Travel in the footsteps of Marco Polo along this ancient and illustrious trade route that introduced Asia to Europe. Start in the ancient city of Xian, considered to be the start of the Silk Road, and see the Terra Cotta Warriors, the expansive city wall, the bustling Muslim quarter, and a Tang Dynasty performance. Continue on the Silk Route to Lanzhou and visit the Binglingsi Grottoes before flying to Jiayuguan where you will see the Great Wall Museum and a western pass of the Great Wall. Travel to the city of Dunhuang, take a stroll in the night market, tour the magnificent Mogao Grottoes, take a camel ride in the Gobi Desert, and see the picturesque Crescent Moon Spring. After seeing the ruins of the Yumen Pass, take a flight to Urumqi and tour the thousand Buddha Grottoes, Sugong Pagoda, and Flaming Mountain, and then enjoy a day trip to Turpan to see the city sites and historical ruins of Jiaohe. End your tour with a visit to stunning Heavenly Lake and to the Nanshan Grasslands where you can visit a local minority family in a yurt for insight into regional traditions.
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Hotel with daily breakfast, lunches & dinners as indicated, services of expert English speaking local guides, entrance fees to sites listed on the itinerary, private A/C transportation, 3 on-tour flights, and airport transfers. International flights are not included, contact us for preferred rates & schedules.
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Upon arrival in Xian, you will be met in the arrivals area by your local guide holding a name-board. After a warm welcome and brief introduction, take a private airport transfer to your hotel for assistance with check-in for your two nights.
Spend the day exploring Xian’s ancient monuments including the highlight of any visit to Xian, the extraordinary site of the Terra Cotta Warriors. Not discovered until 1974 by local farmers, the Warriors are among the most fascinating discoveries of modern day. Tour the site with insightful commentary before enjoying a dumpling banquet lunch featuring dumplings of all shapes & sizes. Nearby Xian’s Drum Tower, take a walk through the Muslim quarter and visit the Great Mosque. Today’s tour concludes as you step back in time for a Tang Dynasty dinner & show before seeing the historic City Wall lit up at night.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and at the appointed time you will be met for your transportation to the airport. Fly to Lanzhou, and on arrival meet your local guide in arrivals area and head out to visit the fascinating Gansu Museum. Check-in to your hotel for your two night stay.
Today, enjoy an excursion to the Binglingsi Grottoes, a series of Buddhist caves located about 75km from Lanzhou. Your excursion also includes a relaxing boat trip where you can marvel at the peaceful valley. In the afternoon, visit the 8,000 square meter White Pagoda Park as well as the Water Wheel Garden.
In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Jiayuguan. On your arrival, you will be met and then transferred to the hotel for your one night stay. Later today, visit the famed Wei & Jin underground tomb.
This morning visit the Jiayuguan fortress and overhanging Great Wall, and then visit the Great Wall Museum. In the afternoon, you will drive to Dunhuang (385km / 4 hours). Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. This evening, take a leisurely walk in the Shazhou night market.
Today, visit the magnificent Mogao Grottoes, where, since 366 AD, devout Buddhists have built the 492 grottoes. These caves contain some of the most important Buddhist art in the world. Later, visit the Dunhuang Museum and the White Horse Pagoda. In the afternoon, drive to the Echoing Sand Dune to see Crescent Lake and to enjoy a camel ride in the Gobi Desert.
This morning, drive west across the desert to the Yumen Pass, the Great Wall built by the Han Dynasty 2,100 years ago. Also visit the scenic old city, and then in the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Urumqi. Upon arrival, meet your local guide in the arrivals area for your transfer to the hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure
In the morning, drive to Turpan, an oasis surrounded by desert and dry mountains. Upon arrival, visit the mysterious ruins of Jiaohe city, which have traces of affluent ancient trading centers and military bases from around sixteen-hundred years ago. Later, visit the underground water supply, irrigation system and the Museum of Karez along with the Viair grape valley. Try some delicious fruit in Turpan, which is famous throughout China for its large grapes and gourds.
Start the day with a visit to the Sugong Pagoda, the Flaming Mountain and the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Grottoes. Have lunch with a local family, and in the afternoon, return back to Urumqi and travel to the Nanshan Grasslands, where you will visit Kazak, Uzbek, and Krgyztani minority families and chat with them in yurts while trying home-made snacks.
Today, drive northeast to Heavenly Lake, at an elevation of 2600m. This beautiful lake is flanked by pines and cypresses, and its clear waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Then, visit the Provincial Museum to see incredible mummies from 2,000 years ago. If time permits, explore Red Hill Park and the Bazaar, which is believed to be the largest outdoor market in Xinjiang.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and at the appointed time by your local guide you will be met and then transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
Day 2: See the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian.
See a different China along the ancient Silk Road.
This itinerary has been tried & tested and can be booked as-is. However, should you wish to customize your tour, you may contact us here.
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