Follow in the footsteps of intrepid adventurers by journeying along one of the world’s most famous trading routes, the Silk Road. Beginning in ancient Xian, venture across this vast land to reach the fascinating outpost of Kashgar.
Come face to face with Xian's most famous army, the Terracotta Warriors
See the exhibits of Buddhist paintings, statues and sculptures
Visit the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains and the elegant Emin Minaret
Relax and unwind at the alpine banks of placid Heavenly Lake
27 Day Silk Road Explorer Tour Tour Itinerary
DAYS 1-2: FLY OVERNIGHT TO XIAN
Fly overnight to Xian, the ancient former capital. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
DAY 3: TERRACOTTA WARRIORS
Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, each one unique, whilst your guide introduces you to these life-like soldiers’ fascinating story. Later, enjoy a gentle cycle ride that will take you the nine miles around the ancient city wall and take a walking tour of the narrow and winding streets of the Muslim Quarter. Tonight, enjoy a traditional dumpling dinner and take an optional ‘Xian by night’ tour.
DAY 4: TRAIN TO LANZHOU
Start the day with a visit to Xian Museum and the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Later, board the bullet train to Lanzhou.
DAYS 5-6: EXPLORE LANZHOU
Begin today with a leisurely walk along the Yellow River and then head to the hilltop Baita Temple for a moment of tranquillity. Along the river and in Baita Park you can see locals practising Tai Chi. Later, tuck into some delicious Lanzhou-style noodles made with hand stretched dough. The next day, cross Liujiaxia Lake by speed boat and head into the green hills around Liujiaxia to explore the extraordinary Thousand Buddha Caves of Bingling Temple and their wealth of Buddhist murals, statues and sculptures. Also visit the statue of Maitreya.
DAY 7: TIBETAN XIAHE
Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe and spend time acclimatising to the altitude.
DAY 8: LABRANG MONASTERY
Giving a taste of the mysteries of Tibet, Labrang Monastery is a fascinating maze of prayer wheels, chapels and chortens. Dine on traditional Tibetan food for lunch, including Tibetan dumplings, known as momos.
DAY 9: TRAVEL TO ZHANGYE
Return to Lanzhou and take the speedy bullet train to Zhangye, once an important commercial town along the Silk Road.
DAY 10: RAINBOW MOUNTAINS
Rise early this morning to witness the sunrise over the kaleidoscopic mountains in Danxia National Park. Return to Zhangye and visit the Giant Buddha Temple before boarding your bullet train to Jiayuguan.
DAY 11: GREAT WALL AT JIAYUGUAN
Seen as China’s western gateway, Jiayuguan is the perfect place to get to grips with your Silk Road history. Visit the Jiayu Fortress and take a walk on the western extremes of the magnificent Great Wall for panoramic views over the starkly beautiful Gobi Desert.
DAY 12: CITY OF SANDS
Drive to Dunhuang. Located on a major trade and cultural crossroads, Dunhuang, known as the ‘City of the Sands’, sits in a verdant oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Visit the Shazhou Night Market where you can wander amongst the stalls.
DAY 13: MOGAO GROTTOES
A system of temples and sanctuaries, visit the Mogao Grottoes that exhibit wonderful examples of Buddhist paintings and statues that span thousands of years.
DAY 14: SINGING SAND DUNES
Visit Crescent Moon Spring, nestled amongst rolling dunes and the famous Singing Sand Dunes, a phenomenon produced by the wind blowing through grains of sand.
DAY 15: TURPAN
Take the bullet train to Turpan, a lush green oasis set in a barren landscape. An easy-going town famed for its grapes, its pleasant streets are lined with lush vine trellises.
DAYS 16-17: EXPLORE TURPAN
Visit the ruins of ancient Jiaohe and see the elegant Emin Minaret, the tallest in China. Later, see the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains. The next day, learn about the fascinating 2000-year-old Kerez irrigation canals and drive to Kurla.
DAYS 18-20: THE SILK ROAD
Over the next three days travel along the original Silk Road through the Xinjiang Region, viewing ruins and sights largely unvisited by tourists. Start with a visit to see the ruins of Subashi, before arriving in Kuqa to see the Kyzil Thousand Buddha Caves. Continue travelling to Aksu, and on to the fabled city of Kashgar.
DAY 21: EXPLORE KASHGAR
Its skyline punctured by minarets, Kashgar feels a million miles from China – in fact, it feels a million miles from anywhere! Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar’s bazaar have remained unchanged for millennia. Sightseeing today includes a visit to Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and a stroll around the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square.
DAY 22: KASHGAR SUNDAY BAZAAR
Dive headlong into Central Asia’s largest bazaar. Within this riot of textures, vivid colours and traditional dress, you can browse hundreds of stalls selling anything from spices and carpets to boots and blenders. Later, fly to Urumqi.
DAYS 23-24: HEAVENLY LAKE
Escape to the tranquillity of Tianchi (Heavenly Lake), formed in a crater. Pay a visit to a Kazakh minority family in their yurt and spend some time with them, learning their way of life. Tonight, enjoy local Uyghur lamb skewers for dinner. The following day, make a short visit to the Xinjiang Museum before flying to Beijing, China’s historic capital.
DAY 25: THE GREAT WALL
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. In the afternoon, enjoy the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens and see the exquisite architecture.
DAY 26: IMPERIAL BEIJING
Head to Beijing’s symbolic heart, Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you will find a complex full of imperial treasures. Soak up the ambience of the Temple of Heaven before visiting Yandaixiejie, where you will have some free time to wander the hutongs. This evening, dine on Peking duck and enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show.
DAY 27: FLY BEIJING TO UK
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.
Any customer looking to travel between September - December 2019 should refer to the 2019 Tour Dossier
Tour Dates & Prices
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
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Everyone needs a visa to travel to China, and this visa should be arranged before you travel. Your visa is included in the price of your holiday, and when it comes to organising it, our visa team will be on hand to help you with any questions or queries. Our step-by-step guide on completing your visa form is available on our website and we will comprehensively check your visa application form to make sure it meets the embassy guidelines. For those passengers travelling to the London visa centre, you will be met and assisted by a member of the Wendy Wu Tours team.
To call the UK the international access code is 0044. Out of hours is 0044 1888 288 288. Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. SMS and call rates can be expensive: we recommend that you contact your mobile supplier for more details. Some of our hotels have WIFI in the rooms and some will only have it in the lobby. There may be additional charges. Many websites, including Google, Facebook and Twitter are banned and inaccessible in China. If you need to access your email via Gmail whilst in China, please use an alternative email account whilst in the country.
Tipping while on holiday is common in most parts of the world and China is no exception. In order to avoid any inconvenience Wendy Wu Tours operates a tipping policy where a stated amount is given to your national escort at the beginning of your tour and tips are distributed to local guides and drivers throughout your tour. Yangtze cruise companies operate a service charge policy and this is paid separately when boarding the vessel. We indicate tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.
Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy.
The cost of meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is served in the hotel and includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consist of small dishes of local cuisine which are placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ for everyone to share. If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend where to eat. Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking.
Wendy Wu Tours inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. We pick the right hotel for the specific destination, meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Hotels in China are bound by Government laws which mean that air conditioning is switched on nationally in May and the central heating in November (this may vary slightly depending on the region).
SAMPLE TOUR HOTELS
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
King Dynasty Hotel
Located opposite the ancient city walls, the Xian King Dynasty Hotel offers spacious rooms equipped with a flat screen satellite television, a minibar, a safety deposit box and an en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries. The hotel also boasts an indoor pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. Guests can enjoy both Chinese and Western cuisines in the onsite restaurant. ...Read more
Changxin International Hotel
Located in the centre of Huzhou City, Changxing International Hotel Lanzhou offers cosy rooms with air conditioning, safety deposit box, minibar and satellite television. It features an indoor swimming pool, a spa and a gym, as well as 2 onsite restaurants offering both Chinese and Western cuisine. ...Read more
Xi Ling Hotel
Great Wall Hotel
The Great Wall Hotel offers fantastic views of the nearby Qilian Mountains and is in easy reach of the Great Wall Museum and the Jiayuguan Great Wall Pass. There are 150 modern rooms equipped with satellite television, air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. ...Read more
Jin Ye Hotel
Conveniently located in Dunhuang, Dunhuang Jinye Hotel is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city and its local attractions. Each of its air conditioned, modern en-suite rooms include satellite television, a minibar, wired internet and tea making facilities. There is an onsite fitness centre and spa, and the hotel’s restaurant serves Chinese and Western dishes. ...Read more
Right in the heart of the wooded Turpan, the Turpan Hotel has comfortable en-suite rooms with modern amenities, including air conditioning, tea making facilities, satellite television and a safety deposit box. The hotel also features an onsite restaurant serving local Chinese cuisine. ...Read more
Tianyuan International Hotel
The Tianyuan International Hotel, located in the city centre of Kashi, has traditionally adorned en-suite rooms with modern amenities, including tea making facilities, a minibar, free Wifi and complimentary newspapers and toiletries. The hotel’s onsite restaurant serves local Chinese dishes. There is also a spa onsite....Read more
Bintuan Grand Hotel
The Bintuan Grand Hotel located in Urumqi city centre offers spacious rooms with city views, en-suite bathrooms, complimentary toiletries, satellite television and a minibar. The hotel has 2 onsite restaurants, as well as a fitness center, a sauna and a spa....Read more
Zhongle Six Star Hotel
The luxurious Zhongle Six Star Hotel, conveniently located in Beijing, has spacious en-suite rooms which include, spacious and modern rooms featuring a hot tub, refrigerator, flat-screen cable TV, in-room safe, work desk and a sofa. The hotel’s onsite restaurants serve local Chinese and Western flavours. There is also a spa centre and TV area....Read more