Travelling on the fabled Silk Road to the westernmost fringes of the empire through tiny, long-forgotten Buddhist kingdoms, is one of China's best tours, combining adventure and legend.

Tour Map

The Silk Road bg

Yingxi Zhang

travel specialist for silk road
“Travel to the Taklamakan Desert, the Karakoram Highway and Kashgar”

Travel along the Silk Road, criss-crossed ancient caravan trails that linked Rome and Constantinople, Greece, Persia, India and China for thousands of years - along them flowed not only goods but new religions, culture and inventions.

Weather on this Tour

  • Beijing

  • Xian

22 - day Silk Road tour - Beijing (1 night), Urumqi (2 nights), Kashgar (2 nights), Hotan (2 nights), Aksu (1 night), Kuqa (2 nights), Korla (1 night), Turpan (1 night), overnight train (1 night), Dunhuang (1 night), overnight train, Xiahe (2 nights), Xi'an (2 nights) and Beijing (1 night).

Image Gallery

The Silk Road

  • Labrang Monastery, Xiahe

    Xiahe

  • Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang

    Mogao Grottoes

  • Hotan on the Silk Road

    Hotan

  • Kashgar's Sunday bazaar

    Kashgar

  • Yurt near Kashgar

    nomadic yurt

Xiahe

Xiahe

China Tour Full Itinerary

Key: B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

Day 1

London/Beijing

Begin your unique holiday by making your own way to London Heathrow for an overnight flight to Beijing with Air China.

Day 2

Beijing

On arrival in Beijing transfer to the 3*Red Wall Hotel for an overnight stay.   This evening take a stroll through Tiananmen Square to see Mao’s Mausoleum and the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Welcome dinner.  D

Day 3

Urumqi

Morning free at leisure. Fly to Urumqi, an important staging post on the old Silk Road, surrounded by rich pastures. Stay two nights at the 4*Bingtuan Grand Hotel.  BLD

Day 4

Urumqi 

Step into another culture at the Xinjiang Museum, that of the Muslim Uyghurs of Xinjiang province, learn about their costumes, art and household artefacts – bronzes, ironwork, woodcarvings, silk of course, and weapons – and also viewing the museum’s collection of mummies, Bronze Age caucasians, perhaps Celts, early Silk Road travellers. Later climb Red Hill for panoramic views of Urumqi. BL

Day 5

Kashgar

Fly across desert and mountain to the oasis town of Kashgar to attend Kashgar’s Sunday Bazaar, for countless centuries the most important market in Central Asia, and where Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Kyrghiz, Uzbeks, Tatars and Mongols from far and wide still come to haggle for provisions, household goods, hats and livestock. Explore the characterful old quarter, the Tomb of the Fragrant Lady and Id Kad Mosque, and visit a local Uyghur family in their home. Stay two nights at the 3*Qinibagh Hotel. BLD

Day 6

Kashgar

A dramatic drive along the famous Kamakoram Highway which follows one of the paths of the Silk Road to Pakistan, but today we go as far as Karakul Lake, lying in a stunning setting with snow-capped mountains all around. BLD

Day 7

Hotan

A long drive skirting the Taklamakan Desert to Hotan, a major crossroads and staging post of the southern Silk Road, with an en-route visit to Yarkand, capital of an ancient Uyghur kingdom, to see the 16th century Ammanisha Tomb and the Golden Graveyard. Stay two nights at the 3*Hotan Hotel.  BLD

Day 8

Hotan

Hotan is famous for its rare ‘sheep fat’ white jade – at White Jade River see if you can pick out any of this highly prized and increasingly rare treasure from the riverbed, washed down from the mountain and worn smooth and round. Visit Hotan Museum, and see the ruins of Malikwat, the capital of the pre-Islamic, Buddhist Yutian kingdom. BLD

Day 9

Aksu

Head into ‘the abandoned place’, the fierce Taklamakan Desert, a vast inland ‘sea of death’ of shifting sands that could swallow camel caravans and entire settlements, and which used to take 40 days to cross – on the new road it takes less than eight hours. Stay overnight at the 4*Hongfu Hotel.  BL

Day 10

Kuqa 

Continue towards Kuqa to stay two nights at the 3*Kuqa Hotel. Also visit the Thousand-Buddha Caves at Kizil, where the almost Indian and Persian-style murals depict not only the Buddha but everyday life of the locals before the region became Muslim – farming, hunting, and playing the music that was famous throughout Central Asia.  BLD

Day 11

Kuqa

See the spectacularly-located ruins of the great 1st century Buddhist temple at Subashi, and Kuqa Mosque that can hold 3,000 worshippers, built in the 20th century in a typical Uyghur style.  BLD

Day 12

Korla

Morning drive to Korla, an oasis town blessed with abundant water and fertile farmland. Admire the Iron Fortress at the entrance to a dangerous mountain pass, and Lotus Lake, home to many waterbirds. Stay overnight at the 3*Bazhou Hotel. BLD

Day 13

Turpan

Head to Turpan’s Flaming Mountains to see Gaochang Fortress, destroyed by the Mongols, the underground Astana Tombs and the Bezeklik Buddha Caves. Stay overnight at the 4*Huozhou Hotel.  BLD

Day 14

Turpan, Overnight Train

2,000 years ago the locals built an ingenious irrigation system of wells and underground channels that is still used today to grow the vines and fruit for which the town is famous. See this system at work, and also visit the ruins of Jiaohe and the elegant Emin Minaret, the highest in China. Take the overnight train to Liuyuan in a four-berth soft-sleeper compartment.  BLD

Day 15

Dunhuang

From Liuyuan drive to Dunhuang at the western end of the Great Wall. Visit the City Museum’s relics from all along the Silk Road, and stay overnight at the 4*Dunhuang Hotel.  BLD

Day 16

Dunhuang, Overnight Train

Admire the Mogao Grottoes, Buddhist cave temples used for a thousand years and decorated with sculptures and murals. Walk in the sand dunes at Mingshan Mountain to hear the ‘singing sands’ and see Crescent Moon Lake. Overnight train to Lanzhou.  BLD

Day 17

Xiahe

From Lanzhou drive to Liujiaxia Reservoir on the Yellow River and take a ferry over to Bingling Temple to see the splendid but lesser-known (and therefore better-preserved) cave temples. Drive to Xiahe, known as ‘little Tibet’, and stay two nights at the 4*Labrang Legend Hotel. BLD

Day 18

Xiahe

Admire Labrang Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery outside Tibet, and tour the surrounding grasslands where nomads still tend their flocks, and villages where life proceeds pretty much as it always has done. BLD

Day 19

Xian

Return by road to Lanzhou and fly to Xian, the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and old capital of China. Stay two nights at the 4*Le Garden Hotel.  BL

Day 20

Xian

Admire the 7,000 soldiers of the Terracotta Army, their horses, chariots and weapons that were made to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. Climb the massive city walls, and tonight enjoy the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance show and dinner. BLD

Day 21

Xian

Enjoy your free time in Xi'an. B

Day 22

Xi'an/Beijing / London Heathrow

Fly from Xi'an to Beijing and transfer your flight to London Heathrow Airport. B

 

Key:

B=Breakfast    L=Lunch    D=Dinner

Tour Departure Dates - The Silk Road

  • 1 Jun 2017£4695
  • 7 Sep 2017£4795
  • 12 Oct 2017£4795

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Holiday Extension

Before you travel along the Silk Road, fly out to Beijing early for an extra two nights at the 3-star Red Wall Hotel with a superb sightseeing tour of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube Olympic sites, the quaint quarter around Houhai Lake and the contemporary artists’ galleries and workshop of Factory 798 in an industrial suburb.

Prices From:

£ 125 per person twin shared.

Tailor-make this China Tour

If you prefer to travel along the Silk Road in a private group or to go at your own pace spending more time in one particular city perhaps, our tailor made tours are the perfect answer. Travel with your own personal chauffeur and English-speaking guide, available for any group size. Just call and ask our tailor made team to help you create your own Silk Road tour.

Prices From:

£ 95 per person twin shared.

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