Day 1 Arrive in Xi'an
Today you will arrange your international flight to get to Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi province. We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the hotel check in. the rest of the day will be your leisure time to explore this ancient city.
Accommodation : In Xi'an
Day 2 Xi'an
As the starting point of Silk Road, Xi'an has a profound history and culture. Drive to the countryside of the Xi'an city about 1hrs, we will visit the most impressive historic site Terracotta Warriors which are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum in Lintong, It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China. Believe you will be amazed by the culture and history to get a feeling back to Qing Dynasty during the 3hrs experience. （No flash when take photos)
Lunch will be in the local restaurant, we will continue the sightseeing to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda built to house Buddhist scriptures collected by a Chinese Monk. Big Wild Goose Pagoda has 7 floors in total. Architecture is traditional Chinese style decorating with some Buddha statues. Tourists can see variety of Buddha statues and see the whole Xi’an city at the top floor.
Option: if time permit we suggest you enjoy the Culture Tangshow in the evening which is 1hr
Accommodation : In Xi'an
Terracotta Warriors Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Day 3 Xi'an
Spend the other whole day exploring culture and customer in Xi'an. we will go to the Shaanxi Province Museum, This provincial museum is one of the major museums in China. It holds numerous unearthed cultural artifacts from within the Shaanxi province as well as the rest of China. The newly built modern building recreates Tang-dynasty architecture and successfully symbolizes the great extent of Shaanxi history and its remarkable culture. Afterwards, drive you to the Ancient City Wall, This is the most complete city wall that has survived in China as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. you will enter the city wall through the ticket gate. Standing on the wall, you can't use your eyes to judge how long the wall is. you can walk around the city wall or experience the cycling. and then explore the Muslim Street, Relax with free walking along the street tasting he local delicious food and exploring the local lifestyle.
Accommodation : In Xi'an
Ancient City Wall Shaanxi History Museum
Day 4 Xi'an Jiayuguan
Today you will leave early from the hotel and transfer to the airport to cath the morning flight to Jiayuguan, the air journey will take about 2 to 3 hours. we will pick you up from the airport and accompany you to climb the Jiayuguan pass upon your arrival. This Ming Dynasty fort guards the strategic Jiayuguan pass, at the western end of the Great Wall – this was the last section built by the Ming Dynasty. and visit the The Great Wall Museum, which was opened to visitor in October 1989 and it is the first one to exhibit the Great Wall culture in a comprehensive and systematic way. (There are many steps from one tower to the other, please consider if are able to walk and climb about 2hrs). Next, we will pay a visit to Weijin Tombs, which are ancient tombs of brick paintings dating back 265-420 AD. The wall paintings discovered are lifelike and succinct in style and cover a wide range of subjects including politics, economics, culture, military affairs, folk customs, and science and technology during the Wei and Jin periods.
Accommodation : In Jiayuguan
Jiayuguan Pass Weijin Tombs
Day 5 Jiayuguan Dunhuang (350kms, 4.5hrs driving)
Enjoy your nice breakfast at the hotel and then we will depart from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang with about 4.5 hours driving. Upon arrival, head up to Echoing Sand Mountain&Crescent Lake. When there is wild wind, the sands will be blown up and make loud sound, while the sound sounds like being produced by some ancient musical instrument when blew by breeze, There is also a Crescent Lake that has been in existence for hundreds of years without ever being buried by the sand. Riding the camel as the Silk Road Caravan in the vast desert is highly recommended (approximately 40mins). Please bring your sunglasses and and mask to keep out the dust.
In the evening, you will enjoy the walking tour to the Shazhou Night Market, the most bustling place of Dunhuang at night. It's easy to lose our sense of time wonder the market while enjoy your leisure time and taste some local cuisine.
Accommodation : In Dunhuang
Crescent Lake Shazhou Night Market
Day 6 Dunhuang Turpan D2711(18:18-21:50)
Morning we will arrive at Mogao Grottoes according to the booking time. Mogoa Grottoes, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, this UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the great artistic and religious wonders of the world and it is famous for its exquisite murals and various sculptures inside the caves, which was built in different dynasties, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art, enjoy the Silk Road Movies in the visitor Center about 40 mins before our exploration into the Grottoes.The professional guide from the Mogao will bring you to 8grottoes with their special torch so that you have clear view of the murals and paintings. （Note: No photos and Video in the caves). The visiting time is around 4hrs including movie.
Folloing a lunch in a local restaurant, drive you to the Liuyuan station and take the express train to Turpan.
Accommodation : In Turpan
Mogao Grottoes Mogao Grottoes
Day 7 Turpan
Today you will start your journey in Turpan. A must and first visit is the oldest Uighur village Tuyoq Village located in the very center of Flaming Mountain Canyon. It used to be the holy site of Buddhism and Islam. The village consists of four parts: Canyon scenery, Thousand Buddha Caves, Maza tomb and the old buildings of the ancient village. and then you will head to visit the Astana Tombs, which is the graveyard of the residents who lived in the Gaochang City in the Jin-Tang period. Between 1959 and 1975, a great number of cultural relics had been unearthed, including Chinese documents, textiles, epitaphs, coins, clay sculptures, pottery, wooden wares, silk-paintings, crops and foods, etc. The site is known as the Underground Museum.
In the afternoon, drive you to explore the Bezeklik Grottoes, the Buddhist Center of Gaochang area, is a complex of Buddhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to 14th century between the cities of Turpan and Shanshan at the north-east of the Taklamakan Desert near the ancient ruins of Gaochang in the Mutou Valley. Some murals show a large Buddha surrounded by other figures, including Turks, Indians and Europeans. Some of the murals are masterpieces of religious art. From here, you can enjoy the outlook of Flaming Mountain around the Grottoes.
Accommodation : In Turpan
Tuyoq Village Bezeklik Grottoes
Day 8 Turpan Kashgar T9517(17:12-07:56)
Breakfast at the hotel and then we will do a Turpan city tour. the first stop is Sugong Minaret, the largest Islamic minaret in China built in 1778 by Sulaiman that is the ruler and leader of Turpan to commemorate and commend his father's achievements of the reunion of Xinjiang. Afterwards, we will also pay a visit to Karez Well, A special irrigation system that the locals make full use of the topography of Turpan to draw the underground water to irrigate their farmland ingeniously. The tour today in Turpan end up to enjoy the scenery of Jiaohe Ruins with a history of 2,300 years lies between two rivers on a loess plateau atop a cliff of over 30m. It is one of the best preserved ruins of its ancient era in China, it was include in the World Heritage List on June 22, 2014.
After the visiting, you will be transferred to the train station to take the overnight train to Kashgar.
Accommodation : On the soft sleeper train
Karez Well Sugong Minaret
Day 9 Kashgar Karakul Lake (260kms, 3hrs driving)
Arrive in Kashgar in the morning, we will wait for you at the train station. Be met and transfer to the hotel check in. After a short break, driving on the China and Pakistan highway about 4hrs to enjoy the landscape of Pamirs Plateau. The following day will be spent exploring the stunning landscape surrounding the Karakul Lake, where the herds of livestock around the lakeside are reflected in lake and is extraordinarily graceful,where Kirghiz herdsmen usually settle down and graze their herds. You will have ample opportunity for leisure walking and enjoy the Magnificant Muztagh Peak. It is highly recommended to visit the local Kirgiz family in their yurt. We take the Karakom highway back to Kashgar in the late afternoon.
Night market suggested today for the food and experience the real life of the locals.
Accommodation : In Kashgar
Karakul Lake Karakul Lake
Day 10 Kashgar Urumqi
Today is Sunday and we will spend a whole day to explore Kashgar. around 09:00 we will visit the Idigar Mosque, the largest Mosque in China and the most sacred mosque for the locals to practise their Islamic activities. around 10:30 we have to visit the Old Town when the open ceremony ready to greeting all the tourists with the culture show, further exploration to the special culture and experience the lifestyle with the arrangements of the visiting to the local Uighur Family. Lunch arranged in the local Restaurant. Today's highlights is the Sunday bazaar that is combined two section. The covered bazaar sells the clothing, nuts, household goods and many things out of your imagination.The outdoor Animal Bazar is the first bazaar we visit, where the farmers and buyers arriving by donkey cart, truck, bicycle, horseback, motorbike or on foot, with their animals. It's loud, lively and cheerful as they arrive. It is quite interesting to witness their typical methods of bargin. After the visiting to Cenral Asia Market, continue to the Apak Hoja Tomb, which is the holiest place in Xinjiang and an architectural treasure. Kashgar city tour ends with the wandering to the bustling Handicraft street, dazzling jewelry, primitive pottery,unique musical instrument, daily resources of the locals. The spare time in the teahouse is our special arrangement for you to relax and get a feel for the local culture and traditions.
After the exploration, we will transfer you to the airport to catch the evening flight to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. Upon arrival, bring you to the hotel check in.
Accommodation : In Urumqi
Sunday Bazaar Apak Hoja Tomb
Day 11 Urumqi Heavenly Lake Urumqi Almaty
Today you will enjoy the tour of the picturesque Heavenly Lake (approximately1.5hrs), 2000m up in the Tianshan mountain range. which is surrounded by the snow mountains, blooming wildflowers, evergreen pine trees. 40-minute sceniic shuttle bus ride that twists though the dramatic mountains. Then you can either walk to the lakeside in 10mins or take the electronic cart. There are 3 options suggested. Boating cruise to take the incredible view of Tianshan Mountain. Trekking along the lake in the fresh air. or you can explore further uo to the Maya Mountain by the cable car to enjoy the magnificent view of the Mountains.
After the visiting, we will take the shuttle bus down the mountain and drive back to Urumqi with about 1.5 hours driving. you will have a chance to visit the Xinjiang International Bazaar, the largest bazaar in Urumqi. You'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and almost anything that you can imagine. (Option: The Culture Show with Banqute,fr $45/pp)
Coming out from the International bazaar, you will take the evening flight to Almaty. Upon arrival, Have a good rest.
Accommodation : In Almaty
Heavenly Lake Xinjiang International Bazaar
Day 12 Almaty
We start Almaty sightseeing tour. Visit Panfilov’s Park with Zenkov’s Orthodox Cathedral, Great Patriotic War Memorial and National Musical Instruments Museum. Continue of sightseeing tour at Republican Square and State History Museum.
After city tour we drive to Medeo World Famous Skating Ring, situated in a mountain gorge near the city. We may go on a hiking tour upstairs to the top of the dam to enjoy the view of Northern Tien Shan Mountains.
Accommodation : In Almaty
Day 13 Almaty Bishkek Issyk-Kul-Lake
Transfer from Almaty to Bishkek and then to Cholpon Ata. Crossing Kazakh-Kyrgyz border takes about one hour on the way to Bishkek. Today while being transferred from Almaty to Bishkek we cross south-eastern part of the fabulous Kazakh Steppe. The steppe extends more than 2,200 km from the area east of the Caspian Depression and north of the Aral Sea, all the way to the Altai Mountains. It is the largest dry steppe region on earth, covering approximately 804,500 square kilometers. The Kazakh Steppe lies at the southern end of the Ural Mountains, the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia. Much of the steppe is considered to be either semi-desert or desert.
We pass through "Boom Gorge", which lies at the eastern end of the Kyrgyz Range and provides the only corridor between two Chui and Issyk Kul regions. Converging together through this narrow canyon are a highway, a railway (rising high above the road apparently it was built by German prisoners of war, the first train to travel along the 189km track to Balykchy was in 1948)., and the Chu River (so bellowed by white-water rafters). The name "Boom" means "evil spirit" – and the gorge acquired this name in recognition of the trials and tribulations it presented to anyone who tried to pass through. The first "outsider" to do so was the 19th century Russian explorer Pyotr Semyenov (Tienshansky) in 1850. Nowadays there are walls at various places along the gorge designed to prevent landslides cascading down onto the road below.
Upon arrival in Cholpon Ata accommodation in the hotel. Rest on the shore of the lake Issyk Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America. Measuring 182 km long by 58 km wide, the lake appeared as a result of volcanic activity. It is heated from below by thermal activity and never freezes even in the depths of winter. In the summer the water temperature reaches 25-28 degrees centigrade (warmer than the air) and you can swim in the lake enclosed on all sides by the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains. Extremely deep and nicely warm over the centuries the lake has been something of an oasis in this inhospitable mountain environment. With diverse flora and fauna Issyk-Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia most remarkable locations.
Accommodation : In Issyk Kul Lake
Issyk Kul Lake Issyk Kul Lake
Day 14 Issyk-Kul-Lake
In Cholpon ata you will visit Petroglyphs Site, the temple in the open air of Scythians and Hungsuns civilizations dated back 9-8 centuries BC till 3-4 centuries AD. The area of those stone drawing lies at the foot of Kungey Alatoo Ridge with a beautiful view of the whole lake. Local History & Ethnography Museum is also highly recommended for visiting! On the way visit the museum of N. M. Przhevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of Asian continent.
After excursion we continue driving to Karakol town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tien Shan. This sleepy but very interesting old Russian town was first erected by Cossacks in the middle of 19th century and became an important garrison settlement.
Upon arrival to Karakol check in the hotel/guesthouse. After a short rest you visit Dungan mosque, a unique construction in Chinese style, but serving as a mosque. Also you will see an old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made of wood without any nails. you will see an old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made of wood without any nails.
Accommodation : In Issyk Kul Lake
Petroglyphs Site Petroglyphs Site
Day 15 Issyk-Kul-Lake Djety Oguz Gorge
In the morning we drive to Djety Oguz Gorge.Djety Oguz in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls”. This picturesque gorge is named so because of the red rocky sand formations covered with forests of Tien Shan spruces. We hike up the main gorge along the winding Djety Oguz mountain river. On the way you visit some yurts of the local nomadic families. Overnight in yurt camp.
Accommodation : In Yurt
Day 16 Djety Oguz Gorge Bishkek
Transfer to Bishkek. On the way visit of Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok city. That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town; one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 11-12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling about that civilization. Also watch a Collection of Balbals, Turkic Ancient Tombs.
Arrival to Bishkek. Accommodation in the hotel. The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city’s vast central square, yet it is the permanently snow capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop.
Visit of Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Then walking tour around main Ala Too Square, Independence Monument, Main Governmental Buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Parliament House. Transfer to the Victory Square to finish the city tour by short excursion there.
Accommodation : In Bishkek
Burana Tower Ala-Too Square
Day 17 Bishkek Tashkent
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Tashkent. Arrival and transfer to the hotel. Rest.
Accommodation : In Tashkent
Day 18 Tashkent Urgench Khiva
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Urgench. Meeting at the airport of Urgench. Transfer to Khiva (30 km). Accommodation at the hotel.Khiva - one of the most ancient cities in the world, was attestor of the rise and fall of Khorezm. The final appearance of old Khiva was formed at the end of 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Today the old part of Ichan-Kala is called an open-air museum and is guarded by UNESCO. The rather small territory of Ichan-Kala holds - 2 palaces, more than 60 madrassah and small-sized mosques, mausoleums, a cathedral mosque, a covered market, caravans - sheds and bath-houses, and apartment houses. Igam-Kala is surrounded by a strong fortress-like brick wall. Walking around the maze of narrow alleyways protected at both sides by facades of high houses with thick brick walls, crowned by merlons, and domes on corners, one is amazed by the architecture and skill of the local craftsmen. Not only the administrative and cult buildings, but also the apartment houses are decorated with dazzling bright tiles with incredible designs. Special to Khiva is the art of woodcarving. In the city all the columns, doors, gin and shutters are decorated with unique ornament.Khiva is famous for its carpets and jewellery, too.
Sightseeing in Khiva FD. Visiting of Ichan-Kala – inner cite of ancient settlement, Mohammed-Amin Khan Madrassah and Minaret (XIX c.), Kunya Ark – Old Fortress (XVII c.), Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex (XIV-XIX cc.) with its tiled courtyard, Islam Khodja madrassah & Minaret (1908), Jumma Mosque (X–XVIII cc.), Tash Hauli Allakuli-Khan Palace (XVIII-XIX cc.). Many wedding parties and pilgrims come to visit the tomb and drink the water from the well in the courtyard. The beautiful Kalta Minar minaret and the extraordinary Tash Khauli or “stone palace”built in the 1830's and home of the ruling khans. Bazaar.
Accommodation : In Khiva
Day 19 Khiva Uzbek -Turkmen border Keneurgench Dashoguz Ashgabat
Transfer to the Uzbek – Turkmen border. Meeting and transfer to Keneurgench.Visiting the Mausoleum of Khoresm Shakh Tekesh,
Il Arslan, Kyrk Molla, Palace of Turabek Khanym, Minaret of Kutluk Timur and Ruins of Djuma Mosque Minaret. Visit the Museum of History and Mausoleum of Nadjimmidin Kubra. Transfer to Dashoguz for the flight to Ashgabat. Meeting and transfer to the hotel.
Accommodation : In Ashgabat
Day 20 Ashgabat
Excursion along the city.The National History and Ethnographic Museum of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Khadja Mosque, “Turkmenbashi Rukhi” (“The Soul of Turkmenbashi”) mosque – one of the most biggest mosque in Central Asia, the mausoleum of the first president of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, the Independence Park, Neutrality Monument, the 1948th earthquake memorial, Ertogrul Gazi, Carpets museum which has in its collection the biggest carpet in the world.
Accommodation : In Ashgabat
Day 21 Ashgabat Mary
Visit Ancient Nisa (III c. B.C.) – the residence of parfian kings. Transfer to Mary. Overnight at the hotel.
Accommodation : In Mary
Day 22 Mary
Full day excursion in Mary (big complex of ancient fortresses and mausoleums beginning from the third century B.C. protected by UNESCO), Gyaur Gala Fortress (Alexandria – Antiokhiya); Sultan Sanjar and Mukhammed ibn Zade Mausoleums, Guifary and Bureida Tombs, the Ruins of the Medieval Keshk Fortress and Margush (the big town Gonur Depe V c. B.C.) – the Centre of Ancient Zoroastric Margiana – the powerful government.
Accommodation : In Mary
Day 23 Mary Turkmen-Uzbek border Bukhara
After breakfast drive to Turkmen-Uzbek border. Continue to Bukhara. Accommodation at the hotel.
Bukhara one of the most ancient cities of the East is situated in one of oases of the Kizilkum desert. Bukhara celebrated her 2500 year anniversary in 1998. The city has had several names at different times: Numiskat Madaniat - uc Sufia, Fakhirs, Vikhara (translated from Sanskrit - monastery). First written references relate to the 3rd century AD.In the 9th century Bukhara became the centre of the powerful Samanid state. At that time the trades and professions developed, the irrigation canals were constructed. The famous doctor and philosopher Avicenna spent his childhood here, and poet Rudaki composed his verses here and historian and poet Firdousi lived here, too. The Bukhara library was glorified. In the Middle Ages Bukhara became one of religious centers of Asia: numerous mosques and madrassah (spiritual schools) were constructed. In XVI century Bukhara became the centre of the powerful Bukhara Khanstva, which existed till the beginning of the 20th century. Modern Bukhara is the centre of a large district in Uzbekistan. The city has a population of 200 000 peoples. Bukhara’s people carefully preserve the history of their native city and strive to promote tourism throughout the world.
Accommodation : In Bukhara
Day 24 Bukhara
Sightseeing in Bukhara - FD. Bukhara has some of the most impressive monuments Central Asia has to offer.
Visiting: Kalyan Minaret , 47 metres high is one of the most outstanding monuments. It was known as the “tower of death”, because during emir’s time criminals were tied up in sacks and thrown from the top. It was one of the few building to survive the rule of Genghis Khan, himself so impressed that he chose not to destroy it.Chashma Ayub Mazar (graveyard) (XIV-XIX), Poi-Kalan complex (XII-XVI c.), Ulugbek madrassah (it that was built by grandson of Tamerlan – Ulugbek – distinguished mathematician and astronomer). Afternoon sightseeing in Bukhara Lyabi-Hauz complex (XVI-XVII c.); Visiting of Samanid’s Mausoleum,a beautiful example of Zoroastrian architecture dating back to the 10th century; Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah, built in 1630. Ark - ancient fortress (VI-VII c.), home to the rules until the last emir left in 1920. Sitorai Mokhi Khosa – “Palace of Moon and Stars” – summer residence of the last Bukhara Emir (XIX c), Bolo Khauz mosque.
Accommodation : In Bukhara
Day 25 Bukhara Samarkand
Transfer to the railway station for the morning train to Samarkand. Arrival to Samarkand. Meeting and transfer to the hotel.
At the end of the “Golden Road to Samarkand”, we will be rewarded with one of Central Asia’s most magnificent cities. The merchants of the silk route brought their wares to trade in the bazaars off the city. Their tales created a legendary status for Samarkand for centuries to come. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane each added further mystique to this oasis town.
Enjoy a city walking tour taking in some of the highlights of this centre of the Silk Road. An oasis set on the edge of the Kyzyl Kum desert within the sight of two mountain ranges, Samarkand is watered by the Zeravshan river that runs between them. When the Chinese opened their borders to foreign trade in 184 BC they found that silk, which they alone knew how to make, was worth more than its weight in gold in the empires of the West. With the arrival of the first Chinese, Samarkand and the Silk Route entered an era of invasion-proof prosperity and semi-mythical international status that was to last more than 1000 years. Today Samarkand is full of interesting sites that reflect the prosperity of those times and the influence of the great rulers who resided here.
Accommodation : In Samarkand
Day 26 Samarkand
Sightseeing in Samarkand - FD.
The Registan is the most spectacular architectural ensemble in Central Asia and the centre of Samarkand since the Mongol invasion.
The complex is made up of three main buildings, the Ulug Beg madrasah, the Shir Dor madrasah directly opposite and the Tilla Kori Mosque and Madrasah built between 1646-59. The inside of this mosque has been recently restored and is magnificent. Other highlights include the Shah-I-Zinda Complex of Mausoleums and the Gur Emir or “rulers tomb”, where Tamerlane was buried in 1405. Nearby is the Bibi Khanym Mosque, built between 1399 and 1404 by 500 labourers and 95 elephants brought from India, together with 200 architects, artists, and master craftsmen from the rest of Tamerlane’s empire. A 17th century earthquake destroyed more than half of it , but what remains today is still breathtakingly impressive. Visit of Observatory of Ulug Bek, grandson of Tamerlane. The best in the world at the time, the lower half of the 63 metre sextant was only uncovered in 1908.
Accommodation : In Samarkand
Day 27 Samarkand Tashkent
Transfer to the railway station for the morning train to Tashkent. Arrival to Tashkent. Meeting and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel for 1 night. Tashkent was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 60’s and was rebuilt in true Soviet style with pleasant leafy boulevards and lots of fountains to keep the heat down in summer. There are a couple of very interesting Museums here and Colorful Central Asian Markets.
Accommodation : In Tashkent
Day 28 Tashkent
The Great Silk Road Tour will end today. This is a journey of communication and collision between Chinese and Western civilizations, and trust you will also have an amazing experience. Looking forward to seeing you next time.