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Silk Road Tours

Silk Road Expedition

402: 22 Days of Beijing - Urumqi - Korla - Kuqa - Aksu - Kashgar - Hetian - Minfeng - Korla - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xian - Shanghai

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 01 Arrive in Beijing
No meals
Holiday Inn Central Plaza - the best Holiday Inn Hotel in Beijing  

Our guide will meet you outside the customs of Beijing Airport after you retrieve your luggage and clear the customs, and then transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is your own to explore the city at leisure.

Tips: Chinese food is diverse and street stalls can be found on every corner in China. Let alone the eight styles of Chinese cuisine, there are a variety of snacks and dim-sum which can feed you well. In the evening, it will be very busy in Wangfujing Food Street, as numerous street stalls are open. Beside the characteristic local food of Beijing, it combines flavors from different parts of China: smelly bean curd from Changsha, barbeques from Mongolia and Xinjiang, Guoqiao rice noodles from Yunnan and dim-sum from Hong Kong. The opening hours of the food market is from 18:00 to 21:00 every night.

Day 02 Beijing
Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Holiday Inn Central Plaza - the best Holiday Inn Hotel in Beijing  

Visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City this morning. Then an a la carte lunch is served at a very nice restaurant to taste the authentic Chinese food. In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Heaven. Tonight, you will enjoy a lively Chinese Kung Fu Show at Red Theatre.

Day 03 Beijing
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Holiday Inn Central Plaza - the best Holiday Inn Hotel in Beijing  

Visit the Great Wall at Badaling. To avoid having lunch at the shopping site restaurants, you will be driven to have Sichuan food at a local popular restaurant. Visit the Sacred Way and the Ming Tomb in the afternoon. On the way back to downtown, drive by the Bird's Nest (Olympic National Stadium). You will see its appearance at a distance.

Tips: You may have heard of another section of the Great Wall - Mutianyu. Compared with Badaling, the Mutianyu section is gentle with fewer steps and has fewer crowds. If your travel dates come across the holiday period in China, we suggest you visit Mutianyu section instead of Badaling as the Badaling section will be congested with people thus spoiling the effect somewhat. The two sections are however both majestic and worthy of a visit.

Day 04 Beijing - Urumqi
Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Mirage Hotel B Tower  

Visit the Summer Palace. You will enjoy your a la carte lunch at an elegant restaurant. Then take a flight to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and transfer to the hotel.

Day 05 Urumqi - Korla
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Loulan Hotel  

Drive 6 hours (500 kilometers) to Korla and transfer to the hotel. Visit the Tiemen Pass.

Tips: Xinjiang is the largest region in China, and it often takes several hours to drive from one place to another. Your Silk Road adventure could be a bit tougher than the usual city travel in China, so please be well prepared. You will spend about 5 hours in a vehicle driving on the highway from Urumqi to Korla. But take it easy, and you will not feel bored at all during the journey. Xinjiang is surrounded by continuous mountains, some of which are covered by snow all year round. Along the way to Korla, you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic scenery and snowy mountainscapes outside the window, especially when passing by the great Tianshan Mountain. If you feel tired, you can also have a nap in the bus.

Day 06 Korla - Kuqa
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Kuqa Hotel  

Drive 3 hours (280 kilometers) to Kuqa and transfer to the hotel. Visit the Subashi Ruins.

Day 07 Kuqa - Aksu
Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Hongfu Jinlan Hotel  

Visit the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves. Drive about 4 hours (298 kilometers) to Aksu and transfer to the hotel.

Tips: Xinjiang is a region where multiple religions coexist; therefore, you should be aware in advance of some radical religious taboos. Since Kuqa was an important center of Buddhism along the Silk Road, it is quite common to meet monks on the way. Please remember to react in the following manner: Put your palms together and lower your head when meeting with monks. Any attempt to handshake, embrace or touch the head of the monk is regarded as extremely disrespectful. Or you can just walk by only with eye contact or without any greeting flatly. Please do not touch any religious artifacts, make no comment and keep silent during the religious ceremonies.

Day 08 Aksu - Kashgar
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
the local best hotel  

Drive about 6 hours (500 kilometers) to Kashgar and transfer to the local best hotel.

Day 09 Kashgar - Karakuri Lake - Kashgar
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
the local best hotel  

Drive about 3.5 hours (200 kilometers) to Karakuri Lake and have a visit there. Drive back to Kashgar and transfer to the local best hotel.

Tips: After a short rest at the hotel, we suggest a distinctive site for your free exploration. The Kashgar old street centers around the Id Kad Mosque with radiating lines of lanes and streets. Each lane and street is a bazaar for special merchandise, such as shoe bazaar, hat bazaar, food bazaar, fabric bazaar, vegetable bazaar and so on. Of them, the most popular one is the street with various handcraft workshops. Along the street, you will see how the delicate items are made, including knives, musical instruments, ironware, carpet weaving, cloth making, pottery making and painting, ornaments and others. The street is not far from your hotel, and it is very convenient to get there by taxi. On the street, you can also find a variety of local foods which can serve as your dinner.

Day 10 Kashgar
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
the local best hotel  

Visit the famous Sunday Market, the Id Kah Mosque and the Abakh Khoja Tomb.

Day 11 Kashgar - Hetian
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Hetian Hotel  

Drive about 7 hours (520 kilometers) to Hetian. Visit the Yarkant King Mausoleum and the Yingisar Uigur Knife Making. Stay overnight at the local hotel.

Tips: Hetain earns its fame in the world by virtue of its rich jade products and breeds of tasty fruits. People claim that you can find jade in every corner in Hetian, which reflects the great production of jade in Hetian. Generally, the jade is excavated from the Yurungkax River banks. Due to the area's distinctive climate temperature difference, the fruits in Hetian are much sweeter and more fragrant than those in other regions. The cantaloupes are one of the most famous fruits. Visit Hetian in the harvest season and you can see and learn more about their excellent fruits.

Day 12 Hetian - Minfeng
Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Ni Ya Hotel  

Visit the Silk Village, see a hundred years' old walnut tree and learn about paper making. Drive about 3.5 hours (300 kilometers) to Minfeng. On the way to Minfeng, you can visit a local bazaar and see the unique minority people's costume in Yutian city. Stay at a local hotel for overnight.

Day 13 Minfeng - Korla
Chinese breakfast, Lunch
Loulan Hotel  

Drive about 9-10 hours (about 780 kilometers) to Korla through the Taklimakan Desert and enjoy the scenery of sand dunes. Stay overnight at the local hotel.

Tips: Since Minfeng is located as far as 750 kilometers (466 miles) away from Korla, it takes you about 7 or 8 hours driving on the road. You will be driven through the second largest desert by the longest desert road in the world. On the way, you can enjoy the magnificent scene of Taklimakan Desert and also forests of desert poplars which have lived without water over hundreds of years. At noon, you will have your lunch near Tarim River. Because you will go through the desert for a whole day, it is advisable to wear a pair of sunglasses, bring enough water and also protect your camera well from sandstorm.

Day 14 Korla - Turpan
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Huozhou Hotel  

Drive about 5 hours (380 kilometers) to Turpan and transfer to the hotel.

Day 15 Turpan
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Huozhou Hotel  

Visit the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves, the Gaochang Ruins and the Flaming Hill.

Tips: According to statistics, there are totally more than 50 varieties of grapes in Xinjiang region, mainly mustered in Turpan. In Turpan, the grapes are planted by every family and everywhere around the city, so people named Turpan as the "Kingdom of Grapes". When you visit the Sugong Pagoda, you will see a large market full of variety of grapes in the parking area in front of the pagoda. If you travel in season, we do suggest you buy some to have a taste. If not in season, it doesn't matter either. You can buy some raisins home as gift to friends. In a word, once you are in Turpan, you should not miss the grapes and grape products there.

Day 16 Turpan - Dunhuang
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
an overnight soft sleeper train  

Visit the Jiaohe Ruins, the Karez Well and the Sugong Pagoda. Take an overnight soft sleeper train to Dunhuang.

Tips: The train conditions in China are different from those in your country. As one of the main forms of transportation in China, trains are always crowded. In the soft sleeper train you will take, there are four berths in each compartment, two uppers and two lowers. We always suggest our clients charter the whole compartment to avoid sharing it with strangers. There is no door or private wash room in each compartment in ordinary train. On the direct trains (with "Z" as the beginning of the train number), there are doors which can be locked for each compartment.

Day 17 Dunhuang
Building No. 8 of Dunhuang Hotel  

You will be picked up at the railway station and transferred to the hotel. Breakfast will be your choice. Visit the Mogao Grottoes and the Dunhuang Museum.

Day 18 Dunhuang - Xian
Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Grand New World Hotel  

You will experience a short camel-ride along the Echoing-Sand Dune to reach the Crescent Lake. Take a flight to Xian and transfer to the hotel.

Tips: When visiting the Mogao Grottoes, the visitors are not allowed to take photos, for the sake of protecting the frescos. As the light does great harm to the pigments, lots of frescos was damaged in the past years. To protect this precious cultural heritage, no photoflash lamp is allowed in the grotto and also no any lights installed in the caves. When visiting, the guide will use a flashlight for illuming and you can also bring your own flashlight, but please be prudent with its use.

Day 19 Xian
Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch, Dumpling dinner
Grand New World Hotel  

Visit the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Your a la carte lunch is served at the best local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the City Wall. We will arrange the Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Performance at Shaaxi Opera Theatre for you.

Day 20 Xian - Shanghai
Western buffet breakfast, Home-cooked a la carte lunch
Ya Fan Long Men Hotel  

In the morning, visit the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum. Afterwards, you will have a local family visit and a la carte lunch will be arranged in the home of the family that you visit, to taste the authentic home cooked Chinese dishes. Then take a flight to Shanghai and transfer to the hotel.

Day 21 Shanghai
Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Ya Fan Long Men Hotel  

A morning excursion covers Shanghai Museum and the Yuyuan Garden. At noon, an a la carte farewell lunch will be served at a fancy and famous local restaurant, which offers authentic Shanghai and Cantonese cuisines. After lunch, transfer you to the Bund area, where you will take a cruise tour on the Huangpu River. Leave you some free time to explore the Bund area on your own. Then visit an ancient cultural street.

Tips: This evening, we would like to recommend the newly renovated recreational district Xin Tian Di (New World, New Heaven and Earth) for your free exploration. Xin Tian Di area was restored from the old Shikumen neighborhood, a type of tenement found only in old Shanghai. Now these old stone buildings are reconstructed into boutiques, clubs and restaurants. The "Wu Li Xiang House", meaning Open House, is a best kept old Shanghai style house in Xin Tian Di area. It is like a Shanghai family museum. If you are interested, you are suggested to visit it by yourself after dinner. Xin Tian Di also assembles the various Shanghai foods there and it is easily for you to find a restaurant or café for dinner. Xin Tian Di is in the downtown area and not far from your hotel. It is convenient to take a taxi there.

Day 22 Departure from Shanghai
Western buffet breakfast

See off.

Season Group Size 2-5 travelers 6-9 travelers 10 travelers & above
High season
(Mar 1st-Nov 30th)
Double Occupancy $5199 $3855 $3225
Single Occupancy $5994 $4650 $3912
Shoulder season
(Dec 1st, 2012-Feb 28th, 2013)
Double Occupancy $4942 $3599 $3017
Single Occupancy $5542 $4199 $3495
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