Silk Road Photography Tour
6-Day Zhangye and Dunhuang Photography Tour
Zhangye has become a new star destination for photography in recent years, with people traveling there from all over the world to see its marvelous landscapes and colors. In this photography tour, you will have sufficient time to take photos of the Rainbow Mountains, rocky landscapes, desert wonders, and cultural relics.
- Take photos of the Rainbow Mountains, one of world's 25 dream travel destinations as described by many well-known websites.
- Grasp the opportunity to see the Mogao Caves, which might disappear in 50 years.
- Witness the desert wonder — Crescent Moon Spring — and shoot the desert sunset.
- Visit the unique Devil City to capture the shapes and shadows of the Yadan landforms.
- Take photos on the Rainbow Mountains, one of world's 25 dream travel destinations by many well-known websites in the world in 2015.
Awesome Guide and Experience!
We have been travelling through China since the 10th of November. Prior to departing Shanghai, our guide in Xi’an made contact with me to let us know she would meet us at the arrival gate as we took the train from Shanghai, this made me feel super comfortable as we arrived into a completely new city. She let me know the instructions on where to meet her when we get off the train, when we arrived we were greeted by our guide Jenny at the gate.We were then taken to our car, met our driver for the duration of our stay Mr Chu!After arriving at our hotel Jenny helped us checkin and then we dropped our bags off to explore the main square of Xi’an and find some dinner as we arrived in the evening.The next day Jenny met us with our driver Mr. Chu at the hotel reception and took us to visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses followed by Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the afternoon, Jenny’s knowledge and explanation of both these activities were amazing and we learned so much from her. Later that evening she recommended a traditional Chinese show and dumpling banquet which we thoroughly enjoyed.The second day Jenny took us to the Xi’an City Wall where we were able to ride a bike along the top, we then went to a local house and made dumplings for lunch before she accompanied us to the train station where we were sad to say our goodbyes but very thankful for our time with Jenny and Mr. Chu.We are coming to an end of trip, returning to home to New Zealand. If you need a guide who has a great command of the English language, friendly and knowledgeable then please request Jenny as your tour guide through China Highlights!more
Nov 2023, John M
A Truly Amazing Experience
An amazing experience. Given China Highlights’ reputation, I had high hopes for the logistics of the tour. The reality, however, far exceeded my expectations. From arrival to departure, and all points in between, the tour was executed with precision. I stood in awe, gazing at the terracotta warriors; my wife and I strolled along the city wall. The warmth and friendliness of the locals were exceeded only by the knowledge, experience and genuine humanity of our guide, Jenny. China is amazing. While the historic sights are world attractions, I found its people to be the greatest treasure. Thank you China Highlights. Thank you Jenny.more
Nov 2023, Mark W
Amazing experience in Xian
Xian was just amazing. We had a great tour guide, Jenny. Jenny spoke excellent English. Not only was she friendly, she was flexible too. She was able to reschedule our visit to the Terracotta warriors to the following day due to my hubby not feeling too well. She also helped get flu medicine for him. Very knowledgeable in Qin Dynasty history, she certainly made our trip very enjoyable.more
Nov 2023, Dell
Ken was the best guide in Xi’an!
Ken in Xi’an was the best guide we had during our stay in China. He was super knowledgeable and curious, added a bunch of extra tips and information that really helped us understand what we were seeing and meant we made the most of our free time as well as the time with him. Not to mention his English is perfect! We had the most wonderful time thanks to him!!more
Oct 2023, Inspire03097093187
3 nights in Xi’an City
This museum was unbelievable. Everything I had known from a Western point of view was small in comparison to the vast amount of ceramic sculptures. My guide Susan informed me of the history of the making of the warriors and horses. Susan had a good way to explain the details about each warrior and their social status. She explained the kings desires and even about the farmer’s history that came after; that had an effect on the warriors preservation. I would suggest seeing the panorama short film about the history of the warrior for some more detail.more
Oct 2023, Blake Evans
Susan was our Xi-an English guide and she pick us up from the terminal and send us to the Hotel on the day of arrival. She is a very present, soft spoken, helpful during our stay in Xi-an. She brought us to the Ancient City Wall, Terracotta Warriors / Horses and we have lunch at one of the popular Local Restaurant. We also visited the Muslim Quarter, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum. Susan is very well verse in the history of Xi-an and explain to us about the history of Xi-an.more
Oct 2023, John W
An excellent tour around Xi'an with an exceptional tour guide and chauffeur
I was fortunate to travel to Xi'an and visit the historical sites, (terracotta warriors, the big wild goose pagoda a nd the ancient city wall), and places of interest, (the history museum and the muslim quarter). However, what made the two day tour so memorable was the tour guide, Jenny and chauffeur Zhu. Jenny was fantastic;her historical and local knowledge was excellent, her organisational skills were exceptional.We were able to discuss a wide range of subjects, from my point of view a thoroughly lovely person to be around.Everything ran like clockwork.more
Oct 2023, Richard M
Xian and Lhasa - a trip of a lifetime!
Our Xian tour guide, Sherry, took exceptional care of us, guiding us through a peak travel season and some rain with expertise and patience. We learned so much about China's Xian history through her. In Lhasa we were greeted with Sonam's passion for his Tibetan culture and never-ending smile. Our lifelong dream to visit Tibet was made so much better with his guidance and knowledge. Thank you China Highlights for taking such good care of us and for sharing your amazing country with us.more
Oct 2023, Sharon Townshend
Начало Великого Шелкового пути - древняя столица Чанъань
Это была моя вторая поездка в Сиань, который я полюбила еще в свой первый визит в Китай. И вторая встреча с прекрасной древней столицей Поднебесной сделала это чувство еще глубже и сильнее! Большое спасибо нашему замечательному гиду – Вале, консультанту Стелле и China Highlights! Терракотовая армия потрясает масштабностью и искусностью древних мастеров. Возможность соприкоснуться с частью истории великой империи!more
Sep 2023, Антонина К
Great way to see the city
Private tour with China highlights made seeing Xi'an super easy. We saved a lot of time with a private driver, and our guide Jenny took really good care of us, sending instructions for where to meet once getting off the train and made everything feel really safe and easy. She also accommodated a number of last minute changes to our itinerary without batting an eye. She was very patient, knowledgeable and friendly. It was great having a guide who grew up locally in the area to show us around (which is not always the case, from my previous experiences elsewhere). Would definitely recommend!more
Sep 2023, Stephanie N
Mervyn is what we call a perfect tour guide!
Mervyn is what we call a perfect tour guide! She is extremely informative all the way through. She knows hers stuff and she is also enthusiastic, knowledgeable, personable and very willing to help. The whole day was perfect. A great amount of walking and a lots of physical activity ( hiking) and she was all smiling, accommodating and keeping us informative. She was absolutely the best tour guide we've ever encountered in China. Her English is perfect! Everything was so well organized. Her knowledge of the local culture and history is impressive. Fantasticmore
Sep 2023, pdaroundthewrorld
Our tour guide was Mervyn, and she was amazing! She had great knowledge of Xi'an and the silk road, and we learned so many things we didn't know before. The Muslim quarter is a must-see, with so many streets of food. Terracotta warriors were breathtaking. We did a Hanfu experience and enjoyed walking the city at night in our tang Dynasty outfits. We wish we spent more than 2 days here as there's so much to do. Definitely recommend this tour and will be visiting again!more
Sep 2023, Laura A
Thank you Emily!
Even though I couldn’t travel to Xian, Emily was very helpful and created a plan with all that I needed for the trip I wanted to do. Thanks Emily, I hope I would be able to take that trip you so kindly made for us.more
Sep 2023, Nubila González
Two days in Xi’an
What an amazing few days in Xi’an! Our guide Jenny was first class - very knowledgeable and very helpful, she went out of her way to make sure we had the best experience like ordering us coffees & food and booking dinners for us. The highlight was of course visiting the Terracotta Warriors, but we also really enjoyed visiting a local family to make dumplings. Can’t recommend this trip and Jenny enough!more
Sep 2023, Marvin K
Terracotta Warriois and Xi'an City Wall by bike: highly recomended!
We had an amazing experience in Xi'an thanks to China Highlights private day-tour. Our guide, Rocky, organized the day schedule perfectly to make sure we enjoyed in the morning a cool ride on Xi'an City Walls, and then to head to Terracotta Warriors in the afternoon to avoid much crowd. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch at local restaurant, where Rocky helped us to order typical dishes. We would highly recommend it as everything was great: Rocky was very fluent in English and so knowledgeable, car was comfortable and we felt very safe with the driver.more
Sep 2023, Caterina
Viaje a Xian y Josefina como guía
Hicimos un viaje por varias ciudades chinas, entre ellas Xian. Cuando llegamos a la estación de tren nos estaba esperando Josefina, una guía excepcional, hablando un perfecto espa?ol y con una eficiencia y simpatía que nos encantó. Nos llevó al hotel y nos instaló y sus explicaciones fueron abundantes durante las visitas a los guerreros de Terracota, el barrio musulmán, la Gran Mezquita, las murallas y las Torres del Tambor y la Campana así como la Gran Pagoda del Ganso Salvaje y en fin cualquier rincón o lugar al que nos llevó fue una maravillosa experiencia, incluida una impagable clase de como hacer figuras de Terracota que Josefina estuvo filmando pacientemente. Además de todo eso, su cercanía como persona nos hizo sentirnos muy a gusto con ella. Le agradecemos desde aquí todo su trabajo y, especialmente, su detalle personal final. Gracias por todo Josefina.more
Aug 2023, Eco C
Great day tour!
We had a great day with our China Highlights tour guide, Jenny, who was so knowledgeable about Xi’An and the Terracotta Warriors. We really enjoyed learning from Jenny and hearing all about life in China!more
Aug 2023, Great day tour!
A great guide in Xian
We (a family of 4 ) visited Xian. It was such a different world for us. Fortunately our guide Susan was great. She would answer all our questions and also taught us about history in such a way that we never got bored. She even give us fans with the chinese emperors written on them so we would catch up with history all the time. I totally recommend the Xian experience with Susanmore
Aug 2023, A great guide in Xian
Amazing time in Xian
I had an amazing time visiting Xian for two days. Rocky from China Highlights was a wonderful tour guide. He was very knowledgeable about all the historical facts of the Terracota Warriors, The Great Mosque, The Big Goose Pagoda and the Guangren Temple. Even though the places were extremely crowded due to the summer holidays, everything went smoothly as Rocky was well-prepared and organized. He made sure to find a Restaurant that offered vegetarian options and even got me delicious peaches to try. Thanks, Rocky for making my trip to Xian memorable and fun.more
Aug 2023, appachu k
Xi’an Tour China Highlights
Carol Wang put me in touch with Jenny. An amazing a very knowledgable guide. She gave great insight into the history and culture of Xi’an. She also knew the neighborhoods and all the shortcuts to use. A great to experience I won’t forget. If you’re with Jenny you’re in good hands!more
Aug 2023, Anthony L
When you arrive in Zhangye, your private tour guide will be waiting for you at the airport/ train station. A comfortable vehicle will be ready to transfer you to your hotel.
Tianyu International Hotel (4-star)
Zhangye Hotel (5-star)
breakfast and lunch
After breakfast, start your photography tour at the most popular site — the Rainbow Mountains. As the name suggests, the Rainbow Mountains have several belts of color. It looks as though colors have been spilled over the mountains, hence its nickname: 'Color Palette Overturned by God'.
You will spend the whole day there so try different angles at different times of the day. In the morning, the weather is cool and the coloring tends to be blue, whereas in the afternoon the coloring tends to be red under the sun.
Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:
If you like, you can stay in the Rainbow Mountains area from the time it opens until the time it closes (7am–6pm in summer, 7:30am–5pm in winter). If you don't get satisfactory photos while you're there, you can add another day!
breakfast, lunch and dinner
People go to the Rainbow Mountains for their colors and visit Binggou Danxia Landforms area for its rock formations. You will spend the whole day in the Binggou Danxia Landforms area, which is also part of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. Different from the colorful Rainbow Mountains, the Binggou Danxia Landforms display more normal colors but more peculiar shapes.
After you have seen the landforms, you will be driven back to the city to enjoy a local dinner.
Afterward, your guide and driver will take you to the station for your train to Dunhuang. You Dunhuang guide will pick you up at the train station and send you to the hotel.
Dunhuang Hotel (4-star)
The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (5-star)
Optional evening ideas:
Ganzhou Market is the busiest place in the evening in Zhangye. You can enjoy trying various types of local food there. People love to gather there to enjoy barbecues, sweetmeats, noodles, and beer.
Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:
We know that photography needs suitable weather. If the weather is poor, we can help you to revise the itinerary at the last minute.
breakfast & lunch
Your Dunhuang tour guide will be waiting for you at the train station, ready to transfer you to your hotel.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will visit the Mogao Caves , which were built at the edge of the desert between the 4th and 14th centuries. Although you can't take photos in the caves, it's good to have the opportunity to see the original items inside them, and you will have the chance to take photos of murals in another location the following day.
After lunch, go to the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring . Climb to the top of a sand dune to enjoy the marvelous spectacle of the crescent moon-shaped spring lying in the desert. Ride a camel in the desert and imagine how caravans crossed the desert over 1,000 years ago. You can also take photos of a desert sunset.
Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:
The ticket for the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring allows for a second entry into the area. Therefore, if you want to, you can go back to this site again the following day.
breakfast & lunch
In the morning, you will visit Dunhuang Museum, where you can take photos of exquisite murals copied from those in the Mogao Caves.
After lunch, you will be driven to Devil City — Yadan National Geological Park. Devil City is famous for its nighttime sounds and vivid rocks in various shapes that look like animals or world-famous attractions. If you want to, you can stay there until sunset.
Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:
The sunset in the Devil City is highly recommended, witness the sun going down above the vast Gobi Desert, you might feel like you are on another planet.
When you are in the Devil City, you can rent a jeep instead of the official shuttle bus, which will give you more flexibility to explore the corners.
Your guide and driver will take you to the airport to catch your flight and will make sure that your check-in goes smoothly.
Transportation to and from Zhangye and Dunhuang
Domestic airlines and trains can access Zhangye and Dunhuang easily. There are daily flights between Zhangye/Dunhuang and the main cities in China, such as Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Lanzhou. Please tell us your previous/next destination, and we will help you to arrange the transportation.
This tour includes an overnight train experience. We have arranged a deluxe soft sleeper for you, which means you will have a private compartment with a door and two soft sleepers (bunks) in it. The bunks are each equipped with a pillow and a blanket. All the bedding is clean and sterilized.
If you are traveling in a group with more than two people, we can also arrange normal soft sleepers for you. This is a compartment with four soft sleepers (bunks) to make sure that your group is in one compartment.