10-Day Lanzhou–Xiahe–Zhangye–Dunhuang–Turpan–Urumqi Tour

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.

Bingling Temple
the big Buddha in the cave

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

monks in Labrang Monastery
kids with a monk

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.

the colorful mountains
a bus on the road in the red mountains

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.

Mogao Caves
the Buddhas in the cave

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.

Jiahe Ancient City
old buildings in Turpan

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About China Highlights

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Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"

Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

Day 1Lanzhou Arrival

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.

Day 2Bingling Temple Grottoes

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.

Day 3Vast Grasslands and Labrang Monastery

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.

Day 4Bullet Train to Zhangye, Giant Buddha Temple

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

Day 5The Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

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.

Day 6The Mogao Caves and Singing Sand Mountains

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.

Day 7The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty and a Train to Turpan

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.

Day 8The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe and Turpan City Highlights

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.

Day 9Turpan to Urumqi and Heavenly Lake

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.

Day 10Urumqi Departure

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!

Hotel Selection

—the Icing on the Cake

Boutique hotels are recommended to enrich your travel experience.

Holiday Inn Lanzhou Hotel
Labrang Monastery Hotel

hotel in Dunhuang
FromCNY17,550 / USD2,730 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price Includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling
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