1. Wonderful religious sites, Buddhist art and architectures - Majishan Grottoes, Labrang Monster, Wutun Monastery, Qutan Temple and Mogao Grottoes.
2. Cultural relics of Great Wall of China.
3. Diverse natural scenery from grassland, to Danxia Landforms, Gorge view and Desert.
4. Mixed culture of different ethnics, the west and east that progress from the trading period.
Best travel season
Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Our English-speaking guide will greet you at airport according to your landing time. Look for a sign of your name out of the luggage claim area (if not specific). Then head for the site of Terracotta Army on the suburb in east of Xian city. The numerous life-size terracotta warriors were buried as guardians for the tomb of China’s first Emperor.
Xian, eastern terminus of ancient Silk Road, has a rich past related to China’s most prosperous ancient periods. The city remains many of the cultural relics and reveals its former significance in many ways. For first timers, it is suggested to spend some more time in Xian.
Today, we take morning train westwards for nearly two hours to Tianshui, visit some important temples and grottoes, then go on a 1.5 hours train ride to Lanzhou to stay overnight.
The highlight of the city is Maijishan Cave, which is one of the most beautiful and most famous caves in China. This 1600-year old cave has more than 7000 clay sculptures, carved stone statues, and drawing in the various caves on the cliffside.
Afternoon visit will be a Taoist temple of Yuquan, located in the hill of Tianjing, and the oldest and largest Fuxi temple in China.
Take late afternoon train to Lanzhou and stay overnight.
Today we move southwards to Xiahe and visit Bingling Temple en route. The temple was built on the cliffside on Mount Jishi, 75km south from Lanzhou, on a very strategic point of the south Silk Road. Bingling Temple means “hundred thousand Buddha” in Tibetan Language, and still has 183 caves including 694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures, and 900 sqm frescoes. When Liujiaxia Reservoir was set up in 1970th, visit of Bingling Temple requires a boat journey from the dam site through the Gorge which offers beautiful views of the Danxia Landscapes.
In the afternoon, go further south to Xiahe, a community major for Tibetan ethnic groups. Stay overnight in the hotels in Xiahe town.
We will spend a whole day discovering the beautiful and quaint Xiahe Town including sites of Labrang Monastery, Gongtang Monastery and Sangke Grassland.
Founded in 1709, Labrang Monastery is the most important monastery outside of Tibet, containing 18 halls, six institutes, a golden stupa, and a sutra debate area. All the buildings are colorful and well decorated both inside and outside. It is without doubt a remarkable place to visit in west China. There are ceremonies and activities like Buddha-unfolding, sutra enchanting, praying and sutra debates in January and June.
To the southwest corner of Labrang Monastery is Gongtang Pagoda, where you can make way up the stairs to the rooftop and enjoy nice view over the beautiful architectures with mountains as backdrop.
Sangke Grassland is a natural meadow for Tibetan people. Here you can pay family visit and enjoy horse-riding (optional).
Tongren is the homeland of Regong arts which has great influence in Tibetan world. The town sits on the edge of Tibetan plateau in Qinghai Province. It is about 3-hour drive journey from Xiahe to Tong ren. On arrival, visit Longwu Monastery and Wutun Monastery.
Wutun Monastery consists of the "lower" and "upper" monastery, which is widely known in Tibetan world, particularly its large collection of Century-old Thanka paintings. The monastery is elaborately decorated with bright painted wood carvings. Over 90 monks live in the monastery and 22 of them are artists continuing the Thangka tradition.
Longwu Monastery is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Qinghai, housing some very precious Thangka paintings, statues and frescoes.
We follow the footprints of Silk Road northwest to Zhangye today by bullet train from Xining. There will be a 3-hour drive journey to arrive at hour first stop – Qutan Temple. It is best preserved Tibetan monastery built in Ming Dynasty, some 600 hundred years ago. The architectures, frescoes, and statues are very impressive. It is particularly famous for the Hua’er Festival, a music tradition shared by 9 different ethnic groups in the region.
After the visit, drive to Xining railway station for train ride to Zhangye and arrive two hours later.
Located in the center of the Hexi corridor, Zhangye was an important point on the ancient Silk Road. The natural landmark in the region is Danxia landforms at Pingshanhu valley, 25km from center of Zhangye city. The cultural relic that should not be missed is Zhangye Giant Buddha, aged over 900 years and being the largest of its kind.
Enjoy more of the natural wonders that Zhangye offers. We see two different Danxia parks, Danxia National Park (30 km west of Zhangye) and Binggou Danxia Park (50km west of Zhangye). Then take afternoon train to Jiayuguan.
Jiayuguan once was a strategic point guarding the western boundary of China. Morning visit include the famous Jiayuguan Pass and Suspended Great Wall. Continue a drive journey to Dunhuang afterwards.
The Jiayuguan Pass, a World Heritage Site in China, was built in 1372. It is the western end of the Great Wall and important military defense of Ming dynasty.
The Suspended Great Wall is part of the Great Wall of China, located 11 km northwest of Jiayuguan city and 7 km north of Jiayuguan Pass. It once was the first frontier in west of China. The wall is mostly constructed of mud and not very tall or thick, going up the mountain at a 45-degree angle. Though only 750 meters of the wall survived over centuries, it offers impressive view to all visitors.
Although you have seen several caves and temples along the way of Silk Road, Dunghuang Mogao Grottoes will still make you “wow”. Mogao Grottoes ranks first of the four famous grottoes in China. The caves contain the largest and the richest Buddhist art in the world reflecting the political and social situations from 4th to the 14th century in Chinese history. The murals, sculptures, and Buddha statues are just so beautiful.
We will also step into the Gobi Desert to see the miracles of nature – Moon Crescent Lake and Singing Sand Dunes. Enjoy the desert activities optionally.
Enjoy free time until departing for the airport/train station of Dunhuang. From Dunhuang, you can extend your tour further west along the Silk Road to Urumqi, Karshgar and onto middle east, or exit China via other major port like Urumqi, Lanzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou.
All sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary.
Inter-city transport: high-speed train from Beijing to Xian, flight from Xian to Guilin, Guilin to Shanghai (airport tax is included).
Ground transfers with air-conditioned vehicle (car, minibus or coach depending on the size of your group).
13 Lunches at local restaurants with a cup of soft drink per meal.
14 nights hotel accommodations with breakfast (based on double occupancy).
Local English-speaking guide accompany you throughout each city.
Accident insurance during your travel in China.
Flight to and from China
Tips to driver and tour guide
Hotel choices are many in the big cities of Xian and Lanzhou, but much less in Jiayuguan, Zhangye and Dunhuang, especially in Xiahe and Tongren town. We will help you to choose the best depending on your budget. Below is the recommending list in each city.
Xian: Gentlemen International Hotel 3*, Mercure Xi'an Downtown4*, Days Hotel & Suites Xinxing 5* (or similar)
Lanzhou: Amdo Shangbala Hotel 3*, Lanzhou Legend Hotel4*, Sunshine Plaza5* (or similar)
Xiahe: Baoma Hotel 3*, Xiahe Labrang Golden Wheel Hotel4* (or similar)
Tongren: Xiangyun Quality Hotel3*(or similar)
Zhangye: Peppers Hotel Zhangye Danma 3*, Zhangye Dinghe International Hotel 4*, Huachen International Hotel4*(or similar)
Jiayuguan: Jiayuguan Guotai Hotel3*, Jianyuguan Hotel 4*, Holidays Plaza Hotel5*(or similar)
Dunhuang: Da Sheng Holiday Hotel 3*, Dunhuang Legend Hotel4*, Grand Soluxe Hotel Dunhuang5*(or similar)
Private tour, just your party only.
No set date, you set the date your tour begins and ends (if possible, avoid the two crowded public holidays - National Day and Chinese New Year).
Follow this well-designed sample tour, or request a tailor make based on your own preferences on hotels, travel pace, interests of sights, means of transport, etc.
We begin with moderate hotels and adjust to your request.
A little deposit to confirm the tour.
Continuous customer support until you fly home.
15 days before commencement of services: 100% refund.
7 to 14 days before commencement of services: charge 10% of the tour price.
2 to 6 days before commencement of services: charge 50% of the tour price.
Within 2 days of commencement of services or no-show travelers: charge 100% of the tour price.
After the trip has commenced, we are unable to refund any amount for unused services due to your willingness, early departure, late arrival, or missed days on tours.
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