This tour takes you to travel at your own pace from the Tea Horse Road in northern Sichuan Province where some of China’s most beautiful natural landscape coexisting with Tea-horse history, to the ancient Silk Road in Gansu Province in northwestern China which is the very essence of the entire world Silk Road route. You are rewarded by the cultural significance including Tibetan culture, nomads' life, ancient Buddhist art as well as numerous natural wonders on earth from the most gorgeous lakes and waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou, vast grasslands in Ruoergai to the mighty Yellow River, rainbow mountains of Danxia in Zhangye and beautiful deserts in Dunhuang. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the trip of EVERYTHING!
To make your trip more comfortable, we use the direct flight to transfer from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, private car from Jiuzhaigou to Lanzhou and high speed bullet trains from Lanzhou to Zhangye. It is tailor-made too.
Day 1 Chengdu ArrivalChengdu airport/train station pick up
Welcome to Chengdu, the hometown of the Giant Panda. Your local guide will meet you at the airport/train station and then escort you to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to relax in the panda city on your own.
Arrival Ideas: Chengdu is only about 2~3 hours flying from the majority of big cities in China, such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shanghai, etc. You can also get to Chengdu by high speed trains from Xian (4hrs), Chongqing (1hrs), Guilin (6hrs), Kunming (6hrs), etc.
- Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Day 2 Chengdu - Huanglong - Jiuzhaigou (B)Today's highlight: Huanglong Valley
Today after breakfast, your tour guide will escort you to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to catch your flight to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport (about 1 hr). Upon arrival at Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport, you will be greeted by our local tour guide and driver, then transfer you to Huanglong Valley directly (40 km/1hr).
Situated in the Minshan Mountains in northwestern Sichuan Province, Huanglong Valley has one of three most outstanding examples of travertine lake terraces in the world, which is 3. Kilometers long, lying under the grandiose peak of Xuebao Peak (Snow Treasure Mountain: 5,588 meters) like a yellow dragon. This is how the valley gained the name of Huanglong (Yellow Dragon). The travertine scenery was created by the thousands years of geological evolution, including glacial revolution, terrane movement, chemical reaction, climate changing, etc. At the top (3556 m) of the valley lies the best highlight - Five-Color Ponds consisting of 693 ponds of different sizes, shapes, colors, dazzling like beautiful emeralds. Huanglong Valley is also renowned for superlative sceneries of snow mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, wild forests, etc. as well as an important habitant of Giant Pandas and Snub-nosed monkeys. All these magnificences of nature helped Huanglong gained the title of World Natural Heritage Site in 1992.
It usually takes about 6 hours to hike from the entrance to Five-Color Ponds, then return to the entrance. To save energy and time, you will take a quick cable car directly to the top, and then walk down the valley to enjoy the scenery. After about 3-hour sightseeing in the valley, you will leave the park and drive about 2 hours to Jiuzhaigou to check in your hotel.
Useful tips: 1) some attractions in Huanglong valleys are located over 3500 meters above the sea level, which may cause high altitude sickness for some travelers. You’d better walk at a slower pace. If you feel hard to breathe or headache, you can go to the Oxygen Bars to rest and take oxygen; 2) there is no restaurant in the valley, you can bring some food or snacks, or have lunch after exiting the park.
- Huanglong Five-Color Ponds
- Huanglong National Park Landscape
Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Full Day Exploration (B)Today's highlight: Jiuzhaigou Valley
After breakfast at your hotel, set out for the full-day exploration of Jiuzhaigou National Park. Your guide will accompany you to hop on a sightseeing bus to enter the park to explore the fairyland landscape of Jiuzhaigou.
Having been hidden as a mysterious home to nine Tibetan villages and never been bothered by outsider until the first discovery in the middle 20th century, Jiuzhaigou is a reserve of superb and diverse natural beauty of which the waterfall and plateau lakes are praised as the most stunning waterscape in the world. According to official records, there are up to 114 turquoise pools and lakes, 47 tranquil springs, 17 groups of waterfalls, 11 rapids and 5 beautiful tufa shoals scattering in the three main valleys of Jiuzhaigou, Rize Valley, Zechawa Valley and Shuzheng Valley. They present various color patterns of white, blue, green, turquoise and emerald in different seasons. The visual feast of Jiuzhaigou also expands from waterscape to spectacular jagged alpine mountains, wild forests with multi-colors and many other remarkable natural features.
Visiting Jiuzhaigou Valley is relaxing and enjoyable. There are sightseeing buses running from the entrance to the three valleys with stops near the scenic spots. Travelers hop off the bus, walk along wooden plank roads to enjoy the sights, then hop on another bus to next attractions. Our tour guide will organize your visit route according to your time, energy and crowd level, and accompany you to explore the essence of Jiuzhaigou at a comfortable pace. The classic visit route is to take tourist bus from the entrance to Nuorilang Water Fall first, then transfer to Zechawa Valley to visit the Long Lake and Five-Color Pond, then move to Rize Valley to visit the Panda Lake, Five Flowers Lake, Pearl Shoal, Mirror Lake, etc. Lastly, get back to Nuorilang, and descend along Shuzheng Valley to the park entrance and visit Rhinoceros Lake, Tiger Lakes, Shuzheng Waterfall, Sparkling Lake, etc. on route.
After Jiuzhaigou sightseeing, your tour guide and driver will escort you back to your hotel.
Useful tips: 1) try to have breakfast and enter the park earlier to escape the crowds of tourist groups; 2) wear comfortable walking shoes and seasonal cloths based on your travel month; 3) Buffet lunch is provided in Nuorilang Restaurant (the only restaurant in the valley) but food options are limited. You can also bring some snacks or let your hotel prepare packed food for you if you like.
- Nuorilang Waterfall in Golden Autumn (October)
- Five-flower Lake in Rize Valley
- Five-color Lake in Zechawa Valley
Day 4 Jiuzhaigou Valley - Ruoergai (B, L)Today's highlights: Ruoergai Prairie, Dazha Monastery
After breakfast, leave Jiuzhaigou and drive about 160 km (nearly 4 hours) to Ruoergai County. On Route, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Ruoergai Prairie, and feel free to ask for stops along the way to take photos at safe places. Ruoergai Prairie is famous as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Wetlands in China. It is a vast prairie with marshes, wetlands, valleys, hills in the northwestern Tibetan region of Sichuan Province. The Yellow River and the Yangtze River divide it into two parts. In the east, there are continuous mountains, green peaks, and billows of the forest; in the west, there are vast grasslands, lush wetlands, flocks of cattle and sheep, known as "oasis of Northwest Sichuan Plateau". After arriving at Ruoergai County, check in your hotel and take a rest for a while, then go to visit the Dazha Monastery, a spectacular monastery of Gelug sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism. The temple is large in scale, which combines the architectural features of both Han and Tibetan. There is a library and exhibition hall in the temple housing many ancient scriptures. You can see many devout pilgrims praying around the pagoda outside the main hall where you can also overlook the panoramic view of Ruoergai County and enjoy the beautiful sunset when the days are clean.
- Dazha Monastery in Ruoergai County
- Driving among beautiful Ruoergai Prairie
Day 5 Ruoergai - Huahu Lake - Langmusi (B, L)Today's highlights: Huahu Lake, Langmusi Town
This morning in the morning glory, you will drive about 1 hour from Ruoergai County to visit the brightest star on the Ruoergai Prairie - Huahu Lake (3,468 m) which is a natural Wetland Pond on the vast prairie. This is the best place to watch the wild birds including the rare black Crane. Under the peaceful lake is a vast and unfathomable swamp. Walking along the plank beside the lake, you can enter the middle of the wetland. It is named after a kind of small white flowers blooming around the lake. During June and May, the Lake is colorful with all kinds of blossoms. When the weather is clear and windless, the lake is like a mirror with the reflection of the blue sky and white cloud, which has a sense of the world in the fairy tale, Therefore, it has once named as the most beautiful wetland in China by National Geographic. Sightseeing bus will escort you into the deep area of the prairie, then let you walk on plank roads to enjoy surrounding scenery.
Leaving Huahu Lake, you will keep driving northward about 1 hour to Langmusi which is a small town divided by a river into Sichuan and Gansu part. Nicknamed as "Little Oriental Switzerland", Langmusi is surrounded by grassland, forests and hills. Han, Tibetan, and Hui people live here in harmony and most residents here believe in Tibetan Buddhism and Islam. Stepping into Langmusi, you can feel a strong atmosphere of religion seeing the colorful temples and prayer flags, which also adds a sense of Zen to the primitive nature scene. Staying here, people can easily calm down and find a little peace of mind. Your tour guide will bring you to visit the two most outstanding temples here - Serti Gompa and Kirti Gompa, also enjoy some leisure walk around to enjoy amazing scenery before checking in your hotel in Langmusi town.
- Huahu Lake (Flower Lake) in July
- Beautiful Langmusi Town
- Monks are Unveiling the Buddha at Langmusi
Day 6 Langmusi - Xiahe (B, L)Today's highlights: Sangke Grassland, Labrang Monastery
After breakfast, keep traveling northward to Xiahe of Gansu Province from Langmusi and make a midway visit to Sangke Grassland which is a natural pasture of Tibetan nomads. The grass is lush like a blanket in summer and the cattle and sheep are herding in groups under the blue sky and white clouds. What a pastoral scenery. Every year on July 13th of the lunar calendar, the seven tribes of Sangke region will gather at Sangke Grassland and hold a horse racing festival here.
After about 3 hours' driving, you will get to Labrang Monastery. Spend the rest of today visiting this most famous Esoteric Tibetan Buddhism in the world which is also one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism, the most influential outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is also famous for having the most complete Tibetan Buddhism teaching system in China. The monastery is large in scale and magnificent in architecture style, enshrining a lot of huge Buddha statues and various exquisite sculptures, murals, and magical instruments. Its pilgrimage corridor has over 2000 prayer wheels, as the longest of its kind in the world. In the southwest corner of Labrang Monastery, there is an ancient wooden bridge. Walking crosses the bridge and walking up to the hill, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Labrang Monastery and surrounding.
Accommodate at Xiahe County.
- Labrang Monastery
- Sangke Grassland - a natural pasture of Tibetan nomads
Day 7 Xiahe - Lanzhou (B, L)Today's highlight: Bingling Temple, Liujiaxia Dam
Today you will drive about 6 hours Lanzhou. On route, take a side trip to visit Bingling Temple, a Buddhist cave with a long history of over 1,600 years. First, you will drive about 1.5 hours to Liujiaxia Dam, a big national hydroelectric reservoir on the upper Yellow River. From the dock, you need to take a speed boat to get to Bingling Temple. During the 40-50 minutes’ boat ride, you can see a different section of Yellow River, very limpid and clear unlike the muddy sights seen in Lanzhou, and layered, red-colored huge Danxia landforms along the riverside, without coverage of any plantations.
After getting off from the boat, walk several minutes to the entrance of Bingling Temple. The temple is actually a site of Buddhist grottoes filled with ancient Buddhist frescoes and sculptures caved into the rocks, along a long narrow valley of Yellow River. Dating back to West Qin Kingdom, the cave preserves about 183 caves, 694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures and more than 900 square meters murals. You will tour the most spectacular Lower Temple Area, seeing the 27-meter giant sitting Buddha, many colored Bodhisattvas in different gestures and remaining murals from Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Though some figures have been damaged by earthquakes, erosion, these relics are unquestionably outstanding Buddhist artworks revealing previous Buddhism prosperity and remarkable architecture and carving art of ancient China.
Tips: 1. Bingling Temple in remote mountain area can only be reached by waterway in summer and autumn via Liujiaxia Dam. 2. Additional fees will be charged for visiting special caves. 3.） Be careful when walking up the serpentine plank trail on the cliff.
Accommodate in Lanzhou city.
- Take a boat on Liujiaxia Dam to visit Bingling Temple Grottoes
- Bingling Temple Grottoes
Day 8 Lanzhou - Zhangye (B, L)Today's highlights: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park
After breakfast, you will take a morning train to Zhangye city from Lanzhou (about 5 hrs). Enjoy the beautiful landscape along the road. After arriving at Zhangye West Railway Station, you will be met by a local tour guide. Let's get ready for the trip!
In the afternoon, drive about an hour to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park. The 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 in 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 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 the 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.
1. Pack with sunblocks, sunglasses, protective clothing and hat to protect from strong sunlight in summer; 2. Sunset is the best time for taking photos, which happens around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.
- Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After Rain
- Zhangye Danxia Landform Photography
Day 9 Zhangye - Jiayuguan (B, L)Today's highlights: Zhangye Giant Buddha Temple, Jiayuguan Pass
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 is a large complex with regal arrangements built in the Xixia Dynasty(1098), and keeps many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paintings. Its famous treasure is the Sleeping Buddha, which is centrally seated with symmetric buildings situated along both sides. The Buddha statue was carved by wood 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.
After visiting the Buddha Temple, drive about 220 km (2.5hrs) to Jiayuguan City and check into your hotel. Then you will go to visit "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven", also the westernmost starting point of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty - Jiayuguan Pass. Start your exploration with an educational 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.
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 gradients looking like an overhanging cantilever. Climbing up to higher gives you excellent views of the surrounding land and mountains.
- Jiayuguan Fort
- Giant Buddha Temple
- Great Wall Museum
Day 10 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (B,L)Today's highlights: Yulin Grottoes, Shazhou Night Market
Today you will travel to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning. On route, visit Yulin Grottoes which is known as the "sister caves" of Mogao caves. It is a Buddhist cave temple site located about 160 km east of the oasis town of Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves, and was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage sites as part of the Chinese Section of the Silk Road. There are 43 existing caves in the Yulin Caves, with a total of 5,200 square meters of murals and more than 259 colored sculptures. You can visit up to 6 caves in which you can admire magnificent mural paintings which are believed to be even more beautiful than those in Mogao Caves. There are also 3 “special caves” (No. 2, No. 3 and No. 25) with outstanding art value that you can visit with extra charges.
After arriving at Dunhuang city, check in to your hotel.
Nightlife Idea: go out 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.
- Yulin Grottoes (No. 3 Cave)
Day 11 Dunhuang (B, L)Today's highlights: Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake
After breakfast, drive about 10km 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 following attraction is Mingshashan, the Echoing Sand Mountains. 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.
1) It is necessary to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days for Mogao Grottoes visit during May ~ October when there are usually a lot of visitors; 2) It is not allowed to take photos inside the grottoes; 3) in the summer, travelers can stay up to late night around 21:30 in Mingshashan Scenic Area 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.
Free Time Nightlife Ideas: 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.(Notice: the Silk Road Show is not available during November to middle April of next year. The tickets of the show sell out quickly. If you want to watch the show, please let your travel consultant or tour guide know in advance.)
- Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years
- Echoing Sand Mountains
- Mogao Grottoes
- Mogao Grottoes Giant Buddha in No. 96 Cave
Day 12 Dunhuang Departure (B)Dunhuang airport/train station drop off
Today is free for you until your tour guide see you off at the airport/train station.
Tips: remember to pack all your belongings carefully, and check out your hotel before 12:00 or extra cost may occur.
Today is free for you until your tour guide see you off at the airport/train station.
Tips: remember to check out your hotel before 12:00 and pack all your belongs carefully.
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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 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.
we made it back to Shanghai. It was a great trip even with rain, COVID, and Sophie's personal issues.
we enjoyed the trip very much. Thanks a lot for organizing everything so brilliant it was really fantastic!
Thank you for your help in sorting out my few days ago. I will certainly be asking you for help in the future, now to start thinking about my 10 day break, beginning of April!
We did quite a lot of research for travel agency before heading for our first trip to Lhasa, Tibet; since foreign travelers to Tibet have to purchase a tour. China Discovery did a great job in helping us get the Tibet Tourism Bureau permit, booking our train tickets from Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa; and organizing a private Tibetan guide, Tenzin, and a driver, for our 5 days in Tibet. They also helped us with all Covid-19 safety measures and authorization requirements). Great sceneries and sites, especially Yamdrok Lake, Khambala pass (4800m), Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Deprung Monastery. Our guide Tenzin spoke very well in English and was very helpful.
My suggestion: No need to visit Summer Palace; suggest organizing visit of Yack herd with Nomads in higher plateau and in Snow area. Otherwise, very good and Tenzin was excellent
"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
Lanzhou / Xiahe / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang
Chengdu / Leshan / Emei / Chengdu / Xian / Dunhuang
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“Very good experience”
“WONDERFUL 25 DAYS IN CHINA - PRIVATE TOUR”
“Awesome China tour from northeast to southwest”1,530+ Reviews