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6 Days Beijing to Dunhuang Silk Road Tour by Flight

Find the Legendary Silk Road

1

Where to find the essence of the Silk Road? – Dunhuang in the remote desert of northwestern China. During the ancient times, travelers, traders and artists from China, Europe and Middle Asia gathered in Dunhuang to exchange goods as well as culture of different nations, which made Dunhuang the brightest star along the Silk Road. Today you can still trace the glorious memory of the Silk Road in the hidden grottoes of Mogao Caves and the ancient ruins of the fort passes and great wall in Dunhuang. Since Dunhuang has not many international flights, you can get to Beijing first, then take a flight to Dunhuang to continue your Silk road exploration.

Highlights of this tour

  • Visit the world-famous heritage site of Beijing - the grandiose Forbidden City, royal Summer Palace, tremendous Tian'anmen Square and artistic Temple of Heaven...
  • Enjoy a leisure hiking on Mutianyu Great Wall, a less crowded yet well-preserved segment of the Great Wall;
  • Deepgoing exploration of Mogao Caves with visiting up to 8 great grottoes and watching two helpful documentary films about Silk Road;
  • Trace back the legendary memory of Silk Road at the remote frontiers of China;
  • Marvel at diverse desert and Gobi landscapes around Dunhuang.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from $1109
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Beijing / Dunhuang
Travel Length:
6 Days and 5 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-BJDHT-06
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Ni Hao! welcome to Beijing, the iconic city and capital of China! You will be met by our local tour guide at the arrival hall of Beijing Airport and escorted to your downtown hotel by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of the day is your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby areas, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Arrival Ideals: At present, there are many international and domestic flights to Beijing. Besides, you can take a high speed train to this capital city from Shanghai (5-6 hrs), Xian (5.5 hrs), Guangzhou (8-9.5 hrs), etc.

Modern Face of Beijing
Day 2 Beijing World Heritage Sites Tour (B, L)

After breakfast, start to explore the historical face of Beijing with a brief visit to Tiananmen Square, now the largest city plaza in the world. Tiananmen Gate on the northern side of the square was the site where Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Stepping into the Tiananmen, you will see one of the world’s five most important palaces – the Forbidden City, a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties lived. Pass through various doorways in this magnificent structure to admire the beautiful and well preserved buildings decorated with yellow-glazed tile roofs, white marble bases and splendid colorful paintings.

After lunch, you will go to hop on a rickshaw to experience the Beijing Hutongs - small alleys made by neighboring quadrangle dwellings. Shuttle among different Hutongs to get a feel of the old Beijing life style, visit various antique shops and small boutiques, and truly feel the historical changes of Beijing, also pay a visit to a local family's home in the traditional Hutongs. After Hutong visit, drive to the outskirts of Beijing to spend an enjoyable time in the Summer Palace, the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. Stroll around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges and corridors while feasting your eyes on the vast lotus in Kunming Lake and the colorful paintings in the Long Corridor.

Optional activities: 1) You can watch a wonderful Kungfu Show in the Red Theater (Hong Ju Chang) which usually starts at 19:30; 2) Enjoy the classic Chinese art performance of Beijing Opera at Liyuan Theater between 19:30-21:00. 

Beijing Hutong Rickshaw Beijing Tiananmen Square Summer
Day 3 Temple of Heaven Visit & Great Wall Hiking (B, L)

After breakfast, drive to the imperial site - Temple of Heaven. It was originally used to pay homage to Heaven and pray for harvest, now becomes a bustling place for locals to take part in traditional activities, such as Tai Chi, dancing, kite flying, water calligraphy, etc.

After the Temple of Heaven visit, drive about 70km to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Wall. Visit the Mutianyu, a less crowded yet well-preserved segment of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It will more than live up to all of your expectations! This great wall, linking Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west, was served as the vital military strategic point in the ancient time. Moreover, Mutianyu section is the “longest great wall in China” so far and since protection work is well done here, tourists can now see its original appearance and enjoy the real ancient culture of great wall. Also, spectacular natural scenery in Mutianyu Great Wall always impresses visitors here for its abundant vegetation. You’ll take a cable car to ascend the Great Wall, then hike the most beautiful and interesting part of Mutianyu. It's a wonderful experience to climb up its rising towers to enjoy scenic views and take brag-worthy photos of the wall wriggling along mountain ridges. After the exciting time, descend Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car. (Note: If energy permits, you can hike up or down which takes about 40 minutes to climb steps. Please tell your likes to your travel consultant.)

The majestic Temple of Heaven in Beijing Misty Mutianyu Great Wall
Day 4 Beijing & Take a Flight to Dunhuang (B, L)

This early morning, your tour guide will see you off at the airport for your flight to Dunhuang (about 4 hours). Upon your arrival at Dunhuang Airport, our local guide and driver will pick you up and then transfer you to check in to your hotel. Have a short rest before going to visit Mingshashan which is only about 10 km from the downtown. You will start sightseeing in the middle afternoon when it is not very hot and sunburn is low.

The magic Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains) and Crescent Lake are located in the same scenic area. In the sunny days, the sand mountains echo like Orchestra music even if there is no wind. If you slide from the sand mountains, you can hear the echoing sound clearly. There are many exciting activities for you to try (at your own expense), such as sand skiing, viewing from glide or helicopter, motorcycling, etc. Riding a camel through the desert is very popular. Surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake is a beautiful oasis with some well decorated traditional Chinese architecture, some trees and flowers and a lake that has never dried up and shapes like a crescent moon. Useful Tips: in the summer, travelers can stay up to late night around 21:30 to enjoy the cool time and beautiful sky of stars. It's usually very hot during 12:00~15:00. You can enter the park later when it is not that hot.

After sightseeing, get back to Dunhuang city. 

Optional Mingshashan desert camping experience

If you like, you can camp for a night in the desert of Mingshashan, which will be one-of-a-kind experience to get closer touch with the desert. During the camping, there are a lot of activities and programs for you to have fun, such as sand skiing, desert motorcycle, bonfire party, etc.

Crescent Lake Never Dry Up Riding Camel at Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains)
Day 5 Dunhuang Geology & Silk Road History Tour ( B, L )

After breakfast, you will be taken to explore the remote wild Gobi Desert landscape as well as several legendary historical sites. Drive westwards about 100km, you will firstly arrive at Yumen Pass (Jade Gate Pass) which used to be a military defensive pass as well as an important border for international trading along the ancient Silk Road. It is said that the jadewares from West were imported to China through this gate, which is how the name Yumen was given. About 5 km from Yumen Pass is the Ruin of Great Wall of Han Dynasty which was built to fight against Xiongnu in the ancient time. Keep driving more 80 km, you will get to Yardang National Geologic Park. It is also called Devil City in that you will hear the sound just like the devil screaming when the strong wind goes through the desert. The park is featured Yardang landforms in distinct shapes like Mongolian Yurt, Stone Bird, Peacock and others. Make full use of your imagination, you may find some rocks with some miniatures similar to famed architectures, like the Potala Palace in Tibet, Heaven Temple in Beijing or something else.

Leave Yardang National Geologic Park, and drive along the coming way back to Dunhuang. On route, you will take a side trip to visit Yangguan Pass which was the gate to another branch of ancient Silk Road.

Useful Tips:1) Pack some food and water for the long driving on the desert; 2)get fully prepared for the strong sunlight and high temperatures in the daytime.

Yangguan Pass Yardang National Geopark Looks Like A Fleet from Aerial View
Day 6 Mogao Grottoes Exploration & Dunhuang Departure( B,L )

After breakfast, drive about 10 km from Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes, which will be very helpful when you visit the grottoes. After the movies, take an interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.

Mogao Grottoes is famed as the “Louvre of East”, which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features. There are about 40 common caves opened to the public. In the tourist area, you will be divided into groups by different tour guides who will accompany you to visit 7-8 caves among them with great introduction. After that, if you want to visit more other caves, you can do it by yourselves or follow other tour guides. Besides, there are 10 special caves (with extra fees) available for your extensional visiting.

The rest of today is free for you to catch your flight/train to next destination. Your Beijing Dunhuang Silk Road tour ends!

Useful Tips: 1) It is necessary to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days for Mogao Grottoes visit; 2) It is not allowed to take photos inside the grottoes; 3) If you want to see the Special Caves (excluded in the regular visit, and only open for limited individual visitors or small groups with reservations with extra admission fees), you can contact our travel consultants or your tour guide to arrange for you.

Mogao Grottoes Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center

Recommended Add-on Options

+2 more days to Jiayuguan with an excursion to Yulin Caves

Jiayuguan Pass is about 370 km away from Dunhuang. It used to be the starting point of the ancient Great Wall built during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), also the most important military defensive project guarding the far northwestern area of China because of its strategic location at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor which had been the vital defensive frontier since Han Dynasty (BC 202—220). 

You can travel from Dunhuang to Zhangye by car. Most classic itinerary is to leave Dunhuang in the morning, then drive about 4~5 hours to Jiayuguan with an excursion visit to Yunlin Caves, which is the "little sister" of Mogao Caves. In Jiayuguan, you can spend either a half day tour or a full day visiting Jiayuguan Fortress, Hanging Great Wall and other sites in the region.

Jiayuguan Fort
+2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

Zhangye is located in central Gansu along the Hexi Corridor between Lanzhou and Jiayuguan. It is full of history and legends, and diverse in natural scenery. Here you can see the world famous Rainbow Mountains (the Danxia Landform), beautiful deserts, mysterious canyons, vast grasslands, lofty snow mountains, etc.

You can take an in-depth Danxia landform exploration with morning visit to Binggou Danxia and afternoon visit to Danxia Geopark in the Day 1; On the Day 2, you can visit the Giant Buddha Temple first, then go to visit Matisi Temple. After that, you still have enough time to take a flight or train to next destination.

Zhangye Danxia Geopark - the Rainbow Mountains

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  • +2 more days to Jiayuguan with an excursion to Yulin Caves
    +2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

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