24-Days Great Silk Road Adventure

  • Tour Code: CNSR12

  • Destinations:
    Xian, Lanzhou, Xiahe, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Korla, Kucha, Niya, Hotan, Yarkant, Kashgar, Karakoram Highway

  • Tour Type: Private Tour

FAQ

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy stunning sceneries along the Karakorom Highway with Tajik and Kyrgiz people’s cultures.
  • Discover hand made silk textiles, carpets, papers and unique Jades of Hotan.
  • Enjoy the old city, livestock market, grand mausoleum and the rich culture of Kashgar.
  • Experience a journey through middle of the longest desert highway in the World.
  • Admire the most valuable Buddhist Treasure house of Mogao Grottoes in the World.
  • Visit the most influential and the largest Monastery of (yellow hat sect)of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Understand the ancient history of China in Xi’an Museum.
  • Enjoy the greatest archaeological discoveries of Terra-Cotta Warriors in China.
  • Understand the secrets of the longest ancient underground irrigation system Karez.
  • Admire the oldest Wooden Pagoda and the largest reclining Buddha Temples in China.

Day 1
Arrive in Xi’an
Activities: Warmly welcome you at the airport and transfer to your 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 from airport to your hotel . Rest of the day is your time to explore this ancient city by yourself.
It is said that if you want to see 800 years of China’s history, visit Beijing; if you want to see 3000 years of China’s history go to Xi’an. The root of Chinese history and culture remains there. It used to be the ancient capital of many dynasties and the starting point of the Silk Road in China.
Day 2
Explore Xi’an for whole day
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Visit Terra-Cotta Warriors; Bell Tower; Wild Goose Pagoda and Hui Mosque
After breakfast, we start our wonderful one day tour by visiting Terra-Cotta Warriors which is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. This site is about an hour drive from Xi’an city.
After lunch Visit Bell tower which 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 enjoy the wooden tower for about an hour then we continue our tour to wild goose Pagoda which is a well preserved ancient holy building for Buddhism.
Finally visit Hui grand mosque located in Hui minority area, construction of the mosque has rich Chinese features combined with Arabic style. It is one of the oldest and largest mosque in China.

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Day 3
Xi’an to Lanzhou
Meals:B,L,D
Activities: Visit Xi’an city wall and provincial museum,after lunch catch a bullet train to Lanzhou
After breakfast visit the city wall which is the symbol of Xi’an and the most ancient existing city wall in China until today. We spend a few hours to enjoy by walking around or riding bicycle as your like (on your own expenses).
Then drive to provincial Museum which is a famous first-class museum in China with its outstanding architectural buildings, internal apparatus and exhibits.
After lunch take a fast speed bullet train to Lanzhou, it is about 3:30-4:00 hours train journey. A new driver will wait for you at Railway station and transfer to the hotel.
Day 4
Lanzhou to Xiahe
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive to xiahe and visit Bingling temple on the way
Our guide and driver are expecting you at the hotel lobby to give you an exciting experience tour today. Start driving to Xiahe, first stop at Liujiaxia small town to visit Bingling Grottos which is 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 one hour to get there through Liujiaxia Reservoir and we stop there for about 2 hours to enjoy the sculptures, carvings, and frescoes which are outstanding examples of Buddhist artwork.
Our driver is Waiting for us at the other side of the Reservoir and drive us to Xiahe through many beautiful small 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 5
Xiahe to Lanzhou, train to Jiayuguan
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:visit Labrang Monastery, Tibetan family visit and then drive to Lanzhou for overnight train to Jiayuguan.
Our guide will meet you at the hotel and take you to Labrang Monastery which is the largest,the 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 mixed with Chinese styles.
We spend for about 3 hours to explore the monastery and have lunch at a local Tibetan family to learn more about Tibet culture and life.
Then leave for Lanzhou after lunch. It takes about 4 hours to get to Lanzhou and catch overnight first class soft sleeper train to Jiayuguan which is about 9 hours journey.
Train Info
This Tour includes one way train Journey from Lanzhou to Jiayuguan which is about 9 to 10 hours. We book first class soft sleeper tickets, there are 4 beds in one compartment, this tour includes one ticket per person. so if you are less than 4 people and want to get all 4 beds, you have to pay for the rest of beds then you can stay privately without any other strangers. please let us know when you make booking.
Day 6
Jiayuguan for whole day
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:visit Jiayuguan Fort, great wall museum, Over-hanging cliff Great Wall and Wei-jin ancient tomb
After breakfast at the hotel, Start exploring some exciting sites around Jiayugaun, first visit Jiayuguan pass (Jiayuguan Fort) also known as the “Impregnable Pass under Heaven” Jiayuguan is the western end of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty as well as the most magnificent and well-preserved pass among over a thousand passes along the Ming Great Wall.
Then stop at great wall museum which is one of the first museums to give a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the history of the Great Wall, and then head to the Over-hanging cliff Great Wall which is situated 11 km away from the city, and 7 km away from the Jiayuguan Pass. The Suspended Wall is a part of the Great Wall built on a ridge with a 45 degree gradient.
Before going back to Hotel we also visit Wei-jin ancient tombs, Located about 15 kms northeast of Jiayuguan, Wei-Jin Mural Brick Tomb is a large group tomb with over 1,400 tombs built between the 3rd and the 5th Centuries during the Wei and Jin dynasties. It is renowned as the largest subterranean art gallery in the world and houses a great deal of colorful murals.
Day 7
Jiayuguan to Dunhuang
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive to Dunhuang for whole day with stop at Yulin Grottoes for about 2 hours
After breakfast drive to Dunhuang which takes about 6 hours. We visit Yulin grottos which is also called the ‘Ten-Thousand-Buddha Gorge,’ are situated in a valley along the Yulin River. The Grottoes are an integral part of the Dunhuang Grottoes, which also includes the Mogao Grottoes, the West Thousand-Buddha Grottoes and the East Thousand Buddha Grottoes. The gorge is the dividing line between the West and East Thousand-Buddha Grottoes.
Arrive in Dunhuang late in the afternoon and have a good rest for 2 hours before going to dinner.
Day 8
Dunhuang to Turpan
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Visit Mogao Grottoes, Crescent Lake, Mingsha Echo-sand Mountain and take overnight train to Turpan
We spend the whole morning at Mogao Grottoes which were constructed over a millennium ago, from the 4th to 14th centuries. The caves are also known as the Thousand Buddha Caves with two distinctions 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 to Mysterious Crescent lake which its name derives from the crescent moon shaped by the small pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. Here you also have chance to ride camels (on your own expenses) across the sand dunes to Sounding Sand mountain which makes sounds when the wind blows.
Finally take overnight first class soft sleeper train to Turpan which is about 10 hours train journey.
Train Info
This Tour includes one way train Journey from Dunhuang to Turpan which is about 9-10 hours. We book first class soft sleeper tickets, there are 4 beds in one compartment, this tour includes one ticket per person. so if you are less than 4 people and want to get all 4 beds, you have to pay for the rest of beds then you can stay privately without any other strangers. please let us know when you make booking.
Day 9
Turpan for whole day
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:visit Idikut (Gaochang) ancient city, Toyuq village, Bizeklik Thousand Buddha caves and Flaming Mountains
After breakfast at the hotel, We start our tour in Turpan with a visit to 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 visit this ancient city for about 40 minutes then Move on to Toyuq village, an old, beautiful and timeless village with a friendly Uighur community. Here we visit several local families and have lunch with a local family at their home. This could be the highlight of your tour of the day.
After lunch we visit Bizeklik Thousand Buddha caves which used to be an important center for Buddhist worshipers under the Xizhou Huigu government of the Idikut (Gaochang) Kingdom.
On the way back to the hotel we will stop at the Flaming Mountains which people claimed to be the hottest and driest on the silk road that “flying birds even a thousand miles away dare not to come”.
Day 10
Turpan to korla
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:visit Yargul (Jiaohe) Ancient city, Karez underground Irrigation system and Emin Minaret. Drive to Korla after lunch
Following the breakfast at the Hotel we start our another wonderful day in Turpan. Our special itinerary today includes sightseeing in Turpan and drive to Korla 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 are still visible and time there is a time spent in a long lost world.
After an hour of visiting around the ancient city then we head 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.
Then visit Emin Sulayman minaret which is a magnificent combination of ancient Uighur and Islamic architecture. It is the tallest ancient tower in Xinjiang and the only Islamic ancient minaret in the country. Locals call it “pure tower”.
After lunch we’ll leave from Turpan to korla. it is about 400km and driving takes about 6 hours. Arrive in Korla in the evening and stay overnight.
Day 11
Korla to Kucha (Kuqa)
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive to Kucha (Kuqa) and visit Kucha old city , Grand Mosque, Bazar , Subash ancient city and Kizil Kagha Beacon tower
Leave for Kucha after breakfast and arrive by lunch time. After lunch we’ll spend time at Kucha old city area which is a lovely community of friendly Uighur people. The Kucha’s grand mosque is located in old city area and the mosque was built in the 17th Century and roof of the mosque was constructed with 300,000 eggs, cement and bricks.
Then we’ll visit the Ancient City of Subash dating from the 2nd -3rd Centuries as well as the ancient Kizil Kagha Beacon Tower which was an ancient military outpost.
Day 12
Kucha for whole day
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Visit Kizil Thousand Budha caves and Tianshan mysterious Grand Canyon
In the morning visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha caves which sits high on the cliffs over the Northern bank of the Muzat River, 75km (46miles) from Kucha city. The caves were hewn between the 3rd and the 8th century and formed one of the earliest Buddhist art treasure troves in China. In fact the caves were in use one century before the famous Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang.
we’ll have lunch in a restuarant next to the caves and head to Tianshan mysterious Grand Canyon which is about a little more than an hour drive from the Caves. Tianshan Great Canyon is located about 70km from Kucha city. The canyon is attractive not only for its colors but also the shape of the mountains there. Today, Tianshan Grand Canyon is regarded as one of the ten most beautiful in China.
Drive back to Kucha after a long and exciting one day trip and a nice dinner before going back to hotel.
Day 13
Kucha to Niya (Minfeng)
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive world’s longest desert highway, stop at Tarim River, Toghraklik and the desert
Today we set out for Niya (Minfeng) along the Taklimakan desert highway (the longest in the world at 522km or 310miles) across the heart of the Taklimakan desert. The Taklimakan is the second largest shifting desert in the world with a total area of 337,600 sq kms, or 121,500 sq miles).
The word Taklimakan means ‘Sea of Death’ for “Once you go in, you can never come out.” We can stop as much as you like to climb up to high sand dunes, walk around and take photos to your hearts content.
The freedom of the desert may well be the highlight of your trip and you can have as long time as you want.
Arrive Niya late in the evening we’ll check into the new Niya hotel.
Total distance today of 700km (420 miles).
Day 14
Niya (Minfeng) to Hotan
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:start drive along the Sothern Silk Road, stop at Keriya town, once arrive in Hotan visit White Jade River if you like stop by Carpet, Silk and Jade factories
Leave for Hotan after breakfast and arrive by lunch time. Today we really begin to experience the unique culture and history of the Southern Silk Road. Our first stop is at Keriya town to enjoy the unique culture and traditional lifestyle of the local residents.
Keriyan men wears a special kind of high wool cap while ladies wears a hat, registered as the smallest in the world.
Upon arrival in Hotan around 12:30pm local time we’ll have a lunch of Hotan’s famous Ghosh Gida (meat stuffed bun baked in the Tandoor). Check into the Hotan Hotel, followed by a 30 minutes refresh before we travel on to the Yorung Kash River (White Jade River).
Local people still hunt Jade in the river and if you’re lucky you could find your own! If desired we can also visit local Carpet, Silk and Jade factories which are three famous exports known only from Hotan.
Day 15
Hotan to Desert trekking
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Visit Grand Bazaar and drive to desert, once arrive in Desert load on camels and start camel trekking.
Our tour guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 8:00am local time and drive to Grand bazaar to visit around and do some shopping for desert camp. then drive into the Taklimakan Desert and offer you a chance to experience the adventure life of the Caravans in the Taklimakan desert Thousands years ago.
Upon arrival in the desert , we load everything on the camel and begin trekking immediately. You’ll enjoy beautiful high endless sand dunes during the trek.
Before sunset select a place with nice sand dunes for camping and our guide will make desert kebabs for you as shooting stars light the sky and the desert welcomes you to rest.
You never feel it is already midnight as you are listening interesting adventure life stories of Our camel men in the desert.
Day 16
Desert to Hotan
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Enjoy the Sunrise, keep Trekking out of the desert and back to hotel
Get up early in the morning and enjoy the sunrise from the back of high sand dunes.
After breakfast Pack up camels again and continue trekking out of the desert where our driver awaits to escort you back to the hotel.
A shower in the hotel is always nice to get rid oneself of from two days of sands and grits, but the experience and memories will remain with you forever.
Day 17
Hotan to Yarkand
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive to Yarkant . in the afternoon tour around Yarkant
Leave for Yarkand early in the morning and arrive by lunch time
In the afternoon enjoy the local culture and do some sightseeing. visit Golden Mosque (built in 1533) and its royal graveyard including several hundred years old tombs. Yarkand became the capital of many Uighur Kingdoms in ancient times and was an important station on the old Silk Road.
We also walk around old city of Yarkant which witnessed more than 2000 years of history.
Stay overnight in Yarkent.
Day 18
Yarkant to Kashgar
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:After breakfast Drive to Kashgar and have free time.
After breakfast set out for Kashgar which is about 3 hours drive.
Have free time in the afternoon.
If you like you can walk around the city and our guide will provide you an English Map of the city which helps you to walk around by yourself.
Day 19
Free day in Kashgar
Activities:Today is free day for you to relax.
If you want to walk around the city, our guide will provide you an English Map of the city which helps you to wander around by yourself.
Day 20
Kashgar to Tashkorgan
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive along the KKH, Stop at Opal Village, Oytagh Kunlunshan Colorful mountain range, Gaz Valley and check point, Ancient Caravan Saray, Bulungkol Valley (white sand mountain), Karakul lake, Tashkorgan Stone Fort and Tajik Family
We set out along the Sino – Pakistan Karakorum Highway, on the Pamir plateau (the roof of the world) visit Karakul Lake (3600m above sea level) on the way.
Then Keep driving till Tashkorgan Tajik autonomous county which was once an important hub on the old Silk Road. The area borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan via the Kunjerab Pass and Wahan Corridor.
After arriving at Tashkurgan, you’ll visit the town’s ancient stone fort – still standing after 2200 years! ‘Tashkurgan’ means ‘Fort made out of stones.’ Walking around Tajik neighborhoods around this historic town.
Day 21
Tashkorgan to Kunjirap Pass–Karakul lake
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Drive to Kunjirap pass, the China Pakistani Border, then drive to Karakul lake
Leave for the Khunjerab Pass at 8:00am local time and travel 130Km from Tashkorgan into the peaks of the nearby Karakorum Mountain Range. It takes 1.5 hours to the summit pass and it’s an experience one shouldn’t be missed.
Entering into an amphitheatre of fluted peaks of the highest international border in the world, you’re in a place few people on Earth can ever claimed to have been.
Note: Chinese military check point would stop you about 3km before the real border. Visiting the pass all depends on the real time policy.
We’ll set off back to Karakul lake whenever you’re finished and stay overnight in the yurt of a local Kyrgyz family, which is a great opportunity to experience the life of local people and temporarily slot into the life of another world.
Day 22
Karakul lake to Kashgar
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Hike around the lake and drive back to kashgar
The lake sits at the foot of the notorious Muztagh Ata ( 7546m ) and Gongur ( 7719m ) Mountains. ‘Muztagh Ata’ means Father of the Ice Mountains and is one of the most beautiful and mysterious mountains in the world.
Trekking and hiking around Karakul lake for whole morning and drive back to kashgar in the afternoon.
Day 23
Explore Kashgar city
Meals: B, L, D
Activities:Visit Grand mosque, Apak Hoja tomb (which is also called Fragrant Concubine Tomb), Old city walking tours, livestock market, Sunday market
Explore the rich, endless culture of the Uighurs in Kashgar. First enjoy the famous livestock market which happens only on every Sunday and people bring their horses, sheep, goats, camels,cows, bulls and other livestocks to the market from all the directions for sale. It provides a great opportunity to take photos of the faces of local people, enjoy the traditional local market culture, test-drive a donkey or a horse or even make its 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 move on to Sunday market main Bazaar which is considered one of 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 chance to practice your bargaining skills.
After lunch, visit the Grand 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 enjoy the Old Town of Kashgar by walk. walking is the best way to see and understand the ancient historical parts,streets,handicraft workshops and many more;enjoy a century-old Kashgar tea house’s atmoshpere for a short break. sitting by the locals and try various medicinal teas such as those containing rose, saffron, honey and many other ingredients.
Finally, we wrap up 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 Uighurs (only if it is available).
Day 24
Kashgar to your next destination
Meals: B
Activities:see you off at Kashgar airport
Today is the last day of your tour with us, so we hope this tour shouldn’t be the last. We strive to make every day of your time with us the one that you’ll always remember and if you’d like to book some other tours please Contact us for more information

Tour price

  • Our Tour prices are seasonal, and we are specialized in organizing private tours, if you are interested in this tour, please let us know the time of your travel; the number of the PAX; the hotel star rating and other info as detailed as possible.
    So One of our tour consultants will contact you within 24 hours with more details.

Service Includes

  • Air-conditioned private Vehicle for whole land transportation
  • Private excellent English speaking local Tour guides
  • Hotels as you requested
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fee for the sights as listed in the program (including shuttle bus)
  • Expenses of the guides, drivers and vehicles (Accommodation and meals for guide and driver; Highway fee, oil and parking fees for the car)
  • First class Bullet train ticket from Xi’an to Lanzhou
  • Soft sleeper train tickets from Laznhou to Jiayuguan and Dunhuang to Turpan
  • Visa support

Service excludes

  • Tips for the guides and drivers
  • Beverages
  • Arrival and Departure flights
  • Chinese visa
  • Personal excursions like horse or camel riding at the spots or boating Etc.

Trip Notes

  • Here are some notes for the above tour. If you want to make any changes according to your personal request , please let us know , one of our tour specialist will tailor make your tour just for your needs

1. Accommodation

  • —Different types of Hotels are available, including famous 5-star hotel chains, 4-star hotels in best locations, good value 3-star hotels, or boutique hotels that reflect the style of the region.
    —Hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds at the hotels listed above
    All hotels listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities
    –If you have any special requests for hotels, please let us know, our travel experts will try to meet your requests and find out the perfect one for you.

2. Meals

  • Breakfast is usually at the hotels. Lunch and dinners will be provided at good conditioned, clean local restaurants or tourist restaurants.
    You can also taste authentic local dishes of different minorities along the Silk Road.
    sometime also arrange local family meals wherever it is possible to let you deeply understand local life and culture. You Could also join the cooking if you like.

3. Transportation

  • Air-conditioned good conditioned vehicles for whole land transportation including Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing. China is a big country, distance from one city to another is a long way to drive, so We usually arrange flights or trains to your destinations.

4. Drivers and Car Types

  • All of our tour guides are very experienced and helpful, who could create unique and unforgettable experiences to share with you.
    Our tours include excellent English-speaking local tour guides in each destination, so they don’t travel with you on the trains or flights. But our driver/guide always pick up you from railway stations or airports with “your name” on a welcome board.All of our drivers are experienced tourism licensed who are very helpful, friendly and easy going.
    We provide following cars for the tour:
    1. 1-2 PAX: Sedan, SUV or MPV
    2. 3-5 PAX: MPV
    3. 6-8 PAX: 13-15-Seater minibus
    4. 9-10 PAX: 17-22 Seater Minibus
    5. 11 or more PAX: 33 seater or bigger coaches.

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