11 Days Legendary China Silk Road Tour
Destinations: Xi’an- Dunhuang- Turpan- Urumqi- Kashgar- Tashkurgan- Kashgar
Our 11 day Legendary China Silk Road Tour is designed to help you to realize your dream to visit the mysterious Silk Road. Activities include experiencing the local cultures, visits to main stops on the ancient Silk Road and also visits to historical sites and other famous natural wonders of the area.
Day 1: Arrival to Xi’an
Activities: You will be greeted by our guide and driver at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport then transferred to your comfort hotel. You will be free by your own to refresh and explore the surrounding area near to your hotel rest of the day.
Day 2: Day Tour in Xi’an
Attractions: Terra Cotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Xi’an Grand Mosque
Activities: Our tour for the day starts after the breakfast at the hotel. We start our tour by visiting the Terra Cotta Army which was accidently discovered by local farmers while they were drilling for water near the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Since 1974, more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses have been uncovered from the site. Afterwards, we will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which is seven storied and 64 meters high. It was built in 652 AD to house Buddhist scriptures that were brought back by the famous Buddhist monk, Xuan Zang during his 17 year pilgrimage to India. Bell Tower is a symbol of Xi’an and one of the grandest of its kind in China. It was built in 1384 AD during the early Ming dynasty and contains several large bronze-bells cast several centuries earlier during the Tang Dynasty. The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower and was built in 1380 AD. In contrast to the Bell Tower, whose bell was struck at dawn, the Drum Tower’s drum was beaten at sunset to indicate the end of the day. Xi’an Grand Mosque which is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in China. It was built in the Tang Dynasty (685-762AD), and is still used by Hui Muslims. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi’an is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style having neither domes nor traditional-style minarets. Your night will be spent in Xi’an.
Day 3: Xi’an to Dunhuang then Tour in Dunhuang
Attractions: Dunhuang Museum, Crescent Moon Lake, Echoing-sand Mountain
Transportation: Bus/Car, Morning Flight
Activities: You will take morning flight to Dunhuang which you catch after your breakfast. Upon your arrival, our guide and driver will meet you at Dunhuang Airport then transfer you to your hotel for quick refresh. After your quick refresh, we will start our tour in Dunhuang by visiting Dunhuang Museum. Dunhuang museum has a large collection of relics found from the area and it is also one of the best places to look at the past of Dunhuang. After that, we visit Crescent Moon Lake, an amazingly blue colored lake sandwich between two huge sand dunes in the desert. The Echoing-Sand Mountainis also a popular site drawing many local and foreign tourists who climb and slide down the giant sand dune. The dune gets its name from the sounds produced by the wind, ranging from a roar during strong winds to sweet musical sounds during a light breeze. Overnight will be spent in Dunhuang.
Day 4: Day Tour in Dunhuang then to Turpan
Attractions: Mogao Grottos, Yumen Pass, Youngguan Pass
Transportation: Bus/Car, Overnight Train
Activities: We start our tour by visiting Mogao Caves after the breakfast at the hotel. Mogao Caves is the world’s largest and best-preserved treasure house of Buddhist scriptures, murals and architectural design. Dating from 366 AD, 492 caves have survived, of which 30 are open to the public. The hoard included the world’s earliest printed book, the Diamond Sutra and other Confucian, Taoist and Nestorian Christian works as well records of government and private transactions. Yumen pass (Jade Gate) is located 80 km Northwest of Dunhuang. It used to be one of the two passes the Caravan’s on Ancient Silk Road in 2000 years back used to pass to Western Region. Another important pass is Yangguan Pass. These two are the important passes Caravans used to pass either way to Western Region. These passes of Great Wall was built by Western Han Dynasty in order to consolidating the frontier defense. It is a good place to look at how the frontiers were guarded in those days. We will take overnight train to Dunhuang.
Accommodation: On the Train
Day 5: Day Arrival to Turpan then Tour in Turpan
Attractions: Gaochang Ancient City, Tuyuk Village, Astana – Karakhoja Tombs, Flaming Mountain
Activities: We will be in Turpan by early morning. Our guide and driver will meet us at Turpan Railway Station then transfer us to our hotel. After the quick refresh and breakfast, we start our Turpan tour by visiting Gaochang Ancient City which is located 50 km southeast of Turpan. The city was built as a garrison town in the first century BC and developed into one of the key points along the Silk Road. It was abandoned after continued warfare between the Mongols and the Uyghurs in 14th Century. The remains of the city still testify as to its past glory, with courtyards, Buddhist temples and pagodas scattered over 10000 square m in area. Tuyuk Village is a one of the oldest Uyghur settlements in Xinjiang. In this village, we can see how the local Uyghur’s living, visit their house in order to get general idea about their life style. You can also have your lunch if you want to. Astana – Karakhoja Tombs located near to Gaochang Ancient city, it is a public cemetery of the Ancient Gaochang Kingdom. Archeologist excavated many tombs and found mummies, ancient books, paintings, pottery, clay figures, wood works, gold and stone wares, ancient coins, cotton and silk textiles in great value. The Flaming Mountains stretch 100 km from east to west and are about 10 km wide. In the summer, temperatures go as high as 80 C and the airflow shimmers above the mountains like a fire. We will be in Turpan tonight.
Day 6: Day Tour in Turpan then back to Urumqi
Attractions: Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez Underground Water System, Emin Minaret (Tower), Erdaoqiao Market
Transportations: Bus/Car, Flight
Activities: We will start our tour after the breakfast by visiting the Jiaohe Ancient City which is known as Yarghul Ancient City in the Uyghur language. It is located 13 kms to Turpan City, it was the first capital of the State of South Cheshi which was the one of the thirty six states in the Western Region. The Jiaohe Ancient City was bordered by rivers flowing by, hence the name of ‘Jiaohe’ or ‘the city of joining rivers’. The earthen ruins we see today date from the 8th Century. Karez System is an underground gravity irrigation system developed by the Uyghur’s over centuries. Karez is composed of a series of wells along the snow-covered mountains and linking underground channels that use slopes and gravity to bring water to the surface. There are around 1600 Karez Systems in Xinjiang and length of the Karez in Turpan is around 5000 km. Emin Minaret (Tower) or Turpan Tower was built 1778 AD by Suleman, the Aqimu Boke, in memory of his father. The circular tower is 37 meters high and its bottom diameter is 10 meters. The whole sun dried brick tower tapers skywards in geometric and floral patterns. There are 77 spiral steps up to the top. After our tour in Turpan we go back to Urumqi and visit the Erdaoqiao Market in the afternoon. Night will be spent in Urumqi.
Day 7: Urumqi Tour then to Kashgar
Attractions: Xinjiang Museum, Heavenly Lake
Transportation: Bus/Car, Evening Flight
Activities: After our breakfast at the hotel, we start our trip by visiting the Heavenly Lake. The Heavenly Lake,Tianchi in Chinese, is located east of Urumqi in the middle ranges of the Bogda Peak. It’s nearly 100 meters deep and covers an area of 4.9 square kms. Heavenly Lake is considered the Pearl of the Tianshan Mountains with its spectacular lpine scenery often compared to Switzerland’s. After our trip back to Urumqi, we visit Xinjiang Museum. Xinjiang Museum houses several thousand cultural relics from all over Xinjiang. It serves as the archaeological and history research center of the region. The museum is famous as the home of the thousands year old Europoid mummies discovered in the deserts of southern Xinjiang at the end of the last century. We will take evening flight to Kashgar.
Day 8: Two Days Tour to Tashkurgan
Attractions: Karakoram Highway, Bulung Kul, Karakul Lake, Tashkurgan
Activities: We start our trip early today. Todays trip take us to Karakoram highway which is known as the Friendship Highway in China. From Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan, it traces 1300km along one of the routes of the Ancient Silk Road to India. It also cuts along the collision zone of the Eurasian and Indian plates where China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan come close to one another. Bulung Kul (Corner Lake) is located on the way to Karakul Lake. The view of the lake reflecting the mountains of sand in the distance is absolutely stunning. At an attitude of 3600m, Karakul Lake is the highest lake on the Pamir plateau where the Pamir, Kunlun and Tianshan mountain ranges meet. Surrounded by mountains which remain covered by snow throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7546m), the Kongur Tagh (7649) and the Kongur Tiube (7530m). Every summer, mountain climbers from all over the world descend to Karakul lake to climb the Muztagh Peak. The lake is famous for its unreal scenery and clear reflections in the water, ranging from dark green to azure to light blue. There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shores of the Karakul lake, living in yurts and mud stone houses. After the tour at the Lake, we continue our trip to Tashkurgan. Upon our arrival to Tashkkurgan, we check in to our hotel then wonder around the Town.
Day 9: Tour in Tashkurgan then back to Kashgar
Attractions: Tashkkurgan Stone City
Activities: Tashkorgan is located on the eastern part of the Pamir Plateau, where the Kunlun, Hindukush, and Tianshan Mountain Ranges merge to form the Pamir Plateau. From here, it just 130 km away from the Sino-Pakistan border and the Khunjerab Pass which is 4693 meters above the sea level. The Tajik nationality lives here and engage in farming and animal husbandry. The Stone City is located in the north of Tashkorgan town and dates to the Tang dynasty. The city is surrounded by beautiful green pasturelands and streams with a beautiful view of the surrounding snow capped mountains. Only some broken sections of the city’s walls remain but it was once an important fort on the ancient Silk Road guarding the roads from Kashi, Yengisar and Yarkant leading to the mountain passes towards Central Asia and India. We will do Tajik family visiting if you want to. For this, you should let us know before our arrival to Tashkurgna so that we can allocate our time to visit their house. After our trip at Tashkurgan, we head back to Kashgar. If you want to visit the Uyghur Night Market in front of the mosque, you can do so either with your guide or without your guide in the evening.
Day 10: Kashgar City Tour
Attractions: Apak Hoja Tomb, Kashgar’s Sunday Market, Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street
Activities: Our Kashgar city tour starts after your breakfast at the hotel. We start our tour by visiting Apak Hoja Tomb, which is located in the northeast of Kashgar city. Legend has it that seventy-two persons in five generations of the Hoja family are buried in the tomb. The legend goes that among the Hoja descendants buried here, a lady named Iparhan was one of the concubines of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong. She was called Xiangfei (Fragrant Imperial Concubine) because of the delicate fragrance emitting from her. Kashgar’s Sunday Market also called The Grand Bazaar in Uyghur. It is the biggest market in Xinjiang. As early as two thousand years ago, it was the collecting and distributing center for trade. Nowadays, it has become even busier. Various special local products, handicrafts, articles of daily use, fruits and vegetables as well as all kinds of domestic animals can be found here. We will visit Animals Part of Sunday market before coming to Sunday Market. Kashgar Old Town is located in center of the city. The inhabitants of the Old Town are Uyghur’s whose ancestors have been living there since the city was established two thousand years ago. By walking through narrow streets and visiting the families there, you can learn about Uyghur culture and custom. Id Kah Mosque is a grand Islamic structure located in the center of Kashgar city. It was first built in 1442 AD, extended and renovated time and again through the ages, finally reaching its present shape and size. The mosque is the largest in all China with covering an area of 16,800 square meters. The Handicraft Street is located next to the Id Kah Mosque and provides a place where tourists can see traditional Uyghur craftsmen engaged in making different types of articles for special and daily use. Night will be spent in Kashgar.
Day 11: Kashgar City Tour
Transportation: Bus/Car, Flight
Activities: After your breakfast at the hotel, our guide and driver will meet you and transfer you to Kashgar Airport to your flight to your next destination. Our guide will asist you with your checking in, this will be end of our service.