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2 Days Turpan Essence Tour from Urumqi

The Best of Turpan

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As the lowest point and the hottest spot in China, Turpan delights you with spectacular natural landscape as well as breathtaking cultural splendor. There is vast expansion of desert, lush and exuberant valleys of grape, tenacious desert plants, centuries-old Buddhist caves, perfect earthen structure ruins, breathtaking irrigation system…

This 2-day short tour takes you to enjoy the most time-effective Turpan experience, covering the best of Turpan. Both unique landform and significant cultural wonders will be added into the itinerary to help you enjoy Turpan in a better way.

Highlights of this tour

  • Enjoy the beautifully colored murals on the wall of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves and learn the story behind them;
  • Travel back in time at Tuyoq Valley and savor Uyghur culture, beautiful scenery and mysterious ancient history in Mazar Village;
  • Unlock the mystery of how ancient people wisely created an oasis in the barren desert while exploring the magic Karez System in Turpan City;
  • Discover a disappearing city of earth in its preserved city ruins of Jiaohe.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from Request
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Urumqi - Turpan
Travel Length:
Tour Code:
CD-XTT-02
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Urumqi – Turpan (L)

This morning, you will drive about 3 hours (167 km) from Urumqi to the "fire land" – Turpan. It is China's hottest city, and its highest temperature reaches about 50°C in summer. Besides, it is also an outpost on the Silk Road and a lot of cultural heritage sites can be explored.

As you reach Turpan, you will firstly discover the brilliant project of Karez System. Together with the Great Wall and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Karez System is regarded as one of China’s Three Greatest Ancient Projects. It is a special kind of irrigation system consisting of vertical wells, underground canals, ground canals and waterlogging pond. The vertically dug wells are linked together to channel the water which occurs during summer rain season, or be melted from snow mountains of Tianshan range to desired farmlands in the desert area. Visiting Turpan Karez Museum, you will not only see the pictures and models detailing the history of Karez System, but also visit the real underground tunnels.

Next, turn to Turpan Museum, an informative museum with great collections as well as a good place to avoid summer heat. The first floor has exhibits (like dinosaur fossils, terracotta figurines, clothing, utensils, weapons…) from prehistoric ages to the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907) in the history of Turpan. There are also many Silk Road displays from which you will understand why Turpan plays a crucial role on the Silk Road for trading, water and agriculture. Getting to the second floor, you will be awed at the millennia-old mummies well-preserved as to how they were found in their tombs.

Your last stop is the famous relic - Jiaohe Ancient City - an ancient city that was strategically located along the ancient Silk Road. Perching on a plateau, it acted as a natural barrier from the attacking enemies in the old times. Now, it is renowned as the best-preserved earthen architecture in the world. The interesting sculptures, videos and some other displays in Jiaohe Cultural Village Museum will give you an appreciation of the history of Jiaohe City before you start exploring. Then, take a shuttle bus to the core scenic area. Walking up along the pathway uphill, you can see many historical structural remains, including the residential area, official area and Buddhist temples. It is also available to walk to the central platform for a more awesome view of the whole park. When the night drops, you will feast on a breathtaking sunrise over the ruins.

Accommodate in Turpan this night.

Warm Tips: 1) It is available to start your trip from Turpan directly and there are nonstop flights to Turpan from Lanzhou (2.5 h), Changsha (4.5 h), Zhengzhou (4.5 h)… as well as high speed trains from Xian (12.5 h), Xining (8 h), Lanzhou (10 h), Zhangye (6.5 h), Dunhuang (3.5 h)… 2) Turpan is known as the grape capital of China, and don't forget to taste the delicious grapes, drink the fruit juices and buy some dried grape seeds. 3) Be ready for the hot weather in Turpan, especially in summer, and it is advised to wear long-sleeves, sunhat, sunglass, etc., drink more water.

Vertical Well of Karez Exquisite Murals Exhibited in Turpan Museum First Glimpse of Jiaohe Ancient City Earthy Yellow Jiaohe Ancient City Ruins under Blue Sky
Day 2 Turpan Departure (B, L)

After breakfast, you will be taken to have a cultural visit to Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, a group of grottoes with rich murals. They are high on the cliffs of the west Mutou Valley of Flaming Mountain. Originally drilled in the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 ~ 589), the caves have gone through about 15 centuries. There are 57 existing caves, and about 40 of them are preserved with brightly-colored murals on the stone-walls. Appreciating the glorious murals in an artistic style and listening to the old Buddhist legends, you may imagine how Buddhism spread to mainland China via Xinjiang.

After enjoying the cultural relics in Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, you will drive to Tuyu Valley along Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon, which condenses the essence of the landscape of Flaming Mountain - the hottest spot in Turpan. Flaming Mountain is immortalized in the Chinese classic Journey to the West as a blazing mountain that the monk Xuan Zang has to pass through. Finally, they use a magic fan to extinguish the blaze and go on with their trip. Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon splits the whole mountain in half and you will clearly admire the unique landform - red sandstones looking like flaming fire, distinctive rocks showing the uncanny workmanship of nature and deep gorge with crisscross valleys. The magnificence, strangeness, danger, and elegance of Flaming Mountain are fully shown here.

The winding road on the cliff of Flaming Mountain will soon lead you to Tuyuk Valley (Tuyugou in Chinese) which is a Uighur valley with lots of historical sites. Mazar Village, the oldest existing Uighur village with a history of over 2,600 years, is a big highlight of the valley. Mazar Village holds a significant status in Buddhism and Islam. It is said that 6 Muslims came to China and started preaching there, so Mazar Village is called Eastern Mekka. Before Islam, it once was a Buddhist center as well. Many Buddhist caves can be found in the village, but the statues and murals failed to survive. The villagers still live peacefully in the village and you can clearly see how they run their daily lives in the old mud adobe houses. Some villagers kindly ask the travelers to visit their vineyards and taste their fresh grapes or preserved fruits.

Sightseeing ends. You will be escorted back to Urumqi as well. Stay overnight in Urumqi city.

Murals in  Bezeklik Caves Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon Peaceful Mazar Village in Tuyugou Valley

Recommended Add-on Options

+3~4 more days to Kanas to Explore Untouched Natural Beauty

Kanas is an area resplendent with virtually untouched natural beauty - turquoise lake, beautiful rivers and bays, pure snow mountains, thick wild forest, fresh air and peaceful Tuva minority villages. It is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in China. Its major attractions are Kanas Lake, Kanas Rivers, Kanas Three Bays, Hemu Village, Beautiful Peak, etc. To explore Kanas to the fullest, you should stay at least 3 full days in the nature reserve, usually 1 day for Hemu Village and 2 days for Kanas Lake Scenic Area (Kanas Lake, Kanas Rivers, Kanas Three Bays…).

Moon Bay (autumn) - the iconic sight of Kanas
+3~5 more days to Kashgar to Experience Authentic Silk Road Culture

Your Xinjiang tour is not complete without Kashgar. It is the best place in Xinjiang to experience authentic Xinjiang culture as well as ancient Silk Road atmosphere. In Kashgar, you can stroll leisurely around the Kashgar Bazaar to find the trading tradition that has lasted more than 1500 years on the Silk Road and experience the Livestock Market if you are in Kashgar on Sunday, explore the traditional living quarter of local Uyghur people and enjoy a relaxing tea time in the Ancient Tea House, drive out the town to enter into a magnificent world of landscape and adventure – Pamirs' beautiful Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata, the “father of glaciers” .

Welcome to Kashgar

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Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi - Kashgar

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    +3~5 more days to Kashgar to Experience Authentic Silk Road Culture

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