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18 Days Qufu Jinan Xian Silk Road Beijing Tour

Written by Mike HoUpdated Apr. 10, 2024

Hometown of Confucius and Silk Road Tour

This 18-day suggested itinerary covers different elements of China: the hometwon of Confucius, historical heritage sites, natural scenery, unique culture, and ancient Silk Road sites. It makes an ideal tour for first-time visitors who are interested in Confucius and Silkd Road history.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Visit the Hometown of Confucious in Qufu

Hometown of Confucious

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

walking on the Great Wall

Make a Mini warrior with a Local Artisan Family

Learn to make a clay warrior

Explore the Historical Ruins of Silk Road

Silk Road Ruins

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Itinerary Quick Look

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

DAY 1 Beijing Airport to Chengde| Chengde Mountain Resort

Visit Chengde Mountain Resort: Located north of Chengde Prefecture, the Chengde Mountain Resort served as a summer retreat for emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) seeking respite from the heat of Beijing. Covering an expansive area of 564,000 square meters, it is the largest royal garden in China, surpassing even the Summer Palace in Beijing. This destination is not only a tourist hotspot but also a museum showcasing the rich history and culture of the Qing Dynasty.

The resort is beautifully situated around a lake, featuring architectural styles reminiscent of the classical gardens found in the 'South of the Yangtze River' area. The emperors of the Qing Dynasty, inspired by the scenic beauty of places like Suzhou and Hangzhou, constructed and expanded this resort, assigning unique names to the various buildings. Your knowledgeable guide will share the different names given by different emperors. Immerse yourself in the splendor of China's scenery as you explore palaces, pavilions, stages, bridges, lakes, and rocks.

In 1994, Chengde Mountain Resort and the surrounding temples were recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

DAY 2 Chengde to Beijing| Jinshanling Great Wall

Join our guide and driver on a journey from Chengde to Beijing for an unforgettable experience at the Jinshanling Great Wall. Originally constructed during the Ming Dynasty from 1368 to 1389, this section of the Great Wall spans an impressive 140 kilometers. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive from Beijing to Jinshanling.

Renowned for its photogenic allure, the Jinshanling Great Wall is considered one of the most beautiful sections to explore. The walking difficulty is moderate, but if hiking isn't your preference, a cable car is available for a scenic sightseeing experience.

DAY 3 Qufu| the Temple of Confucius

Once you arrive in Qufu, head directly to the Temple of Confucius. This impressive complex is the largest and oldest Confucian temple in China. Explore the serene gardens, beautiful architecture, and various halls dedicated to Confucius and his disciples.

Adjacent to the Temple of Confucius is the Kong Family Mansion. It was the residence of Confucius' direct descendants for several generations. Walk through the ancestral halls, pavilions, and courtyards to gain insights into the life and traditions of the Kong family.

Head to the Cemetery of Confucius, the final resting place of Confucius and his descendants. Stroll through the serene forest and visit the tombs, ancestral tablets, and other monuments that pay homage to this great philosopher.

DAY 4 Xi'an | The Terracotta Army

Unearthed in 1974, the Terracotta Army is a breathtaking discovery not to be missed during your visit to China. This astonishing collection of over 7,000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots stands in full battle formation, serving as the protectors of Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC.

Making Clay Terracotta Warriors

Each figure is meticulously crafted and remarkably unique, showcasing the incredible craftsmanship of ancient China. You can witness the ongoing repair and excavation efforts in the three excavation pits, carefully housed within massive hangars for preservation.

Located just 1.5 hours from Xi'an, a visit to the Terracotta Army also includes access to an excellent museum and an informative film on the fascinating history of these ancient vaults. Remember to bring your camera (no flash) to capture the awe-inspiring sight.

Ensure your comfort during the visit by wearing comfortable walking shoes. Prepare to be amazed as you delve into the history and marvel at this extraordinary archaeological wonder.

DAY 5 Xi'an | Hanfu Experience

Immerse yourself in China's rich cultural heritage by exploring the traditional national costume, Hanfu. Hanfu is the ancient clothing worn by the Han Chinese, the predominant group in China, and holds great significance as a symbol of Chinese civilization.

During this one-hour experience, your knowledgeable guide will take you to an ancient academy, where you'll have the unique opportunity to learn about different styles of Hanfu and ancient etiquette. Discover the long history that dates back to the origins of China itself.

What sets this experience apart is the chance to try your hand at Movable Type Printing, an ancient printing method. Feel the connection with the past as you engage in this hands-on activity.

DAY 6 Zhangye | Danxia National Geological Park (Rainbow Mountains)

Today, you will visit Zhangye, a city in China that boasts an array of unique attractions. Embark on a journey through its diverse landscapes and rich history with the following highlights:

Giant Buddha Temple (2 hours): Located in the southwestern corner of Zhangye, the Giant Buddha Temple is home to China's largest indoor reclining Buddha. Marvel at the serene beauty and intricate details of this magnificent sculpture as you immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the temple.

Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty (30 minutes): Restored in 1926, the Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty stands tall with its nine stories and impressive height of about 40 meters. Considered an architectural gem, this wooden tower is an exquisite example of its kind in China. It once held precious Buddhist relics, adding to its historical significance.

Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park (Rainbow Mountains): Journey to Kangle Township, about 40 kilometers from Zhangye, to witness the breathtaking wonders of the Danxia landforms. These incredible formations are known for their window lattice and palace-like structures, unique to the arid regions of Gansu and Qinghai provinces. A favorite among photographers and nature enthusiasts, the Qicai Danxia landforms present a stunning display of colorful hills, resembling rolling waves of vibrant hues. Prepare to be captivated by the awe-inspiring and magnificent beauty of this natural wonder.

Uncover the secrets of nature and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Zhangye. This memorable journey promises to leave you with lasting impressions of the captivating landscapes and historical wonders found in this enchanting destination.

DAY 7 Jiayuguan Pass | the Ming Dynasty's Great Wall

Uncover the grandeur of the Ming Dynasty's Great Wall at the Jiayuguan Pass, also known as the "First Pass Under Heaven." This awe-inspiring fort, located at the western end of the Great Wall, offers a remarkable glimpse into China's history.

As one of the most magnificent and well-preserved passes among the thousand Great Wall structures, Jiayuguan Pass holds a commanding position, guarding the strategic Gansu corridor between two mountain ranges. Stand in awe of its imposing architecture and imagine the significance of this historic gateway.

Adjacent to the pass, explore the Great Wall Museum, where a treasure trove of artifacts awaits. Delve into the rich history of the world's longest wall as you discover intriguing exhibits and gain insights into the construction and purpose of this iconic structure.

Prepare to be transported back in time as you immerse yourself in the splendor and significance of Jiayuguan Pass. This experience promises a journey through ancient China that will leave you awe-struck and enriched.

DAY 8 Dunhuang| The Mogao Caves

Embark on a guided tour of the renowned Mogao Caves, where you'll discover an extraordinary collection of ancient art. English, German, French, and Japanese speaking guides are available to accompany you during this enlightening journey.

While there are around 30 caves open to the public, the tour typically includes approximately 10 caves carefully chosen to provide a representative glimpse of the remarkable treasures within the complex. Your knowledgeable guide will curate the selection based on their expertise.

Visit the Singing Sand Mountains, an enchanting desert landscape located just 6 kilometers south of Dunhuang. Marvel at the Crescent Spring (Yueya Quan), an oasis nestled between the vast sand dunes. Don't be surprised by the spring's name - despite the arid environment, the pool is miraculously sustained, forming a crescent-shaped lake.

Immerse yourself in the mystique of the ancient Silk Road by embarking on a camel ride amidst the captivating Singing Sand Mountains. Enveloped by the smooth yellow dunes against the vivid blue sky, let your imagination roam as you experience the beauty of this unique landscape. Listen carefully, and you might even hear the singing sands.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Dunhuang Mural Research Institute, where you'll gain insights from experts and delve further into the captivating world of the murals. Take this chance to appreciate and analyze the intricate artwork. Additionally, indulge your creativity by choosing one of the mural samples to create your own facsimile on a mud slab - the same material found in the Mogao Caves. Bring home a personal masterpiece that echoes the legacy of the Mogao Caves.

DAY 9 Liuyuan | Yumenguan Pass

Head to the Yumenguan Pass, one of the western gates of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), is a fascinating site despite being partially damaged by shifting sand dunes. It still manages to showcase its former glory. Visit the Great Wall of Han Dynasty:it was constructed to protect against the nomadic Xiongnu during the period of 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. It stands as a formidable symbol of defense and strength.

DAY 10 Turpan | the Ancient City of Jiaohe

Discover the ancient city of Jiaohe, originally built by the Cheshi people during the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Situated in the Yarnaz Valley, just 8 km (5 mi) west of Turpan, this city was carved out and constructed on a 30-meter-high, 1.5-km-long island in a river. From here, you can admire the surrounding landscape of vineyards, orchards, and the mesmerizing desert and mountains.

Explore the remarkable Karez Wells, an incredible underground irrigation system consisting of wells and channels. Considered one of the three great ancient projects in China, these wells are the lifeline for the fruit and vineyards in this hot, dry desert region. Located near Turpan, the Karez Wells Folk Garden and Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into their history and construction. Don't miss the opportunity to venture underground for a firsthand view.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuyugou Great Canyon, situated 46 kilometers east of Shanshan county, 47 kilometers west of Turpan city, and 13 kilometers southwest of the Gaochang Ancient City. Tuyoq Village, with its traditional vineyards, orchards, and charming narrow streets, captivates visitors as they wander past ancient mudbrick houses and irrigation channels. Take a leisurely stroll to explore the ancient caves carved into the mountainside, some of which still exhibit Buddhist and Nestorian frescoes.

Pass through the Flaming Mountain: The legendary Flaming Mountains, the hottest place in China, serve as a striking backdrop to the oases and captivating landscapes of the Turpan region. These mountains have inspired countless legends and stories, including the famous "Journey to the West." Embark on a journey through this iconic terrain, revealing the rich history of Turpan's ancient civilization and oasis agriculture.

DAY 11 Turpan to Urumqi | Erdaoqiao Bazaar

Don't miss the opportunity to explore the largest market in Urumqi! This bustling bazaar offers a vibrant array of fruits, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets, and more. On Sundays, the market expands even further, providing an even greater variety of goods. Take some time to wander through the charming old streets surrounding the bazaar, especially popular among female tourists looking for traditional Uyghur makeup and cosmetics.

Turpan Museum: Located on Gaochang Road, facing Gaochang Park, the Turpan Museum is a must-visit. It holds the distinction of being the largest museum in Xinjiang, second only to the Museum of Uighur Autonomous Region. With its extensive collection, it offers valuable insights into the region's rich history.

DAY 12 Urumqi to Kashgar | Id Kah Mosque, Kashagar Old Town

Visit one of China's largest and busiest mosques, dating back to the 15th century. Around 10,000 people gather here every Friday for prayers and Quranic study, while daily prayers are conducted five times a day. Remember to remove your shoes before entering the Main Hall, adorned with traditional Islamic pillars, carvings, and rugs. While not compulsory, women are advised to cover their upper arms and legs as a sign of respect. This iconic mosque is an absolute must-visit in Kashgar.

Take a leisurely stroll through the ancient streets of Kashgar's Old Town, transporting yourself back in time to the golden era of the Silk Road. Immerse yourself in the rich history as you explore narrow lanes, encounter remains of the 500-year-old city wall, and soak in the vibrant multi-ethnic atmosphere. The Old Town is a captivating highlight of any visit to Kashgar.

Located near Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street is a treasure trove of unique and handmade goods. From utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments, you'll find a diverse range of items crafted with meticulous care. In Kashgar, where most products are handmade or imported from distant places, it's fascinating to witness artisans crafting copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewelry, and more. Don't miss the chance to visit the ancient teahouse, with over a century of history, where locals gather to chat, enjoy a tea break, and indulge in music and dance.

DAY 13 Kashgar | The Karakul Lake

Embark on a mesmerizing journey to Karakul Lake, a stunning glacial lake nestled at the foothills of the Muztagata Mountains. The lake's crystal-clear waters reflect a spectrum of colors, ranging from light to dark. Notably, it's a highlight along the railway connecting China and Pakistan. Take in the breathtaking scenery and immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

Step into a bustling world of history and culture at the famous Asian Bazaar. This ancient market entices locals and merchants from Xinjiang and neighboring countries like Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. Explore an eclectic mix of commodities, including dried fruits, delicacies, clothing, shoes, leather goods, textiles, rugs, carpets, scarves, souvenirs, and more. While the market is open all week, Sundays are the liveliest, with farmers and traders flocking to town. The Sunday Bazaar is a must-see, offering a vibrant atmosphere with lively bartering, the charming sounds of animal noises, and a chance to witness the livestock trade.

Discover the enchanting beauty of Baisha Lake, also known as 'White Sand' Lake. This reservoir, formed over thousands of years by sands from the Taklamakan Desert, is situated in a windblown corridor. The combination of white sand dunes and the serene blue lake creates a dreamlike and picturesque scenery that will leave you in awe.

DAY 14 Beijing | Beihai Park and Forbidden City

You will visit the Beihai Park, which is a beautifully preserved royal garden with a history spanning nearly a thousand years. Don't miss the White Pagoda (Baita), a lamaist pagoda that offers breathtaking views of the entire Forbidden City, especially on clear days.

Beijing Forbidden City

Once a part of the Forbidden City, Jinshan Park offers a unique perspective on Beijing's history. Climbing the hill here, made from the earth excavated to create the palace moat, rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the Forbidden City and Beijing.

Explore the largest city square in the world. Named after the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) to the north, which separates it from the Forbidden City, the square holds immense cultural significance due to its role in key events in Chinese history. Surrounding the square, you'll find impressive buildings such as the Heavenly Gate, Museums, government buildings, and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.

Discover the Forbidden City via Our Emperor's Tour: Unlike other group tours that only cover a few spots briefly, our Emperor's Tour takes you to 12 carefully-selected places in the Forbidden City. Your expert guide will provide fascinating insights into the city's architecture, history, fengshui, and art. Learn about famous figures from the dynasties and imagine their experiences in this remarkable city, including hardworking emperors, longevous empress dowagers, and talented concubines.

DAY 15 Beijing | Temple of Heaven and Mutianyu Great Wall

Visit the Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist buildings dating back to 1420. Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties came here for annual ceremonies to pray for good harvests. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the park, where locals gather in the morning to sing, exercise, and do tai chi. The park covers 273 hectares in southern Beijing, and you'll have an easy 1-1.5 hour walk (1.5 kilometers) there.

Mutianyu Great Wall (with round trip cable car): Rated as the top section on TripAdvisor, Mutianyu offers picturesque scenery and well-preserved architecture. It's only a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing. To save time, we arrange a round trip on the cable car instead of climbing steps for 40 minutes. Explore the Wall at your own pace, starting from tower 14. The hike between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers is known as the "golden route" and takes about 2 hours to complete. Descend, take a bus, and return to our vehicle.

Tips: For the Mutianyu section, walking sticks are recommended, especially for those with weak legs or balance.

DAY 16 Beijing | Lama Temple and Yuanmingyuan

Experience the vibrant and active Yonghe Lamasery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. Admire the colourful halls and courtyards, as devotees worship and seek good fortune. Don't miss the chance to see the world's largest wooden statue, the Maitreya Buddha, and explore Tibetan exhibitions.

Explore the vast 210-hectare Yuanmingyuan Garden, featuring picturesque lakes and surrounding isles. This former imperial palace hosted various traditional events such as the Dragon Boat Festival and Lantern Sailing Festival. Immerse yourself in its historical glory and natural beauty.

Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony: Located northwest of Beijing, the Summer Palace is China's largest and best-preserved royal park. Discover its stunning landscapes, cultural significance, and notable viewpoints. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride and indulge in the beauty of the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. Please note that certain areas like Longevity Hill and the opera recital area require an additional fee for entry.

Tips: Remember that certain attractions within the Summer Palace, like Longevity Hill and the opera recital area, may require additional payment to enter.

DAY 17 Beijing | 798 Art District and Hutong

Visit 798 Art District (1.5 hours) :Since 2002, the large number ofartists' studios and contemporary art institutions began stationed here,and rented ascale of idle factories,and gradually developed into a gallery, the Arts Centre,artists'studios, design companies, fashion shops, bars and other cateringspace. The 798 Art District has promoted to the nation's largestand most influential internationalarts in recent years.

Hutongs are a maze of historicalleyways with traditional single-story courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing.They are aremnant of the old Beijing. In this tour, you will walk through the narrow alleys,as wellas visitalocal family to discover the traditional lifestyle and how these unique residential houses and culture are protected.You can also ascend the BellTower to have a bird's-eye view of the hutongarea.The total walking distance in this tour is about 800 meters.

Landiao Lavender Garden : Landiao Lavender Garden is right in themiddle of Chaoyang District, close to Beijing's main attractions,and where alot of expats like to live. It is alavender garden and farm where you can enjoy the garden and buy lavender products.

DAY 18 Beijing | Departure

Our guide will transfer you from hotel to the airport.

Tour Price

FromUS5,400 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

Tour code: cht-cx-10

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