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The Complete Silk Road: Beijing-Xi'an-Lanzhou-Labrang-Dunhuang-Turfan-
Kucha-Taklamakan-Minfeng-Yutian-Khotan-Yarkant-Kashgar- Karakorum Highway-Urumqi-Beijing (21 days)

map Beijing Xi'an Lanzhou Dunhang Turpan Khotan Kashgar Urumqi Gobi Xinjiang Enjoy the tour from the north China - Beijing with its cultural treasuries to the inland Xi’an with the Army of Terracotta Warriors of the first emperor of China to the far north east of the country. The Silk Road has been more than a sandy route, on which the caravans hauled from Turkey through Central Asia to China in the past. It is a symbol for exotic treasuries and exchange with foreign cultures. On the Silk Road, the Buddhism and the Islam with their cultural relicts came to China. You will see these cultural relics on your journey from the starting point of the Silk Road - Xi’an to the old, deserted, yet still existing Buddhist monasteries, to oases, ruins and to flowering gardens, to oriental bazaars, mosques and to the snow covered Pamir and Tianshan mountains.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Beijing   Best Western****

Arrival in Beijing. Greetings by your tour guide and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal.

Day 2: Beijing / Xi'an B/L Jianguo Hotel****

Great Wall 1Walk at the historic Tian'anmen Square (Tian’anmen Guangchang), the world-famous largest square in Beijing in the morning. Walk through the Tian’anmen Square Gate to the palace of the emperor (Gugong), which the Chinese officials call the Palace Museum (better known as the Forbidden City) This palace is of the Ming and Qing time and it is on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. It is a masterpiece of Chinese palace architecture and it demonstrates the integration of traditional architecture in ancient northern China into the art of palace building. Fly to Xi’an in the afternoon. Transfer to the hotel after the arrival.

Day 3: Xi'an B/L/D Jianguo Hotel****

Make a trip to the Army of TerraCotta Warriors. The excavations are located close to the subsurface tomb system of the first emperor of China. Besides thousands of life-size TerraCotta Warriors and Horses watching over the Tomb, you can see especially two bronze models of horse carriage and warrior (Tong Che Ma) from that epoch. The TerraCotta Warriors, the bronze models and the tombs are on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Afterwards visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Da Yan Ta) in the Dacien temple built in 652 A.D., which is considered as Xi'an’s landmark.

Day 4: Xi'an / Lanzhou B/L/D Train

Visit Shaanxi History Museum (Shaanxi Lishi Bowuguan), one of the most beautiful museums in China in the morning,. You can get the best overview of Chinese history, starting from Palaeolithic era to the end of the Emperor Era. Take a walk at the Xi’an City Walls, or you can ride a bike there. Transfer to the train station and go to Lanzhou by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 5: Lanzhou / Xiahe B/L/D Gengzang Hotel

Arrival in Lanzhou in the morning. Have a short break and breakfast. Enjoy the beautiful landscape and old villages on the way to Xiahe by minibus. Xiahe is a Tibetan enclave at a height of 3,000 m, which lies at the border to Tibet.

Day 6: Xiahe / Lanzhou / Dunhuang B/L/D International Hotel ***

Sand dune Visit the Labrang Monastery, one of the 6 ample monasteries of the Gelukpa (Yellow caps) Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, which houses 6 large Buddhist colleges. The monastery was constructed in 1709, the 48th year under the Qing Emperor Kangxi at the behest of Ganden Erdene Junang, the Mongolian King of Kokonor. It was built in a mixture of Tibetan and Han Chinese architecture elements and it provides accommodation for more than 3,000 monks. Furthermore, you could get the opportunity to stroll up the numerous small lanes of the monastery complex, through the pilgrim path or the neighbouring city Xiahe with the pilgrims. Return to Lanzhou at noon. And fly to Dunhuang.

Day 7: Dunhuang B/L/D International Hotel ***

Dunhuang, an oasis between the Gobi and the Taklamakan Desert, was founded in 117 BC during the Han Dynasty as a military post in the war to control the Silk Road. Thanks to the Dang River, which is fed by the glaciers of the Qilian Mountains in Dunhang, wheat, cotton, sweet corns, fruits and vegetables can be cultivated. Go for a ramble through the centre of the city, the bazaar and the museum, you can get the first impression of Dunhuang. In the late afternoon, when the sunlight is particularly delightful, travel to Singing Sand mountains (Mingsha Shan) at the border of the desert. The name comes from the sound, produced when the wind moves the sand. Close to the dunes is a wellspring, which generates the half-moon shaped Crescent Moon Lake (Yueyaquan).

Day 8: Dunhuang / Turfan B/L/D Train

Visit the Mogao Grottos (4th - 9th AD). They were carved on different levels in the cliffy waterside of the Dachuan river, about 25 km south east of the city. There are more than 2000 figures, which were hewn from the cliff, covered with clay and painted. Moreover, about 45,000 ㎡ of mural paintings and thousands of manuscripts in numerous languages were found there. They are the proofs of peaceful cultural exchange with other countries over the centuries. Unfortunately, they are now distributed in several museums all over the world. Among the former 1000 grottos, 482 are preserved today. Every year only 30 are authorized for visits. The Mogao Grottos are not only the largest, but also the best preserved Buddhist cave temples in the world. They are on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1987. In the evening go to Turfan by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 9: Turpan B/L/D Oasis Hotel ***

Barber shopArrival in Turfan in the early morning. Transfer to the hotel. The Turfan oasis is at the base of the Tianshan Mountain in the east of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The oasis is at the middle of the Turfan Basin, 154 m below sea level. The depression was the centre of a flourishing civilization, in which Indian and Persian cultural elements blended and were later absorbed by the Uigurs. After breakfast, visit the Jiaohe Ruins, the capital of a kingdom during the Han Dynasty. The city was built of clay bricks on a loam plateau. There you will be surprised by the ingenious and still working Karez Water Supply System (also known as the "Ganats system"), which was developed in the arid regions of Middle Asia and spread along the Silk Road and it is the basis for the famous grape valley. It consists of more than one thousand canals, which lead the water from the 40 km distant Bogda Mountain to the fields of the Turfan oasis. At last, you will visit the Emin Minaret (Sugong Ta), a part of the Sulaiman Mosque. This 44 m high tower is made of clay bricks and is in geometric and plant patterns. It was built in 1777 under Emperor Qianlong and it is an excellent example of Uigur architecture. At last, go for a ramble at the bazaar.

Day 10: Turfan / Kucha B/L/D Train

Drying noodlesGo to the legendary Flaming Mountains, red sandstone rocks at the northern corner of the Turfan basin. The mountains were made famous by the classic novel Journey to the West. The ascending hot air above the red rocks in contrast to the blue sky generates the appearance of mountains on fire. Afterwards visit the Bezeklik Grottos. In this region, the first Buddhist Caves in China are situated. The cave art (e.g. mural paintings) began in the Southern and Northern Dynasty and ended in the 13th century with the ingress of Islam. The remains that still exsit today provide a very interesting insight into the worldwide trade and cultural exchange of that time. Visit the Gaochang Ruins near the Flaming Mountains. The city was founded by the Han Emperor Wudi (141 – 87 BC) and it became an important center of the Uigur Realm later, but it was destroyed in the 14th century in the war. In the afternoon transfer to the train station. Go to Kucha through the Tianshan Mountain by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 11: Kucha / Kizil / Kucha B/L/D Kucha Hotel

Arrival in Kucha, the political and cultural centre of western China in the period of prosperity of the Silk Road. After breakfast in the hotel, visit the Ruins of a large monastery city situated at an impressing river landscape at the foot of Tianshan Mountain. Then you will see the highest Beacon Tower along the Silk Road and the Kizil Thousand Buddha Cave. Go there through a marvellous canyon landscape of Tianshan Mountain. The grottos are carved into an about 1 km long scarp along the Muzati River. The oldest of the former over 200 grottos were formed in the third century. Therefore, they are the oldest Buddhist Cave Temples in China. Return to Kucha afterwards.

Day 12: Kucha / Taklamakan / Minfeng (Niya) B/L/D Niya Hotel

A long and exciting journey awaits you today. Go from North to South across the Taklamakan Desert on the Oil Road - the Taklamakan Desert Highway, which was built to open up crude oil sources. The Taklamakan Desert is the largest cohesive sandy desert (By comparison, only 20 % of the Sahara Desert is covered by sand). Cross the Tarim River through its famous gallery forests in the midst of the desert and enter the more than 400 km wide “ocean” of sand dunes, which towers up to 200 m. You will be charmed by the undescribable beauty of the dune landscape, which changes its formation again and again, the lines of light and shadow narrowed to the simplest and the particularly enchanting sentiment of the desert. In the evening, reach the Minfeng (Niva) oasis at the southern boarder of the Taklamakan.

Day 13: Minfeng / Yutian / Hotan B/L/D Zhejiang Hotel***

Go to Yutian (Keriya) by bus. You can see restaurants, cookshops, bakeries, dentists, mills, lanes of the Old Town and houses made of clay and boughs at the main street there, where time seems to stand still. After having enjoyed the atmosphere, travel forward to Hotan (Hetian).

Day 14: Hotan B/L/D Zhejiang Hotel***

The old kingdom Hotan at the southern route of the Silk Road was a symbol for the wealthiness in the ancient period. It was the most important distributor and emporium for jade, silk and carpets. Visit the Old Town and the bazaar with oriental mediaeval appearing hurly-burly of life and homesteads, where silk fabrics and mulberry paper are produced in the same practices as 2,000 years ago. Then you can go for a Jade Search in the “ White Jade River” and visit a jade carving establishment.

Day 15: Hotan / Yarkant / Kashgar B/L/D Qinibak Friendship Hotel ***

Mountains Pamir Kunlun Go to Kashgar by bus in the morning. You can enjoy the the Pamir Plateau and the high Kunlun Mountain with the apparently endless rocky desert in the background on the way. About noon, you will reach Yarkant, an old Oasis Kingdom between Kashgar and Hotan. Visit the Mausoleum of the old Yarkant Kings and the ancient Bazaar all around the Mosque. Arrival in Kashgar in the late afternoon.

Day 16: Kashgar / Karakorum / Kashgar B/L/D Qinibak Friendship Hotel ***

Make a day trip on the Pamir Mountains today. Go there through the Karakorum Highway, which goes from Kashgar to Islamabad. As soon as you leave Kashgar, you will see the impressing scenery of the snow covered mountains with the double peaks of the Kongur Mountain (7719m) and the Muztagh-Ata Mountain (7546m). And then you will reach the Karakul Lake at an altitude of 3,600 m. Enjoy the life of the nomads around the lake.

Day 17: Kashgar / Urumqi B/L/D Xinjiang Hotel ****

A city sightseeing with the Bazaar, the mediaeval appearing craftsmen street and the Old Town awaits you today. Visit the more than 400 years old Id Kah Mosque, the largest Mosque in China today. It is said that there is place for about 10.000 believers. And you will see the Abakh Hoja Tomb, a masterpiece of Uigur architecture. From the year 1640 on, 72 members of the Abakh hoja Family were buried in 58 graves there. In China, the tomb is also known as that of the "Fragrant Concubine". In fact, this Uigur concubine of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty was buried in the Eastern Qing Tombs close to Beijing, archaeological research found out. Fly to Urumqi in the evening.

Day 18: Urumqi B/L/D Xinjiang Hotel ****

Urumqi is a modern and lively city. It is the centre of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region at the northern mountainside of Tianshan Mountain. After breakfast, visit the Red Mountain, and from its peak you will get a view of the beautiful city and the 5445 m high Bogda Mountain in the distance. Then make a trip to the Heaven Lake, which is situated at a 1,900 m height, and is surrounded by the snow covered Tianshan mountain. Enjoy a farewell dinner with delicacies from the region in the evening.

Day 19: Urumqi / Beijing B/D Best Western****

Fly to Beijing in the morning. Transfer to the hotel after the arrival. The afternoon is at your disposal. Enjoy a traditional Peking Opera in the evening.

Day 20: Beijing B/L/D Best Western ****

Visit the Badaling Great Wall in the morning. You can climb up to the wall at a scarped staircase and enjoy the scenery from above. After lunch, make a walk at the Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan), the famous imperial garden, where the Chinese gardening is perfectly reflected. It is on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. Enjoy a special meal with Peking duck in the evening.

Day 21: Beijing B  

Transfer to the airport in the morning and fly back home.

End of the travel

B: Breakfast      L: Lunch      D: Dinner

Tour No.: CSR
the Complete Silk Road

For individual groups

Number of participants

Peak season

Single room extra charge
Shoulder season
Single room extra charge
book
2-5 Pers.
2875 USD
430 USD
2770 USD
375 USD

If you are a group with more than 5 persons, you can get more favourable prices. Please note that the prices may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations (RMB to USD) slightly. The prices above were computed by the rates as 1 USD= 7.9 RMB.

Peak season: July, August, September and October

Shoulder season: March, April, May, June, November


The hotels
:
Beijing Best Western****
Xi'an Jianguo Hotel****
Labrang Gengzang Hotel***
Dunhuang International Hotel***
Turpan Oasis Hotel***
Kucha Hotel***
Minfeng Niya Hotel
Hotan Zhejiang Hotel***
Kashgar Qinibak Friendship Hotel ***
Urumqi Xinjiang Hotel****

Price includes:
-- All overnight accommodation in double rooms shared by two adults with         breakfast.
-- Meals as listed in the itinerary.
-- All transfers and entrance tickets as listed in the itinerary.
-- Inland flight tickets including all fees.
-- Local English-speaking tour guide.

Price does not include:
-- International flight tickets
-- Visa for China
-- Personal expenditures, tips etc.

Note:
-- Children less than 12 years old can be given discounts.
-- The hotels, trains and flights listed in the itinerary may be changed into the    ones of similar category if necessary.
-- If you need more information, please contact us.

 

 

 

China Intensive

• Scenery and Culture
•China Panorama
•South China and the   Yangtze
•China Highlights
•China Discovery
•Trekking tour
•Biking tour
•Beautiful Silk Road
•The Complete Silk   Road
•Camel Ride across the   Taklamakan Desert
•Tibet and the Yangtze
•Budget Tour 1
•Budget Tour 2
•Budget Tour 3
•Learning Kong Fu in   Shaolin Temple
•China with Taijiquan
•Taijiquan and Sunbath   Vacation
•Tibet Discovery
•Shangri La Adventure
•F1 Shanghai

 
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