16 Days Silk Route Adventure & Modern China Tour

The 16 days tour remarkably combines China Silk Route highlight trip in Dunhuang, Turpan and Urumqi as well as classic China tour of Golden Triangle Cities, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. By taking this carefully-engineered tour, your footprints will be left on the whole map of China, stretching from the most east end Shanghai to most west end Urumqi. It provides you an unparallel travel experience with Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Mogao Caves, Crescent Spring-Echo Sand Mountain, Jiaohe Ruins, Heavenly Lake, Kashgar City, Yuyuan Garden and the Bund…leading you to explore the amazing historic, cultural and natural wonders of this noble country!

  • Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Mogao Grottoes, Jiaohe Ruins, Heavenly Lake, Kashgar Old Town, Yuyuan Garden, the Bund, Zhujiajiao Water Town
  • Private transfers + Guides + Drivers + Accommodation + Lunch + Entrance tickets + High-speed trains + Flights
  • Yes
16 Days Silk Route Adventure & Modern China Tour
 
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  1. Day 1: Beijing Arrival (No meal)

    Upon your arrival at Beijing airport, 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 check-in. Free and easy on your arrangement for rest of the day.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing 

  2. Day 2: Beijing Tour (B,L)
    Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Beijing Hutongs

    You will start today’s tour with 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, move on to Summer Palace. With an area of 2.9 square kilometers, this palace was the best place where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty spent their summers. Here you will enjoy the amazing lake view, explore the exquisite long corridor, appreciate precious cultural relics, step on the elegant stone bridge, see high old trees, etc.

    Beijing Hutongs are full of history which attracts many worldwide tourists! Today your tour guide will take you to feel the charm of the hutongs in Shichahai Scenic Area. Taking a rickshaw to ride along the ancient alleys, you will know more about the background information of the Hutongs, experience authentic old Beijing life, and witness the blending of tradition and modernity.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing 

    Forbidden City

  3. Day 3: Beijing Tour (B,L)
    Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall, Bird's Nest and Water Cube

    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.

    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 

    Mutianyu Great Wall

  4. Day 4: Beijing-Xian by High-speed Train
    Beihai Park, Yonghe Palace, lunch in local Siheyuan

    Today’s first stop will be the charming Beihai Park, which is absolutely a nice place to relax and enjoy yourself! It is one of the oldest, most complete, most comprehensive and representative royal gardens in China. You will have lots of opportunities to take great photos of the lovely lake and historic buildings. There are also boats available if you like ( optional).

    Later, continue to Lama Temple, also called Yonghe Palace, was built in 1694 by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty for his fourth son who later ascended to the throne and became Emperor Yongzheng, and the palace was converted to a temple during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Here you will feast your eyes on the splendid architecture, witness the 18-meter-high statue of Maitreya carved out of a single white sandalwood tree, and see lots of people praying to the deities.

    Afterwards, you will come to a local family who living in the Hutong and enjoy a homemade lunch with the friendly family. It will be a great chance for you to visit a real courtyard house - Siheyuan and and have a glimpse of the local people’s lifestyle.

    In the afternoon, you will take high-speed train to Xian. The train rides 5-6 hours, you can have a nap on the train or just enjoy the scenery on the way. Upon your arrival at Xian train station, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Xian 

    Beihai Park

  5. Day 5: Xian Tour (B,L)
    Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Ancient City Wall, Bell and Drum Tower Square, Muslim Quarter

    Your Xian exploration begins with world’s heritage Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Known as “the Eighth Wonders of the World”, it was found by four local farmers while drilling a well in 1974. Now it has turned into one of the most important attractions in China and the No.1 attractive site in Xi’an. The museum includes Pit 1(the largest pit), Pit 2, Pit 3, and the exhibition hall of the chariots and horses. You will stay in the museum for 2-3 hours. Listening to the explanation from the expert tour guide, you will learn the hidden story of those live-sized sculptures and history of their owner: First Emperor of Qin who is also the first emperor of China.

    Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then head back to Xian downtown area for another historical highlight- Ancient City Wall. It is the most complete 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).

    Later, move on to the Bell and Drum Tower Square, which locates in the very center of the city and is considered as the symbol of this old capital. Walking forward, you will come to Muslim Quarter where you will find many special local products and authentic local snacks. You can enjoy preserved meat, casserole, various noodles, and purchase some Terracotta Warriors imitation as souvenirs.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Xian

    Terracotta Warriors

  6. Day 6: Xian–Dunhuang by Flight (B,L)
    Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda

    As one of the most famous historical cities, Xian has lots of interesting places to go! Today you will explore the must-see sights in Xian downtown area.

    Firstly, come to the Shaanxi History Museum( closed on every Monday),which is one of the biggest and most famous museums in China. The museum houses the cultural heritage unearthed in Shaanxi Province. Although it’s a provincial Museum, the collection of relics here is at national level from both quantity and quality as Xian had been Capitals for more than 13 dynasties in ancient China. Following the tour guide, walk and stop at those priceless exhibits to learn the hidden history and splendid civilization of China.

    After that, move on to Big Wild Goose Pagoda which was originally built to hold Buddhist sutra and figurines of the Buddha that Xuanzang brought back from India in Tang Dyansty, 652 A.D. Now there is a big square divided into North Square and South Square, surrounding the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The design of the buildings and statues is in Tang style, showing people the ever glory of that great time. It’s busier in the evening when many activities with Tang elements held by local amateur.

    In the afternoon, taking flight to Dunhuang. Upon your arrival at Dunhuang 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang 

    Big Wild Goose Pagoda

  7. Day 7: Dunhuang Tour (B,L)
    Yumen Guan Pass, The Ghost City, Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Shazhou Night Market

    Today you will explore the highlight sites of Dunhuang. The first site will be Jade Gate Pass. The relics of Jade Gate Pass is located at the far western edge of Hexi Corridor, about 90 km away from Dunhuang city, with main geographical landscape of gobi and deserts. How bleak you feel about this place from eyes, how moved you feel about its history from your hearts. Jade Gate Pass had been a vital position on military defense in ancient China since the time of famous Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty who is famous for his achievements on defending against invasion. So many heroes with their stories about Jade Gate Pass emerged in the history and so many famous events happened there has been written in poems and novels and familiar by people.

    Later, continue your visit to The Yadan Landform (Ghost City). The Yadan Landform we are heading for is about 90km west away from Jade Gate Pass. About 25km long and 1-2km wide, this place yells when wind blowing just like ghost screaming, scaring visitors a lot, hence the name of Ghost City. Going inside, it excites your eyes and amazes your mind with those “streets”, “buildings”, “squares” and even “churches” forming a real “city” relic!

    In the late afternoon when the weather is not too hot, follow your guide to explore the 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. A life-time experience provided here as optional activity is camel ride at Echo Sand Mountain.

    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 yout tour guide will help to purchase tickets.

    Last, come to Shazhou Night Market. Though you might have visited many night markets or food streets during your weeks of vacation, Shazhou Night Market still brings something different for you. Mogao Caves visited in daytime put the most outstanding highlight of Dunhuang before you, Shazhou Night Market just takes you into the down-to-earth life of the local. Do you feel a pull from the strong perfume emitting from the stalls bathed in the dim lights and speed up towards the hawkers and carefully avoid the busy crowds? For sure, you will find the special vitality of this northwest city remoting from the country center during your leisure strolling.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang

    Crescent Spring & Echo Sand Mountain

  8. Day 8: Dunhuang-Turpan by High-speed Train
    Mogao Grottoes

    In the morning, 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.

    In the afternoon, taking high-speed train to Turpan. The train rides around 3.5 hours, you can have some rest on the train or enjoy the urban view outside.

    Upon arrival at Turpan station, there will be our local driver to pick you up and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan

    Mogao Caves

  9. Day 9: Turpan Tour (B,L)
    Tuyu Valley, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda

    After breakfast, you will officially start exploring the amazing Turpan by visiting 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.

    Afterwards, move on to the Flaming Mountains. You agree that Flaming Mountains completely deserves the name when you behold that the mountain body is in fire-baked red like a rising flame. People start to marvel at this place from the huge thermometer standing in its entrance gate and showing the real-time temperature there. “Hot” is the only theme. An interesting phenomenon here is that you bury an egg into the sands here, a few minutes later, you can eat it! Amazing, right?

    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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan

    Jiaohe Ruins

  10. Day 10: Turpan-Urumqi Tour (B,L)
    Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda, Astana Tombs, Xinjiang International Bazaar

    Today you will further explore the best of Turpan! First, come to 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. 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, drive around 3 hours to Urumqi and follow your guide to explore the interesting evening scenery in Erdaoqiao 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi

    Sugong Pagoda

  11. Day 11: Urumqi-Kashgar by Flight (B,L)
    Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang Regional Museum

    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 end of the visit, you will be dropped off at the airport for an evening flight to Kashgar. When you arrive at Kashgar, there will be the local English-speaking tour guide and driver picking you up and transfer to local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar 

    Heavenly Lake

  12. Day 12: Kashgar Tour (B,L)
    Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Local Handicrafts Market

    Your exploration begins with 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.

    Next, come to the largest Islam Mosque in Xinjiang- 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.

    Afterwards, continue your step 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar

    Kashgar Old Town

  13. Day 13: Kashgar-Shanghai by Flight (B)

    In the morning, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and transfer to Kashgar airport for your flight to Shanghai.

    Friendly tip: There is NO direct flight from Kashgar to Shanghai, thus, you will be transiting at Urumqi airport for 2-3 hours, then continue to fly to Shanghai.

    Upon your arrival at Shanghai airport, 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.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai

  14. Day 14: Shanghai Tour (B,L)
    Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai Museum, People Square, The Former French Concession, Nanjing Road, the Bund

    Your exploration in Shanghai begins with the famous Yuyuan Garden, which is a representative of classical Chinese gardens with elegant pavilions, old bridges, artistic rockeries, small ponds, etc. It was originally built by Pan Yunduan in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty for his parents to enjoy their old age in peace. The garden has gone through a lot in the over 400 years’ history. It was once deserted at the death of Pan Yunduan, restored by new owners, badly damaged during the Opium War, and reopened in 1961 after a lot of repairs.

    Nearby is the lively Yuyuan Market, wonder around here you can get everything from traditional Chinese crafts like chopsticks, fans, and pottery to local delicacies such as steamed buns, crab shell cake, and pork chop with rice cakes. Don’t forget to haggle for a better price.

    After that, move on your visit to Shanghai Museum( closed on every Monday ). The museum houses millions of collections and especially features bronze wares, porcelain works, paintings and calligraphy works.  Finish the exploration of history, stroll on People Square to have a glimpse of the daily life of the locals. The square now is most famous for its match-making corner where parents try to seek partners for their children.

    Next, come to the Former French Concession, the largest and most prosperous concession among all the four French concessions in old China. From 1849 to 1943, this area was ruled by France for almost a century. Here your tour guide will reveal a history of humiliation and you will see many old beautiful European style buildings which look very charming hidden in the shade of French parasol trees.

    Afterwords, come to the earliest shopping street in Shanghai-Nanjing Road. Your tour guide will point out the four time-honored department stores, Yong’an Company, Xianshi Company, Xinxin Company and Daxin Company, from which you can get a bit history of this commercial street. If you want to try some delicious food, the street definitely will not disappoint you.

    Last, enjoy your sightseeing in one of the landmarks of Shanghai - the Bund. You may not know that the area used to be a desolate tidal flat, but turned into British settlement and Shanghai’s financial center in the late Qing Dynasty. It is the perfect place to take great photos of amazing skyline. Make sure to bring your camera!

    Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai 

  15. Day 15: Shanghai Tour (B,L)
    Zhujiajiao Water Town

    Today you will enjoy and relax yourself in one of the most famous Water Towns in China - Zhujiajiao Water Town.

    Dubbed “the Venice of Shanghai”, Zhuajiajiao Water Town has a history of more than 1,700 years. Walking around the ancient water town, you will feel like traveling back to the Ming and Qing dynasties with elegant stone bridges across the rivers and plenty of old buildings around you. You can stroll around the streets to see as many things as possible, and you can optionally have a relaxing gondola ride to truly experience the charm of water town.

    Friendly Tip: Taking a boat cruise along the river is available and excluded. If you would like to take a cruise, please feel free to ask your tour guide for assistance ( optional ).

    After that, transfer back to your hotel. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai

  16. Day 16: Shanghai Departure (B)

    Free and easy on your own until the pickup time for departure. Our driver will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer to Shanghai airport / train station to see you off.

    Accommodation: N/A

Price includes

  • 15 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels with daily breakfast
  • Beijing-Xian, Dunhuang-Turpan high-speed train tickets (second class seat)
  • Xian-Dunhuang, Urumqi-Kashgar, Kashgar-Shanghai flights (economic class)
  • Chinese style lunch as noted in itinerary
  • All entrance tickets as listed in itinerary
  • Excellent English-speaking tour guides’ services
  • Private transfers by air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers
  • Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
  • Government taxes

Price excludes

  • China Visas / international flights
  • Any dinner
  • 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)

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