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 reward by the cultural significance including Tibetan culture, nomad’s 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 either.
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 expand 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. 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./p>
- 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 the Bingling Temple. Firstly, you will arrive at Liujiaxia Dam which is a major hydroelectric dam on the upper Yellow River. Then you will take a yacht on the dam to tour the Bingling Temple. Bingling Temple is a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River. The sculptures, carvings, and frescoes that remain are outstanding examples of Buddhist artwork and draw visitors from around the world.
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 high speed bullet train to Zhangye city from Lanzhou (about 4hrs). 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, 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 sand stones 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 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.
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
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 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.
After visit the Buddha Temple, drive about 220 km (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.
If time allows and you are interested, you can take an optional visit to the Xuanbi Great Wall (Overhanging Wall) which is about 18 km 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
- Giant Buddha Temple
- Great Wall Museum
Day 10 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (B,L)Today's highlights: Yulin Grottoes, Shazhou Night Market
Today you will drive to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning. On route, visit Yulin Grottoes. The forty-two caves house some 250 poly chrome statues and 4,200 square meters of wall paintings, dating from the Tang Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty (seventh to fourteenth centuries).
In the evening, you can go out to go for a walk in the Shazhou Night Market on your own where you can try some local food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc.
Stay overnight in Dunhuang.
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.
- Yulin Grottoes (No. 3 Cave)
Day 11 Dunhuang (B, L)Today's highlights: Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake
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 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 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.
1. During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make a 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 extra admission fee for each cave. 3. It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.
The following attraction is 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. In the summer time, travelers can stay up to around 21:30 to enjoy the cool time and beautiful sky of stars; 2. Get fully prepared for the strong sunlight and high temperatures in the daytime.
- 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 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, 2021.
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.
Thanks for Advise, you also take care of yourself. Hoping we will be in touch, after this episode. You have blessed time, till we contact again.
China is still on our list, but not at this time. We have canceled other trips until a later date. I will contact you when we start making our plans to visit China.
Unfortunately, we will not be visiting China this year. We are very sad. Our daughter was working in Shanghai but had to come back to the U.S. so we will not be visiting her there.
If we decide to plan a trip to China in the future we will certainly contact you.
I hope you remain healthy!
Thank you for your email.
We are being advised not to travel at all in 2020 because of the virus still being a bit of an unknown.
Thank you for your help. We have your details and will be in touch when travel looks less risky.
Dear Mrs. Catherine,
thank you so much for your kind message and for all information!
My family and I are good, we live in Sestri Levante, a small city on the sea, about 50 km from Genoa, and here the situation is good, from May 3 phase 2 will start with some less restrictions.
The situation starts to going better also in Milan, Lombardia and Piemonte but all Italy is “red zone” without transit from one city/region to another city/region
I hope that 2021 will be our Tibet year!
And how are you? I suppose that everything is quite well in your splendid Country.
"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.
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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.
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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!
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