Beijing is the capital of China, one of the main starting points of Silk Road Tour with a lot of must-see spots, like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. It also has many must-taste foods, like the Beijing Roast Duck and Jiaozi, a kind of dumpling. Xian was China’s capital more than 1000 years ago, it has a lot of historic spots, like the Terracotta Warriors and the Wild Goose Pagoda. Enjoying the Tang Dynasty Show in Xian will let you know more about China’s art and culture.
This Silk Road tour offers you a unique opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Western China. This tour starts in Beijing and ends in Beijing, covering exotic places like Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, and Kashgar.
Arrive at Beijing. You will be received by our guide at the Beijing International Airport, this person will assist with your baggage and transfer you to the hotel. If time allows there will be a short city sightseeing tour of Beijing.
We explore the Forbidden City of Beijing, as well as the capital’s massive Tiananmen Square. Later in the afternoon, we’ll hear tales of Empress Dowager Cixi as we stroll through her Summer Palace, China’s best-preserved Royal Garden. The evening menu is the famous Peking Duck, followed by a show of daring and agile acrobatics.
Walking the Great Wall of China is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We head to the small town of Huanghua in the morning to begin this incredible adventure. After a picnic lunch on the Wall, we return to Beijing via the equally impressive Ming Tombs and cruise canals in boats lit with traditional red lanterns. We’ll disembark in time to enjoy dinner with a local family.
We fly to Xi’an, a former Chinese capital and an important stop on the Silk Road, from as early as the third century BC. Our afternoon tour visits the Old City Wall and Shaanxi Provincial Museum, whose Forest of Steles boasts over 1000 carved stone tablets. Later we’ll take a gander at the Grand Wild Goose Pagoda, a place of magic healing.
The Terracotta Soldiers of Xi’an are one of the most important archaeological findings in the world and we devote an entire day for exploring the site and surrounding area. After lunch with a noodle maker, we’ll take a cable car ride over Huaqing Hot Springs Park and visit Banpo, an old Neolithic (and possibly matriarchal) village.
We fly to Dunhuang after breakfast. On arrival you will be met in the airport of Dunhuang – The City of the Sands, a former terminal of the ancient Silk Road perched on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Dunhuang is home to some of the finest Buddhist arts. Artifacts discovered at Dunhuang span from the Northern and Western Wei to Northern Zhou and Tang dynasties, including what is believed to be the oldest printed script in the world, dating back to 868 AD. After lunch, we head out to the Mogao Caves, which consist of 492 grottoes honeycombing a giant cliff face, each of them housing murals, Buddhist paintings and statues.
In the morning we will continue to explore the Mogao grottoes. In the afternoon we will visit Crescent Moon Lake, where the oasis meets the desert. The spring-fed lake is set amidst towering sand dunes from where you can take in a spectacular view of the green oasis surrounded by an endless desert landscape. In the evening we will board an overnight soft-sleeper train to Turpan.
Lying 154 meters (505 ft) below the sea level, the Turpan Basin not only sits in the second largest depression in the world, but it is one of the hottest places China. Despite its desert location, Turpan boasts fertile land producing cotton and grapes, thanks to the Karez, an ancient irrigation system. In Turpan, we will visit the Bezelik Caves, a set of Buddhist cave temples that was an important Buddhist center in the 6th to 13th centuries which today house rare examples of Buddhist mural art. We will also tour the ancient city of Gaochang and its necropolis, Astana, and wander the city bazaar in the evening.
Today we will drive to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Urumqi is a growing metropolis inhabited mainly by Han Chinese and serves as a transport hub for those crossing to Tibet, Pakistan and Central Asia. Here you can visit the lively market at Erdaoqiao, where anything from Uygur handicrafts, silk carpets to fruits and kebabs are sold. We will also visit the Old Town area, where we will see how Uygurs live in today’s modern capital. In the evening we will take an evening flight to Kashgar.
Situated at the foot of the impressive Pamir mountains, Kashgar was once the key trading post bridging the East and the West on the Silk Road. Largely inhabited by the Uygurs, this ancient city is dotted with Muslim architecture and still retains the exotic feel of the Silk Road era. We will visit Kashgar’s lively markets, which attract thousands of people from the far corners of the region. They come here to sell, bargain and trade everything ranging from camels to raisins. Our sightseeing tour will also include the famous Edgar Mosque and the tomb of Abbak Hoja. Our tour also includes a visit to a unique old town with typical Uyghur styled homes. We visit the various shopping alleys full of noodle shops, bakeries, tea shops, blacksmiths, and carpenters. Time has stood still – try a local taxi, which is a donkey cart.
Today we will have a free day, allowing you to explore Kashgar’s old quarter, home to a fascinating mix of ethnicities – Uygurs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks – or visit one of Kashgar’s many other sights. In the evening we will take a flight back to Urumqi.
Fly back to Beijing. Rest of the day free, at leisure.
Departure from Beijing to home