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The name Silk Road, introduced to the intrepid traveler’s vocabulary over a century ago by the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, conjures up images of desert caravans, lush oases, snow-capped mountains, and colorful markets where exotic goods change hands amid the cacophony of even more exotic languages. A tour especially designed for real history lovers, Journey on the Silk Road promises enchantment and adventure and is one of the only few that covers all major points of the Silk Road.
|Day 01 Arrival and sightseeing in Beijing|
|Day 02 Fly to Xian and tour Xi'an Ancient City Wall and Shaanxi History Museum|
|Day 03 Sightseeing in Xiâ€™an|
|Day 04 Fly from Xi'an to Zhangye|
|Day 05 Morning sightseeing then take a train to Duhuang|
|Day 06 Sightseeing in Duhuang: Hechang Military Depot: 95km, 3-4 hours|
|Day 07 Sightseeing in Duhuang: Crescent Lakeand Mogao Grottoes|
|Day 08 Sightseeing in Turpan|
|Day 09 Drive to Urumqi|
|Day 10 Fly to Kashgar|
|Day 11 Sightseeing in Kashgar: Karakuli Lake|
|Day 12 Final departure|
After your arrival at the Beijing airport you will be greeted by our guide who will drop you off at your hotel. After checkingin, you will have the rest of the day to tour Beijing. With more than 3000 years of history, Beijing has rich assortment of well-preserved cultural and imperial relics. Today we tour Tian’anmen Square, which is an extensive open area in central Beijing. Then walk north into the Forbidden City. For five hundred years, it served as home for the emperors of China. Later we visit the Summer Palace which was constructedfrom 1749 to 1764 and is the grandest imperial playground in China with elaborate Qing-style pavilions, bridges, walkways, and gardens scattered around the immense Kunming Lake.Overnight in Beijing.
After flying to Xian in the morning, you will spend the rest of the day visiting the city’s beautiful landmarks. The City Wall of Xian represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls and also is one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. Next, visit the Shaanxi History Museum, regarded as “the pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures”. It gives a miniature overview of the thousands of years of Chinese history and the splendid ancient cultures of olden times. Overnight in Xi’an.
Believed to be the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horse Museum includes Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3 as well the exhibition hall of the chariots and horses. After completing the tour at the museum, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. Later visit another archaeological site, Banpo, discovered in 1953, which contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements carbon dated to 5600–6700 years ago. In the evening, enjoy the Tang Dynasty Song and Dance Show at Tang Yuegong Theatre. Overnight in Xi’an.
Today we fly to Zhangye and tour its famous landmark, the giant Buddha temple which is a complex consisting of the Giant Buddha Hall, the Buddhist Classics Hall, and a Clay Pagoda. The Giant Buddha statue of 34.5m lying in the middle of the hall is the temple’s main attraction. It is also believed that the famous Italian traveller Marco Polo was very impressed by the magnificent architecture of the Giant Buddha Temple and by the prosperity of Zhangye city and lived here for more than a year. Overnight in Zhangye.
Today we visit the famous Matisi grottos or caves. The Thousand Buddha Caves are just inside the entrance gateway to the Matisi Scenic Area, and walking up the road is a pleasant experience, with the river rushing past on one side, and the decaying niches studding the cliff face on the other. Later we visit the temple of the legendary King Gesar. In the evening, you get to witness the excellent sunset over the picturesque landscape of Danxia. Later, take a train to Duhuang to spend the night.
Today we visit Hechang Military Depot, which is located in the northwest part of Dunhuang, about 20km away from Yumen Pass. The military depot was used to store food and clothing when fighting with the nomadic Xiongnu people during the Han dynasty. Overnight in Duhuang.
We begin the day by visiting the beautiful Crescent Lake, which is a small pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. We even enjoy the beauty of the area with a camel safari. Next, you will tour Dunhuang’s famous Mogao Grottoes also known as the Dunhuang Grottoes. The site showcases China’s largest collection of Buddhist grottoes, the oldest ones dating back to as early as a thousand years ago. While touring the site you will also get to marvel at the murals that have Buddhist stories, folk culture, farming, and hunting as their main themes. Take a train to Yumen and finally to Turpan to spend the night.
Begin sightseeing in Turpan with a visit to the Suleiman’s Minaret also known as the Sugong Pagoda. Built in Uighur architectural style, the Pagoda is an old brick tower dating back to 1778, almost as old as the United States! Next, visit the grape valley, a small paradise with a thick maze of grape trellises. Today you will also tour the Karez channels, which is a unique underground water system, invented and built by ancient farmers from various ethnic minorities of Turpan. Another highlight of today would be visiting the Astana Tombs from where thousands of priceless historical relics have been unearthed. End the tour by passing through the legendary Flaming Mountain, believed as the hottest place on earth.
Drive to Urumqi after breakfast and visit the Terai Camp followed by Nanshan Grassland, both beautiful natural sites. Nanshan Grassland, also known as Mount Nan Pasture, is a large pasture region with many beautiful streams and a waterfall. While in Urumqi you can also enjoy a traditional meal of ethnic Kazakhs, who were traditionally nomadic, tribal shepherds and ranchers of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.
After checking in at your hotel in Kashgar, you will visit the Etigar Mosque, a famous mosque, which is well known among muslims in central and west Asia with the name of “Little Mecca”. Also visit the Tomb of Abakh Khoja, a much revered muslim leader and prophet of the 17th century. Next, enjoy strolling in the world’s livelest market in Kashgar, an oasis in the centuries-old Silk Road before calling it a day.
You will spend the whole day enjoying the beauty of Karakuli Lake which is popular among travellers for its beautiful scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue. The lake lies at an altitude of 3,600m, and 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 (7,546m), Kongur Tagh (7,649m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530m). Overnight in Kashgar.
Your journey on the Silk Road ends today. You will fly to Beijing and board an international airplane to fly home. On the way, you can reminisce on your incredible journey on the Silk Road.
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