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.
Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.
Best Tour Ever
Other highlights are too many to mention but here are a few Ken taking us to the Terracotta Warriors and our food tour in Xian was amazing,more
Feb 2024, Liz Hickson
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
Our guide in Xi'an was Ken. Ken's knowledge of Chinese history is excellent so we were well entertained with the history of Xi'an and China while we were driving to various sites. The main attractions we went to were the Terracotta Warriors, The City Wall and The Big Goose Pagoda. The history behind the sites were well explained to us by Ken and he could answer all our questions. It made the site visits so much more interesting. Ken also assisted us in ordering food and introduced us to local dishes which were all great recommendations. Wish we could have spent more time in Xi'an. Thanks Ken for a memorable trip.more
Feb 2024, ChumSA
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
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.