17 Days Xining-Lanzhou-Xiahe-Wuwei-Zhangye-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang-Turpan-Urumqi

There are not only the history, culture and topography at every point, but also the incredible natural scenery, like Qinghai Lake, Yellow River, Sangke Prairie Danxia Landscape and Heavenly Lake etc. Enjoy the natural scenery along the way when learning about the Silk Road culture.

Trip Highlights

  • Bike riding along Qinghai Lake
  • Local Tibetan family visit in Xiahe
  • Watch the Danxia Landscape at a close distance
  • Try your hands at Xinjiang dishes with the locals
  • Uncover the secret of making Nang in a local shop

Customizable Tour Itinerary

Landing at Xining airport, you will be met and greeted by the private guide. A comfortable vehicle with a private driver will take you all the way to the hotel. The guide will take care of the hotel check-in.

Meals: No meal, advice freely available

  • Hotels: Sofitel Xining, Rezen Hotel Qinghai Jinding

Qinghai Lake is both the largest inland lake and the largest saltwater lake in China. Take one day to ride a bike along the Qinghai Lake. Stop from time to time to grasp some wonderful photos on the way. You could see many herds on the grassland.


Qinghai Lake is more beautiful when cauliflower is blooming from July to August.

You are suggested to bring a thick coat as the temperature difference between day and night is quite big.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Qinghai LakeQinghai Lake

Kumbum Monastery is also called Ta’er Monastery in Chinese, where you can enjoy ancient Tibetan and Han style buildings, murals and active religious devotion. With a total floor area of 12,000 square meters, Tibetan Medicine Cultural Museum is the only comprehensive museum in the world that reflects Tibetan medicine culture.

After lunch, a bullet train travel will bring you to your next stop, Lanzhou.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Crowne Plaza Lanzhou, Sunshine Plaza Hotel
Kumbum MonasteryKumbum Monastery

Zhongshan Bridge is the First iron bridge over the Yellow River. It was named ‘Lanzhou Yellow River Iron Bridge’ and later renamed as ‘Zhongshan Bridge’ in memory of Sun Yat-Sen, forerunner of Chinese democratic revolution.

Gain an insight into the irrigation tools of ancient times by visiting Waterwheel Garden. The White Pagoda Hill is named after a white pagoda on its hilltop, where you could have a panoramic view of the cityscape and the winding Yellow River – mother river of Chinese.

Gansu Provincial Museum offers you an intimate look into the history, culture and development of the Silk Road and Gansu area.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Waterwhell GardenWaterwhell Garden

Appreciate the stone sculptures in Bingling Temple in the caves. Near the caves are green hills, clear water, strangely shaped stones and steep cliffs, which add more beauty to this artistic site.

After that, you will be transferred to Xiahe.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Tianzhu International Hotel Xiahe
Bingling TempleBingling Temple

Relax yourself and wander on Sangke Prairie and immerse yourself into the Buddhist atmosphere at Labrang Monastery. Sangke Prairie enjoys a good reputation in the northwestern Tibetan area because it has excellent pastures and important Buddhist ceremonies.

Afterwards, have a close contact with the locals by visiting a local family, who are quite hospitable. Return to Lanzhou after the tour.

Note: Every year from July to September when the grass grows well enough, tents are set up by the locals for entertaining visitors with unique Tibetan snacks such as yak-butter tea, stuffed steamed buns, mutton, and Zanba (a traditional Tibetan staple food made of roasted highland barley flour).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Crowne Plaza Lanzhou, Sunshine Plaza Hotel
Sangke PrairieSangke Prairie

After breakfast, drive to Wuwei, where you will start from Confucian Temple, a place to worship Confucius, a great philosopher and educator of ancient China.

Continue to explore Lei Platform Scenic Area, a large brick tomb in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. Although it has been robbed for many times, there are still many remains. It is a "rich underground museum".

A 3 hours’ private transfer will take you to Zhangye after the tour in Wuwei.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Jinyang International Hotel
Confucian TempleConfucian Temple

Zhangye Bell & Drum Tower is the largest existing drum tower in Hexi Corridor. It was built in imitation of Xi 'an Bell Tower and became a landmark building that embodied the wisdom of the ancient working people.

Go on visiting Grand Buddha Temple, a landmark of Zhangye. There are many ancient buildings, towering ancient trees and green grass in the temple area.

In the late afternoon, visit Danxia Landscape, the only area combining Danxia landform with colorful hilly landscape in China. You will be surprised by the nature that it creates such a masterpiece.

Note: The best time to see the Danxia landform is after the rain, which makes the color more brilliant and bright.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Bell & Drum TowerBell & Drum Tower

Mati Temple is 65 kilometers to Zhangye city, which is a tourist area integrating grotto art, Qilian Mountain scenery and Yugur folk customs. In addition to strange peaks and caves, experiencing a unique lifestyle and characteristic culture will also give you a pleasant feeling.

Go directly to the train station after lunch. The Jiayuguan guide will wait for you with a warm smile at the exit and escort you to the hotel for the check-in.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Jiayuguan Hotel, Holiday Plaza Hotel Jiayuguan
Mati TempleMati Temple

After a sound sleep, you will be taken to Jiayuguan (about 3 hours). You must have heard or even visited the world famous Great Wall in China. Well, Jiayuguan Pass used to be the starting point of the ancient Great Wall built during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). First Fire Tower of the Great Wall is a mound of yellow loess which is believed to the remaining ruin of a watching tower of ancient Great Wall.

Take the private transfer to Dunhuang afterwards.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Grand Soluxe Hotel Dunhuang, Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel
The Jiayuguan PassThe Jiayuguan Pass

Yumen (Jade of Gate) Pass got its name because the jade from Hotan (now Xinjiang region) was transported through this pass to central China. Admire the great walk of the ancient Chinese, Great Wall of Han Dynasty. With a total length of over 10,000 kilometers, it was the longest version of the Great Wall ever.

Continue to Western Thousand-Buddhas Cave, along the bank of Danghe River, where you could see the beautiful frescos, similar to those in Mogao Grottoes.

In China, there are many scenic spots called ‘Singing Sand Mountain’, among which Dunhuang Singing Sand Mountain is the most representative because of its long history and culture as well as its scenic features. Here you could try the camel riding and see the amazing Crescent Spring.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Yumen PassYumen Pass

Mogao Grottoes is a treasure-trove of Buddhist art. It includes 492 caves on the natural cliff body, which still contain colorful sculptures and murals. Gain an –in-depth understanding of Dunhuang even Gansu culture and history with the explanation of the guide at Dunhuang Museum.

Drive about 2 hours to the train station in Liuyuan and take the bullet train to Turpan.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown
The Mogao GrottoesThe Mogao Grottoes

Jiaohe in Chinese means two rivers join together. The Jiaohe Ruins are what's left of the world's 'largest, oldest, and best-preserved city of raw-earth buildings'.

Suleiman Minaret, also known as Emin Pagoda, is a novel and unique tower - shaped Islamic architecture. It was named so as it was built by Suleiman, the son of The Governor of Emin. Explore one of the three major construction projects in ancient China, The Karez Wells, which is as famous as the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. It is a kind of understand irrigation system.

Near lunch time, get a close contact with the locals by visiting a local Uyghur family and learning to cook Xinjiang dishes with the guidance of the hots. After enjoy the lunch cooked on your own, you may pick grapes at the local family if it is the harvest season. If you do not want to stay in the hotel before going to bed, you can visit the night market there by the local carriage.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
The Ruins of the Ancient City of JiaoheThe Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe

After a sound sleep and breakfast, have a close observation of the traditional life of local people at Maza Village, a small Muslim community inhabiting around one hundred families. Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is the cave with the most grottoes and the richest murals in Turpan.

On the way to Urumqi, you will pass through the Flaming Mountain, the hottest place in China.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Hilton Urumqi Hotel, Excemon Xinjiang Yilite Hotel
Tuyugou CanyonTuyugou Canyon

Museum is a good place to gain a comprehensive understanding of the area. Therefore, Xinjiang Museum is a ‘must-see’. There are lots of interesting ancient artifacts from the region including life-like statues, which really give a sense of what people look and do in the areas surrounding Urumqi. Get really close to the local life at Erdaoqiao Market and have a relaxing walk at Red Hill Park. Red Hill Park, with its beautiful environment, strong cultural atmosphere, and various landscapes combined with archaized architecture and modern civilization, exciting amusement facilities, has won the care and love of Urumqi citizens for several generations.

Nang is a kind of crusty pancake in Xinjiang. Here you could find many local Nang shops. Walk in a Nang shop, see how the owner makes it and talk with them to gain a better understanding of their life and culture.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Erdaoqiao MarketErdaoqiao Market

Take a morning tour to Heavenly Lake, which is surrounded by snowy mountains. A big boat cruise will offer you the chance to get close to the crystal water.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Heavenly LakeHeavenly Lake

After breakfast, your private guide and driver will take you to the airport for your departure.

  • Meals: Breakfast,

Price Includes

  • In-country transportationas noted in the itinerary.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses as noted in the itinerary.
  • Luxury or boutique hotels centrally located.
  • Meals in local restaurants as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water.
  • Your own English-speaking guide service.
  • Your own chauffeur and vehicle service.

Price Excludes

  • International transportation.
  • Chinese tourist visa. (which enquired for most foreign passport holders)
  • Travel and medical insurance.
  • Meals, snacks, alcohol, etc. apart from those included in the itinerary.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Sights, excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to guide and driver.


This tour is tailor-made and we can tailor to meet your reqeusts. Your personal travel consultant will contact you within 24 working hours!


CHINA OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2019 We researched several companies and studied reviews on Trip Adviser before contacting who did a very China Culture Tour with an initial query. Right from the outset Grace who owns the company was excellent. She emailed detailed with pictures information and a suggested…read more details

Karen from US

Ready to Create a Unique Dream Travel?

Create My Vacation