Silk Road Explorer
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Silk Road Explorer

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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 and its famous Sunday market.

tour duration 26 Days from
tour price 3,790pp
tour type Group Tour

Places Visited

UK - Xian (2N) - Overnight Train (1N) - Lanzhou (2N) - Xiahe (2N) - Overnight Train (1N) - Jiayuguan (1N) - Dunhuang (3N) - Turpan (2N) - Kurla (1N) - Kuqa (1N) - Aksu (1N)- Kashgar (2N) - Urumqi (2N) – Beijing (3N) - UK

Tour Highlights

Come face to face with the Terracotta Warriors
Listen to the hum and whistle of the Singing Sand Dunes
See the exhibits of Buddhist paintings, statues and sculptures at the Mogao Grottoes
Visit the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains and the elegant Emin Minaret
Immerse yourself in the bustling alleys of the Kashgar Bazaar
Retire to the alpine banks of placid Tian Chi Heavenly Lake

Days 1-2 Fly 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.
Days 1-2 Fly to Xian
Day 3 Terracotta Warriors
Housed in three immense hangars, the ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China's first Emperor in the afterlife. Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, each one unique, whilst your guide introduces you to these life-like soldiers' fascinating story. Later in the day, visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda and take a walking tour of the narrow and twisting streets of the Muslim Quarter. Sample the delicious, freshly cooked snacks and gain an insight into the city's fascinating culture. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Terracotta Warriors
Day 4 Explore Xian
Start the morning with an optional early visit to the local park to see Xian's residents taking part in tai chi and dancing. Later, enjoy a gentle cycle ride that will take you the nine miles around the wall and past many smiling locals. Visit the Xian Museum and the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Board the overnight train to Lanzhou. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Explore Xian
Days 5-6 Explore Lanzhou
Enjoy a moment of tranquility at the hilltop Baita Temple overlooking the city and tuck into some delicious Lanzhou-style noodles made with hand-stretched dough. Cross Liujiaxia Lake by speed boat. The next day, 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. (B,L,D)
Days 5-6 Explore Lanzhou
Day 7 Journey to Xiahe
Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Journey to Xiahe
Day 8 Labrang Monastery
Giving a taste of the mysteries of Tibet, Labrang Monastery is a fascinating maze of prayer wheels, chapels and chortens. Return to Xiahe for a traditional Tibetan style lunch including 'momo', Tibetan dumplings. (B,L,D)
Day 8 Labrang Monastery
Days 9-10 Great Wall at Jiayuguan
Return to Lanzhou and board an overnight train for 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. (B,L,D)
Days 9-10 Great Wall at Jiayuguan
Day 11 Dunhuang
Drive to Dunhuang. Located on a major trade and cultural crossroads, Dunhuang, known as the ‘City of Sands’, sits in a verdant oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. (B,L,D)
Day 11 Dunhuang
Day 12 Mogao Grottoes
A system of temples and sanctuaries, the Mogao Grottoes exhibit wonderful examples of Buddhist paintings and statues that span thousands of years. (B,L,D)
Day 12 Mogao Grottoes
Day 13 Singing Sand Dunes
Visit Crescent Moon Spring, nestled among strolling sand dunes, and the famous Singing Sand Dunes, a phenomena produced by the wind blowing through the grains. (B,L,D)
Day 13 Singing Sand Dunes
Days 14-15 Explore Turpan
Enjoy your morning at leisure before boarding your high speed train to Turpan. A legendary oasis set in a vast basin, Turpan is a lush green smudge in a barren landscape. An easy-going town, famed for its grapes, its pleasant streets are lined with lush vine trellises. The next day, visit the ruins of ancient Jiaohe and the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains. Later see the elegant Emin Minaret before visiting a typical home in grape valley. Also learn about the fascinating Keraz irrigation canals. (B,L,D)
Days 14-15 Explore Turpan
Days 16-19 Drive to Kashgar
Over the next four days travel along the original Silk Route by coach through the Xinjiang Region, viewing ruins and sights largely unvisited by tourists. Travel to Kurla and visit the ruins of the Iron Fortress. The next day, see the ruins of Subashi, arriving in Kuqa to visit the old city wall. Also visit the Kyzil Thousand Buddha Caves before travelling to Aksu. Arrive in fabled Kashgar the following day. (B,L,D)
Days 16-19 Drive to Kashgar
Day 20 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, as it continues to be an integral trading post as in its Silk Road heyday. Today’s visits include Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square. (B,L,D)
Day 20 Explore Kashgar
Day 21 Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Dive headlong into the 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. Fly to Urumqi. (B,L,D)
Day 21 Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Days 22-23 Discover Urumqi
Escape to the tranquility of Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake) formed in a crater atop Baekdu Mountain, where yurts nestle on its grassy banks. Enjoy local Uyghur lamb skewers for dinner. The following day explore the collections of the Xinjiang Museum which includes costumes, historical relics and ancient mummies. Fly to Beijing. (B,L,D)
Days 22-23 Discover Urumqi
Day 24 Great Wall of CHina
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate its sheer magnificence. Jade has been long cherished by the Chinese - at the Jade Museum you can understand and appreciate the delicate process of carving the stone and buy a piece if you wish. In the afternoon savour the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens. (B,L)
Day 24 Great Wall of CHina
Day 25 Forbidden City
Heading to Beijing’s symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you’ll find a complex full of imperial treasures. Soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape. This evening, dine on Beijing’s best known delicacy – Peking Duck. (B,L,D)
Day 25 Forbidden City
Day 26 Fly Beijing to UK
Fly to the UK arriving the same or following day. (B)
Day 26 Fly Beijing to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

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 Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking local guides in each destination

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

17-Apr > 12-May - £3,790 BOOK NOW
08-May > 02-Jun - £3,790 BOOK NOW
22-May > 16-Jun - £3,790 BOOK NOW
04-Sep > 29-Sep - £3,890 BOOK NOW
18-Sep > 13-Oct - £3,890 BOOK NOW
09-Oct > 03-Nov - £3,890 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Prices are fully inclusive from the UK and based on London Heathrow departures
Regional departures available
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £3,290pp (Xian - Beijing)
Single supplement from £640 (none if willing to share)
Tipping payable locally RMB1130pp

16-Apr > 11-May - £4,190 BOOK NOW
07-May > 01-Jun - £4,190 BOOK NOW
21-May > 15-Jun - £4,190 BOOK NOW
03-Sep > 28-Sep - £4,290 BOOK NOW
17-Sep > 12-Oct - £4,290 BOOK NOW
08-Oct > 02-Nov - £4,290 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Prices are fully inclusive from the UK and based on London Heathrow departures
Regional departures available
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £3,290pp (Xian - Beijing)
Single supplement from £640 (none if willing to share)
Tipping payable locally RMB1130pp

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

King Dynasty Hotel
King Dynasty Hotel - Xian (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Changxin International Hotel
Changxin International Hotel - Lanzhou (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Xi Ling Hotel
Xi Ling Hotel - Xiahe (2 Nights)
hotel star rating



Great Wall Hotel
Great Wall Hotel - Jiayuguan, Gansu (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Jin Ye Hotel
Jin Ye Hotel - Dunhuang (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Turpan Hotel
Turpan Hotel - Turpan (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Tianyuan International Hotel
Tianyuan International Hotel - Kashgar (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Bintuan Grand Hotel
Bintuan Grand Hotel - Urumqi (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Zhongle Six Star Hotel
Zhongle Six Star Hotel - Beijing (3 Nights)
hotel star rating

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.



Hainan Island - 5D/4N

Hainan Island - 5D/4N

tour duration 5 Days from tour price 340pp
Emirates Extension - 5D/4N

Emirates Extension - 5D/4N

tour duration 5 Days from tour price 460pp

A visa is required by all nationalities. A visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. Calls may cost £1 per minute to the UK, plus a 10% service charge, but will vary by location. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. Many websites, including most Google Products, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China and therefore inaccessible. 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. However, it is not always clear who it is appropriate to tip and how much. Furthermore, travellers may not have the right amounts of cash available at the right time. 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. The amount is designed to be at a reasonable level for travellers while being fair to the local people and includes a gratuity for the national escort. If you are travelling in a smaller group with local guides only, then tipping is paid in each destination.  To be fair to the guides we ask for slightly higher amounts per traveller with small groups. Yangtze cruise companies operate a service charge policy and this is paid separately when boarding the vessel.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre or post tour arrangements, you should allow 65 RMB per person per day for the guides and 35 RMB per person per day for the drivers.
 
We will indicate the 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. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
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. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
 
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
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. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

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).

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What's Included

all international airfares
all domestic transportation, departure taxes and current fuel surcharges
all accommodation
most meals
entrance fees, guides and daily tours
visa fees for UK passport holders

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is ideal for those with an extensive amount of time available and who are interested in touring the main sights and cities on the famed China section of the Silk Road. This tour incorporates road and train travel which allows you to witness the stunning scenery of this area, but also experience the different modes of travel, making your tour more immersive.

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