China Mysterious Silk Road Tour (Pearl Cities along the Silk Road: 15 days tour)

  • Duration: Days 15,   Nights 14
  • Tour type: Сlassical tours
  • Season: All the year round

Duration: 15 days

Destination: Xi’an, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayu Guan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar, Tashkurgan

Good Time to visit: all year


The cities and beautiful landscapes of China’s western expanse are often forgotten by many travelers. This tour program gives travelers like you the chance to see China in an off-the-beaten path way. On this Silk Road Tour our first stop is in Xi’an the gateway to the West and the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terra-cotta Warriors. From there we head to Lanzhou, the ancient city of Wuwei, and Jiayuguan. Upon reaching the Silk Road’s Dunhuang we’ll for two days to explore its Buddhist caves and touring the desert by Camel. We’ll then head over to the citieis of Turpan and Urumqi until we fly over the Taklamakan desert to Kashgar. This is where the largest bazaar of Central Asia is held every Sunday. We’ll also get to visit Lake Karakuri at the base of Mt. Muztagh (7,545m). Whether you’re looking to uncover the trading routs of the silk road, ride camels through the desert, or explore the less tourist-filled areas of China, this one of the best Silk Road Tours we offer for anyone looking for some adventure and a truly unique experience.


(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)


After picking up at the airport, our Silk Road journey will begin! We will start the trip off with a visit to the magnificent Qin Terra-Cotta Army. It was built in about 2500 years ago and contains more than 6000 warriors, soldiers and horses. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. In the afternoon, drive back to Xian city, visit Forest of Stone Steles Museum. Stay in 4-star hotel in Xi’an.


In the morning, visit Shanxi History Museum and the Old City Wall. The Shanxi History Museum's permanent exhibition primarily displays Shaanxi's ancient history. Representative pieces from all periods have been selected to show the development of civilization in this region. This afternoon we will visit Gao's Grand Courtyard, the Great Mosque and the old street. We’ll take the evening flight from Xi’an to Lanzhou where we’ll stay at a lovely 4 star hotel. Stay in 4-star hotel in Lanzhou.


Today's highlights are Gansu Provincial Museum and an excursion to Bingling Temple Grottoes, 75km southwest of Lanzhou. Listed as part of the ancient Silk Road for the World Heritage candidate, Bingling Temple Grottoes, filled with stupas, murals and Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves, were a work in progress between the 4th and 10th centuries. Taste traditional and local foods at the local market. Stay in 4-star hotel in Lanzhou.


Day 4 of our Silk Road Tour lets us cross the great Yellow River and head up the Hexi Corridor towards the ancient city of Wuwei. Here we’ll visit Lai Tai Han Tomb, which has become a fantastic tourist attraction in Wuwei city. Then drive to visit the Giant Buddha Temple in Zhangye where the biggest indoor sleeping Buddha in China is preserved. Further on to Zhangye Danxia Geopark, the Rainbow Mountains. It enjoys the honors of "The world's top ten magical geographical wonders". Upon arrival, start hiking along the north part of Danxia Landform, enjoying the great view of Qilian Shan and memorable sunset. China Rainbow Mountains are magnificent with gorgeous colors, which developed at about 200 million years ago. We will see lots of precipitous red cliffs, most of which are several hundred meters high, and multicolored ridges of weathered strata, sometimes stretching to the horizon. It is the best place for photography. After a great day we’ll stay in a nice 4-star Huachen International Hotel or similar. Stay in 4-star Huachen International Hotel in Zhangye.


As we continue on our silk road journey, the snow-capped Qilian Mountain ranges wind its way westward and accompany us all the way (about 250km). We’ll visit “The Strategic Pass under Heaven” - the most west point of the present Great Wall. And visit Wei & Jin Ancient Tomb to explore the ground floor of its murals and brick Graves known as "the world's largest underground gallery". Stay in 4-star Huayuan Hotel.


Today we’ll drive about 385 km there the Great Gobi Desert. Along the way we’ll also ride camels to visit the Singing Sand Mountains. The Crescent Spring, which forms a lake between two huge sand dunes. It is like seeing a mirage - but it’s real! Stay in 4-star hotel in Dunhuang.


Today we get to sleep in a bit later and have a nice rest. Afterwards, we’ll drive towards the northwest of the city for the Yumen Pass. Situated in the Gobi Desert 80 kilometers northwest of Dunhuang City, it was once one of the two critical defensive passes protecting Dunhuang from invasion about two thousand years ago. Drive onwards to visit Yadan National Geologic Park. Yadan landforms rise above the flat Gobi Desert and cover a vast area. Due to its eccentric landforms, the hard-to-spot roads, low-lying terrain, strong magnetism and howling sounds made by the wind, the area is also called "Ghost City" by local people. Yadan Landforms is the largest in scale, fully developed in geology and most valuable for ornament in the world. The scenery sites have an infinite variety of fantastic phenomena and the superlative craftsmanship of nature. Stay in 4-star hotel in Dunhuang.

DAY 08  DUNHUANG - TURPAN (BL, by train)

After a relaxing morning we’ll then visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes which is called “the World Famous Treasure House of Arts”, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddha. After dinner, we’ll take evening soft sleeper train from Dunhuang to Turpan, overnight on the train.


After early arrival in Turpan we’ll be taken to our hotel and later picked up to see some of the ancient sights: Gaochang Ancient City shining like a resplendent precious stone inlaid in the boundless desolate Gobi desert and the Silk Road, and the Astana Graves which are a group of underground tombs. Following a lunch in an authentic Uygur restaurant we get to see the vineyards for ourself. The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves is another rock-cut building with the most caves and frescos contents at most in Turpan area. It is located on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flame Mountain, 45 kilometers away from Turpan city. The history of the Caves is more early than Dunhuang but unfortunately that most murals were damaged by nature or by man-made. Then visit the Flaming Mountains, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. They provide a spectacular backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan area. Stay in 4 star hotel in Turpan.


In the morning, we will drive to the west part of Turpan for the Suleiman Minaret, the only ancient Islamic minaret left in China, and the Karez Wells, one of the three great ancient projects’ in China. The Karez Wells  Folk Garden and Museum explains how the well system makes it possible for the famous orchards and vineyards to exist in these hot, dry desert communities. After that, we will drive all the way to Urumqi. It’s about 300km highway. Take night flight to Kashgar. Stay in 4-star hotel in Kashgar.


Today we will drive about 4-5 hours to Tashkurgan County which is located at the south of Kashgar for the ancient stone city. We could take an easy hiking visit to the ruins of the stone city which is in the back of Tashkurgan County. Stay in Tashkurgan Crown Inn (The best hotel).


Today we start our tour from the Tashkurgan Museum. We’ll drive about 2 hours to the famous Karakuri Lake and Muztagh Mountain, enjoying breathtaking scenery of high mountain pastures and snow-capped peaks. Karakuri Lake, known as "the father of glaciers", is located at the foot of Mount Muztaga-Ata, sitting at 3,600m above sea level. We will have enough time for deep exploration of the famous lake and the holy Mountain. Take a leisure walking around the majestic blue lake. Then back to Kashgar. Stay in 4-star hotel in Kashgar.

DAY 13  KASHGAR - URUMQI (BL, by air)

Spend the day experiencing its Islamic culture in Kashgar. A must visit place is Id Kah Mosque, built in the 15th century, where 10,000 people gather at midday on Fridays to pray, and a restaurant nearby which provides authentic Muslim food. Kashgar Bazaar is festooned with traditions and ancient history and has become famous throughout Asia, attracting merchants from as far as Pakistan and Kirghizstan; some tourists come especially to see it. Zhiren Street is an old street where craftsmen still produce their fare. It’s easy to lose our sense of time and direction as we wonder this bazaar, but don’t worry our guide will lead us through the maze. We’ll take a night flight back to Urumqi, and stay in Xinjiang Grand hotel or similar. Stay in 4-star hotel in Urumqi.


After breakfast we will head for Heavenly Lake Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi), which lies on the north side of Bogda Peak of Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains), about 110 km east of Urumqi. We will be amazed by the snowy peaks of the Heavenly Mountains reflecting on the dazzlingly blue lake surface. Then drive back to Urumqi, we will also pay a visit to the National Museum. The display of ancient mummies is fantastic, for it was in this region that a great number of ancient and well preserved remains were discovered. Stay in 4-star Hotel in Urumqi.


Transfer to the airport and fly back home. It has been great and our CAT look forward to seeing you on another adventure trip!



All rates in US$ (per person):


Group size


Half-twin with Half Board meals












Single Supplement


** The prices do not apply to National Holidays (e.g. Chinese National Day Sep. 30th -Oct.8 th , Chinese Spring Festival).


The tour cost includes:

  1. Local transportation: A private vehicle will accompany us for the entire tour.

  2. Equipment, as required: water (4 liters per person per day), first aid kit

  3. All the activities fee if listed in the itinerary

  4. Leader: Experienced English-speaking tour leader and one or more service persons along the Chinese Great Wall as needed.

  5. Entrance fees: All first-entrance tickets to the tourist spots mentioned in the itinerary.

  6. Accommodation: 4 star hotel or nice hotel along the whole trip.

  7. Meals: All meals as indicated in the itinerary, with some simple picnic lunches while trekking on the Wall.

  8. Domestic airfares and train tickets listed in the itinerary

  9. Travel agency liability insurance.

The tour cost does not include:

  1. Personal gear required: if camping, a sleeping bag sufficiently warm to protect against minus 20°C (-4°F) in Jan-March, against -10°C or -5°C (14°F- 23°F) in April and May, against 0-5°C (32°-41°F) in June. Also: hiking boots; raincoat; cap; camera; sun-cream; sun-glasses; pocket knife; day-pack, etc.

  2. Expenses of a personal nature: favorite snacks, soft drinks, laundry , local or long-distance calls, etc.

  3. Tips to tour guide and driver (recommended USD8-10/guest/day ).

  4. Tourist accident insurance. NB - you are strongly suggested to buy travel and health insurance before you start out from your home country.

  5. Any service persons to carry personal belonging while trekking (although this can be arranged, it should be unnecessary - participants should find that trekking with a single day-pack for personal items should suffice.)

  6. Single supplement costs (for those who want accommodation on a single basis)

  7. Visa to China

  8. Domestic and international flights and related airport taxes not listed in the itinerary

  9. Supplementary trips, entrance fees and services not mentioned, and extra costs due to unforeseen circumstances.



  • We are ready to reserve the e-air ticket from another city to the starting city or from the ending city back to your preferred city if needed.

  • Before you pay deposit to book the tour, we haven’t made any reservation yet. The train, flight tickets and the hotel may different from the itinerary listed.

  • The visiting order of the scenic spots in the itinerary may change according to the traffic condition and other unforeseen things.

  • Tourist insurance is a must before going, please provide us the confirmation of insurance company when sign up.

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