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.
Afterwards 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.
It is a busy day today to explore Kashgar with a local guide. You will visit Apa Hoja Mausoleum this morning, which is a family cemetery with stunning blue tiles shining in the sun. Then you will visit the Grand Bazaar that is the biggest market in central Asia to sell all sorts of things. Later, you will visit the Kashgar old town where you will view the traditional houses and shops, workshop etc.
Afterwards you will wander along the handicraft street in the Kashgar old town where there are music instruments, utensils and caps etc. Visit the Id Ghar Mosque, which is the biggest mosque in Xinjiang.
If it is Sunday, you will visit Animal Bazaar that opens only on Sundays.
Later, you will be transferred to Kashgar railway station to catch 13-hour overnight train to 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 on your own cost for lunch.
Drive 4 hours to Heavenly Lake, visit this stunning mountain lake before transferring to catch overnight train to Dunhuang(15 hours). (Note: sometimes there are no direct trains, you will take train to Liuyuan Station where you catch a car to Dunhuang.)
In the morning, you will visit Mogao Caves, the gem of the ancient Silk Road. The early history of Mogao can be traced back to the 4th century, and built many times in the history. The colorful fresco, statues in Mogao Caves display various stories about Buddhism.
Afterwards, you will visit the Minsha Shan or Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Moon Spring this afternoon, where you have opportunity to ride the camel.
In the evening, you can explore the night market or watch the Dunhuang performance at the theater.
Today you will take 5-hour bus ride from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan along the highway, enjoying the snow-capped mountains, oasis towns, lake, gobi desert, and grassland. Upon arrival, you will visit the Jiayuguan Fort that is the western end of the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty 600 years ago.
Drive 3 hours to Zhangye Danxia where you will view the fantastic and colorful Danxia Mountains in Zhangye. Afterwards you will be transferred to hotel in Zhangye.
Take 2-hour bullet train from Zhangye to Xining, then drive one hour to visit Kumbum Monastery that is one of six biggest Tibetan Buddhism Monasteries, where the yak butter carvings are must-see with its colorful and vivid characteristics.
Drive to Xiahe (or Labrang in Tibetan language) for about 5 hours, visit the Tibetan temples in Tongren on the way. Visit the well preserved Labrang Monastery this afternoon, which is a Tibetan Buddhism college to teach monks art, philosophy, medicine etc.
Drive 4 hours to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. Visit the Yellow River, Zhongshan Bridge, Waterwheel park before catching overnight train to Xian (8 hours).
Today you will explore the Terra-cotta Warriors, which was built 600 years ago with a length of 14km.
Then you can walk or ride bike on the old City Wall in Xian.
Moreover, you will wander around the renowned Muslim Quarter where there are shops, markets, restaurants, and old houses etc. to explore.
Free explore in the historical city, Xi'an.
Today is departure day, and you will be transferred to Xi'an airport to catch your flight to next destination, where the wonderful tour concludes.
Group Size: 1--15 pax
Travel Season: Year around
Accommodation: 3-star hotel
Transport: Chartered car or public bus
Harder sleeper Kashgar/Turpan
Harder sleeper Turpan/Dunhuang
Buillet train Zhangye/Xining
Harder sleeper Lanzhou/Xian
Meals: Breakfasts listed
Guide: English-speaking local guides
Entrance fees: Sites listed
China Visa required