12 Days Private Tour Lanzhou – Bingling Si – Xiahe – Tongren – Kumbum - Xining – Zhangye – Jiayuguan – Dunhuang – Liuyuan - Turfan – Kashgar – Karakuli Lake – Kashgar
The way from Lanzhou to Kashgar, people can take the most famous trade route in the world, and experience the truly epic of culture and nature, and get to know the life from these old oasis cities around the Taklamakan Desert. What they can see is that these bazaars along the Silk Road still full of vitality.
This trip takes us to the Tibetan cultural region Amdo in Gansu Province and Qinghai Province. We'll visit the Labrang Monastery and Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) and learn about the Rebgong Art in Tongren.
And we will follow an important part of the legendary silk road - from Lanzhou via Xining, Zhangye, Jiayuguan to Dunhuang, visit the Danxia National Geographical Park, the Jiayuguan Tower, the Hanging Great Wall and the Mogao Grottos in Dunhuang.
Then we drive by high-speed train into Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to explore two oasis cities Turfan and Kashgar, visit ancient city ruins, the powerful irrigation systems, experience prosperity and multi-ethnic folkways at the Sundays' market. One day trip to the Karakuli Lake at the foot of mountain Mustagh-Ata may also a highlight of this tour.
Welcome to Lanzhou - the capital of Gansu Province
In the morning arrival at Capital International Airport of Beijing, self check in for flight to Lanzhou, the capital of province Gansu. The city has long been an important city on the Silk Road in history. The Yellow river flows through the whole Gansu province.
Overnight at 4*Legend Hotel
Lanzhou – Bingling Si – Xiahe
Grottos of Bingling Temple – a historical treasure of Buddhism
Drive to Xiahe. On the way make an excursion to grottos of 1000-Buddha's-temple in Bingling. The grottos of the monastery are firstly built in 420AD. Figures here are older than those in Mogao Grottos of Dunhuang. Late in the afternoon arrive in Xiahe, which is 2,900 meters above the sea level and almost exclusively inhabited by Tibetans.
4 hours 51 minutes
Overnight at 3*Labrang Civil Aviation Hotel
Xiahe – Tongren BL
In the morning visit Labrang monastery, the most important religious centre on the northeast border of the Tibetan region. The monastery created in 1710, as one of the six grand monasteries in Gelugpa, has served for centuries there to connect the Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaism. In the afternoon visit Longwu monastery of Gelugpa, which was initially constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as a monastery of Sakya-sect and Wutun village. It is the center of Tibetan Regong-Art, which is a successful mixture of religion and folk art. Then drive to Tongren.
2 hours 9 minutes
Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Kumbum Monastery, Xining – the capital of Qinghai Province
In the morning drive to Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) of Gelugpa, which was built in 1560 in Huangzhong county and also one of the six grand monasteries in Tibetan area. Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Lamaistic "yellow hat sect", was born here. As Kumbum-monastery has always been playing an important role to connect the Mongolian with the Lamaism, today many Mongolian come to this place for worship.
In the afternoon drive to Xining, the capital of Qinghai province. This city is mainly inhabited with Tibetan but also a home of Uygur, Kazak and Hui minorities. Then transfer to railway station, take the high-speed train (D2741 1640/1835) to Zhangye.
3 hours 11 minutes
Overnight at 4*Huachen International Hotel
High-speed train Zhangye - Jiayuguan
Danxia Landform Geographical Park
In the morning visit the Danxia National Geographical Park. At Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, you’ll understand why this area is called by the Chinese Danxia ("red clouds"). The various metal-containing sediments and layers of the earth have created a mountain range patterned in a variety of shades of red, which shines beautifully especially after a short rainfall. Then go to visit the Grand Buddha Temple, the 34 m sleeping Buddha is the biggest one in whole China. In the afternoon transfer to railway station, take the high-speed train (D2749 1628/1803) to Zhangye.
Overnight at 4*Holiday Plaza Hotel
High-speed train Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
Jiyuguan Tower, Hanging Great Wall, Great Wall Museum, Dunhuang - an important gateway of “Silk Road”
There is the last grand fortress in Jiayuguan of the Great Wall. In the morning visit the Jiyuguan Tower, Great Wall Museum and Hanging Great Wall. At the western end of the Great Wall, the mighty desert fort of Jiayuguan guarded the Chinese empire. In the afternoon transfer to railway station, take the high-speed train (D2749 1818/2041) to Dunhuang.
Mogao Grottos – the treasure of Buddhism and Grotto Art, Singing Sand Dunes, Crescent Spring Pool
In the morning visit Mogao Grottos, which is one of the greatest examples of Buddhist art, and symbol of East-West cultural exchange. The Mogao Caves, more than many other places, show how important the Silk Road was for the spreading of Buddhism to the west. Throughout history, traveling monks digged hundreds of caves in the mountains to build and worship Buddha statues. In the afternoon walk through the Singing Sand Dunes (Ming Sha Shan) to the beautiful Crescent Spring Pool (Yue Ya Quan). Time permitting, climb a 200-meter-high sand hill nearby. Then transfer to Liuyuan railway station, take the high-speed train (D2703 1715/2030) to Turfan.
Overnight at 4*Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown
Ruins of Jiaohe city, Valley of Vineyards, Karze - underground irrigation system, Emin Minarett
Turfan, the exotic “Land of fruits and melons”, which is situated 500 feet below sea level and separates the Silk Road’s northern and southern route. In the morning after breakfast in hotel visit the ruins of Jiaohe city 10 km to the west of Turfan. The graperies in Turfan has long been benefited from the underground ditch-net. In the afternoon drive to Valley of Vineyards where enjoy the delicious seedless grape and get to know how Karze, the underground irrigation system. The Emin Minarett (Sugong Ta) is also in program.
Overnight at 4*Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown
Night train Turfan - Kashgar
Thousand-Bouddha Caves of Beziklik, Flaming Mountains, Ruins of Gaochang
In the morning visit the Thousand-Bouddha Caves of Beziklik which is located in the Blazing Mountain. Then go to Flaming Mountains which is the most famous attraction in Turfan. It is located in the northern margin of Turfan Basin, the northern section of the ancient Silk Road, and it is mainly composed of the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary red-red sand, conglomerate and mudstone of the Mesozoic. The locals call it "Kyzyl Taga", which means "Red Mountain". Afterwards visit ruins of Gaochang, an ancient city of more than 2000 years old. In the evening transfer to railway station, take the train (T9517 1915/1038+1, soft sleeper, 4-bed compartment) to Kashgar.
Overnight on the train
Id Gagh Mosque, Akba Khojia Mausoleum
In the morning arrive in Kashgar, an ancient oasis city. Pick up and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon visit the Id Kah Mosque and the Tomb of Abakh Hoja where the "Nice smelling concubine", a Uygur national heroine is buried.
Overnight at 4*Qinibagg Hotel
Kashgar – Kalakuli Lake – Kashgar
Kalakuli Lake at the foot of holy mountain Mustagh-Ata (7546 m)
Drive to Kalakuli Lake at the foot of holy mountain Mustagh-Ata (7546 m) of Kirghiz. Nice walking by the Karakuli Lake (3300 m). Here you can take a camel ride (option).
Overnight at 4*Qinibagg Hotel
Air Kashgar – Urumqi
Sunday-bazaar. Travel to next destination
In the morning visit the Sunday-bazaar where many Uygurs do business. The Sunday bazaar of the Uyghurs living here, is one of the largest and most colorful in Central Asia, is also undoubtedly one of the highlights of the trip. In the afternoon transfer to airport or railway station, journey ends.
Tailor-make this tour
Private travel, great experiences! Please contact us for your tailor-made travel offer.
With individual China Tibet travel, you can decide when, where and how you go on tour by yourself. What's more, you can choose the length of travel and whom you go with.
Hotel, program, itinerary and train are subjected to change with prior notice.
We must point out that, as everywhere in this region you counter a basic tourism infrastructure. You stay overnight mostly at simple hotel. Long journeys on bad roads and on high altitude and delays require good physical fitness, resilience and flexibility of the participants. Program and route changes due to unforeseen events are expressly reserved. If you desire the unknown and have an understanding of contingency, this is the right trip for you.