7 Days Ancient Silk Road Treasure Tour from Tianshui

Trip to the Rainbow Mountains and Golden Desert

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Traveling from Tianshui which is famous for Maijinshan Caves to Lanzhou to explore the Mother River of China - Yellow River, then follow the legendary Hexi Corridor to get to the brightest star on the Silk Road - Dunhuang. This is a classic travel route on the China Silk Road. You will visit many historical sites which have existed more than a thousand years, such as Jiayuguan Pass, Mogao Caves, Giant Buddha Temple, etc., and also enjoy unique landscape that you can only see in northwestern China - Rainbow Mountains, Danxia Landform, Yardang Landform, Gobi, desert...

Highlights of this tour

  • Visit two of "Four Greatest Grottoes in China" - Maijishan Grottoes and Mogao Grottoes;
  • Enjoy amazing landscape of Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye and stunning Gobi and desert views in Dunhuang;
  • Witness the magnificent views of Yellow River and learn about Silk Road history in Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou;
  • Explore two famous historical passes - Jiayuguan and Yumenguan in one single trip.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from
  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:
Tianshui - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
Travel Length:
7 Days and 6 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-GST-07B
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day (Can Be Customized)

Day 1 Tianshui Arrival

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Welcome to Tianshui, one of the birth place of Chinese civilization. Your tour guide will pick you up at Tianshui Train Station, and escort you to hotel. Then transfer to visit the famous Buddhist cave - Maijishan Grottoes. The Maijishan Grottoes, together with Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes and Dunhuang Groggoes, are known as the "Four Greatest Grottoes in China." Caves were chiseled on a hill shaped like a stack of wheat. The ancient artisans carved more than 7800 Buddhist statues with different colors and size. The largest statue, Dongyan Giant Buddha, has a height of 15.8 meters.

Leave Maijishan Grottoes for the holy Fuxi Temple which was built in Ming Dynasty(1483-1484) to worship the ancient legendary "Fuxi Emperor". Fuxi was very knowledgeable, and created the Eight Diagrams, which made a great progress in Chinese civilization.

Note: Tianshui can be reached by both high speed bullet trains and normal trains. It takes less 2 hours to get from Xian to Tianshui. Besides, many trains from other cities also stop at Tianshui, including those from Beijing, Taiyuan, Jinan, Chengdu, Guangzhou, etc.

Maijishan Grottoes
Day 2 Tianshui - High Speed Train to Lanzhou (B)

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After breakfast, you will go to Tianshui South Railway Station to take a morning high speed train to Lanzhou.

Arrive at Lanzhou after about 1.5 hours' leisure train ride, then start to explore this beautiful city of Yellow River. You will visit the Gansu Provincial Museum (closed on Mondays) to gain a lesson of the culture and history of the Silk Road. After the museum visit, move to next sight - White Pagoda Mountain. Take a cable car to the top of the mountain where you will visit the Tibetan-style White Pagoda built in Yuan Dynasty, and enjoy a panoramic view of Lanzhou city and Yellow River flowing through the city. Then descend the mountain to the bank of Yellow River where will stroll leisurely to see the First Bridge on Yellow RiverYellow River Mother Statues and Ancient Waterwheels Park.

Lastly, go to check in your hotel in Lanzhou city.

Yellow River Mother Statue
Day 3 Lanzhou - Zhangye (B)

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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.

Tips:

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 RainZhangye Danxia Landform Photography
Day 4 Zhangye - Jiayuguan (B)

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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 FortGiant Buddha Temple
Day 5 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (B)

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Today you will drive to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning. On route, visit the Yulin Grottoes. The forty-two caves house some 250 polychrome statues and 4,200 square meters of wall paintings, dating from the Tang Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty (seventh to fourteenth centuries).

After visiting Yulin Grottoes, keep driving to Dunhuang City.

Yulin Grottoes (No. 3 Cave)
Day 6 Dunhuang Geology & Silk Road History Tour (B)

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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 jade wares 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. The following attraction is the Echoing Sand Mountains (Mingshashan). 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.

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.

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.

Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in JuneCrescent Lake Never Dry UpRiding Camel at Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains)
Day 7 Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes Art Tour & Departure (B)

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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.

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.

Mogao GrottoesMogao Grottoes Feitian (Flying Apsaras)Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center

Recommended Add-on Options

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