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10 Days Classic Silk Road Xinjiang-Gansu-Qinghai

Trip Length
10 Days
Tianchi, Grand Bazaar, Flaming Mountains, Gaochang Ruin, Balikun Prairie, Mogao Grottoes, Jiayuguan-Xuanbi Great Wall, Ta'er Monastery, Qinghai Lake, Birds Island, Zhongshan Bridge
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Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1: Arrive in Urumqi

Today's Highlights:

Airport/train station transfer to hotel


Arrive in Urumqi Diwopu Airport by air or Urumqi Railway Station by train. Our guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest time is free. You can have a good rest in the hotel, or roam the local streets nearby recommended by our guide.


The clock time in Urumqi, Xinjiang is the same as Beijing Time, but there is 2-hour difference because of the longitude. You should adjust your rest and dinning time 2 hours later as compared with that in mainland China.

Day 2: Urumqi-Tianchi (Heavenly Lake)-Urumqi

The crystal Tian Chi is surrounded by the great Tianshan Montain RangesToday's highlights:

Tianchi-Heavenly Lake, Tianshan Mountain, Grand Bazaar


Drive to Tianchi (Heavenly Lake), a marvelous view of mountain lake formed more than million years ago in the 4th glacial epoch. It is famed as the "Jewel in the Crown". The pine trees covering the hillsides and the snow capped mountains in the background make the huge clear water spectacular sight-reminiscent of Switzerland or the Rocky mountains but somehow with more vibrancy and color. Bogda Peak-the highest peak stands to the east of the lake in the east part of Tianshan Mountain which is capped by glacier and snow glistening in the sun, finely contrasted with blue lake water, forming fabulous scenery.

Ramble around the Grand Bazaar after back from Tianchi.

Day 3: Urumqi-Turpan

The red and hot Flaming MountainsToday's highlights:

Flaming Mountains, Karez Well, Gaochang Ruin


Pass through the Flaming Mountains named of the red clay mountains reflect the heat and glow of the desert in the evenings and seem to burn. It is an intensely hot part of the desert without a single blade of grass to be seen for miles. In July, the mountains seem to be on fire in the burning sun and become a purplish-brown colour.

Only in Turpan, you can find the Karez Well, the underground canal. It is one of the three greatest irrigation systems in ancient China together with the Jinghang Manmade Cannel, and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. Gaochang Ruin, the Uygur city-state around the 9th century to the 13th, which was founded a few hundred years earlier than that, and gradually became known as a trading post on the Silk Road.

Day 4: Turpan-Hami

Balikun Prairie, the 2nd largest grassland in XinjiangToday's highlights:

Balikun Prairie, White Stone Parkland


Appreciate the second largest prairie in Xinjiang, Balikun Prairie. Have a local family visit. You will be feasted with kumiss, ghee and their pastries. Finally, we arrive in the gateway city of east Xinjiang-Hami via the White Stone Parkland.

Day 5: Hami-Dunhuang

Mingsha Mountain, means Echoing Sand MountainToday's highlights:

Mogao Grottoes, Mingsha Mountain-Yueya Spring, Shazhou Night Market


After breakfast we go to visit the Mogao Grottoes also known as Thousand Buddha Cave is one of three noted grottoes in China and also the largest, best preserved and richest treasure house of Buddhist art in the world. Despite years of erosion, the murals are still brightly colored, with clear lines. Through pictures of different styles and schools drawn in different historical periods, they tell Buddhist stories and ways as well as life in the secular world.

Then, we go to Mingsha Mountain and Yueya Spring. The sand storms at Mingsha Mountain are said to create almost melodic sounds as millions of minute particles bounce and rub. Countless Silk Road travelers, nomads, merchants and tourists today have quenched their thirsts at Yueya Spring or called Crescent Lake.

After dinner you can have a night walking at Shazhou Night Market.

Day 6: Dunhuang-Jiayuguan-Zhangye

Jiayuguan Pass, western end of the Ming Great WallToday's highlights:

Jiayuguan-Xuanbi Great Wall, Giant Buddha Temple


Visit Jiayuguan Pass, the western end of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty as well as the most magnificent and best-preserved pass among the over thousand passes along the Ming Great Wall, known as "Impregnable Pass Under Heaven". Here, you can overlook the "little Badaling"-Xuanbi Great Wall, also called Overhanging Great Wall which means the wall hanging on the cliff. It's a rather ancient portion of the famous China Great Wall.

Arrive in Zhangye to visit the Giant Buddha Temple.

Day 7: Zhangye-Xining

Festival in Ta'er MonasteryToday's highlights:

Ta'er Monastery


Drive to Xining, the capital of Qinghai to visit Ta'er Monastery which is the birth place of the founder of the Yellow Sect (also called Gelu Sect) Tsong Khapa. You can appreciate the famous butter sculptures, the barbolas, and the murals in the monastery.

Day 8: Xining-Qinghai Lake-Xining

Sunrise on Qinghai LakeToday's highlights:

Riyue Mountain Pass, Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor), Birds Island


Through Riyue Mountain pass (The Sun and the Moon mountain) we arrive at Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor), which is the biggest inland salt lake in China . The most charming and attractive place in Qinghai Lake is the Birds Island. Back to Xining.

Day 9: Xining-Lanzhou

Zhongshan Bridge, the first bridge over the Yellow RiverToday's highlights:

Ancient Water Mill, Zhongshan Bridge on Yellow River, Lanzhou Museum


In Lanzhou we will visit the Ancient Water Mill, a kind of ancient implement for irrigating at past, Zhongshan Bridge on the Yellow River, and Lanzhou Provincial Museum has an excellent selection of exhibits relating to Gansu and the Silk Road. 75,000 cultural relics including natural resources and historical exhibits are exhibited here. In the city, you can try the local snack Lanzhou Noodles.

Day 10: Leave Lanzhou

Today's highlights:

Hotel shuttle to airport or train station


Our guide will meet you at your hotel and you will be transferred to Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport or Lanzhou Railway Station for next destination.

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"Thank you sooooo much for organising our trip. We indeed had a fantastic trip in Xinjiang! The guide, our driver have all been great to us and made our time there very special."

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