Grottos on the Silk Road 18 Days
Various grottos on the Silk Road witnessed the changes of time, while Buddha is always there to bless believers.
Day 1. Arrival Beijing
Met and transferred to hotel.
Overnight in Beijing 4 star hotel
Day 2. Beijing
City sightseeing in Beijing, including Lama Temple, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven.
-Forbidden City: It used to be the royal palace from 1420 to 1912. There were 24 emperors lived here, therefore numerous priceless relics are housed here.
-Temple of Heaven: It was used for emperors to warship Heaven in Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest was the hight building in Beijing as it was home of Heaven.
Overnight in Beijing 4 star hotel
Day 3. Beijing/Luoyang
Free morning, in the afternoon tranferred to railway station to catch a bullet train to Luoyang.
Overnight in Luoyang 4 star hotel
Day 4. Luoyang
Visit Longmeng Grottos, White Horse Temple and Shaolin Temple.
-Longmeng Grottos: Site of UNESCO, has huge statue of Buddha, and people believed it was the face of Wuzetian Empress in Tang Dynasty.
-White Horse Temple: The first Buddhism temple in China, built in Han Dynasty 2000 years ago.
Overnight in Luoyang 4 star hotel
Day 5. Luoyang/Xi'an
Take a bullet train to Xi'an in the morning. Visit Old City Wall, Muslim Quarter, Grand Mosque, Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
-Old City Wall: Nearly 14km, build in 6 hundred years ago, the old City Wall of Xi'an is a perfect place to know the long history of China.
-Big Wild Goose Pagoda: It was build 1500 years ago in Tang Dynasty, still well preserved. You can have a bird view of the city when you climb up.
Overnight in Xi'an 4 star hotel
Day 6. Xi'an
Visit the eighth wonder of the world, Terra Cotta Warriors Museum in the morning. And visit Little Wild Goose Pagoda this afternoon.
-Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses: Discovered in 1974, it is a must-see in Xi'an. Various warriors exhibitd in a original site will amaze you with their different features.
Overnight in Xi'an 4 star hotel
Day 7. Xi'an/Tianshui
Take a ride to Fameng Monastery to view the holy relic of Buddha, the ginger of Sakyamuni. Then mover to Tianshui.
Overnight in Tianshui 4 star hotel
Day 8. Tianshui/Lanzhou
Visit Maiji Grottos to view the thousand Budha caves. Then move to Lanzhou.
Overnight in Lanzhou 4 star hotel
Day 9. Lanzhou/Binglingsi/Xiahe
Take a ride to Binglinsi Temple, view the Buddha and stunning stone forest. Afterwards move to Xiahe, Labrang in Tibetan language.
-Binglingsi Grottos: Build beside Yellow River, the Grottos were carved from the mountain. Various Buddha Statues and the scenery around the Grottos are incredible.
Overnight in Xiahe 4 star hotel
Day 10. Xiahe/Lanzhou/Dunhuang
Visit Labrang Monastory in the morning, in the afternoon, transferred to Lanzhou airport to catch a flight heading for Dunhuang.
-Labrang Monastery: One of the six biggest Tibetan monasteries, presents typical Tibetan Budhism culture.
Overnight in Dunhuang 4 star hotel
Day 11. Dunhuang
Dunhuang is a highlight place on the ancient Silk Raod. We will see various caves in Mogao Grottos, West Grottos, Yulin Grottos.
-Mogao Caves: Though it was stolen many times in the history, Mogao Caves still has well preserved frescos with colorful paintings that look like finished yesterday.
Overnight in Dunhuang 4 star hotel
Day 12. Dunhuang/Turpan
Visit Crescent Moon Spring, Mingsha Dunes in the morning. Catch fast train to Turpan.
-Minsha Dunes: It means Singing Sand Dunes, the sand was moved from Taklamankan desert to form the dunes in the history.
Overnight in Turpan 4 star hotel
Day 13. Turpan
Turpan has fantastic culture, where you can see Bezklik Caves, the ancient city of Jiaohe and Gaochang, Karez Irrigation System, Flaming Mountain, Astana Tombs etc.
-Astana Ancient Tombs: It was a public cemetery 1000 years ago for the citizens of Gaochang Kingdom. You will see dried corpses and tomb paintings.
-Karez Irrigation System: This underground tunnels provide enough water offering to the farmers and their field to support local civilization in the dry and hot oasis.
-Ancient City of Jiaohe: Build on a 30 meter terrace, Jiaohe is a ruin to prove local splendid history.
-Ancient City of Gaochang: It was build in the first century BC. Gaochang has huge city wall and various temples. Unfortunately it was abandoned in the cilvil war of Mongolians.
Overnight in Turpan 4 star hotel
Day 14. Turpan/Kuqa
Visit Sugong Minaret, grape valley, Toyuk Valley. Catch overnight train to Kuqa.
-Sugong Minaret: Built in 1777, also called Eming Tower, it is a representative of Uyghur architecture.
-Toyuk Valley: A Uyghur village, has a famous cemetery for 7 holy beings.
Overnight on the train softer sleeper
Day 15. Kuqa
Visit Kizil Grottos, ruin of Subash Temple.
-Kizil Grottos: It was the first grottos built in China, which can be traced back 2000 years ago, with many Buddhism stories telling people to follow Buddha.
Overnight in Kuqa 4 star hotel
Day 16. Kuqa/Kashgar
Free time before catching a train to Kashgar.
Overnight on the train softer sleeper
Day 17. Kashagr
Visit Moer Pagoda, Sunday Bazaar, Animal market, Id Gar Mosque, Old Town, Apa Hoja Tomb.
-Sunday Bazaar: It was said this is the biggest market in the world, you can purchase all products apart from your parents.
-Idkar Mosque: It is the biggest mosque in Xinjiang. The mosque with its square is for local Uyghurs to pray.
-Apa Hoja Tombs: It is a family cemetery, with stunning blue tiles shining in the sun.
Overnight in Kashgar 4 star hotel
Day 18. Depart from Kashgar.
End of the tour.
Population: 3.2 million
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province,and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the six ancient capitals of China, Xi'an servedas the seat of 12imperial dynasties over the last 2000 years. With more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. It was the starting point for the great tradecaravans of the Silk Routesto Central Asia and Europe and the largest city in the world during theTangDynasty (618-907 AD). Rapid industrialization began in the 1950s with manufacturing of cotton textiles, electrical equipment,machinery and fertilizers. By the end of 2005, Xi'an had aopulation of 8.07 million.
The two Chinese characters "西安" in the name Xi'an literally mean "Western Peace". Xi'an is abbreviated in Chinese to either Haoor Tang (唐). The former abbreviation is derived from the Zhou Dynasty name Haojing, whilst the latter comes from the name of the Tang Dynasty.
Ürümqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country.With a built up population of 3.1millions as of 2010 census (5 urban districts plus Midong), Ürümqi, whose name means"beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people,is the largest city in China's western interior. Since the 1990s Ürümqi has developed economically and now serves as a regional transport node andcommercial centre.
The largest city inwestern China, Ürümqi has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most remote city from any sea in the world. It is about 2,500 kilometres(1,600 mi) from the nearest coastline as Ürümqi is the closest major cityto the Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. The city has an administrative area of10,989 square kilometres (4,243 sq mi) at an average elevation of 800metres (2,600 ft).
Although Ürümqi is situated near the northern route of the Silk Road, it is likely to be arelatively young city. According to Chinese scholars, during the 22nd year ofEmperor Taizong's reign in the Tang Dynasty, AD 648, the Tang government set upthe town of Luntai in the ancient town seat of Urabo, 10 kilometers from thesouthern suburb of present-day Ürümqi.
Thus, little is heard of the region following the Tang Dynasty in the Chinese texts until the Qing Dynasty conquest of Dzungaria in 1755 under the Emperor Qianlong. Qianlong Emperor named the expanded town of Luntai "Dihua", meaning "toenlighten." In 1884, the Guangxu Emperor established Xinjiang as a Province,with Dihua (today’s Urumuqi) as its capital. Following the founding of the People'sRepublic of China, on 1 February 1954, the city was renamed Ürümqi, meaning"beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people.
Turpan also known as Turfan or Tulufan, is an oasis county-level city in Turpan Prefecture, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Its population was 254,900 at the end of 2003.Turpan is located about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Ürümqi, Xinjiang's capital, in a mountain basin, on the northern side of the Turpan Depression, at an elevation of 30 m (98 ft) above sea level. Turpan has a harsh, cold desert climate, with long and very hot summers, winters that are quite cold and moderately long, and brief spring and autumn in between. Annual precipitation is very low, amounting to only 15.7 millimetres (0.62 in). July is the hottest month, averaging 32.2 °C (90.0 °F), while January is the coldest, at −7.6 °C (18.3 °F), for an annual mean of 14.4 °C (57.9 °F).Extremes have ranged from −28.9 °C (−20 °F) to 48.1 °C (119 °F).
Turpan lies in the 2 deepest inland depression in the world with more than 4000 sq km of land below sea level. Anciently called Huozhou (land of fire) its climate has not changed, although a vast tree-planting program to the NW has helped break the wind. Turpan survives with the assistance of karez, covered water channels, which bring melt water from the mountains to the north and west. These merge with the waters of the Tian Shan that, having been absorbed by the desert, resurface at the foot of the Flaming Mountains. However, the very heat and dryness of the summer, when combined with the area's ancient system of irrigation, allows the countryside around Turpan to produce great quantities of high-quality fruit.
Kashgar (Kashi) 喀什
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city withapproximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang UyghurAutonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km²and a population of approximately 3.5 million.Located in the western extremity of China, the city covers an area of 15 km² at the altitude averages 1,289m/4,282 ft. above sea level.
Kashgar has been an important trading centre since the days of the Silk Road, and still is today. The road from Eastern andCentral China branches out to both the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the desert. The local population is a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz,Tajiks and Uzbeks, boasting a colorful ethnic variety. The majority residents are Uyghurs in Kashgar. The Uyghurs employed an alphabet based upon the Syriacand borrowed from the Nestorian, but after converting to Islam widely used alsoan Arabic script. They spoke a dialect of Turkic claimed to be preserved in theKudatkuBilik, a moral treatise composed in 1065.
Jiayuguan City is a prefecture-level city in Gansu, China, with a population of 127,532 as of2007. It is most famous for the nearby Jiayu Pass, the largest and most intact pass of the Great Wall of China. In ancient times, many inns were built nearthe pass. Gradually, more and more people decided to stay there for businessand Jiayuguan City was built. At present, Jiayuguan City is not only famous for Jiayuguan Pass but also for Jiuquan Steel Company built in 1958. The steel company is the largest in Gansu Province.
Jiayuguan and its fort represented the Wild West frontier of Ancient China. In centuries past there were many levels of capital punishment, the highest being death by decapitation or strangulation. The next level of severity was banishment for life from the capital. The worse the crime, the further you were sent from Beijing. Jiayuguan was considered the furthest place to be sent, a land of barbarians and criminals.
Today Jiayuguan is a relatively wealthy industrial center producing chemical fertilizers, cement and iron, with the raw materials coming from nearby mines.It is richer per capita than Xi'an and the government is in the process ofbuilding a large steel plant which will bring more money to the area.
Dunhuang is a city (pop. 187,578 (2000)) in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancientSilk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu , or 'City of Sands', a name still used today. It is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves.
It commands a very strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route and the main road leading from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and Southern Siberia,as well as controlling the entrance to the narrow Gansu Corridor which led straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known asXi'an) and Luoyang.
In the history, the commercial prosperity on the Silk Road provided a basis for a flourishing and diverse Buddhist community. Most Buddhist monks came to China from India and Central Asia by way of the Silk Road. As the westernmost Chinese station on the route, Dunhuang became the ideal place for these foreign monks to learn the Chinese language and culture before entering central China.
Foreign monks and their Chinese disciples formed the earliest Buddhist communities at Dunhuang in the late 3 and early 4centuries. Many Buddhist sutras were translated at Dunhuang and then distributed into central
China. Monk Zhu Fahu, a famous translator of Buddhist texts, organized his translation team at Dunhuang and became known as "The Bodhisattva of Dunhuang”. Enormous economic and human resources were used to produce Buddhist sutras and to build places of worship, including thousands of cave temples.
Travelers are advised to read the Trip Notes before your China tours.
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• Insurance company
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You may check our webpage for more detailed information as below.
Vaccinations and Your Health - We recommend that you contact your primary care physician or a travel doctor for advice on vaccinations and travel health and we advise that you check to see if your tetanus-diphtheria booster is still valid every 10 years.
Luggage - We suggest you to take one main piece of lockable baggage and a shoulder bag. Total allowance: 44lbs/20kgs. Don’t overload yourself, because you have to carry your own baggage.
Itinerary Disclaimer – The information in this trip details has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.
Accommodation - Each tour lists the hotel standard, you can check it before your booking, The hotels are selected for convenience of location, comfort or character, and can range differently from tour to tour. In some remote areas, accommodation may be of a lower standard and may not have all western amenities. Please note that there is no international classification system for hotels, and differences and quality do exist between the European Countries and China, though it is marked 4 or 5 star hotel.
In bigger cities and large towns the standard is similar although on a lesser scale. In small towns or villages where tourism is less prevalent, the hotels we use are smaller and facilities are more limited, though we generally stay in the best place in town. Rooms will still be en suite but rooms can be basic. Plumbing and electricity supplies can be somewhat erratic and although the welcome is warm, service levels may be less efficient than you may be used to.
Booking a Single Room – Silkroadtrips are pleased to offer travellers the option of pre-booking a guaranteed single room. Kindly note our single supplement do not include sharing cabins on the overnight trains or cruises. All of our tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation.
Aboard the overnight sleeper train, berths are usually in 1st class ‘soft sleeper’ lockable compartments for 4 which have 2 sets of bunks with clean bedding provided. WC and washbasins are provided for shared use at the end of each carriage. Hot meals and snacks are sold to your berth on all overnight journeys. In times of large demand we may have to travel in 2nd class ‘hard sleeper’ which consists of sectioned off compartments for 6,leading off an open plan carriage.
Bullet trains are getting popular, it is very modern with a high velocity of 300km per hour. There are western toilets, dinning car on the bullet trains, and normally for short distance running 1—8 hours.
You can check in 20 kg baggage and carry 5kg hand bag with you while boarding a flight in China. Please be aware, before boarding a flight in China that the Chinese authorities will only allow bottles onto aircraft if they have been checked in as main luggage. Any bottles in the hand luggage may be confiscated.
Eating is always an important part of the tours. Each tour of Silkroadtrips has listed the included meals, please check it on-line. Our professional guide will always arrange the meals at clean local restaurants to taste different food with different budget approximately from CNY20 to CNY200 per person per meal. Please check our webpage for Chinese Cuisine as below.
Tipping - If you're happy with the services provided then a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. Tipping is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across China and other Asian countries. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Tipping is not common practice at restaurants in China or Tibet.
Tour guides: Throughout your tour you may at times have local guides or national guide. We suggest CNY10-15 per person per day for guides.
Porters: In some hotels a porter may offer to carry your bag to your room. We suggest CNY5 per bag for porters.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest that you tip only those more involved with the group (for example those that help you with your bags etc). CNY5-10 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Optional Extras - Our standard tours are planned to be as fully inclusive as possible. However, from time-to-time you may be suggested to join optional tours/sightseeing in addition to the standard sightseeing planned for that city. Such options are at an additional cost, with prices ranging from 20-200 CNY per person. If you do not wish to take part in any optional extras, you will have the option of enjoying some free time at leisure or to return to the hotel.
Personal Expenses - Kindly check the inclusions for your tour, you will need to take some extra money to cover drinks, laundry and souvenirs, plus any additional sightseeing that may be offered to you. Based on the advice of previous customers an approximate amount of $250 per week should be sufficient; however for those that can’t resist a bargain, consider allocating a higher amount.
Electricity Supply & Plugs
China operates on a 220V and uses a combination of US/European and Chinese style plugs in most hotel rooms. You can buy an international adaptor before the tour