14 Days Best Xinjiang Silk Road Tour of Ethnic Experience
This 14 days tour is a perfect one to provide you a real expedition to Xinjiang, focusing on an in-depth Xinjiang adventure! From Urumqi, you will measure, by your footprints, all those enchanting places along ancient Silk Road including Burqin, Kanas, Habahe, Kuitun, Ili, Nalaty, Bayinbuluk, Kuqa, Kashgar, and Tashkurgan. If you have 2 weeks for a China Silk Road tour of Xinjiang, This tour would be your first selectiion! Norther Xinjiang is a paradise-like place boasts both natural and cultural landscapes, satisfying your imagination for a lifetime adventure about deserts, snowy mountains, plateau lakes, Yardang landforms, ancient city ruins, tombs, Mosques…
Upon your arrival at Urumqi airport/train station, our local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to downtown hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal. You can have a good rest at the hotel or freely explore the city.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will officially start the Silk Road tour. Driving along the National Highway 216 through the Gurbantunggut Desert and feel the charm of wildlife paradise, Kalamaili Nature Reserve. If you are lucky, you may see wild donkeys and goats running on the Gobi desert.
Passing by Huoshaoshan Mountain, you will be amazed by the vast expanse of red sea. The rocks which were not red originally turned into red due to spontaneous combustion of the underlying coal seam. It looks as if the mountain is still burning. Pull over to take some beautiful pictures here would be perfect! Then, continue driving and enjoy the spectacular scenery along the way.
The mesmerizing Kanas Nature Reserve is a must see for visitors to Xinjiang. After about 3 hours’ ride on the winding road, you will arrive at Jiadengyu for lunch, and then take the scenic shuttle bus to the legendary Kanas Lake.You may have never seen so beautiful mountain lake. As the seasons change, the lake bursts into different colors, crystal blue, dark green or even gray. Walking from one bay to another and taking some pictures, you will have a relaxing time immersing yourself in the idyllic beauty and embracing nature. Because the natural beauty is unspoiled and local people still keep the original simple lifestyle here, it is dubbed as “the pure land on earth” as well as "the oriental Switzerland”.
Strolling along the Kanas River, you will see the virgin forests, Fairy Bay, Wolong Bay, Moon Bay, and Wild Duck Lake which would be a perfect chance to take nice pictures! Finishing the relaxing sightseeing, you will check into the hotel.
If weather permits, you can get up early to catch the stunning sunrise of Kanas Scenic Area, and then drive to Hemu Village. Hemu Village is one of the three settlements of Tuva people in China. We will enter the village on a shuttle bus. It’s truly a paradise for photographers. The tranquil village, dense woods, and herds of cattle and sheep make a picturesque landscape. You can freely walk around the village to experience the unique lifestyle of the local Tuva people who have lived here for centuries.
Later, continue driving to Habahe County for overnight.
Early bird will be rewarded with the amazing sunrise of Hemu Village. After saying goodbye to the pristine village, driving for 5-6 hours to Kuitun via the famous oil city, Karamay. You will arrive at the Urho Ghost City following the Gurbantunggut Desert. The Ghost City is also known as “Wind City” because of the howling winds throughout the year. The eerie landform is the joint result of intermittent torrential scouring and strong wind erosion. You can tour the whole Ghost City on a shuttle bus. After visiting this seemingly horrifying site, drive to Kuitun and check into a local hotel.
Today you will head to Yili. On the way, the first scenic site is the amazing Sayram Lake, and it definitely will be another highlight of your northern Xinjiang trip. The lake is the highest and largest alpine lake in Xinjiang with intoxicating scenery. It also has a nickname of “Atlantic Ocean’s last teardrop” because it is the last place that the warm and humid air of the Atlantic Ocean reaches. The lake water is limpid and pure. You can stroll along the lake and enjoy the colorful wild flowers and rolling grassland.
Besides, you will have opportunity to see the famous Guozigou Bridge before arriving at Sayram Lake, which is the largest and most important bridge in Xinjiang. You will see many impressing S-shaped curves and admire the most beautiful valley in northern Xinjiang, Guozigou Valley.
After breakfast, drive to visit the beautiful Nalaty Prairie in the morning! Also named Ili Prairie, means “the place witnesses the sunrise firstly” by National Geographic, Nalaty Prairie impresses visitors with good quality of grass, colorful wild flowers in summer, snowy mountains and blue sky as background for the lovey animals wandering there. That’s a good place for people to approach and interact with nature.
In the afternoon, drive around 2.5 hours to Bayinbuluk, here you will visit Swan Lake-the Most Beautiful Myth of Bayanbulak. Swan Lake of Bayanbulak is the only natural reserve for swans in China, inhabited by Chinese largest wild swan population. Consisted of many interlinked small lakes, Swan Lake entertains the visitors with the inverted images of white clouds in these lakes, big or small. The swans also greet the visitors from the whole world with their elegant figures and beautiful dancing moves.
Driving along 217 National Highway to Kuqa. You won’t be bored since there are great scenery on the way! Arrival in Kuqa, you will make a stop to explore the magnificent Tianshan Grand Canyon, the best geological park in the world. It records the entire process of crustal movement in Xinjiang for nearly 400 million years.
Later, you will be dropped off at train station to catch overnight train to Kashgar. The train rides around 7.5 hours, you will arrive at Kashagr in the early morning.
Friendly tip: The train will be overnight soft-sleeper, 4 pax sharing one cabin, no private bathroom or breakfast provided. You are suggested to prepare some snack in case you are hungry on the train.
Upon your arrival at Kashgar train station at around 3am, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to local hotel for rest.
In the afternoon, meet your guide at the hotel lobby, you will start Kashgar tour with the Old Town to have a glimpse of the local people’s lifestyle and unique architectural styles. Next, go on to visit Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China and the most famous mosque in Xinjiang. Later, come to stroll down the local Handicraft Street, a special exhibition center for traditional handicrafts of Kashgar and Central Asia to learn further about local culture.
Today you will head to the amazing Karakuri Lake. The driving lasts around 4 hours from Kashgar city to the lake, which would be a good chance to enjoy the mountain-and-lake view on the way.
Karakul Lake, the name means “Dark Ocean”, which is corresponded to its appearance: the water is deep and unfathomable, the grass growing well on the banks where Kirgiz shepherds usually stay for grazing. The Lake embraces the inverted images of the snowy pinnacles, green grass and leisure flocks and herds when sunny days while it turns to be dark and bleak in the rainy days. You must totally relax yourself after the full day sightseeing.
After breakfast, come to enjoy the unique scenery in Tashkurgan Stone City which is a famous relic along ancient Silk Route, occupying a vital position in sense of ancient military. It was the Capital of Puli Kingdom of Han Dynasty and a stronghold set by Tang Dynasty to governing the surrounding areas. The significant value in trade and politic brought it prosperous time in old time and left many treasures you can see today including pottery shard, gold, silver and jewelry, scriptures, silk…
In the afternoon, drive around 5.5 hours back to Kashgar and have good rest at your hotel.
Taking morning flight from Kashgar to Urumqi. Upon arrival, meet the local English speaking guide and driver, then drive around 3 hours to Turpan.
Finding a nice restaurant to fill your stomach, then you will officially start exploring the amazing Turpan by visiting 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 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.
Today you will further explore the best of Turpan! First, come to Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture. Next, continue to explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. Among all the grottoes in Turpan, Bezeklik has the largest group of caves and the most abundant murals. It is also one of the large Buddhist cave temple sites in Xinjiang. There are 57 caves open to visitors now.
Later, move on to Sugong Pagoda, you will witness this typical Islam architecture with the largest scale among all pagodas in Xinjiang. Then, continue to Astana Tombs. Nearby Gaochang Ruins, about 40km away from Turpan city, stretches out an ancient tomb group named Astana Tombs. Originating from 3rd century to 8th century, about 1,700 years ago, it was the public graveyard of ancient Gaochang people. There are over 500 tombs in total with owners varying from the nobility, officials and civilians, gaining a high reputation in archeology.
At the end of the visit, you will head to Urumqi for overnight.
The 14 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 Xinjiang or other Chinese cities, please feel free to contact us. We will be very happy to be helpful for you.
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.