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15-Day Beijing, Urumqi, Turpan, Liuyuan, Dunhuang, Zhangye, Lanzhou, Xiahe, Xian Tour

Classic China Silk Road Tour

Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of China, discover the ancient Silk Road in Urumuqi and Turpan, witness the magnificent sand dunes in Liuyuan and Dunhuang, marvel at the colorful Danxia landforms in Zhangye, and explore the cultural gems of Lanzhou, Xiahe, and Xian.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Take a scenic boat cruise across the breathtaking Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi)

Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi)

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Mogao Caves

the Mogao Caves

Explore the mesmerizing Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

Learn from a local artisan how to make Terracotta Warriors

Learn to make a clay warrior

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Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

DAY 1 Arrive in Urumqi

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Urumqi. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

DAY 2 Urumqi| The Erdaoqiao Bazaar

Explore the vibrant Erdaoqiao Bazaar, Urumqi's largest market. Discover a bustling hub filled with a wide range of goods, from fruits and clothing to crafts and carpets. Sundays are particularly vibrant, offering an abundance of stalls and products. Don't miss the charming old streets surrounding the bazaar for an authentic local experience.

Next, visit the modern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum. This 11,000-square-meter building houses a remarkable collection, including silver art, ancient stone steles, coins, ceramics, wooden articles, and captivating paintings. The museum's highlight is its well-preserved exhibit of 4,000-year-old corpses discovered along the Silk Road.

DAY 3 Urumqi to Turpan| The Heavenly Lake

Embark on a scenic boat cruise (40 minutes) across the breathtaking Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi), offering a unique perspective of this stunning destination. Don't forget to pack a warm jacket for your cruise on Heavenly Lake, as it can get a bit chilly.

Heavenly Lake, also known as Tian Chi, is a captivating mountain lake adorned with serene blue waters. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance as you take in the picturesque surroundings of lush forested hills, vast meadows, and snow-capped peaks of Heavenly Mountain.

DAY 4 Turpan| The Ruins of Jiaohe Ancient City

Explore the mesmerizing Ruins of Jiaohe Ancient City. Built by the ancient Cheshi people during the Qin and Han Dynasties, this city is perched on a 30-meter-high island in the Yarnaz Valley, offering breathtaking views of surrounding vineyards, orchards, and the desert beyond.

Discover the remarkable Karez Wells, an intricate underground irrigation system that sustains lush fruit and vineyards. Visit the Karez Wells Folk Garden and Museum to learn about their fascinating history, construction, and experience firsthand the channels beneath the ground.

Witness the grandeur of the Suleiman Minaret, the largest ancient tower in Xinjiang and the only ancient Islamic minaret in China. Located just 2 kilometers southeast of Turpan's center, it stands as a testament to the region's rich heritage.

DAY 5 Turpan to Liuyuan | The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty

Discover the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty, an ancient marvel built to defend against the nomadic Xiongnu during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). Immerse yourself in its rich history and admire its enduring architectural grandeur. Walk along this iconic structure, soak in the breathtaking views, and appreciate the ingenuity of ancient Chinese civilization. A visit to the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty offers a memorable glimpse into China's remarkable past.

DAY 6 Dunhuang | The Mogao Caves

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Mogao Caves on a guided tour. Available in multiple languages (English, German, French, and Japanese), your knowledgeable guide will lead you and other tourists through approximately 10 of the 30 caves open to the public. These selected caves provide a captivating representation of the entire complex, offering a glimpse into the rich history and artistry within.

Next, explore the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Spring in Dunhuang. Located 6 kilometers (4 miles) south of the city, Crescent Spring, nestled in the desert, forms a crescent-shaped lake surrounded by massive sand dunes. Despite the arid conditions, this oasis remains a captivating sight.

Don't miss the opportunity to ride a camel and immerse yourself in a truly unique experience (video). Traverse the mesmerizing desert landscape of the Singing Sand Mountains, marveling at the undulating yellow dunes against the azure sky. As you ride, envision yourself traveling the ancient Silk Road and listen for the hauntingly beautiful "singing" of the sand.

DAY 7 Dunhuang to Zhangye

Our guide and driver will escort you from Dunhuang to Liu yuan, Train station to Hotel Transfer (Zhangye)

DAY 8 Zhangye| Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

Explore the mesmerizing Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, also known as the Rainbow Mountains. Located in Kangle Township, approximately 40 kilometers from Zhangye, this park showcases the extraordinary Danxia landforms, which are unique to the arid regions of Gansu and Qinghai provinces.

Comprising two parts, Qicai Danxia Landforms and Binggou Danxia Landforms, Zhangye Danxia Geopark has become a beloved destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. Qicai Danxia features picturesque hills adorned with vibrant colors, resembling undulating waves. The magnificent sight of rock strata in graceful disarray creates a stunning and imposing landscape. These dry and vegetation-less formations are often referred to as "window lattice and palace-shaped Danxia topography" by geologists.

DAY 9 Lanzhou | White Pagoda Hill and Yellow River Iron Bridge

Discover an extraordinary collection of cultural treasures at the Museum, featuring an impressive array of 75,000 artifacts that span from fossils to historically significant objects. Among the remarkable relics are over 110 pieces classified as of the utmost importance, including Gansu color-painted pottery and bamboo medication slips from the Han era. Notably, the museum proudly preserves the iconic bronze Galloping Horse of Wuwei from the Han Dynasty, accompanied by a captivating assortment of chariots and carriages.

Ascend White Pagoda Hill, located on Lanzhou's north bank of the Yellow River. The hill derives its name from the white pagoda perched atop, originally built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). Embark on a half-hour climb, or choose a cable car ride over the Yellow River for a shorter journey, and be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Lanzhou and its surrounding mountains.

Next, marvel at the Yellow River Iron Bridge, a testament to technological marvel. While the first bridge was constructed in 1372, it was later rebuilt entirely with iron in 1909. Stretching approximately 200 meters in length, this remarkable bridge showcases the engineering prowess of its time. Situated at the foot of White Pagoda Hill, it is also known as Zhongshan Bridge.

DAY 10 Lanzhou to Xiahe | Bingling Temple Grotto

Embark on a captivating journey to the Bingling Temple Grotto, an extraordinary complex of caves extending over 200 meters. Constructed during the Western Qin, North Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties (between the 3rd and 18th centuries), these caves hold immense historical and artistic significance. Valued for their contribution to the study of Chinese painting and the dissemination of Buddhism during that era, the Bingling Temple Grotto offers a remarkable window into the past. To facilitate exploration, steps have been skillfully carved into the rock face, allowing for easier access to appreciate the stunning architecture and ancient artistry within these caves.

DAY 11 Xiahe to Lanzhou | The Labrang Monastery

Experience the spiritual Labrang Monastery, a vital center of Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet. Accompanied by an English-speaking monk, explore six halls and witness intricate sculptures made of colorful yak butter. Beyond the monastery, immerse yourself in the majestic Sangke Grassland. Ride on horseback, revel in the pastoral beauty, and soak in the vibrant colors of wildflowers against the vast blue sky. Discover the essence of Tibetan culture and natural serenity on this unforgettable journey.

DAY 12 Lanzhou to Xi'an | Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Discover the elegant brick Pagoda in the grounds of the Da Ci'en Temple, a major Buddhist site. Built in the 7th century, it housed Buddhist materials brought back from India by Xuanzang. Explore the temple complex with its grand halls, exquisite Buddhist statues, and captivating murals. In the scenic spot, find your Chinese zodiac information and browse a shop offering Chinese calligraphy and paintings.

Visit the lively Muslim Quarter, a bustling area just west of the Bell Tower in downtown Xi'an. Stroll along the 500-meter-long avenue lined with unique stalls, souvenir shops, cafes, and bars, predominantly run by the Muslim community. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere as both local and international tourists come to shop and explore.

DAY 13 Xi'an | The Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, a fascinating army consisting of 7,000+ soldiers, horses, and chariots discovered in 1974. These meticulously crafted figures protected Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Explore three excavation pits protected by huge hangars, where ongoing preservation work is carried out. Don't miss the excellent museum and film nearby, offering insight into the vaults' history. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and take photos (no flash permitted).

Get a firsthand experience of the creation process by visiting a cave dwelling family workshop in the countryside. Learn from a local artisan how to make Terracotta Warriors, gaining knowledge about the intricate steps involved. Engage in interactions with the welcoming community and witness the detailed craftsmanship in action.

DAY 14 Xi'an | Huashan Mountain

Experience the breathtaking Huashan Mountain, famous for its precipices and located near Huayin city in Shaanxi Province. As one of China's Five Mountains, it offers five stunning peaks, including the south, east, west, north, and middle peaks.

Begin your adventure with a cable car ride to the north peak, followed by a thrilling 2-hour trek on the Canglongling range. Marvel at the essence of Huashan while enjoying approximately 2 hours of free time to explore. Your guide will be waiting at the cable car to join you on the return journey.

Embark on an unforgettable hike on Mount Hua (4 hours), known for its precipices. Start with a cable car ride to the North Peak (15 minutes) and then trek to the East Peak, West Peak, and South Peak. The hike to the famous East Peak, where you can witness a mesmerizing sunrise, takes approximately 2 hours. Don't forget to bring snacks, and note that there are shops available on the mountain.

DAY 15 Xi'an to Beijing Departure

Explore the historic Xian City Wall with a bicycle (1.5 hours). This well-preserved 13th-century defense system offers a captivating journey. Bike along the 13.74 km perimeter, admiring the black brick road and ancient watchtowers. If biking conditions aren't favorable, visit the Bell Tower instead. Note that bike rental fees are included, and you can choose to walk or use a club car instead. Enjoy the flexibility of this itinerary, ensuring a memorable experience for all.

Tour Price

FromUS4,500 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Tour code: cht-cx-17

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