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9 Days Silk Road Tour with Chengdu Panda & Giant Buddha

Cultural Feast in Sichuan & along Silk Road

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When talking about Chengdu, people always think about Panda. Yes, but actually there are more to explore. Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei, for instance, are known for their majestic and breathtaking landscapes. Having a taste of casual life and spicy food in Chengdu is far more enough, making a trip from Xian to walk along the ancient Silk Road will be fantastic to enrich your China Tour.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Several most important World Heritage Sites in China - “Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area”, “Terracotta Warriors - Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor”, “Mogao Caves”, “Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor”, as well as “Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries”;
  • Awesome experience with interesting activities – panda feeding, Mount Emei hiking, Xian Ancient City Wall cycling, Echoing Sand Mountains surfing…

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from $1438
  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:
Chengdu / Leshan / Emei / Chengdu / Xian / Dunhuang
Travel Length:
9 Days & 8 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-CTCS-09
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~2 Arrival & Chengdu Panda Tour

One full day sightseeing in Chengdu covers Chengdu Panda Base, Wenshu Monastery, Renmin Park and Jinli Old Street.

Day 3~4 Leshan Giant Buddha & Mount Emei

Transfer to Leshan and Emei to visit the World Heritage Site - Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei for two days.

Day 5~6 High Speed Train to Xian & Xian Tour

Visit Jinsha Site Museum to know the mysterious Shu Kingdom before take a high speed train to Xian, the ancient heart of China. Take one and half day to explore Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Muslim Quarter.

Day 7~9 Fly to Dunhuang & Dunhuang Tour

Spend about two days visiting the famous World Heritage Site Mogao Grottoes, then enjoy the beautiful desert landscape at Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake, as well as Yadan National Geologic Park.

Full Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Chengdu Arrival

Ni Hao! Welcome to Chengdu, the hometown of Giant Pandas. Upon arrival, your guide will meet and escort you to your hotel in Chengdu downtown in a private vehicle. The rest of today is free to explore the leisure city on your own.

Optional Activity: In the evening, you can enjoy a delicious dinner of Sichuan cuisine at a local restaurant.

  • Chengdu Hotpot The Typical Sichuan Cuisine - Chengdu Hotpot

Day 2 Chengdu (B, L)

This morning you will make a stirring visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which is not only the most important panda scientific research center, but also dwelling home to more than 100 Giant Pandas. Walk at leisure through the bamboo framed paths, and closely observe giant pandas of different ages eating bamboos, playing with each other, tumbling, climbing trees, etc. Don't miss the chance to visit the most adorable panda cubs in the panda kindergartens. If you are lucky, you may be able to see the precious panda babies in the nursery rooms. There is also a very informative Panda Museum where you can learn more scientific facts about Giant Pandas.

Leaving the panda center, you will be taken to a hidden spiritual Buddhist temple in the bustling downtown of Chengdu - Wenshu Temple. Marvel at the exquisite Buddhist architecture, soak in the reverent atmosphere, and wander on the peaceful paths. Adjacent to the monastery is a small bazaar (Wenshufang) where you can enjoy a leisure stroll through to experience local market and living style.

Chengdu is famous for its relaxing and leisure pace throughout China, which will be proved after a stay in Renmin Park. Sit down, order a pot of Chinese tea, make a casual chat with your friends and watching locals indulging themselves in different kinds of folk entertainment - napping in a lively teahouse, playing mahjong, disco dancing, neck massage, ear cleaning... Next is an impressive trip to the famous Jinli Old Street. Time steals away from you quietly while walking on the lively streets which are full of delicious local snacks, delicate artifacts, interesting folk shows, etc.

At the end, your guide will escort you to your hotel.

Recommended Optional Evening Activities: 1) enjoy a delicious dinner of Sichuan cuisine (or hotpot) at a local restaurant; 2) watch a wonderful performance of Sichuan Opera which includes folk opera, face changing, fire spitting, rolling lights, and other delightful entertainment (usually performs during 20:00~21:30).

  • Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu
  • Sichuan Cuisine Museum Sichuan Cuisine Museum
  • Experience Chengdu local living style in People's Park Experience Chengdu local living style in People's Park
  • Jinlin Street (Foreigner) Take an enjoyable wak in Jinli Old Street

Day 3 Chengdu - Leshan - Emei (B)

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel, then be driven about 2 hours from Chengdu to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Leshan Giant Buddha which is the largest and tallest stone-carved statue of Buddha in the world. It was carved during AD713~803 on a mountain rock cliff by the river, with its head reaching to the mountain top and its feet standing next to the river. The total height is 71m; while the head is 14.7m high and 10m wide, ear is 7meters high, 28 meters between knees and insteps. Its insteps can hold over a hundred people. You may be wondering why such a giant Buddha was built? It is said to have been built to calm the turbulent waters that plagued passing boats and killed many people each year in ancient time. On the right cliff of the Giant Buddha, there is a plank road built along with the Giant Buddha. From the top to foot, the plank road has nine turns, thus it’s called Nine Bends Plank Road. The widest part of the road is 1.45m and the narrowest part is only 0.6m, and there are 217 stone steps in total. You will walk down to the feet of the Giant Buddha for a closer view. Please note you may have to queue up to enter the stone stairway if you visit the Giant Buddha during the busy hours.

After the Giant Buddha visit, drive about 45mins to Baoguo Temple, the biggest temple of Mount Emei at the mountain foot. It has several serene gardens with rare plants, a library of sutras and a huge porcelain Buddha. Another famous historical relic in the temple is the 25-ton bronze Bell, reputedly as the second largest bell in China. While traveling deeper into the temple, you will enjoy different views of Mount Emei.

Lastly, drive to check in your hotel. Have a good rest for tomorrow's Mount Emei trip which has some walkings involved.

Recommended Optional Activity: take a 30 minutes’ sightseeing boat to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the Giant Buddha on the river.

  • Leshan Giant Buddha in summer Leshan Giant Buddha in summer
  • Baoguo Temple at the foot of Mount Emei Baoguo Temple at the foot of Mount Emei

Day 4 Mt. Emei - Chengdu (B)

This morning after breakfast, meet your tour guide and set out for Mount Emei. As one of the few World Heritage Sites of both cultural and natural heritages, Mount Emei is an enchanted combination of lush forest and cultural relics. It is one of the Four Great Buddhist Mountains in China, also the home to 5000 kinds of plants (more than the total species in Europe) and over 2300 kinds of wild animals.

You will first take your private car to the tourist center, then shift on to an Eco-Bus which will take you up to the mountain top area in 1.5~2 hours. Once you reaching at Leidongping (2400m), keep on walking about 30mins along stone steps to the cable car station, along which you will have chance to see the wild monkeys. Take a cable car (about 5mins) up to the Golden Summit (3077m) which is the biggest highlight and very essence of Mount Emei. Once you get to the Golden Summit, the first view appearing in front of you is a towering multi-faced golden statue (48m) of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. Next to the golden statue sits the bronze Huangzang Temple which is the first temple established on Mount Emei whose history can be traced back to 1st century CE. You can stroll around the Golden Summit to explore Buddhist architecture and tradition, and enjoy panoramic view of Mount Emei and surrounding. On clear days, you can even see the snow-clad of Mount Gongga (7556m), Asia’s largest table mountain - Wawu Mountain and winding rivers flowing through Emeishan city. If weather permits, you will have luck to enjoy its magnificent wonder of Cloud Sea. Sightsee around 1.5 hours on the Golden Summit area, then descend by cable car to Leidoping and take Eco-Bus again back to the tourist center. Your private car is ready to transfer you back to Chengdu (about 1.5~2hrs).

Read this if you are a hiking lover:

Above itinerary is classic visit route which is suitable for different ages of tourists. If you want more hiking experience during your trip, please contact your travel consultant to tailor-make the hiking routes according to your time and physical condition. There are routes of 2 hours (Qingyin Pavilion to Wannian Temple), 4 hours (Qingyin Pavilion to Wannian Temple + Leidongping to Golden Summit), one day (Wannian Temple to Leidongping) and 2 days (Qingyin Pavilion to Golden Summit) available.

  • Golden Summit Golden Summit of Mount Emei
  • Stunning scenery of Cloud Sea on Golden Summit Stunning scenery of Cloud Sea on Golden Summit
  • Our dear clients from Singapore on Golden Summit of Mount Emei Our dear clients from Singapore on Golden Summit of Mount Emei

Day 5 Chengdu & High Speed Train to Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, take a meaningful visit to Jinsha Site Museum. Constructed on the Jinsha ruin site which reveals the unique bronze civilization of the mysterious ancient Shu Kingdom (approximately 2900 – 3200 years ago), Jinsha Site Museum conserves the original expansive site for sacrifice as well as numerous ivory tusks and gold artifacts, including the symbol of China Culture Heritage - the Gold Sun and Immortal Bird.

After the tour, you’ll be escorted to Chengdu East Railway Station for a high speed train to Xian (about 3.5~4 hours). Upon arrival at Xian North Railway Station, you will be met by local guide and then transferred to your hotel in Xian downtown. The rest of today is free on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.

  • Jisha Relic Museum Jisha Site Museum

Day 6 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40km 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 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. This visit is followed by a relaxing wander around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture.

Optional activities: 1) Take a relaxing cycling on the Ancient City Wall; 2) Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 7 Xian & Flight to Dunhuang (B)

After breakfast, head to Da Cien Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Big 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.)

After the visit, your guide escorts you to the airport to take a 2 and a half hours' flight to Dunhuang. After arrival, met by local tour guide and transferred to check in  your hotel in Dunhuang.

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.

  • Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Day 8 Dunhuang (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 100km, 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 Yurt, 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.

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 Yangguan Pass
  • Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June
  • Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June

Day 9 Dunhuang & 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 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 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 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 the extra admission fee for each cave. 3. It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.

  • the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang
  • Mogao Caves Mogao Caves
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