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9 Days Ancient Silk Road Buddhist Culture Tour

Trace the Developeng of Buddhism in China


The Silk Road used to be not only a trade route, but also a Budhist route which had made a great contribution to the development of Buddhism in China. This tour takes you to explore the famous Buddhist sites on the Silk Road, including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Famen Temple, Xumishan Grottes, Giant Buddha Temple, Mogao Grottes, etc.

Highlights of this tour

  • Following the ancient caravans' footprints along the Silk Road sites;
  • Learn about Buddhism culture and history in temple and grottoes;
  • Enjoy amazing desert landscape;

Basic Trip Information

  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Xian / Baoji / Guyuan / Lanzhou / Zhangye / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang
Travel Length:
9 Days 8 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day (Can Be Customized)

Day 1 Xian Arrival

Welcome to Xian! Your tour guide will meet you at the Xian Xianyang Airport. Then be escorted to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to explore the ancient heart of China on your own.

Day 2 Xian ( B,L,D )

After breakfast, drive about 40km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world – Terracotta Warriors and Horses, built by the first emperor Qin Shihuang to protect his afterlife. Over 8, 000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits more than 2000 years until uncovered by local farmer in 1974, forms an ancient military army with complete battle unites, such as infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Qin Shihuang but also the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans.

After lunch, return back 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 and walk leisurely on the well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circle of nearly 14 kilometers. It is followed by a relaxing wandering around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, where you can taste the most delicious Xian food and various snacks, as well as experience local culture.

Optional activities: 1). Take a relaxing cycling on the Ancient City Wall; 2). Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show after a hearty dumpling dinner.

Terracotta Warriors in Xian
Day 3 Xian - Baoji ( B )

In the early morning, your tour guide will pick you up in your hotel, then drive about 150km to Baoji City which is famous for Famen Temple.

Famen Temple, renowned as “the Ninth World Wonder” by UNESCO in 2004, is located in Famen Town, Baoji City, Shanxi Province. 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.

Stay overnight in Baoji City.

Famen Temple
Day 4 Baoji - Guyuan ( B )

Today, after breakfast, you will drive about 5 hours to Guyuan along the northern route of ancient Silk Road. After arrival at Guyuan, enjoy a pleasant lunch, then go to visit the famous Xumishan Grottoes.

Xumishan Grottoes are a bunch of Buddhist caves, ranked in Top 10 Grottoes in China. It is located in the eastern edge of Mount Xumi in Guyuan, Ningxia Province. It was firstly built in North Wei Dynasty, later extended during West Wei, North Zhou, Sui and Tang Dynasties. Different from other grottoes sites which were generally built on a single stone mountain, Xumishan Grottoes scattered on 8 mountains which are connected by rock ladders and bridges. The site's most iconic element is a 65-foot depiction of the seated future Buddha. Summer is the best time to visit Xumishan Grottoes. Spring and Autumn are also recommended. It is not suggested to hike during snow days in Winter.

Xumishan Grottoes
Day 5 Guyuan - Lanzhou - Zhangye ( B )

After breakfast, you will drive about 5 hours from Guyuan to Lanzhou. Once arrival, escort to hotel and have lunch.

After lunch, you can hike up the White Pagoda Mountain. On the top of the hill is the White Pagoda from which you can have a nice view of Lanzhou city. Get down from mountain, then explore the sites along the Yellow River, such as the First Bridge on Yellow River, Yellow River Mother Statues and the Ancient Waterwheels Park.

Lastly, take a high speed train to Zhangye, which will take about 3 hours. After arrival, you will be transferred to check in your hotel in Zhangye city.

Yellow River Mother Statue
Day 6 Zhangye ( B )

After breakfast, you will go to visit the Giant Buddha Temple which is famous for having the largest indoor sleeping Buddha in Asia. This temple was built in Xixia Dynasty(1098), and keeps many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paitings.The Buddha statue was carved by woods with a length of 34.5 meters. His ears are as big as the space which 4 adults can sit side by side. The statue tells the story of Buddha’s Nirvana. The whole Dafo Temple is a large complex with regal arrangements. The Sleeping Buddha is the centrally seated, symmetric buildings situate along the sides.

In the afternoon, drive about an hour to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform. Danxia landform is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape which is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates. The one in Zhangye 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 four viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transfered by interzonal buses from one deck to another.


1. Pack with sun creams, sun glasses, protective clothing and hat to protect from strong sunlight in summer; 2. sunset are the best hours for taking photos which happen around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.

Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After RainGiant Buddha Temple
Day 7 Zhangye - Jiayuguan ( B )

After breakfast, take morning high speed train from Zhangye to Jiaguguan, which will takes about 3 hours.

In the afternoon, drive about 10 minutes to visit the Jiayuguan Fort. Before entering the fortress, take a short 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 grandoise fortress. The fort is farthest fortress of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty. 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.

If time allows and you are interested, you can take an optional visit 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
Day 8 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (B)

Today you will drive about 5 hours to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning.

In the afternoon, visit the magic Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake. 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. 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.

In the evening, you can go out to go for a walk in theShazhou Night Market.

Stay overnight in Dunhuang City.

Echoing Sand Mountains
Day 9 Dunhuang Departure (B)

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 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 extensional visiting.

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

Useful Tips:

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 Caves

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9 Days Ancient Silk Road Buddhist Culture Tour

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