The Silk Road connecting the East and West acted on not only transporting goods, but also transmitting ideas. In fact, it plays an influential role in the spread of Buddhism. The earliest waves of western translators (like Dharmaraksa and Kumarajiva) of Buddhist sutras came to central China via Silk Road 1,600 years ago, and later many Chinese monks (like Fa Xian and Xuan Zang) go to the western regions to bring Buddhist classics and relics via the Silk Road as well.
As Buddhism in China developed gradually, many Buddhist sites such as grottoes, temples, pagodas, etc. along the Silk Road were established, and many of them are preserved now. As it should be, Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. This 9-day tour takes you to follow the ancient dignitaries’ footprints and appreciate the most brilliant Buddhist treasures along the Silk Road from Chang’an (Xian now) to Dunhuang. No matter you are a Buddhist pilgrim or not, the elaborate Buddhist art and unique scenic splendor on this trip are difficult to resist.
We offer all-inclusive private tour packages and this itinerary can be tailormade according to your own needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a unique Silk Road experience.
Day 1 Xian ArrivalXian Airport or Train Station Pick-up
Welcome to Xian! Your tour guide will meet you at Xian Xianyang International Airport (or railway station), then escort you to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.
Arrival Ideas: Xian is only about 2~3 hours flying from majority of big cities in China, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, etc. You can also get to Xian by high speed trains from Beijing (5.5hrs), Shanghai (6-7hrs), Guangzhou (8.5-9hrs), Hangzhou (6.5-7hrs), Pingyao (3hrs), Zhengzhou (2hrs), and so on.
Day 2 Xian (B, L)Today's highlights: Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter
After breakfast, drive about 40 km 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. (Before the Terracotta Warriors Museum visit, you will have a rare opportunity to make a miniature Terracotta Warrior on your own under the instruction of a local potter.)
After lunch, return to Xian to 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. Rent a bike (extra cost: 45RMB) to enjoy a relaxing cycling on the Wall is strongly recommended. The cycling routes and duration are flexible. Feel free to discuss with your tour guide. Leave the City Wall, then go to wander leisurely around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture. Don't miss the Great Mosque of Xian which is a fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic culture, a sacred religious site with huge ancient architectural complex, also a surprisingly quiet land away from the bustling Muslim streets. After the Great Mosque visit, you will be escorted back to your hotel. (If you want to stay more time at the Muslim Quarter for dinner and relaxing, or want to explore the nearby Bell & Drum Towers on your own, please let your tour guide know)
Optional activity: Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after (or without) a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.
- World Famous Terracotta Warriors in Ancient Capital Xian
- Our guests biking on the Ancient City Wall
- Visit Muslim Quarter to Enjoy Some Snacks
- Great Mosque, a fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic culture
Day 3 Xian - Famen Temple - Tianshui (B, L)Today's highlight: Famen Temple
After breakfast, head to Da Cien Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Big 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 Big Wilk Goose Pagoda visit, you will drive about 2 hours to Famen Temple, which is inscribed as “the Ninth World Wonder” by UNESCO in 2004. It was built during late East Han Dynasty with a history more than 1700 years. During Tang and Song Dynasties, Famen Temple was worshiped as Royal Temple. Today Famen Temple is a world famous Buddhist place of pilgrimage because it keeps a finger bone of the Shakyamuni Buddha. The finger bone, together with other many Buddhist treasure relics, is displayed in a fully protected underground palace which is said to be built in Tang Dynasty.
After that, drive back to Xian to catch your high speed train (about 1.5 hours) to Tianshui. Accommodate in Tianshui City.
- The Modern Buddhist Archtiecture in Famen Temple
- The Ancient Pagoda in Famen Temple
- Explore the Home of Buddhism in China
Day 4 Majishan Grottoes (B, L)Today's highlights: Majishan Grottoes, Fuxi Temple
In the morning, you will transfer to visit the famous Buddhist cave - Maijishan Grottoes. Maijishan Grottoes, together with Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes and Dunhuang Grottoes, are known as the "Four Greatest Grottoes in China." Caves were chiseled on a hill shaped like a stack of wheat. The ancient artisans carved more than 7800 Buddhist statues with different colors and size. The largest statue, Dongyan Giant Buddha, has a height of 15.8 meters.
Leave Maijishan Grottoes for the holy Fuxi Temple which was built in Ming Dynasty(1483-1484) to worship the ancient legendary "Fuxi Emperor". Fuxi was very knowledgeable, and created the Eight Diagrams, which made great progress in Chinese civilization.
Drive back to Tianshui City for Accommodation.
- Maijishan Grottoes View
- Fuxi Temple
Day 5 Tianshui - Zhangye (B, L)Today's highlight: Giant Buddha Temple
After breakfast, you will take a morning high speed bullet train to Tianshui City from Zhangye (about 5.5 hours). Enjoy the beautiful landscape along the road. After arrival at Zhangye West Railway Station, you will be met by local tour guide. Let's get ready for trip!
In the afternoon, you will go to visit the famous Giant Buddha Temple which is famous for having the largest indoor sleeping Buddha in Asia. This temple is a large complex with regal arrangements built in Xixia Dynasty(1098), and keeps many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paintings. Its famous treasure is the Sleeping Buddha which is the centrally seated, symmetric buildings situate along the sides. The Buddha statue was carved by woods with a length of 34.5 meters, telling the story of Buddha’s Nirvana. His ears are as big as the space in which 4 adults can sit side by side.
Accommodate in Zhangye City!
- Giant Buddha Temple
Day 6 Zhangye Danxia Sightseeing (B, L)Today's highlights: Binggou Danxia Landform, Zhangye Danxia Landform
Zhangye is famous for its unparalleled Danxia Landforms which is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape formed from red-colored sand stones and conglomerates. Among all the Danxia places in Zhangye, Binggou Danxia Landform Scenery Area and Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park (Linze Danxia) have most significant Danxia landscapes. Today you will go to explore both of them.
After breakfast, you will go to visit Binggou Danxia Landform first which is about 1 hour's driving from Zhangye downtown. Even though just being visited by fewer travelers, Binggou Danxia Landform Scenery Area has its own featured charms. If the Linze Danxia Scenery is a visual feast of colors, then the Binggou Danxia is a great joy to find how the Mother Nature became a sculptor who sculptured the mountains to amazing different shapes, like grand palaces, long corridors, giant pillars, etc. You will hike leisurely about 2 hours to look the spectacular landform closely.
In the afternoon, drive about 30mins to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park which was formed in the pre-Jurassic Age. Thousands of mountains and stiffs stretch like the colorful sunset glow. The barren mountains are covered by a red grit rock stratum. At the same time, some surfaces of mountains appear other colors, such as white, yellow, etc, and form many irregular lines and blocks looking like some abstract oil paintings. There are five viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transferred by park buses from one deck to another.
You won't miss the precious opportunity to enjoy the amazing sunset. Viewing Deck No. 4 is the best location to take sunset of the Danxia Landform. It's better to get there earlier to occupy a good location. After sunset, drive back to Zhangye downtown for accommodation.
Useful Tips: 1) Pack with sun creams, sun glasses, protective clothing and hat to protect from strong sunlight in summer; 2) sunset is the best time for taking photos which happen around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.
- Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After Rain
- Zhangye Danxia Landform Photography
- Binggou Danxia Landform
Day 7 Zhangye - Jiayuguan (B , L)Today's highlights: Jiayuguan Fort, Great Wall Museum, Overhanging Wall
Today, you will drive about 220km (2.5hrs) to Jiayuguan City and check in your hotel. Then you will go to visit "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven", also the westernmost starting point of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty - Jiayuguan Pass. Start your exploration with an education visit to the Great Wall Museum to learn some interesting facts about both the Jiayuguan Fort and Great Wall, including history, old photos, relics, etc. Then enter the gate to explore the grandiose Jiayuguan Fort. It is a complex of towers, city walls and other military buildings covering more than 25,000 square meters. The city wall is nearly 11 meters high, and comprises an outer and inner wall. There are two large gates standing at the east and the west of the inner wall. Walkways lead to the top of the wall, allowing horses to climb up the wall.
In the afternoon, you will go to the Xuanbi Great Wall (Overhanging Wall) which is about 18km away from the Fort. The walls were built on lofty cliffs with incredibly large gradient looking like an overhanging cantilever. Climbing up to higher gives you excellent views of the surrounding land and mountains.
- Jiayuguan Fort
- Great Wall Museum
Day 8 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (B, L)Today's highlight: Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake
Today you will travel to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning. After arriving at Dunhuang city, you will visit Echoing Sand Mountains (Mingshashan). It is said, 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. Your last thing to do for today is the Crescent Lake. 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.
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.
- Glamorous Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains)
Day 9 Dunhuang Departure (B)Today's highlight: Mogao Grottoes
After breakfast, drive about 10 km from the Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two short but well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes. After the movies, take the interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.
Mogao Grottoes is famed as the "Louvre of the East", which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters long 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 the caves (usually 7~8 caves during April~November and 12 caves during December~March) 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 extensive visit.
The rest of today is free for you to catch your flight/train to the next destination. Your Dunhuang Silk Road tour ends!
1. During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make reservation in advance for at least 7 days. 2. 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), you can contact our travel consultants or your tour guide to arrange for you, but you have to pay the extra admission fee for each cave. 3. It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.
- Mogao Grottoes Giant Buddha in No. 96 Cave
- Mogao Caves
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2023.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.45. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.
The trip was marvelous. We have really enjoyed!
It was great. I really enjoyed it!
It was a wonderful trip! Thank you for everything Wonder. Can’t wait to go on another one
Very good trip! Fun and interesting! Tour guides are also very good!
Okay, thanks for an amazing trip, we will definitely be doing more traveling with you.
"Highest Standards of Quality and Honesty" is the core value of each specialized team at China Discovery.
Eveyone in our company is working hard for only one goal, which is to ensure the highest level of service, luxury, and attention to detail from the minute you begin planning your trip, to the day you return home.
Our travel consultants are professional, experienced and responsible, helping you from the very beginning to the end of your China trip!
After sending us an inquiry, one of our travel consultants will get back to you within 0.5~23.5 hrs. In the next few days, he/she will be working closely with you to formulate a customized tour plan, as well as providing professional suggestions based on your travel interests, time, and budget.
Beside, he/she will keep in contact with you during your entire tour in China, continually checking if everything is going well as planned.
We're working at Chengdu Bamboo International Tours, local based in Chengdu.
Our local guide in every destination is not only very friendly, enthusiastic but also very informative and knowledgeable.
Once you arrive in the destination, the patient and punctual guides will pick you up and take you to get under skin of the city at your own pace. By in-depth discovery and explanation, they’ll show you more about the history, culture, customs and authentic local life. Throughout the journey, they're not only expert guides who take care of all the details but also fellow travelers who are dedicated to help you explore in comfort and style.
Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!
Using our private transfer service makes you comfortable, relaxed and worry free all the way!
Our private service includes licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience and air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained cars/vans. Drivers are local, polite, friendly and helpful, taking you to your tourist sites, hotels, airport/train stations in safety. All kinds of vehicle are offered, and yours depends on the size of your group. Usually, we offer sedan cars, SUVs, business vans (MPV) and different types of buses, all with extra space for your luggage.
Our private transfer service guarantees you the highest comfort!
In each destination, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay in a great location!
The hotels we choose are based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot ranging from luxury 5 star, comfortable 4 star to budget 3 star. You could decide where to stay to best suit for your budget and likes. Generally, the hotels have both Western and Chinese breakfast with a wide choices.
If you have already got an ideal hotel, please feel free to tell our travel consultants and they'll book the hotel for you.
Have good sleep in our well-selected hotels in all the destinations of China.
We can satisfy all the dietary requirements no matter you want Chinese local food, western food, vegetarian food or muslin food.
The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.
There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.
All the dining options will satisfy your stomach!
Lanzhou / Zhangye / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Tianshui - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
Xining - Tongren - Xiahe - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
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“Very good experience”
“WONDERFUL 25 DAYS IN CHINA - PRIVATE TOUR”
“Awesome China tour from northeast to southwest”1,570+ Reviews