Overview: This 16 days Silk Road Xinjiang & Yunnan Tea Horse Route Tour gives an ancient China history discovery through Urumqi, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Lanzhou, Xiahe, Kunming, Lijiang, Shangrila to view Xinjiang Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar, Apak Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque, Sunday Bazaar, Jiaohe ruins, Mogao Caves, Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake, the Jiayuguan Pass, Lijiang Ancient Town, First Bend of Yangtze River, Stone Forest...
Day 1 Arrival in Kashgar
Welcome to Xinjiang! Upon arrival in Kashgar, you local guide will meet you and escort you to check in hotel.
Day 2 Kashgar
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Apak Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque, Old Town
After breakfast take the flight to Kashgar and take the city tour.visit the Apak Hoja Tomb,Id Kah Mosque and Old Town.
Id Kah Mosque It is the large Mosque in China and most famous one in Xinjiang. The Mosque started to build in the mid of fifteenth century, and has gradually developed to the present size. Id K ah Mosque, with about 16800 square meters in area, consisting of Pray Hall, the Koran teaching Hall, The Corridor, the Arches and other buildings attaching to it.The buildings of Id Kah Mosque look magnificent and solemn , and display the artistic styles of Islamic mosque architectures.
Apak Hoja Tomb This Mazar is the holiest place in Xinjiang and an architectural treasure Built in 1640 ,it is reminiscent of the Central Asian artistic style of Samarkand or Isfahan. A handsome blue-and-white tiled gate leads into the compound, which includes a small religious school and the Abakh Khoja family tomb. The latter is domed and faced with muti - colored tiles. I t most complete Islamic tomb of the Qing Dynasty up-to-now in China.
Old town,Kashgar is an ancient city, and in walking the streets of its Old Town, will provide a sense of what this legendary Central Asian hub was like in the days when the Silk Road was at its zenith. 500-year old remnants of the city wall, narrow lanes and colorful muti-ethnic crowds combine to make Kashgar' historic district a highlight of any visit to the city.
Day 3 Kashgar/Karakul Lake
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Karakul Lake
After breakfast take the drive on the China and Pakistan highway to visit the Karakul Lake.
Karakorum high way It is 1200 kilometers almost Sino Pakistan—Chinese friendship high way build since 1976. Ancient Silk Road Merchants often run Via over Karakorum, Wahan corridor with Hindi Kush Mountain to India, Pakistan until Iran. On the road, enjoy the scenery of the Mt. Muztag, Taxkorgan, Persian language that means, stone castle.
Karakul Lake At an altitude of 3,600 m. it is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tianshan 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 (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7,649m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530 m). The lake is popular among travelers for its beautiful scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue. There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shore of Karakul Lake, a number of yurts about 1km east of the bus drop-off point and a village with stone houses located on the western shores
Day 4 Kashgar/Urumqi
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Sunday Bazaar (livestock Market)Streets
After breakfast visit the Sunday bazaar and in the afternoon take the flight back to Urumqi.
Sunday Bazaar (livestock Market)Streets near this big market are choked on Sundays with farmers and buyers arriving by donkey cart, truck, bicycle, horseback, ute, 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. Cattle, sheep (they definitely look different), goats, donkeys, horses have their own sections; sellers show their animals are "good eaters"(most go as livestock not meat) and the entire experience is fascinating and fun.
Day 5 Urumqi/Turpan
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Heavenly Lake
After breakfast visit the Heavenly Lake and then head to Turpan,check in hotel upon arrival.
Heavenly Lake,110 kilometers from Urumqi, the Heavenly Lake is a long and narrow gourd-shaped moraine lake, 3400 meters long, about 1500 meters wide, 105 meters at the deepest point, with an average depth of 40 meters, covering an area of about 5.9 square kilometers. There are eight beautiful scenic spots in the lake scenic area, they are "A Ray of Stone Gate", "Dragon's Pool and Green Moon", "Magic Needle for Guarding the See", "Three Stones Bearing the Sky", "the Snowcapped Southern Mountain", "Pine Billows in Western Mountain", "the Hanging Waterfall", and the "Sea Peak's Sunrise".
Day 6 Turpan/Dunhuang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Jiaohe ruins, Karez Irrigation System, Sugong Minaret, Tuyoq Valley, Flaming Mountain
A morning visit to the Jiaohe ruins, Karez Irrigation System,Sugong Minaret,Tuyoq Valley and the Flaming Mountain and have the lunch in the local family with vineyard.After dinner transfer to the station and take the train to Dunhuang.
Jiaohe Ruins is located on a mesa in willow leaf shape between the Yarnaz River valleys 10 kilometers to the west of Turpan City. running from northwest to southeast, 1760 meters long and 300 meters across at the widest part. The city includes city gates, streets and lanes, government office, temples, domestic houses, cave houses, wells, and an underground temple.
Karez Irrigation System,is a unique irrigation system in Turpan, which, taking advantage of the slopes, draws the underground water to flow by itself to irrigate farmland. It consists of four parts: vertical wells, underground channels, ground canals and small reservoirs
Sugong Minaret was built in the 41st year of the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty,It is an embodiment of the ancient architectural arts of the Uygur nationality. The tower is 37 meters high and 10 meters in diameter at the base. The body of the tower is cylindroid in shape, built with bricks arranged in various symmetrical patterns.
Tuyoq Valley,constructed in eastern and western cliffs in Tuyoq valley . more than 40 caves, there are 10 preserving murals. They are considered to be the earliest caves in Turpan, Murals are mostly damaged, but unique in style
Day 7 Dunhuang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Mogao Caves, Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake
Visit the Mogao Caves, Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake upon arrival.
Mogao Grottoes : Constructed over a millennium, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, the caves hold the world's richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures.Cameras are not permitted.
Echoing-Sand Mountain: Crescent Moon Spring is 6km south of Dunhuang in the Singing Sands Mountains and is quite literally an oasis in the desert. The spring's name derives from the crescent moon shape taken by the small pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. Although the area is very dry, the pool doesn't dry up as one might expect.
Day 8 Dunhuang/Jiayuguan/Lanzhou
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: the Jiayuguan Pass, The Great Wall on the Cliff, Great Walls Museum
Morning Transfer by bus to Jiayuguan and visit the Jiayuguan Pass, The Great Wall on the Cliff, Great Walls Museum And take the PM flight to Lanzhou .
The Jiayuguan Pass : Jiayuguan Pass stands in the southwest part of Jiayuguan City, about 6 km away from downtown. The castle was begun in 1372 in the Ming Dynasty and located in the Jiayu Highland, hence its name Jiayuguan Pass. It is situated between the Wenshu and Heishan Mountains at the foot of Jiayuguan Hill of Qilian Mountain.
The Great Wall on the Cliff : The Suspended Wall is a part of the Great Wall. The wall here was built on the ridge with the gradient of 45 degrees. It is high in the air and it looks as if it fell down from the top of the hill. So people refer to this section of the Great Wall as the "Suspended Wall". The Suspended Wall, the extension of the walls at the Jiayuguan Pass towards the north, was an integral part of the ancient defense system at the Jiayuguan Pass.
Great Walls Museum:The Great Wall museum opened to visitor in October 1989 and it is the first one to exhibit the Great Wall culture in a comprehensive and systematic way.The Museum covers an area of 12,312 square meters with an exhibition area of about 1,766 square meters. Its main building takes a shape of a typical signal fire tower on the Great Wall.
Day 9 Lanzhou/Xiahe (about 4.5 hours)
Meals: B, L
Sites Visited: Sangke Grassland
Morning travel by bus to Linxia, famed as Little Mecca, on the way to Xiahe via Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region which was a key passage on the ancient Silk Road between East and West and also a major thoroughfare for exchanges between the Han and other nationalities of China.
Songke Grassland:lying at an average altitude of over 3,000m above sea level, is situated a short 14km from Xiahe. This vast expanse of grassy plains, covering an area of around 70 square kilometers, is a lonely, beautiful place that is a nice change for those from bustling Chengdu or Lanzhou. There are only 4,000 Tibetan nomads on the grasslands, all wrapped up in their many, dirty layers, who graze yak herds and offer tourists the chance of a ride upon their horses. Entertainment here varies according to your preference.
After lunch in Xiahe, ahead to experience horse riding, Bonfire night of the semi-nomadic herdsmen life on Sangke Grassland. You can choose a night stay at herdmen family.
Day 10 Xiahe/Lanzhou/Lijiang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Labrang Monastery
After a morning visit to the Labrang Monastery and Songke grassland. Then drive back to Lanzhou for the night flight to Lijiang. Upon arrival, you local guide will meet you and escort you to check in the hotel in Lijiang.
Labrang Monastery: is located at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain northwest of Xiahe County in Gannan Tibetan Nationality Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. A propitious place in the hearts of the Tibetan, it stands by the Daxia River and faces the Dragon Mountain.As for the Dragon and Phoenix Mountains, there is a beautiful legend. A long time ago, this place was a boundless sea. After countless changes, mountains and lands appeared.
Day 11 Lijiang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Lijiang Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool, Baisha Village
After breakfast visit the Lijiang Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool, Baisha Village, Mountain River Show.
Lijiang old Town is officially called "Dayan Town", "Dayan" literally means a "great ink stab", a graphic description of the town's location on a piece of rich flatland fed by a river and surrounded by green mountains. Dayan Town is the large Naxi settlement first built during the Southern Song Dynasty some eight centuries ago. Dayan Town is one of the few places in China with well-preserved old style folk buildings.
Black Dragon Pool Park:Somewhat idiosyncratically known as Black Dragon Pool, the Jade Spring Park to the north of Lijiang derives its name from the waters which sparkle like jade and are as clear as spring water. The entire park is green with grass and shaded by swaying willow trees. Under the Shuocui Bridge, a waterfall creates a constant roar as it cascades downstream. At the far side of the pool, there are renovated buildings used for art exhibitions, the Moon-Embracing Pavilion with its own white marble bridge across the water, and the Five-Phoenix Temple built during the Ming Dynasty.
Day 12 Lijiang/Shangrila
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: First Bend of Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge
After breakfast head to visit Stone Drum Town, First Bend of Yangtze, Tiger Leaping Gorge,and then transfer to Shangrila.
First Bend of Yangtze River :The attraction is the Jinshajiang section of the Yangtze, with an elevation of over 1800 meters. The sight is one of the top attractions of Lijiang and the important hub linking the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Laojunshan and Meli Snow Mountain.The great Yangtze flows down from the world's roof –Tibet Plateau and enter into the Yunnan province from Batang (one Tibet County), the river mixes two other great rivers, Lancang River (Lantsang) and Nu River (the Angry River) here, and then the Three Parallel Rivers landscape is formed.
Tiger Leaping Gorge:It is on the Jinsha River of the upper reaches of the Yangtze) is located 105 kilometers south of Zhongdian County. The gorge is 17 kilometers long with a drop of 213 meters.The Tiger Leaping Gorge is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. At the narrowest spot the river is only 30 meters wide. The mouth of the gorge is 1,800 meters above sea level. The river is flanked by Yulong and Haba snow mountains, with a height difference of 3,900 meters. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world.
Day 13 Shangrila
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Nixi Village, Benzilan Town, the Moon Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin monastery
Visit Nixi Village, Benzilan Town, the Moon Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin monastery.
Nixi Village:This is a small Tibetan village nestling along the popular adventure route from Deqing to Zhongdian in Yunnan Province. Nixi Village is the most "Shangri-la" part of Shangri-la. A tiny village standing by green grassland on which flocks of yaks, sheep and horses graze gives a sense of timeless tranquillity. That's the amazing natural beauty of the village. However, the Nixi Pottery Village is by no means a one-hit-wonder. It is well known for the century-old art, making pottery. Around 70 out of the 100 families in the village are engaged in this traditional art.
Benzilan: is a small town in extreme northwestern Yunnan Province. It lies along a stretch of the Jinsha River (a major headwater stream of the Yangtze River) that forms the border with Sichuan Province, roughly halfway along the road from Zhongdian to Deqin.
Dongzhulin Monastery in Deqin County of Diqing Prefecture was built in 1667 and was originally a monastery for White Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In the 13th Kangxi regal year of Qing Dynasty it was annexed by Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and changed to Yellow Sect. The V Dalai Lama granted it the name Gedan in the 15th Kangxi regal year. After having it extended, Dongzhulin Monastery becomes the largest one in the three monasteries of Yellow Sect in Deqin County and one of the centers for religious culture and activities in Kangnan Region.
Day 14 Shangrila/Kunming
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Dukezong Old Town, Sonzanlin Monastery, Napa Lake
Dukezong Old Town, Sonzanlin Monastery, Napa Lake and the villages around. Then take late afternoon flight to Kunming.
Songzanlin Tibetan Monastery: Being the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, Songzanlin Monastery, also known as Guihua Monastery, is one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region. The monastery is located near Shangri-la County, at the foot of Foping Mountain.Construction of the monastery began in 1679 and was completed two years later. The monastery seems like a group of ancient castles and is composed of two lamaseries, Zhacang and Jikang.
Napa Lake: Napa Hai ("Lake behind the forest") Nature Reserve is a state-designated wetlands area situated some 8 kilometers north of Shangri-La County (aka Zhongdian County) on the Yunnan -Guizou Plateau in northwestern Yunnan Province. Not surprisingly, this wetlands area is a true paradise for all types of birds, most especially for water fowl. In spring, the higher, drier parts of the reserve is a prairie landscape carpeted with flowers. Parts of this prairie are farmed, the main crop being highland barley.
Day 15 Kunming
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Stone Forest, Bird-Flower Market
After breakfast, you will visit Stone Forest, Bird-Flower Market. Then you will take a late afternoon flight to Lijiang.
Stone Forest: is in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that 'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.' Truly, the site is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.Walking through the site, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations.
Bird-Flower Market is located in the center of Kunming’s downtown area, and is a bazaar focusing on flowers and pets such as gold fish, birds, and however, the market boasts many other commodities for sale. The market retains the feel of a traditional Chinese market in every sense. In addition, you will find there is a wide array of knick-knacks, souvenirs, replica weapons, fish, turtles, rodents, and many other items on sale.
Day 16 Kunming Departure
Today you will be free until your guide meet you and escort you to the airport for the flight to next destination.
Transportation cost covers all the domestic airfare of economy class with airport tax, train tickets between the cities as the itinerary specified.
Transfer between airports, railway station, hotels and scenic spots for sightseeing around the cities that are specified by the itinerary with private air conditioned vehicle with driver and English-speaking guide. Separate arrivals and departures will incur extra charges.
All entrance fees to the scenic spots listed in the itinerary. The final arrangement will be determined by private tour guides depends on the real-time local circumstances wheather are beyond the control of Access China Travel. We will adhere to the original itinerary as accurately as possible.
All normal meals as the itinerary specified: B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = dinner in local restaurant. Breakfasts are served in hotel, breakfasts have Chinese or Western style for your option; Lunches are served in carefully selected quality local Chinese restaurants with best service, your lunches will be ordered by your guide catering to your preferences within normal standard. Dinners as the itinerary specified will be also served in local Chinese restaurants. The meal quotation is normalized. If you have any special request about meals, like vegetarian, famous rare dishes, Indian food or more, please inform us in advance. For the unspecified dinners, you will have dinner on your own. Feel free to ask your local guide for suggestions or recommendation.
Normal sightseeing activities as the itinerary listed will be escorted with English-speaking guide. The English-speaking guide and driver in each city are with you throughout the entire itinerary around that city. They do not fly with you from one city to another.
Hotel service criterion: two adults share on one standard twin/double-bed room; solo traveler who want to occupy one twin/double-bed room assigned is required for extra single supplement rate. A single room is available on prior request at an additional cost; if a recommended hotel unavailable, it will be replaced by one of the same class. All hotels as the itinerary listed serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
The tour cost includes the planning, handling, booking, operation and communication charges.