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10-Day Silk Road Adventures on the China Orient Express (Group Tour)

Silk Road Adventures on the China Orient Express

10-Day Ultimate Cultural Experience via Rail

Itinerary Details

Let the world's unique train – China Orient Express (also known as the Shangri-La Express) – take you to the Silk Road, which dates back to over 1,000 years, to explore the best attractions of the ancient Silk Road in 2019!

With its fabulous design and the intimate services offered on China Orient Express, as well as the various haunting sights along the Silk Road, we promise that you'll be dazzled.

Below is the itinerary for Route B - if you want to do it in reverse, please choose Route A.

Day 1 Arrive in Xi'an

Upon your arrival in Xi'an, your guide will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Xi'an is a city with over 3,000 years of history and it is also the starting point of the ancient Silk Road.

We offer our guests a first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the most remarkable Chinese sites, and a constantly changing room with a view.

You can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining, and elegant surroundings no matter which remote corner of China you choose to explore.

Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)

Restaurant car on China Orient Express Restaurant car on China Orient Express
Twin share cabin on China Orient Express Twin share cabin on China Orient Express
Day 2 Meet the Eighth Wonder of the World: the Terracotta Army
breakfast, lunch, dinner

Have breakfast in your hotel and then you will be driven to the famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.

Be excited to observe Emperor Qin Shi Huang's – China's first emperor – great army of 8,000 life-sized terracotta soldiers and horses in three burial pits.

Afterward, you will continue on to visit the Huaqing Hot Springs at Mount Li. In ancient times, emperors used to go there to bathe and enjoy the scenic beauty. It has become a favorite spa area since the Tang Dynasty.

Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)

Terracotta Warriors Terracotta Warriors
Day 3 See the Beauty of the Ancient Capital of China
breakfast, lunch, dinner

Have breakfast in your hotel before visiting the ancient Xi'an City Wall. It is the most intact ancient Chinese wall in existence, encircling and protecting the old part of Xi'an.

Then proceed to visit the statue at the starting point of the Silk Road and Big Wild Goose Pagoda's North Square, which is the location of one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China.

After a drive of 120 kilometers west of Xi'an, you will arrive at Famen Temple, which was first constructed during the Eastern Han Dynasty and is renowned for storing a veritable finger bone of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Thereafter, you will return to Xi'an ready to watch the marvelous Tang Dynasty Dinner Show at Tang Dynasty Palace. The various savory dishes together with the exciting show are sure to satisfy your appetite, your eyes, and your mind.

At 10pm, you will board the China Orient Express to travel to Tianshui.

China Orient Express

Xian Ancient City Wall Xian Ancient City Wall
Famen Temple Famen Temple
Day 4 See the Mysterious Maijishan Grottoes
breakfast, lunch, dinner

Arrive in Tianshui at 6:30am. After breakfast, you will be driven to Maiji Mountain. The natural scenery of Maiji Mountain is the most beautiful among the famous resorts of grottoes in China.

The Maijishan Grottoes were first constructed in 384 and gradually became one of the large-scale grotto groups in China as well as one of the famous artistic spots in the world due to continuous chiseling and reconstruction throughout more than 10 dynasties.

There are 194 extant grottoes, including more than 7,200 clay and stone statues and frescoes covering an area of 1,300 square meters, which date back between the 4th and 19th centuries.

You will take the China Orient Express train to Jiayuguan at 4:30pm. Have another nice night on the train with wonderful evening and morning views of the local countryside.

China Orient Express

Maiji Grottoes Maiji Grottoes
Day 5 Explore the Western End of the Great Wall
breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, visit Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass), which is the western end of the Great Wall that was built in the Ming Dynasty. It is known as 'the First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven', and is the best-preserved and most magnificent military fort in China.

Then you will be driven for 7 miles to visit the Overhanging Great Wall. It got its named due to hanging on a mountain ridge at an angle of 45 degrees and it resembles a huge dragon.

Holiday Plaza Hotel Jiayuguan or same class (5 stars)

Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass) Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass)
Day 6 Discover the Beautiful Desert Oasis
breakfast, lunch, dinner

After a pleasant breakfast, take this deluxe train to Dunhuang at 10am. We have arranged for Dunhuang experts and professors to introduce this exotic city in detail to you.

After arriving in Dunhuang, you will visit the beautiful Crescent Lake and the Singing Sand Mountains. Crescent Lake is an oasis in the Gobi Desert, surrounded by numerous sand dunes that reach a relative height of 250 meters (820 feet).

The Singing Sand (Mingsha) Mountains were named because of the sound created by the wind whipping off the dunes.

Dunhuang Hotel or same class (3 stars, the best local hotel)

Crescent Lake & Singing Sand Mountains Crescent Lake & Singing Sand Mountains
Day 7 Visit the World Cultural Heritage Site: the Mogao Caves
breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, visit the world-famous Mogao Caves, an area that was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for having 1,600 years of accumulated cultural, architectural, and art treasures. There are 492 cave temples and 45,000 square meters of frescoes remaining there.

According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk had witnessed onsite a vision of 1,000 Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started construction of the caves and this work spanned across 10 dynasties. The Mogao Caves are commonly known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.

At 5pm, you will begin your journey on the China Orient Express charter luxury train to Turpan.

China Orient Express

Statues in Mogao Grottoes Statues in Mogao Grottoes
Mogao Grottoes Mogao Grottoes
Day 8 Arrive in the 6,000-Year-Old City in the Hottest Place in China
breakfast, lunch, dinner

It's a day for sightseeing in Turpan. Visit the Karez Well System at 7am to witness the wisdom of the Uyghur people. The irrigation system is especially designed for its desert location.

If all of these underground channels were connected, the total length would reach more than 5,000 kilometers, so it is regarded as one of the three engineering miracles of ancient China, along with the Great Wall and the Jing-Hang Grand Canal.

Afterward, you will move on to the Flaming Mountains, which is well-known to Chinese people because of the legendary story Journey to the West. It is regarded as the hottest place in China.

Then you will be driven to the ancient city of Jiaohe, an island-shaped plateau situated in Yarnaz Valley. It is the largest, oldest, and most well preserved earth-structured city in the world, with a history of 2,000–2,300 years.

Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)

Karez irrigation system Karez irrigation system
 Jiaohe Ancient City Jiaohe Ancient City
Day 9 Explore Heavenly Lake and a Graceful Prairie City
breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, visit Heavenly Lake of Tianshan by way of a boat tour. The mountain lake is 1,980 meters above sea level and features picturesque scenery of snowcapped peaks.

It is very pleasurable to take a boat trip across Heavenly Lake, which is covered with a layer of magical color, and to hear many beautiful myths and legends. Then head for Urumqi and visit the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar.

Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)

 Heavenly Lake Heavenly Lake
Xinjiang International Bazaar Xinjiang International Bazaar
Day 10 Time to Say Goodbye to Your Unforgettable Silk Road Trip

It is time to say farewell to your memorable Silk Road trip and the unique China Orient Express. After a pleasant breakfast, enjoy some free time until it's time for your transfer to the airport for the flight back to your hometown or next destination. Bon voyage!

Trip Notes

1. This is a group tour, with about 25 travelers per group.

2. Prices are subject to change without any further notice.

3.Gratuities are not included. The current rate for all services is 150 USD per person.

4. Accommodation and tour itineraries are subject to change at any time due to circumstances beyond our control.

5. We reserve the right to distribute passengers who are sharing cabins.

6. Children under 11 years old will be credited the difference on hotel room costs.

Cancellation Policy

A non-refundable 10% deposit per person is required at the time of booking.

A cancelation received 45 days prior to the group departure will result in the forfeit of 25% of the land costs and the deposit.

A cancelation received from 44 to 30 days before the group departure will result in the forfeit of 90% of the land costs and the deposit.

A cancelation received within 30 days before the group departure (including "no shows") will result in the forfeit of 100% of the land costs and the deposit.

After the trip has commenced, we are unable to refund any amount for unused services due to your unwillingness/inability to participate, early departure, late arrival, or missed days on tours.

Tour Price

FromUS 2,799 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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