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Overview

Traverse the historical Silk Road where spectacular landscapes, ancient ruins and trade routes converge. Begin at Gansu and travel west to Xinjiang, Urumqi and Kashgar. There are the kaleidoscopic sand and flaming mountains, cultural relics, ancient ruins, diverse cultures and more that are waiting to be discovered.

Trip Highlights

The Silk Road

Explore the ancient trade routes

Travel overland to explore the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road. See old towns and ruins and visit museums where cultural relics are kept.

Beautiful and unique landscapes

From the vast Echoing Sand Mountains of Dunhuang to the turquoise blue Heavenly Lake of Kashgar, see the amazing geography unique to this region.

Markets of China

Where all the action of trade takes place, explore a variety of markets that sell all sorts of goods from tasty night snacks, to fruits and handicrafts.

Itinerary

1

Xi'an departure to Zhangye

Xi’an – Zhangye (by Plane): approx.2H

Morning transfer to the airport and catch the flight to Zhangye (There will be no service provided before arriving at Zhangye). Upon arrival, be met by the nice guide and be brought to visit the Grand Buddha Temple, an important place of the Silk Road.

Overnight in Zhangye.

2

Zhangye to Linze County

Zhangye – Linze County (approx. 260kms): approx.4H

After breakfast, be driven to visit the Mati Temple, the temple was named by the court as Puguang Temple in the 14th year of yongle Period in Ming Dynasty. It houses a saddle and one dragon gown given by some emperor during the Qing Dynasty. Visit Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park and enjoy sunset in Danxia park.

Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park is a distance of 40 km from east Zhang Ye city, north from Linze county town by 20 kilometres, this is the most typical arid area of northern China.

In the afternoon, be driven to Jiayuguan. Upon arrival, be met by the guide and be transferred to the hotel for check-in.

Overnight in Linze County.

3

Zhangye to Jiayuguan

Linze County - Jiayuguan (approx. 200 km): approx.3hr

This morning, drive to Jiayuguan and visit Jiayuguan pass. This Ming Dynasty fort guards the strategic Jiayuguan pass, at the western end of the Great Wall – this was the last section built by the Ming Dynasty. Then, visit The Great Wall Museum. Opened to visitors in October 1989, it is the first to exhibit the history of the Great Wall in a comprehensive way. Visit the Weijin Tombs, which are ancient tombs of brick paintings dating back 265-420 AD. The wall paintings discovered are lifelike and succinct in style and cover a wide range of subjects including politics, economics, culture, military affairs, folk customs, and science and technology during the Wei and Jin periods.

Overnight in Jiayuguan

4

Jiayuguan to Dunhuang

Jiayuguan – Dunhuang (approx. 374.7kms): approx.4H

In the morning, be transferred to Dunhuang by bus. Upon arrival in Dunhuang, visit Echoing Sand Mountain & Crescent Lake. At night, you can stroll around Shazhou Night Market: The Shazhou Night Market is famous for its tasty snacks and local specialties. It is also known for its well-regulated management. The entire night market is 1000 metres long. There are shops selling handworks and souvenirs, food stalls and fruit stands. During the fruit season, visitors can buy juicy fruits at very reasonable prices.

Echoing-Sand Mountain or ‘Mingsha Mountain’ is one of the ‘Four Great Singing Sands’ of China. Completely piled with sand, the mountain stretches for 40 km in length and 20 km in width respectively, with the highest point reaching 250m. When there is strong wind, the sands will be blown up and make loud sound, while the sound sounds like being produced by some ancient musical instrument when blew by breeze, hence the name. Surrounded by the Mingsha Mountain, Crescent Lake, is named after its crescent-like shape. According to historical record, the lake has been in existence for hundreds of years without ever being buried by the sand; it is really a geological wonder.

Overnight in Dunhuang

5

Dunhuang to Turpan

Dunhuang – Turpan (by train): 17:43-21.17

This morning, visit Mogao Caves then transfer to the train station and catch the express train to Turpan.

Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the great artistic and religious wonders of the world. It is famous for its exquisite murals and various sculptures inside the caves, which was built in different dynasties, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art.

Overnight in Turpan.

6

Turpan

This morning, have breakfast at the hotel before visiting Tuyoq Village and Flaming Mountains, constructed in eastern and western cliffs in Tuyoq Valley. There are more than 40 caves and 10 ancient murals.

Then, visit Flaming Mountains. Lying in the Turpan Basin, on the northeastern rim of the Taklamakan Desert, resembles a red dragon when viewed from afar. This is the largest, driest and hottest desert in China.

Then, stop by Tuyoq Village which is constructed on the eastern and western cliffs of Tuyoq Valley.

Overnight in Turpan.

7

Turpan to Urumqi

Turpan – Urumqi (approx. 200kms): approx.3H

This morning, have breakfast and then visit Karez Well, which is a special irrigation system in desert areas. See the Sugong Minaret, the largest Islamic minaret in China built in 1778. Then go to Jiaohe Ruins—with a history of 2,300 years. The ruins lie between two rivers on a loess plateau atop a cliff of over 30m. It is one of the best preserved ruins of ancient China. The Jiaohe Ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2014.

Then drive back to Urumqi and visit the Xinjiang International Bazaar, the largest bazaar in Urumqi. Discover a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and almost anything that you can imagine.

Overnight in Urumqi.

8

Urumqi to heavenly lake fly to Kashgar

Urumqi – Heavenly Lake (approx. 120km): approx.1.5H

Morning drive to Fukang and visit the Heavenly Lake, a picturesque Alpine lake, 2000m up in the Tianshan mountain range.

Heavenly Lake is a long and narrow gourd-shaped moraine lake, 3400 metres long, about 1500 metres wide, 105 metres at the deepest point, with an average depth of 40 metres, covering an area of about 5.9 square kilometres. There are eight beautiful scenic spots in the lake scenic area.

This afternoon, be transferred back to Urumqi, visit the Xinjiang Region Museum, a large integrated museum and a centre for the collection and study of cultural relics in Xinjiang.

After the visit, be transferred to the airport and catch the flight to Kashgar. Be transferred from the airport based on flight schedule.

Overnight in Kashgar.

9

Kashgar

Breakfast at the hotel before discovering Kashgar. If it is Sunday, start the visit from the Sunday Bazaar, (livestock Market) with farmers and buyers arrive by donkey cart, truck, bicycle, horseback, motorbike or on foot, with their animals. It's loud, lively and cheerful as they arrive, eat breakfast, set up their animals and check out the action. Idigar Mosque, is the largest Mosque in China and most famous one in Xinjiang. Afterwards, be taken by the guide and driver to visit the Handicraft Street, where there are hundreds of handicraft workshops and a place for boutique exhibitions for handicraft in Kashgar and Central Asia. Stroll around the Old Town before visiting the Apak Hoja Tomb, which is the holiest place in Xinjiang and an architectural treasure.

Overnight in Kashgar.

10

Kashgar to Karakul Lake to Taxkorgan county

Kashgar – Karakul Lake - Taxkorgan County (approx. 320kms): approx.6H

This morning, drive on the China and Pakistan highway to visit the Karakul Lake and enjoy the Pamir landscape. Then drive back to Taxkorgan for rest.

Karakul Lake is situated at an altitude of 3,600 m. It is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tien Shan and Kunlun Mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztag Ata (7 546m), Kongur Tagh (7 649m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530 m).

Overnight in Taxkorgan County.

11

Taxkorgan to Kashgar

Taxkorgan – Kashgar (approx. 320km): approx.6H

After breakfast visit Stone Fortress and walk around the pastureland to observe the customs of local Tajiks.

Stone fortress Located on a tableland northeast of the county seat of Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, the covers an area of 100 thousands square meters and consists of ruins of city and temple of the Tang times and government office of the Qing Dynasty. A temple occupied the eastern part of the city. In the western and southeastern parts are found ruined houses. On the ruins of the temple the Pulitin Office of the Qing Dynasty was built. The city is oval in shape. The city walls were built with sun-dried bricks on stone foundation. It is 1285 metres in circumference outside.

In the afternoon be driven back to Kashgar.

Overnight in Kashgar.

12

Kashgar departure

After breakfast, be transferred to the airport for departure.

Important Information

  • Accommodation in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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