Pearl Cities along Silk Road

604: 11 Days Private Tour of Xian - Lanzhou - Xiahe - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi
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: 10 breakfasts, 7 lunches with some being a la carte style

Tour Highlights:
  • Visit the 2,200-year-old Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the eighth wonder of the world
  • Walk into a local Chinese family, interact & dine with the hosts in their home
  • Visit Sangke Grassland, a typical plateau grassland and Labrang Monastery, a Tibetan University
  • Marvel at the pearl in the Gobi Desert - Dunhuang and enjoy an exciting camel riding
From $2429 per person Free Inquiry
Binglingsi Grottoes
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Day 1 Arrival in Xian
Sincere greetings & airport-hotel transfer, City Wall if time permits.
Upon your arrival, our guide will welcome you outside the arrival hall of the airport and transfer you to downtown Xian to check in the hotel. If time is available, we will take you to the ancient City Wall. Standing on it, you may see a modern developing Xian blossoming outside the wall while an ancient city inside. 

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Day 2 Xian
Terracotta Warriors Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Provincial History Museum. (B)
Terracotta warriors
Today begins with the visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. In the museum, you will appreciate a picture of the vivid and lifelike warriors and horses arranged in the battle formation, seems ready to set out anytime, just like how the Qin soldiers united China over 2,000 years ago. 

In the afternoon, explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaanxi History Museum. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a seven-story-high brick building in square pyramid. Standing there for more than 1,300 years, it has been considered as the landmark and symbol of Xian. Shaanxi History Museum is the most comprehensive national museum displaying numerous historical and cultural relics. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 3 Xian - Lanzhou
Great Mosque, A local family visit and home-cooked lunch. A high-speed train to Lanzhou. Railway station-hotel transfer. (B+L)
Binglingsi Grottoes
Binglingsi Grottoes
This morning, you will visit the Great Mosque, a large traditional palatial architecture. It is a crystallization of Muslim culture and Chinese culture, appearing in a combination style of traditional Chinese and Muslim. Afterwards, pay a visit to a local Chinese family to learn about how the common Chinese people lead their daily lives. After enjoying a home cooked a la carte lunch (valued at CNY120.00 per person and included in our price) in this family, you will take a 3 hours' high-speed train to Lanzhou, where our guide will greet you at the railway station and transfer you to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Home-cooked a la carte lunch
Day 4 Lanzhou
Yellow River Mother's statue, Waterwheel Garden, Zhongshan Bridge, Binglingsi Grottoes. (B+L)
Morning excursion will be devoted to the Yellow River Mother's statue, Waterwheel Garden and Zhongshan Bridge. Then the tour will continue to the Binglingsi Grottoes by boat. Due to the relatively good natural conditions and little man-made damage, the grottoes have been preserved comparatively complete. Now there are still 776 Buddha statues, over 1,076 square yards murals and 6 stones sculptures being kept here after a long history of 1,600 years.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 Lanzhou - Xiahe
Gansu Provincial Museum. Lanzhou-Xiahe transfer, Sangke Grassland, a Tibetan family. (B+L)
Today, you will first visit the Gansu Provincial Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in Gansu Province which houses about 350,000 pieces of ancient cultural relics, contemporary and modern cultural relics, ethnic cultural relics and fossil specimens. Then continue the private journey to Xiahe and check in the hotel upon arrival. After a short break in the hotel, you will travel to Sangke Grassland, typical plateau grassland. Covering a vast area of 27 square miles and being encircled by mountains, Sangke Prairie is a great place to appreciate the magnificent pastoral scenery while the river is slipping slowly northwards and sheep and cattle are freely wandering about on it. After that, you will have a visit to a local Tibetan family to experience the nomadic life.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Xiahe - Lanzhou
Labrang Monastery, Xiahe-Lanzhou transfer. (B+L)
Labrang Monastery, Xiahe
The travel destination today is the Labrang Monastery, one of the six most noted monasteries as well as the largest Buddhist Institute of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery boasts tens of thousands of statues of Buddha made of various materials. You will also watch the morning devotion there. Then, you will travel back to Lanzhou and check in the hotel again.

Meals: Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Lanzhou - Dunhuang
Fly to Dunhuang. Airport-hotel transfer. Echoing-Sand Dune (camel-riding) and Crescent Lake. (B)
Your visit in Lanzhou ends here and you will reach Dunhuang by flight. Upon your arrival, our guide will meet you at Dunhuang Airport and transfer you to the hotel. Then you will experience a short camel-ride along the Echoing-Sand Dune to reach the Crescent Lake. The Echoing-Sand Dune is named so because one can hear clarion and thunder from the inner of the dunes, intermittent, rising or falling. The Crescent Lake is a crescent-shaped lake encircled by sand dunes. Lying there for thousands of years and survived from countless sandstorms, the lake has been reputed as the 'No. 1 Lake on Desert'.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 8 Dunhuang - Turpan
Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang Museum. High speed train to Turpan. Railway station-hotel transfer. (B+L)
Camel ride along the Echoing-sand Dune, Dunhuang
Today's private tour starts with a visit to the Mogao Grottoes, one of China's four most renowned grottoes. The grottoes here are scattered in a cliff of the Mingsha Mountain at five different levels. The frescoes in the grottoes are the gems of classical Chinese culture, reflecting the particular styles of different ages. After visiting the Dunhuang Museum, you will take a high speed train to Turpan. Our local guide will meet you and take you to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 Turpan
Jiaohe Ruins, Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda. (B+L)
Our clients visiting Jiaohe Ruins, Turpan
Your trip today includes the Ancient City of Jiaohe, the Karez System and the Sugong Pagoda.The Ancient City of Jiaohe is the world's largest, oldest and best-preserved earth-constructed city and reputed as the 'Most Perfect Ruins in the World'.  The Karez (well in Uyghur language) System is the crystallization of ancient people's diligence and intelligence. By making full use of the local special landform as well as taking the weather conditions into consideration, local people created this distinctive canal to bring in water for irrigation and living. Sugong Pagoda appears to be a pale yellow brick pagoda in a shape of cylinder, which gradually decreases upwards.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 10 Turpan - Urumqi
Gaochang Ruins, Baizikeli Thousand Buddha Cave, Flaming Hill. Land transfer from Turpan to Urumqi. (B+L)
Karez Well irrigation system, Turpan
Today we will take you to explore the Ancient City of Gaochang, the Baizikeli Thousand Buddha Caves and the Flaming Mountain. Initially built in the first century BC and used for over 1,300 years, the outline of the city can still be seen clearly nowadays. The Baizikeli Thousand Buddha Caves has been seriously damaged in the religious conflicts. But you can still see a magnificent, delicate, colorful and large cultural and art treasure house on the site. The Flaming Mountain is reputed as the hottest place in China. All over the bold and rough hill, there is no sign of life and it is mainly covered by weathered sand. The luminous red sand stones look like the burning flame, hence the name Flaming Mountain. After the full day sightseeing, you will head to Urumqi by car and check in the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 Departure from Urumqi
Hotel-airport transfer & see you off. A pleasant onward trip! (B)
Bid farewell to Urumqi. Our guide will transfer you to the airport for your homebound flight. We wish you a pleasant journey! 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner
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DestinationsLuxury HotelsStandard Hotels
XianWyndham Grand Xian South Holiday Inn Xian Big Goose Pagoda
LanzhouGrand Soluxe Hotel Gansu Legend Hotel
XiaheLabrang Civil Aviation Hotel Labrang Civil Aviation Hotel
DunhuangDunhuang Hotel Building No. 8Dunhuang Hotel Building No. 8
TurpanHuozhou Hotel Huozhou Hotel
UrumqiSheraton Urumqi Hotel Excemon Xinjiang Yilite Hotel
Tour Prices
With Luxury Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
With Standard Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
  • Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
  • 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
  • Airfares of arrival and departure
  • Entry visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips or gratuities for guides and drivers
Why Travel With Us
Questions & Answers
Asked by christopher soh from SINGAPORE | Nov. 08, 2017 08:21Reply
Airport shuttle bus to Ancient City Youth Hostel
I will arrive at Xi'an airport via Airasia at 2315 hrs. Is there still shuttle bus to the downtown? If there is, what is the shuttle bus to take to Ancient City Youth Hostel at Lianhu Road?
Answers (1)
Answered by Andre | Nov. 08, 2017 21:28

Yes, the shuttle bus is still available, and you can take Shuttle Bus Railway Line to Longhai Hotel near railway station first. After that, take a taxi to your hotel, which takes about 5 minutes and around CNY10.

But have to mention that taxi is a little hard to take at the station. So you may walk south for about 15 minutes to Xiwu Rd, and then walk west along the road for another 15 minutes to your hotel.
Asked by LoriAnne Frias from USA | Aug. 08, 2017 12:09Reply
we are experienced travelers
we have traveled all over Europe, Portugal and Australia by just flying in renting a car and driving around the city using a GPS and finding our own hotels. Do you recommend this and is it safe to do in China, not knowing the language?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mike | Aug. 10, 2017 21:46

It is not very easy to travel around the Silk Road using a GPS as these are remote areas and the GPS information may not be accurate. Therefore, I would suggest you join in a guided tour if you visit some remote areas.
Asked by yvonne raboy from USA | Jun. 04, 2017 16:25Reply
can I not go to the site I had been?
I had been Xi'an twice, been to terracotta twice, I'm only interest in local food ,agriculture farming, markets etc. can that be arrange? I do like go to museums, don't like camel ride nor sand dune. not crescent lake.
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Jun. 06, 2017 19:37

Surely you can. We can make a customized tour based on your requirement. Just submit the inquiry form and then our trave consultant will offer you the details by email.
Asked by LEPORHO from FRANCE | Apr. 23, 2017 23:21Reply
I would like to go see one of the dance performance when I visit Dunhuang.
Do I need to book the tickets in advance? And if so, where can I?
Answers (1)
Answered by Easton from NEW ZEALAND | Apr. 28, 2017 02:22

Generally speaking, there will have enough tickets in usual time. You can just purchase them when you arriving at the performance venue.
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