Explore the highlights of the Silk Road during a 5-night tour one-way from Urumqui to Dunhuang. Travel by train and private vehicle to visit the Gobi desert, Mogao Grottoes, ancient ruins in Turpan, Heavenly Lake (Tianchi), and Crescent Spring and the Singing Sand Dunes. Experience local culture during lunch at a Uighur home and a stop at the night market in Dunhuang. Includes five nights of 5-star accommodation, high-speed train ticket, entrance fees, private guide and vehicle, breakfasts, and one lunch.
Day 1: Urumqi Your guide picks you up when you arrive at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport (URC), then transfers you to your hotel for check-in. Have the rest of the day free to relax on your own. Overnight: 5-star Urumqi Hoi Tak HotelDay 2: Urumqi – Heavenly Lake – Turpan (B)After breakfast, drive to Heavenly Lake (Tianshan), a gorgeous alpine lake situated 6,257 feet (1,907 meters) above sea level. In the afternoon, drop down to Turpan, located at 505 feet (154 meters) below sea level, known to be the lowest, driest, and hottest place in China. The dry climate has preserved the region’s ancient sites remarkably well.Overnight: 5-star Turpan Tuha HotelDay 3: Turpan (B, L)Discover the ancient civilization of Turpan as you visit highlights including the ancient city of Jiaohe, the Emin Minaret, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, the World Heritage–listed Karez Wells, and Astana–Karakhoja Ancient Tombs. Your tour includes lunch at a Uighur home, which provides an intimate experience of the culture.Overnight: 5-star Turpan Tuha HotelDay 4. Turpan – Liuyuan (by high-speed train) – Dunhuang (B)Ride the high-speed train from Turpan to Liuyuan, which takes about four hours, then continue by private vehicle from Liuyuan to Dunhuang for another two hours. In Dunhuang, have time to check out the night market, which offers good shopping and local snacks.Overnight: 5-star Dunhuang HotelDay 5: Dunhuang (B) Visit the World Heritage–listed Mogao Caves, an exquisite Buddhist sanctuary with superb art. See documentary films about the Silk Road and the Mogao Caves, then tour the caves with a guide who explains the colorful frescoes, Buddhist statues, and other artworks, which date from between the fourth to fourteenth centuries. In the afternoon, head to the Crescent Spring and the Singing Sand Dunes. Overnight: 5-star Dunhuang HotelDay 6: Dunhuang (B)Your tour ends in Dunhuang with transport to the Dunhuang Airport or your next hotel, depending on your schedule.