12-Day China Silk Road Tour

  • Destinations: Kashgar,Yarkant, Hotan, Desert Highway, Aksu, Kucha, Turpan, Dunhuang, Xian

Day 1
Arrive in Xian
Activities: Pick you from airport and transfer to the Hotel
Our professional, friendly local guide will meet you with experienced driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel. It takes about one hour to your hotel from airport. Rest of the day is your time to explore this ancient city by yourself.
Day 2
Xian to Lanzhou
Activities: visit famous Terra-cotta warriors, Bell Tower, Wild Goose Pagoda, Grand Hui mosque and city wall, overnight train to Lanzhou
After breakfast, we start our wonderful one day tour with visiting Terra-cotta warriors which is the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. This site is about an hour driving distance from Xian city. we spend whole morning around there and push to Bell Tower after lunch. Bell tower is located in downtown area and is a Chinese traditional building and geographical center of the ancient capital, best preserved and largest wooden tower in China.
After stopping here for about an hour we continue our tour to wild goose Pagoda which is well preserved ancient and holy building for Buddhism.
later visit the Hui grand mosque located in Hui minority area, construction of the mosque has rich Chinese feature as well as combined with Arabic style. It is one of the oldest and largest mosques in China.
Finally drive to Xian city wall which is the symbol of Xian and most ancient city wall in China excising until today. We stop here for a few hours for walking around or riding bicycle as your desire (on your own expenses).
Finally take overnight soft sleeper train to Lanzhou which is about 8-9 hours train journey.
Day 3
Lanzhou to Xiahe
Activities: pick up from train station and drive to Xiahe , visit Bingling temple on the way
Our guide and driver expecting you at Lanzhou train station for giving you an exciting experience today.
first have breakfast then Start driving to Xiahe, first stop in Liujiaxia small town for visiting Bingling Grottos which filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River.
So we have to take a boat from Liujiaxia town to Bingling temple which takes about 1 hour to get there through Liujiaxia Reservoir and we stop there for about 2 hours for exploring the sculptures, carvings, and frescoes which are outstanding examples of Buddhist artwork.
Our driver Waite for us at the other side of the Reservoir and continue driving to Xiahe through many small beautiful villages.
Upon arrival at Xiahe at about 5:00pm first check into the hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant after short rest.
Day 4
Xiahe to Lanzhou, then overnight train to Dunhuang
Activities: visit Labrang Monastery, Tibetan family visit and then drive to Lanzhou for overnight train to Dunhuang.
Our guide will meet you at the hotel and take you to Labrang Monastery which is the largest, most influential and major monastery of the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The architectural layout follows true Tibetan style, while construction patterns are a mixed with Chinese styles.
We spend for about 3 hours for exploring the monastery and have lunch at a local Tibetan family to learn more about Tibet culture and real life.
Leave for Lanzhou after lunch. It takes about 4 hours to get to Lanzhou and catch overnight first class soft sleeper train to Dunhuang which is about 9 hours’ train journey
Day 5
Dunhuang for whole day
Activities: Arrive in Dunhuang and visit Yardang National Geopark, Yumen Pass, Crescent lake and Mingsha Sand Mountain
Our guide and driver will pick up you from Dunhuang train station and then have breakfast.
Check in your hotel
After short rest, Drive to Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark which is also called “The Yadan Ghost Town” is One of the most remarkable sites in that area. This Yardang has been created over time by the soft part of the earth’s surface being eroded by wind and rain, with the hard part of the rocks remaining in the desert.
It is about 180 kilometers northwest of Dunhuang’s town center and covers an area of 398 square kilometers. Some of the uniquely-shaped rocks in the geopark are named “Mongolian Bao”, “Camel”, “Stone Bird”, “Peacock”, “The Golden Lion Welcoming His Guests”. You can take 4×4 Jeeps (on your own expenses) for visiting various parts of the park.
Later also visit Yumenguan pass which is also called “Jade Gate”. This was a pass through which the Silk Road passed, and was the one road connecting Central Asia and China, the former called the Western Regions
Later in the afternoon, drive to Mysterious Crescent lake which’s name derives from the crescent moon shape taken by the small pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. Here you also have chance to ride camels across the sand dunes to Sounding Sand mountain which can make sounds when the wind passes.
We highly recommend you to stay till Sunset behind the high sand dunes before going back hotel
Day 6
Dunhuang to Turpan
Activities: After breakfast Visit Mogao Grottoes; After lunch fast speed train to Turpan
We spend the whole morning at Mogao Grottoes which were constructed over a millennium, from the 4th to 14th centuries. The caves are also known as the Thousand Buddha Caves have the double distinction of being one of the most notable grottoes in China as well as the best-preserved treasure house of Buddhist art, sutras, murals and sculptures in the world.
After lunch drive Dunhuang fast speed train station for your journey to Turpan which is about 3.30 hours train journey
Day 7
Turpan for whole day
Activities: visit Idikut (Gaochang) ancient city, Toyuq village and Flaming Mountains
After breakfast We start our exciting day in Turpan with a visit the ancient city of Idikut (Gaochang). The city was first built in the first Century BC and later became capital of the Idikut (Gaochang) Uighur Kingdom in the 8th Century. We’ll stop in the city for about one hour and then drive to Toyuq village, an old, beautiful and timeless village with a friendly Uighur community. Here we visit several local families and eat lunch with a local family in their home. This could quite likely be the highlight of your tour.
After lunch, we also will stop at the Flaming Mountains which people claim are so hot and dry that “flying birds even a thousand miles away dare not to come”.
You can have a walk night Market in the evening at your leisure
Day 8
Turpan to Urumqi, fly Kashgar
Activities: visit Yargul (Jiaohe) Ancient city, Karez underground Irrigation system and Emin Minaret. After lunch Drive to Urumqi airport and take evening flight to Kashgar
Following breakfast at the Hotel we start our another wonderful day in Turpan. Our special itinerary today includes sightseeing in Turpan and drive back to Urumqi after Lunch.
First we visit Yargul (Jiaohe) Ancient city which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. The ruins of the buildings are divided into temples, civilian dwellings and government offices. Workshops and residential houses in the streets are still visible and time there is the time spent in a world long disappeared.
After an hour of walking around the city area, we’ll push on to see the world famous Karez irrigation system, unique to this part of the world. The system is considered as one of the three great projects in China with the other two being the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
Finally visit the Emin Sulaiman Minaret which is a magnificent combination of ancient Uighur and Islamic architecture. It is the tallest ancient pagoda in Xinjiang and the only Islamic ancient pagoda in the country. Locals call it “pure tower”.
After lunch we’ll leave Turpan to Urumqi airport and take evening flight to Kashgar
Day 9
Kashgar to Tashkorgan
Activities: Drive along the KKH, Stop at Opal Village, Oytagh Kunlunshan Colorful mountain range, Gaz Valley and check point, Bulungkol Valley (white sand mountain), Karakul lake and local Kyrgyz family visit
We set out along the Sino – Pakistan Karakorum Highway, on the Pamir plateau (the roof of the world) for your visit to Karakul Lake (3600m above sea level). The lake sits at the feet of the notorious, Muztagh Ata (7546m) and Gongur (7719m) mountains. ‘Muztagh Ata’ means Father of the Ice Mountain and is one the most beautiful and mysterious mountains in the world.
Lunch will be provided at local Kyrgyz family near Karakul lake.
Along the way stop at small Kyrgyz villages and Tajik villages. especially Tagharma Tajik village is very interesting,This village is located near grassland and people are very friendly. You can pay a visit to one of the Tajik families and join a cup of tea with them.
Arrive in Tashkorgan by dinner time and stay overnight
Day 10
Tashkorgan to Kashgar
Activities: Visit Stone Fort, Tajik village, Hiking on the Grassland and drive back Kashgar after lunch
Tashkurgan Tajik autonomous county was once an important hub on the old Silk Road. The area borders Pakistan and Afghanistan and is connected to them via the Kunjerab Pass.
After breakfast, you’ll have an opportunity to see the town’s ancient Stone Fort – still standing after 1800 years! ‘Tashkurgan’ is a translation of ‘Stone Fort.’
Then Walking around Tajik neighborhoods, and pay a visit to Local Tajik families live around this historic town.
After lunch, drive back Kashgar and you can stop along the way if you like.
Day 11
Explore Kashgar city
Activities: Visit Grand mosque, Apak Hoja tomb (which is also called Fragrant Concubine Tomb), Old city walking tours, livestock market, Sunday market and dinner at a local Uighur family
Explore the rich, endless culture of the Uighurs in Kashgar. First stop is livestock market which happens every Sunday and people bring their horses, sheep, goats, camels and other livestock to the market for sale. It provides a great opportunity to take photos of the faces of local people, study traditional local market culture, test-drive a donkey or horse or even make their shoes. Like opening a window, today is a real glimpse into a time lost in the annals of the Silk Road’s past and an opportunity not to be missed.
Later moving to Sunday market main Bazaar which is considered the largest market in Central Asia. From fluffy sheepskin hats to rugged camel-hide boots, not to mention beads, buttons and buckets of locals. Everything – including plenty of kitchen sinks – is for sale at this fairytale bazaar. It is the best to chance to practice your bargaining skills.
After lunch, spend time by the Id Kah mosque, the largest mosque in China and marvel at the intricate architecture of Kashgar’s historic Apak Hoja Tomb which is also known as Fragrant concubine tomb).
We’ll also spend time today in the Kashgar Old Town and have some walking tours through some ancient historical parts; Stop at century-old tea house for a short break and taste local medicinal teas such as those containing rose, saffron, honey and other ingredients.
Finally, we conclude one day tour with a dinner at a local family which offers a great opportunity to deeply understand real local life, culture and traditions of local Uighurs.
Day 12
Kashgar to your next destination
Activities: see you off Kashgar airport
Today is the last day of our tour, but it needn’t be the last. We strive to make every day of your time with us one that you’ll always remember and if you’d like to book a longer tour please Contact us for more information

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