Border Information: if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).Welcome to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free day to explore the city, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an.In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset: CNY 50
Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China: CNY 30
Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China: CNY 30
Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures: CNY 90
Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057: CNY 75
Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world: CNY 90
Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties: CNY 90
Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens: CNY
This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour.We will return to Xi'an for the afternoon, where we'll have a free afternoon to further explore this incredible city.
Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife
Day 3s 3 to Pingliang
Today we will drive to the town of Pingliang at the base of the Mount Kongtong, one of the holiest mountains in Chinese Taoism.Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).On the following day we will have an included visit to Mount Kongtong, and will have the full day to explore the temples and walk and explore the pilgrimage routes on the mountain. In Pingliang we will stay in a decent local hotel.Please note that if the group and leader prefer to split the drive between Turpan and Dunhuang over 2 days, there will only be 1 night in Pingliang and a half-day exploration of Mount Kongtong.
Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
Day 4s 5 to Xiahe
Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 3 nights. Estimated Drive Time - 9 -10 hours.The next few days are free to explore this beautiful town and surrounding grasslands. We can take a guided visit to the Labrang Monastery where Tibetan monks can be seen doing their daily rituals and chants. There may also be a chance to go trekking, horse riding or exploring the surrounding grasslands, visiting Tibetan families and perhaps trying the local Yak butter tea.In Xiahe we will stay in a local Tibetan-owned hotel.
3 night detour to the Tibetan town of Xiahe, one of the main pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists
Climb up onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan Plateau: CNY
Take a day trip up into the Sangke or Ganjia grasslands of the lower Tibetan Plateau surrounding Xiahe: CNY 400
Day 5Liujiaxia-Bingling Si
Today we will leave Xiahe behind us to reach the small city of Liujiaxia. We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route.In Liujiaxia we will stay in a basic local hotel.Estimated Drive Time: 4-5 hours.
See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge
Today we will have a full day's drive towards Zhangye. This evening we will find a place to camp in the hills surrounding Zhangye. Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.
Today we will have a short drive to the incredible Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains - we will spend some time exploring the beautiful scenery, before continuing our drive on to Jiayuguan where, tomorrow, we will have an included visit to the Jiayuguan Fort - the most western point of the Great Wall of China. Please note that the Great Wall here is adobe, unlike the more famous stone sections further easy. We will camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan.Estimated Drive Time: 5-6 hours.
Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall
Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains
Day 8s 11 to 1 Dunhuang
Today we will continue our journey westwards to reach the city of Dunhuang.Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.On the following day we will have an included visit to the awe-inspiring Mogao Buddha Caves in the morning. We will then have a free afternoon to explore this amazing town and it’s surroundings - there are possibilities for camel rides along the sand dunes and bicycle rides out to the nearby White Goose Pagoda!In Dunhuang we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang
Stopover and time to explore historic Dunhuang: CNY 20
Take a camel ride at Crescent Moon Lake.: CNY 240
Day 9s 13 to 1 Turpan
Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the oasis town of Turpan.Estimated Drive Time: 10-13 hours.Please note that due to the political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province. Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, finding a local hotel in between to break up the travel day. On the following day we will have a free day to explore the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins.In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel.
Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
Learn about the Karez water system, the ingenious method of irrigating the area that was developed by the Han Dynasty and allowed Turpan to flourish as an oasis town
See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan
See the Emin Minaret, a beautiful Uighur mosque built in the 18th century which is the tallest minaret in China: CNY 30
Explore the ancient oasis city of Gaochang, once a bustling trading trading centre along the Silk Road: CNY 40
Day 10s 15 to 1 Heavenly Lake-Urumqi
Today we will continue on to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.Estimated Drive Time: 4-5 hours.We will stay here for 2 nights on the 2nd day we will have an included visit to Heavenly Lake to enjoy the incredible scenery in the Tian Shan Mountains and walk around the lake.In Urumqi we will stay in a local hotel.
Day 11s 17 to 1 Bayanbulak-Aksu
Today our journey continues westwards through the Taklamakan Desert. Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to stay in local hotels near Korla or Bayanbulak on our first night and Aksu on our second.Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours each day.
Day 12s 19 to 2 Kashgar
Today we complete our journey to the far west of China, arriving in Kashgar, once one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route! Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.We will spend 3 nights in Kashgar, during which time there will be lots of opportunity to explore the city and its central Id Kah Mosque. We will also have an included visit to the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.In Kashgar we will stay in a hotel with good facilities.
Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market.
Visit the Id Kah Mosque, the finest example of Islamic architecture in Kashgar and the centre of religious life in the city: CNY 45
Discover the history of the ancient Silk Road at Kashgar's Silk Road Museum: CNY 45
Visit the mausoleum of the 17th-century religious leader Afaq Khoja, considered the holiest site in Xinjiang Province: CNY 30
Day 132 Kashgar
Border Information: if leaving in Kashgar, you will most likely exit China at Kashgar Airport (IATA code: KHG).If leaving the trip in Kashgar, today is a free day to further explore the city before leaving. If you are continuing on our trip into Kyrgyzstan, we will be exploring Shiptons Arch this afternoon - the largest natural arch in the world. Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kashgar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
Hike up to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world. : CNY 45