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Ancient Silk Road

B-601B: 18 Days China Tours from Dublin Ireland to Beijing  Xian Dunhuang  Turpan - Urumqi Kashgar Beijing
  • Itinerary
Day 1 Dublin – Beijing
Badaling Great Wall, Beijing
Photo by our clients Mr. Mario Antonio Rossi & Ms. Anisja Rossi
Having played an important role in the exchanges between Asian and European civilizations as early as centuries B. C., the ancient Silk Road was endowed with rich historical relics, amazing scenery and unique culture. Therefore, a great many travelers are interested in going to China to retrace the wonders of the Silk Road nowadays. For Irish travelers, it is better to start the adventure from Beijing. Currently there is no direct flight from any cities in Ireland to Beijing, but you can still easily take the connecting flights to make your China tours from Ireland come true. We would like to share the following information on possible connecting cities and flights with you.

Make connection at London: Take the British Airways flight BA837 1520/1645 to London, and then transfer to the Air China flight CA938 2025/1255+1 after a 3 hours and 40 minutes' stopover. It needs totally 14 hours and 35 minutes for the above air travels. Besides, you can also fly with BA829 1400/1530 to London, and transfer to CA938 2025/1255+1 to Beijing. In this case, your flight journey including the 4 hours and 55 minutes' stopover is about 16 hours.

Make connection at Frankfurt: You can take Aer Lingus flight EI650 0700/1010 to Frankfurt, and transfer to the Air China flight CA966 1355/0515+1. The whole journey takes about 15 hours and 15 minutes including a 3 hours and 45 minutes' stopover. Alternatively, you can take Lufthansa flight LH979 1210/1510 to Frankfurt, have a stopover of 5 hours and then transfer to the Air China flight CA932 2015/1125. For this option, you will spend 16 hours and 15 minutes for the whole flight.

Make connection at Munich: Take the Aer Lingus flight EI352 0720/1045 to Munich, and transfer to the Air China flight CA962 1415/0610+1 after a 3.5-hour stopover. Or you can fly with Lufthansa flight LH2515 1105/1420 to Munich, and transfer to LH722 1920/1055 after a 5-hour stopover. The whole journey takes nearly 16 hours for the former option and 17 hours for the latter option.

For a travel plan on budget, you can also make the connection at Istanbul or Dubai as the airfare is usually lower. You may take the Turkish Airlines flight TK1978 1630/2255 to Istanbul, have a stopover for 3 hours and then transit to TK020 0155/1555. The total time you need for the journey will be about 16.5 hours. To transfer in Dubai, you are suggested to take Emirates Airline flight EK162 1350/0025, and then transfer to EK306 0405/1525. The two air travel plus the 3.5 hours' stopover takes around 18.5 hours.

In addition to the above connection cities, you can also fly from Dublin to Paris, Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Berlin or Geneva and then transfer to a direct flight to Beijing. People live in Limerick, Waterford, Cork or Galway may also get to Dublin first and then continue your flight journey to Beijing by taking one of the above options.
Day 2 Beijing
Upon landing at Beijing Capital Airport, please find the way to the hotel you booked in advance. We recommend you check in the Holiday Inn Express Temple of Heaven located at No. 36 Nanwei Road Xicheng District. From the airport, you can take a taxi at a cost of CNY120 to the hotel. For the rest of the day, you may have a rest in the hotel to refresh from the jet lag and get ready for your following Beijing tour from Dublin Ireland.

Accommodation Suggestion: Holiday Inn Express Temple of Heaven
Day 3 Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Today, we suggest you start your exploration of Beijing with Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. After breakfast in the hotel, walk westwards along Nanwei Road for 270 yards and turn south onto Taiping Street. Take bus no. 59 from the nearby bus stop to Tiananmen East, then walk to visit the Tiananmen Square.

After taking enough photos on the square, go through an underpass to reach the Tiananmen Tower on the other side of the road. Behind it follows the entrance of the former imperial palace, the Forbidden City. With over 70 palaces and more than 9,000 rooms, it is likely to lose your way in this huge building complex. We suggest you buy a map and rent an audio guide at the entrance. Follow the guidance to drop by major buildings along the central axis. You should spend approximately 3 hours to reach the north gate of the Forbidden City, the Gate of Devine Prowess.

Walk through the square in front of the Gate of Devine Prowess and head westwards to take bus no. 685 from Gugong bus stop to Fahuasi. Alight from the bus and walk south for 200 yards to enter the Temple of Heaven from the east gate.

You are suggested to get out from the west gate and take a leisurely stroll westwards for 850 yards back to your hotel.
Day 4 Beijing
The Great Wall is a must-see for most backpacking travelers during their stay in China. Today, we recommend you a full-day exploration of the most representative section, Badaling Great Wall. You can take train S2 from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling in about one hour. The train station can be easily accessed by taxi at a cost of CNY35. Upon arrival at Badaling Railway Station, walk southeast to find the hiking trail to the wall. There are also cable cars and pulleys available to make it possible for visitors of all ages to conquer the Great Wall.

You are recommended to have lunch in a fast food restaurant, such as KFC and SUBWAY. Other restaurants around the Badaling provide food of high price and it may not be to your taste. After you backtrack to the downtown Beijing, feast yourself in a good restaurant.
Day 5 Beijing - Xian
Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian
Today, you are going to tour around the Summer Palace and hutongs, and then take an overnight train to the next destination of your China tour from Dublin Ireland, Xian. We advise you take T231, Z43, or Z19, which depart from Beijing after 18:30 and takes 12-13 hours on the way. You are suggested to book the train tickets in advance, especially in travel peak seasons. TravelChinaGuide can help you do the reservation and mail the tickets to you.

After breakfast, you may check out of the hotel and take a taxi to Beijing West Railway Station first to deposit your luggage there. Then, take subway line 9 from the train station to Beigongmen of line 4 with a transfer at National Library. Use Exit D and walk west for 220 yards to enter the Summer Palace from the north gate. You are suggested to spend the whole morning in this one-time resort of the royal families.

After that, still get out from the north gate and walk eastwards to take subway line 4 from Beigongmen Station to Xizhimen; transfer to line 2 and get off at Gulou Dajie. Leave from Exit G and head south for 600 yards to reach the bustling area of Shichahai. You will find yourself in between of quaint courtyards and flagstone-paved hutongs. Enter one of the hutongs to start your exploration and have a glimpse of the authentic traditional lifestyle of Beijingers. You may also have a drink in a café or bar along Houhai Bar Street.

When your Beijing tour is over, take a taxi to Beijing West Railway Station at a cost of CNY45 to collect your luggage and the paper tickets. You can either have dinner near the train station before boarding or take some snacks with you onto the train for supper. There is also a dining carriage in the middle of the train providing Chinese food.

Accommodation Suggestion: Overnight soft sleeper train
Day 6 Xian
You will arrive in Xian in the morning. Please check in a hotel and have your breakfast. We recommend you Days Inn City Center, which is a few yards from the Bell Tower to the south and Beidajie Subway Station to the north.

When everything is settled down, take a taxi to Yongning Gate at a cost of CNY10 to start your exploration of the City Wall. The City Wall used to be a solid defensive line protecting the ancient Xian City for over 600 years. Now, it provides a way to have a quick view of the city center. Climbing up from Yongning Gate, you can either take a walk or rent a bike to finish the tour.

Your next destination is Jianfu Temple, which houses the famous Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xian Museum. Still get down from the Yongning Gate, walk south along North Chang'an Road for 850 yards and turn west onto West Youyi Road. Keep heading for 470 yards and you will arrive at the north entrance of the temple. After staying there for 2 hours, you may take a taxi back to your hotel at a cost of CNY15.

Accommodation Suggestion: Days Inn City Center
Day 7 Xian
Cycling on Xian City Wall
Speaking of Xian, most travelers may think of the Terracotta Army Museum, which is in the suburb Xian. Get up early, as you are going to visit this great wonder this morning. After breakfast, take a taxi to Xian Railway Station. On the east square of the train station, there is tourist bus no. 5 heading to the museum. Get on the bus and you will spend around one hour on the way. At lunch time, you are recommended to have a meal in a nearby fast food restaurant. Then, you may still take tourist bus no. 5 back to downtown Xian. Take bus no. 251 from Huochezhan bus stop in front of the station square to the Bell Tower (Zhonglou) and walk west towards the Drum Tower. Behind it is the bustling Muslim Quarter, which is praised to be the paradise to taste various kinds of Xian local snacks. Before that, you may pay a visit to the nearby Huajue Lane, where the Great Mosque is located.

After feasting yourself well with delicious dishes, walk back to your hotel. From the northern end of the Muslim Snack Street, you may go east along Xihuamen Street to the North Street, then head north to your hotel.
Day 8 Xian - Dunhuang
Today, you will ride a soft sleeper train from Xian to Dunhuang on your own. There is only one train K367 per day, departing at 10:30 from Xian, and arriving at Dunhuang at around the same time the next day. Please remember to book the train tickets in advance.

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and take a taxi to Xian Railway Station at least one hour before your train's departure. Since you are going to spend nearly 24 hours onboard, it is suggested you pack some food, or have Chinese meals onboard.

Accommodation Suggestion: Overnight soft sleeper train
Day 9 Dunhuang
Camel Ride in Dunhuang
Upon arrival in Dunhuang, take a taxi to the hotel you booked before. We suggest you live in Dunhuang Feitian Hotel, and you can take a taxi from the railway station to the hotel directly with a fare of CNY20. Check in the hotel and then set out for your self-guided Dunhuang tour.

Your first destination of today's independent China tour is the famous Mogao Caves. From your hotel, you may walk southwards along Mingshan Road to Dunhuang Hotel, opposite which you can take a special bus to Mogao Caves directly. Here, you can have an exploration in the grottoes to enjoy beautiful murals and colored Buddha statues. You can also visit the Dunhuang Grotto Art Protection, Examination and Exhibition Center near the site, if time permits, to have a close look at the beautiful replicas of murals and stone carvings.

Then take the same bus back to Dunhuang City. Have a meal in a nearby restaurant, then walk back to your hotel and go west along the Middle Yangguan Road for 90 yards to find the bus stop of bus no.3. Take that bus to the Echoing-Sand Mountain. If you are traveling during summer time, it would be very hot in the afternoon, so we suggest that you get to the desert by 18:00 or 19:00. You may either walk or ride a camel to the Crescent Lake. Around 20:00, you will see the spectacular sunset. Then, still take bus no.3 for your return trip. Please note that the last bus departs from the scenic area at 21:00 in summer.

Accommodation Suggestion: Dunhuang Feitian Hotel
Day 10 Dunhuang
For today's China holiday tour, we suggest you visit the Yardang National Geopark and the Yumenguan Great Wall. As the two attractions are far from the city, you can hire a car through the hotel and the cost for a 4-seat car is CNY 500 – 800 per day. Shops and restaurants are hard to find on the way or at the attractions, so it is better for you to prepare some bottled water and food beforehand. On your way to the Yardang National Geopark, you will pass by Yumenguan Pass in the midway. You are required to buy the tickets for the old fortress as a toll. But we suggest you visit Yumenguan on the way back if time permits. After another 50 miles' drive from Yumenguan, you will reach the geopark, where you can see bizarre stone pillars and mounds which were naturally formed.
Day 11 Dunhuang - Turpan
You will take an overnight soft sleeper train to Turpan today, so you still have a whole day to explore Dunhuang. After breakfast, check out of the hotel and leave your luggage at the front desk. Then walk south straight along Mingshan Road for 15 minutes to visit the Dunhuang Museum. Around noon, you can walk back to the hotel for a short break. Before leaving for Turpan by train, you can visit the famous Shazhou Market, which is just about 430 yards east of your hotel. You can find many local delicacies and specialties, and please try the apricot peel juice, roasted mutton, and donkey meat with noodles.

There are many trains bound for Turpan from Liuyuan Railway Station, which is 80 miles northeast of Dunhuang City. You are suggested to take train K1583 departing at around 22:30. You can hire a private car to the Liuyuan Train Station at a cost of CNY200-250. After about 2 hours' drive, you will get to the train station. Please get to the train station at least one hour before the departure time of your train.

Accommodation: Overnight soft sleeper train
Day 12 Turpan
Ancient City of Jiaohe
You will arrive in Turpan at around 8:00. Please find a hotel to leave your luggage first. You are suggested to choose the Huozhou Hotel, located at East Ring Road, quite near the Turpan Museum. Since Turpan Railway Station is quite far away from the city center, please take a taxi to go directly to your hotel in order to save time. The taxi ride costs around CNY120 and takes one hour. Check in and have a short rest. Then visit the Turpan Museum.

From the hotel, walk south along the East Ring Road for 200 yards and turn west to Mu'naer Road. For another 240 yards forward, you can find the Turpan Museum on the right hand side. Please note that water bottles are not allowed to take into the museum. The recommended visiting time is 2-3 hours.

In the afternoon, please carpool with other travelers to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves first and then the Flaming Mountains. Both are in the desert and a little bit far from the city, so take some water and food with you. You can find a taxi and negotiate a fixed price with the driver, or ask your hotel to help with the car rental when you check in. The cost for renting a 4 seats' car is about CNY 400 - 500 per day. The Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is also famous for ancient murals and Buddha sculptures like the Mogao Caves. On your way back to the city, pay a visit to the Flaming Mountains. There is no need to buy the tickets to enter the scenic area. It is recommended to have a view and take pictures of the undulant red peaks at a distance. If you drive to the rear mountain, you will find better scenery, where a crystal creek flows between the flamboyant valleys.

Accommodation Suggestion: Huozhou Hotel
Day 13 Turpan - Urumqi
We suggest that you rent a car to take a day-trip to the Ancient City of Jiaohe and Karez System, and then take a bus to Urumqi in the afternoon. Also remember to bring some bottled water and snacks with you. Check out of the hotel before you set out for the visit and leave your luggage at the front desk.

When getting back to the city in the afternoon, pick up the luggage at your hotel and then take a taxi to the Turpan Bus Station for a bus to Urumqi. After 2-3 hours' drive, you will arrive at Urumqi South Long-Distance Bus Station. We suggest you check in the Orient Dynasty Hotel, which is located at No. 17 South Xinhua Road. You can take a taxi there with an approximate fare of CNY15.

Accommodation Suggestion: Orient Dynasty Hotel
Day 14 Urumqi
Heavenly Lake, Urumqi
The Heavenly Lake on Tian Shan Mountains is a must-see in Urumqi. Today, we suggest you spend a whole day admiring the great natural scenery there. You can take a taxi from your hotel to Jiamei Express Hotel on the opposite of Hongshiyue Residential Community to take a free bus to the Heavenly Lake. You only need to pay CNY215 for the admission fee and shuttle bus fare of the scenic area when you get on the bus. The bus departs from the hotel at 08:00, 08:30, and 09:00 and gets back at 16:00, 16:30, and 17:00 accordingly. During slack season from November 1st to March 31st, there is only one bus leaving at 08:00. Upon arrival at the ticket office, you need to switch to the shuttle bus to the entrance of the scenic area in about one hour.

The best time to visit the Heavenly Lake is spring, summer and autumn. The snowy mountain and lake in winter are also very beautiful, but it could be dangerous if the road is covered by snow and ice.
Day 15 Urumqi
Bazaar in Kashgar
Today, you are going to have a self-guided tour of the sights in the Urumqi City. After breakfast, take bus 35, 61, 62, 63, 73 or 927 from Daximen bus stop on the opposite side of South Xinhua Road to the Red Hill Park (Hong Shan Gong Yuan), then walk backwards for 100 yards to enter the park from the east gate. You will find many locals doing morning exercises in the park. Climbing to the top of the hill, you can have a panoramic view of the city and the distance view of the Tian Shan Mountains. Then, take a taxi to Xinjiang Regional Museum at a cost of CNY15, which shows the fascinating history and culture of Xinjiang as well as the ancient Silk Road.

Have lunch in a nearby restaurant and then take bus 7, 68, or 910 in front of the museum to Tuanjie Road. Walk east along the road for 500 yards, you will find the bustling International Grand Bazaar. All kinds of local specialties and snacks can be found there. It would be fun to choose souvenirs for friends and bargain with the sellers. For the way back, you can take a taxi with a fare of CNY15.
Day 16 Urumqi - Kashgar
You will take a morning flight to Kashgar today. Please check out and take a taxi to the airport at least 2 hours before the departure time. The cab fare is around CNY50 and it takes less than one hour on the way.

Upon landing in Kashgar, we recommend you check in the Qiniwake Hotel (Qinibagh Hotel), located at No.144 of Seman Road. You can take a taxi to the hotel with a fare of CNY30. Check in and have a short rest. Then have a taste of the Xinjiang pilaf, roast mutton, roast Nang, and yoghurt for lunch.

After that, spend CNY15 taking a taxi to the famous Abakh Khoja Tomb. After staying there for around one hour, you may still take a taxi to the old town of Kashgar City, where you can wander along the old paths among the traditional houses. When you head westwards, you will see the Id Kah Mosque. The square outside the mosque is surrounded by a group of Islamic buildings. Standing on the top of the shopping mall beside the mosque, you can overlook the beautiful architectures around. Feeling tired, you may sit at somewhere and have a taste of local yoghurt and cuisines. Then, walk west along the Nuo'er Beixi Road on the north of the mosque to Seman Road, and head northwards to your hotel.

Accommodation Suggestion: Qiniwake Hotel
Day 17 Kashgar
Karakuri Lake
Today we suggest that you rent a car through your hotel to the Karakuri Lake. The fare is around CNY500 per day. The lake is about 120 miles from Kashgar City, so you may need to set out early. Karakuri Lake, surrounded by snow mountains, is located on the highland of 11,800 feet above sea level. You can either stroll or ride a horse around the lake. There are yurts and cheap inns providing accommodation for visitors, so you can stay there for one night and enjoy the spectacular sunrise at the lake. The cost is around CNY 40 - 50 per person for one night. Please note that it would be very noisy if you stay by the roadside. It's better for you to go back to the city if the weather is not that pleasant.
Day 18 Kashgar – Beijing Exit
Your impressive Silk Road adventure from Ireland ends today. Please check out before 12:00 and take a taxi to Kashgar Airport to catch the Air China flight CA1478 1625/2250 to Beijing. This flight has a 1-hour stopover in Urumqi. Upon arrival in Beijing, you can tranfer to the flight CA965 0230/0650 to Frankfurt, have a stopover for 3 hours and 10 minutes, and then transfer again to the Lufthansa flight LH978 1000/1105 to Dublin. Considering the multiple flight connections, we suggest you stay one night at a hotel near the airport in Beijing. In this case, you can take the flight CA933 1315/1840 to Paris the next day after a good rest and then transfer to the flight EI529 2150/2230 back to Dublin. Wish you a pleasant journey back home.

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Questions & Answers
Asked by Susunleng from MALAYSIA | Dec. 06, 2015 02:55Reply
Best time to visit ancient Silk Road .
Answers (1)
Answered by Sara | Dec. 06, 2015 23:41
00Reply


The best time to travel on the silk road is from May to Oct.
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