26 DAYS ●
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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.
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
Our Silk Road Explorer itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
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.
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)
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 Xian's Ancient City Wall and past many smiling locals. Board the train to Lanzhou. (B,L,D)
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)
Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe. (B,L,D)
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)
Return to Lanzhou and take the train to 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Fly to the UK arriving the same or following day. (B)
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. If the hotels listed below for your tour are not available on your chosen departure date, hotels of a similar standard will be used.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
To call the UK the international access code is 0044. 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).
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and the UK's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th. Wendy Wu and the team look forward to welcoming you to Asia soon!
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