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5 Days Silk Road Tour from Xian to Dunhuang by Flight $828

Best Part of the Ancient Silk Road Culture

1

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

  • Enjoy the fast and convenient flight transfer between Xian and Dunhuang (flight is covered);
  • Visit two of the most important World Heritage Sites in China - Terracotta Warriors in Xian and Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang;
  • Enjoy the spectacular wild Gobi desert landscape and diverse landforms of northwestern China.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from $828
  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:
Xian / Dunhuang
Travel Length:
5 Days and 4 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-CTXD-05
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Xian Arrival & Half Day Sightseeing

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.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum
Day 2 Terracotta Warriors Visit & Leisure City Tour (B, L)

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.

Terra-Cotta Warriors Enjoy a cycling on the Ancient City Wall of Xian Muslim Snack Street
Day 3 Flight to Dunhuang from Xian (B)

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.

Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years Echoing Sand Mountains
Day 4 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.

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.

Yangguan Pass Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June Enjoy the fascinating Silk Road show - Silk Road Flower Rain
Day 5 Mogao Grottoes Exploration & Dunhuang Departure( B,L )

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 well-produced educational documentary movies in the modern theater 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 the 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 Xian Dunhuang Silk Road tour ends!

Useful Tips:

1) It is necessary to make a reservation for Mogao Caves in advance for at least 7 days during peak seasons (May to October). 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 separate admission fee for each cave. 3) It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.

Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center Mogao Caves were constructed on a cliff of Mingshashan Desert Mogao Caves

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