Do you want a short Silk Road tour? This tour departs from Dunhuang, goes through Turpan, ends in Urumqi, only 5 days, and will bring you an in-depth adventure to the essential parts of the ancient Silk Route. Through the visit to Mogao Grottoes, Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Jiaohe Ruins as well as Heavenly Lake, you definitely will get a lifetime experience of Northwest China. Follow us to experience the breathtaking natural sceneries and unforgettable cultural relics on this 5 days Silk Road tour.
1. Enter the Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, a world of wonders created by nature, where you will experience a variety of fun and exciting desert entertainment.
2. Immerse in the Mogao Grottoes, the hall of Buddhist art, admiring the exquisite murals and beautiful painted sculptures.
3. Wander around the world’s largest, oldest, and best-preserved raw-soil ancient city – Jiaohe Ruins.
4. Be fully pleased by the pure beauty of the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan Mountain.
5. Take a guided tour of Xinjiang International Bazaar in Urumqi, being dazzled by an overwhelming of goods in the stalls.
- Day 1: Dunhuang Arrival (L)Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Shazhou Night Market
Upon your arrival at Dunhuang airport/train station, the local English speaking tour guide and 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.
In the late afternoon when the weather 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 on 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 2: Dunhuang-Turpan by 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 scenery on the way.
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 3: Turpan-Urumqi 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.
Next, 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.
After the visit, drive around 3 hours to Urumqi.
Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi
- Day 4: Urumqi Tour (B,L)Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang Regional Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar
After hotel breakfast, meet your guide at hotel lobby and your exploration begins! The first site will be 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.
Later, come to explore the interesting evening scenery in Xinjiang 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
- Day 5: Urumqi 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 you to Urumqi airport/train station to see you off. Your 4-day Silk Road tour from Dunhuang to Urumqi will end here.