Silk Road or Silk Route used to be an important trading route between east and west in the history. Nowadays it becomes a historical tour route that offers great landscape, colorful cultures, and interesting history. This 18-day tour will let you explore all the must-see attractions from Kashgar to Beijing on the ancient Silk Road, to learn the profound history and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Welcome to Kashgar, the historical city on the ancient Silk Road. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to hotel. Enjoy your free time if you arrive early.
Today you will take about 4 hours by a private vehicle departing from Kashgar to Karakul Lake. You will drive along the renowned friendship highway to Pamir Plateau. On the way, you will stop at Upar Uyghur town to buy some snacks and fruits before heading to the mountains. Then you will view the pretty White Sand Lake that looks like a mirror reflecting the snow-capped mountains on the lake water. After lunch, you will wander around the stunning Karakul Lake(3600 meter), which is situated beside Muztagh Summit. The mountain, the lake and the yurt around the lake create a picture of paradise. Later, you will be transferred back to Kashgar.
Today it is a busy day to explore Kashgar with a local guide. You will take the city tour by the first stop to visit the Apa Hoja Mausoleum which was built in 1640 by local Imam for his father, and later it became a family graveyard to bury 72 people for 5 generations. The mausoleum is impressive for its delicate Uyghur architectural style including the blue tiles, the dome and the minaret.
Next, you will visit Kashgar Old Town to explore the interesting area where there are old houses for shops, workshops, restaurants, bakery, and tea houses etc. It displays the long history and vivid lifestyle in Kashgar from ancient Silk Road period to today. Handicraft Street is a must-see section in the old town, where the huge music instruments and bronze vessels are very impressive. You might taste some local snacks here, such as Nang Bread, grilled eggs, dried fruits etc. before visiting the old Id Ghar Mosque, the biggest mosque in Xinjiang. Enter the mosque at non-praying time to appreciate its architecture and decor, please wear long pants and cover the shoulders for ladies while visiting this mosque.
Lunch is arranged at a local Uyghur's house for you to taste the authentic and traditional Uyghur food including nang bread, hand-stretched noodles, and pilau...etc.
The animal bazaar is relocated near Kashgar Airport and opens only on Sundays. If it is Sunday, you will also visit the Animal Bazaar.
When your tour is finished, you will be transferred back to Kashgar airport to catch flight to Urumqi. Upon arrival, transferred to hotel.
Today you will take 1-hour car ride to Heavenly Lake, or Tianchi in Chinese. It is a high-mountain lake sitting in the Tianshan Mountains, and inscribed on the world heritage list by UNESCO. The lake looks like a crystal mirror to reflect the snow-capped mountains. There are some kazak yurts on the hills, these white tents make a stunning picture with the green lake and mountains.
Later, you will get back to Urumqi to visit the Xinjiang Museum(close on Mondays), which displays the relics excavated in Xinjiang on the ancient Silk Road. The museum is renowned for the mummies and monority costumes.
Then, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
In Turpan, you will visit the Ancient City of Jiaohe that is a huge city ruin built on a big terrace being protected by two rivers. Then you will visit the Karez Irrigation System, which supplies the water to the people living in the dry Turpan Depression by the underground system. Moreover, you will view Emin Minaret, the token of the city of Turpan with typical Uyghur architecture, which was built in 1777AD.
Tasting the yummy Uyghur lunch is another fun in Turpan.
Turpan is a hub on the ancient Silk Road, and there are lots of historical sites that are renowned for its well-preserved conditions.
You may taste some dried fruits and eat Uyghur food at the lunchtime.
Take 3.5-hour bullet train from Turpan to Liuyuan, where you will take 2-hour car ride to Dunhuang. Wander around the Minsha Shan or Singing Sand Dunes this afternoon, and view the crescent spring in the dunes.
It is nice to eat or wander around the Dunhuang night market this evening. Or you can watch the performance copied from Mogao Caves.
In the morning, you will visit Mogao Caves, the gem of the ancient Silk Road. The early history of Mogao can be tracked back to the 4th century, and built many times in the histoty. The colorful fresco, statues in Mogao Caves display various stories about Buddhism.
After lunch, you will take 5-hour car ride to Jiayuguan via the western Hexi Corridor. Enjoy the sceney on the way for Gobi Desert, oasis towns, and snow-capped Qilian Mountains.
Today you will visit the western end of the Great Wall, Jiayuguan Fortress, which was built on the narrowest area in the Hexi Corridor between Qilian Mountain and Black Mountain. Afterwards you will climb up the Overhanging Greal Wall to enjoy the amazing mountain view.
Later, you will be transferred to visit the tomb brick painting in the Wei and Jin Ancient Cemetery, where the fresh colors painted on the brick are very impressive.
Then you will take 2.5-hour car ride to Zhangye.
Visit the Giant Buddha Monastery or Dafo Temple in Chinese after breakfast in the city, which is also the city museum to display the long history of Zhangye in the ancient time. The huge sleeping Buddha is the highlight of the temple.
Then you will head to Matisi Monastery to visit the Tibetan Buddhism monastery.
Afterwards you will take one-hour ride to Zhangye Danxia to view the colorful Rainbow mountains this afternoon. This is very popular site recent years on the Silk Road for its impressive red, yellow, white and black clay on the mountains.
Later, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Zhangye.
Today you will take 3-hour bullet train from Zhangye to Lanzhou. Upon arrival, you will visit Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, which is built along the Yellow River.
Gansu is famous for the Silk Road history, today you can visit Gansu Provincial Museum (close on Monday ) if the tickets are available.
You will visit Zhangshan Iron Bridge, Water Wheel Park by the Yellow River, and White Pagoda Hill etc.
Check in the hotel later in Lanzhou.
Today you will take a 2-hour car ride to Linxia where you will take ferry to sail across the Liujiaxia Reservoir to view the Binglingsi Grottos that was built beside the Yellow River. There are various Buddha Statues with the stunning scenery around the Grottos are amazing.
Afterwards, you will be transferred for another 2 hours to the hotel in Xiahe (Labrang).
Today you will visit the Labrang Monastery with a local lama guide to learn the history and the culture about the Tibetan Buddhism in Labrang. The colorful paintings, statues, and carvings in the temples are very interesting to explore.
Afterwards, you will take 4-hour car ride back to Lanzhou to check in the hotel.
Today you will take 3-hour bullet train from Lanzhou to Xian. Upon arrival, you will head to the City Wall in Xian, which was built in Ming Dynasty with a length of nearly 14km. You can walk or ride a bike on the city wall.
Later, check in the hotel in Xian.
Today you will take one-hour car ride to Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum that is one of the highlights of the Silk Road. Discovered and excavated in 1974, the museum was built on the original site, and each of the warriors is unique one with its own uniform. You will learn the history and story about this site with your local guide.
Then you will take 5-hour bullet train to Beijing. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to hotel.
Today you will take 2-hour ride to the Mutianyu Great Wall, which was built 600 years ago in the early Ming Dynasty. You can choose walk up or take cable car up to the Great Wall, and view the imposing ancient Chinese military construction. The impressive Wall extends like a dragon on the top of the endless mountains. It is a nice walk on the Wall to enjoy the fantastic scenery.
Lunch is included at local restaurant before moving back to Beijing hotel.
Today you will walk on the biggest City Square in the world, the Tiananmen Square with a local guide, then visit the biggest palace in the world, The Forbidden City. Explore the main buildings and listen to the stories about the palace.
Head to Summer Palace this afternoon to view the amazing Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, where it used to be a summer resort for the royal families during Qing Dynasty.
Later you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Today is departing day, you will be transferred to Beijing airport to catch your flight, where the wonderful tour concludes.
Group Size: 2--15 pax
Travel Season: Year around
Accommodation: 4-star hotel
Transport: Chartered car or bus
Fast Train(Second Class):
Meals: Listed in the itinerary
Guide: English-speaking local guides
Entrance Fees: Entrance for the attractions listed
China Visa is required.
Tour duration: 18 days 17 nights