Silk Road Culture Exploration Tour
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Silk Road Culture Exploration Tour Map
Day 1   Beijing 

You will arrange for you international flight to Beijing. Our guide will meet you at the airport, transfer you to your hotel and check you in. You will have the rest of the day free to do a little exploration at your leisure.
Accommodation: In Beijing
 

Day 2   Beijing 

Today we will do a Beijing city tour with our nice guide. the first site we will visit for today is Tiananmen Square, which is the largest city public square in the world. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of a number of important events in the Chinese history, including the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Thereafter, bus transfer to the next stop The Temple of Heaven, which is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most sacred places for the whole country for more than five centuries. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven, and is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, Sun, Moon and other deities or symbolic forces of Nature
And in the afternoon, we are going to visit the Chinese royal palace Forbidden City, Also called Palace Museum, the Forbidden City is recognized as the most magnificent and splendid palace complex in China and one of the five world-famous palaces, along with the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in England, the White House in United States, and the Kremlin in Russia. After the visiting, we will enjoy the traditional Chinese Kongfu Show in the evening.
Accommodation: In Beijing

Tiananmen Square   Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square                                                                   Forbidden City

Day 3   Beijing 

Breakfast at the hotel and then we are going to the famous and beautiful Mutianyu Great Wall, Mutianyu Section is called as the Majestic Pass on Precipitous Mountains, which is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, it is also the longest Great Wall in China. 
After a few hours of exploration, we will down from the Great Wall and travel to The Ming Tombs, which is also known as the “13 Tombs”, this is a collection of mausoleums of the 13 out of 17 of the Ming Dynasty emperors. The tomb that can be visited is that of Emperor Wanli, who reigned from 1537 to 1620, and his two empresses. Unearthed in 1956, this is literally an underground palace located 27m below ground surface. Thereafter, we will drive back to downtown for dinner and overnight stay. On the way, you can take a photo stop at the 2008 Olympic Site to see the Bird's Nest National Stadium and Water Cube Aquatic Centre
Accommodation: In Beijing

Mutianyu Great Wall   Ming Tombs
Mutianyu Great Wall                                                          Ming Tombs

Day 4   Beijing 

Tour will begin from the Summer Palace, Situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing City, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers from central Beijing. Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it has greatly influenced Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests. It has long since been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens', here you can spend a few hours to explore the garden or take a boat trip if you are interested. then continue to explore Beijing Hutong, It is said that the real culture of Beijing is the culture of the Hutong and Courtyards. That is so true. Hutong is a Mongolian word meaning water well. At nine meters wide, it is the term given to a lane or small street that originated during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). These hutongs, or alleyways, are formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences. Many neighborhoods were thus formed, and the word hutong now refers to these neighbourhoods of alleyways. They have become representatives of local culture, thus it is the first choice for people who would like to learn about the local history and culture.
Accommodation: In Beijing

Summer Palace   Beijing Hutong
Summer Palace                                                                   Beijing Hutong

Day 5   Beijing  Datong

You will take the morning flight to the ancient city of Datong. Upon arrival, meet our nice guide and then bring you to visit Yungang Caves, where we will see amazing Buddhist carving craftsmanship from thumb-sized figurines to a 12m Buddhist statues, This is one of the three major ancient Buddhist Temple sculptural cave clusters in China, punctuating the north cliff of Wuzhou Mountain, Datong. The area was excavated along the mountain, extending 1 km from east to west, revealing 53 caves and over 51,000 stone statues. The Caves are divided into east, middle, and west parts. Pagodas dominate the eastern parts; west caves are small and mid-sized with niches. Thereafter, travel to the 1500-year-old Hanging Monastery with its halls and pavilions built along the natural contours of the cliff. The Hanging Monastery stands at the foot of Hengshan Mountain, 5 kilometers south of Hunyuan County, and 65 kilometers from downtown Datong City. Since it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 50 meters above the ground, it is known as Hanging Monastery. Hanging Monastery was built in 491, and has survived more than 1400 years.
Accommodation: In Datong

Yungang Caves   Hanging Monastery
Yungang Caves                                                                     Hanging Monastery

Day 6   Datong  Pingyao  Xi'an

After breakfast we will head to the World Heritage site, the ancient town of Pingyao, where we will see the city surrounded by Ming City Walls. Pingyao was China's banking centre and has many mansions, courtyard house, temples, museums and historic shops. We will stroll from Ming Qing Street to Town Tower, Armed Escort Company Museum and pay a visit to the Temple of the City God,  one of the best-preserved temples in China. After the explorating of Pingyao ancient town, We will drive you to visit the Qiao Family Courtyard House, which is the representative of the Chinese northern folk residences. it not only shows the fortune and prosperity of Qiao family, but also reflects the customs of people who maily in Jinzhong area of Shanxi. the movie "Raise the Red Lantern" was filmed here. We will take an overnight soft sleeper train from Pingyao to Xi'an.
Accommodation: On the soft sleeper train

Pingyao   Pingyao
Pingyao                                                                              Pingyao

Day 7   Xi'an

Morning you will arrive in Xi'an, be met and transfer to the hotel. After a short break 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. the final site we will visit today is a Chinese traditional Alhambresque architecture Grand Mosque (and Old Muslim Quarter) with a long history and grand scale, and is a great combination of Islamic and Chinese culture.Besides the style peculiar to Islamic mosques, this Mosque Also holds characteristics of Chinese pavilions with painted beams and engraved ridgepoles. The Grand Mosque and the Muslim Quarter are now an important ecological preservation of Shanxi Provinc e and a national-level historical/cultural preservation site.
Accommodation: In Xi'an

Ancient City Wall   Grand Mosque
Ancient City Wall                                                            Grand Mosque

Day 8   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
Terracotta Warriors                                                           Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Day 9   Xi'an  Jiayuguan

Enjoy your nice buffet breakfast at the hotel and then take a morning flight to the next stop Jiayuguan. Upon your arrival, be met and accompany you to climb the Jiayuguan pass. 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 the Great Wall on the Cliff, The wall here was built on the ridge with a gradient of 45 degrees. It is high in the air and it looks as if it fell down from the top of the hill. So people refer to this section of the Great Wall as the "Suspended Wall". 
Accommodation: In Jiayuguan

Jiayuguan Pass   The Great Wall On the Cliff
Jiayuguan Pass                                              The Great Wall On the Cliff

Day 10   Jiayuguan  Dunhuang   (350kms, 4.5hrs driving)

Morning we will depart from the hotel and head to Dunhuang with about 4.5 hours driving. On the way, you will see the historical and cultural site Yulin Grottoes,The Grottoes are chiseled into the cliffs on both the east and west sides of the Yulin River. The east cliff has 30 grottoes and the west has 11, with a distance of more than 100 meters between them. It used to be called Ten-Thousand Buddha Gorge. The grottoes began to be chiseled and sculpted during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), and was enlarged in the later dynasties, such as Tang (618-907), Five Dynasties (907-960), Song (960-1279), the Western Xia (1038-1227), Yuan (1271-1368) and so on. More than 1,000 square meters of frescoes, and more than 100 colored sculptures are still extant there. The name Yulin (elm forest) came from the elms in the valley, and as you travel along the valley road you can easily imagine how it must have been to be a poet or brave solder in the distant past. 
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

Yulin Grottoes   Shazhou Night Market
Yulin Grottoes                                                            Shazhou Night Market

Day 11   Dunhuang  Turpan 

Today start our journey from the famous Mogao 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.
And then 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.
After the visiting in Dunhuang, we will transfer to the train station and catch the express train to our next stop Turpan for overnight stay.
Accommodation: In Turpan

Mogao Grottoes   Echoing Sand Mountain&Crescent Lake
                   Mogao Grottoes                                    Echoing Sand Mountain&Crescent Lake

Day 12   Turpan

Full day sightseeing 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. afterwards, 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 Mountains, the hottest place in China. which is famously described in the classic Chinese mythological novel “Journey to the West”. Finally, we will drive all the way to today's highlights 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. 
Accommodation: In Turpan

Bezeklik Grottoes   Tuyoq Village
Bezeklik Grottoes                                                          Tuyoq Village

Day 13   Turpan Urumqi   (200kms, 3hrs driving)

Morning enjoy your nice buffet 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. 
In the afternoon, we will drive all the way to Urumqi about 3 hours, passing by the wind power station which is the largest one in Asia spreading at the foot of Tianshan Mountain. Following glimpse of Salt Lake in Dabancheng. Arrive in Urumqi, 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)
Accommodation: In Urumqi

Karez Well   Xinjiang International Bazaar
      Karez Well                                                        Xinjiang International Bazaar

Day 14   Urumqi  Your destination

This morning the tour will begin from the Xinjiang regional museum to see archaeological treasures from the Silk Road and Xinjiang's minority cultures. which is a large integrated museum and a centre for the collection and study of cultural relics in Xinjiang. 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. 
Coming out from the museum, you will end your enjoyable Silk Road tour and catch your flight back to your sweet home.

Xinjiang Regional Museum   Xinjiang Regional Museum
Xinjiang Regional Museum                                                   Xinjiang Regional Museum


Travel in party of Superior Class
★★★★★
Deluxe Class
★★★★
Tourist Class
★★★
2-5 persons $ 3510 $ 3241 $ 2966
6-9 persons $ 3076 $ 2801 $ 2526
10 persons & above $ 2890 $ 2606 $ 2390
Single room Supplement $ 916 $ 704 $ 403

Service included:

√ Entrance fees
√ Breakfast in the hotel
√ Personal Guide & Driver + Private car / van for Private Transfers & sightseeing
√ Hotels (twin share bases) as listed in the itinerary .
√ Domestic flights or trains as listed in the itinerary
   Train (soft sleeper): Beijing to Datong.  Pingyao to Xi'an, Dunhuang to Turpan
   Flights with tax:: Xi'an to Jianyuguan
√ Service Charge & Government Taxes .
√ Luggage Transfers between airports and hotels
√ Government letter for visa support

Service excluded:

* All the lunches and dinners
* Personal expenses. such as laudentry and tips to the guide and driver
* other activities such as boating, camel riding ect

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