8 days Silk Road highlights tour Kashgar - Turpan - Dunhuang
Trace the ancient trading route to visit the famous attractions of two provinces in this Silk Road Highlights Tour. Starting with the trip to Xinjiang, have a great opportunity to learn about the unique culture and customs of the local Uyghur people. Followed by a visit to the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, where you will gain a better understanding of the Buddhist art of Western China. Endless natural landscapes make up of boundless desert, snow capped mountains and splendid lakes, all awaiting to be discovered in this wonderful trip.
The Silk Road served as a living cultural bridge linking the ancient China, West Asia and the Mediterranean. It is also regarded as an important route to explore the elapsed civilizations. Kashgar, a famous border city situated in the west of Xinjiang, is the first destination of this 8 days tour.
Once you arrive at the airport of Kashgar, the local guide will pick you up and assist you to the hotel. Have the rest of the day to take a rest or explore this ethnic city on your own.
Make a day excursion to the Karakul Lake, which is located 196 km. (122 mi.) from Kashgar, near the junction of the Pamir, Tianshan, and Kunlun Mountain ranges. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Kunlun Mountain ranges along the way. Stop at the Opal Village before you enter the ranges and arrive at the lake. Take a break here to explore the local village life of Uyghurs.
Furthur along 3 hours drive, arrive at the Mount Muztagata, also called as "the Father of Glaciers". See the beautiful Karakul Lake lying at the foot of these magnificent snow mountains, resembling an enchanting lady. Walk on the grassland with roaming flocks and herds along the shore of the lake. Smell the fresh air mixed with the soil and flowers fragrant. The most fantastical thing about the lake is its changing color of water. With the sunrise, the lake changes its color from purple to golden red and then to pink, presenting a magical sight. Visit a local Kyrgyz family to learn about their custom and culture before you drive to the Tashkorgan in the late afternoon.
After breakfast, head to the Stone Fort, a historical heritage and ancient ruin along the Silk Road. The ruins was built on the high mound with stone and earth, presenting a unique appearance. Today you still can recognize the remaining city wall, which can be as high as 6 m. (20 ft.). According to the history records, some historic treasures of Tang Dynasty such as the Sanskrit Manuscripts, pottery, Silk fabrics were unearthed here as a sign of its past glory.
Afterwards, spend some time to walk through the boundless Tashkorgan Grassland. Take many photos of the splendid scenery of the surrounding Mount Pamir and Mutzagata. Then drive back to Kashgar city for evening,
Spend today to visit the highlights in Kashgar city. Regarded as one of the largest gathering residences of Uyghur, Kashgar is the best city to explore their unique culture in China. The first sight is the Abakh Khoja Tomb, which houses the coffins of five generations of the Apak Khoja family, including what is purported to be the body of Xiang Fei, a famous concubine in Qing Dynasty. The pillars in the Tomb decorated beautifully and its designs are especially outstanding.
Next up with a walk in the Sunday Market, which is an ancient market attracts merchants from all over Xinjiang plus many nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kirghizstan. The market is jammed with many small shops for selling numerous commodities, traditional scarves, leathers, clothes, and knick-knacks. Walk around this market in search of some really good bargains.
After lunch, have some free time to walk around the old Kashgar town. Then visit the Id Kah Mosque, which is the largest and busiest mosque in China, as well as a must see sight for travelers. At midday on every Friday over 10,000 Muslims will gather here to pray and study the Koran. In the evening, drive to the airport for the flight to Urumqi.
Start today with a visit to the Xinjiang Museum in downtown Urumqi. This museum is considered to be the research and collection center for relics in Xinjiang. Next drive to Turpan, an oasis city which is located in the southeast of Urumqi.
Upon arrival in Turpan, head to the Karez Well, a unique irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels. Regarded as one of the three grand projects in ancient China, Karez Well was invented and built by ancient farmers from the various ethnic minorities of Turpan. Here you are allowed to walk along the channels below ground for a first-hand view, most of which are still maintained and functioning now.
In the afternoon, drive to the Jiaohe Ruins, which is an ancient city situated on an island 8 km. (5 mi.) west of Turpan. With a long history of over 2,000 years, this ruin is currently the largest and oldest soil city in the world. Spend couple hours to wander around this ancient city, and pursue the past civilization along the ancient Silk Road. After, end the trip today by visiting the Sugong Pagoda, which was built by the ruler of the Turpan Prefecture, to honor his father in 1811. The architectural style of this pagoda displays a mixed design of Uyghur and Han features.
Visit another famous ancient city in Turpan this morning, Gaochang Ruins. Along with Jiaohe, Gaochang also stands in the boundless desolate Gobi desert of Xinjiang. Due to the dry and hot weather, the ancient city of Gaochang has been well preserved as you can still clearly recognize the city wall, temples and houses of this city. Followed by a visit to the Astana Tombs, a serious of underground graves situated on the Gobi desert in north of Gaochang city.
Afterwards, visit the Tuyuk Village, which is the oldest Uyghur settlement in Xinjiang. Have a traditional Uyghur lunch here before you go to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. See the precious artworks created by the people from different cultures, depicting their daily life and religion. These caves were built on the legendary Flaming Mountains, which are the barren, eroded, red sandstone hills in Tian Shan Mountain range. Stop to view the memorable spectacle of the hills resembling a fiery dragon.
In the late afternoon, drive back to Turpan city for the train to Dunhuang (Z70, 15:31 - 21:16 or T296, 16:35 - 23:23). Liuyuan train station pick up and transfer to Dunhuang for overnight.
Today you will have a full day to explore Dunhuang, firstly head to visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes, a World Heritage Site on the Silk Road. Immerse yourself into these Buddhist art treasures, which contains 492 decorated caves temples, 45,000 sq. m. (11 ac.) of wall paintings and over 2,400 colored sculptures.
Next up with a camel ride to the Mingsha Hill and Crescent Spring to see the spectacular sunset over the desert. In the evening, drive back to Dunhuang for retire.
After breakfast, be assisted to the airport or railway station and ready for the departure. Wish you have a pleasant journey home. If you have any requirements on this tour, please let us know and we can adjust it to meet all your needs.