Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves in Xinjiang

Silk Road to Tibet Explorer Trip

Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Urumqi, Flight not included

Airport Transfer (Urumqi)

Day 2: Urumqi to Turpan
jiaohe ruins in xinjiang

Our guide and driver will escort you from Urumqi to Turpan, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Pass through the Flaming Mountain, The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe, The Karez Wells

- Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (40 minutes): The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves is the rock-cut building with the most caves and frescos contents at most in Turpan area. It is located on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flame Mountain, 45 kilometers away from Turpan city. The history of the Caves is more early than Dunhuang but unfortunately that most murals were damaged by nature or by man-made.

- Pass through the Flaming Mountain (10 minutes): The Flaming Mountains, the hottest place in China, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. They provide a spectacular backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan area, and have given rise to many legends and stories, such as the classic "Journey to the West".

- The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe (2 hours): Jiaohe was built by the ancient Cheshi people in the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Located in the Yarnaz Valley, 8 km (5 mi) west of Turpan, it was dug out of and constructed from the yellow-gray parched ground of a narrow 30-meter-high, 1.5-km-long vertical sided island in a river. It is a good vantage point for seeing the surrounding landscape of vineyards and orchards followed by desert and mountains.

- The Karez Wells (40 minutes): This irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels is considered to be one of the three great ancient projects in China. The Karez Wells Folk Garden and Museum is located adjacent to Turpan, 3 kilometers west of the city center. The famous fruit and vineyards of these hot, dry desert communities owe their existence to the Karez wells, ancient underground irrigation channels fed by wells that tap into the snowmelt from surrounding mountains. These systems are still maintained and functioning today. A small museum provides an insight into their intriguing history and construction, and takes you below ground for a first-hand view.

Day 3: Turpan to Korla
abakh khoja tomb xinjiang

Our guide and driver will escort you from Turpan to Korla, The Tiemen Pass, Bositenghu Lake

- The Tiemen Pass (1 hour): Located 8 kilometers north of Korla City, Tiemen Pass is an important pass along the ancient Silk Road.

- Bositenghu Lake : The south-east side of Yanqi basin and within the boundary of Bohu County.It is the largest fresh water lake in China. Bulrushes intersperse in large scale in the lake. It presents a rare water-town-like beautiful scenery in such dry inland areas.

Day 4: Korla to kuqa
lake karakuli xinjiang

Our guide and driver will escort you from Korla to kuqa, Grand Kuqa Mosque, Kuche Friday Bazaar, Subash Anceint City

- Grand Kuqa Mosque: It is the second biggest mosque in Xinjiang, first built in the 17th century, but after the burnt down it was rebuilt in 1931. The great praying hall, which can accommodate 1000 prayers, is supported by 88 pillars, embellished with carved designs and in many colors, a fine example of Uygur architecture.

- Kuche Friday Bazaar (1 hour): There are numerous commodities like dried fruit and delicacies, clothes, shoes, leather, textiles, rugs and carpets as well as scarves, souvenirs and other goods in an eclectic mix that appeals to traveler and native alike. Open on Friday, the big day when the farmers come to town, and those who still prefer to shop at the market rather than city shops.

- Subash Anceint City (2 hours): Though it remains only as ruins, it was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Guici. The city is believed to be even older than the ancient Harappan civilization, which dates back around 4,000 years.

Day 5: Kezil Thousand-Buddha Caves
zhiren street xiniang

- Kezil Thousand-Buddha Caves (2 hours): Reputed as one of the Four Great Grottoes in China together with the Mogao Grottos, the Kezil Thousand-Buddha Caves is situated at the north bank of the Muzat River and about 7 kilometers south of the Kezil Town between the Kucha and Baicheng counties in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
There are altogether 236 grottoes already numbered at the foot or on the cliffs of the Mingutag Mountain. Presently, more than 80 of the caves are still complete with well-preserved frescoes covering a total area of 10,000 square meters.

Day 6: Kuqa to Hetian

Our guide and driver will escort you from kuqa to Hetian, The Desert Highway

- The Desert Highway: Construction of the 424km highway which runs from Aral, central Xinjiang to Hotan prefecture in the south, has recently been completed. The highway traversing the Taklamakan Desert is the second desert highway in the region and strengthens the economy of the region which is one of the most inhospitable areas in the world. Construction of the road began in June 2005 and cost 790 million yuan (105 million U.S. dollars). Around 180 km was built by the People's Armed Police Force.

Day 7: Hetian, The Site of Rewake Buddha Temple, Hetian Museum, Silk Shop, Hetian River

- The Site of Rewake Buddha Temple: It lies in the Julakansiman desert, 40 kilometers away from the Yulong Kashi town of Luopu county in Hetian,the national key protected cultural relic.

- Hetian Museum: Opened to the public in 2005, Hetian Museum houses 9,499 precious historical relics and over 600 books. Hetian is an important town on the ancient Silk Road, and one of the birthplaces of Xinjiang civilization.

- Hetian River: Hetian River is the unique river, which passes through the second largest desert in the world - Takelamagan Desert. See the Gabi scenery along the river.

Day 8: Hetian to Yarkent

Our guide and driver will escort you from Hetian to Yarkent, Yarkant King, Amannishahan, Shopping Street

- Yarkant King: This city forms an oasis at the western end of the Taklimakan desert as a trade center. Mainly inhabited by Turkic-speaking Muslims, it has more than 120 mosques. Marco Polo visited the city in 1271 and in 1275; it was on the important Silk Road between China and Europe.

- Amannishahan (30 minutes): The Uygurs are excellent at dancing. The "12 Mukams" (opera) is an epic comprising more than 340 classic songs and folk dances. After liberation, this musical treasure, which was on the verge of being lost, was collected, studied and recorded by Amannisha who is the concubine of Yarkant King. She died at young age of 34.

- Shopping Street : It is a shopping street offering different kinds of Uygur handicrafts.

Day 9: Yarkent to Kashgar

Our guide and driver will escort you from Yarkent to Kashgar, Yengisar Knife Street, Abakh Khoja Tomb

- Yengisar Knife Street (30 minutes): The Street is famous for its Uygur handicraft – Yengisar Knife. You can see various types of Knifes, which can be taken as a unique souvenir.

- Abakh Khoja Tomb (40 minutes): It is a tiled mausoleum holding the tomb of Abakh Khoja, who is a revered sufi preacher and political leader in the 17th century. There are 58 other tombs remaining of the original 72, including that of 'the Fragrant Concubine', a descendant of Abakh Khoja , who was so loved by the Emperor Qianlong that he even built her a special Uighur style house in the Forbidden City. Her body was brought back to Kashgar by her sister-in-law, according to Uighur custom. This is a must visit place for tourist in Kashgar .

Day 10: Lake Karakuli

- Lake Karakuli (2 hours): Karakuli Lake is a sparking glacial lake located at the foot of "the Father of Glaciers" – Muztagata Mountains. A railway connnecting China with Pakistan goes by the lake. The lake is famous for its beautiful scenery and clarity. Colors of its water range from light to dark under reflection.

Day 11: Kashgar to Urumqi, Flight No. TBA
id kah mosque xinjiang

Zhiren Street, Kashgar Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Bazaar, Hotel to airport Transfer (Kashgar), Airport Transfer (Urumqi)

- Zhiren Street (1 hour): It is close to Id Kah Mosque, an old street with an amazing range of goods being crafted for sale by hand , from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. There's not much light industry in Kashgar, so everything is hand-made or imported from a very distant place. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewellery and other goods are seen to be made and you will marvel at incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.

- Kashgar Old Town (1 hour): Explore the maze of narrow streets in this oldest residential area of Kashgar. Houses were originally built along a natural slope, and extended over the years with many streets either fully or half-covered. Traditional Uighur life continues here in time-honoured fashion. Visit local families, see potteries, bakeries, embroidery, and local skills. There's a local Folk Museum, and yes, souvenirs are for sale but these are not rich people, a purchase is better than a gift.

- Id Kah Mosque (40 minutes): This 15th century mosque is one of the largest and busiest in China. At midday on Fridays around 10,000 people will gather to pray and study the Koran, and prayer 5 times/day on other days. You'll be asked to remove your shoes before entering the Main Hall, which has traditional Islamic pillars, carvings and rugs strewn over the floors. Women are adviced to cover upper arms and legs, a scarf is not compulsory, but is seen as a mark of respect. This is a must visit place for tourist in Kashgar .

- Bazaar (2 hours): Famous throughout Asia, this ancient market attracts locals and merchants from all over Xinjiang and nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan. There are numerous commodities, like dried fruit and delicacies, clothes, shoes, leather, textiles, rugs and carpets as well as scarves, souvenirs and other goods in an eclectic mix that appeals to traveler and native alike. Open all week, Sunday's the big day when the farmers come to town, and those who still prefer to shop at the market rather than city shops. Bazaar especially Sunday Bazaar is a very interesting place so many foreigners'main purpose in Kashgar is to visit the Bazaar.

Day 12: Urumqi to Chengdu to Lhasa, China Southern Airlines CZ6925 Dep 09:20 - Arr 12:55, connect Flight No. TBA

Hotel to airport Transfer (Urumqi), Airport Transfer (Lhasa)

Day 13: Lhasa, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery
sera monastery lhasa tibet

- Norbulingka (2.5 hours): Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". Constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, it later served the whole government administration. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both administrative and religious purposes.

- Sera Monastery (3 hours): Located in the northern suburbs of Lhasa, The Sera Monastery is a complex of 4 structures; the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. 'Sera' means wild roses and was called this because the monastery was surrounded by wild roses. One of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is here that the monks "famous daily debates" take place.
Tips: Every day (except Mondays) at 15:00, there is a debate about Buddhist doctrines among the monks at Sera Monastery. The debating is held in the grounds and is a necessary way of learning sutras and scriptures. Visitors can watch the debate, but it is advised to keep quiet.

- Drepung Monastery (3.5 hours): Drepung Monastery lies in west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse, clustered round by the black mountain, its white grand buildings shining under the sunlight. Built in 1416, it is considered as one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect in China. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace (after the 5th Dalai Lamas was bestowed by Qing emperor Qianlong). The grand Shonton Festival is held in the early part of August every year. That is the busiest day there with crowds of people. It is an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of this festival.

Day 14: Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, Barkhor Street
tibet potala palace

- Jokhang Temple (2 hours): Smaller and more manageable than the Potala, this 4-storey, golden-roofed temple is at the heart of a rich and living Tibetan Buddhism. Many locals pray here regularly; the Temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street and thronged with pilgrims and visitors. Yak butter lamps burn in front of rich statuary that includes the Sakyamuni Buddha brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng in the 7th Century.

- Potala Palace (1 hour): Former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for climbing up the long stairways.

- Barkhor Street (2 hours): Built about 1,300 years ago, The Barkhor (pilgrims' circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. In the past, it was a designated circumambulation circuit, "a saint's road" in the eyes of Tibetans. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits typical Tibetan life. Watch the pilgrims, wearing their local dress from many different parts of Tibet, as they circle clockwise around Jokhang Temple with prayer wheels, or prostrate them near the front gate. Join the locals and visitors to shop for local goods at the colourful stalls, or relax in a coffee shop or tea house to enjoy the passing parade.

Day 15: Lhasa to Shigatse
yomdrok lake tibet

- The Palgor Chorten (1.5 hours): Pelkhor Choede (Kumbum), also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. It lies about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.

- Yomdrok Lake (2 hours): Dotted with a dozen islands and abundant in natural resources, Lake Yamdrok has the highest power station in the world, and is also the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting countless swans and gulls every summer.

Day 16: Shigatse to Dingri
tashilunpo monastery

Our guide and driver will escort you from Shigatse to Dingri, Tashilunpo Monastery

- Tashilunpo Monastery (2 hours): Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gyalwa Gendun Drup (1st Dalai Lama) and is a historically and culturally important monastery. Its name means "heap of glory" or "all fortune and happiness gathered here". Painted in red and white, the buildings in the kloster stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. Tashilunpo Kloster represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit.5 story temple which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha (Jamba Chyenmu) inside the grounds of the monastery. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.

Day 17: Dingri to Shigatse
mount everest in tibet

Everest Base Camp, Entrance Fee for Mount Everest, Rongbuk Monastery(with Mt.Everest), Our guide and driver will escort you from Dingri to Shigatse

- Everest Base Camp: Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in Tibetan Language, is the highest peak of the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers’ eyes. Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to you --5200mt (17000ft), but it will definitely reward you with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories

- Entrance Fee for Mount Everest: Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in Tibetan Language, is the highest peak of the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers’ eyes. Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to you --5200mt (17000ft), but it will definitely reward you with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories.

- Rongbuk Monastery(with Mt.Everest) (1.5 hours): Rongbuk Monastery is the highest temple at an altitude of 5,100 meters (16728 feet). Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in the Tibetan Language, is the highest peak on the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers' eyes. A journey to the Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to visitors, but it will definitely reward them with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories. On May 8, 2008, the Olympic Torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was taken to the peak and lit by a group of Chinese mountaineers, making it the first time ever for the Olympic torch to be lit on the "top of the world".

Day 18: Shigatse to Lhasa

Our guide and driver will escort you from Shigatse to Lhasa

Day 19: Depart Lhasa, Flight not included

Hotel to airport Transfer (Lhasa)

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