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Home China City Tours Beijing Tours Beijing Dunhuang Tours 11 Days Marco Polo Tour from Beijing to Urumqi

Tour Overview

Marc Polo introduced the golden land of China to the world after his Silk Road journey from Europe to ancient China, stunning the world by splendid history and culture of that old nation. Today, we offer the 11 days Silk Road trip to trace Marc Polo’s footprints and discover the awe-inspiring relics and landscapes throughout China, including Beijing Great Wall, Xian Terracotta Warriors, Luoyang Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Show, Zhangye Rainbow Mountain, Dunhuang Mogao Caves, and Urumqi Heavenly Lake, bringing you a thrilling adventure!

Highlights of this tour:

1. Retrace Marco Polo’s footprints and discover the awe-inspiring relics and landscapes throughout Northern China.
2. Take a hiking tour of Mutianyu, the most prominent part of the Great Wall, which is less crowded while maintaining the breathtaking natural landscape.
3. Explore the imperial palace in the world-famous Forbidden City, a great place to learn about China’s last dynasty.
4. Get a glimpse of the secrets of Chinese Shaolin martial arts by watching a wonderful Kungfu Show.
5. Visit China’s most famous grottoes – Longmen Grottoes and Mogao Grottoes – to see their highlights from different angles.
6. Be impressed by the spectacular army of over 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors.
7. Immersed in the “Color Palette Overturned by God” – Rainbow Mountain; Take wonderful pictures of the beautiful Heavenly Lake of Tianshan Mountain.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Upon your arrival at Beijing airport / train station, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to downtown hotel for checking-in. Free and easy on your arrangement for rest of the day.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing 

  2. Today, get up early in the morning, follow your guide to enjoy the nice morning time in Temple of Heaven and see how local people spend their morning time in the square.

    Temple of Heaven, famous for its meticulous layout, unique architecture and magnificent decoration, this grand complex was built for the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to offer sacrifices to the heaven and pray for good harvests. It was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1998. You will definitely marvel at the craftsmanship and learn more historical facts about ancient China.

    Beijing Temple of Heaven
    Temple of Heaven

    Next, move on to today’s highlights - the famous world’s heritage Mutianyu Great Wall. It would be around 2 hours’ driving, you can take this chance to see the urban and suburban scenery of Chinese capital on the way.

    Mutianyu Great Wall is the most scenic part of Chinese Great Wall. It was built in the early Ming Dynasty at 1368 and stretches for 5400 meters. 90 percent of the Mutianyu is covered by vegetation. So in each season this part of the Great Wall will treat visitors with its unique scenery. If pure-hiking is too much for you, there are also options of cable car and toboggan to see the spectacular scenery from different angles ( optional).

    Finish the amazing hiking, you’ll end today’s tour with an exterior visit of the marvelous Bird's Nest and Water Cube which were built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Walking around the outside of the building to appreciate the unique design and take some pictures would be perfect.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing

    Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall
    Mutianyu Great Wall

  3. This morning, you will head to the largest city square in the world - Tian'anmen Square. The square has a very important role in China’s history and visiting it is a dream for many generations of Chinese people. So don’t be surprised when you see the square is teeming with Chinese people. You can just wander around the square and take in the rich history.

    Then you will follow your tour guide into the incredible Forbidden City, which was once the royal palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties with more than 70 big and small palaces and over 9,000 rooms. It is one of the largest and most well-preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Walking into the grand and majestic complex, you will steep in China’s long history and marvel at this architectural masterpiece.

    After lunch, you will be dropped off at Beijing West Train Station for high-speed train to Luoyang. The train rides around 4 hours, you can have a nap on the train or just enjoy the scenery on the way.

    When you arrive at Luoyang Longmen Station, 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Luoyang

    Beijing Forbidden City
    Forbidden City

  4. Today you will visit two of the most important sites in Luoyang. No doubt the first one will be Shaolin Temple & Kungfu Show. Shaolin Temple is the well-known for the birthplace of Chinese Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Martial Art. You cannot wait for watching the Kongfu Show performance as the saying goes “ All martial arts ( Kongfu) are from Shaolin.” The Shaolin Martial arts are an important part of the relics. Then, continue to visit the Pagoda Forest in the Shaolin temple.

    Shaolin Temple
    Shaolin Temple

    Finish the sightseeing, drive to the most famous Longmen Grottoes, which is a treasure house of ancient stone-carving art for more than 100, 000 stone statues here, varying from 2-centimeter to 17.14 meter high, and extending for about 1,094 years along both banks of Yi River. It is one of the three most valuable Buddhist Cave and rack carvings in China.

    At the end of the visit, you will be dropped off at Luoyang Longmen Train Station for a 1.5-hour high-speed train to Xian. Upon your arrival at Xian North Train Station, the local driver will be waiting for you and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Xian 

    Luoyang Longmen Grottoes
    Longmen Grottoes

  5. At 08:30, meet your guide and head to the must-see 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. You can spend 2.5-3 hours there.

    After lunch, continue to visit Ancient City Wall. It is the most completely preserved and the largest city wall in China, which was built for the military defense in the ancient time. Since it is cycling the city, visitors can ride a bike around the city wall(optional).

    Afterwards, move to  Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square which is a strategically important building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital of Xian, have some relaxing walk here would be very worthwhile to experience local people’s life.

    Last, go 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Xian 

    Xian Terracotta Army
    Terracotta Warriors and Horses

  6. After breakfast, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Also known as Da Ci’en Pagoda, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 for keeping the Buss-hist Scriptures which were taken back from India by Master Xuanzang. Till today the pagoda has been standing here for over 1,350 years.

    Later, head to Xian airport for afternoon flight to Zhangye. The flight rides around 2 hours. When you land at Zhangye airport, the local driver will meet you at the airport by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye 

    Xian Big Wild Goose Pagoda
    Big Wild Goose Pagoda

  7. Get up early to enjoy the highlight of Zhangye 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.

    Zhangye Rainbow Mountains
    Zhangye Rainbow Mountains

  8. Taking morning high-speed train which rides around 1.5 hours from Zhangye to Jiayuguan ( D2743 / 10:43-11:55 ). Upon your arrival, 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 to Jiayuguan 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 to Weijin 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Jiayuguan 

    Jiayuguan Pass
    Jiayuguan Pass

  9. In the morning, drive around 4 hours to Dunhuang.

    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 Market for 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang 

    Camel ride at Echoing Sand Mountain in Dunhuang
    Camel ride at Echoing Sand Mountain

  10. Today 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.

    At the end of the visit, you will head to train station and take high-speed train to Urumqi. The train rides around 4.5 hours, which would be a good chance for you to enjoy the scenery on the way. Upon arrival at Urumqi, the local driver will pick you up and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi 

    Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
    Mogao Grottoes

  11. 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 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.

    Last, transfer to Urumqi airport for your departure. The 11 days Silk Road tour from Beijing to Urumqi will end by then, we wish you a pleasant trip!

    Accommodation: N/A

    Xinjiang Heavenly Lake
    Heavenly Lake

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.


Price includes

  • 10 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels with daily breakfast
  • Beijing-Luoyang, Luoyang-Xian, Zhangye-Jiayuguan, Dunhuang-Urumqi high-speed train tickets (second class seat)
  • Xian-Zhangye flight (economic class)
  • 10 Chinese-style lunches
  • Excellent English-speaking tour guides
  • Private transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle with a licensed driver
  • Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
  • Government taxes

Price excludes

  • China Visas/international flights
  • Any dinner
  • Any optional activity/battery car/shuttle bus/horse rides/boat cruise/bike rides/cable car inside the attractions
  • 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)
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