Reputed as the “hometown of fruit” in China, Turpan not only has a large number of different fruits, but also plays an important role along the ancient Silk Road since it possesses lots of historic and natural relics. This 5-day tour well-combined Dunhuang and Turpan will bring you a life-time experience to the incredible Mogao Grottoes, the Ghost City, Jiaohe Ruins as well as the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
- Day 1: Dunhuang Arrival (No meal)
Upon your arrival at Dunhuang 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 local hotel for check-in. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day.
Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang
- Day 2: Dunhuang Tour (B, L)Jade Gate Pass, Great Wall of the Han Dynasty, Ghost City, Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Shazhou Night Market
Today you will further explore the local relics 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.
Afterwards, move on to the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty. With history about 2,100 years, the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty is another masterpiece from the great Emperor Wu who was ambitious in defending against Huns and uniting the Western Regions. The Great Wall was taken 20 years to build, playing an important role in pacifying the regions. The section we will visit is the best-preserved part today.
Later, head 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 it is not too hot, continue your visit to 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, have some relaxing sightseeing in 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
- Day 3: Dunhuang-Turpan High-speed Train (B, L)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
- Day 4: Turpan Tour (B, L)Tuyugou Valley, Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda, Jiaohe Ruins
After hotel breakfast, your exploration begins with Tuyugou Valley. Tuyugou Valley Scenic Area locates at 55km away from southeast Turpan, composed by three major parts: Tuyugou Valley, Tuyugou Thousand Buddha Caves and Mazha Village. It’s a melting pot of different religions, history and culture since the remote old days. As you know, mysterious tales always comes with “ancient”, the old folk village and the Buddha grottoes with rich stories sublimates the surface natural beauty of the valley beyond doubt.
Next, come to Karez Well, which is a special Irrigation System distributed in Turpan area, sharing the same fame with Great Wall as “Great Human Engineering”. With a little rainfall volume yearly, it’s almost impossible for Turpan to use water in the surface to irrigate farmland. However, Turpan locates in a basin embraced by the snowy mountains around, so, fortunately, it is rich in water resources underground. Local people brought into full play the tilted terrain of the basin, dug many Karez and connected them together into a subterranean irrigation system.
Moving on to Sugong Pagoda, you will witness this typical Islam architecture with the largest scale among all pagodas in Xinjiang. It was built by the local governor to show appreciation for Qing Government, today symbolizing national unity. The conical body of the Pagoda was engraved with beautiful paintings of strong ethnic flavor, vividly telling its old stories for the visitors. Behind the Pagoda stands the biggest Mosque in Turpan, consisting a harmonious picture in the scenic area.
Last,l head to Jiaohe Ruins. If you ever watched the aerial photo of Jiaohe Ruins, you will find it roves in the vast Turpan basin just like a giant aircraft carrier. Located at a ship-like loessal mesas eroded by rivers for thousands of years, the ancient city later emerged with the coming of Cheshi people whose great wisdom could be deduced easily on their masterpieces: the dwellings, streets and city layout that they built on a clever use of the local geographic conditions, thus we could have opportunity to have a look to the relics of the largest city made of natural soil in the world with long history, about 1700 years.
Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan
- Day 5: Turpan Tour & Turpan Departure (B, L)Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Flaming Mountains
After hotel breakfast, come to visit Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, nestled on the Flaming Mountainside, had been the most beautiful and important grottoes along the Silk Road. As the imperial temple and grottoes of Gaochang Kingdom, the incredible value of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves incurred the terrible loot and destruction from foreign explorers. Although the existed caves here are broken in some degree, how gorgeous the original paintings were still could be imagined from the only remaining parts. You will read the meaningful culture exchange emerging together with Silk Trade Route on some preserved caves.
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?
A warm notice especially for the tour there: Please take hats, umbrellas, sun glass, sun creams and things like that are recommended as you will be exposed directly under the heat for hours without shelter.
After lunch, transfer to Turpan train station for your departure.