13 Days Memorable Silk Road Adventure Tour from Xining to Kashgar
- Ta’er Monastery, Qinghai Lake, Chaka Lake, The Rainbow Mountain, Jiayuguan Pass, Mogao Grottoes, Jiaohe Ruins, Heavenly Lake, Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Karakul Lake.
- Private transfers + Guides + Drivers + Accommodation + Lunch + Entrance tickets + High-speed trains + Flight
- Start from $1230 per person
This 13-day journey to northwestern China is the perfect choice for you to see the amazing sites along the ancient Silk Road. The Silk Road adventure tour will start from Xining and end in Kashgar. You will tick off all top attractions in Xining, Qinghai, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar. Get to know the brilliant history and culture of the ancient Silk Road, meet nice local people and have a glimpse of their life, enjoy amazing changing scenery on the way…This hassle-free tour includes accommodation, English-speaking tour guides, entrance fees, train tickets and private transfers in comfortable air-conditioned vehicles. We will take good care of you and help you maximize your time at the best price. You will have a holiday full of memorable moments.
1. Tick off the “Mirror of the Sky in China” – Chaka Salt Lake, taking beautiful pictures of the sky and people in bright-color clothes.
2. Have a look at the “Color Palette Overturned by God” – Rainbow Mountain in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park.
3. Try a wide variety of optional desert entertainment at the Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, which are harmonious mates of miracles created by nature.
4. Discover the most dazzling pearl of the Silk Road – the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang and marvel at its exquisite murals and sculptures.
5. Have a glimpse of China’s largest wind power station and explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, which boast the largest group of caves and the most abundant murals in Turpan.
6. Photograph the fascinating scenery of Heavenly Lake, composed of quiet lakes and mountains, majestic snow-capped peaks, pristine forests, and endless grasslands.
7. Start your tour of Kashgar Old Town with China’s largest mosque, stroll through the local craft street and learn about the ancient and primitive trading methods of the livestock market.
8. Capture the beautiful mountain and lake scenery on your way to the magical Lake Karakuri.
9. Take a guided tour of Xinjiang International Bazaar in Urumqi, being dazzled by an overwhelming of goods in the stalls.
- Day 1: Xining Arrival (No Meal)
Upon your arrival at Xining 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.
Accommodation: Overnight in Xining
- Day 2: Xining -Qinghai Lake Tour (B,L)Ta’er Monastery
Your exploration begins with 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 profound historical origin that it’s the birthplace of famous Tsongkhapa, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism Gelug Sect. Not only bearing the divine position in religious followers, the monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist institution of higher education. Beneath the glorious decorations on 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.
After the visit, drive around 3 hours to Qinghai Lake for overnight.
Accommodation: Overnight in Qinghai Lake
- Day 3: Qinghai Lake-Chaka Lake (B,L)Qinghai Lake
Wake up early in the morning to sightseeing around the peaceful Qinghai Lake. If weather permits, you can enjoy the gorgeous sunrise.
You must have heard the fame of Qinghai Lake before you go. It is indeed hot for tour to Qinghai and the whole Silk Road. Why? The co-existence of different views collected at the meantime at Qinghai Lake push its fame higher and higher: massive sea-like lake, vast desert, lush meadow-grass and 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.
The main scenic area you will be visiting today will be the Erlangjian Scenic Area where is the most beautiful places in Qinghai Lake, you can enjoy the charming lake. There is boat cruise, horse riding and bike riding available around the lake, you can pay in cash on your own if you have interests ( optional).
After the relaxing sightseeing, you will head to Chaka Salt Lake which takes around 2.5 hours driving on road. You can have some rest on the van.
Accommodation: Overnight in Chaka Salt Lake
- Day 4: Chaka Salt Lake- Xining-Zhangye (B,L)Chaka Salt Lake
Today just relax yourself in the amazing Chaka Salt Lake!
Chaka Lake with title of “Mirror of the Sky in China” rose to fame nationwide rapidly in the 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 bright- colored dress. Yes, a must thing to do at Chaka Lake is taking beautiful pictures for sky and people. Do remember to wear cloth with bright color.
Finishing the visit, drive around 4 hours back to Xining and catch the evening high-speed train to Zhangye. The train rides around 2 hours. When you arrive at Zhangye train station, there will be the local driver picking you up and transfer to local hotel.
Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangye
- Day 5: Zhangye Tour (B,L)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 6: Zhangye-Jiayuguan by High-speed Train (B,L)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 7: Jiayuguan-Dunhuang by High-speed Train (B,L)Crescent Spring and Echo Sand Mountain, Shazhou Night Market
fter 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 8: Dunhuang-Turpan by High-speed Train (B,L)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 head to train station and take high-speed train to Turpan. The train rides around 3.5 hours, you can take this chance to have a nap on the train or just enjoy the scenery on the way. When you arrive at Tupran 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.
Accommodation: Overnight in Turpan
- Day 9: Turpan-Urumqi Tour (B,L)Tuyu Valley, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Sugong Tower, Karez Well, Jiaohe Ruins, Xinjiang International Bazaar
Today you will officially start exploring the amazing Turpan. The stop will be Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture. Next, continue to explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. Among all the grottoes in Turpan, Bezeklik has the largest group of caves and the most abundant murals. It is also one of the large Buddhist cave temple sites in Xinjiang. There are 57 caves open to visitors now.
Next, go on to admire the largest ancient tower in Xinjiang, Sugong Tower. Then, head to Karez Well, an underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. This project can be called the source of life for the arid northwestern region. The last stop will be Jiaohe Ruins, the largest, oldest and best-preserved raw-soil building in the world with a history of more than 2,000 years. You will wander around this ancient city stepping back in time to trace past civilizations.
Last, drive around 3 hours to Urumqi. You will follow the guide to explore the Xinjiang International Bazaar, the largest bazaar in Urumqi. You will see all kinds of stuff such as fruits, clothes, crafts, knives, and rugs in the bustling market. You can buy some souvenirs or local dried fruits and nuts for your family and friends if you would like to.
Accommodation: Overnight in Urumqi
- Day 10: Urumqi-Kashgar by Flight (B,L)Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang Regional Museum
After hotel breakfast, drive around 1.5 hours to the amazing 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 where you will learn more about the famed Silk Road and minority culture and appreciate the precious unearthed relics.
Last, you will be dropped off at the airport to catch an evening flight to Kashgar. When you arrive at Kashgar, the local driver will be waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar
- Day 11: Kashgar Tour (B,L)Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Local Handicrafts Market
Your exploration begins with Kashgar Old Town. Kashgar’s spirit is in the old town with curved lanes distributed in the maze-like Islam blocks, which is the thing that bewilders you to be here. Eyes on face and camera in hands should be busiest during visit, elegant folk dwellings, neat streets, cozy tea houses gathering leisure old people, naughty kids playing in front of doors and bursting into laughter when you walking closely… soul warmth rising from bottom of hearts along your slowly wander.
Next, come to the largest Islam Mosque in Xinjiang- Id Kah Mosque, whose birth could be traced back to 1442, in Ming Dynasty. It’s an ancient architectural complex sitting in the city center with strong ethnic and religious color, composed by four parts: the pagoda, garden, scripture hall and praying hall. Not only functioned as center for religious activities, is the Mosque also the place for local people to celebrate festivals. If you are lucky to visit it on a praying day and or festival day, you will meet an extreme busy scene that thousands of Islam followers gather on the Square.
Afterwards, continue your step to the Local Handicrafts Market. Spending some time in the handicrafts market is also a top things-to-do in Kashgar. Follow the local crowd to walk leisurely and stop at a stall interesting you or talking with those hawkers with ethnic faces. Do not forget to bargain when you are picking some as souvenirs.
Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar
- Day 12: Kashgar-Karakul Lake-Kashgar TourKarakul Lake
Today you will head to the amazing Karakuri Lake. The driving lasts around 4 hours from Kashgar city to the lake, which would be a good chance to enjoy the mountain-and-lake view on the way.
Karakul Lake, the name means “Dark Ocean”, which is corresponded to its appearance: the water is deep and unfathomable, the grass growing well on the banks where Kirgiz shepherds usually stay for grazing. The Lake embraces the inverted images of the snowy pinnacles, green grass and leisure flocks and herds when sunny days while it turns to be dark and bleak in the rainy days. You must totally relax yourself after the full day sightseeing.
Later, drive back to Kashgar.
Accommodation: Overnight in Kashgar
- Day 13: Kashgar Departure (B)
The 13 days Silk Road adventure tour will end today. The driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby at the appointed time and see you off at Kashgar airport. Wish you a pleasant journey!