Day 1 Xining Arrival (No Meal)
Upon your arrival in Xining, our guide will be waiting for you at the exit by holding a welcome sign with your name on it. Then our guide and driver will transfer you to hotel to check in. In the rest of the day, take the time to relax yourself and prepare for the coming Silk Road adventure tour. If you need any suggestions on your free time, we will be very happy to be helpful for you.
Day 2 Xining – Lanzhou
Attractions: Ta’er Monastery (Breakfast + Lunch)
In the morning, you will have a fantastic time at the Ta’er Monastery. It was constructed in commemoration of Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism in 1577 during the Ming Dynasty. The monastery is famous for the three treasures, including delicate murals, butter sculptures and barbola. After lunch, you will take a soft seat train to Lanzhou, which will take three to four hours. Your local guide will meet you at the railway station and escort you to the hotel.
Day 3 Lanzhou
Attractions: Binglingsi Grottoes (Breakfast + Lunch)
You will get to the Binglingsi Grottoes by boat and spend a whole day there. Thanks to the good natural conditions and few man-made damages, the grottoes have been comparatively well-protected. About 776 Buddha statues, over 1,076 square yards murals and 6 stone sculptures still can be seen after a long history of 1,600 years.
Day 4 Lanzhou – Xiahe
Attractions: Sangke Prairie, local Tibetan family (Breakfast + Lunch)
Today you will enjoy a trip to picturesque Xiahe (4-hour drive from Lanzhou). After a short break at the hotel, you will explore Sangke Prairie. It is typical plateau grassland covering a vast area of 27 square miles and embraced by mountains, Sangke Prairie is a fantastic place to appreciate the magnificent pastoral scenery: the river is meandering northwards and sheep and cattle are freely grazing on it. Then, you will have a chance to call on a local Tibetan family to experience the local life.
Day 5 Xiahe – Lanzhou
Attractions: Labrang Monastery, Gansu Provincial Museum (Breakfast + Lunch)
Before returning back to Lanzhou, you will visit one more site, the well-known Labrang Monastery. What makes it so famous is that it is one of the six most renowned monasteries of the Gelug sect as well as the largest institute of Tibetan Buddhism in China. This monastery boasts tens of thousands of Buddha statues made of various materials. It must be a special experience to watch the morning devotion there. Then, you will travel back to Lanzhou and check in to the hotel again. After a short rest, you will head to Gansu Provincial Museum. It is the largest comprehensive museum in Gansu Province with about 350,000 pieces of cultural relics, including contemporary and modern cultural relics, ethnic cultural relics and fossil specimens.
Day 6 Lanzhou – Wuwei
Attractions: Leitai Han Tomb (Breakfast + Lunch)
Today we will drive to Wuwei which is about 300 kilometers away from Lanzhou and check in to the hotel. After a short rest, you will visit the Leitai Han Tomb with a history of 1,800 years. It is famous for the bronze statue Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow. After that, continue your tour to the Confucius Temple which is the largest and best-preserved Confucius Temples in northwest China.
Leitai Han Tomb
Day 7 Wuwei – Zhangye
Attractions: Giant Buddha Temple, Wooden Pagoda Temple (Breakfast + Lunch)
After breakfast, we will drive to Zhangye. You will visit two famous sites in Zhangye: the Giant Buddha Temple and the Wooden Pagoda Temple. Built in 1098, Giant Buddha Temple is said to be Kublai Khan’s birthplace. Here you can appreciate the largest indoor clay sleeping Buddha in Asia, the rare hand-written classics of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and thousands of cultural relics. Then head to the Wooden Pagoda Temple. According to historical records, it has 15 stories when it was originally built about 1,500 years ago, but what we can see now is a 9-story brick and wooden tower. At last, we will bring you back to the city center to admire the Bell and Drum Tower.
Giant Buddha Temple
Day 8 Zhangye – Jiayuguan
Attractions: Jiayuanguan Pass, Wei-Jin Mural Brick Tomb (Breakfast + Lunch)
Driving westward, we will arrive in Jiayuguan City and visit the well-known Jiayuguan Pass. As one of the grandest ancient forts on the Silk Road, Jiayuguan is praised as the First Pass under Heaven. Then you will proceed to the First Fire Tower of the Great Wall, known as the west end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. The 56-meter-high (184 feet) tower stands on the cliff of the Gobi desert with the Taolai River flowing by and the majestic Jiayuguan Pass at a distance. Next stop is the Wei-Jin Art Gallery. Also called Wei-Jin Mural Brick Tomb, it is a huge tomb group with more than 1,400 tombs. What is the most amazing is that they were all constructed in the 3rd and 5th century during the Wei and Jin dynasties. Regarded as the largest underground gallery in the world, it houses a huge collection of murals, bringing you back to the Wei and Jin dynasties about 1,500 years ago.
Day 9 Jiayuguan – Dunhuang
Attractions: Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake (Breakfast + Lunch)
After breakfast, you will head to Dunhuang and check in to your hotel. Then you will visit one of the most famous attractions along the Silk Road, the Echoing-Sand Mountain. When you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands, hence the name. A short camel ride will leave you an unforgettable memory. Riding along the mountain to Crescent Lake, your eyes will be feasted on the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert. It has not dried up over the past one thousand years and still gushes with fresh current.
Day 10 Dunhuang-Turapn
Attractions: Mogao Caves, Dunhuang Museum (Breakfast + Lunch)
Today’s first stop is the Mogao Caves, one of the four most famous caves in China and a rare pearl on the Silk Road. Afterwards, we will visit Dunhuang Museum where the numerous exhibits will tell the story of Dunhuang City and the development of the ancient Silk Road. After the whole day’s tour, you will be escorted to train station to take the overnight soft-sleeper train to Turpan.
Accommodation: Soft-sleeper overnight train
Day 11 Turpan Arrival
Attractions: Karez Wells, Jiaohe Ruins, Sugong Pagoda ( Lunch)
Upon your arrival in Turpan, our guide will greet you at the exit of the train station and escort you to your downtown hotel. Today we are going to visit three famous places. In the morning, you will explore Jiaohe Ruins which is one of the most important towns along the ancient Silk Road. It is also the largest, oldest and best-preserved earth construction in the world. Although 2,000 years have passed, you still can trace its glorious past from the ruins. Then you will visit the well-known Karez Well, the gigantic underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. There are more than 1,100 Karez Wells in Turpan providing precious water source for this dry and hot area during the past 400 years. The last stop will be the largest existing ancient pagoda in Xinjiang, Sugong Pagoda. The pagoda is a 44-meter-high (144 feet) Islamic pagoda which has a history of over 200 years.
Day 12 Turpan – Urumqi
Attractions: Gaochang Ruins, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, Flaming Hill (Breakfast + Lunch)
Today you will visit three sites altogether. The first is another famous ruin in Turpan, Gaochang Ruins, which used to be the capital of ancient Gaochang Kingdom. Then you will go to the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, a series of caves with thousands of Buddhism murals. The vivid murals show many Buddhism figures, stories, and the social life about 1,000 years ago in ancient Gaochang Kingdom. The last stop will be the hottest place in China– the Flaming Hill, situated at the north of ancient Silk Road. The temperature is so high that nothing grows on the hill. The highest temperature ever recorded in summer could reach 47.8 ℃ (118 ℉). After the trip in Turpan is finished, you will board a soft seat train to Urumqi.
Day 13 Urumqi Departure
After breakfast, our guide will see you off at the airport for your homeward flight. Hope you have a pleasant memory of the great Silk Road. Welcome back to China!