12 days Classic China Silk Road tour from Xi'an to Urumqi

⇀ Tianshui
⇀ Zhangye
⇀ Jiayuguan
⇀ Dunhuang
⇀ Turpan
⇀ Urumqi
Witness the famous Terracotta Warriors, breathtaking grottos, musical sand dunes, Heavenly lake and culture unlike anywhere else in the world with this unforgettable Silk Road tour!
12 days
Culture and Heritage
Trip code
From A$ 2,088 per person
A$ 1,898
you save A$ 190 (10%)
On this unforgettable 12 day experience, you'll tour Xi'an and its army of Terra Catta Warrior statues, ancient military systems, and unique local goods. You'll also see the breathtaking Zhangye Danxia Landform; with a surreal beauty everyone should witness at least once in their lifetime - pictures just don't do it justice! You'll see the Great Wall, the Giant Buddha, the ancient city of Jiaiohe, a full day tour of Turpan and many other fascinating pieces of ancient architecture, landscapes and artwork!
Day 01 :
Arrival at Xi'an

You'll arrive in gorgeous Xi'an, one of the ancient capitals in Chinese history and also the starting point and terminus of the ancient Silk Road. You'll be picked up at the Xi'an airport or train station and dropped off at your to hotel to rest up.

Day 02 :
Day Tour in Xi'an

Tour the highlights of Xi'an, including the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum- the astonishing site where thousands of steadfast warriors, along with their warhorses, guard the tomb of China's first emperor; the Xi'an City Wall- the most intact ancient wall on the China Silk Road. During the Ming dynasty, this was one of the most impressive military defense systems in the world where you can choose to have a walk tour or bicycle tour on the wall; and the Muslim Quarter, where you'll find a cornucopia of local street food and souvenirs for sale. You'll stay overnight in Xi'an before moving along the Silk Road path.

Day 03 :
Board the Train to Tianshui - Visit Tianshui Maijishan Grottoes

This day begins with taking the Bullet Train to Tianshui- the first significant Silk Road city since Xi'an located along the Wei River. It's about a 2 hour train ride into the city. There you'll visit the Maijishan Grottoes- a network of caves and walkways carved into the cliffside, adorned in colorful Buddhist artwork within. You'll spend the night in Tianshui and depart in the morning.

Day 04 :
Board the Train to Zhangye - Visit Zhangye Danxia Landform

You'll take the morning train to Zhangye. It's about a 5 hour train ride, so take something along to occupy your time, or sit back and enjoy the local scenery. You'll reach Zhangye around 2:30 pm. From there, you'll be picked up at the train station and driven to the awesome Zhangye Danxia Landform.

With it's brilliant rainbows of color, these mountains are often cited as the most beautiful landform in all of China. You'll then get your rest in Zhangye for the night before exploring more of the city.

Day 05 :
Drive to Jiayuguan - Visit Jiayuguan Pass & Overhanging Great Wall

In the morning you'll visit the Giant Buddha Temple in Zhangye, where you'll witness some of the most intriguing ancient artwork on the China Silk Road, including the Giant Buddha itself, lying inside the temple at 34.5 meters (about 113 feet) long and 7.5 meters (about 25 feet) wide. You'll then take about a 2.5 hour drive to Jiayuguan, the city that houses the western end of The Great Wall of China. From there you'll visit Jiayuguan Pass- one of the most intact parts of the Great Wall and a key point on the China Silk Road, this defense station is still complete with ramparts, turrets and eaves. If time permits, you may also visit the Overhanging Great Wall, also called the Xuanbi Great Wall- a place with one of the most spectacular views along the Great Wall, and a lesson in the tactical ingenuity of ancient Chinese builders. After the tour is an overnight stay in Jiayuguan.

Day 06 :
Drive to Dunhuang with a Visit to Yulin Grottoes on the Way

You'll have an early morning departure from Jiayuguan and travel to Dunhuang, with a stop on the way to the Yulin Grottoes- where you'll find brightly colored artwork depicting 1,000 years of Chinese culture. This stretch of the tour takes about 8-9 hours to complete, including a 6 hour drive and 2-3 hours exploring the region. Upon arrival in Dunhuang, you can rest, relax and enjoy the Shazhou Nightly Market, where you'll be able to sample local cuisine, browse local farmer stands and find unique goods made by the people of this beautiful region. Or if you prefer, you can catch a show at the famous Dunhuang Theater. This award winning theater features some of the best dancers in all of China and is truly an experience in local art.

Day 07 :
Dunhuang Sightseeing - Mogao Grottoes & Echoing Sand Mountain

In the morning. you'll visit the Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. This includes a visit to the Dunhuang Grotto protection and Exhibition center, where you can learn about the rich history of this awe inspiring network of 492 temples along the China Silk Road.

Then on to explore the Echoing Sand Mountains, named for the musical sounds heard when even a light wind blows through the dunes; and the crystal clear Crescent Lake, named for the half-moon shape the lake forms around the south side of Dunhuang City. Enjoy a camel riding here.

Day 08 :
Free Day in Dunhuang - Board the Train to Turpan

Morning free explore Dunhuang on your own, then head to Liuyuan for the afternoon bullet train to Turpan (D2701, 14:43 -18:18), another green oasis on the ancient China Silk Road. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to hotel for rest. 

Day 09 :
Full Day of Turpan Exploration

You'll receive a full day tour of Turpan. Morning drive to visit the Gaochang Ruins, was once an important stop along the ancient Silk Road. Because of the war and water shortage, it was finally abandoned, but the remaining city walls, temples, houses still indicates the past glory of this city and the culture of ancient Gaochang people. Then continue the visiting to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves situated on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flaming Mountains. Learn about the development and history of the Buddhism in this region from the colorful murals and other precious art works. Afterwards, have a traditional Uyghur lunch in a local village of Tuyuk Valley. On the way back to Turpan, stop to visit the Flaming Mountain, where the temperature on the surface reaches 47.8 C (118.04 F) in the hottest summer, hence the name.  Follow the last visit today will be the Jiaohe Ruins, which is currently the largest and oldest earth city in the world. The remains you see today was descended from the Tang Dynasty. Most of them are well preserved due to the high location and dry climate. Overnight at Turpan. 

Day 10 :
Another Half Day in Turpan - Afternoon Drive to Urumqi

Our morning begins with visiting the intricate Karez underground irrigation system. An important source of life to all of Turpan, this system of caves, reservoirs, canals and wells is an impressive 5,000 km (3100 miles) in total length. Then the Emin Minaret- an impressive structure, this tower looms at 44 meters (144 feet) tall and is the largest minaret in all of China. After lunch you'll head to Urumqi, the world's most inland city, about a 2.5-3 hour drive through the countryside. There you'll be able to rest and refresh on your own and you may take a walk at the Xinjiang Grand Bazaar, where you'll find everything from entertainment to local fare and unique goods from different cultures in and around the region.

Day 11 :
Day Excursion to Heavenly Lake

You'll take a day trip to Heavenly Lake, where you can relax and reenergize over the pristine waters.  Late afternoon get back to Urumqi and visit the Xinjiang Museum; with over 50,000 pieces, this astonishing collection will give you rare insight into this fascinating culture.

Day 12 :
Departure from Urumqi - End of Tour

This is where we say goodbye. You'll be transported and on your way back home with memories to last a lifetime!

Tour notes:

Please note prices are based in CNY.

General inclusions:

2 bottles of mineral water provided daily.
All required government taxes and fees.
Domestic travel accident insurance.
Meals allowance for your guide and driver.
3 Stars hotel (shared twin room, private bathroom and daily breakfast)
Hotel accommodation is based on double occupancy (two persons sharing 1 standard twin room with private bathroom)
All entrance tickets as noted in the tour's itinerary.
Guide fluent in English, Chinese or Japanese that is certified by the state tourism build and from the local community. (If your native language is not listed please let us know, we are certain we can assist your needs.)
Airport and/or train station pick-up and drop-off.
Comfortable and clean private minivan with driver (please note that on days designated with walking tours, no private vehicle will be arranged by default.)
Hotel pick-up and drop-off.
All bullet train tickets (Soft Seat)

General exclusions:

Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, internet access, fax, telephone calls etc.
Tips for your guide and driver.
Optional Attractions that are not specified in the itinerary.
Flight and/or railway ticket(s) to the first city of the tour and departure from the last city of the tour.
Meals not specified in the itinerary.

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Berkley Powell
Berkley Powell
Thu, 04/20/2023

Do you have specific dates for this tour (12 day- Western China) set for Fall 2023?
Can we "Add" a departure from Urumqui to Kashgar to this itinerary?
Can we add a "connection" overland from Kasgar to Bishkek, Krygistan?

Replied by
Tagong grassland by July Yuki
Yuki Yi
Thu, 04/20/2023

In reply to by Berkley Powell (not verified)

Dear Berkely,

Thanks for contacting us! This is a private tour route so you can start the tour at any time you want. And we can certainly add a visit to Kashgar from Urumqi as well as the overland journey to Bishkek from Kashgar. I've sent all the details via email, please kindly have a look and feel free to share your comments and thoughts.

Look forward to hearing from you back soon!

Best regards,

Thu, 09/17/2020

Dear Windhorsetour Team,

are you offering during golden week (01st of Oct. until 07th of Oct.) a short private silk road tour? We would like to shorten the 12 days and skip a few things. Start should be Xi'an and back from Urumqi.

Looking forward to your feedback.



Replied by
personal picture
Anita Fan
Mon, 09/21/2020

In reply to by Daniel (not verified)

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for your inquiry. This is Anita Fan from WindhorseTour. 
Sure, we would love to adjust the itinerary with something skipped to arrange you a short private 7-day silk road tour during the golden weekend. I just send the email with the adjusted itinerary, please kindly take a look and let me know how it sounds to you.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best Regards,


Marie Beatty
Marie Beatty
Sat, 12/07/2019

What are the 2020 dates for the 12 day Silk Road trip?

Replied by
personal picture
Anita Fan
Mon, 12/09/2019

In reply to by Marie Beatty (not verified)

Hi Marie,

Thank you for your inquiry. This is Anita from WindhorseTour.

Regrettably, we don't operate group tour for silk road trip, so we won't set up the departure dates. However, we can definitely arrange you private tour. Could you kindly advise how many people in your group? When do you plan for this trip? So I can work out the quotation for you to review.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best Regards,