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Home China Silk Road Tour Silk Road Private Tours 13 Days Silk Road and North Xinjiang Tour

Tour Overview

China Silk Road is a time-honored trade route that runs through Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang, across the Pamir Plateau and to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way, the magnificent landscape, Qinghai Lake, Heavenly Lake, etc. fully show the charm of the Silk Road.

This 13-day Silk Road and Northern Xinjiang tour takes you on a journey through China’s rich history and stunning natural landscapes. Beginning in Lanzhou, you will visit the Gansu Museum and the Zhongshan Bridge before heading to Zhangye to explore the Danxia Geological National Park. In Jiayuguan, you will learn about the history and significance of Jiayuguan Pass and the Overhanging Great Wall. Dunhuang offers a lively atmosphere at the Shazhou Night Market and a captivating See Dunhuang Again performance. Finally in Turpan, you can see the ancient Karez Well and taste sweet grapes, while Heavenly Lake and Kanas Scenic Area offer breathtaking views.

Highlights of this tour:

1. Explore the history and culture of Lanzhou at the Gansu Museum and witness the iconic Zhongshan Bridge.
2. Taste the eight treasure tea and learn about the tea-drinking culture in Lanzhou from a local expert.
3. Visit the Zhangye Grand Buddha Temple and the Danxia Geological National Park for stunning natural rock formations.
4. Learn about the history and significance of the Jiayuguan Pass and visit the Overhanging Great Wall in Jiayuguan.
5. Experience the lively atmosphere of the Shazhou Night Market in Dunhuang and witness the captivating See Dunhuang Again performance.
6. Visit an ancient irrigation system that has been used for thousands of years in Turpan.
7. Take in the breathtaking natural scenery of Heavenly Lake, Kanas Scenic Area, and Hemu Village, and learn about ethnic minority dances and musical performances.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Welcome to our 13-day Silk Road and North Xinjiang tour! Upon arrival in Lanzhou, the local driver will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. After check-in, you have the remainder of the day to rest and recharge for the upcoming activities.

    Meal: Dinner

    Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Lanzhou

  2. This morning, you'll start your day by visiting the Gansu Provincial Museum, an excellent place to explore the Silk Road civilization and appreciate the treasures of China. The museum houses a rich collection showcasing the history of Gansu from prehistoric times to modern times. You can admire exquisite bronze artifacts such as the "Flying Horse of Gansu." The museum also features a vast collection of precious Dunhuang artifacts, allowing you to experience the charm of millennium-old murals.

    Next, your guide will take you to Zhongshan Bridge, which spans the Yellow River and connects Lanzhou City, bearing witness to countless historical changes. As an iconic building in Lanzhou, Zhongshan Bridge blends both Chinese and Western architectural styles. While strolling on the bridge, you can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Yellow River and feel the unique charm of Lanzhou. Later, you will have the opportunity to taste the locally famous specialty, Eight Treasures Tea. Additionally, you will learn about the tea-drinking culture in Lanzhou from a local expert.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Lanzhou

    Zhongshan Bridge Gansu
    Zhongshan Bridge

  3. After breakfast at the hotel, you will take a flight to Zhangye. Upon arrival, the local driver and guide will transfer you to visit the Giant Buddha Temple, an important historical and cultural site on the Silk Road. Here is the largest Buddhist hall of the Western Xia Dynasty in China - the Grand Buddha Hall and the largest indoor clay sculpture reclining Buddha, with a length of 34.5 meters and a shoulder width of 7.5 meters. As a royal temple of past dynasties, the Zhangye Dafo Temple has a typical palace architectural style.

    Then, we will drive to the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Danxia landforms here were formed around 6 million years ago and are renowned for their vibrant colors and unique geological formations. Under the sunlight, the mountains display rich hues of red, orange, and yellow, creating a natural palette, and earning it the nickname "Rainbow Mountains." You can hike and photograph the stunning landscapes, experiencing the incredible work of nature.

    After the tour, transfer you to the hotel in Zhangye.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Zhangye Hotel

    Rainbow Mountain in Zhangye
    Rainbow Mountain, Danxia Geological National Park

  4. Today, we'll drive for 3 hours to reach Jiayuguan, visiting the strategic stronghold of the Great Wall of China - Jiayuguan Pass. Known as the "First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven," Jiayuguan Pass marks the western starting point of the Ming Great Wall. Here, you can ascend the city wall, admire the architecture of watchtowers, corner towers, and pavilions, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Gobi Desert. Through the guide's explanations, you will gain insights into the profound historical and cultural heritage of Jiayuguan and the magnificence of ancient Chinese military defense engineering.

    After the visit, drive to your hotel for check-in.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Jiayuguan Hotel

    Jiayuguan Pass Gansu
    Jiayuguan Pass

  5. After breakfast, explore the Overhanging Great Wall. You will ascend the winding and twisting steps to experience the grandeur and magnificence of the Great Wall. From the wall, you can overlook the entire Jiayuguan fortress and enjoy distant views of the Qilian Mountains. The Overhanging Great Wall features numerous historical relics and legendary stories, including watchtowers and beacon towers, providing visitors with insights into the history and culture of the Great Wall while appreciating the scenic beauty. Then, take a 2.5-hour train to Dunhuang. After check-in, take a good rest.

    In the evening, you will be guided to the Shazhou Night Market, a bustling evening bazaar where you can sample local snacks, street food, and handicrafts while enjoying the lively atmosphere of this ancient Silk Road city.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel

    Dunhuang Shazhou Night Market
    Shazhou Night Market

  6. In the morning, take a guided tour of Mogao Grottoes, which is not only a splendid artistic treasure house of ancient Chinese civilization, but also a crucial witness of the exchanges between different civilizations along the ancient Silk Road. A wealth of murals and sculptures have been preserved here, showcasing the splendid achievements of ancient Buddhist art. Guided by a professional tour guide, you will explore the exquisite artworks within the caves, including Buddha statues and Flying Apsaras. In addition, the dry climate and natural environment around the Mogao Caves have formed a unique Yardang landscape, providing visitors with a distinctive visual experience.

    Afterwards, you'll watch the See Dunhuang Again performance, a captivating musical performance that brings to life the history and culture of Dunhuang. With stunning visuals and live music, it's a must-see experience for any visitor.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel

    Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
    Mogao Grottoes

  7. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring. The Singing Sand Dunes are formed by the accumulation of sand, creating majestic, towering sand hills. When the wind blows, the sand produces a sound like weeping or wailing, hence the name "Singing Sand Dunes." Crescent Moon Spring, on the other hand, is a miraculous lake named for its crescent moon-like shape. The spring water is crystal clear, creating a vivid contrast with the surrounding desert, forming a beautiful picture. Here, you will have the opportunity to experience camel riding through the sand dunes.

    Dunhuang Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring
    Experience riding a camel

    In the afternoon, you'll take the high-speed rail to Turpan, a city known for its unique landscape and Uyghur culture.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Turpan Yuefeng B&B Culture Creator Base Manxin Hotel

  8. You will start your day with a visit to the Karez Well, an ancient irrigation system that has been used for thousands of years. You will learn about the engineering marvels that help sustain life in the desert region. Next, you'll taste grapes and other sweet fruits, which are specialties of Turpan. Besides, you can enjoy Uyghur folk dance and try roasted whole lamb.

    Finally, visit the Jiaohe Ancient City, the world's largest and oldest earth-building city. Turpan's drought and lack of rain make the city very intact, and it has been China's most complete urban relic for over two thousand years. Although Jiaohe ancient City was badly damaged in the late Yuan period due to the continuous war in the Turpan area, you can still find Buddhist temples, pagodas, workshops, military drill grounds, and even clay bodhisattvas in Buddhist shrines here. At the end of the tour, drive to Urumqi for the night.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Conrad Urumqi

    Xinjiang Jiaohe Ancient City
    Jiaohe Ancient City

  9. Today, drive to a stunning alpine lake, Heavenly Lake, known as the "Little Yao Pool (abode of fairy mother goddess)". With the lake as the center, the scenic spot integrates forests, grasslands, snow mountains, and cultural landscapes. In addition to enjoying the natural scenery, you can experience a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, photography, and boating.

    Xinjiang Heavenly Lake
    Take a boat on the lake

    In the afternoon, drive back to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and explore the city on your own. Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar is recommended, which is a landmark building in Urumqi with a strong Islamic architectural style. The Grand Bazaar is fully equipped with facilities, including large buildings, food courts, craft shops, and more. Here, tourists can taste the special food from all over Xinjiang, enjoy ethnic song and dance performances, and buy various tourist souvenirs.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Conrad Urumqi

  10. After breakfast, take a flight to Kanas and drive for 3.5 hours to Hemu Village, the largest of the three remaining Tuvan villages, located in a large valley cut off by heavy mountains.

    The houses here are all made of logs, full of primitive taste. The iconic structure of Hemu Village is the Hemu Bridge, which, after enduring the impact of meltwater from the Kanas Glacier for over a century, remains ancient and sturdy. Crossing the bridge, you'll find a vast expanse of white birch forest on the opposite bank. In autumn, this birch forest turns into a golden sea of trees, resembling a fairy-tale world.

    You will ride a horse up to the observation platform, capturing a panoramic view of the entire village and enjoying the serene scenery.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Kanas Hemu Villa

    Hemu Village Xinjiang
    Hemu Village

  11. After breakfast, we will drive for 3 hours to Kanas Scenic Area, known for its pristine natural scenery and considered a paradise for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are clear lakes, verdant forests, magnificent mountains, and abundant wildlife, which constitute a beautiful picture.

    With your tour guide, you will ascend the Fish Viewing Platform for a bird's eye view of Kanas Lake, a core attraction surrounded by dense forests and snow-capped mountains. You will also learn about the mysterious legend of the "Kanas Lake Monster".

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Kanas Youran Villa

    Xinjiang Kanas Fish Watching Platform
    Fish Watching Platform

  12. After breakfast, you will be guided to visit a Tuva family, enjoy musical instrument performances, and learn ethnic minority dances.

    Roaming around Shenxian Bay, Moon Bay, and Wolong Bay will be an unforgettable experience, as you'll be surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes. You can choose to take a walk along the wooden plank road through the birch forest or head to the Kanas Bridge to witness the beauty of the river flowing through the dense forest.

    After that, fly back to Urumqi.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Accommodation: Conrad Urumqi

    Xinjiang Kanas Moon Bay
    Kanas Moon Bay

  13. On the last day, after breakfast, you will check out from the hotel and proceed to Urumqi Diwopu International Airport for your departure flight. You will be assisted by your tour guide to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey to the airport.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: N/A

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

  • 12 nights' accommodation;
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Private land transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Flight ticket from Lanzhou - Zhangye & Urumqi - Kanas - Urumqi;
  • Train ticket from Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • All kinds of gratuities for guides, drivers & others.
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