Best Part of the Ancient Silk Road Culture
Without any exaggeration, Xian and Dunhuang are two most important cities along the ancient Silk Road of China. Xian, the ancient capital city, was the most prosperous city in the world and the final destination for the travelers and traders from Europe and Middle Asia during the ancient Silk Road period. While Dunhuang is the place where western and eastern culture melted together and created a great number of art works. This tour leads you to explore the most brilliant culture of ancient Silk Road from Xian to Dunhuang by flight.
Highlights of this tour
Welcome to Xian! Your tour guide will meet you at the Airport/Railway Station, then escort you to take a half-day Xian tour before checking in your hotel in downtown.
You will have an educational visit to Hanyangling Museum 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. (Optional activity: 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 to take some memorable photos in Hanyangling Museum) 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)
Lastly, go to check in your hotel. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.
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. After the 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 activities: Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after (or without) a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.
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 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 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.
After Mingshashan Desert fun, get back to Dunhuang city.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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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.
"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!
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum
Enjoy a cycling on the Ancient City Wall of Xian
Visit Muslim Quarter to Enjoy Some Snacks
Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years
Echoing Sand Mountains
Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June
Enjoy the fascinating Silk Road show - Silk Road Flower Rain
Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center
Mogao Caves were constructed on a cliff of Mingshashan Desert
We are happy to answer your questions.
1. Our travel consultant, Vivien, was outstanding and exceeded our expectations. Due to covid travel restrictions, our trip had to be changed and postponed several times but Vivien dealt with this efficiently and respectfully despite at times having to change plans at the last minute. Without Vivien, we would have cancelled our wonderful trip. Every request we made was met and everything was highly organized and communicated with us downtown to the finest detail. The guides and drivers arranged were excellent and we felt relaxed throughout our trip.Vivien is a credit to the company and an exemplary representative.
2. Our tour guides had excellent English and were very knowledgeable. Especially appreciated was their patience and flexibility as I have a bone disease and often struggle to walk. They let me rest without complaint and went above and beyond in all regards even to Yenny ordering us some sesame rice balls to be delivered to the hotel because I had enjoyed them so much at lunch and Ellen taking us for hotpot for lunch at our request. Nothing was too much trouble.
3. We are leaving China this year and despite not usually using a travel agent when we travel, we hope to return to China in the future and will use China Discovery and hopefully Vivien without a doubt.
Vivien, words cannot express how grateful we are for everything you have done for us to ensure we managed a break away. Personally, we needed a holiday and you provided us with the most amazing trip.
Even though we have never met you and do not even know what you look like, you will hold a place in our hearts forever. You have truly been a blessing and we are eternally grateful for your patience, kind and caring attitude and professionalism throughout the last year.
Thank you so much.
I have attached some photos and you can use these if they are any good as well as our recommendations.
Val and Steve Hart
Yes, thank you Rita, it was great.
We had a nice time in Guizhou. Everything went out well.
No problem we are back in Shanghai now. The trip was wonderful!
We appriciate all of your support for the arrangement of our trip. We had great experience during our stay in Guilina and Yangshuo. We were impressed by our guide, Steven. He is very experienced. We learned a lot from him. Many thanks for arranging our trip and thanks especially for sending Steven as our guide! Guilin was very beautiful and lots to learn. We were very impressed by Steven's professional and imformative guidance, flexibility, and sense of humor. He was perfect in English too. We will definitely recommend him to our friends‼
Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
Xian / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Xian / Zhangye
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“Very good experience”
“WONDERFUL 25 DAYS IN CHINA - PRIVATE TOUR”
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