Along the Great Silk Road
12-Day China Silk Road Tour from Xi'an to Kashgar
From Xi'an to Kashgar, the eastern end to the western end of the Silk Road in China, this tour offers you the chance to see the highlights along the Silk Road. You will see marvelous landscapes, the extraordinary culture, and have an authentic interaction with the locals.
The itinerary can be tailor made according to your schedule and interesets.
China Silk Road Tour Map
Tour "Wow" Points
Immerse Yourself in the Memory of the Silk Road at the Historical Site in Xi'an
Visit the Big Goose Pagoda and the Ancient City Wall which were always cherished by the ancient Chinese traveling on the Silk Road. Imagine the Muslim from different countries do their business in the Muslim Quarter. The Unique mosque shows the culture integration
Unveil the Secrets of the Terracotta Army and Make a Mini Terracotta Warrior
See the life-size warriors at the amazing Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Get to know how ancient craftsmen made them. Visit a traditional cave dwelling and learn how to make your own warrior.
Meet the 'Color Palette Overturned by God' — the Rainbow Mountains.
Take photos of the Rainbow Mountains, one of world's 25 dream travel destinations as described by many well-known websites.
Admire the Valuable Cultural Heritage of the Silk Road
Grasp the opportunity to see the Mogao Caves, which might disappear in 50 years. Lose yourself in the beautiful and mysterious legends shown by the murals.
Experience Traveling on a Camel as the Merchants on the Silk Road Did
Visit the Singing Sand Mountains and the Crescent Moon Spring. Enjoy a camel ride and walking on a gobi desert. The ruins of the ancient pass and the Great Wall give you a stong sense of the history
Discover the Splendid Ancient City on the Silk Road
Explore the ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe, a city that was built by digging down instead of building up from the ground.
Catch a Glimpse of the Great Pamirs
Drive along the China-Pakistan Highway. View the impressive Baisha ('White Sand') Lake and Karakul ('Black Lake'). Snow-capped Muztag Ata and other very tall mountains look like a row of strong guards protecting this land.
Experience Exotic Charm in the Westernmost City of China
Experience the region's religion in Xinjiang's biggest mosque. Enjoy the beauty of Islamic architecture in a quiet atmosphere.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea with Locals in an Ancient Uyghur Teahouse
Experience the typical social life of the town as you listen to folk music played by the Uyghur seniors.
98.8% Positive Customer reviews among 10,000+
Xi’an Tour China Highlights
Carol Wang put me in touch with Jenny. An amazing a very knowledgable guide. She gave great insight into the history and culture of Xi’an. She also knew the neighborhoods and all the shortcuts to use. A great to experience I won’t forget. If you’re with Jenny you’re in good hands!more
Aug 2023, Anthony L
Quelle expérience inoubliable avons-nous vécue à Xian accompagné admirablement par Fanny ! Par la visite du quartier musulman, armée des soldats en terre cuite, la ville et ses remparts, un spectacle grandiose, etc., Fanny à toujours su nous emmener aux endroits parfaits pour notre famille. Avant d’arriver, j’avais peur que cette ville soit sans intérêt pour mon plus jeune enfant, mais Fanny et China Highlights ont proposé des activités variées pour toute la famille et Fanny savait comment naviguer dans les foules avec notre poussette et fut d’une aide précieuse avec les enfants ! Elle nous a aussi beaucoup aidé à mieux comprendre la ville et son histoire. C'était toujours intéressant de l'écouter. Le logement à Somerset Xindicheng était parfait aussi ! Merci pour tout ! Nous en garderons un mémorable souvenir.more
Aug 2023, Jasmine B
We worked with Kimmi Huang at China…
All the drivers and guides in each city were excellent and really enhanced our experience.we had Jennifer in .Beijing, Mervyn in Xi’an, Chase in Guilin and Kris in Shanghai. If we travel in this region again, will definitely use China Highlights, thanks for an unforgettable trip!more
Aug 2023, Rita Arment
Wonderful two weeks in China
My mom and I visited China for two weeks using China Highlights and had Jennifer (Beijing), Mervyn (Xi'an), Chase (Guilin / Yangshou County), and Kris (Shanghai) as our guides. Our guides were knowledgeable about their local regions and very friendly. Each guide went above and beyond to make our experience memorable and special! Thank you, China Highlights!more
Aug 2023, Annie
Great historical and cultural experience!
Mervyn from China Highlights was very adaptable and friendly during our travels to Xi’an. She was knowledgeable about the Terracotta warriors and told the history in a captivating way. An overwhelming amount of people at the warriors when we visited, but Mervyn directed us expertly. She also gave us great recommendations of places to see and try around our hotel.more
Aug 2023, Annie A
Amazing 2 days in Xian with Jenny
We spent 2 days of our 2 week tour of China in Xian. Jenny was our tour guide and she did an amazing job at making the 2 days very special. In the two days we visited the Terracotta warriors, visited the muslim quarter, Xians old city walls, Tried our hands at both making our own terracotta soldiers and had fun trying to made dumplings. Jenny was incredibly good at her job, knew so much about the history of China/Xian, the terracotta worriers, the muslim quarter and was very happy to share all her knowledge with us. She was also very aware of our needs, ensured we hit the various stops at the right time of day to try and manage the heat. Jenny also found some amazing lunch spots for us and ensured we ate the local delicacies. Super memorable few days in Xian and we will for sure be back. Thank you Jenny for making our time with you so special and memorable!!more
Aug 2023, Sandra
Due ottimi giorni a Xi’An
Due giorni tra le strade di Xi’An, ai guerrieri di terracotta, alla Pagoda dell’oca selvatica e al quartiere musulmano. Jenny, la nostra guida, è stata amichevole, flessibile, ci ha dato tutte le informazioni per capire la storia della zona, ci ha dato molte dritte anche per muoverci in autonomia e ci ha anche guidato tra le specialità culinarie della zona (consigliato il “banchetto di dumpling” e lo street food nel quartiere musulmano). Fantastico! Vale senza dubbio la pena muoversi con un esperto della zona, per apprezzare appieno il tempo nella regione.more
Aug 2023, Maverick G
Another great trip with China Highlights (and Jacob)!
This, our second leg of our three week China Highlights tour, occurred in Xi’An and surrounding area (Muslim quarter and mosque, 14 km bicycle ride on top of the city wall, Terracotta army (got there before the open and had first row views!), Big and Small Wild Goose pagodas and Hangyangling Tomb) with Jiang Jiang (Jacob). He is an excellent, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and attentive guide who had lots of excellent restaurant, local shadow puppet theatre and song recommendations. It was fun to be with joyful and enthusiastic Jacob and his use of a tablet to show us exactly where we were, were going and to illustrate his explanations was also greatly appreciated. Thank you Jason!more
Aug 2023, Axel Rudolph
Xi'an Terracotta Army and Muslim Quarter
I visited Xi'an with China Highlights. Jenny was an amazing tour guide! We visited the Terracotta Soldiers and she knew everything there was to know about them. She also knew the best times and places to get a good view at them in the busy museum. We also took a scenic tour of the Muslim Quarter. Jenny was incredibly welcoming, helpful and funny. I am vegetarian, and so the lunch spot was a brilliant choice- not far from the museum- I had delicious biang biang noodles and also lychee black tea.more
Aug 2023, Stuart
My favorite stop in China
We traveled three weeks throughout China and Xi'an was my favorite place--the history, the noodles, and mostly the people! Our tour guide, Mervin, was a master of navigating the busy tour crowds and ensuring that we got to fully enjoy and appreciate the richness and uniqueness of the area. Our first stop was the Terra Cotta Soldiers and was simply a wonder! Mervin was patient with us and explained the context, construction, and preservation of the soldiers and answered our questions. She is deeply connected to the area and it was incredible to hear her perspectives and family stories. It made for such a special and memorable visit. After the soldiers, we biked the city walls, ate snacks in the Muslim quarter, and feasted at delicious local restaurants that Mervin reserved.more
Jul 2023, Kaila W
Fantastic City, Fantastic Guide!
We had a fantastic time in Xi’An and this was all down to our fantastic guide, Mervvyn. She was very caring, understanding and flexible. Not only that, but she had a vast knowledge of the rich history in Xi’An and shared the information in a brilliant way. We were so lucky to have such a great guide! The hotel that was organised by Maggie was excellent and we really enjoyed our stay there. Thanks so much again to you both, Maggie and Mervvyn!more
Jul 2023, Máirtín P
Two wonderful days
Two wonderful days visiting city wall, Muslim quarter and great mosque, terra-cotta warriors and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Our guide Jenny helps to have perfect days. She also bring us in nice restaurants for delicious lunches. On the second day we also taste the leeches concubine tea.more
Jul 2023, Giancarlo
Thank you to China Highlights for arranging amazing guide Mervyn and driver Mr Liu. Mervyn was friendly, professional, knowledgeable and informative. Her explanations in each museum and historical site were fascinating and amusing. At the end of our two day trip in Xian, she took us to a mosque near Bell tower which was just like an oasis hidden behind the bustling city - so quiet and peaceful. We had a magical experience!more
Jul 2023, Sasha
China, beyond what you hear...
We recently booked with China Highlights and visited few cities in China including Xi An. In Xi An, we were guided by Mervyn through the tour. Mervyn connected with us before we leave Beijing and helped us through our trip until we got to Xi An. At Xi An, she had a detailed plan for our time with many flexible options in case if we wanted to change one to another. Her knowledge and familiarity with the city and culture was so helpful. Also she was so kind and patient and open to explain things in simpler language to kids so kids were engaged in the tour. We mostly enjoyed to try local restaurants, traditional costumes and street foods. Thanks to Mervyn, the experience in this tour and what we learnt was beyond expectations.more
Jul 2023, Shaha R
Great Xi'an Tour with guide Jacob and driver
The customer service was also handled really well. We were delayed quited a lot going through customs, but our driver and guide waited patiently for us even though it was so late at night. Most people who book the tours here only speak English, but since we are bilingual, Jacob, our guide, would tell us information both in Chinese and in English depending on the situation which made learning all the facts about each attraction more fulfilling for us. He was very knowledgeable about every place and had memorised a lot of things that could only be communicated in Chinese that he wouldn't normally need. This just goes to show his talent and passion as a guide to go the extra mile. He was also very flexible with the schedule to accommodate our needs and whenever we were slightly delayed. All in all, him and the driver made our trip much more relaxing and enjoyable and we would recommend this tour and Jacob to everyone who is planning to visit this region of Chinamore
Jul 2023, Faith
Wonderful tour of Xi’An and Terracotta Warriorsa
We spent 2 fantastic days with Jacob in and around Xi’An - biking the city wall, touring the Wild Goose pagoda and Muslim District one day and the Terrcotta warriors the next day. Jacob was full of energy and stories to keep our teen daughters interested and engaged. He was also willing to work with us as Mandarin learners, speaking in both English and Mandarin when we were up for the challenge. We encountered very long lines due to the summer holiday and Jacob navigated them like an expert, adapting our itinerary as needed to minimize waiting times. Jacob’s perspective and prepared photos/slides made it easy for us to understand the context of what we were learning and seeing. I highly recommend China Highlights tours and will use them again when we return to China!more
Jul 2023, Jenna Bollyky
My Xi'an Experience
I visited China for 8 days while on holiday, and 3 days were spent in Xi'an. My guide from China Highlights was Jenny. Jenny did a great job and made sure I had the best touring experience I could have. She was very knowledgeable about the historical sites we visited and she had an obvious pride about her country and its human history.I am very satisfied with this travel agency and the guide who was assigned to me, Jenny. Jenny made sure the itinerary of activities were achieved and I was well taken care of.more
Jul 2023, Charles S
Best Tour of Xi'an with MERVYN!
In June 2023, my family and I took a trip to Xi'an, China. My family and I fell in love with Xi'An, but most of our wonderful experience was curated by our guide Mervyn. We went to see the city wall, and we decided to bike around it. I think that was one of the most memorable things we did on the trip to Xi'an due to the beautiful sights you could see. Mervyn was very knowledgeable about the city and made sure to answer any questions we had. She was always trying to help us whether that was carrying our water bottles or trying to cater to our needs. Because of her, we were able to appreciate the history of the city more. Mervyn was very flexible on our schedule due to our late arrival and us being tired from the travel. We went to see the terracotta warriors and went to an old factory to make our own. This was a very memorable and fun experience. The terracotta warrior museum was very busy but worth the visit. Mervyn gave us the history of the warriors and made sure we got to the front to get a better view. Mervyn was very considerate of our needs and went the extra mile. We needed to exchange our money into RMB, and needed to go to a bank. Mervyn and our driver took us to many banks until we were able to exchange money. We went to the Wild Goose Pagoda and went to a museum. Our original museum was very full and crammed due to the fresh summer break for the Chinese students, so Mervyn was very considerate of how that would affect our experience and took us to a different museum. This museum was very beautiful, and all of the exhibits were explained by Mervyn- needless to say my family and I learned a lot. Additionally, we went to a Buddhist Temple and walked along Guanji Street. My family and I recommend Mervyn as a tour guide for any people who are traveling with children, want to be more knowledgeable of Xi'An and its history, and want to have an attentive, flexible, and cheerful tour guide.more
Jul 2023, Jimena M
Spectacular day in Xi’an
We did the highlights of Xi’an tour and wow what a day from the time Susan picked us up she impressed us with her knowledge and story telling she arranged the most amazing day of cycling on the ancient wall a dumpling banquet and then the amazing terracotta warriors - Susan had planned the day so by the time we got to the main pit we had it to ourselves which let us marvel at these amazing creations. We are truly grateful to Susan for making our trip so special with her stories and tips on how to get around the city. I would highly recommend and we will definitely use China highlights again in the futuremore
Jul 2023, Lorraine
Amazing day seeing Xi’an
We were picked up by our tour guide Susan and right from the start we were impressed by how much knowledge she had. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to Susan tell us all about the history of China, we had a fabulous day starting by cycling on the ancient wall had a beautiful dumpling banquet and then headed to the terracotta warriors. Susan had planed our trip so we skipped the crowds and had a great view of pit 1 with no crowds. The warriors were definitely a highlight of our trip to China and we thank Susan and our driver for making our trip so special and for having a lovely air conditioned car and water on hand. A most memorable trip thanks to Susan I cannot recommend using China highlights enoughmore
Jul 2023, Jonsonwhanau
Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.
Your private guide will be waiting for you in the airport/train station arrivals area. A comfortable vehicle (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you check in.
Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an(4-star)
Wyndham Grand Xian South (5-star)
Xi'an, the eastern end of the Silk Road, your tour starts at the site of the mysterious underground army — meet the life-size Terracotta Army, and you will find the horse are short and small. This is one of the reason that Emperor Wu of Han decided to send the ambassador Zhang Qian to the Western Region-- seek for good steed. It laid the foundation of the silk road.
Then visit a local craftsman in his home — a traditional cave dwelling — where you will learn make a mini terracotta warrior on your own.
After lunch, return to explore unique stalls at the Muslim Quarter and visit the unique Great Mosque, which is an unusual blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture, even the minaret was a Chinese pagoda.
In the morning, have a walk on the ancient city wall. And then pay a visit to Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the Silk Road route。
We will transfer you to the airport to catch your flight to Zhangye.
Tianyu International Hotel (4-star)
Zhangye Hotel (5-star)
After breakfast, you will visit the 'Color Palette Overturned by God' — the Zhangye Qicai Danxia National Geological Park, which is home to the Rainbow Mountains.
After returning to the city, enjoy a local lunch and continue to the oldest tower in Zhangye, the Wooden Pagoda Temple.
Admire the largest reclining Buddha in China at the Giant Buddha Temple.
Drive from Zhangye to Dunhuang. On the way, you will visit a magnificient ancient pass, Jiayuguan Pass. It is the west end of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty and a well-preserved ancient militery fortress. The tall gate tower, the gobi desert, and the mountains ranges in the distance will make you feel that you have traveled back to the powerful Ming Dynasty.
Have a walk on the Hanging Great Wall which is one part of the Jiayuguan military defense system.
Continue to Dunhuang, you are now at a point of vital strategic and logistical importance, being on a crossroad of two major trade routes within the Silk Road network.
Dunhuang Hotel (4-star)
The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (5-star)
After breakfast, start your adventure to the Mogao Caves where you will marvel at the exquisite murals and lifelike sculptures.
If you want to see more murals after visiting the Mogao Caves, we will take you to the Dunhuang Research Academy. There, you can linger over copies of murals created by masters and can copy a sample mural on a mud slab with your own hands under the guidance of the teacher.
Visit the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring in the late afternoon. Ride a camel in the desert and imagine how caravans crossed the desert over 1,000 years ago.
Tip to tailor-make your tour:
The Mogao Caves include 735 caves, and 40 to 60 caves are normally open to the public. A normal visit to the Mogao Caves includes seven caves but, if you would like to see some special caves, we can arrange for you to visit some that are not open to the general public.
These special caves are treasures — they contain important murals and statues, and have made a significant contribution to the study of human culture and art.
In the morning, you will visit the ruins of the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). It is the oldest example of this defensive system in China. Check the ruins and you will find it is different from the Great Wall that you have seen in pictures.
After lunch, board the bullet train to Turpan.
Turpan Friendship Peak Hotel (4-star)
Shuangcheng Hotel (5-star)
The Emin Minaret is particularly beautiful in the morning, with the shadow of the minaret falling across the mosque. Go into the mosque and try to tell the time by checking the position of the sunlight on the wall.
Then go underground to unveil the secret of the Karez Well System. It's a great place to escape from the heat of the sun.
Instead of building from the ground up, the ancient city of Jiaohe was constructed by digging down into the ground. Explore the ruins of this unique ancient city and learn about the different government structures and residential areas.
Turpan is famous for its grapes so visit a local vineyard and relax as you sit under the grapevines.
Visit Tuyugou Village in the afternoon. It is the oldest Uyghur village with a history of 1,700 years. On the way, you will see the Flaming Mountain.
Visit the Turpan Museum before driving to Urumqi. Every cultural relic in the museum shows you a vivid story of the Silk Road.
Go to the Erdaoqiao Market – the biggest bazaar in Urumqi – and be amazed by the dazzling array of goods.
Excemon Xinjiang Yilite Hotel (4-star)
Wanda Vista Hotel (5-star)
After your morning flight from Urumqi to Kashgar, you will start your tour of the westernmost corner of China. Along the Silk Road, Kashgar has been the center of regional trade and cultural exchange for more than two millennia.
Pay a visit to the Id Kah Mosque, the biggest mosque in China. Then walk along the Handicrafts Street, which has an amazing range of handicrafts, including copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, and other types of goods. Have a break at the ancient teahouse, which has a history of over 100 years, and join in with the local people's conversations and dancing.
Luxemon Qinibagh Hotel (4-star)
Radisson Blu Kashgar (5-star)
Drive along the China-Pakistan Highway. Enjoy the seldom-seen scenery of the westernmost point of China.
See one of the best-kept secrets in China: Karakul Lake, a sparkling glacial lake. During the 3-hour drive, you may want to ask the driver to stop so that you can take photos as the scenery is breathtaking. The scenery and lake will draw out your inner photographer.
Snow-capped Muztag Ata and other very tall mountains look like a row of strong guards protecting this land.
Every element of the tour above can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustments for you.
1. Mogao Caves ticket booking:
In order to protect the fragile murals and paintings, the number of daily visitors to the Mogao Caves is restricted and your entrance ticket(s) must be reserved on the official website, which is in Chinese.
Tickets are difficult to get hold of, especially during the tourist peak season (July to October). Although we can guarantee tickets at least 5 days in advance, early booking is still recommended.
2. Extend the Tour
- Lanzhou: add 1 day — BinglingBingling Temple Grotto
- Xiahe: add 1 day — Tibetan culture, the Labrang Lamasery
- Jiayuguan: add 1 day — The Jiayuguan Pass (including Great Walls Museum)
- Shanghai: For international transportation, visit the Bund, the Shanghai Tower and watertowns
In remote cities, such as Kashgar and Turpan, star-rated hotels might not be as good as the same standard of hotels in big cities due to local situations. To provide you with a comfortable experience, we have selected the best possible hotels for you.
China is a huge country, so to make your travel experience more efficient, we usually arrange flights to connect your destinations.
China's high-speed rail network is afast-paced way to travel. We recommend taking high-speed trains for journeys of less than 6 hours to interested customers — please tell us if you are one of them.
5. Overnight Train
This tour includes an overnight train experience. We have arranged a deluxe soft sleeper for you, which means you will have a private compartment with a door and two soft sleepers (bunks) in it. The bunks are each equipped with a pillow and a blanket. All the bedding is clean and sterilized.
If you are traveling in a group with more than two people, we can also arrange normal soft sleepers for you. This is a compartment with four soft sleepers (bunks) to make sure that your group is in one compartment.