Silk Road Moslem Trail

MT05: 18 Days China Tour from Abu Dhabi UAE to Beijing Yinchuan Urumqi Kashgar Urumqi Turpan  Dunhuang Xian Shanghai
Day 1 Abu Dhabi - Beijing
Other than exploring the big international metropolis, traveling along the Silk Road is also one of the popular ways for people to appreciate the unique natural landscape and learn the traditional minority culture of the country. Since there are limited international flights connecting Silk Road cities and other destinations of the world, we would suggest travelers who plan to complete this China tour from Abu Dhabi choose Beijing as your entry city. Etihad Airways, the second biggest airline of UAE, is operating the direct service between these two cities. This daily non-stop flight EY888 departs from Abu Dhabi at 21:30 and lands in Beijing at 08:50 the following day. Hainan Airlines flight HU8801 has been code-shared with this flight. It needs 7 hours and 20 minutes for the entire air travel.
Day 2 Beijing
Your private China Muslim tour from UAE begins as you arrive in Beijing. After claiming your baggage, you will easily find our guide waiting for you in the arrival hall. On the way to the carefully chosen hotel, you will be given a general introduction to this great city. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the area surrounding the hotel at your leisure.

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Accommodation: Pentahotel Beijing
Day 3 Beijing
Our clients at the Great Wall
As an ancient capital, Beijing has probably the world's greatest historical heritage. This morning we will discover its brilliance by visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Flanked by some prominent buildings, Tiananmen Square is the living testimony to the decline of the feudal system and the rise of socialist modernization in China. Completed in 1420 and having served as the imperial palace of twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is lauded as the world's largest and best timber built palace complex. Be ready to feast your eyes on its architectural wonders and stunning treasures. Afterwards, an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) awaits you at fine local Islamic restaurant. Continue our exploration to Ox Street Mosque, which is the city's grandest and most historical mosque. Its prayer hall can accommodate up to one thousand people for prayer at any one time. You can attend prayer service if time permits. Our last stop today is the Temple of Heaven. As a historic sacred park, it was created in the Ming Dynasty by the imperial household for the worship of the heavenly gods.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Day 4 Beijing
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Photo by our client Mr. Alexandra Luca
We start another beautiful day with a visit to the Mutianyu Great Wall, which is less crowded and offers more splendid scenery. It is also one of the highlights of your Beijing tours from UAE. You will take a cable car to go up and down. Since there is no authentic Islamic restaurant for lunch in the great wall area, we do not arrange lunch today. It is advisable to have a hearty breakfast and take some food with you. As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall formed a complete defensive system consisting of passes, beacon towers and walls. It used to play a very important role in defeating China's enemies from the north. Although the military glory of the Wall faded out as time passed by, it has become a tourist attraction with ever increasing popularity.

On the way back to downtown, we will pass by the Bird's Nest. You can ask for a short stop to take some pictures of this outstanding Olympic venue. Our last destination is a local market where you will be given some free time to stroll around.

Meals: Breakfast
Day 5 Beijing - Yinchuan
Ox Street Mosque, Beijing
This morning we will show you the Summer Palace, which is the finest extant imperial garden of the Qing Dynasty. Having buildings that all blend in well with Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake and the surrounding scenery, the garden is a remarkable masterpiece of the Chinese art of classical landscaping. We will serve you an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) at an Islamic restaurant. Next we will visit Dongsi Mosque, the second largest in the city. You can see passages from the Koran carved on the arches in the prayer hall. Also, the room in the south wing holds a varied collection of valuable Islamic manuscripts, the most precious of which is the one from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Transfer to the airport for a flight to Yinchuan. Upon arrival, you will be met and driven to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Days Inn Business Place Yinchuan
Day 6 Yinchuan
Sand Lake
As a noted historic and cultural city, Yinchuan is shaped by a diverse mix of culture. The particular geographic location also endows it with unique natural beauty. This morning we will take a drive to the west of Yinchuan to visit the Western Xia Imperial Tombs. Extending over 53 square kilometers along the foot of Helan Mountain, the cemetery has nine imperial tombs and 253 satellite tombs, which were founded from about the early 11th century to the early 13th century. The cemetery is hailed as the “Oriental Pyramid” for there are mysteries yet to be unveiled. The next stop for today is the Rock Carving of Helan Mountain. In ancient times, there were various nomadic tribes that lived and multiplied in the Helan Mountain. The rock carvings created by people at different times depict a wide variety of themes, which are truly imaginative works. Give play to your imagination when appreciating the site. After having lunch at an Islamic restaurant, you will be guided to the Sand Lake Scenic Area, where you can find stunning scenery of the water region in South China blending with the spectacular desert landscape in the North.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Day 7 Yinchuan - Urumqi
Muslims are making a prayer in a mosque
After breakfast, we start the morning exploration with the Nanguan Mosque. Founded in traditional Arabic style and with distinctive ethnic features, Nanguan Mosque is regarded as the city's signature building. It receives a great many Muslims during the five daily prayers, revealing their pious religious life. We will then drive about 40 minutes to visit Najiahu Mosque, which is one of the earliest mosques in northern region. Najiahu is a village inhabited by Hui people, the largest ethnic Muslim group. While enjoying the characteristic architectures of Najiahu Mosque, you can get around the village to learn about the life and culture of Hui ethnic group at the same time. Lunch is served at an Islamic restaurant. Later, transfer to the airport for a flight to Urumqi. There is a prayer room for Muslims available at Yinchuan airport, so you can perform salat if schedule allows. Our guide in Urumqi will await you on time at the airport. Upon arrival, you will meet each other and drive to check in at the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Excemon Xinjiang Yilite Hotel
Day 8 Urumqi - Kashgar
A wedding ceremony of Hui minority held in Shaanxi Grand Mosque, Urumqi
Today's sightseeing will first take you to Xinjiang Regional Museum. There are more than 50,000 exhibits, permanent exhibitions including folk customs of twenty ethnic minorities, precious relics from along the Silk Road dating from four or five thousand years ago until modern times including ancient mummies. Meanwhile, the museum is also the largest research center of cultural relics in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. A visit to Shaanxi Great Mosque follows. It is not only the city's largest mosque, but also the headquarters of the Urumqi branch of the China Islamic Association. Some mosques in Xinjiang have strict rules for visitors, so you'd better ask advices from your guide in advance. Around noon, we will stop for lunch at an Islamic restaurant. Take an afternoon flight to Kashgar and transfer to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Yue Xing Jin Jiang International Hotel
Day 9 Kashgar
A Xinjiang bazaar
The more than 2000 years old Kashgar is our country's westernmost frontier city. It is the cradle of the Uygur ethnic Islamic group. Many places in this city are fine examples of the influences of Islamic civilization once brought by the ancient Silk Road. After breakfast, we head to the Sunday Market, which is the grand International Trade Market in Central Asia and West Asia. The market offers a large variety of home-made and imported goods for sale, such as special local products, handicraft, household articles, dried fruits, vegetables and livestock; therefore, it is dubbed a "kingdom of small commodities". On Sundays, the market is bustling with heavy traffic and crowds of people. It is the excellent place displaying the favor of Uygur folk-custom in Xinjiang region. Enjoy lunch at Islamic restaurant.

Then we proceed to the Old Street, which is the most famous cultural sight in Kashgar City, especially known as the street of workmanship. You can find variety of crafts and other delicate items of exotic flavor, such as carpets, copper ware, and smithy, skilled craftsmen in their handwork shops, Muslim vendors and veiled women. Afterwards, we specially arrange for you to visit a local family to learn more about the hospitable Uygur people and their unique customs.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Day 10 Kashgar - Urumqi - Turpan
Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar
This wonderful day begins with a visit to the Id Kah Mosque. The magnificent Islamic building is located in the city center with a history of more than five hundred years since the ruler of Kashgar initiated its construction in 1442. Occupying an area of 16,800 square meters, there are thousands of pious Muslims coming to pray, especially on Friday. You can join in the local people when performing salat. The next stop is Abakh Khoja Tomb. Situating 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) northeast of Kashgar City, Abakh Khoja Tomb is an ancient Islamic building, where five generations of a famous Islamic master are buried. It is also commonly known as the tomb of Xiangfei, the only Uygur concubine of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). After having halal lunch, we move to the airport for flight to Urumqi. Upon arrival, you will be met by local guide and driver and then driven to the hotel in Turpan.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Huozhou Hotel
Day 11 Turpan
Jiaohe Ruins, Turpan
A full day sightseeing starts with the Jiaohe Ruins. Built by the Jushi people from the 2nd century BC to 5th century AD, the Jiaohe Ruins is the world's largest remaining raw earth construction. From the well defined workshops, dwellings, temples, government office and so on, you may picture what everything was like in the site's heyday. If you visit the ruins in summer season and plan to stay there a little bit longer, we suggest you take an umbrella, some water and sun block for it is fully open to the sun. Later we will visit the Sugong Pagoda and the adjacent Emin Minaret Mosque. Built in 1778, Sugong Pagoda is also the only Islamic minaret in China. The design of this pagoda is novel and unique and very photogenic. Emin Minaret Mosque is the largest mosque in Turpan. It receives up to 500 followers on every Friday Jumah prayers and more than 1000 during festivals and special occasions. Then drive to the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave. Having caves carved out of the mountain side, the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave used to have a good collection of fantastic Buddhist murals. Although there are only limited caves open to tourists, you can still feel its past glory from these art works. Besides, it has a very scenic setting with a beautiful river winding its way through the green valley floor to the desert. Enjoy yourself by taking some quite good unobstructed desert photos here. The last stop will be the Flaming Hill, which is the hottest place in the country.

Meals: Breakfast, Islamic lunch
Day 12 Turpan - Dunhuang
After visiting the Karez Well, which is a peculiar irrigation system in the area, you will be driven to the railway station to board a high-speed train to Dunhuang. Our guide and driver will meet you at Liuyuan Railway Station, from where you need to ride for about two hours to your hotel in Dunhuang city.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Dunhuang Hotel - Building No. 8
Day 13 Dunhuang
Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang
The Mogao Grottoes and Dunhuang Museum await your attention today. The Mogao Grottoes, a bright pearl on the ancient Silk Road, is well known worldwide for its delicate murals and statues. The Grottoes were originally built in 366BC and construction continued during the following dynasties of Sui, Tang, Western Xia and Yuan. Nowadays the Grottoes that greet us are on a large scale, including some 735 caves with 45,000 square meters of murals and more than 2,000 painted statues. It is the largest existing Buddhist Holy Land in the world. Around noon, we will serve you an a la carte lunch at an Islamic restaurant.

Dunhuang Museum houses as many as 4,000 cultural relics which can be divided into three sections. The first displays in the main documents discovered in the Cave 17 of the Mogao Grottoes. The second exhibits the historical relics unearthed from the tombs of dynasties of the Han, the Three Kingdoms, the Jin, the Sui and the Tang. Whilst the third section shows the silk, brocade, tulle and voile that provide materials and reference to the Silk Road.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Dunhuang Hotel - Building No. 8
Day 14 Dunhuang - Xian
Today we will present you two natural wonders. One is the Echoing-Sand Dune, which in Kazakh means "the voice of desert". When strong wind blows, the dune roars like thunder. If it is just breezing, sands can also sound like light music. Climbing up the dune and sliding downward from the summit, visitors can also hear a peal of sound. This phenomenon has been regarded as a riddle since ancient times and is waiting for your discovery. The other is the Crescent Lake, which is a fascinating wonder of the desert. Encircled by the Echoing-Sand Dune, the crescent lake is crystal clear in the shape of the crescent moon. It is like an emerald embedded in the golden sands. Although it is frequently attacked by squall and furious sand, the lake water is still limpid and sweet. To follow is an a la carte lunch at a local Islamic restaurant. You will then board a flight to Xian. Our well-informed guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to the downtown hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Xian Big Goose Pagoda
Day 15 Xian
Our guests in the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Here comes another highlight day of your private Silk Road adventure. We will have the whole morning to explore the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The archeological site displays an array of life-sized figures of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and a great many precious ancient weapons dating back to over 2200 years ago. It is surprising that each warrior is unique in both facial features and expressions. Then we will take you to a classy Islamic restaurant to have an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY120.00 per person and included in our price). In the afternoon, we will move to the heart of the city to visit the Great Mosque and the nearby Muslim Bazaar. Built with stunning fusion of Islamic and Chinese architectures, the Great Mosque is really a serene getaway from its bustling surroundings. It is noteworthy that the wooden walls in the prayer hall are engraved with Koran in both Arabic and Mandarin. You will also be fascinated by the Muslim Bazaar, which is filled with street vendors and eateries selling delicious halal food.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Day 16 Xian - Shanghai
After having breakfast, we set out for the City Wall, which is one of China's best preserved city walls. Xian is a square city and the wall encloses the inner city, the most prosperous district of Xian. Historically, the city wall was constructed as a defense from raiders, while nowadays the public ring parks along the city wall have become the best place for local residents to do their morning exercises. Next we proceed to the Provincial History Museum. Its great collection is highlighted by many rarities, including the fossils of Lantian Man that preceded Peking Man, representative deer pattern eaves tile of the Qin Dynasty, the Kneeling Archer unearthed from Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Tomb, the Four Footed Li which is a bronze cooking utensil of the Shang Dynasty and the Empress's Seal made of jade from the tomb of the first emperor of Han. An a la carte lunch (valued at CNY120.00 per person and included in our price) at an Islamic restaurant is scheduled for you. Afterwards, you will take flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, your guide will meet you in the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Have a good rest and get ready for your Shanghai tour from UAE tomorrow.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Accommodation: Ocean Hotel Shanghai
Day 17 Shanghai
Shanghai Bund
This morning we take you to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, where there are brilliant exhibits shedding light on the city's past changes, current state and future development. Different floors in the building have different themes. The model on the third floor, which puts everything about the city in perspective, is an absolute highlight. At about noon, we arrange an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) at Hong Changxing Mutton Restaurant, a time-honored brand Islamic restaurant, for you to savor fresh and tasty lamb and other delicacies. Following that we visit the Yuyuan Garden and the Songjiang Mosque. Yuyuan Garden is a splendidly laid-out, small-size Ming Dynasty garden. With its beautiful and gentle scenery, it attracts many domestic and overseas visitors every year. The ancient buildings in the garden appear charmingly shy, under the shade of green trees in deep elegant seclusion. Founded in the Yuan Dynasty, the over 600 years old Songjiang Mosque is the one that is most time-honored in Shanghai. It is a perfect combination of the classical Chinese building tradition and Arab architectural style. Before returning to your hotel, we will explore the Bund, which is the symbol of Shanghai.

Meals: Breakfast, A la carte Islamic lunch
Day 18 Shanghai - Abu Dhabi
Bid farewell to Shanghai as you are transferred to the airport. The direct flight of Shanghai to Abu Dhabi is also operated by Etihad Airways. You can take flight EY867 0030/0615 to fly back home directly. The flying time is 9 hours and 45 minutes. China Eastern Airlines flight MU8968 and Hainan Airlines flight HU8808 have been code-shared with Etihad Airways. As this flight departs at midnight, you can make use of this period of time to further explore this charming city on your own before heading to the airport or leave for home when finishing the full day sightseeing the day before. We wish you a pleasant onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast
Related Itineraries:

China Islamic Heritage: 10 days Beijing - Xian - Guilin - Shanghai
Islam Culture Odyssey: 14 days Hong Kong - Guangzhou - Xian - Lanzhou - Linxia - Xiahe - Lanzhou - Beijing
Scenic Southern Cities: 7 days Shanghai - Zhouzhuang - Suzhou - Hangzhou

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