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13 Days Classical China Silk Road Tour

 Destinations: Xi’an- Lanzhou-Jiayuguan- Dunhuang- Turpan- Urumqi-Kashgar

Our 13 day Classical China Silk Road Tour takes you to the most famous cities along the ancient Silk Road China. The trip includes visits to Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, the Buddhist treasure house, Mogao in Dunhuang, Gaocheng Ancient City in Turpan, and the Sunday Market in Kashgar.

Day 1: Arrival to Xi’an

Attractions:

Transportation:Bus/Car

Activities: You will be greeted by our guide and driver in Xi’an Xianyang International Airport/Railway Station then transferred to your hotel. You will be free rest of the day to explore the area near to your hotel.

Accommodation: Xi’an Zhonglou Hotel or Similar

 

Day 2: Day Tour in Xi’an

Attractions: Terra Cotta Army, Xi’an Grand Mosque, Drum Tower, Bell Tower

Transportation:Bus/Car

Xi'an Terra Cotta Warrior

Xi’an Terra Cotta Warrior

Activities: We will start our tour by visiting 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 in 1974. Since then, more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses have been uncovered. Recent scientific work at the site has shown high levels of mercury in the soil adding credence to the historical account. Xi’an Grand Mosque is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in China. It was first built in the Tang Dynasty (685-762AD), and still in use by Chinese Hui Muslims. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern countries, it is completely Chinese in its architectural style having neither domes nor traditional-style minarets. The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower and is also a symbol of the city. It was built in 1380 AD and towers above the city centre offering an incredible view of Xi’an. The Drum Tower gets its name from the huge drum located within the building. 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.

Accommodation: Xi’an Zhonglou Hotel or Similar

 

Day 3: Day Tour in Xi’an then to Lanzhou

Attractions: Xi’an City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Transportation: Bus/Car, Night Train

Shanxi History Museum

Shanxi History Museum

Activities: Our todays activity starts by visiting the Xi’an City Wall which is one of the oldest and best preserved city walls in China. The existing wall was built by the Ming dynasty in the 14th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City. The wall is 13.7 km long, 12m high and 15-18 m thick at the base. The Shaanxi History Museum has more than 370,000 exhibits on display within its Tang Dynasty style halls. Most striking are the over 400 pieces of murals from the tombs of royalty and nobles of the Tang Dynasty, depicting their life and daily pursuits.  Exquisite bronze mirrors, porcelain and textiles also remind us of the sophistication and luxury attained by the Han and Tang courts. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda 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. Xuan Zang became the inspiration for the epic novel Journey to the Westwhich has been adapted for television and cinema in Japan and the West. Evening flight to Lanzhou. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel.

Accommodation: 

 

Day 4: Day Tour in Lanzhou

Attractions:Gansu Provincial Museum, Bingling Buddha Caves

Transportation:  Bus/Car, Night Train

Activities: After the breakfast at the hotel, you will start your tour by visiting the Gansu Provincial Museum, which is the home of the renown Galloping Horse of Wuwei (Han dynasty 206 BC – 22 AD) which was once loaned to museum exhibitions worldwide but is now considered too precious to ever leave China again. The bronze horse is exquisitely balanced on just one foot upon the back of a swallow in flight. The museum has more than 75,000 historical and natural exhibits including color-painted pottery of the Neolithic Age and a 4 meter mammoth fossil. The Bingling Buddha Caves of Yongjing County in Gansu are one of the famous sites of the Silk Road. Bingling means Ten Thousand Buddha’s in the Tibetan language. Construction of the caves began as early as the Western Qin Dynasty (366AD) and was continued on by various Chinese dynasties throughout the centuries. Today, there are  183 caves containing  694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures and some 900 square meters’ of murals. Overnight train to Jiayuguan.

Accommodation: On the Train

 

Day 5: Day Tour in Jiayuguan

Attractions:Jiayuguan Pass

Transportation:Bus/Car, Train

Activities:You will be in Jiayuguan by morning then greeted and transferred by our guide and driver to your hotel. After breakfast, you will visit the Jiayuguan Pass, which is located at the far western end of The Great Wall. It was a key passage way of the Silk Road and guarded the way into the Hexi corridor. During the Ming dynasty, the wall here was greatly fortified to defend against invasion by Timurlane but Timur died while leading the invasion army. Jiayuguan provides the back drop of numerous sad stories and poems describing the partings of those exiled to the Western regions. Night will be spent in Jiayuguan.

Accommodation:

 

Day 6: Jiayuguan to Dunhuang by Car then Tour in Dunhuang

Attractions:Crescent Moon Lake, Shazhou Market

Transportation:Bus/Car

Cresent Moon Lake

Cresent Moon Lake

Activities: We start our trip early in the morning after our breakfast at the hotel. We will drive from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang, and arrive Dunhuang by noon. After our lunch in Dunhuang, we will visit Crescent Moon Lake. Crescent Moon Lake is 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. Shazhou Marketis one of the best places in Dunhuang to buy local specialty and try local fruits and foods. Night will be spent in Dunhuang.

Accommodation: 

 

Day 7: Day Tour in Dunhuang

Attractions: Mogao Caves, Yumen Pass, Yangguan Pass

Transportation:Bus/Car, Night Train

Dunhuang Yangguan Pass

Yangguan Pass in Dunhuang

Activities: We start our tour for the day by visiting Mogao Caves which is the world’s largest and best-preserved treasure house for 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. Afterwards,  we will visit the Yumen pass (Jade Gate) which 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. Overnight Train to Turpan.

Accommodation: On the Train

 

Day 8: Tour in Turpan

Attractions: Gaochang Ancient City, Astana – Karakhoja Tombs, Tuyuk Village, Flaming Mountains, Imin Minaret

Transportation:Bus/Car

Flaming Mountain

Flaming Mountain

Activities: You will be in Turpan by morning then greeted and transferred by our guide and driver to your hotel. After breakfast, you will visit the 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 meters in area. Astana – Karakhoja Tombs is located near to Gaochang Ancient city, and 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. Tuyuk Village is a one of the oldest Uyghur settlements in Xinjiang. YOu can visit the Uyghur houses in order to get general idea about their life style.  You can also have your lunch in a Uyghur family if you wish to. 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. 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. Night will be spent in Turpan.

Accommodation: Turpan Jiaohe Manor Hotel or Similar

 

Day 9: Turpan Tour then Short Tour in Urumqi

Attractions: Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez Underground Water System, Xinjiang Museum

Transportation: Bus/Car, Evening Flight

Jiaohe Ancient City

Jiaohe Ancient City

Activities: Visit Jiaohe Ancient City which is also known as Yarghul  Ancient City in the Uyghur language. Located about13 kms from Turpan City, it was first the capital of the State of South Cheshi which was the one of the thirty six states in the Western Region (Old name for Xinjiang today). 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 Tang Dynasty in the 8th Century. Turpan owes its existence the Karez System an underground gravity irrigation system developed by the Uyghur’s over centuries. A. 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. The 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. Evening Flight to Kashgar.

Accommodation: Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel or Similar

 

Day 10: Tour to Karakul Lake on KKH

Attractions:Karakoram Highway, Karakul Lake, Bulung Kul, Muztagh Ata, Kongur Tagh, Kirgiz People

Transportation:Bus/Car

Karakoram Highway

Karakoram Highway

Activities: We start our trip early in the morning in order to stop as much as you want on the way for photos. We will take 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. The views are unparalleled along this one of the highest roads of the world. 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 besides the Karakoram Highway 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. Night will be spent in Kirgiz Yurt around the lake.

Accommodation: Kirgiz Yurt

 

Day 11: Karakul Lake to Tashkorgan then to Kashgar

Attractions: Tashkorgan, Pamir Plateau, Tajik Nationalities, Stone City

Transportation: Bus/Car

Tashkorgan Stone City

Tashkorgan Stone City

Activities: Tashkurgan is 100 km to Karakul lake.  Its 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 Tajiks are one of the few nationalities of China speaking an Indo-European and have an unique culture and cuisine. The Stone City is located in the north of Tashkorgan town and dates to the Tang dynasty. Several coins and documents from Hotan have been unearthed here. 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. After our trip in Tashkurgan, we return to Kashgar. Night will be spent in Kashgar.

Accommodation: Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel or Similar

 

Day 12: Day Tour in Kashgar City

Attractions: Apak Hoja Tomb, Kashgar’s Sunday Market, Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street

Transportation: Bus/Car

Kashgar Sunday Market

Kashgar Sunday Market

Activities: Today’s tour starts 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 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. 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, 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 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.

Accommodation: Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel or Similar

 

Day 13: Kashgar to Your Next Destination

Attractions:

Transportation:Bus/Car, Flight

Activities: After your breakfast at the hotel,  our guide and driver will take you to Kashgar Airport to see you off for your next destination. Our service will ends after our guide assist you with your checking in for your flight.