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.
Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.
Amazing Time in Xi'an
On our way to our hotel Jenny arranged dinner to be delivered by the hotel robot (an experience that was a must on the kids list!) before we even checked in, nothing was a problem, everything quickly solved!Jenny's knowledge of Xi'an and its history was also amazing. No question went unanswered, it was such an interesting trip! We'd definitely like to come back and spend a little longer here to see what else there is to do.more
Feb 2024, JenB
Thank you, Shannon. Thank you, Xi,an.
We met our tour guide Shannon in Xi,an and we enjoyed very much our stay. Her good English level and her knowledge of the history of the city made our jorney very memorable. Kind, flexible and patient, she attended all our wishes. We will always be grateful for her work.more
Feb 2024, Man B
Mi esposo y yo, tuvimos la oportunidad de visitar la hermosa ciudad de Xian, la muralla de la ciudad, los guerreros de terracota, el barrio musulmán, todo esto con la mejor guia del mundo mundial!!! Susana, quien aparte de ser super simpática, tiene un gran conocimiento de la ciudad, la historia de los lugares y monumentos y aparte está siempre al pendiente de cualquier cosa que necesites y va más allá par hacerte tener una experiencia excelente, nos quedamos con ganas de regresar. Gracias x todo!!more
Feb 2024, Betty A
Memorable and Great Trip!
Our guide, Jenny, was extremely knowledgeable of the area, history and culture. She addressed our questions and provided additional insights and recommendations for our free time. She was an amazing guide that always checked in and took the extra steps to make the trip special. Jenny definitely made our trip to Xi’an memorable and very special!more
Feb 2024, karolX8974SV
China highlights Xi’An.
I had a wonderful trip to China. Susan was my guide. The history and sights picked were wonderful. The Terracotta Warriors were the highlight of me trip. Susan even helped me get some of the authentic replicas shipped home that arrived at my house just two weeks later. The making of dumplings with Susan’s aunt and neighbor was most memorable as well. Susan also sent pictures of the Chinese New Years Lanterns to me after I arrived home. They were in construction when I was there.more
Feb 2024, Megan S
China Highlights is Excellent
Jenny was the tour guide in Xian, showed us the terracota warriors found in 1974 by a farmer behind a mountain masoleum, with projected ongoing excavations for next 100 years. Made clay model terracota warriors.Jenny is very enthusiastic and bubbly, helped us all the way, from picking up us from train station to dropping us off at the airport.more
Jan 2024, Brahma P
Excellent 2-day Xi'an trip
Xi'an was my last stop in Northern China with China highlights. I have had great experiences with all of my guides but Mervyn was exceptional. Really easy to talk to, wonderfully knowledgeable and was really on top of the details. The timings for entry to and moving venues were really smooth.While in Xi'an, I visited the Terracotta army, the Xi'an museum & , the Muslim quarter and the city walls. All great to see if you come to the city.Mervyn chose some great restaurants with delicious local dishes as well as helping me to try really good snacks and street food in the Muslim quarter.Highly recommended!more
Jan 2024, Sherpa325441
Xian the city where all began!
Our guide (Ken) speak very good English and know a lot, he was very patient and he had no problems with plan changing.We really recommend the private tour, it is very convenient and time saving. You can visit all the places using your private driver without having to wait.more
Jan 2024, Maria V
Great Guide Made Xi’an Extra Special
Our tour guide Jenny was excellent and made our time in her city extra special. Not only was she a wealth of knowledge about Xi’an’s ancient history, she also had insights and great recommendations for local restaurants and places to see based on her own experience. We saw Teracotta Soldiers, the Muslim quarter, a shadow puppet show, the Xi’an museum, and had a dumpling banquet!! Highly recommend China highlights who coordinated our trip to multiple cities in China.more
Jan 2024, Rose A
Susan was our guide and she was really helpful and highly prepared. She gave us all the information about places visited and organized everything in evergreen single details.I highly suggest to choose China Highlights and Susan to discover this Amazing city.more
Jan 2024, Alessandra
Xi’an with Juan!
From the beginning at the airport drive to the hotel, Juan explained us in a perfect Spanish the history of Xi’an. His seemly inexhaustible knowledge about culture and history let us truly enjoy places such as the city wall and the terracota warriors, places whose potential we could have only overseen if gone by ourselves.more
Jan 2024, Diego Gorrón
This is the way to see China
We travelled to China in September/October to visit a relative who lives in Shanghai. He was too busy to show us the sights of China so we decided to use China Highlights. I am so pleased we did. Carol arranged a trip for us to X'ian and back to Shanghai. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth it. We caught the bullet train to X'ian.more
Jan 2024, LDreviews
Susan is great!
Susan is great!She is very knowledgeable about Xi An city and history. We really enjoyed and learned a lot about that city.more
Jan 2024, Tiong-Oen
La ciudad es muy bonita y muy interesante. Nuestra guía Susana fue muy amable y dispuesta a explicar todo lo que vimos y nos ayuda con todas nuestras preguntas.Ella conoce bien los sitios turísticos y nos recomendó muy buena comida. Además ella habla muy buen espa?olmore
Dec 2023, Elizabeth V@elizabethvT7737OK
100% trustworthy and fuss free
While in Xi An, our local guide Mervyn (Yang Ru) was very knowledgeable about the rich history behind the historical sites we visited and she was very professional too. I appreciated their professionalism so much and would highly recommend them to anyone who wants a peace of mind and 99% hands off planning their vacations in China.more
Dec 2023, Ami
Great visit in Xi‘an with Jenny
We covered many different places and sights through which Jenny guided us expertly and efficiently, never wasting time but also never making us feel stressed, always presenting us with a wealth of information and answering all of our questions patiently while we were trying to get a grip on the long history of China.more
Dec 2023, Philippe v
Great tour of Xi’an! Our guide, Mark, was very knowledgeable, very accomodating of all our requests and showed us the main highlights of Xi’an! Trip, transfers and visits all went very smoothly. Loved it and probably will be back to visit again! Thanks Mark! :-)more
Dec 2023, ceccoshani
A Great Introduction to Xi'an
Mervyn was most professional in how she handled the visits to the different attractions in Xi'an. She is knowledgeable about the history and culture of the city and this really helped in the group's appreciation of the place.more
Dec 2023, mobile
Xian Full Day Tour Including Terracotta Warriors
Mervyn is a very good and knowledgeable guide! She came prepared and chock-full of informative & interesting nuggets about the Terracotta Warriors, City Wall and the Drum and Bell Tower.more
Dec 2023, Kee Yun
Expertly Guided Through China's Heart
The itinerary put together was excellent and my guide Mervyn good company, well informed, very committed and flexible. The Warriors visit was great and there are so many other aspects to Xi'an including a great museum, significant Muslim and Buddhist historical sites, cultural shows. great food and markets. Lives up to its description as 'the heart of China'.more
Dec 2023, Patrick
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.