10 Days Ancient China Silk Road Tour from Xian to Kashgar
Take the 10 days ancient Silk Road tour to experience a variety of landscapes rich in historic relics, cultural relics, ethnic flavor and natural sights. Extending from Xian to Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi and finally Kashgar, your eyes will be dazzled by the amazing Terracotta Warriors, Rainbow Mountains, Jiayuguan Great Wall, Mogao Caves, Crescent Spring, Jiaohe Ruins, Heavenly Lake, Kashgar Old Town…and your spirit will be extremely satisfied by the brilliant culture and history created on the noble Silk Road. Please feel free to inquire if you have any ideas about your trip!
Terracotta Warriors and Horses, The Rainbow Mountains, Zhangye Giant Buddha Temple, Jiayuguan Pass, Weijin Art Gallery, Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake, Mogao Grottoes, Jiaohe Ruins, Heavely Lake, Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque.
Upon your arrival at Xian airport/train station, the local English-speaking tour guide and driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
Friendly tip: you are suggested to land at Xian before 11AM to ensure no rush for rest of the day.
Your exploration begins with Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Known as “the Eighth Wonders of the World”, the museum shows a surprisingly high level in sculpture, which is listed in the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. The splendid scene and format will leave you an impressive memory.
After that, if time permits, you can continue your visit to Muslim quarter to have relaxing sightseeing and enjoy the local food/ snacks. Muslin Quarter is the most famous food street in Xian. It consists of Islamic food area, ethnic group shopping center, Great Mosque and living area of Hui people, with a history of more than 1,000 years. The tour guide will give recommendations for you to have the best local food experience.
In the morning, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and drop you off at Xian North Train Station for high-speed train to Zhangye. The train rides around 7.5 hours, you are suggested to prepare some snack or just enjoy the scenery on the way.
Upon your arrival at Zhangye West Train Station, the local driver will be waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to local hotel. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day, you can explore Zhangye city on your own. ( No tour guide service for today ).
Reference trains: D2671 / 07:35-15:08 or D2687 / 10:11-17:53. The Xian tour guide will give the paper train tickets to you when you are in Xian.
Get up early to visit the highlights ofZhangye Danxia National Geological Park. The Danxia landform earns the most spotlight for Zhangye City. Rated as one of “10 Wonders of Nature in the World” in 2011 by National Geographic News, it does deserve the reputation. There are two main scenic area of the Zhangye Danxia with different features, and you will visit The Rainbow Mountain Scenic Area for today.
Located in Linze County, the Rainbow Mountain features in its bright color and is better to enjoy sunset, which chosen by most travelers. Seen from the high platform, the rising layers of mountains in beautiful red with different saturation is bathed in rosy sunlight, depicting a gorgeous picture for the visitors who trudged a lot to here.
In the afternoon, you will head back to Zhangye city and continue your visit to Zhangye Giant Buddhist Temple. Built in Western Xia Dynasty, the Giant Buddhist Temple had survived from the vicissitudes and stands on Silk Road for 900 years. There is a gigantic sleeping Buddha statue of Sakyamuni with the largest scale in Asia inside the temple, hence the name. The beautiful woodcarving, paintings and statues as well as the underneath culture and history impresses travelers a lot.
At 08:00, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and transfer to train station for your high-speed train to Jiayuguan ( reference train number: D2743 / 10:43-11:55 ). Upon your arrival at Jiayuguan station, you will find the local English-speaking tour guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
After driving through the yellow sand of desert, you will come to Jiayuguan Pass, also known as the “First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven”, “the Throat of Hexi Corridor”. As the western end of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty, Jiayuguan Pass, being constructed for hundreds of years, not only occupied a vital position in military defense but also exerted importance influence in trade & culture exchange as a key waypoint of ancient Silk Road.
Next, continue your visit toJiayuguan Great Wall Museum. Inside the Jiayuguan Pass Scenic Area, there is the first Great Wall themed museum with 7 major exhibition halls to show you more detailed knowledge about this great constructional engineering in Chinese history. The oil painting of Great Wall exhibited here with large scale, about 220.5 m2 is a highlight deserving longer stop.
Afterwards, move on toWeijin Tombs. Driving through the wilder Gobi about 20km from Jiayuguan City, you will come to the famous “underground gallery”, Weijin Tombs. In accordance with the title, wall paints dominate the theme of the visit to this site. Underneath the yellow sand, were about 1,400 ancient tombs buried in the obscure desert and only 6 tombs are open to public today. It’s definitely a surprise discovery process when beholding the paints with bright colors vividly depicting the scholars and official life in Weijin Time.
At around 05:00, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and transfer to train station for your high-speed train to Dunhuang( reference train number: D8931 / 06:45-09:17 ).
Friendly tip: there is ONLY one trip of high-speed train from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang in the morning. Thus, you will get up early in this morning to catch the train. You are suggested to take-away breakfast.
The train rides around 2.5 hours. Upon your arrival at Dunhuang, you will find the local English-speaking tour guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name. When it is not too hot, you will stat your visit with Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain. Echo Sand Mountain and Crescent Spring are harmonious mates of miracle created by natural, glittering like a pearl along the Silk Road for thousands of years. The incredible co-existence between spring water and sand mountains always amazes visitors at their first sight here: the sand mountains meanders like a huge dragon and roars when wings blowing while the Crescent Spring, like a gentle maiden, is embraced in arms of mountains without being smudging.
Friendly tip: There is camel ride available in the Echo Sand Mountain, if you would like to try it, please pay in cash on your own (around CNY100 /pax ). Of course your tour guide will help to purchase tickets.
Last, come to Shazhou Night Marketfor further exploration. Though you might have visited many night markets or food streets during your weeks of vacation, Shazhou Night Market still brings you something different. You will find the special vitality of this northwest city remoting from the country center during your leisure strolling.
This morning you will head to the amazing Mogao Grottoes. As the existing anthology of Buddhist art with biggest scale and the best preservation in the world, Mogao Caves wins a fame of “the pearls of oriental art”. It keeps 735verns, about45,000 square kilometers frescoes, 2,415 painted sculpture, more than 4,000 flying Apsaras (the beautiful Bodhisattva in the Buddhism who has fair scent and does well in dancing and music), and 5 wooden constructions of Tang and Song Dynasty as well as thousands of Stone pillars and flagstones with lotus carving on them.
After the visit, you will take high-speed train to Turpan. The train rides around 3.5 hour, you can have a nap on the train or just enjoy the scenery on the way. When you arrive at Turpan train station, there will be the local driver picking you up and transfer to local hotel.
Today the first site will be Karez Well, an underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. This project can be called the source of life for the arid northwestern region. Later, move on to Sugong Pagoda, you will witness this typical Islam architecture with the largest scale among all pagodas in Xinjiang.
Next, come to Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture. Afterwards, continue your visit to Jiaohe Ruins, the largest, oldest and best-preserved raw-soil building in the world with a history of more than 2,000 years. You will wander around this ancient city stepping back in time to trace past civilizations.
At the end of the tour, you will head to Urumqi by 3 hours’ driving. Arrival at Urumqi, follow your guide to explore Xinjiang International Bazaar. It’s one of the bazaars with largest scale in the world with strong Islam flavor in its buildings. You should not miss this site during your tour to Urumqi, even if you are not going for shopping, you would favor the experience for the strong ethnic flavor here. Eyes are dazzled by an overwhelming of goods in the stalls while ears are excited by the hawking, bewildering you if you are travel through space and time to the ancient silk road to glimpse the prosperous trades between different nations.
After hotel breakfast, drive around 1.5 hours to the amazing Heavenly Lake of Tianshan Mountain. Heavenly Lake, read Tianchi Lake in Chinese, is an alpine lake nestled against the slope of the snow-covered Bodga Mountain. Heat, the special feature coming with summer is seldom there due to its geographical conditions. Looking out over the scenic area, the white snowy mountains mirroring in the green lake and colorful flowers spotted on the green grassland along the lake, plus the tour guide’s commentary to the tale of Queen Mother of the West bringing it some color of mystery, both your eyes and souls will be fully pleased by the pure beauty here.
Afterwards, move on to Xinjiang Regional Museum. As the only autonomous region class museum in Xinjiang, Xinjiang Regional Museum houses over 40,000 collections including all kinds of relics and specimens, exhibited in five separate halls. You can find many treasures ever glittering on the famous Silk Road. The No.1 star exhibition in the museum is the unprecedented ancient corpse with even tiny fingernails well preserved.
At the end of the visit, you will be dropped off at the airport for evening flight to Kashgar. Upon your arrival at Kashgar airport, there will be the local driver picking you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to local hotel.
Today you will further visit Kashgar city. No doubt the first site will be Kashgar Old Town. Kashgar’s spirit is in the old town with curved lanes distributed in the maze-like Islam blocks, which is the thing that bewilders you to be here. Eyes on face and camera in hands should be busiest during visit, elegant folk dwellings, neat streets, cozy tea houses gathering leisure old people, naughty kids playing in front of doors and bursting into laughter when you walking closely… soul warmth rising from bottom of hearts along your slowly wander.
Later, move on to the local Handicrafts Market. Spending some time in the handicrafts market is also a top things-to-do in Kashgar. Follow the local crowd to walk leisurely and stop at a stall interesting you or talking with those hawkers with ethnic faces. Do not forget to bargain when you are picking some as souvenirs.
After that, come to the largest Islam Mosque in Xinjiang - the Id Kah Mosque, whose birth could be traced back to 1442, in Ming Dynasty. It’s an ancient architectural complex sitting in the city center with strong ethnic and religious color, composed by four parts: the pagoda, garden, scripture hall and praying hall. Not only functioned as center for religious activities, is the Mosque also the place for local people to celebrate festivals. If you are lucky to visit it on a praying day and or festival day, you will meet an extreme busy scene that thousands of Islam followers gather on the Square.
The 10 days amazing trip will end by today. We will arrange airport transfer for you and wish you a pleasant journey home! If you want to visit more places in China, please feel free to contact us. We will be very happy to be helpful!
Accommodation : N/A
9 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels with daily breakfast
Xian-Zhangye, Zhangye-Jiayuguan, Jiayuguan-Dunhuang, Dunhuang-Turpan high-speed train tickets (second class seat)
Urumqi-Kashgar flight (economic class)
8 Chinese style lunch as mentioned in itinerary
All entrance tickets as listed in itinerary
Excellent English-speaking tour guides’ services
Private transfers in air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers
Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
China Visas /flights
Any optional activity / battery car / shuttle bus / boat cruise / camel ride inside the attraction
Our package does not include travel insurance. Please purchase commercial travel insurance before your trip for any unforeseen circumstance
Any item beyond “Price Includes”
Gratuities to guide and driver (recommended if you are satisfied with their services)
The core of our service is excellent travel guides. Over 20 years, we have built up a considerable professional guide team that is knowledgeable, attentive and flexible. The most experienced and reliable guides will be arranged for your unique China tour. Our passionate guide team is full of contagious enthusiasm and keen interest to share culture and history in a pleasant manner. We are always glad at your service to lead you to explore a real China and experience authentic local life in China.
Our Driver and Vehicle
The first mission of our service is to ensure you feel safe and comfortable during your travel. The vehicles we use are air-conditioned, clean and well-maintained. Our drivers are all licensed drivers with many years of driving experience. Moreover, we offer free baby seats for families with little kids.
Food is a very important part of Chinese culture. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to taste the real local Chinese food!
Buffet breakfast will be included in the hotel if you would like accommodation to be arranged by us. Having lunch at local restaurants close and convenient to the attractions you will visit, you would enjoy the local dishes in each city. Chinese style, Vegetarian or Muslim meals are all available. If you have any other diet requirements or allergies, please feel free to let us know, we will try our best to organize it.
For daily dinner, you are suggested to have it on your own when you are exploring each city in your own time, this way would be more flexible for you to choose food as per your interest and preference.