Ancient Silk Road to Pakistan

610: 21 Days Luxury & Standard Dunhuang Turpan - Urumqi - Korla - Kuqa - Aksu - Kashgar - Tashkurgan - Khunjerab Pass - Hunza - Gilgit - Chilas - Swat - Peshawar - Knyber - Islamabad - Lahore

  • Full Itinerary

  • A famous Xinjiang bazaar

    Day 01Arrival in Dunhuang

    Our guide will meet you outside the baggage claim area at Dunhuang Airport and transfer you to the hotel. Explore the city on your own the rest of the day.

    Meals: No meals, advice freely available

  • Day 02Dunhuang - Turpan

    The trip will begin with a short but exciting camel-ride along the Echoing-Sand Dune to reach the Crescent Lake. The Echoing-Sand Dune is named so because you could hear the clarion and thunder from the inner of the dunes, intermittent, rising or falling. The Crescent Lake is a wonder of desert for it has been there for hundreds of thousands of years, surviving numerous sand storms and keeping the shape of a crescent. After that, you will proceed to visit the Mogao Caves. It is the world's largest sanctum of Buddhist art with the richest content. After that, you will take an overnight soft sleeper train to Turpan.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Tiemen Pass, Korla

    Day 03Turpan

    The guide will be waiting for you at Turpan Railway Station and then transfer you to the hotel. After breakfast, you will pay a visit to the Ancient City of Jiaohe, the world's largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city built over 2,000 years ago. The next stop is the Karez Well, which is a famous underground irrigation system used to bring water from highland for daily use and crop irrigation. Today's last destination is Sugong Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Xinjiang. It was built in a shape of cylinder and decreases upwards in size.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Ancient City of Jiaohe, Turpan

    Day 04Turpan - Urumqi

    Today's visit will cover the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, the Ancient City of Gaochang and the Flaming Hill. The highlight of the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves is the various kinds of murals with wide content. It also has the most caves during these grottoes sites in Turpan. The following Ancient City of Gaochang has its fine layout with out city, inner city and palace city, although it has been exposed to the wind and sun for over 2,000 years and has been heavily destroyed in the war in the 13th century. The Flaming Hill is reputed as the hottest place in this country, the characteristic of which lies in the russet and flaming-like rocks. Later, you will arrive in Urumqi and check in the hotel. 

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 05Urumqi

    The morning excursion will take you to the Southern Pastures (West White Poplar Gully), which is a natural summer pasture. Here, you will see wonderful prairie views consisting of boundless grassland, flowing rivers and dense forest. Then, you will pay a visit to Xinjiang Regional Museum, which houses many precious cultural relics and displays the history and civilization of Xinjiang.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, Kuqa
    Photo by our client Ms. Lynn Hurst

    Day 06Urumqi - Korla

    The tour will be extended to Korla today, a county-level city of Xinjiang. Upon arrival, you will check in at a downtown hotel and then go to explore Tiemen Pass. This pass was a vital hub connecting the southern and northern Xinjiang in ancient times. As the door of a narrow and steep valley, it is also of great military importance in history.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 07Korla - Kuqa

    A 3 to 4 hours' drive will transfer you to Kuqa this morning. After registering in the hotel, you will go to visit the Ruins of Subash Ancient Buddha Temple, an important site along the Silk Road constructed about 700 years ago. By visiting the ruins, you will also get some insights about the culture of China's central plain and western regions as well as India and Persia (nowadays Iran) of that time.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch


  • Yadan Spectacle in Xinjiang

    Day 08Kuqa - Aksu

    In the morning, there is a visit to the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves. The special lay-out of the caves, themes of the murals and art styles here all reflect the local Buddhism culture and artistic level of its time. Among the numbered 236 caves, 135 are well-preserved. Finally, you will get to Aksu and stay at a local hotel for a one-night stay.

    Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 09Aksu - Kashgar

    Driving southwest from Aksu, you could arrive in Kashgar today, the westmost city in China. You will stay at a comfortable local hotel for a two-night stay.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Barbering on the street, Kashgar

    Day 10Kashgar

    The whole day will be devoted to the Id Kah Mosque, the Abakh Khoja Tomb and the famous bazaar. As the largest mosque of Xinjiang, the Id Kah Mosque is an ancient Islam architecture complex of strong ethnic flavor and religious color. The Abakh Khoja Tomb is a typical Islam ancient tomb group. The marvelous and splendid main part of the tomb is located in its east part, which is one of the largest and most delicate tombs in Xinjiang. In the bazaar, where Xinjiang Uygur folk customs have been most fully reflected, you will find many local products, handicrafts, daily necessities, vegetables and fruits and so on.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 11Kashgar - Karakuri Lake - Tashkurgan

    You will travel to visit the Karakuri Lake and the ruins of Stone City. The scenery of the Karakuri Lake is very attractive. You will see a kingdom of white color: the towering and mysterious mountain, which is covered by white snow; the water reflecting it and thus in the white color too. The Stone City was famous for its location at the junction of the middle route and southern route of the ancient Silk Road. Here, you could enjoy the view of the ruined city, the surrounding snow-covered mountains, grasslands, rivers and even the flavor of national traits of the Tajik people. After that, you will travel to Tashkurgan and check in at the hotel.

    Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch

  • On the way to Tashkurgan

    Day 12Tashkurgan - Khunjerab Pass - Pakistan

    Today, your Xinjiang guide and driver will transfer you to the Khunjerab Pass, which connects Pakistan and China. Then, our Pakistan guide will pick you up at Sost (Pakistan border), and transfer you to Gulmit upper valley of Hunza to check in at the local hotel. If time permits, you will take in the sights of the Karakorums, one of the Greater Ranges of Asia which spans the borders between Pakistan, India and China; the Borit Lake, a highland lake with beautiful scenery and have a village walk to experience the local customs. 

    Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 13Hunza

    The journey will take you to Hunza (Center) today. Upon checking in the hotel, you will proceed to the Baltit Fort, once the palace of the Hunza King. Located on a high place, you could have a full view of the snow-covered mountains, the Hunza valley and the Nagyr valley by ascending it. After Clasta, continue to the Hopper Glacier and a local Bazaar. The water of the Hopper Glacier is rich in minerals and thus very good for health. That is one of the reasons that people here live a longer life. When visiting the local bazaar, you may notice how it differs from the one you have visited in Xinjiang. 

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 14Hunza

    Full day is free for you. You may have a good rest at your hotel to restore energy, go to explore the amazing natural scenery on your own, or taste some local food in the restaurants. 

    Meals: Western style breakfast

  • Tashkurgan scenery

    Day 15Hunza - Gilgit

    Today, you will retrace the steps to Gilgit and visit the Kargah Buddha and a mountain town of Gilgit. Although caved on the rock along the ancient Silk Road in the 7th century, you could still see the Buddha's mercy expression. Located in the mountain area, the mountain village is always with harsh environment and poor living conditions. Thus, the villagers have some special life styles and customs. You may specially pay attention to them. Upon arrival in Gilgit, check in the hotel.

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 16Gilgit - Besham

    The journey today will extend to Besham on Karakorom highway along the Indus River. After arriving in Besham, check in at the downtown hotel for an overnight stay.

    Meals: Western style breakfast

  • Day 17Besham - Peshawar

    In the early morning, you will continue the journey to Peshawar. Upon arrival, explore the Museum, which houses many Buddhas collected from the area. Different from the noisy street, the inside of the museum is very quiet and solemn. Your next stop is the old Bazaar (Qissa Khawani Bazaar) of Peshawar. Located in the city center of Peshawar, this is a place to taste multi-cultures. If lucky, you may hear the professional story-tellers telling tales of war and love. After today's sightseeing, you will check in at the local hotel for a one-night stay.

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Stone City, Tashkurgan

    Day 18Peshawar - Islamabad

    Today, you will be driven to Islamabad and transferred to the downtown hotel. On the way, stop at Taxila Museum, which collects many precious unearthed cultural relics, especially Buddha status and then the archeological sites of the Taxila, which tell the prosperity of Taxila by the remained city, pagodas and temples. In the afternoon, you will pass by various modern streets and graceful buildings with a touch of Islamic Architecture & Folk Heritage Museum to reach the Damn-E-Koh (view point), where you could have a panoramic view of Islamabad. Today's tour culminates at one of the world's largest mosque - Shah Faisal Mosque. It is also the national mosque of Pakistan which is in a unique appearance.

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 19Islamabad - Lahore via Khewra Salt Mines

    On the way to Lahore today, you will visit the Khewra Salt Mines, the second largest salt mine in the world. You could go in the tunnels, which are illuminated with colorful bulbs to give an amazing effect. There are also caves of different models under there. Upon arrival, check in the hotel for an overnight stay. At night, you could go to the local food street to taste the traditional Punjabi food and enjoy the local culture.

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Famous Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar

    Day 20Lahore

    The tour today will begin with a visit to the Badshahi Mosque, which represents the very best of Mughal architecture. It is a huge walled square with minarets at each corner and a monumental gate at the top of a broad flight of steps. The fountain is in the center and three domes are on the forth side where prayers are held. Next to the mosque is the Lahore Fort, which is in a shape of rectangular. There are many buildings from a variety of periods on it, such as Maktab Khana, Dican E Khas and Diwan Am, the Palace of Mirrors (Shish Mahal) Red Tower. Following you will visit Lahore Museum, which is especially famous for the stone caved fasting Buddha apart from other artifacts. Your next stop is the Shalimar Garden. As a pleasure garden for the royal household, it follows the Mughal concept of the perfect walled garden with three terraces of straight, shaded walks, geometrically arranged ponds and marble pavilions. In the evening, you will go to the Wagha Border to watch the flag lowing ceremony at Pakistan-India Border.

    Meals: Western style breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 21Departure from Lahore

    Your excursion will be ended today and our guide will transfer you to the airport for your homeward flight. Wish you a pleasant journey.

    Meals: Western style breakfast

GradeLuxury HotelsStandard Hotels
DunhuangDunhuang Hotel Building No. 8Dunhuang Hotel Building No. 8
TurpanTuha Petroleum Hotel Tuha Petroleum Hotel
UrumqiHoi Tak Hotel Mirage Hotel
KorlaKangcheng Jianguo International Hotel Loulan Hotel
KuqaKuqa International Hotel Kuqa International Hotel
AksuHongfu Jinlan Hotel Hongfu Jinlan Hotel
KashgarTianyuan International Hotel Tianyuan International Hotel
TashkorganTashkorgan Hotel Tashkorgan Hotel
PakistanMarcopolo Hotel Marcopolo Hotel
HunzaHunza Baltit Inn Hunza Baltit Inn
GilgitGilgit Serena Gilgit Serena
BeshamPIDC Motel PIDC Motel
PeshawarPearl Continental Hotel Peshawar Grand Hotel
IslamabadPearl Continental Hotel Rawalpindi Shalimar
LahorePearl Continental Hotel Leaders Inn
More Silk Road Itineraries:
Classical Silk Road Tour: 14 days Beijing - Urumqi - Kashgar - Urumqi - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xian – Shanghai
Silk Road Adventure: 11 Days Shanghai - Xian - Lanzhou - Xiahe - Lanzhou - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi

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