Overview: This 20 days' Silk Road tour will bring you into vast northwest China from Xinjiang Urumqi, Kashgar, Turpan, through Gansu Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Lanzhou, Xiahe, to Sichuan Chengdu, and Tibet Lhasa for distinctive ethnic minority culture and landscape visions.
Day 1 Arrival in Urumqi
Sites visited: Xinjiang Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar
Meet and check in hotel,then head to visit the Xinjiang Museum and Xinjiang International Bazaar.
Xinjiang Museum is the main institution to collect and investigate the unearthed cultural relics and specimens in Xinjiang. There are more than 50 thousand pieces of various kinds of cultural relics stored in the museum, among them, the ancient mummies represented by ‘the Loulan Beauty', manuscripts in Chinese, Kharosthi, Qiuci, Yanji, Tibetan, Uigurian and other characters prevailed in ancient Western Regions, the silk ,wool, cotton and hemp fabrics and folk retainment, etc., are unusual tidbits in the world.
Erdaoqiao Market & International Bazaar is the largest in Urumqi. You'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and almost anything that you can imagine. On Sunday, there are more stalls and more goods to buy than any other day. The old streets around the bazaar are really worth seeing.Here is the most welcomed place by tourist especially by ladies where they can buy some traditional Uygur make up cosmetic.
Day 2 Urumqi/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
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
In the morning visit 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 Lanzhou/Xian
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Labrang Monastery, Xian Ancient City Wall
In the morning visit the Labrang Monastery and Songke grassland. Back to Lanzhou and take the flight to Xian.
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.
After that you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Xian, another of China ancient capitals. Upon arriving in Xian, your local guide will meet you and take you for a bicycle ride along the top of Xian’s Ancient City Wall to get a bird’s eye view of this amazing ancient city.
Note: If you do not feel like biking, an electric touring car will take you along the top of Xian’s Ancient City Wall.
Optional: In the evening you will be taken to an amazing Jiaozi (Dumpling) Feast followed by the Tang Dynasty Show, which bring the pageantry and music of the ancient Tang Dynasty to life.
Day 11 Xian/Jiuzhaigou
Siteds visited: The Terracotta Warriors, the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Xian’s Ancient Bell Tower
After breakfast in your hotel, your guide will meet you and you will be driven to visit The Terracotta Warriors. After lunch you will be driven to The Shaanxi Provincial Museum to see Xian’s amazing history. You will then be driven to visit Xian’s Ancient Bell Tower, which signaled the time in Xian for centuries.
You will take the night flight to Jiuzhaigou. On arrival, our guide will meet you at the airport and escort to your hotel.
Day 12 Jiuzhaigou
Siteds visited: Huanglong Valley
After hotel breakfast, guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and you will be transferred to visit Huanglong Valley. Designated a national park in 1983, Huanglong valley(including the cable car up and down) is famous for its colored lakes of blue, yellow and green, glaciers and mountain landscape. After visiting Huanglong valley, you will be driven back to visit the Danyun Gorge. Then transfer to Jiuzhaigou to check in your hotel.
Day 13 Jiuzhaigou/Chengdu
Siteds visited: Jiuzhaigou National Park
After breakfast in your hotel, your guide will meet you and you will be taken to Jiuzhaigou National Park for a full day sightseeing. Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys, Riza Valley, Zechawa Valley and Suzheng Valley. It was name a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. The fairyland is studded with colored ponds, waterfalls, terraces, the traditional Tibetan villages. We have two ways to visit the park on foot or by sightseeing bus. Take the night flight to Chengdu. On arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Note: The Jiuzhaigou in Oct is very beautiful. So take the night flight, you can enjoy more beautiful sights in Jiuzhaigou.
Day 14 Chengdu/Leshan/Emei
Siteds visited: Giant Buddha, Emei Mountain
After hotel breakfast, transfer to Huanlongxi old town which is more than 100 years old. After that, transfer to Leshan to see the world's largest stone Giant Buddha and then visit the Lingyun Temple, the ancient Plank Cliff Path and the Stele Forest. Transfer to Emei Mountain in the afternoon. On arrival, check in your hotel.
Day 15 Mt. Emei/Chengdu
Siteds visited: Golden Summit, Wangnian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion
After breakfast, transfer to Mt.Emei to visit the Golden Summit(including the cable car), and Wangnian Temple. Then walk through Qingyin Pavilion - the biggest natural ecology reserve area for monkeys, till you get to parking lot to take the tourist bus down to the foot of the mountain. In afternoon, transfer back Chengdu to check in hotel.
Day 16 Chengdu/Dujiangyan
Siteds visited: Qingcheng Mountain, Dujiangyan Irrigation System
After hotel breakfast, transfer to Qingcheng Mountain-- Located in Sichuan Province, southwest China, Qingcheng Mountain is one of the birthplaces of the Taoist religion. With over 20 temples and religious sites for Taoism, it exudes a strong flavor of Taoist culture and the buildings demonstrate the Sichuan style of architecture.?In the late of afternoon, transfer to Dujiangyan to visit the Irrigation System. Overnight in Dujiangyan.
Day 17 Dujiangyan Panda base for volunteer/Chengdu
Siteds visited: Dujiangyan Panda Base
Drive (about 1.5hrs) to the Dujiangyan Panda Base, where you will apply for the necessary permit and sign the agreement to be a panda volunteer. Then you will get the special working clothes, gloves etc. and learn how to be a panda volunteer from your teacher. Lunch will be served at the staff dining hall. In the afternoon, transfer back Chengdu in the late of afternoon.
Panda volunteer activities maybe including:
1) Clean the panda's house/garden.?
2) Put the fresh bamboo into the enclosures for the pandas' breakfast.
3) Watch the pandas' activity and help the scientists to collect their behavior data.?
4) Feed the animals with bamboo bread, apples and carrots.
5) Then free the pandas in the enclosure and watch their activity or help the veterinary to do the medicine care for the pandas.
Day 18 Chengdu/Lhasa
Siteds visited: Chengdu Panda Breeding Base, Yarlung Zangbo River
After hotel breakfast, you will be driven to visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding Base. After lunch you will take the afternoon flight to Lhasa. Your local guide will meet you upon your arrival in Gonggar airport and will escort you to Lhasa. On the 2-hour drive way, you'll enjoy the heart-stopping views along the Yarlung Zangbo River. After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to this high altitude city at the top of the world.
Day 19 Lhasa
Siteds visited: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
The overwhelming Potala Palace is your first stop. As the symbol of Tibet, it was built in 641 AD and was the winter palace of Dalai Lama who is Tibet's pope. Impressive Tibetan architecture, huge golden Buddha statues, red-robed lamas and devoted pilgrims all make it a must-visit.
In the afternoon, you'll visit the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet. Every day, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek here from long distances to worship. Finally, walk the special circular pilgrimage route as local followers always do at Barkhor Street.
Day 20 Lhasa
Siteds visited: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery
After breakfast, you will visit the Sera Monastery--is one of three famous monasteries in the city along with the Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery. It is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsong Khapa. After that, you will visit the Drepung Monastery- Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. It was given the name 'Drepung‘, which, in the Tibetan language, means 'Collecting Rice. Then proceed to visit the Norbulingka. Norbulingka both reflects the ethnical, religious features of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.
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.