China Silk Road camel riding
Home China Tour China Group Tours 10 Days China Silk Road Tour to Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai

Tour Overview

You will be deeply impressed by the legendary historical and cultural sites and breathtaking natural landscapes on this 11-day Silk Road Group Tour. This well-designed itinerary covers many of the noble sites in the vast lands of Northwest China.

You will start from exotic Urumqi, visit Turpan, pass through the Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor including Dunhuang, famous for its murals and caves, Jiayuguan Pass, Zhangye, home of the Rainbow Mountains, and finally arrive at the beautiful pearl of the plateau – Qinghai! Visit the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple, take beautiful photos at the “Mirror of the Sky” and ride along the Qinghai Lake.

Travel destinations: Urumqi, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Zhangye, Xining
Suitable for: History Buffs, Adventure Lovers
Tour type: Group Tour

Highlights of this tour:

  • Walk serene lakeside trails of Heavenly Lake to discover diverse natural beauty.
  • Gain an insight into the Silk Road history and Uighur culture when visiting ancient Jiaohe ruins & vibrant bazaars.
  • Have desert fun in Dunhuang and unveil Buddhist art at Mogao Grottoes.
  • Explore the Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Moon Lake, ride a camel to enjoy the stunning desert scenery.
  • Marvel at the splendid Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye Danxia National Geo-park.
  • Explore China’s largest inland lake and saltwater lake, Qinghai Lake.
  • Immerse yourself in the so-called “Mirror of the Sky” – Chaka Salt Lake.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Welcome to our 10-day China Silk Road Group Tour! Upon your arrival at Urumqi airport / train station, the local driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board and transfer you to downtown hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. You can have a good rest at the hotel or freely explore the city on your own.

    Meal: N/A

    Accommodation: in Urumqi

  2. After breakfast, you will start the visit with the 2,000-meter-high Heavenly Lake in Tianshan Mountain. The mountain is covered with snow all year round. The Heavenly Lake Scenic Area centers on an alpine lake with picturesque scenery. Snow-capped peaks are reflected in the turquoise lake, and the lake surrounded by spruce trees is smooth like a mirror. If you are interested, you can stroll along the lake or take a boat (at your own expense) to see the lake from different angles.

    You will have a special lunch experience in a local Kazakh yurt.

    After that, you will be transferred back to Urumqi for a tour of Xinjiang International Bazaar.It is the largest bazaar in Urumqi. You will see all kinds of stuff such as fruits, clothes, crafts, knives, and rugs in the bustling market. If you are interested, you can buy some souvenirs or local dried fruits and nuts for your family and friends.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Urumqi

    Xinjiang Heavenly Lake Boat Ride
    Rent a Boat and Explore the Heavenly Lake

  3. In the morning, we will drive for around 3 hours from your hotel to Turpan, one of the important stops on the Silk Road. Arriving in Turpan, the first scenic site we visit will be Tuyu Valley. It is the oldest Uyghur village in Xinjiang and a nice place to soak up Buddhist and Islamic culture.

    Then, move on to Jiaohe Ruins, the largest, oldest and best-preserved raw-soil building in the world with a history of more than 2,000 years. We will wander around this ancient city stepping back in time to trace past civilizations.

    After the visit, you will be escorted to your selected hotel in downtown area.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Turpan

    Xinjiang Tuyugou Mazha Village
    Tuyugou Village

  4. After breakfast, follow your guide to further explore the amazing Turpan! The first stop will be 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. Next, admire the largest ancient tower in Xinjiang, Sugong Minaret. It was built by the local governor to show appreciation for the Qing Government, today symbolizing national unity. The conical body of the Pagoda was engraved with beautiful paintings of strong ethnic flavor, vividly telling its old stories for the visitors.

    At the end of your Silk Road group tour in Xinjiang, your guide will transfer you to the railway station for a 3.5-hour high-speed train to Liuyuan Station in Dunhuang. Upon arrival, the local driver will meet you and then transfer you 2 hours to your hotel in Dunhuang city center. Have a good rest!

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Dunhuang

    Xinjiang Sugong Pagoda
    Sugong Pagoda

  5. Dunhuang is one of the most important sites on the Silk Road, famous for its grottoes and murals. Today, you will be guided to visit the Mogao Grottoes, one of the four most famous caves in China. It keeps about 45,000 square kilometers of frescoes, 2,415 painted sculptures, more than 4,000 flying Apsaras (the beautiful Bodhisattva in Buddhism who 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.

    Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
    Mogao Grottoes

    After lunch, we will then head to Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake. When you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands, hence the name Echoing-Sand Mountain. A short Camel Ride (optional) will leave you an unforgettable memory. Riding along the mountain to reach the Crescent Lake, your eyes will be feasted on the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert. We will provide everyone with a bottle of cold beer, which is a special experience in the desert.

    Friendly tip: There are many entertainment activities available in the desert, like camel ride, sand buggy etc., if you are interested to try, please pay on you own at the spot.

    In the evening, go to explore Shazhou Night Market. You will find the special vitality of this northwest city remoting from the country center during your leisure strolling.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Dunhuang

    Dunhuang Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring
    Experience riding a camel

  6. Say goog bye to Dunhuang and drive for 4 hours to Jiayuguan for a visit to Jiayuguan Pass. As the western end of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Jiayuguan Pass, being constructed for hundreds of years, not only occupied a vital position in military defense but also exerted an important influence in trade & culture exchange as a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road.

    Next, you will be guided to visit the Great Wall Museum. You will see many historical artifacts and informative displays about the construction of the Great Wall.

    Then, continue you car ride to Kaoshan Tent near the Danxia National Geological Park for an overnight stay.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Kaoshan Tent

    Jiayuguan Pass
    Jiayuguan Pass

  7. After breakfast, your tour guide will pick you up and then take you to visit the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Area in Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, featuring its bright color, and it is better to enjoy the sunset view 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.

    After that, continue your visit to Matisi Temple. Joined with Mogao Caves and Yulin Grottoes in Dunhuang, it is famed as the “Three Artistic Grottoes of Hexi Corridor”. You will be amazed at the incredible combination of Buddhist temples and mountain grottoes here: the large elegant temple stands against the hill where plenty of grottoes were engraved.

    After the tour, drive you to downtown area for the night.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Zhangye

    Rainbow Mountain in Zhangye
    Rainbow Mountain, Danxia Geological National Park

  8. Today, your Silk Road tour in Zhangye comes to an end! Next we will start a new charter. After breakfast, your driver escorts you to the train station to board the express train to Xining. Along the way, we will cross the Qilian Mountains and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    Upon arrival in Xining, your local guide will hold up a sign to welcome you. Then you will be taken to visit Ta'er Monastery, the center of Tibetan Buddhist activity in Northwest China. This monastery is one of the Six Famous Monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, featuring butter sculpture, murals and barbola. The butter sculpture, in particular, look quite lifelike.

    After the visit, escort you to your hotel for a good rest.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Xining

    Xining Ta'er Monastery
    Ta'er Monastery

  9. You must have heard the fame of Qinghai Lake before you go. It is indeed hot for the Qinghai tour and the Silk Road. Why? The coexistence of different views at Qinghai Lake pushes its fame higher and higher: massive sea-like lake, vast desert, lush meadow-grass, and yellow sea of rape flowers.

    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 you will be visiting is the Erlangjian Scenic Area which 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).

    Qinghai Lake
    Qinghai Lake

    Nomadic Tibetan families usually move to the lake from May to October every year, when you will have the opportunity to visit their families and learn about their way of life. After that, drive about 2.5 hours to Chaka for overnight.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Chaka

  10. Today is the last day of your 11-day China silk road group tour. We are going to visit the natural crystallized Chaka Salt Lake. Unlike other salt lakes, it has both solid and liquid salts. The snow-white lake bed and the crystal waters reflecting the blue sky make it known as the "Mirror of the Sky".

    Hop on a sightseeing train directly to the vicinity of the lake and then walk to the lakeside. Take a relaxing stroll on the salt lake and appreciate interesting sculptures carved with salt.

    Notes: you’re advised to wear a pair of shoe covers to protect your feet from salt water. Cover your skin as much as possible to protect against harsh UV rays. Remember to pack sunglasses.

    After the tour, the guide will escort you to the airport or train station in Xining. Hope you had a good time with us and wish you all the best in the future.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: N/A

    Xining Chaka Salt Lake
    Our guests in Chaka Salt Lake

Price Includes

  • 9 nights' accommodation in well-selected hotels;
  • Meals listed in the itinerary;
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Second-class train tickets: Turpan - Dunhuang & Zhangye - Xining;
  • 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Flight/train tickets to Urumqi / off Xining;
  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • All kinds of gratuities for guides, drivers & others.
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