Ethnic Minority and Religious Exploration
10-Day Lanzhou–Xiahe–Zhangye–Dunhuang–Turpan–Urumqi Tour
There are many ethnic minorities living along the Silk Road and they have different customs, cultures, and languages. They live together harmoniously and their cultures interweave and integrate, forming a colorful and diversified Silk Road community. In this tour, you will experience the Han, Tibetan, and Uyghur cultures.
Tour 'Wow' Points
Witness the Wonder of Buddhist Art
Visit the Bingling Temple Grottoes, which can only be accessed by boat.
Chat with Tibetan Monks in Labrang Monastery
Visit the biggest Tibetan Monastery in Gansu Province.It is one of the top 6 Gelug School's monasteries
Meet the 'Color Palette Overturned by God' — the Rainbow Mountains.
Explore the Danxia landform which is a wonder made by the nature force.The colors and the shapes of the mountains make you feel that you are on another planet.
Admire the Valuable Cultural Heritage of the Silk Road
Appreciate the murals and lifelike sculptures in the Mogao Caves. Lose yourself in the beautiful and mysterious legends showed by the murals.
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.
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/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 to check in.
As one of the important cities along the ancient Silk Road, Lanzhou has preserved many cultural heritages. You will visit the Bingling Temple Grottoes, which can only be accessed by boat.
You will be driven to the Liujiaxia Dam and then you will take a fast boat to cross the gorge where you will enter the Bingling Temple Grottoes, which you will discover are above the water. These caves, which stretch for 200 meters, were built during the 3rd and 18th centuries. They are highly valued for their contribution to research into the history of Chinese paintings and the spread of Buddhism during that time.
Drive to Xiahe after the tour.
In Xiahe, you will go to Xiahe and meet some Tibetans who believe in Tibetan Buddhism..
The visually stunning Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism has its most important monastery in Xiahe, Labrang Monastery. If you are lucky enough, you will have the opportunity to walk with a monk and ask him to show you around the halls to explain the stunning works of art housed there.
The view of yaks roaming in the Sangke Grasslands amid green pastures is something to behold. In this area, nomadic people can still be found singing their traditional songs and this is often one of the highlights of any visit to Tibet.
Drive back to Lanzhou in the afternoon.
Take a bullet train to Zhangye in the morning. It is amazing that the bullet train runs through the great Qilian Mountain range
Visit the Giant Buddha Temple in the afternoon. Appreciate the treasures of Buddhism and listen to the stories of a mysterious dynasty in China, Xixia
Visit the 'Color Palette Overturned by God' — the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, which is home to the Rainbow Mountains.
Take the bullet train to Dunhuang in the late afternoon.
After breakfast, visit the enchanting Mogao Caves to marvel at the exquisite murals and lifelike sculptures.
In the late afternoon, as the heat starts to fade away, you will visit the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring. Ride a camel in the desert and imagine how caravans crossed the desert over 1,000 years ago.
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. Once you have entered Turpan, you will find it is quite different from other places in China. Most of the inhabitants are Uyghurs and they believe in Islam.
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, which is one of the three ‘great ancient projects' in China.
Grape Valley is very touristy so, instead, we have arranged for you to visit a local family who runs a vineyard, giving you a taste of the local lifestyle, literally.
Then you will be driven to the ancient city of Jiaohe, an island-shaped plateau situated in Yar Town. It is the largest, oldest, and best-preserved earth-structured city in the world, with a history of almost 2,300 years.
Your guide and driver will transfer 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 but there is also a cable car going up the mountainside for an even better vantage point and some great walking paths.
It's time to say farewell to your memorable Silk Road trip. After a pleasant breakfast, we will transfer you to the airport for the flight back to your hometown or next destination. Bon voyage!
—the Icing on the Cake
Boutique hotels are recommended to enrich your travel experience.