Silk Road In-depth

603: 22 Days Private Tour of Beijing - Urumqi - Korla - Kuqa - Aksu - Kashgar - Hotan - Minfeng - Korla - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xian - Shanghai
Tour Type: Private Tour, any parts of the itinerary can be customized
Guide & Driver: English-speaking guide, experienced driver with an air-conditioned vehicle
Meals: 21 breakfasts, 16 lunches with some being a la carte style

Tour Highlights:
  • Must-see sights in China - Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors
  • Travel in depth to the Silk Road of 2,000 years ago & learn about the culture and history
  • Marvel at the pearl in the Gobi Desert - Dunhuang and enjoy an exciting camel riding
  • Walk into a local family, learn to cook Chinese food & dine with the hosts in their home
From $5569 per person Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrival in Beijing
Our guide will greet you outside the customs at Beijing Capital International Airport and escort you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you. 

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Day 2 Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Your private visit will start from Tiananmen Square this morning. Located in the heart of the city, it is a must before proceeding to the Forbidden City. The largest imperial palace complex does deserve your admiration while walking through these splendid halls in line. 

To avoid having lunch at the cheap low-quality eateries arranged by most agencies, we will serve you an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) at a noted local restaurant to taste the authentic Chinese food. 

In the afternoon, you will visit the Temple of Heaven which is regarded as one of the world's best architecture, especially the heaven-like Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Day 3 Beijing
Mutianyu Great Wall with a round-trip cable car, Olympic Bird's Nest. (B)
After breakfast, we will drive you to the Mutianyu Great Wall in suburban Beijing. The round trip cable car is included. This outstanding section of Great Wall will be a highlight of your 22 days China tour.  

After that, we will transfer you to a local market in downtown area. You could have a glance at the huge Bird's Nest (Olympic National Stadium) on the way to the market. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 4 Beijing - Urumqi
Summer Palace. Fly to Urumqi. Airport-hotel transfer. (B)
Southern Pasture, Urumqi
You will have a scenic excursion to the graceful Summer Palace this morning. Constructed to please the royal family, the park has centralized the best of ancient buildings and gardening. Its charm also cheers up travelers nowadays. Lunch is arranged on your own. Later, our guide will transfer you to take a flight to Urumqi. Your local guide will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel for a one-night stay. Your private Silk Road adventure will start tomorrow.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 5 Urumqi - Korla
Urumqi-Korla transfer (about 6 hours), Tiemen Pass. (B+L)
After breakfast, you will take a car for about 6 hours (500 kilometers) down to Korla by crossing Tianshan Mountain. There will be a visit to the Tiemen Pass, which was an importation military throat on the Silk Road of 2,000 years ago. From here, the ancient Silk Road will turn into a narrow and zigzag valley along the Peacock River. Tonight, you will stay at a nice hotel in Korla.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Korla - Kuqa
Korla-Kuqa transfer (about 3 hours), Subashi Ruins. (B+L)
Driving eastwards for about 3 hours (280 kilometers), you will arrive in Kuqa, which is the birthplace of Qiuci Culture and noted for the local featured knife. You could visit the Subash Ruins which has witnessed the flourish of Buddhism in Xinjiang during the 6th to the 8th centuries.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Kuqa - Aksu
Kuqa-Aksu transfer, Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves. (B+L)
Ruins of Subash Ancient Buddha Temple, Kuqa
After breakfast, you are going to the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves in Baicheng County, about 50 kilometers to the east of Kuqa. On the cliffs of the Mingwudage Mountain, there are hundreds of caves lasting for three kilometers, consisting of exquisite murals and vivid Buddha statues in large quantity. These treasure troves do narrate the prosperous history of Xinjiang in all respects and the external communication from the 3rd to the 13th centuries. Taking another 4 hours (298 kilometers), you will reach Aksu and stay there for one night.

Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 Aksu - Kashgar
Aksu-Kashgar transfer (about 6 hours). (B+L)
There will be a 6-hour drive for about 500 kilometers to Kashgar today. Upon arrival, you will check in a local hotel for a three-night stay.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 Kashgar - Karakuri Lake - Kashgar
Transfer to visit Karakuri Lake. (B+L)
Our clients at the Karakuri Lake, Kashgar
In the morning, you will take the car for 3.5 hours (200 kilometers) to the Karakuri Lake which is located 3,600 meters above sea level. Surrounded by snow mountains to the east of the Pamirs, this lake offers local herds with fertile grassland and travelers with extraordinary charming scenery. You could also see the yurts, camels and horses of the Tajik people inhabiting here.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 10 Kashgar
Sunday Market, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Khoja Tomb. (B+L)
Abakh Khoja Tomb, Kashgar
The Kashgar city sightseeing is arranged today. Firstly visit the famous Sunday Bazaar where you could experience the real daily life in Xinjiang. On the market, there are various kinds of local goods, such as fresh fruit, snacks, colorful clothes, delicate handicrafts as well as livestock. The following destination is the Id Kah Mosque located in the city center. It is the largest mosque in China originally built in 1142 and the center of Moslem activities in Xinjiang. Finally, you will visit the Abakh Khoja Tomb which is a large and unsophisticated family graveyard of the local leaders in the 17th century. The graveyard consists of gate tower, tombs, pond, garden and mosques, looking like a typical Islamic palace.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 Kashgar - Hotan
Kashgar-Hotan transfer (about 7 hours), Yarkant King Mausoleum, Amanishahan's Mausoleum. (B+L)
Leaving from Kashgar, you are going to Hotan, another famous city in south Xinjiang. The 520-kilometer journey, dotted with gobi, desert and oasis, will take you about 7 hours by car. On the way, you could visit the 500-year Yarkant King Mausoleum and Amanishahan's Mausoleum in Shache County (or Yarkant County). Tonight, you will stay at a nice hotel in Hotan.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 Hotan - Minfeng
Hotan-Minfeng transfer (about 2.5 hours), Silk Village, a hundred years' old walnut tree, a local bazaar, Yutian city. (B+L)
Ancient City of Jiaohe, Turpan
Hotan has been noted for producing jade, carpet and silk. Therefore, it is a must to visit the Silk Village, which also boasts a hundred-year-old walnut tree. After that, the car will run eastwards for 3.5 hours (300 kilometers) to Minfeng County. While passing by Yutian County, you can visit a local bazaar. Please have a good rest in Minfeng tonight.

Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Day 13 Minfeng - Korla
Minfeng-Korla transfer (about 3 to 10 hours) via Takla Makan Desert. (B+L)
The most challenging section will occur today. You will take the car running through the Takla Makan Desert from Minfeng northwards back to Korla City. Located in the middle of the large Tarim Basin, Takla Makan is the largest desert in China with shifting dunes and poplar forest. The whole journey is 780 kilometers and takes you 9 to 10 hours.

Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Day 14 Korla - Turpan
Korla-Turpan transfer (about 5 hours). (B+L)
From Korla, you will head for Turpan located in the basin of the east Tianshan Mountain. Having a 400-year recorded history, Turpan has played as a transportation and cultural communication hub on the Silk Road. The 380 -kilometer journey will be finished in 5 hours. Upon arrival, you will check in a local hotel for a two-night stay.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 15 Turpan
Jiaohe Ruins, Sugong Pagoda, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Flaming Hill. (B+L)
Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Turpan
Today's visit includes the Ruins of Ancient City of Jiaohe, the Sugong Pagoda, the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, and the Flaming Mountains. Jiaohe City was constructed by Cheshi State from the 2nd BC to the 5th AD and gradually declined in the 14th century. You could see the relics of the principal body to recall its glory. The Sugong Pagoda is a novel Islamic pagoda built 200 years ago. The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves was originally carved since the 6th century on the cliffs of the Mutou Valley of the Flaming Mountain, and once the royal temple during 9th~13th centuries. Due to man-made and natural damage, only 83 caves with rare Buddha murals are preserved. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 16 Turpan - Dunhuang
Karez Well. High speed train to Dunhuang. Railway station-hotel transfer. (B)
Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang
The historical tour of Turpan will be extended to the Karez System which is a widely used underground irrigating system in Turpan. As your Xinjiang tour ends today, our guide will transfer you to take a high speed train to Dunhuang. Upon your arrival, a local guide will pick you up at Liuyuan Railway Station of Dunhuang and transfer you to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 17 Dunhuang
Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang Museum. (B+L)
Today you will visit the fabulous Mogao Caves today, which is the shining pearl and the Oriental Louvre on the Silk route. At the following Dunhuang Museum, you could see more historical and cultural relics excavated in this region.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 18 Dunhuang - Xian
Echoing-Sand Dune (camel-riding) and Crescent Lake. Fly to Xian. Airport-hotel transfer. (B+L)
You will experience a short camel-ride along the Echoing-Sand Mountain to reach the Crescent Lake. Later, our guide will transfer you to Dunhuang Airport to take a flight to Xian. Upon arrival in the airport, the guide will escort you to the hotel. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 19 Xian
Terracotta Army Museum, Provincial History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda. (B)
Our travel consultant Lydia with her guests
You should never miss the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. After breakfast, we will transfer you to the museum, and enough time will be left for you to see these life-size and mighty statues of 2,000 years ago.

In the afternoon, you will proceed to the Provincial Historical Museum to better understand this renowned ancient capital of deep historical and cultural accumulation. After that, you will be taken to visit the majestic Big Wild Goose Pagoda build 1,300 years ago in the Tang Dynasty.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 20 Xian - Shanghai
City Wall, A local family visit and home-cooked lunch. Fly to Shanghai. Airport-hotel transfer. (B+L)
Terracotta warriors
Your tour this morning will be focused on the ancient City Wall, where you could have a bird's view of this city. After that, you will be invited to visit a local family and enjoy a home-cooked a la carte lunch in the family you visit. The Silk Road comes to the end in Xian but your tour will be extended to Shanghai. Our professional guide will be waiting for you at Shanghai Airport and transfer you to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Home-cooked a la carte lunch
Day 21 Shanghai
Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden, A la carte lunch, Huangpu River cruise, the Bund and an old cultural street. (B+L)
Nanjing Road, Shanghai
In the morning, you will firstly go to Shanghai Museum which exhibits plenty of Chinese historical collections in various aspects. The next destination is the tranquil Yuyuan Garden, a 400-year luxurious and enjoyable private residence. 

A delicate a la carte farewell lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) will be served at a popular local restaurant. In the afternoon, you could take a Huangpu River Cruise to view this metropolis' great changes on the river's two banks. After disembarking on the Bund, it is suggested that you walk around this famous area and then visit an old street in Shanghai.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Day 22 Departure from Shanghai
Hotel-airport transfer & see you off. A nice journey home! (B)
Please enjoy your free time before departure! Our guide will transfer you to take the homebound flight on time. May you a pleasant trip home! 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner
DestinationsLuxury HotelsStandard Hotels
BeijingHotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong Pentahotel Beijing
UrumqiSheraton Urumqi Hotel Excemon Xinjiang Yilite Hotel
KorlaKangcheng Jianguo International Hotel Loulan Hotel
KuqaKu Che Grand Hotel Ku Che Grand Hotel
AksuHongfu Jinlan Hotel Hongfu Jinlan Hotel
KashgarRadisson Blu Hotel Kashgar Radisson Blu Hotel Kashgar
HotanWest Lake International Hotel West Lake International Hotel
MinfengNi Ya Hotel Ni Ya Hotel
TurpanHuozhou Hotel Huozhou Hotel
DunhuangDunhuang Hotel Building No. 8Dunhuang Hotel Building No. 8
XianWyndham Grand Xian South Holiday Inn Xian Big Goose Pagoda
ShanghaiRenaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel Ocean Hotel Shanghai
Earlier Booking, Bigger Savings
10% off - book 60 days before, 5% off - book 30 days before
Tour Prices with Luxury Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$6909 $6218$5849 $5264$4769 $4292
Tour Prices with Standard Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$6629 $5966$5569 $5012$4489 $4040
  • Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
  • The prices in red reflect 10% discount.
  • Any part of the itinerary e.g. tour length, activities & hotels can be tailored to your individual interests.
Price Includes
  • Domestic airfares & train fares
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfasts
  • Lunches as itinerary specifies
  • Private English-speaking guides
  • Private drivers & air-conditioned vehicles
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites
Price Excludes
  • International airfares
  • Entry Visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips or gratuities for guides and drivers
Why Travel With Us
Questions & Answers
Asked by Sean from USA | Sep. 04, 2019 00:47Reply
Possibility of 2, 144 hour visas

I am visiting someone in Tianjin. Is it possible if I apply for the first 144 hour visa and stay in Beijing/Tianjin for 1 day, then we both go to Vietnam for 9 days, then come back and visit Tianjin and Beijing for 6 days? Can I apply for 1 visa on entry the first time and apply the 2nd visa upon re-entering from Vietnam?

Arrive PEK on 9/24
Leave from TSN on 9/25 to Vietnam
Leave Vietnam to TSN on 10/4
Leave from PEK on 10/9

Thanks for your help.
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 04, 2019 03:47

In case that you will arrive in Beijing from a country that is different from mainland China and Vietnam and if you proceed to Vietnam on a direct flight, this is eligible for 24 or 144 hour visa free transit in Beijing area. I cannot conclude from your post how much time will take your first stop in China. In case that your stay will take less than 24 hours, you will be eligible for 24 hour TWOV and in case that it is just a minute more than 24 hours, you will enjoy 144 hour TWOV. Anyway, be careful that your flight from Tianjin to Vietnam don't have any additional landing of any kind within mainland China!

For your journey back, you will be eligible for 144 hour visa free transit, but again, you should take care that your flight from Vietnam to Tianjin don't have any additional landing within mainland China. After your stay in Beijing area, you have to depart from Beijing area on a direct flight to a country different that mainland China and Vietnam.

If the above conditions are fulfilled, you will be definitely eligible for 24/144 hour visa free transit in Beijing area twice.
Answered by ZUPAN | Sep. 04, 2019 03:51

By the way, you should use correct terminology. This is not "24/144 hour visa", but 24/144 visa free transit, so there is no visa at all. It is very important to use correct terminology to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings.
Asked by Endro Catur from INDONESIA | Oct. 12, 2017 10:48Reply
Weather during winter in Silk Route areas of China
I will be travelling from Xi'an to Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Urumqi and Kashgar mid Dec 2017 to mid Jan 2018. What is the the most extreme weather in those areas during that period? Are there particular spots in those areas that are better in winter than in other seasons?
Answers (3)
Answered by Nana from RUSSIA | Oct. 16, 2017 02:06

Among the places you mentioned, it can be cold in Xi'an and Lanzhou, and extremely freezing in the other three. In Dunhuang, it can be very dry and windy as well. Very thermal clothing are needed in Urumqi and Kashgar where there will be heavy snow.

For attraction in winter. I recommend the Heavenly Pool in Urumqi, near which there is a ski resort for you to have fun.
Answered by Endro Catur from INDONESIA | Oct. 18, 2017 00:02

Hi Nana, thank you for your insight. I will definitely bring my down jacket. Hope one is enough :)
Answered by Ablajan Jilil from URUMQI ,CHINA | Nov. 23, 2017 00:33

Hi , Endro

those time of this year gets very cold and more snow time , specially Urumqi area . of course other places can be cold . make sure that you had brought enough warm clothing . down Jacket( + warm sweater and warm underware) , hat and gloves needed too .
good luck !
Ablajan Jilil ( Urumqi guide )
Asked by ELISE_HO | Apr. 18, 2017 03:08Reply
What is the transport available from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Tingtang Road, Pudong?
I would like to inquire the transports available (after midnight) from PVG to hotel located at Tingtang Road, Zhuqiao Town, Pudong.
Answers (1)
Answered by Sadie from SINGAPORE | Apr. 19, 2017 02:42

The distance between the airport and your hotel is around 6 miles (10 kilometers). For your convenience, you can take a taxi directly. The cab fare is CNY 40-50 at midnight.
Asked by D from CHINA | Jul. 11, 2015 14:13Reply
Minfeng to Korla
I see this tour goes across the Taklamakan desert from Minfeng to Korla. Can I arrange just to take part in only this part of the tour (from Minfeng to Korla)? How much will it cost? When can I do it (eg how frequently does the tour go through there)?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelDChinaGuide | Jul. 13, 2015 02:11


This is a private tour, which you can start at any time you prefer. But the best time for silk road is from May to October. If you want a customized tour, we are pleased to make it for you. Please fill in the online enquiry form and we will offer the itinerary to you by email. Thanks for your attention.
Asked by Davidd | Jul. 08, 2015 07:27Reply
Is there a bus service from Kashgar to Hetian?
What is the cost and duration of travel?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mark | Jul. 08, 2015 22:08

Yes. There are regular buses available from Kashgar to Hetian. The bus fare is around CNY100 and the journey takes about 6 hours. There are several bus terminals in Kashgar, you can take the bus at Kashgar Long-Distance Bus Terminal, the address is No. 51 PaHeTaBaZha South Road (In Chinese: 喀什地区客运总站,帕合塔巴扎南路51).
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