Chinese Lifestyle ( 17 )
  • Chinese Art ( 18 )
  • Culture of Ethnic Minority ( 23 )


Starting Point of Silk Road

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Emperor Qin's Terracotta Army

Activities:Xian City Wall,Xian Dumpling Dinner

Accommodation

The Origin of Chinese

Breakfast Included 

 

Dinner Included  

Sights:Fuxi Temple

Accommodation

Economy: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui

Superior: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui

Deluxe: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui


Maijishan Grottoes

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Maijishan Grottoes

Accommodation

Economy: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui

Superior: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui

Deluxe: Feitian Meiju Hotel Tianshui

Remains of an Ancient Civilization

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:The White Pagoda Hill,Gansu Provincial Museum

Accommodation

Economy: Oriental Hotel

Superior: JJ Sun Hotel

Deluxe: Suhshine Hotel

Extraordinary Buddhist caves

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Bingling Temple Grottoes

Accommodation

Economy: Oriental Hotel

Superior: JJ Sun Hotel

Deluxe: Suhshine Hotel

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Grand Buddha Temple,Mati Temple Grottoes

Accommodation

Economy: Jiayuguan Hotel

Superior: Jiugang Hotel

Deluxe: Jiugang Hotel

The border of the Middle Kingdom

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Jiayuguan Fortress,Overhanging Great Wall

Accommodation

Economy: Dunhuang Hotel

Superior: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel

Deluxe: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel


Desert Oasis

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included  

Sights:Dunhuang Crescent Lake,Mogao Caves

Accommodation

Overnight on board

Urumqi Market

Breakfast Included in the hotel

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Erdaoqiao market

Accommodation

Economy: Tumaris Hotel Xinjiang

Superior: Xinjiang Mirage Hotel

Deluxe: Hoi Tak Hotel


Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Heavenly Lake

Accommodation

Economy: Tumaris Hotel Xinjiang

Superior: Xinjiang Mirage Hotel

Deluxe: Hoi Tak Hotel

Meet the Uighur

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included  with local family

Sights:Jiaohe Ruins,Karez Water System,Turpan Museum,Old town of Turpan

Activities:Dinner in Uyghur Family

Accommodation

Economy: Jiaotong Hotel

Superior: Huozhou Hotel

Deluxe: Tuha Petroleum Hotel


Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Flaming Mountains,Astana-karakhoja Ancient tombs,Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves,Ancient City of Gaochang

Accommodation

Economy: Jiaotong Hotel

Superior: Huozhou Hotel

Deluxe: Tuha Petroleum Hotel

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Bosten Lake

Accommodation

Economy: Loulan Hotel

Superior: Loulan Hotel

Deluxe: Kangcheng Jianguo International Hotel

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Subashi ruins,Kuqa Old Town

Accommodation

Economy: Kuqa International Hotel

Superior: Excemon Hongfu Hotel

Deluxe: Excemon Hongfu Hotel


Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Kizilgaha Beacon Tower,Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

Accommodation

Economy: Kuqa International Hotel

Superior: Excemon Hongfu Hotel

Deluxe: Excemon Hongfu Hotel

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

Dinner Included  

Sights:Taklamakan desert

Accommodation

Economy: Loulan Hotel

Superior: Loulan Hotel

Deluxe: Kangcheng Jianguo International Hotel

Hotan Relics

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Hotan Cultural Museum

Accommodation

Economy: Hotan West Lake International Hotel

Superior: Hotan West Lake International Hotel

Deluxe: Hotan West Lake International Hotel


Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Atlas Silk Workshop,Damagou Temple,Melikawat Ruins,White Jade Factory

Accommodation

Economy: Hotan West Lake International Hotel

Superior: Hotan West Lake International Hotel

Deluxe: Hotan West Lake International Hotel

ancient king of the desert

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Yarkand Mausoleum

Accommodation

Economy: Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel

Superior: Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel

Deluxe: Luxemon Qinibagh Hotel


Traditional Kashgar

Breakfast Included 

Lunch Included 

 

Sights:Kashgar Grand Bazaar,Kashgar Old Town,Id Kah Mosque,Abakh Hoja Tomb

Accommodation

Economy: Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel

Superior: Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel

Deluxe: Luxemon Qinibagh Hotel


Go to the next destination or fly home

Breakfast Included 

 

 

Accommodation

No hotel

  • Mogao Caves

  • Maijishan Grottoes

  • Emperor Qin's Terracotta Army

  • Overhanging Great Wall

  • Heavenly Lake

  • Dunhuang Crescent Lake

  • Jiayuguan Fortress

  • Flaming Mountains

  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

  • Jiaohe Ruins

  • Taklamakan desert

  • Abakh Hoja Tomb

  • The White Pagoda Hill

  • Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

  • Bosten Lake

  • Subashi ruins

  • Kizilgaha Beacon Tower

  • Melikawat Ruins

  • Astana-karakhoja Ancient tombs

  • Bingling Temple Grottoes

  • Grand Buddha Temple

  • Mati Temple Grottoes

  • Xian City Wall

  • Karez Water System

  • Kuqa Old Town

  • Fuxi Temple

  • Damagou Temple

  • Yarkand Mausoleum

  • Ancient City of Gaochang

  • Gansu Provincial Museum

  • Hotan Cultural Museum

  • Atlas Silk Workshop

  • White Jade Factory

  • Turpan Museum

  • Kashgar Grand Bazaar

  • Erdaoqiao market

  • Old town of Turpan

  • Id Kah Mosque

  • Dinner in Uyghur Family

  • Kashgar Old Town

  • Xian Dumpling Dinner

Prices

Prices: Price may vary depending on the season, the price of transport and other external reasons. (Quoted in U.S. dollars and based on per person)

Classes 4-5 persons
Economy 3,055
Superior 0
Deluxe 0

General Price Inclusion of Private Tours

1. The entrance fees as stated in the itinerary.(Including any cruise). 
2. Professional and private english-speaking guide for airport transfer (train station transfer) and sightseeing. 
3. Private and well-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver for airport transfer (train staion transfer) and sightseeing. 
4. Meals as stated in the itinerary. Chinese meal in a tourist restaurant or a local restaurant. The number of dishes varies according to the number of persons in the group. The meal also includes a glass of softdrink or beer.
5. Accommodations usually with breakfasts as state in the itinerary. Prices given are calculated on the basis of a double room or a twin-bed room for one night. When requesting a single room, a supplement will be required. Usually,the room is available from 11 am and must be vacated by noon the next day. 
6. Domestic flights (economy class) or internal trains as mentioned in the itinerary. All taxes such as airport and fuel are included. 
7. Service Charge and government taxes. 
8. Travel Agency Liability Insurance. 
Your entire tour is covered by the travel agency's liability insurance, the insurance is directly regulated by the National Tourism Administration of China. This insurance covers accidents that transpire as a result of any services caused by a travel agency. It doesn't cover any incidents or physical problems occurring outside of the tour period caused by clients themselves. We, therefore, recommend you purchase additional travel insurance in your home country before departure. 


Excluded from the General Price of Private Tours

1. Chinese visa application fee. 
2. International flights fee 
3. Overload luggage fee. 
4. Tips for guides and drivers. 
5. Personal expenses. (such as room service, laundry, telephone bill...). The settlement of these expenses will be done when you check out. The deposit, which will be requested when you check in, will be returned on departure.

 


Notes

If you do not have enough time to do the whole trip, it is quite possible to stop at Dunhuang or Turpan.
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