The Silk Road of China

Rail, Beijing to Kashgar
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

Geographically and culturally, Northwest China is about as far away from “traditional China” as you can get without crossing the border. The source of the Silk Road – the ancient trade route that helped create the modern world – is unlike anything you’ll find in Beijing or Xi'an, and this 18-day adventure crossing the country via rail takes you deep into the China few ever see. Otherworldly experiences abound, both on train and off: watch the sun rise over the dunes outside Dunhuang, explore the world of the Muslim Uyghurs, spend the night in traditional yurts near Urumqi, and venture into the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar. There’s more, of course, but we’ve got to keep a few secrets, right?

What's included

  • Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Heavenly Lake
  • Great Wall excursion and entrance (Beijing)
  • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour
  • Terracotta Warriors tour (Xi'an)
  • Great Wall visit (Jiayuguan)
  • Mogao Grottoes (Dunhuang)
  • Turpan guided sightseeing tour
  • Yurt stay in the Tian Shan Mountains
  • Taklamakan Desert train
  • Hotan village and workshop tour by donkey cart
  • Kashgar orientation walk
  • Sunday bazaar and animal bazaar visit
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Walk along two sections of the great wall
  • Stare down the terracotta warriors
  • Learn about the uyghur culture
  • Stay in a traditional kazakh yurt
  • Bargain at kashgar's sunday bazaar

Itinerary

Day 1: Beijing Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Beijing Take a guided tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with free time in the afternoon to explore.

Day 3: Beijing/Xi'an Visit the spectacular Great Wall of China. In the evening, board an overnight train to Xi'an.

Day 4: Xi'an Arrive to Xi'an and take an orientation walk. Later, visit the Terracotta Warriors. Opt to visit the Silk Road monument, cycle around the city walls, or explore the Muslim Quarter.

Day 5: Xi'an/Jiayuguan Enjoy a free day in Xi'an to enjoy the city and sights. Take an overnight train to Jiayuguan.

Day 6: Jiayuguan Arrive in Jiayuguan and visit the westernmost section of the Great Wall.

Day 7: Jiayuguan/Dunhuang Take an express bus to Dunhuang for a guided visit to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mogao Grottoes.

Day 8: Dunhuang/Turpan Opt to visit Mingsha Sand Dunes to see a beautiful sunrise, and enjoy a camel ride and some dune sledding. Make good use of free time before boarding an overnight train to Turpan.

Day 9: Turpan Arrive in Turpan, the lowest point in Asia. Enjoy a city tour with a local guide, including the ancient Karez water system.

Day 10: Turpan Enjoy a free day to continue exploring. Opt to visit the Flaming Mountains or Jiaohe ruins.

Day 11: Turpan/Heavenly Lake Drive into the stunning Tian Shan Mountains (Heavenly Mountains) for an overnight in a yurt with the local Kazakh minority people. Spend the day hiking, horseback riding, or just relaxing and soaking in the views.

Day 12: Heavenly Lake/Urumqi Spend the morning enjoying nature before heading to Urumqi, the capital of the province.

Day 13: Urumqi/Hotan Over the next two days, travel by train to Hotan, a small town in the Taklamakan Desert. Watch the scenery go by, make friends with the locals, and catch up on your reading.

Day 14: Hotan Arrive in the evening to Hotan. Start exploring this small town.

Day 15: Hotan Take a village tour by donkey cart to see what life is like in this small town. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to tour the market or check out some abandoned ancient towns and ruins.

Day 16: Hotan/Kashgar Enjoy one last train ride to Kashgar, arriving in the evening.

Day 17: Kashgar Enjoy the Sunday markets in Kashgar, including the famous Sunday bazaar and fascinating animal market.

Day 18: Kashgar Depart at any time.