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18-day Ancient Silk Road China Tour

Day By Day

Day 1 Beijing/Urumqi
Places to visit: Xinjiang Museum, Xinjiang International Bazaar

Welcome to Xinjiang! Upon arrival in Urumqi, your local guide will meet and escort you to check in the hotel for a short rest. Then proceed 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/Heaven Lake/Kashgar   
Meals: B, L
Places to visit: Heavenly Lake
A delightful day start with a morning visit to the beautiful ‘Heavenly Lake’ which is located about halfway up the 5,000 metres high Bogda Mountain. The drive to this green pine-covered mountain past many Kazakh yurt encampments is as interesting as the lake itself. and an evening transfer to the airport for your flight to Kashgar.

Day 3 Kashgar
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Apak Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque, Old Town

After breakfast, you will take a morning flight to Kashgar. Upon arrival, your local guide will meet you and escort you to 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 4 Kashgar/Taxkorgan
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Sunday Bazaar (livestock Market), Bulunkou lake, Karakul Lake, Muztagh Ata

After breakfast, you will start a morning visit to the Sunday bazaar. Then drive to Taxkorgan via China-Pakistan highway to visit the Bulunkou lake, Pamir plateau landscape, Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata(7546m in altitude)-called the "Father of Glacier", Konger Shan Mountains(7719m in altitude).

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 Taxkorgan/Kashgar/Urumqi  
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Nanshan Pasture, Terai Camp

Drive back to Kashgar, then take afternoon flight back to Urumqi. Upon arrival in Urumqi, you will be met by your local guide and driver and transferred to Nanshan Grassland for a visit to the Terai Camp to experience of Kazak nomad life, have a cup of milk tea and taste really local food. You will stay in the Yurt overnight.

Day 6 Urumqi/Turpan
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Heavenly Lake     

After breakfast, you will drive for a morning visit to the Heavenly Lake. 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". And then head to Turpan, you guide will ecort you to check in hotel upon arrival.


Day 7 Turpan/Dunhuang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Jiaohe ruins, Karez Irrigation System, Sugong Minaret, Tuyoq Valley, Flaming Mountain

A morning visit to 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 overnight train with soft sleeper 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 8 Dunhuang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Mogao Caves, Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake

Afer breakfast upon your arrival in Dunhuang via Liuyuan, you will start a full day Dunhuang tour to visit Mogao Caves, Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake. 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 9 Dunhuang/Jiayuguan/Lanzhou
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Jiayuguan Pass, The Great Wall on the Cliff, Great Walls Museum

Morning transfer by bus or bullet train to Jiayuguan and visit the Jiayuguan Pass, The Great Wall on the Cliff, Great Walls Museum And take a PM flight or bullet train 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 10 Lanzhou
Meals: B, L
Places to visit: Bingling Temple Grottoes, Gansu Provincial Museum, White Pagoda Hill

After breakfast, you will take a morning drive to Liujiaxia Dam on the Yellow River tributary where you will board a small boat for a stunning river trip through dramatic scenery to the Bingling Temple Grottoes where niches and statues are cut deep into high cliffs. In the afternoon, you will drive back to Lanzhou to visit to the Gansu Provincial Museum, White Pagoda Hill. Then travel by coach 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.


Day 11 Lanzhou/Kunming/Daili
Meals: B, L
Places to visit: Stone Forest  

Take a morning flight to Kunming. Upon arrival, your local guide will meet and escort you by 1.5 hours (90 KM) drive to visit the Stone Forest. The Stone Forest covers 26,000-hectare and from a distance, it does indeed look like a forest of stones with its peaks and odd-shaped rocks standing straight up from the ground. You can walk around the forest on paths that have been built and there is some stair climbing involved if you want to walk around it. Drive back to Kunming for overnight train with sleeper seat to Dali city.

Day 12 Dali
Meals: B, L
Places to visit: Zhoucheng Village, Three Pagodas in Chongsheng Monastery

Upon arrival in Dali, you will be transfered to visit Zhoucheng Village for local Bai people's traditional Tie-dye cloth art workshop. Then visit Three Pagodas in Chongsheng Monastery which has a history of over 1,800 years located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain facing to the Erhai Lake. Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. In the afternoon, you will visit the Ancient Dali Town, walk around the Foreigner Street and enjoy the relax time with local people. Standing on the city wall of Dali, you will have panoramic view of the Erhai Lake.

Day 13 Dali/Lijiang
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Xizhou Town, Baisha Village, Lijiang Ancient Town
After a morning visit to local market at Xizhou Town and Yan Family Mansion full Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, taste their fragrant Three-Course Tea and explore their distinctive culture. Then visit Baisha Village on the way to Lijiang.  

Then drive about 180 km (3 hours) to Lijiang. You'll head for the scenic Black Dragon Pool and the Dongba Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture. 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.             


Day 14 Lijiang/Shangrila
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: First Bend of Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Stone Drum Town

After breakfast head to visit the 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 15 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 16 Shangri-la/Chengdu
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Chengdu Big Panda Breeding Center
Morning transfer by flight to Chengdu. Your guide will meet and bring you to visit Chengdu Big Panda Breeding Center, to see lovely Panda. Then back to Chengdu city to visit Kuanzai Alley.

Day 17 Chengdu/Leshan/Chengdu
Meals: B, L
Siteds visited: Leshan Giant Buddha

After breakfast, will transfer you to visit Huanglongxi Ancient Town which has 1,700 years of history. Then take bus to Leshan, to see the world's largest stone Giant Buddha.

Then visit the Lingyun Temple, the ancient Plank Cliff Path and the Stele Forest. Then drive back to Chengdu for overnight.

Day 18 Chengdu Departure
Meals: B
Today you will be free until your guide meet you and escort you to the airport for the flight to next destination.

Service ends

Price Includes:

Transportation & Private Transfers:

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.

Entrance Fees:

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.

Normal Meals:

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.

Private Sightseeing Escort:

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 Accommodation:

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.

Tour Arrangements:

The tour cost includes the planning, handling, booking, operation and communication charges.

Service Charge & Government Taxes

Price Excludes:

International airfare or train tickets for entry or exit China, unless that is noted or required otherwise.

Visa Fees, passport application or renewal fee.

Excess Baggage Charges.
Personal Expenses:
Expenses of a purely personal nature such as excess luggage fees, laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities (shows) and meals, beverages...

Any meal are not specified in the itinerary with "B", "L" or "D".
Any extra cost caused by the changes of natural disasters, fires, weather, government and local authority orders, politics, strikes, war, riots, quarantine, custom regulations; as well as tourist law violation, accident damages or injury incurred out of Access China Travel control.

Tips to guides, escort, drivers bellman, etc.