based on 11 nights & daily experiences
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public holidays) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
per person based on two sharing. Please note that the cost of the itinerary will be higher during peak periods of travel, over Chinese National Holidays.
Get special access to visit restricted caves at the world famous Mogao Caves of Dunhuang.
Explore the iconic Jiayuguan Fort and Overhanging Great Wall at Jiayuguan.
Unravel architectural wonders of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha caves and the ancient Jiaohe ruins with a history of over 2,500 years.
This itinerary features an interesting combination of the colourful culture of the Uyghur ethnic minority, the gorgeous landscapes of the desert and mountains as well as the amazing history that the China Silkroad has to offer.
China’s ancient Silk Road spans 3 vast provinces, stretching from the city of Xian in Shaanxi province through to the westerly terminus at Kashgar in Xinjiang province, close to the border of Kyrgyzstan. With such a vast range of terrain and topography, there are significant climatic changes as you follow this hallowed trading route across China. Xian’s continental climate makes it pleasant year-round, with more rain during the summer months, mirrored by the cities of Lanzhou, Jiayuguan and Dunhuang in Gansu province. It is only as you cross into the more rugged, arid terrain of Xinjiang that the variations in temperature become more apparent. Summers are scorching and winters are bone-chillingly cold, with snow on the mountains and huge temperature variations from morning to night. May is a spectacular time to traverse the Silk Road, as the snow begins to melt and the meadows spring to life with lush green pasture and wild flowers. Autumn is similarly pleasant, with less extreme temperatures and whilst the summers are very hot, the oasis towns across the desert region are bountiful with flowers and fruits and the humidity is low in the westerly reaches of the Silk Road.
Experience a China like no other in this classic trip of the China Silk Road of Gansu and Xinjiang. Unearth spectacular grottoes, monasteries and temples which marked the exchange of religion and culture between the East and West. Culminate your journey with a feast for your senses at the bustling Sunday market of Kashgar and immerse in the authentic Uyghur culture.
Arriving into Zhangye, we will spend two nights here. You will visit the famous Zhangye Danxia with its rainbow-coloured mountains. It is best seen during the sunrise or sunset when the glow of the sun illuminates the sandstones.
In the afternoon, you have two options:
Option 1. Binggou Danxia. If Zhangye is a masterpiece of colour, Binggou Danxia is a masterpiece of shapes. Relatively less visited, Mother Nature has sculpted the mountains in the area into unique shapes like grand palaces, corridors, giant pillars, etc!
Option 2: Hike Pingshan Grand Canyon. Marvel at the Martian-like landscape as you make your way through Nine Dragons at Sea, Miracle Canyon, Lovers' Peak, Stone Forest, etc.
After a morning transfer by train, you visit the iconic Jiayuguan Fort and the Overhanging Great Wall – a restored section of the wall that offers a bird eye view of the endless Gobi desert and snow-capped peaks in the distance. We continue into the Wei Jin Tombs and if time permits, we can make a stop at the Great Wall Museum.
This morning, we drive through Yulin Grottoes, the sister cave of Mogao Caves much less known to the tourists. The 42 caves houses impressive wall paintings dating between Tang Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty. Afterwards, we continue to the Dunhuang Museum to learn about the role of the city as a crossroad of civilization, religion and culture of Silk Road civilization. The museum houses impressive collection of sutras and relics from the adjacent caves. We conclude the day with a foodie tour of Shazhou Night Market, sampling Rang Pi, yellow noodle, saozi noodle and apricot peel water!
We dedicate a day to the famous UNESCO Heritage Site of Mogao caves. We include special access to caves that are not commonly visited by the public and enjoy an exclusive time without the crowds. Take a camel ride and explore the natural wonder of Crescent Moon Lake before enjoying the lovely sunset in the ‘Singing Sands Mountains’.
As the new day beckons, you will be transferred by train to Liuyuan, where you will then board a train to Turpan.
Turpan, an oasis town along the ancient Silkroad and also one of the hottest and driest places in China.
Discover the marvellous invention and ingenuity of the locals to combat the heat in the ancient times - their local irrigation system built more than 2,000 years ago and still in use. Explore the Emin Tower and Jiaohe Ruins, an architectural wonder of more than 2,500 years of history.
You will also make a visit to the Flaming Mountain, the ruins of Gao Chang, Bezeklik Caves and the famous Grape Valley.
En route to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. You will take a tour of the Xinjiang Museum that showcases the different ethnic minorities of the province. Continue to Red Hill for a panoramic city view, spend some time in the International Grand Bazaar, before concluding the night with a Silk Road Show at the Xinjiang Grand Theatre with performances from various ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
A morning flight brings you from Urumqi to Kuqa. In Kuqa, you have the option of visiting either the impressive Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves or the Tian Shan Grand Canyon. If it's Friday, we can also make a visit to the Kuqa Friday Bazaar.
The next morning, we drive through the landscape of gobi desert and oasis via Aksu before arriving in Kashgar.
End your trip in the fascinating Kashgar. Stroll along the fast disappearing old town and immerse in heart of the local culture. Visit the largest mosque of China, the Id Kah Mosque and Apak Hoja Tomb. Coincide your visit to Kashgar on a Sunday and get a sensory buzz in the bustling Grand Bazaar and Sunday Livestock Market.
We will visit a local painter's studio where you can learn about the arts of Chinese mural painting.
Backed by a 360-degree rotating seat with the Mingsha Sand Dune as the backdrop, this is the first large-scale desert live performance in China.
Slurp down some of the most unique local delicacies such as Dunhuang Rang Pi (brewed bean jelly), yellow noodle, handmade saozi noodle, as well as apricol peel water! There are also plenty of handmade crafts on sold.
Discover the natural beauty and rich history of Turpan as you visit the sites of Flaming Mountain, the ruins of Gao Chang and Bezeklik Caves.
Spend the day visiting Jiayuguan Pass Fort, the western end of the Great Wall of China and Wei Jin tombs, dated between the 3rd and 5th century. Time permitting and if you are happy to start your day early, we can visit the Great Wall Museum as well.
This full day tour covers Dunhuang's main site including Mogao Caves (including special access caves), Singing Sands Mountain and Crescent Moon Lake with lunch. Enjoy a sunset dinner by the sand dunes.
Today, we visit the alpine pasture of Nanshan and hike around the area. Here, you can try a range of traditional Kazakh foods and drink kumis (mare's milk) at a yurt.
Enjoy an evening performance of Silk Road Show at Xinjiang Grand Theater, which highlights the historic, culture, singing and costume art of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
Take a tour of Kashgar's lively Grand Bazaar. Visit the Sunday Livestock Market. Afterwards, explore Kashgar old Town and enjoy a Uyghur lunch in a local home before proceeding to Id Kah Mosque and the Apak Hoja Tomb.
Today, embark on a city tour of Urumqi. Visit the Xinjiang Museum where you will learn about different ethnic groups and the Loulan mummy, Red Hill and International Grand Bazaar of Urumqi.
Visit the Tianchi, otherwise known as the Heavenly Lake. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and hike around the lake.
Today's journey brings you to the Western Thousand Buddha Caves through the Yumen Pass to visit a section of the Han Great Wall and He Cang Ruins. In the afternoon, we visit the Yadan National Geological Park with unique topographical structures.
The lesser-visited but nonetheless impressive Yulin Caves beckon with unique frescoes. Afterwards, visit Dunhuang Museum to admire the collection sutras and relics from the excavated caves.
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Turpan, China Silk Road, China
Urumqi, China Silk Road, China
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