Silk Road Highlights and China's Gateway Cities
13-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Dunhuang–Urumqi–Shanghai Tour
Tour 'Wow' Points
Witness the Greatest Ancient Project of China
Climb the Great Wall of China and learn about the history of the country's oldest defensive system.
Discover the Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses
Meet the Terracotta Army and make a mini terracotta warrior on your own.
Admire the Valuable Cultural Heritage of the Silk Road
Appreciate the murals in the Mogao Caves and copy one of them on a mud slab by yourself.
Discover the Splendid Ancient City on the Silk Road
Explore the ruins of an ancient city and visit a Uyghur vineyard on the Silk Road.
Experience New China in the Most Developed Metropolis
Experience both the ancient and modern parts of Shanghai in one day.
Why Choose Us
Your Wellbeing is Our Priority.
- 1-to-1 travel expert
- Vaccinated guides
- Private Rides
Your Trip is Perfectly Planned.
- No crowds
- Exclusive Exciting Experiences
Your Booking is Risk-Free.
- No cancellation fee
- Free changes
Finish Your Booking in as Quick as 1 Day
2. Work out your unique plan with 1 to 1 expert advice
What Our Customers Said
Xian 3 day tour
A real cultural&historical impressive 3 day trip to Xi'an, despite the shortening of the actual trip by some days to Covid!However, even with all the challenges, which laid ahead before and during the trip, the flexibility of everyone involved (especially my guide Jenny & my agent Zac) was the key to a memorable journey.This wasn't my first good experience with China Highlights and won't be definitely my last one as you can really take your mind off from the daily grind during those days and just enjoy the scenic spots!more
Oct 2022, Karl Kirchheimer
Hua Shan Hike
Mervyn took me from Xi'anbei Station to the top of Hua Shan east peak, where I stayed overnight to watch the sunrise.It's a magnificent place, best appreciated on days like this without too much crowd, and Mervyn was a fantastic guide.It's not easy being a foreigner travelling around China in these days of covid, but Mervyn made all of that seem easy. And she was a helpful and encouraging presence on the way up, pointing out places of interest and pulling out cans of red bull for when the going got tough!Highly recommended!more
Sep 2022, Paul R
Xian 2022 Trip
Went on a family vacation to Xian and thanks to #chinahighlights my kids and I had a truly enjoyable time. #Christy arranged our tour and #Helen was our tour guide. #Helen did a great job of leading us around the Muslim Quarter, the Terra-cotta Warriors, walking up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, bell and drum towers, riding on the Xian city wall, visiting the Shaanxi History Museum and watching the Legend of the Silk Road show. She was especially knowledgeable of the areas history. The kids and I enjoyed the paper cutting and making terra-cotta warriors out of clay activities as well as watching the Shadow Puppet Show. Despite the COVID restrictions and excessive bureaucracy that now exists for foreigners traveling in China, #Helen did a great job meeting the unique needs of my family and I highly recommend her services.more
Jul 2022, Bryan Stanfield
We highly enjoyed our trip to Xi'an organised by China Highlights and with fantastic support from our guide Helen. Helen stitched together thousands of years of Chinese history throughout our visits to the terracotta warriors, the Xi'an museum and the ancient city walls. Helen gave us many superb food recommendations, in particular Xi'an's thick spinach noodles and the famous Muslim street. The trip was made very straightforward and we were supported at every step of the journey which gave us great peace of mind, even with COVID restrictions. The tour around the city walls by bike was a particular highlight. Helen also recommended the Nearwall bar which is a fantastic place for coffee and craft beer enthusiasts. China Highlights have been very flexible and responsive. We look forward to visiting again with family and friends in future.more
Jul 2022, Michael H
2.5 days in Xian
Helen helped with a quickly arranged Covid test at a local centre to smooth future travel. Next day was the Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Mosque. Amazing history and not too crowded with plenty of time to explore with excellent local restaurant for dumpling lunch . Helen went through loads of background info at each site adding to the experience and assisted with bartering at the markets. The final day required a late switch of museum and to the little wild goose pagoda which Helen organized efficiently and also played museum guide, I’m not sure what she doesn’t know about Chinese history. Helen was also helpful with our individual onward travel plan changes and our obsession with coffee.more
Dec 2021, David P
The best Xi’an experience I could only recommend
Susan (绒绒), my guide for 2 days, explained everything very pleasant in very good English. She has a huge historical know-how and could introduce me into all cultural and historical events connected to the visited places. To complete this journey, always accompanied with a delicious local food. Many thanks to Susan (绒绒), her driver and Chinahighlights for this fantastic experiencemore
Oct 2021, luismK2514FG
Our tour guides were Ann (Zhangjiajie), Ivy (Beijing), Lily (Xi'an) and Cecile (Chengdu). Each one of them was fantastic - attentive to our needs, organized, and made sure all of the details were taken care of. Each one of them adapted to our family's needs as things came up and also adapted to changing conditions -(weather, illness, unexpected closures, delays, etc) so we maximized our time and got the most out of every day. Every guide was knowledgeable and personable.more
Jul 2021, christinajeanne
The support from Christy before the trip was superb. The itinerary was perfectly designed to meet my wishes. I loved every single bit of it. Mervyn, my guide was knowledgeable, kind and friendly and brought an added something to the trip that you just don’t get when you do it all yourself. This was my third itinerary with China Highlights and it didn’t disappoint.more
May 2021, CSA100
Itinerary Quick Look
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 arrivals area. Your vehicle (non-smoking) and driver will be ready to transfer you directly to your hotel.
After breakfast, start your China exploration with the biggest square in the world, Tian'anmen Square, and then go into the Forbidden City. Your private guide will avoid the crowds and take you to explore the hidden halls for a better experience.
Have lunch in a local restaurant and continue your tour with a visit to the hutongs. Take a rickshaw ride and sneak into the narrow hutongs, experiencing the true heartbeat of Beijing.
Not just an imperial temple, the Temple of Heaven is also used as a public park for local people to do their morning exercises nowadays. In the fitness equipment area, you will find seniors who are as good as Olympic athletes.
After lunch, you will be driven to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which has good scenery and fewer visitors. Taking the cable car up and down will save your energy and give you more time to see the Great Wall.
In the morning, wander around the Summer Palace, enjoy the breeze from the lake, and have a look at the imperial theater.
Peking duck is one of the typical foods in Beijing — you will have a Peking duck lunch in our handpicked restaurant before you fly to Xi'an.
Upon your arrival, your Xi'an tour guide will meet you in the arrivals area and escort you to your hotel.
Start your Silk Road adventure in Xi'an — the eastern end of the Silk Road.
Meet the life-size Terracotta Army and explore the huge site of this underground army. Your guide will explain the history and help you to avoid the crowds.
After lunch, visit a local craftsman in his home — a traditional cave dwelling. Learn how to make a mini terracotta warrior on your own.
When you've returned to the city, you will have an opportunity to stand on the ancient city wall and have a great view of the city. Ride a bike to enjoy the breeze.
Visit one of China's best museums, Shaanxi History Museum, and then proceed to visit one of the most famous symbols of Xi'an, Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This Buddhist pagoda was built during the Tang Dynasty and dates back to 652 AD. If there is one pagoda to visit in China, it is this one.
Enjoy a dumpling feast for lunch, pay a visit to the charming Muslim Quarter, and enjoy various dishes originating from the Tang Dynasty for dinner, ending your time in Xi'an.
Your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to Dunhuang later on in the day.
Now, in Dunhuang, you are at a point of vital strategic and logistical importance, being on a crossroad of two major trade routes within the Silk Road network.
Your Dunhuang tour starts with a visit to the enchanting Mogao Caves. Follow your guide and unravel the caves' system of 492 temples, forming a treasure trove of Buddhist shrines and artwork.
After lunch at a popular local restaurant, you will get your first glimpse of the dunes at the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring, which forms a lake between two huge sand dunes. Take the opportunity to ride on a camel, and imagine what it was like to travel in a caravan on the Silk Road.
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 sections that you have seen in Beijing.
After lunch, take the bullet train to Turpan.
You will see some of the ancient sights in Turpan: the Emin Minaret, which is the only ancient Islamic minaret left in China, and the Karez Well System, one of the three 'great ancient projects' in China.
The Karez Wells Folk Garden and Museum explains how the well system makes it possible for the famous orchards and vineyards to exist in these hot and dry desert communities.
Instead of being built from the ground up, the ancient city of Jiaohe was constructed by digging down into the ground. The ruins of the ancient city of Jiaohe, built by the ancient Cheshi people on a river island, provide a good vantage point from which to see the surrounding area.
Your guide and driver will take you from Turpan to Urumqi, where Heavenly Lake awaits you. The view is one of a kind — see the snowy peaks of the Tianshan Mountains reflecting on the dazzlingly blue lake surface. A cruise on Heavenly Lake is one way to appreciate its beauty, and there is also a cable car going up the mountainside for an even better vantage point and some great walking paths.
After breakfast, visit Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum. It is based on Uyghur and Russian styles, and houses a collection of over 1,000 pieces of precious relics dating from four to five thousand years ago until modern times.
Enjoy a local meal for lunch, then visit Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar. The Erdaoqiao Market is the largest bazaar in Urumqi. You'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets, and almost anything that you can imagine.
This ends your Silk Road adventure and your guide will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Shanghai.
As one of the gateway cities in China, Shanghai is considered to be the economic center. First, visit the ancient and traditional part of Shanghai – Yu Garden – and then walk along the Bund to see the combination of ancient and modern aspects of the city.
Your guide will lead you into the oldest building on the Bund where you can seek proof of its history.
After lunch, go up to the top of the highest building – Shanghai Tower – and have a bird's-eye view of the modern city.
Your guide and driver will take you to the airport to catch your next flight, and will make sure that your check-in goes smoothly.
—the Icing on the Cake
Boutique hotels are recommended to enrich your travel experience.