18 Days Silk Road UNESCO World Heritage Discovery Tour: from Chang’ an to Tianshan Corridor including Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang

This 18 days Silk Road heritage tour offers you the chance to see many heritage sites along the Silk Road. You will see marvelous landscapes, the extraordinary culture, and have authentic interaction with the locals. 

Trip Highlights

  • Starting point of Silk Road in Xian
  • Uncover the mystery of Buddhism culture in Gansu
  • Get to know how to make Nang in Xinjiang
  • Dunhuang Mogao Caves — see the unique Buddhism
  • Ancient town of Kashgar

Customizable Tour Itinerary

After landing and getting to the arrival hall, you will see our guide with warm smile and your name sign. A comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle with experienced driver will transfer you to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own.

Note: we can customize this tour for you including your entry destination and tours.

Meals: No meal, advice freely available

  • Hotel: Wyndham Grand Xian South or Sofitel Legend
Wyndham Grand Xian SouthWyndham Grand Xian South
Wyndham Grand Xian SouthWyndham Grand Xian South

Wake up and be ready to feel the historical and cultural atmosphere of this city. After breakfast, drive about an hour from the city to meet the mysterious Terra-Cotta Warriors, which you may have seen on newspaper, on television and books many times. Listen to the explanation of the guide and discover why and how they were made, how they were preserved?

Followed by is the small clay warriors making in a local cave dwelling, which allows you to have a better understanding of the Terra-Cotta Warriors.

After lunch, you will be transferred back to the city area and continue your exploration. Search for some afternoon snack in the bustling Muslim Street before entering the Gao’s Family Courtyard for the shadow play. The guide will explain the plot for you.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at a local restaurant with a la carte menu

Feature Dinner option: Defachang Dumpling Restaurant, Lao Sun Jia Muslim Restaurant, First Noodle under the Sun

Optional evening activity: Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show with Dumpling Banquet

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Terra Cotta Warriors Terra Cotta Warriors
Muslim StreetMuslim Street
Shadow PlayShadow Play

Today’s tour is leisurely arranged. In the morning, enjoy the view of different areas in Xi’an by going on top of the ancient City Wall. Riding a bike on this ancient defence system is also an amazing experience.

Coming down from the city wall, you will move to a local family, who will teach you how to make Chinese dumplings and also tell you some interesting stories about their life. Enjoy a lunch in the local family with the host and get to know something about Chinese eating culture.

Later in the afternoon, you will visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda, which is the architectural heritage of Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty. A Chinese Calligraphy Learning in Small Wild Goose Pagoda Temple closes the day. With the guidance of the teacher, you will feel the charm of Chinese calligraphy and even the Chinese culture.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch in the local family

Note: golf car or bike riding is available with extra fee on the Xi’an City Wall. You can choose based on your preference.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
City WallCity Wall
Dumpling MakingDumpling Making
Chinese calligraphyChinese calligraphy

Today is the departure day. Pack your luggage along with the wonderful memories of Xi’an. Take our private transfer with the guide to the airport. Farewell.

When arriving at Lanzhou, transferred to your hotel and visit the sights around the Yellow River.

Meals: Breakfast

  • Hotel: Wanda Vista Lanzhou
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
White PagodaWhite Pagoda
Lanzhou CityLanzhou City

Uncover the mysterious mask of Buddhism culture in western China by visiting Bingling Temple. Here you could see the stone sculptures and time-honored murals. Boat cruise is available here and offers you a great view on Yellow River.

Note: Bingling Temple is extremely remote. The road to the monastery is not accessible, so traveler can only get here during summer and fall by boat via the Liujiaxia Reservoir. However, it is not available for the rest of the year.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Bingling TempleBingling Temple
Bingling TempleBingling Temple

White Pagoda Hill Park got its name from the white pagoda in it. The elephant skin drum, bronze bell and Chinese redbud tree (though the tree died due to lack of water) are 3 treasures in the park. Like the wheel of an ancient chariot, the waterwheels in the Waterwheel Garden is the oldest irrigation tool along the Yellow River.

Located at the foot of White Pagoda Hill and the middle of Binhe Road in Lanzhou, Zhongshan Iron Bridge was constructed in 1907 and became the first iron bridge over the Yellow River.

End the Gansu tour with the visit of Gansu Provincial Museum, which is a large-scale comprehensive museum in Gansu Province with numerous collections of color-painted potteries of Neolithic Age and treasures of ancient grottoes, precious linen and silk fabrics, books, wooden and bronze vessels, a great many bamboo slips for writing from the Han Dynasty, frescos and so many other items.

After the tour and lunch, you will be transferred to the train station and go to Zhangye by bullet train.

  • Hotel: Holiday Inn Express
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Gansu Provincial MuseumGansu Provincial Museum

Binggou Danxia Geopark is a photographer’s paradise. Different from the colored mountain, Binggou Danxia is famous for its “precipitousness and peculiarity” and regarded as one of the "world's top ten geographical wonders".

In the afternoon, you will head to Zhangye Danxia Landscape, a masterpiece of nature and like an overturned palette from heaven. Be ready with your camera and create your own masterpiece.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Zhangye Danxia LandscapeZhangye Danxia Landscape

Morning tour to the Grand Buddha Temple, the only well-preserved temple from the Western Xia Dynasty. The highlight of this temple is the Nirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha, China's largest indoor reclining Buddha.

Visit one more attraction, Bell & Drum Tower before leaving Zhangye. It is the biggest drum tower in the Hexi Corridor of the Silk Road district.

Go to the train station after finishing the tour. The guide will take care of the check-in and pick-up.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Grand BuddhaGrand Buddha
Bell & Drum TowerBell & Drum Tower

Jiayuguan Pass used to be the starting point of the ancient Great Wall built during Ming Dynasty. The adjacent Great Wall Museum is full of artifacts tracing the history of the world's longest wall. The Suspended Wall is part of the Great Wall, which was built on a ridge with a gradient of 45 degrees and looked as if it should fall down from the side of the mountain range.

The First Fire Tower of the Great Wall is an indispensable part of the defense system of the Jiayuguan Great Wall and is known as the First and Most Vital Fire Tower under Heaven.

Take the bullet train to Dunhuang after the tour.

  • Hotel: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Jiayuguan PassJiayuguan Pass
Great WallGreat Wall

Yumen Pass used to protect and ensure the safety and smooth travels for passing caravans, and visitors in and out of China via ancient Silk Road. Now it is just a mud brick gate and an ancient castle with many historical stories.

Continue your tour to Great Wall of Han Dynasty, which was built to defend the invasion of Xiongnu (the Mongol Empire of the time).

Go admire the charm of the painted sculpture and murals in Thousand-Buddhas Cave and run or go for sand skiing and ride a camel at the Singing Sand Mountains. Crescent Spring at this area is in a natural lake in the desert with the shape of half-moon, hence the name.

Note: There is not too much to see at Yumen Pass and Great Wall of Han Dynasty. However, knowing the history and stories about them with the guide’s explanation will be interesting.

  • Hotel: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Han Great WallHan Great Wall
Singing Sand MountainsSinging Sand Mountains
Crescent SpringCrescent Spring
Thousand-Buddhas CaveThousand-Buddhas Cave
Yumen PassYumen Pass

The Mogao Grottoes, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site in the city of Dunhuang, is a treasure house of Buddhist art. Despite years of erosion, the murals are still brightly colored, with clear lines. Gain some more information about Dunhuang and the ancient Silk Road by visiting Dunhuang Museum, which houses more than 10000 Chinese and Tibetan items.

You will be taken to Liuyuan train station for the train to Turpan after lunch, which is about 2 hours’ drive. The Turpan guide will wait for you at the exit of the train station.

  • Hotel: The best local accommodation
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Mogao GrottoMogao Grotto
Mogao GrottoMogao Grotto
Mogao GrottoMogao Grotto

‘Jiaohe’ refers to the two rivers that join together in the southern part of the town. The Ruins of the Ancient City of Jiaohe is the largest, oldest and best preserved raw earth building city in the world and is also the most complete urban relic preserved in China for more than two thousand years.

Be amazed by Karez Well, the crystallization of wisdom of the ancients. It is a special irrigation system in desert area, which is widely used in Turpan area of Xinjiang, China.

Step in a local Uyghur family, talk with the locals and learn to cook some Xinjiang dishes with the host. Enjoy the lunch cooked by your own hands. If you travel around the end of August and beginning of September, you will have the chance to pick the sweet and juicy grape in the local family.

If the day tour is not enough, you may take a local carriage and visit the local night market, where you will experience the local life.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Ancient City of JiaoheAncient City of Jiaohe
Karez WellKarez Well

Astana Tombs are a series of underground tombs located outside Turpan, with thousands of ancient Silk Road artifacts, like mummies.

Follow on is the tour to the most valuable Buddhist cave in Turpan, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves and then go to Tuyugou Canyon and Maza Village, which retains many Muslim features with Islamic green-topped mosques towering above the adobe houses.

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

  • Hotel: The best local accommodation in Urumqi
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Astana TombsAstana Tombs
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha CavesBezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
Tuyugou Canyon and Maza VillageTuyugou Canyon and Maza Village

Heavenly Lake is a natural scenic spot with high mountain lake as the center. The surrounding snow-capped peaks are magnificent. Appreciate the beauty of the Heavenly Lake in a different way by taking a relaxing boat cruise.

After that, go gain some knowledge of Xinjiang history, culture and trade by visiting Xinjiang Museum.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Heavenly LakeHeavenly Lake
Xinjiang MuseumXinjiang Museum

Bazaar means a fair or a market in Xinjiang area. In Xinjiang, the most famous Bazaar should be Erdaoqiao Bazaar, a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and many antique items. Besides, you can also see grand ethnic songs and dances performances, and the folk street furnished with a miniature landscape of Xinjiang's attractions. 

Continue to visit a Nang local shop and unveil the secret of making this special crusty pancake. It is a great chance to know the local life and culture by chatting with the shop owner. Have the whole city of Urumqi before your eyes on the top of Red Hill Park.

You will be taken to the airport in Urumqi after the tour. Next stop is Kashgar.

  • Hotel: The best local accommodation
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Local PankakeLocal Pankake
Erdaoqiao BazaarErdaoqiao Bazaar

Id Kah Mosque is the biggest mosque in China with strong ethnic style and religious features. You can see many worshippers coming here to pray every day. Next you will visit Abakh Khoja Tomb, a typical Islamic ancient building complex and mausoleum Muslim holiness.

In the afternoon, stroll at Kashgar Old Town and visit a local smithy or copper-smith. If you wish to buy the bracelet or ring, you are allowed to participate in the making process.

  • Hotel: The best local accommodation in Kashgar
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Id Kah MosqueId Kah Mosque
Kashgar Old TownKashgar Old Town

In the morning, go visit the bazaar in Kashgar, where you could find numerous commodities, like dried fruit and delicacies, clothes, shoes, leather, textiles, rugs and carpets as well as scarves, souvenirs and other goods.

Refresh yourself by drinking a tea in the 100 Years Old Teahouse. Some snacks like Nang or nut are also served. Lake Karakuli is not outstanding itself. However, with the surrounding mountains, such as Mount Muztagata and Kongur Shan, green grass and livestock form reflections in the mirror-like water, it creates a fair and charming picture.

Close the day with a Kirgiz ethnic minority family visit and get to know the local nomadic tribes.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Sunday BazaarSunday Bazaar

The guide will meet you at the hotel lobby at the confirmed time and take you to the airport. Be ready to go to your next destination, Beijing/Xian/Shanghai/Chengdu/Hong Kong etc that we can customize for you.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Lake KarakuliLake Karakuli

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

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