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25 days Silk Road Adventure

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Tour Code: CTG-SR04

Tour Description

Following the mysterious and historical ancient trade route, through rugged landscapes to distant cities that are quite different from the eastern metropolises, you will catch a glimpse of how east and west met hundreds of years ago.

Unveil the Silk Road mystery - Heavenly Lake, Urho Ghost Castle, Mogao Caves, Ancient City of Mallikurwatur

Experience ethic custom and life - International Grand Bazaar, Hemu Village & Jiaohe Ancient Ruins

Visit the highlights of Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Great Mosque and Muslim Quarter

Day 1 Arrive in Urumqi: Pick-up and Check-in
Today's Activities

Upon arrival in Urumqi, you'll be met at the airport or train station, and transferred to hotel for check-in.

In the afternoon, drive about one hour to Southern Rangeland. Dive in the picturesque landscape of the prairie riding on the electromobile, pay a visit to Kazakh home, and have a glimpse of the ethnic folklore. Afterwards, free activities at International Grand Bazaar, a gathering place of Islamic buildings and culture, trade, entertainment and catering. Lots of opportunity for you to sample local snacks or pick up souvenirs for your friends or families. Overnight in Urumqi.

Highlights
Southern Rangeland Internaitonal Grand Bazaar International Grand Bazaar          
Riding Horse on Southern Rangeland Grand Buildings at
International Grand Bazaar
Garmet Shops at
International Grand Bazaar
         
Day 2 Urumqi ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

After breakfast, drive about 2 hours to Tianshan Mountain Scenic Area, take cable car to the Heavenly Lake, and also have a boat ride on the lake. Around the lake, be lost in the ultimate scenery of seas of pine and the Bogda Peak in the far distance. Later of the day, drive back to hotel.

Highlights
Heavenly Lake Heavenly Lake Heavenly Lake          
Road to Heavenly Lake Livestocks on the way to Heavenly Lake Heavenly Lake & Remote
Snow-capped Mountains
         
Day 3 Urumqi - Aletai - Kanas - Jia Dengyu ( Breakfast, Lunch ) Transfer by Air

Today's Activities

Early flight to Aletai Prefecture, and then drive about 260 km to visit Kanas Lake, a long bean-shaped lake reflecting the surrounding snowcapped mountains.Wolong Bay (Crouching Dragon Bay), Fairy Bay and Moon Bay, along with Kanas Lake, allure many photographers each year. Virgin forests and flowery grasslands combined with clear green water make the whole area a paradise. Just take out your camera. Don't miss the great chance to shoot! Overnight in Jia Dengyu.

Travel Tips

1. Highly recommend Kanas visitors to take long-sleeved jacket even in summer due to the great temperature difference between day and night and unpredictable change in weather, with frequent rain.
2. Kanas area full of high mountains and dense forests, with complex terrain, do not leave the scenic area alone in case the potential hazard.
3. Please note travel on Kanas may be a bit tough than that on other places. For example, food may be simple. Because all these living materials are collected at the foot of the mountain and then transferred up to the mountain.

Highlights
Kanas Lake Wolong Bay          
Dense Pine Tree
alongside Kanas Lake
Wolong Bay Moon Bay          
Day 4 Jia Dengyu - Kanas - Hemu - Burqin ( Breakfast, Lunch)

Today's Activities

After breakfast, immerse yourself in the Kanas Scenic Area. You can climb up to the Guan Yu Pavilion (Watching fish Pavilion) to take a bird-eye view of the lake landscape. Perched atop a mountain and opposite to the Kanas Lake, the Guan Yu Pavilion is the best place to get a panoramic view of the Kanas scenic area. Then pay a visit to the home of Tuwa minorities.

In the afternoon, proceed to visit a village called Hemu Village – voted by the Chinese National Geography magazine (2005) as the 3rd most beautiful village/old town in China. Overnight in Burqin.

Travel Tips

Please prepare a pair of shoes with high quality. When arrive at Kanas Scenic Area, you will take shuttle bus to the mid of Halakaite Mountain, then climb up 1300 steps to the Guan Yu Pavilion.

Highlights
Kanas Lake Hemu Village Pristine House in Hemu Village          
Kanas Lake Bird-view of Hemu Village Pristine House in Hemu Village          
Day 5 Burqin - Karamayi - Jinghe ( 590km, 8 hours drive ) ( Breakfast, Lunch)
Today's Activities

Today, you'll be driven to Jinghe and it takes your around 8 hours. En route, you can feast your eyes with the vastness desert scenery, as well as the amazing views of the Urho Ghost Castle and the Karamayi Oilfield. The Urho Ghost Castle, the epitome of the Yadan Landforms, is also known as Urho Wind City and looks like a large medieval castle in Europe with large and small castles everywhere. At night, arrive at the Jinghe County – home of Xinjiang wolfberry and move to hotel for check-in.

Highlights
Urho Ghost Castle Urho Ghost Castle          
Urho Ghost Castle Urho Ghost Castle Yandan Ladform of
Urho Ghost Castle
         

 

Day 6 Jinghe - Bayanbulak (520 km, 7 hours drive) ( Breakfast, Lunch)
Today's Activities

Depart from Jinghe County after breakfast, and drop by Sayram Lake on the way - the largest and highest alpine lake in Xinjiang, then move on westbound along the Guozigou winding road with picturesque alongside views. Arrive at Bayanbulak in late afternoon, and overnight there.

Highlights
The Road to Sayram Lake Sayram Lake Sheeps near Sayram Lake          
The Road to Sayram Lake Sayram Lake Sheeps near Sayram Lake          
Day 7 Bayanbulak ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

In the morning, drive to Bayanbulak Grassland. It is a great prairie boasting luxuriant verdant grass, numerous flocks of sheep and varied plants, which give you the charming scenery beyond the Great Wall. You'll have a glimpse of the Kaidu River, the source of the largest inland freshwater lake( Bosten Lake ). Followed up is the Swan Lake – the only nature reserve for swans in China. Under the sun, flying swans, glittering lakes, surrounding peaks and clouds altogether create a picturesque and breathtaking view. Overnight at the hotel of Bayanbulak County.

Highlights
Bayanbulak Grassland Swan Lake Swan Lake          
Bayanbulak Grassland Swan Lake Swan Lake          
Day 8 Bayanbulak - Kuqa ( 280km, 4 hours drive) ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

In the morning, drive about 4 hours to Kuqa County. In the afternoon, explore the Grand Kuqa Mosque. It was first built in the 16th century and restored in 1931 after being damaged by fire. The great praying hall, which can accommodate 1000 prayers, is supported by 88 pillars, embellished with carved designs and in many colors, a fine example of Uygur architecture. Then proceed to the Kizil Grotto. As one of the four largest Buddha grottos in China, it's the corridor of murals surpassing other existing caves in China in its abundance in content, quantity and long duration. Overnight in Kuqu County.

Travel Tips

Please don't speak loudly during your visiting of the Grand Kuqa Mosque . If come across the Muslim worship, do not walk to the front. Photograph inside the mosque is prohibited.

Highlights
Grand Kuqa Mosque Kizil Grotto Kizil Grotto          
Grand Kuqa Mosque Kizil Grotto Kizil Grotto          
Day 9 Kuqa ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

After breakfast, drive to Subashi Ruins, 23km northweat of Kuqa County. Subashi Ruins is a large-scale temple with splendid design including pagodas, main temple hall, monk's dormitory. You will be enriched about the historical changes of China's western regions, Buddhism culture and human civilization.

In the old downtown area of Kuqa, there is a place named Kuqa Royal Residence, the home of an ancient duke. It features a mix of Muslim, Russian, and Han Chinese architecture and covers an area of 40,000 square meters. You can visit the splendid rooms, museums and exhibitions and the old outer walls of the palace, to have a picture of the daily life of the duke and his family. Overnight in Kuqa County.

Highlights
Subashi Ruins Subashi Ruins traditional paper making          
Subashi Ruins Subashi Ruins Kuqa Royal Residence          
Day 10 Kuqa - Hotan (690km, 7 hours drive) ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Drive to Hotan City in the morning. En route, you can appreciate vast primeval wild poplar along the Desert Highway. Arrive at Hotan in late afternoon and overnight there.

Travel Tips

The 424-km Dersert Highway runs from Aral, a city in central Xinjiang, and ends in the Hotan City in the south of the region, traversing the Taklamakan Desert. Construction of the road began in June 2005 with an investment of 790 million yuan (105 million U.S. dollars). Around 180 km was built by the People's Armed Police Force.

Highlights
Desert Highway Desert Highway Xinjiang Desert Highway          
View from Desert Highway View from Desert Highway View from Desert Highway          
Day 11 Hotan ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Today's sightseeing begins with the Ancient City of Mallikurwatur, located on the west bank of the Jade Dragon Kashgar River, about 25km south of Hotan. It's the ancient cultural hub of the southern Silk Road and also believed to the ancient city of the Yutian Kingdom although disputes claim it used to be a monastery compound. Ancient tombs and buildings, as well as three mysterious caves, with jade articles and pottery are worth of visiting in this ancient city.

Later, you will appreciate the hand-woven Aidelaixi Silk that is produced by small family units and is a favorite of Uigur women.

Highlights
Ancient City of Mallikurwatur Pilgrims in Aidelaixi Silk Aidelaixi Silk          
Ancient City of Mallikurwatur Aidelaixi Silk Work Scene Aidelaixi Silk Work Scene          
Day 12 Hotan - Shache (351km, 5.5 hours drive)
Today's Activities

Head to Shache County by car after breakfast. Drop in the Tomb of the King Shache and and Omannisha Mausoleum on the way, well-known for their exquisite and splendid decoration . Overnight in Shache Hotel.

Highlights
Tomb of the King Shache Tomb of the King Shache Omannisha Statue          
The Tomb of the King Shache The Tomb of the King Shache Omannisha Statue          
Day 13 Shache - Kashgar (198km, 3.5 hours drive) ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Today, you'll be driven to Kashgar City after breakfast. The whole afternoon is up to you and you can have a good rest to erase your fatigue or hang out on your own. Overnight in Kashgar City.

Day 14 Kashgar - Karakul Lake - Kashgar ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

On this day, you'll be captivated by the fantastic scenery of the Karakul Lake. After breakfast, take a 4-hour drive to there. At an altitude of 3,600 meters, Karakul Lake is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tian Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7,546 meters), Kongur Tagh (7,649 meters) and Kongur Tiube (7,530 meters). After the sightseeing, back to your hotel.

Highlights
Snow-capped Mountains Karakul Lake Karakul Lake          
Snow-capped Mountains Snow Mountains near
Karakul Lake
Karakul Lake          
Day 15 Kashgar - Urumqi Transfer by Air
Today's Activities

In the morning, discover the magnificent Id Kah Mosque. It's the largest of its kind in Xinjiang and also the center for the Islamic activities of the entire Xinjiang region. On special days or festivals, you can find different kinds of performances of singing and dancing by professional Uygur actors in shining Uygur costumes. Next stop is the Abakh Hoja Tomb, which features ancient Islamic building design.

As one of the Silk Road's must-see attractions, the Kashgar Grand Bazaar should be included in this tour as well. It is a gathering place of goods and a fascinating blend of cultures, where you can select some special souvenirs for your friends or families.

Afterwards, you'll say goodbye to Kashgar and take flight to Urumqi. You will be picked up and escorted to hotel upon arrival in Urumqi.

Highlights
Id Kah Mosque Abakh Hoja Tomb Kashgar Grand Bazaar          
Id Kah Mosque Abakh Hoja Tomb Kashgar Grand Bazaar          
Day 16 Urumqi - Turpan ( 200km, 2hours drive ) ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

After breakfast, drive around 2 hours to Trupan. Visit the Emin Minaret, an elegant and circular Muslim pagoda built in 1778 in honor of a great Turpan general, Emin Khoja, and his great contribution to the unification of China.

In addition, an ancient Chinese archaeological site - Jiaohe Ancient Ruins – is waiting for your exploration as well. It was built with rammed earth and bricks 2300 years ago. Then, proceed to Karez System. Karez System, the crystallization of ancient people's diligence and intelligence, is connected by underground channels, which takes full advantage of the unique region. It is the life source of Turpan. Marvel at how the people harness water with no modern equipment.

Highlights
Emin Minaret Jiaohe Ancient Ruins Karez System          
Emin Minaret Jioahe Ancient Ruins Karez System          
Day 17 Turpan - Dunhuang ( Breakfast, Lunch) Transfer by Overnight Train
Today's Activities

After breakfast, set out for the Gaochang Ancient Ruins. As one of the key points along the Silk Road, the ancient city of Goachang was also a sanctuary of world religious culture. You'll find that the ruins are made of mud walls including an outer wall, an inner wall and palace walls. The next visit is the Astana Graves, which served mainly as the cemetery of the descendents of Chinese settlers in Goachang in the past. The Tuyugou Valley, you head to later, is an ancient oasis-village in the Taklamakan desert and famous for its seedless grapes and a number of ancient Buddihist meditation caves nearby containing frescos. At the Tuyugou Valley, you can see the wonderful Flaming Mountains in the distance.

After the sightseeings, you'll be transferred to the train station for an overnight train to Dunhuang. It will take you about 11 hours, and it's wise to prepare some water and food on your own.

Highlights
Gaochang Ancient Ruins Astana Graves Flaming Mountains          
Gaochang Ancient Ruins Astana Graves Flaming Mountains          
Day 18 Dunhuang ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Start your Dunhuang Tour with visiting Mogao Caves, also named as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. It constitutes an outstanding example of a Buddhist rock art sanctuary, containing some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. Your exploration in the caves will be rewarded with awesome experience.

The Mingsha Mountain and Yueya Spring Scenic Spot will highlight today's tour. Mingsha Mountain, nicknamed "Echoing-Sand Mountain", win its name from the sound-making sands surrounding it and features plenty of leisurely activities, including sand surfing, camel riding and visits to the sand spa. Surrounded by the Mingsha Mountain, Yueya Spring stretches for 100m from South to North, and 25m from East to West, reputed to be the "First Spring in Sand".

Highlights
Mogao Caves Mogao Caves Silkroad Fresco Mingsha Mountains and Yueya Spring          
Mogao Caves Exterior Mogao Caves Fresco Mingsha Mountain & Yueya Spring          
Day 19 Dunhuang - Jiayuguan( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Drive to Jiayuguan after breakfast. En route, visit the Qiaowan Ancient City, where you can find treasured statues made from ivory, human-skin-made drum, and the exhibition of animals and plants specimens from the natural reserve of the extremely dry desert area. Also pay a visit to the Qiaowan Museum next to Qiaowan Ancient City, a museum by highway, displaying specimens of wild animals and plants, dried-up corpse and and over 80 valuable cultural relics,.

Highlights
Qiaowan Ancient City Qiaowan Ancient City Qiaowan Museum          
Qiaowan Ancient City A Bull Statue in front of Qiaowan Ancient City Fresco Paintings in Qiaowan Museum          
Day 20 Jiayuguan - Lanzhou ( Breakfast, Lunch ) Transfer by Overnight Train
Today's Activities

A whole day tour around Jiayuguan Pass . It is the most western end of the Great Wall and well preserved with majestic buildings. Its architectural complex is magnificently exquisite. The towers and pavilions enjoys a classic beauty and grandeur with their roofs upturned at the end of the ridges. Overhanging Great Wall is an extended part of the Jiayuguan Pass, winding through the Gobi dessert to a steep mountain. The wall seems to hang over the cliff, hence its name.

Later of the day, take a overnight train to Lanzhou.

Highlights
Jiayuguan Pass Overhanging Great Wall Jiayuguan Oasis View          
Jiayuguan Pass Overhanging Great Wall Jiyuguan Oasis Viewed from Overhanging Great Wall          
Day 21 Lanzhou - Xiahe ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Pick-up at Lanzhou railway station, and drive to Xiahe for visiting Labrang Monastery. Overnight in Xiahe.

Labrang Monastery is home to the largest number of monks outside of Tibet. The white walls and golden roofs of the monastery complex feature a blend of Tibetan and Han architectural styles. The monastery contains 18 halls, six institutes of learning, a golden stupa, a sutra debate area, and houses nearly 60,000 sutras.

Highlights
Labrang Monastery Labrang Monastery Labrang Monastery          
Ornately Carved and Painted
Gates of Labrang Monastery
Prayer Wheels of
Labrang Monastery
Exquisite Eaves of
Labrang Monastery
         
Day 22 Xiahe - Lanzhou ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

Today you'll drive back to Lanzhou, and the rest of the day is up to you to have a rest or hang out by yourself. Overnight in Lanzhou.

Highlights
Lanzhou Specialty Food Lanzhou Lamian Lanzhou Carved Calabash          
Lanzhou Sepcialty Food Lanzhou Lamian
(Hand-pulled noodles)
Lanzhou Carved Calabash          
Day 23 Lanzhou - Xi'an ( Breakfast, Lunch ) Transfer by Air
Today's Activities

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Xian. Picked up and escorted to the hotel in Xian, and then visit Bell Tower. Built in 1384 A.D, the Bell Tower boasts a history of over 600 years. Even today you can find the Big Iron Bell erecting in the Bell Tower, which was made in Ming Dynasty, 2,500 kilograms in weight. Then stroll at the Ancient City Wall, and you can have a panoramic view of Xi'an City.

Highlights
Bell Tower Bell Tower Ancient City Wall          
Square in front of Bell Tower Bell Tower Cycling on Ancient City Wall          
Day 24 Xi'an ( Breakfast )
Today's Activities

Today you will first head for the world-famous Terracotta Warriors. Can you imagine what kind of feeling will it be when facing to thousands of terracotta warriors? I bet you have seen them on TV or in pictures now and then. Endured over 2,200 years, these life-like terracotta soldiers still stand in their position of guarding the Emperor Qin Shihuang. History carried by these silent guards is surely worth your reading.

Then move to the Great Mosque, which features a great mixed architecture of Chinese and Muslim styles. You may happen to meet with some Muslim followers coming for worship. Besides, shopping or feast your mouth or both at the surrounding Muslim Quarter. It is the main cluster of local Muslim community and also a center of exotic shops and savory snacks.

Highlights
Terracotta Warriors Troops Great Mosque Muslim Quarter Souvenirs Stands          
Terracotta Warriors Troops Muslims at Great Mosque Muslim Quarter Souvenirs Stands          
Day 25 Depart Xi'an: See-off at airport ( Breakfast, Lunch )
Today's Activities

This is the last day of your tour. Free time until transfer to the airport or train station for your next destination. We believe you will love China and keep forever memories about China in your whole life.

Package Details
Tour Package Includes:
Dining: 22 breakfasts, 21 lunches; Admissions: Entrance fees to all scenic spots listed in itinerary
Train, Flight Tickets: all listed in itineraries; Hotels: accommodation in mentioned cities;
Tour Guide: Local experienced English-speaking guides Car Driver: Experienced licensed drivers
Vehicle: Private air-conditioned car, offering Round-trip transfers Luggage Transfers: A hand for your heavy luggage
Insurance: Travel Agencies Liability Insurance Government taxes & Service charges
Tour Package Excludes:
- Other optional attractions/ tours/ meals and international flights - Tips for tour guides and drivers.
Your Add On:

Comments

Dear Sara,

The trip is going very well and we are very happy. We saw wonderful places. We will make a better report in the next days.

thank you a lot for your organization and assistance.

Customer: Mr. Spinoglio Update Date: Jul 28, 2013

Destinations: Beijing - Urumqi - Turpan - Dunghuang - Xian - Shanghai

Related Tour: 14 Days Silk Road Adventure

Hello Choury,

Thanks for your note and interest.

Arthur, Chi (driver) and your agency have been very nice with my situation, which i thank all of you from my heart. I have felt much better today and could walk slowly with less pain.

The Tour: so far, very well. Will keep you informed and given what we have received in Beijing, i hope the standards are as good in the rest of the cities. And with people with same concept of hospitality and warmth, too.

Will keep in touch.

Customer:Ms. AlhachUpdate Date: Jul 29, 2013

Destinations: Beijing-Xian-Guilin-Shanghai-Suzhou-Shanghai-Hong Kong

Related Tour: 12 Days China Discovery, 9 Days Essential China Tour

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