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Silk Road Luxurious Tour

Destinations:Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar

from: US$1717
Tour Code: CITA-SD-01
Summary: Our 11 days silk road tour starts from Xi'an, where you will experience the Chinese traditional culture. we arrange the Tang Show and Dumpling banquet for you. Highlights of Dunhuang is the UNESCO World Heritage Mogao Grottoes where you will find the treasure of Buddhist art. In and around Turpan, the trade center of the ancient Silk Road, many historical sites have been preserved well due to the dry weather allowing you to better appreciate the Silk Road history. Other attractions include Terra-cotta warriors, camel riding in the desert, Jiaohe ancient city ruins, as well as visiting the local Uighur family, going to the famous Kashgar Sunday bazaar, and driving along the Karakorum Highway to experience the Tajik folklore and the breath-taking Pamir landscape.

Day 1

Arrive / Xi'an

You will arrange for your international flight to Xi’an, and our tour guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel and check you in. After that, you will have free time for the remainder of the day to do a little exploration at your leisure.

Day 2

The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses

Today we will visit the world-famous Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, as well as Bell Tower and Wild Goose Pagoda. You will also enjoy Tang Dynasty show in the evening.
The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses: This is one of the greatest archaeological findings of the century - the army of terra-cotta warriors and the bronze chariots entombed in vast underground vaults at emperor Qin's tomb from two thousand years ago.
Bell Tower: This is the emblem of Xian city. It was used to keep time for the town and to sound alarms. This huge tower was originally built in the 14th century, and was relocated in 1739.
Tang Dynasty show: This is the show that presents the palace dances and songs from the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD) when Xian was the capital of China.

Day 3

The Ancient City Wall

Today we will visit Shaanxi History Museum, Xian City Wall, and Grand Mosque. You will have the rest of the day free to take in the city at your leisure.
Shaanxi History 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 Ancient City Wall: This is an extension of the old Tang Dynasty structure boasting the most complete city wall that has survived through the long Chinese history. The City Wall has corner towers, ramparts, sentry towers, gate towers, battlements and a number of city defensive fortifications with very strong defense capability.
Grand Mosque (and Old Muslim Quarter): The Grand Mosque is a Chinese traditional Alhambresque architecture with a long history and grand scale, and is a great combination of Islamic and Chinese culture. It was recorded that it was established in the first year of the Tian Bao reign by the Tang Dynasty Emperor Li Lung Ji (685AD-762AD). After renovations and expansions on several occasions in the Song, Yuan and especially the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it gradually took on the current appearance. The Grand Mosque and the Muslim Quarter are now an important cultural preservation of Shanxi Province and a national-level historical/cultural preservation site.

Day 4

Xi'an  Dunhuang
Mogao Grottoes

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight to Dunhuang. Upon your arrival in Dunhuang and after checking into the hotel, we will visit the famous Mogao Grottoes in the afternoon, and walk around the Shazhou Night Market.
Mogao Grottoes: The Mogao Grottoes, a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, is 25 km from downtown Dunhuang on the eastern slope of Mingsha Shan (Echoing Sand Mountain). A network of plank-reinforced roads plying north to south 1600 meters long lead to the cave openings, which are stacked five stories high, some reaching up to 50 meters. Incidentally, Mogao means high up in the desert. According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk had witnessed onsite a vision of thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started the caves construction work that spanned a millennium, from the 4th to the 14th centuries. What remains today is truly awe inspiring, and is likely the world’s richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures. Please note that cameras are not allowed inside the grottoes.
Shazhou Night Market: The Shazhou Night Market is famous for its tasty snacks and local specialties. It is also known for its well-regulated management. The entire night market is 1000 meters long. There are shops selling handworks and souvenirs, food stalls and fruit stands. During the fruit season, visitors can buy juicy fruits at very reasonable prices.

Day 5

Dunhuang Turpan by soft sleeper train
Yumen Pass

In the early morning we will go to the Crescent Moon Lake and enjoy the sunrise and camel riding in the desert. After lunch we will head to Yumen Pass. After visiting Yumen Pass, you will take the night train to Turpan, which is the most important city along the ancient silk road.
Crescent Moon Lake: Situated within the Echoing-Sand Mountain Park about 5km from Dunhuang, the Crescent Moon Lake is literally an oasis in the desert. The lake’s name derives from the crescent moon shape taken by the pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. Although the surrounding area is very dry, the pool surprisingly doesn’t dry up as one might expect.
Yumen Pass: This mountain pass was fortified by officials of Emperor Wudi of the Western Han Dynasty in about 121 BC, and used as a military garrison outpost. This fort at Yumen (Yumenguan) and the Yangguan fort controlled the vital pass in the great Gansu Corridor valley that stretched between Central Asia and the Han Empire, with giant mountain ranges north and south bordering the valley. The forts helped defend Dunhuang and the Han Empire from invasion from the northwest. It was the Silk Road gate through which traders traveled between Central Asia and China. It was called Yumen (Jade Gate) Pass as it was said that the jade from the famous Hetian jade mines in Xinjiang was transported through the pass.

Day 6

Astana Tombs

Our tour guide will meet you at the train station, transfer you to the hotel and check you in. We will then visit Astana Tombs, The Flaming Mountain, and Tuyugou Valley.
Astana Tombs: This 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.
The Flaming Mountain: The Flaming Mountain is famously described in the classic Chinese mythological novel “Journey to the West”. It runs west from Shanshan County, is 98 km in length and 9 km across, with a relative height of 500 meters and the highest peak at 832 meters. The mountain is a branch range of the Bogda Mountain, formed in the orogenic movements of the Himalayas. This is the hottest place in China. The highest air temperature in summer is 47.8 degrees Centigrade, and the ground is over 70 degrees Centigrade in summer. Many years of volcanic activity have formed the unique crisscrossing gullies and ravines. During mid-afternoon the heat becomes intense as the sun's rays are reflected off the red rocks, as though the hillsides are engulfed by tongues of fire, hence the name.
Tuyoq Valley: This is a 12 km long primitive Uighur agricultural valley about 70 km from Turpan, with vineyards and fields in the northern and southern valleys and a narrow ravine that connects them. It is a Muslim religious pilgrimage site. The southern mouth of the valley has big Uighur mosques older than the Sugong Minaret and a cave thought by many to be described in the Koran. About a kilometer from the cave shrine is a group of grottoes that have some Buddhist and Nestorian artwork. These grottoes are said to date from the West Jin Dynasty (265AD-316AD), and are considered to be the earliest in Turpan. Most of the murals are damaged. Fortunately, 10 of the grottoes still have some of the preserved murals. These precious murals are very unique in style.

Day 7

Turpan  Urumqi
Sugong Minerat

In the morning we will visit Jiaohe Ruined city, Karez Irrigation system, and Sugong Minaret. After lunch we will return to Urumqi by bus, and visit the International Bazaar in Urumqi.
Jiaohe Ancient City Ruins: The city's name means 'River City'. It was founded during the first century BC and abandoned during the 15th century. It is located atop a steep cliff on a leaf-shaped plateau between two deep river valleys in the Yarnaz valley 10km to the west of Turpan City. It runs northwest to southeast, 1760 meters long and 300 meters across at the widest part. The ruins include city gates, streets and lanes, government office, temples, domestic houses, cave houses, wells, and an underground temple. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Silk Road Sites.
Karez Irrigation System: The ancient Karez Irrigation System, which is still used today, is a unique irrigation system in Turpan. It takes advantage of the slopes, draws the underground water to flow by itself to irrigate farmland. It consists of four parts: vertical wells, underground channels, ground canals, and small reservoirs.
Sugong Minaret: Located in Mura Village 2km to the east of the city of Turpan, the minaret tower was built in the 41st year of the Qianlong Emperor period during the Qing Dynasty. It is the embodiment of the ancient architectural arts of the Uighur people. The body of the tower is cylindroid in shape, built with bricks arranged in various symmetrical patterns on the outer wall. The tower has 14 windows and a spiral staircase inside going to the top.
Erdaoqiao Market & International Bazaar (in Urumqi): Here you will find a bustling market filled with fruits, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets, and almost anything that you can imagine. This is the largest bazaar in Urumqi, and is a place most welcomed by tourists, especially the ladies who will find they can buy some traditional Yugur cosmetics. On Sunday, there are more stalls and more goods to buy than any other day. The old streets around the bazaar are particularly worth seeing.

Day 8

Urumqi  Kashgar
Id Kah Mosque

After breakfast we will visit the Xinjiang Museumand then take the flight to Kashgar. Our tour guide will meet you at the airport, transfer you to the hotel and check you in. After you are settled, we will then take the city your, and visit the Id Kah mosque.
Xinjiang Museum: The Xinjiang Regional Museum is a large integrated museum and a centre for the collection and study of cultural relics in Xinjiang.  The museum was built in 1953, featuring Uighur ethnic internal decor style and has an exhibition hall covering an area of about 7,800 square meters. There are more than 50,000 pieces of various kinds of cultural relics stored in the museum, among them are the ancient mummies represented by the “Loulan Beauty”, manuscripts in Chinese, Karosthi, Qiuci, Yanji, Tibetan, Uighurian and other characters prevailing in ancient western regions of China, as well as silk, wool, cotton and hemp fabrics and folk raiment, etc., all items of great intrigue. The 'Loulan beauty' mummy in particular is a well preserved mummy from 4000 years ago. It still has a reddish brown skin, thick eyelashes, charming large eyes, and long hair.
Id Kah Mosque: This is the largest mosque in China, and the most famous mosque in Xinjiang. The construction of the mosque started in the middle of the 15th century, and the mosque has gradually developed to its present size. The buildings of Id Kah Mosque look magnificent and solemn, and display the artistic styles of Islamic mosque architecture. The Mosque has an area of about 16,800 square meters, consisting of the Pray Hall, the Koran teaching Hall, the Corridor, the Arches and other buildings attaching to it. The Pray Hall of the mosque, which can hold 4,000 prayers, is supported by 140 carved wooden pillars.

Day 9

Kashgar  Karakuli Lake (250kms, 3hrs)
Sunday bazaar

In the early morning we will visit the Sunday Bazaar, then drive to Karakul Lake.
Sunday Bazaar: This is called “Sunday” bazaar but it is open daily, even though it is busiest on Sundays. Streets near this big market are jammed with farmers and buyers arriving by donkey cart, truck, bicycle, horseback, ute, motobike, or on foot, with their animals. It is loud, lively and cheerful as they arrive, eat breakfast, set up their animals and check out the action. Cattle, sheep (they definitely look different), goats, donkeys, horses have their own sections. Sellers show off their animals as “good eaters” (most go as livestock, not meat). The entire experience is fascinating and fun.
Karakul Lake: At an altitude of 3600m, this is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tianshan (Heavenly Mountain), and Kunlun Mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztag Ata (7546m), Konur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m). The lake is popular among travelers for its beautiful scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue. There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shore of Karakul Lake, a number of yurts about 1 km east of the bus drop-off point and a village with stone houses located on the western shores.

Day 10

Apak Hoja Tomb

Today we will visit the Apak Hoja Tomb, Old Town, and the Handicraft Street.
Apakh Hoja Tomb: This Mazar is the holiest place in Xinjiang for the Muslims, and an architectural treasure. Built in 1640, it is reminiscent of the Central Asian artistic style of Samarkand or Isfahan. The site is also known as the Xiang Fei (Fragrant Concubine) Tomb in memory of Abakh Khoja's granddaughter, Iparhan, who was the Fragrant Concubine of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty. A handsome blue-and-white tiled gate leads into the compound, which includes a small religious school and the Abakh Khoja family tomb. The latter is domed and faced with muti-color tiles. It is the most complete Islamic tomb dating from the beginning of the Qing Dynasty.
Old Town: Kashgar is an ancient city, and in walking the streets of its Old Town, one gets the sense of what this legendary Central Asian hub was like in the days when the Silk Road was at its zenith. 500-year old remnants of the city wall, narrow lanes and colorful multi-ethnic crowds combine to make Kashgar’s historic district a highlight of any visit to the city. Visit the small alleys to look at the characteristic Uygur residences. You will experience and enjoy the culture and history that has been retained in the small alleys and deep courtyards. In the alleys on platforms beside the residence you could marvel at the even more ancient primitive workshops for hand-made earthenware. Some 17 or 18 antique workshops have been restored.
Handicraft Street: Handicraft Street, or Zhiren Street, is a fascinating place showing the distinctive custom and culture of Kashgar, with many full-time handicraftsmen working on the street and hundreds of workshops and booths alongside. This street is an exhibition for traditional Kashgar and mid-Asian handicrafts. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewellery and other goods are seen to be made here and you will marvel at the incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.

Day 11

KashgarYour destination

In the morning you will leave Kashgar for your next destination. (The airfare and tax is on your own, but we can help you book the ticket, and the service is free).

Price: per person
Travel in party of Superior Class
Deluxe Class
Tourist Class
2-5 persons N $ 2210 $ 1997
6-9 persons N $ 1920 $ 1855
10 persons & above N $ 1766 $ 1717
Single room Supplement N $ 530 $ 367

Service included:

1 Entrance fees/
2 Breakfast in the hotel
3 Personal Guide & Driver + Private car / van for Private Transfers & sightseeing
4 Hotels with breakfast(twin share bases) as listed in the itinerary .
5 Domestic flights or trains as listed in the itinerary
6 Airport Taxes: US$30for domestic,
7 Service Charge & Government Taxes .
8 Luggage Transfers between airports and hotels
9 Goverment letter for visa support

Service excluded:

1 All lunches and dinners, and breakfast on the train
2 Personal expenses, tips to the guide and driver.
3 Other activities such as boating, camel riding ect.
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