Want to trace the ancient Silk Route Tour with limited budget? This 7 days small group tour departs from Xian, through Zhangye and Jiayuguan, ends in Dunhuang, will bring you a life-time adventure to Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, The Rainbow Mountain, Jiayuguan Pass as well as Mogao Grottoes. The bustling Muslim Quarter and Shazhou Night Market definitely will whet your taste bud!
2. Soak up the spectacular Danxia Landform landscape in the colorful Rainbow Mountain of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park.
3. Climb to the westernmost fortress of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall – Jiayuguan Pass, and get to know some interesting historical facts.
4. Have an in-depth exploration of Dunhuang to the desert, the night market, and the world-famous Mogao Caves.
- Day 1: Xian Arrival (No meal)
Upon your arrival at Xian airport / train station, the driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and transfer to Xian downtown hotel for check-in. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day. (No tour guide for today)
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian
- Day 2: Xian highlight day tour (Breakfast)Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square, Muslim Quarter
At 08:30, meet your guide and head to the must-see Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Known as “the Eighth Wonders of the World”, the museum shows a surprisingly high level in sculpture, which is listed in the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. The splendid scene and format will leave you an impressive memory. You can spend 2.5-3 hours there.
After lunch, continue to visit Ancient City Wall. It is the most completely 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). After that,move to Bell Tower & Drum Tower Square which is a strategically important building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital of Xian, have some relaxing walk here would be very worthwhile to experience local people’s life. Last, go to Muslim Quarter to have relaxing sightseeing and enjoy the local food/snacks.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xian
- Day 3: Xian-Zhangye by High-speed Train (Breakfast)
In the morning, the driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and drop you off at Xian North Train Station for high-speed train to Zhangye. The train rides around 7.5 hours, you are suggested to prepare some snack or just enjoy the scenery on the way.
Upon your arrival at Zhangye West Train Station, 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. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day, you can explore Zhangye city on your own. (No tour guide service for today)
Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye
- Day 4: Zhangye Classic Tour (Breakfast)The Rainbow Mountain, Zhangye Giant Buddhist Temple
Get up early to enjoy the highlight of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. The Danxia landform earns the most spotlight for Zhangye City. Rated as one of “10 Wonders of Nature in the World” in 2011 by National Geographic News, it does deserve the reputation. There are two main scenic area of the Zhangye Danxia with different features, and you will visit The Rainbow Mountain Scenic Area for today. Located in Linze County, the Rainbow Mountain features in its bright color and is better to enjoy sunset, which chosen by most travelers. Seen from the high platform, the rising layers of mountains in beautiful red with different saturation is bathed in rosy sunlight, depicting a gorgeous picture for the visitors who trudged a lot to here.
In the afternoon, you will head back to Zhangye city and continue your visit to Zhangye Giant Buddhist Temple. Built in Western Xia Dynasty, the Giant Buddhist Temple had survived from the vicissitudes and stands on Silk Road for 900 years. There is a gigantic sleeping Buddha statue of Sakyamuni with the largest scale in Asia inside the temple, hence the name. The beautiful woodcarving, paintings and statues as well as the underneath culture and history impresses travelers a lot.
Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye
- Day 5: Zhangye-Jiayuguan by High-speed Train (Breakfast)Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Museum, Weijin Tombs
Taking morning high-speed train which rides around 1.5 hours from Zhangye to Jiayuguan ( D2743 / 10:43-11:55 ). Upon your arrival, you will find the local English-speaking tour guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
After driving through the yellow sand of desert, you will come to Jiayuguan Pass, also known as the “First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven”, “the Throat of Hexi Corridor”. As the western end of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty, Jiayuguan Pass, being constructed for hundreds of years, not only occupied a vital position in military defense but also exerted importance influence in trade & culture exchange as a key waypoint of ancient Silk Road.
Next, continue your visit to Jiayuguan Great Wall Museum. Inside the Jiayuguan Pass Scenic Area, there is the first Great Wall themed museum with 7 major exhibition halls to show you more detailed knowledge about this great constructional engineering in Chinese history. The oil painting of Great Wall exhibited here with large scale, about 220.5 m2 is a highlight deserving longer stop.
Afterwards, move on to Weijin Tombs. Driving through the wilder Gobi about 20km from Jiayuguan City, you will come to the famous “underground gallery”, Weijin Tombs. In accordance with the title, wall paints dominate the theme of the visit to this site. Underneath the yellow sand, were about 1,400 ancient tombs buried in the obscure desert and only 6 tombs are open to public today. It’s definitely a surprise discovery process when beholding the paints with bright colors vividly depicting the scholars and official life in Weijin Time.
Accommodation: Overnight in Jiayuguan
- Day 6: Jiayuguan-Dunhuang by High-speed TrainCrescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Shazhou Night Market
After breakfast, taking morning high-speed train to Dunhuang ( D8931 / 06:45-09:17). The train rides around 2.5 hours. Upon your arrival, you will find the local English-speaking tour guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name. When it is not too hot, you will stat your visit with 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.
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 your tour guide will help to purchase tickets.
Last, come to Shazhou Night Market for further exploration. Though you might have visited many night markets or food streets during your weeks of vacation, Shazhou Night Market still brings you something different. You will find the special vitality of this northwest city remoting from the country center during your leisure strolling.
Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang
- Day 7: Dunhuang Tour & Dunhuang Departure (Breakfast)Mogao Grottoes
Today you will 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, you will be dropped off at Dunhuang airport for departure flight.
Friendly tip: You are suggested to depart Dunhuang after 15:00 to ensure no rush for the tour.