This tour will take you to the mysterious and attractive historical Silk Route in old China, where you will visit many historical wonders, Buddhism temples and beautiful ancient Chinese architectures and historical ruins.
You can feel relaxed form the moment you arrive; your guide and driver will be waiting for you and ready to take you to your hotel.
Your tour will start with the spectacular Terracotta Army, still standing to attention guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin. A movie and museum on site, and the insights of your guide, will give you more of understanding of the significance of these findings.
A visit to one of the most famous symbols of Xi'an, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple, gives you a wonderful view of the whole city as you climb this ancient tower. 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!
Lunch is in one of the finest restaurants specializing in Shaanxi cuisine.
After a visit to one of China's best museums, the Shaanxi History Museum, you can stretch your legs on the Ancient City Wall, one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. You can walk or rent a bike, rickshaw or even take an electric cart, with great views of the city on either side.
Good to Know
If the weather is not ideal for riding on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower.
After lunch in a restaurant specializing in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine, you can visit the Forest of Stele Museum.
A visit to the charming Muslim Quarter, and a lunch of various dishes originating from the Tang dynasty, ends your time in Xian.
Your guide will escort you to your flight to Donhuang later on today.
Dunhuang tour starts with visit to the enchanting Mogao Grottos, also known as the Magao Caves and the Caves of the Thousand Buddha, which provide their own guided tours (English, German, French or Japanese speaking). They will unravel the caves system of 492 temples, forming a treasure trove of Buddhist shrines and art work.
After lunch on a popular local restaurant you will get first glimpse of the dunes in the Singing Sand Mountains. The Crescent Spring, which forms a lake between two huge sand dunes. Legend has it that this oasis spring has never dries up. Take the chance to ride on a camel, and imagine what it was like to travel on the Silk Road.
The guide and driver will take you to a section of the Great Wall found in this area before visiting the Yumenguan Pass, once one of the west gates out of the country. It is now eroded by the shifting sands but still magnificent. This area is rich in natural resources, in fact Yumeng Town was the site of China's first oil field.
Our lunch spot is well known for its Sichuan dishes, mutton rolls and hotpot are its specialty. The afternoon is dedicated to Yadan Landform Park, and the rocks molded by the winds to resemble living creatures.
In the evening your guide will take you to board the night train to Turpan.
After early arrival in Turpan you'll be taken to your hotel and later picked up to see some of the ancient sights: Suleiman Minaret, the only ancient Islamic minaret left in China, and the Karez Wells, 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, dry desert communities. Following a lunch in an authentic Uygur restaurant you get to see the vineyards for yourself. The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe, built by the ancient Cheshi people on a river island, is also a good viewing point to the surrounding area.
The Grape Valley is very touristy, so instead we arrange for you to visit a local family who run a local vineyard, giving you a taste of local life, quite literally.
Our guide and driver will take you from Turpan to Urumqi, where the Heavenly Lake awaits you. The view is one of a kind. The snowy peaks of the Heavenly Mountains reflecting on the dazzlingly blue lake surface. A cruise on the Heavenly Lake is one way to appreciate its beauty, there is also a cable car going up the mountain side for an even better vantage point and some great walking paths.
In the morning you will fly to Kashgar, and spend the day experiencing its Islamic culture. A must visit place is Id Kah Mosque, built in the 15th century, where 10,000 people gather at midday on Fridays to pray, and a restaurant nearby which provides authentic Muslim food. Kashgar Bazaar is festooned with traditions and ancient history and has become famous throughout Asia, attracting merchants from as far as Pakistan and Kirghizstan; some tourists come especially to see it. Zhiren Street is an old street where craftsmen still produce their fare. It's easy to lose your sense of time and direction as you wonder this bazaar, but don't worry your guide will lead you through the maze.
Today you will get to see one of the best kept secrets in China: Lake Karakuli, a sparking glacial lake. On the three hour drive you may want to ask the driver to stop for photos, as the scenery is so breathtaking. The scenery and lake draws out the inner photographer, so remember to bring an extra memory card. Besides the breathtaking views another refreshing experience is the uncanny silence and pure air, a beautiful contrast to the bustle of Kashgar.
Our guide and driver will take you to Kashgar Airport to catch a flight, and make sure your check-in goes smoothly.