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10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour (Xian/Dunhuang/Turpan/Kashgar) from $2030

Follow the Footprints of Ancient Travelers on the Silk Road

This is an in-depth Silk Road highlights tour. You will start your Silk Road tour from Xian which was known as Chang'an, the ancient capital city of China as well as the starting point of ancient Silk Road, then take a flight to Dunhuang, the most legendary part of Silk Road where you can see amazing mural arts, impressive Buddhist statues, well-decorated caves and unique frontier landscape. Lastly, take a high speed train from Dunhuang to Xinjiang where you will explore the exotic custom and beautiful landscape in the Golden Triangle Cities -Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan.

Highlights of this tour:

    • Wonderful time at Xian to visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Xian - Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, etc.
    • Explore Golden Triangle Destinations in Xinjiang Province - Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan (Heaven Lake, Id Kah Mosque, Sunday Bazaar, Grape Valley...)
    • Marvel at the Pearl in the Gobi Desert - Dunhuang (Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake)

Basic Trip Information

from $2030
  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:
Xian / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Travel Length:
10 Days and 9 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~2 Arrival & Xian Tour

Make Xian as the arrival city, then visit the most popular attractions in Xian in one full day plus a half day - world-famous Terracotta Warriors, historical Ancient City Wall, Buddhist site Big Wild Goose Pagoda, educational place Shaanxi History Museum, etc.

Day 3~4 Dunhuang Tour & Train to Turpan

Take a morning flight to Dunhuang, then go to enjoy the beautiful desert landscape at Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake. On Day 4, you will have a full day Dunhuang culture tour to Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang Museum, etc.

Day 5~10 Xinjiang Tour(Urumqi, Kashgar and Turpan) & Train to Dunhuang

Take a high speed train to Turpan from Dunhuang, and spend two days visiting Turpan which is famous for Karez System, Flaming Mountain and Grape Valley, then drive to Urumqi and visit the beautiful Heaven Lake, then take a night flight to Kashgar to visit Abakh Khoja Tomb, Bazaar and Id Kah Mosque. Tour ends.

Full Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Xian Arrival

Welcome to Xian! Your tour guide will meet you at the Airport/Railway Station, then escort you to take a half-day Xian tour before checking in your hotel in downtown.

You will have an educational visit to Hanyangling Museum first. Compared with the Terracotta Warriors, Hanyangling is much less crowded so that you can enjoy a quiet lesson in archaeology. Here you can find many mini terracotta figures of not only warrior and horses, but also maidens and other animals. You actually walk on glass over top of the archaeological site, which gives an intriguing perspective. After Hanyangling visit, drive about an hour to visit Da Ci'en Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Giant 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 (or before) visiting the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, you will be provided a free experience of trying on the Hanfu which is the solemn costume of the emperors and their families, the ministers and the noble in the ancient dynasties of China. Seize this rare opportunity to take some photos to record this unique memory!

Lastly, go to check in your hotel. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.

  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum Terracotta Figures in Hanyanglilng Museum

Day 2 Xian ( B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40 km 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 the visit, you will have a rare opportunity to make a miniature Terracotta Warrior on your own under the instruction of a local potter.

After lunch, return 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 while you leisurely examine this well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers. Leave the City Wall, then go to wander leisurely around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture. Don't miss the Great Mosque of Xian which is a fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic culture, a sacred religious site with huge ancient architectural complex, also a surprisingly quiet land away from the bustling Muslim streets.. After the Great Mosque visit, you will be escorted back to your hotel. (If you want to stay more time at the Muslim Quarter for dinner and relaxing, or want to explore the nearby Bell & Drum Towers on your own, please let your tour guide know)

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.

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

Day 3 Xian & Flight to Dunhuang ( B )

This early morning, your tour guide will see you off at the airport for your flight to Dunhuang (about 2.5 hrs). Upon your arrival at Dunhuang Airport, our local guide and driver will pick up you and then transfer you to check in your hotel. Have a short rest before going to visit Mingshashan which is only about 10 km from the downtown. You will start sightseeing in the middle afternoon when it is not very hot and sunburn is low.

The magic Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains) and Crescent Lake are located in a same scenic area. 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. There are many exciting activities for you to try (at your own expense), such as sand skiing, viewing from glider or helicopter, motorcycling, etc. Riding a camel through the desert is very popular. 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. After sightseeing, get back to Dunhuang city. 

Optional Mingshashan desert camping experience

If you like, you can camp for a night in the desert of Mingshashan, which will be one-of-a-kind experience to get closer touch with the desert. During the camping, there are a lot of activities and programs for you to have fun, such as sand skiing, desert motorcycle, bonfire party, etc.

  • Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years Crescent Lake has been a famous attraction for more than 1200 years
  • Echoing Sand Mountains Echoing Sand Mountains

Day 4 Dunhuang ( B,L )

After breakfast, drive about 10 km from 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, which will be very helpful when you visit the grottoes. After the movies, take an 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.

After lunch, return to Dunhuang city to visit Dunhuang Museum where some precious arts and relics are preserved here. It is also a great place to learn about Dunhuang culture and history as well as the history of Ancient Silk Road. After that, go for a relaxing walk in the Shazhou Night Market where you can try some local food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc.

Accommodate in Dunhuang City.

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.

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.(optional)

  • Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center
  • Mogao Caves Mogao Caves
  • Dunhuang Museum provides a good impressions of the history of Silk Road Dunhuang Museum provides a good impressions of the history of Silk Road

Day 5 Dunhuang & High Speed Train to Turpan ( B )

Today is free for you to have fun until your tour driver escort you to catch your train to Turpan. Currently, there are 4 high speed bullet trains running to Turpan from Liuyuan South Railway Station in Dunhuang. It takes only about 3.5 hours to get to Turpan. Upon arriving at Turpan North Railway Station, you will be picked up by your local tour guide, and transferred to check in your hotel in the city. The rest of today is free at your own leisure.

Day 6 Turpan ( B,L )

Today you will explore the “fire land” - Turpan, famous for its melons and vineyards.

The first attraction for today is the brilliant project - Karez System which is 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 occur during summer rain season, or melt from snow mountains of Tianshan range to desired farmlands on the ground. After the Karez visiting, tranfer to tour anther famous relic - the Jiaohe Ancient City which used to be the capital city of the former Cheshi State. It is renowned as the "perfect ruin of earth building" because it has been well preserved for almost two thousand years. Next activity for today is to visit the Emin Minaret. It is a elegant and innovative Islamic pagoda built by the duke Emin Hezhuo to express his devotion to the lord Allah. Emin Minaret looks like a awl which is 44 meter high. Nearby, there is an ornate mosque. Lastly, transfer to enjoy the pleasant cool of the Grape Valley where you can also taste some delicious grapes and other fruits.

Accommodate at Turpan City.

  • First Glimpse of Jiaohe Ancient City First Glimpse of Jiaohe Ancient City
  • Turpan Karez System Turpan Karez System

Day 7 Turpan - Urumqi ( B,L )

After breakfast, go to visit the Bezeklik Caves, is a complex of Buddhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to 14th century between the cities of Turpan and Shanshan (Loulan). It is situated on a cliff at the foot of Flaming Mountains, 45km away from Turpan city. There used to be 83 grottoes, and now 57 grottoes have survived. Its highlight is about 40 large wall paintings covering more than 1,200 square meters which have different themes. Among all grottoes, the No. 17 and 18 are the oldest ones built during later Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589). The No.20 painted portrait of King and Queen of Gaochang Kingdom. The No.33 grotto painted the lord Buddha and his disciples. The No. 38 displays the living scene of the ancient Manichean... The following attraction is the Flaming Mountains. Stretching about 100km, Flaming Mountain is covered by red sandstones which look like flaming fire.

After the visit, drive about 3 hours to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

  • Turpan Flaming Mountain Turpan Flaming Mountain
  • Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

Day 8 Urumqi & Flight to Kashgar ( B, L )

Today you are going to explore the Heavenly Lake (or Tianchi in Chinese) which is only about 70km away from Urumqi downtown. Your tour guide and driver will meet you at your hotel, then drive about 1.5 hours to the scenic area of Heavenly Lake. To protect the authenticity of the natural environment, our private car can only bring you to the entrance of the park. You will then shift on to a park bus to the parking lot around the lake area. Walking about 15 minutes, you will get to the lakeside of the Heavenly Lake. The rest time is free for you to stroll along the periphery of the lake, breathe the remarkably fresh air, and soak in the wonderful scenery. With an altitude of 1980m, Heavenly Lake and its alluring surrounding truly offer you a visual feast like heaven, featuring in serene alpine lake, rugged slopes with snow-capped mountains, pure glaciers, wild forest, vast grassland as well as unique ethnic culture.

Generally speaking, there are three ways to explore Heavenly Lake. You can go to walk around the lake, take a boat cruise, or ride cable car to the mountain top. If time allows, you can even enjoy all the experiences. Boat cruise and cable car need extra fees. Tell your preference to your guide who will then arrange accordingly for you.

- Walking around the lake. Plank roads were constructed to encircle the lake. But since the lake is very large, it takes about 5 hours to finish the circle. You can decide the hiking length on your own according to your physical condition and time. Fee: free.

- Boat Cruise on the lake. It is very popular among travelers to take a boat cruising to the deeper area of the lake and back, which is leisure and scenic. There are modern ship, Chinese-style ship and high-speed boat available with different prices. Fee: about CNY 100.

- Panoramic view from Maya Mountain. If you want more landscape, you can take a cable car up to Maya Mountain where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Heavenly Lake and closer view of Tianshan Mountain Range. Fee: about CNY 220.

After the landscape trip, take park bus to exit the park, and drive back to Urumqi and take a flight to Kashgar. Your Kashgar tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel in Kashgar.

  • Heaven lake Heaven lake

Day 9 Kashgar ( B,L )

After breakfast, you will visit the Abakh Khoja Tomb first. It is a typical Islamic architectural complex, as well as a famous tombs group of a large Islamic family of five generations. It was known as Abakh Hoja Tomb because a local Islam master whose name was Abakh Hoja buried here. He had strengthened the spread of Islam in Kashgar area, which later earned a great reputation for him and his family.

Nextly, you will visit the Id Kah Mosque which is regarded as the holy shrine for the Muslims. Every day, there are thousands of Muslims worshipping here. In the history, Id Kah Mosque used to be a school where Islam culture and history was taught. Many scholars and honored clergies graduated from here. Only several minutes' walking from the mosque is the famous Handicrafts Street where you can walk leisurely or buy some interesting souvenirs for your families and friends.

Following activity is to visit the Old Town of Kashgar City where you will experience the authentic Uyghur living style. You will also take a break and enjoy a cup of local tea at the ancient tea house which is more than 100 years old. The locals also like to spend some leisure time in the tea house with friends and families - drinking, chatting and playing music sometimes.

Accommodate at Kashgar city.

  • Id Kah Mosque Id Kah Mosque
  • Abakh Khoja Tomb Abakh Khoja Tomb

Day 10 Kashgar Departure ( B )

After breakfast, go to visit the famous Kashgar Bazaar. Bazaar, in Uygur, means large market. As one of the most importance cities along the Silk Road, Kashgar Bazaar has always been a very important trading center where you can buy anything from herbal medicines to carpets, from a cradle to a camel.

If you are happened to visit Kashgar on a Sunday, don't miss the opportunity to experience the Livestock Market, which takes place once a week on Sunday. By lunchtime, numerous sheep, camel, horse, cow and donkey will be driven by the Uyghur farmers and herders, and squeeze through the gates of the bazaars for trade. It’s dusty, smelly and crowded, but most people find it very exotic.  

Lastly, go to airport to catch your departing flight, or transfer to the border. Your China Silk Road tour ends. 

  • Sunday Bazaar Sunday Bazaar
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