Qinghai Chaka Lake
Home China Silk Road Tour Silk Road Group Tours 8 Days China Silk Road Group Tour of Xining-Chaka-Zhangye-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang

Tour Overview

This 8 days China Silk Road group tour provides you the best-inspired way to explore the essence of Qinghai and Gansu along the ancient trade road. Departing from Xining, you will encounter the jade-like Qinghai lake and mirror-like Chaka Lake on the large wilderness, drive through the vast Gobi and desert, appreciate the Autumn beauty in Populus euphratica Forest, explore the Zhangye Rainbow Mountain, trace the ever-legendary history of Jiayuguan, learn the ancient stories of Mogao Caves, ride a camel at the Crescent Lake & Echo Sand Mountain…Comfortable transfer, nice 4-star hotels as well as professional English-speaking tour guide will make your journey a complete feast of joy!

Highlights of this tour:

1. Lose yourself in the breathtaking views of the blue sky, snow-capped mountains, floating clouds reflecting in the “mirror” of Chaka Salt Lake.
2. Visit the most beautiful plateau lake in China, Qinghai Lake, and enjoy its surrounding vast grassland, lofty mountains, and azure sky.
3. Experience two different visiting activities in Zhangye – breathtaking Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon hiking and watching the sunset at Rainbow Mountain.
4. Step into a fairyland world in autumn – Jinta Populus Eurhratica Forest, completely immersed in a sea of gold.
5. Cover all the best parts of Dunhuang including exquisite frescoes, delicious snacks, and exciting desert activities.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Upon your arrival at Xining 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.

    You will explore the amazing Xining by visiting Ta’er Monastery. As one of the “Six Great Monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism Gelug Sect”, Ta’er Monastery is another site in Xining, Qinghai Province, sharing the same popularity with Qinghai Lake. Ta’er Monastery has a profound historical origin that it’s the birthplace of famous Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Tibetan Buddhism Gelug Sect. Not only bearing the divine position in religious followers, but the monastery is also a Tibetan Buddhist institution of higher education. Beneath the glorious decorations on the surface fascinating your eyes, the rich accumulations in history, culture, religion, and arts of Ta’er Monastery excites your souls deeply especially when meeting those devout followers trudged for pilgrimage here.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Xining

    Ta'er Monastery
    Ta'er Monastery

  2. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then get ready for the riding to the fascinating Chaka Salt Lake (about 4 hours).

    Chaka Lake with the title of “Mirror of the Sky in China” rose to fame nationwide rapidly in recent years, attracting increasing travelers. “Chaka” means “Salt Lake” in Tibetan. As the name, Chaka Lake is a famous natural crystal salt lake in Qaidam Basin, able to meet all Chinese’s need to salt for 75 years. The pure white congealing in the water makes the lake a huge mirror to reflect the shadows of white clouds, blue sky, hovering birds, and beautiful girls in the bright- colored dress. Yes, a must thing to do at Chaka Lake is taking beautiful pictures for the sky and people. Do remember to wear cloth in bright colors.
    After the wonderful time in Chaka Lake, check in the local hotel for rest.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Chaka Town

    Qinghai Chaka Lake
    Chaka Lake

  3. After breakfast, please board the car to Qinghai Lake, another highlight of this journey. It is indeed hot for a tour to Qinghai and the whole Silk Road. Why? The co-existence of different views collected in the meantime at Qinghai Lake push its fame higher and higher: massive sea-like lake, vast desert, lush meadow-grass, and a yellow sea of rape flower. A single one of the four elements would attract people as a “wonderful place”, however, the mix of the four at Qinghai Lake makes it a “must-go” place. Each summer (June and July), it ushers in the annual peak when the blossom of rape flowers and round-the-lake cycle track here.

    Today, the main scenic area as you will be visiting is the Erlangjian Scenic Area where is reputed as the most beautiful place in Qinghai Lake. There are boat cruises, horse rides, and bike rides available around the lake, you can optionally try it according to your interests (optional).

    Finishing the pleasant Qinghai Lake time, we will return to Xining city and catch the high-speed train to Zhangye (2-hour ride). After a short break on the train seat, your second stop, Zhangye, will be unfolded by a warm greeting by the local driver at the train station.

    Check in at the local hotel. 

    Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye

    Qinghai Lake
    Qinghai Lake

  4. It's a big day today during the whole trip as we are going to experience 2 different visiting activities.

    The first one is the thrilling hiking at the Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon which is a lesser-known site with 25km away from Zhangye downtown, suffering a bad underestimation on its incredible travel value. It’s a composite attraction enjoying five functions in one: natural miracle, canyon adventure, geological scientific research, ethnic customs, and self-driving. It’s a real paradise for outdoor hiking and photography lovers with its complex landforms. 

    Zhangye Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon
    Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon

    In the afternoon, come to the awe-inspiring Rainbow Mountain (the Danxia landform) which 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 areas 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 its bright color, and is better to enjoy the sunset, which is chosen by most travelers. Seen from the high platform, the rising layers of mountains in beautiful red with different saturation are bathed in rosy sunlight, depicting a gorgeous picture for the visitors who trudged a lot to here. 

    Return to the local hotel after the full day.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye

    Zhangye Rainbow Mountains
    Zhangye Rainbow Mountains

  5. After the hotel breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to Zhangye and open the next trip to the beautiful Jinta Populus Euphratica Forest in Jiuquan. 

    Jinta Populus Eurhratica Forest in Autumn is a bright scenery line in Jiuquan, along the ancient Silk Road, almost dominating people's impression of Northwestern China’s beauty. The attraction is very large with about 80,000 acres, consisted of four major tourist areas: Jinbo Lake-Populus Euphratica Forest core area, Elaeagnus Angustifolia sightseeing area, Hanhai red willow forest area, Desert entertainment area, and desert reed maze area. Do not only “wow” at the beautiful views here, remember to take nice pictures here, especially at the Jinbo Lake.

    Don't hurry to pick out your favorite photos to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, come back to your private car as we are going to stay overnight in Jiayuguan today. You will have enough time for social media in the car.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Jiayuguan

    Populus Eurhratica Forest
    Populus Eurhratica Forest

  6. Today you will head to Jiayuguan and explore the best relics in Jiayuguan. After driving through the yellow sand of the 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 the Great Wall of the 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 the ancient Silk Road. You can climb up the tower to admire the entire view.

    Jiayuguan Pass
    Jiayuguan Pass

    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 the Great Wall exhibited here with a large scale, about 220.5 m2 is a highlight deserving longer stop.

    Afterward, 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 the public today. It’s definitely a surprise discovery process when beholding the paints with bright colors vividly depicting the scholars and officials’ life in Weijin Time. The background knowledge about history, culture, politics, and economy reflected by the paintings and explained by the tour guide helps you better understand this site, please follow up your guide closely!

    Last, transfer to the local hotel.

    Accommodation: Overnight in Jiayuguan

    Murals in Weijin Tombs
    Murals in Weijin Tombs

  7. After breakfast, take the high-speed train to Dunhuang (2.5-hour train ride). You are suggested to wear comfortable shoes and take some snacks considering this will be a long-time journey.

    Having lunch in Dunhuang, and after short rest when it is not too hot, you will head 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 the arms of mountains without being smudging. A life-time experience provided here as an optional activity is the camel ride at Echo Sand Mountain.

    Friendly tip: There is the 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 something different for you. Mogao Cave visited in the daytime puts 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

    Dunhuang Echoing Sand Mountain
    Echoing Sand Mountain

  8. It's the last day of this amazing adventure in Northwestern China and Mogao Caves would end the journey as the last highlight.

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel, then let's go to Mogao Caves. As the existing anthology of Buddhist art with the biggest scale and the best preservation in the world, Mogao Caves wins the 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 a fair scent and does well in dancing and music), and 5 wooden constructions of the Tang and Song Dynasty as well as thousands of Stone pillars and flagstones with a lotus carving on them.

    In the afternoon, you will be dropped off at Dunhuang airport / train station for departure.

    Note: Please book flight which departs Dunhuang after 3pm to ensure no rush for the morning tour.

    Accommodation: N/A

    Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
    Mogao Grottoes

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.


Price Includes

  • 7 nights' accommodation in 4-star hotels with daily breakfast(twin-sharing rooms)
  • Excellent local English speaking tour guides services in each city
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Comfortable transportation in air-conditioned vehicles with licensed drivers
  • Xining-Zhangge high-speed train (second class seat)
  • Jiayuguan-Dunhuang high-speed train (second class seat)
  • Government taxes and service charges
  • One bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Travel agency liability Insurance during the tour

Price Excludes

  • Any optional golf car/battery car/shuttle bus/camel ride/boat cruise etc. inside attractions
  • Camel ride in Dunhuang
  • Any meal
  • Single room supplement fee (RBM1500)
  • Gratuities for the guides and drivers (Highly Recommended)
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