8 Days Budget Silk Road Tour from Lanzhou to Dunhuang
Looking for a budget China Silk Road tour? This 8-day tour from Lanzhou to Dunhuang will definitely satisfy you! Taking China high-speed trains as the main transportation to explore Silk Road between each city will not only low your cost down but also bring you a good chance to enjoy the special Northwest scenery of China on the way. Accompanied by the friendly local tour guides and experienced drivers, you will explore both cultural relics and natural landscapes like Labrang Monastery, the Rainbow Mountains, Mogao Grottoes, Crescent Spring, Echo Sand Mountain as well as the gorgeous Sangka Grasslands.
Bingling Temple, Labrang Monastery, Sangka Grasslands, Zhangye Giant Buddhist Temple, The Rainbow Mountain, Jiayuguan Pass, Weijin Tombs, Mogao Grottoes, Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain.
Upon your arrival at Lanzhou airport / 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. Free and easy on your own for rest of the day.
After breakfast, your amazing day begins! First, follow your guide to visit Huanghe River Custom Tourist Line, which is considered as “the Bund of Lanzhou City”, taking Zhongshan Bridge as the axis to stretch out along the Yellow River. The sites to visit of the Tourist Line are distributed on the Road River, including Yellow River Mother Sculpture, Zhongshan Iron Bridge, White Pagoda Hill Park, Waterwheel Park and so on.
Later, move on to Bingling Temple starts in the wake of 1.5 hours’ driving from Lanzhou. Although in the name of “temple”, it is actually a series of grotto complex featured in Buddhist elements and engraved on the mountain cliffs. Considering Bingling Temple stands on the cliff along Liujiaxia reservoir, people need to take a speedboat to approach the grottoes to have a better visit. The boat thrilling travels through the breath-taking landscape offering a delicious appetizer for travelers, later on, the climax is coming when you walking closely to those giant statues with vivid shapes and walling paintings in bright color, deeply dazzling each visitor.
In the late afternoon, drive to Xiahe for overnight.
Today’s visit begins with the Labrang Monastery.You will regret that you didn’t pay an earlier visit to Labrang Monastery if you hear the loud titles of it: one of the “Six Great Monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism Gelug Sect”, famous Tibetan Buddhist college with best complete teaching system of Tibetan Buddhism, the longest corridor of turning scriptures in the world…It does deserve the titles and also your visit after trudge. The grand temple complex housing elegant Buddhist images and statues, wall paintings and other treasures receives devout worship from those Tibetans who are pilgriming from misty valley in each dawn, telling you the moved power of belief from hearts.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to Sangka Grasslands definitely would refresh yourself. Distinct from the spiritous touch at Labrang Monastery, Sangke Grasslands is filled with esthetical taste, appealing endless people to cry out mental pressure built up from busy life. Lush grasses waves green carpets here stretching distantly on the plateau with altitude of 3,000 meters while flocks and herds spotted on it to add more vitality, which forms awesome idyllic sights, bewildering travelers to crazily click the shutters. More “wow” moments here is from those interesting activities at local families, like have local foods and appreciate their ethnic dances.
Friendly tip: The best visit time to Sangka Grasslands is from June to September.
After the relaxing sightseeing, drive back to your hotel in Lanzhou.
Taking morning high-speed train from Lanzhou to Zhangye. Around 4.5 hours train riding, you will arrive at the Zhangye train station. The local English speaking tour guide and driver will meet you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with name.
Your visit begins with 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.
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.
Later, you will be dropped off at train station for afternoon high-speed train to Jiayuguan. After 1.5 hours train riding, you will arrive at Jiayuguan south train station. The local driver will be picking you up from the exit gate by holding a board with your name and transfer to local hotel.
Today you will explore the best relics of Jiayuguan. 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. You can climb up the tower to admire the entire view.
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 officals’ life in Weijin Time. The background knowledge about history, culture, politics and economy reflected by the paintings explained by tour guide helps you better understand this site, please follow up your guide closely!
Last, taking high-speed train to Dunhuang. The train rides round 2.5 hours which would be a good chance for you to rest on the train or enjoy the scenery on the way. Upon arrival at Dunhuang station, there will be the local driver to pick you up and transfer to local hotel.
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 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, 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 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.
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.