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8 Days Beijing Xian Dunhuang Epic Silk Road Culture Tour from $1314

Silk Road Essential Highlights

1
During 139 B.C~ 129 B.C, the ambassador of West Han Dynasty - Zhangqian’s traveled from Xian (once Chang’an) to Western Regions via Dunhuang broke down the connections barriers between the ancient China, Western Regions and the central Asia, and officially opened the Silk Road. After 757 years later in Tang Dynasty, Master Xuan Zang traveled from Xian, took the Silk Road via Dunhuang, and brought back Buddhism from India after 17 years travelling. Yes, Xian and Dunhuang are two places that you must visit for priority if you want to trace back on the glorious Silk Road. That’s why we created this tour for you in which you can visit the symbolic Silk Road sites, such as Mogao Caves, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Jade Gate Pass, etc. You will travel from Beijing to Xian and Dunhuang to enjoy the convenient and fast transfers of bullet train and flight.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Two meaningful and interesting full days to explore the must-see sites in Beijing, including Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, etc., and hike the Great Wall as well;
  • Visit the world-famous wonder of Terracotta Warriors, and other historical sites in ancient capital city Xian;
  • Take an in-depth visit to Mogao Caves with watching 2 documentary films in modern theater and seeing up to 8 amazing caves with great value;
  • Private tour packaging including flights, high speed trains, hotel, tour guide, transfer, etc.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from $1314
  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 / Xian / Dunhuang
Travel Length:
8 Days and 7 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-BJXDHT-08
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~3 Arrival & Beijing Tour

Two full days and a half day sightseeing covering the grand Tiananmen Square, historical Forbidden City, spectacular Temple of Heaven, man-made wonder Great Wall of China, royal park Summer Palace, traditional Hutong, etc.

Day 4~5 Xian Tour

Take a morning high speed train to Xian, then visit Hanyangling Museum and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, then spend a full day visiting the incredible Terracotta Warriors, leisurely walking on the Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter.

Day 6~8 Dunhuang Tour & Departure

Take a morning flight to Dunhuang from Xian, then go to visit Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains) and Crescent Lake in the afternoon. The next day is to explore the western frontier of Dunhuang modern. On the Day 8, you will have a morning visit to the biggest highlight of Dunhuang - Mogao Caves. The afternoon time is for departure from Dunhuang.

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.

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. 

  • Tiananmen Square Tiananmen Square
  • Forbidden City Forbidden City
  • Summer Palace in Beijing Summer Palace

Day 3 Beijing - 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.)

Next, drive back to Beijing City, and take a short stop at the Beijing Olympic Park to see the magnificent Bird’s Nest and Water Cube from the outside.

  • Temple of Heaven Tour Temple of Heaven
  • Mutianyu great wall The Magnificent Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Bird's Nest Bird's Nest

Day 4 High Speed Train to Xian (B, L)

This morning your tour guide will see you off at the Beijing West Railway Station for a high speed train trip to Xian (about 5 hours). You will be picked up by your Xian tour guide at Xian North Railway Station and escorted to take a half-day Xian tour before checking in your hotel in downtown.

You will have an educational visit to Hanyangling first. Compared with the Terracotta Warriors, Hanyangling is much less crowded so that you can enjoy a quiet lesson in archaeology. Here you can find many mini terracotta figures of not only warrior and horses, but also maidens and other animals. You actually walk on glass over top of the archaeological site, which gives an intriguing perspective. After Hanyangling visit, drive about an hour to visit Da Ci'en Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is the most famous building in the temple. The pagoda, rising to a height of 64.5 meters, was built by the famous Buddhist master Xuanzang to preserve classic scriptures he bought back from India during the early Tang Dynasty. Xuanzang was the prototype character for Tang Seng in the famous Chinese novel “Journey to the West”. (Note: It costs an extra 30 RMB if you want to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda) After (or before) visiting the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, you will be provided a free experience of trying on the Hanfu which is the solemn costume of the emperors and their families, the ministers and the noble in the ancient dynasties of China. Seize this rare opportunity to take some photos to record this unique memory!

Lastly, go to check in your hotel. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.

  • Big Wood Goose Pagoda Big Wood Goose Pagoda
  • Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum

Day 5 Xian Terracotta Warriors and City Highlights Tour (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world - the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, built by the first emperor of China Qin Shihuang to protect him in his afterlife. Over 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits for more than 2,000 years until uncovered by a local farmer in 1974, form an ancient military army with complete battle units of infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Emperor Qin Shihuang but also by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans.

After lunch, return back to Xian take a wonderful stroll on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Enjoy panoramic views of modern Xian while you leisurely examine this well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers. This visit is followed by a relaxing wander around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture.

Optional activities: 1) Take a relaxing cycling on the Ancient City Wall; 2) Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 6 Flight to Dunhuang (B, L)

This early morning, your tour guide will see you off at the airport for your flight to Dunhuang (about 2.5 hrs). Upon your arrival at Dunhuang Airport, our local guide and driver will pick up you and then transfer you to check in 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 which are located in a 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 glider or helicoptermotorcycling, 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. 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.

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.

  • Crescent Lake Never Dry Up Crescent Lake Never Dry Up
  • Riding Camel at Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains) Riding Camel at Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains)

Day 7 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 100 km, 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 Bao, 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.

Nightlife Ideas: 1) Go out to go for a walk in the Shazhou Night Market where you can try some local food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc. 2) Enjoy the fascinating Silk Road Show - Silk Road Flower Rain which is a relaxing feast of unparalleled visual beauty with impressively elaborate dances performed by professional dancers wearing stunning costumes and an incredible set design. 

Useful Tips1) 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 Yangguan Pass
  • Yardang National Geopark in Bright Day of July Yardang National Geopark in Bright Day of July
  • Yumen Pass (Jade Gate Pass) Yumen Pass (Jade Gate Pass)

Day 8 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 Tips1) 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 Mogao Grottoes
  • Mogao Grottoes Giant Buddha in No. 96 Cave Mogao Grottoes Giant Buddha in No. 96 Cave
  • Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center
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8 Days Beijing Xian Dunhuang Epic Silk Road Culture Tour Map

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  • + 4~5 days' vacation to cruise the majestic Yangtze River
    +3 more days to explore all Guilin Highlights (Li River, Yangshuo and Longji)

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