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16-Day The Best of China Silk Road Tours

Route: Urumqi – Kashgar- Hotan – Aksu – Kuqa – Korla – Turpan – Dunhuang – Xi’an

Activities: This is one of the most popular tours among travellers to the Silk Road China. Because it allows them to learn about Silk Road’s rich history, diverse culture and custom. It also allows them to enjoy stunning sceneries of snow- capped mountains to mysterious and endless Taklimakan Desert.


Day 01

Place & Transport: Arrival to Urumqi

Today’s ActivitiesUrumqi Airport pick up

Place to stay: Urumqi

You will meet with our guide at the airport then transfer to your hotel.

Day 02

Place &Transportation:Urumqi Tour then Flight to Kashgar

Today’s Activities: Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang Museum

Place to Stay: Kashgar

You will meet with your guide in your hotel after breakfast then set off for the Urumqi tour. Your guide and driver will take you to the Heavenly Lake,110km away from Urumqi. You will come back to Urumqi in the afternoon and visit the Xinjiang Museum where you can see a great collection of Mummies.  You will have dinner in a Uyghur Restaurant in Urumqi then take an evening flight to Kashgar.

Day 03

Place & Transport: Kashgar City tour

Today’s Activities:Apak Hoja tomb, Sunday market, Old Town, Id Kah Mosque, Handicraft Street

  • Kashgar Apak Hoja Tomb
  • Kashgar Sunday Market
  • Kashgar Old Town
  • Kashgar Id Kah Mosque
  • Kashgar Handicraft Street

Place to stay: Kashgar

We will begin our tour of Kashgar City by visiting the Apak Hoja tombalso called fragrant concubine tomb (Xiangfei in Chinese) . This is a very tranquil place and a beautiful example of Uyghur Islamic architecture. next we will head to the infamous lively Sunday market renowned as the biggest market in Central Asia. It is said you can buy anything you want from the Sunday market except chicken milk and Cow eggs. After lunch we will wander through the narrow winding streets of the historic Old town brushing shoulders with the friendly Uyghur residents. Located at the spiritual heart of old town is Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China.  We will go inside and have the chance to understand a bit more about the Islamic life of the Uyghur people. We will pass down Handicraft Street where we can view pots being hammered, wood craftsmen at work and traditional musical instrument workshops.

Note: For entering the Mosque visitors should dress respectfully, no shorts or short sleeved shirts and women should cover their heads with a scarf

Day 04

Place & Transport: Kashgar to Hotan (540KM)

Today’s Activities: Yegisar knife factory,, Graveyard of the Yarkent Uyghur Kingdom,  Tomb of Aman Nisahan,Yarkent Old town

  • Yegisar knife factory
  • Yarkand Golden graveyard
  • Yarkent old town

Place to stay: Hotan

We will start our trip to Hotan after breakfast, on route, we will have the chance to visit one of the many knife factories here and view the making process and purchase souvenirs.  Next stop a further two hours down the road will be Yarkent (shache in Chinese). In Yarkand we will first visit the Golden Graveyard.   This graveyard dates from the 17th Century and is the burial place of Royal family members of the Yarkand Uyghur Kingdom. Next to this is the Tomb of Aman Nisahan, the wife of the second King of the Yarkand Kingdom. Aman Nisahan is a famous Uyghur poet, musician and composer. She is most renowned for her transcription of the Twelve Mukam of famous traditional Uyghur music. We will enjoy a traditional lunch of corn noodles, pumpkin dumplings and kebab in a local Yarkand teahouse.  After lunch we will continue our journey to Hotan (around four and a half hours).

Day 05

Place & Transport: Hotan tour & Desert Camp

Today’s Activities: Taklimakan desert, Imam Asim Tomb, Local silk, Carpet, Jade Workshops. White Jade River, Hotan Bazzar

  • Taklimakan Desert
  • Carpet Factory
  • Jade Workshops
  • White Jade River
  • Hotan Bazaar

Place to stay: Taklimakan Desert Camp

After breakfast we will visit Hotans amazing Hotan Sunday Market, a huge lively market which is like taking a journey back in time, experiencing donkey gridlock.Hotan is particularly famous for its high quality Jade products, the best Jade in China being found here in the White Jade River. We will visit the river and try to find some Jade for ourselves and watch the locals at work digging and sifting for the precious rock. We will also visit the white Jade factory to see how the Jade is processed and made into jewelry and ornaments. Hotan is also renowned for its high quality wool carpets. We will visit a carpet workshop to see the weaving process. Late in the afternoon we will take a camel ride out into the Taklamakan Desert and camp over night here.  We will enjoy a camp fire dinner and breakfast in the desert.

Note: We will provide you with all the necessary camping equipment, tents, sleeping bags and blankets etc.

Day 06

Place & Transport: Hotan to Aksu by crossing the new Desert Highway (650KM)

Today’s Activities: Taklamakan Desert Highway, Imam Asim Tomb

  • Taklamakan Desert Highway

Place to stay: Aksu

On the way out of the desert we will visit the tomb of Imam Asimdating from the 10th Century. We will have lunch in Hotan before setting off for Aksu. The day’s journey will have us cross the width of the Taklamakan Desert along the 450km long Taklamakan Desert Highway. Taklamakan desert is the second largest shifting sands desert in the World, covering an area of 337,600 square km. Taklamakan Desert is known as the “sea of death” by the silk road traders that used to have to cross it in their caravans in times gone by, many traders entered the desert lost their way and were never to be seen again.

We will arrive in Aksu late in the afternoon in time for dinner. The day’s total distance will be 500 km from Hotan to Aksu (around 6 hours).

Day 07

Place & Transport: Aksu to Kuche (Kuqa) via Bay County (320KM)

Today’s Activities: Kizil Thousand Buddha caves

  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
  • Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves

Place to stay: Kuche (Kuqa)

After breakfast we will set out from Aksu to Kuqa (Kuche in Chinese). On our way to Kuqa we will visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha caves, dating from the 5th and 6th century AD. These are the second best preserved Buddhist caves in China.  We will enjoy a Chinese lunch at the caves before continuing on our journey to Kuqa.

Kuqa is the biggest county of Aksu prefecture. Kuqa was previously the most important pass on the middle silk road (route) in Xinjiang. Kuqa is also a center for Buddhism in southern Xinjiang.

Day 08

Place & Transport: Kuqa Tour the to Korla (320KM)

Today’s Activities: Ancient Beacon Tower, Kuqa Grand Mosque, Kuqa old town, Subash ancient city, Iron Gate

  • Kucha Beacon Tower
  • Kuqa Grand Mosque
  • Kuqa Old Town
  • Subash Ancient City

Place to stay: Korla

After breakfast we will visit Kuqa Grand Mosqueand have some free time to stroll through the streets of Kuqa’s old town. We will then set off for Korla making a few visits on route. Firstly we will visit the Beacon Tower, the highest tower on the silk road, at 13m high and made of mud and wood. The Beacan Tower was previously used for sending out fire signals to warn of the arrival of enemies. We will then visit the Subash ancient city – Well preserved 1km square in size used to be the temples where Uyghur ancestors used to worship in the Buddhism periods then we will carry on our journey to Korla and have a picnic lunch on the way. We will arrive in Korla in the afternoon. Explore Korla downtown. Korla is regarded as the cleanest city in the whole of Xinjiang. We will visit the Iron Gate (Tiemenguan) the point where Silk Road travelers used to have to be registered along their route.

Day 09

Place & Transport: Korla to Turpan by crossing the TianShan Mountain (400KM)

Today’s Activities: TianShan Mountains

  • Tianshan Mountains
  • Tianshan Mountains
  • Tianshan Mountains

Place to stay: Turpan

After breakfast we will leave for Turpan. Our journey will take us across the TianShan Mountain, the range which divides Xinjiang into two parts, Northern Xinjiang and Southern Xinjiang. TianShan Mountain is known to the Uyghur people as “Tangry Tagh” which means “God Mountain”. This was due to the life sustaining properties the first Uyghur settlers found here. The first settlers inhabited both sides of the range and received water from the mountains and green pastures on which to graze their herds. We will enjoy a picnic lunch along the route. We will arrive in Turpan late afternoon and you will have free time to explore the city.

Day 10

Place & Transport:Turpan Tour

Today’s Activities:Gaochang Ancient City,Astana Ancient Tombs, Tuyuk Valley

  • Gaochang Ancient City
  • Astana Ancient Tombs
  • Tuyuk Village

Place to stay: Turpan

Gaochang, Ancient City was built in the first century B.C; it was a key point on the ancient Silk Road. Astana Ancient tombs is known as capital tombs and underground museum of Xinjiang where many important writings, paintings and mummies have been discovered. Tuyuk Valley.Here the most traditional Uyghur life can be seen with the people living in traditional homes made of mud.

Day 11

Place & Transport:Turpan Tour then overnight train to Dunhuang

Today’s Activities:Kariz underground water system, Jiao he ancient city, Emin Minaret

  • Kariz Underground Water System
  • Jiaohe Ancient City
  • Emin Minaret

Place to stay: On the train

Kariz underground water system is the China’s third most important ancient engineering feat with a total length of 3100 miles and dating back more than 2000 years.               Jiao he Ancient City is the oldest, largest, highest ancient city built of mud in the World. Many cultural relics were unearthed, such as ante-fix of the Tang Dynasty and Buddhist scriptures at the Ancient City of Jiaohe. Emin Minaret was built in 1777, it is the largest extant old tower in Xinjiang and it is the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China).

You will take a night  train to Dunhuang.   Overnight on the train

Day 12

Place & Transport:Transfer Dunhuang Railway Station to Hotel then Tour in DunHuang

Today’s Activities: Mogao Caves, Echoing sand dunes, Crescent Moon Spring

  • Mogao Caves
  • Echoing sand dunes
  • Crescent Moon Spring

Place to stay: Dunhuang

We arrive at the Dunhuang railway station early in the morning and then take a 1.5 hour drive from the station to Dunhuang city to check in to our hotel and freshen up. We head to Mogao Grottoes that morning. Constructed over a millennium ago, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, the caves hold the world’s richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures.  We will have lunch at Mogao Caves and then drive to Crescent Moon Spring, 6km south of Dunhuang in the Singing Sands Mountains. It is quite literally an oasis in the desert. The spring’s name derives from the crescent moon shape taken by the small pool of spring water between two large sand dunes. Although the area is very dry, the pool doesn’t dry up as one might expect.

We return to Dunhuang in the afternoon and take a walk around Shazhou Market in town. After dinner we will watch the Flying Sky Show (Fei Tian), a traditional Buddhist dance.

Day 13

Place & Transport:Dunhuang to Xi,an

Today’s Activities: Jade gate, Han dynasty great wall

  • Jade gate
  • Han Dynasty Great Wall

Place to stay: Xi’an

After breakfast we head to Jade gate, once one of the west gates out of the country during the Han Dynasty (206 B. C. -220 A. D.). It is quite ruined by the shifting sands but still displays the splendor of the dynasty.

Then we visit the Great wall of the Han dynasty, built for defending the nomadic Xiongnu.

We will then take an evening flight to Xi’an

Day 14

Place & Transport: Xian Tour

Today’s Activities: Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, Bell Tower and Drum Tower

  • Terracotta Army
  • Terracotta Army

Place to stay: Xian

After breakfast we will take 1.5 hours drive out to visit the amazing Terracotta Army. Here we will have the chance to see 8,000 life sized terracotta warriors and horses that were unearthed in 1974. There is also an excellent museum and film about the history of the vaults.

Day 15

Place & Transport:Xi,an tour

Today’s Activities: Xi’an City Wall, Shanxi Historical Museum. Big Wild Goose Pagoda

  • City Wall

Place to stay: Xi’an

You will meet your guide and driver after breakfast. Places you will visit today are; Xi’an City Wall, Shanxi Historical Museum. Big Wild Goose Pagoda. On returning to Xi’an city we will visit the Shanxi regional Museum which includes four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings that house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed.

Day 16

Place & Transport: Transfer from Hotel to airport for your home country

Take a flight from Xi’an to home country.