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12 Days Silk Road Tour from Beijing

Beijing - Xian - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi

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Tour Code: TCT-CTBJ-12B
Tour Type: Private Tour with private tour guides & vehicles

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
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Beijing is the most popular international arrival city. You can easily start your Silk Road journey after a relaxing Beijing tour. This trip is the most classic itinerary to follow the ancient steps of Silk Road. During this tour, you will explore most of the highlights of Silk Road
  • Day 1Airport pickup and escorted to hotel
  • Day 2Visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, evening Kungfu Show
  • Day 3Great Wall, Changling Tomb, Sacred Road, Peking Roast Duck Dinner
  • Day 4Visit Temple of Heaven, take bullet train to Xian
  • Day 5Visit Terra-Cotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall
  • Day 6Visit Xian Provincial Museum, Muslim Quarter. Fly to Dunhuang
  • Day 7Visit Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake. Overnight train to Turpan
  • Day 8Pickup from train station and check in hotel. Visit Karez System, Jiaohe Ancient City, Emin Minaret
  • Day 9Visit Flaming Mountains, Grape Valley, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
  • Day 10Visit Red Hill, Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, Xinjiang Regional Museum
  • Day 11Visit Tianchi Lake
  • Day 12Transfer to airport for flight to next city
12 Days Silk Road Tour from Beijing  Map
Day 1Beijing Arrival
Transfer Via: Flight arranged by you

Highlights: Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China! Your local guide will escort you to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is free for you to explore the vast metropolis on your own.

Accommodations: Overnight in Beijing
    Day 2Beijing (B,L)

    Highlights: Today you will visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace. Evening is a Kungfu Show for you to learn Chinese martial art culture. 

    Tian'anmen Square: Literally means Gate of Heavenly Peace, is great cultural significance as several important events of Chinese history happened here. With 440,000 m² - 880 m by 500 m, the Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the world . 

    Forbidden City: As the seat of Imperial power, the Forbidden City was built between 1406 and 1420 by the 3rd Emperor of Ming Dynasty, it is also known as the Imperial Palace Museum. Being ruined and renovated for many time, what you can see today is the buildings date from the 1700’s and onwards. The complex is totally 183 acres, there are total 9999.5 rooms in the Museum, some of them are not open for visitors yet. 

    Summer Palace: As the largest and best preserved imperial garden, the Summer Palace is also known as the Royal Garden Museum. It was used by royal family for 800 years, in 19th century, the famous Empress Dowager Cixi ordered massive renovations and restore by using the funds of Chinese navy. The garden is totally 293 hectares, of which the water takes 220 hectares, the highlights are Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. 

    Kungfu Show: Which a great show telling a story of Chin Yu entering the monastery and making his way through life to finally becoming the Abbott. The show are with many demonstrations of Kungfu and various costumes. The show lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes, visitors are not allowed to take photos or videos, but DVD of the show are available to be purchased.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Beijing
    • tiananmen square

      tiananmen square

    • forbidden city

      forbidden city

    Day 3Beijing (B,L,D)

    Highlights: This morning tour will take you to size up the world-famous Great Wall (Mutianyu section which is less crowded, round-way cable car fee is INCLUDED), the key symbol of China. Flexible visiting time allows you to enjoy a lifetime trekking trip (1-2 hours' hiking). On the way to the Great Wall, you may have a distant view of the Olympic sites--Brid's Nest and Water Cube. Afterwards is a visit to the Changling Tomb and Sacred Road. In the evening, try the flavorful dish of Peking Roast Duck Dinner.

    Great Wall of Mutianyu section: In the northern part of Huairou County some 70 kilometers north-east of Beijing City, the Mutianyu (Mu Tian Yu) section of the Great Wall stretches its way for over 2 kilometers. This section is well preserved and is a good alternative for visitors who would like to avoid crowds along the highly popular Badaling (Ba Da Ling) section during holiday and peak seasons.

    Bird's Nest:  Which is also known as the National Stadium, due to its iconic design was the key competition venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games. The opening and closing ceremonies of the two Games have taken place here, together with the football, and track and field competitions. The stadium is the world's largest steel structure

    Water Cube: which is also called the National Aquatics Centre, is one of the dramatic and amazing venues to host Beijing Olympics in 2008. This is the first building of its kind in China and it is also an economical and water-saving creation. The structural design is based on the natural formation of soap bubbles which give a random, organic appearance and helping to link the structure to its aquatic function.The swimming pool is deeper than most Olympic swimming pools, allowing swimming at faster speeds, while the gutters to the side of the pool disperse wave energy.  A consequence of this was the breaking of 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics.

    Sacred Road: Affiliated with the Ming Tombs, the Sacred Road was originally built to lead to the Changling mausoleum. It was considered to be the road leading to heaven. Chinese emperors were known as the Son of Heaven. During their reign they often passed through the sacred road to the sacrificial altar in order to converse with heaven. After their death, the funeral procession also took the path through the Sacred Road as a symbol of the passed emperor 's journey to heaven in the afterlife.

    Changling Tomb: Fifty kilometers northwest from Beijing City lies the Ming Tombs – the general name given to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The mausoleums have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.

    Peking Duck Dinner: Peking Duck or Beijing Roast Duck is regarded as one of the most delicious dishes throughout the world; It is a must for most visitors coming to Beijing to have a bite.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Beijing
    • mutianyu great wall

      mutianyu great wall

    • sacred road

      sacred road

    Day 4Beijing - Xian (B)
    Transfer Via: Bullet train arranged by us

    Highlights: Today you’ll visit the Temple of Heaven where the emperors worshipped heaven and prayed for peace and harvest. Then you will be escorted to the train station for the bullet train Xian. Upon arriving in Xian, your local guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.Rest of the day is free for you to explore the city on your own.

    Temple of Heaven: Located in southeastern urban Beijing, Temple of Heaven is a dignified complex of fine cult buildings set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods,. The Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties visited the complex annually and prayed to Heaven for good harvest. Now, the Temple of Heaven, as a symbol of the city, is one of the must-see attractions in Beijing and has been listed as an UNESCO'S World Cultural Heritage site in 1998.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Xian
    • temple of heaven

      temple of heaven

    • temple of heaven

      temple of heaven

    Day 5Xian (B,L)

    Highlights: This morning you will visit the incredible life-size Terracotta Warriors ---a lifetime view of the extraordinary 2200-year-old terra-cotta Army of China' First Emperor-Qin Shihuang., and then pay a visit to the Ceramics Factory to learn the Chinese ceramics culture. Afterwards you will visit the Ancient City Walls--a symbol of great significance of the famous historic cultural city of Xian, you might have a biking tour on the wall by paying addtional RMB45=USD7/per person, it could be very special experience. 

    Terra-Cotta Warriors: As the most important site in Xian and China, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. It took 11 years to finish, a group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries.

    Ancient City Walls: As the first landmark you will encounter in Xi'an, the ancient city wall stretches round the old city. Xi'an was originally a walled city, and even today the wall is considered a landmark dividing the city into the inner part and the outer part. The wall is massive - tall, long and thick. The South Gate and North Gate are the two main entrances to the inner city. Having a biking tour on the wall is special experience you should not miss.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Xian
    • terra cotta warriors

      terra cotta warriors

    • xian ancient city wall

      xian ancient city wall

    Day 6Xian / Dunhuang (B,L)
    Transfer Via: Flight arranged by you

    Highlights: Today you will visit The Shanxi Provincial Museum---a large modern museum of the national level. Then move to visit the Muslim community before your guide escorts you to the airport for your flight to Dunhuang. Upon your Dunhuang arrival, your guide will meet you and escort you to hotel. The rest of today is for you to explore this ancient city by yourself. 

    Shaanxi Provincial Museum: As the largest comprehensive museum in Shanxi province, the museum was built at the site of a former Confucian temple in the southern of Xian, it occupies an area of 70,000 square meters, and exhibits historical relics and stone carvings of ancient China. If you are history lovers, Shaanxi Provincial Museum is a must on your Xian trip

    Muslim Quarter: Xi'an, was the capital in Tang Dynasty (618–907), Muslim merchants followed the silk road and settled down to start their business there, and their traditions and belief have been well preserved. Muslim quarter is the community of the Muslims, and a fascinating area where you can find exotic food, interesting people and great souvenir stalls.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Dunhuang
    • xian provincial museum

      xian provincial museum

    • xian muslin quarter

      xian muslin quarter

    Day 7Dunhuang - Turpan (B,L)
    Transfer Via: Overnight soft sleeper train arranged by us

    Highlights: Today you will visit Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake. After the toru, take the overnight train to Turpan.

    Mogao Grottoes: Located on the eastern slope of Singing Sand Mountain, the Mogao Grottoes, first dug in 366 A.D.,  is one of three noted grottoes in China and also the largest, best preserved and selected as an UNESCO site in 1987. It has 492 grottoes , 2,800 sculptures and 45,000 square meters of murals. There are five grottoes with a wooden structure. From 2014, the Mogao Grottoes' management started implementing a new visiting model to protect the world famous ancient Buddhist artwork.

    Echoing Sand Mountains: Which is a mountain that echoes to the sound of sand as you slide down its slopes. The mountain is 5 km away from Dunhuang downtown. The sand has many colors ranging from red to yellow, green, black and white. Visitors can explore the sand dunes by camel, electric car, quad bike or by foot. Riding a camel on the desert of the Singing sand Mountains is a great experience. You can enjoy the beautiful wavy shapes of the smooth yellow dunes against the deep blue sky, and imagine you are traveling the ancient Silk Road. Step off the camel and listen for the singing of the sand.

    Crescent Lake: Located 5 miles southwest to Dunhuang City, the Crescent Lake is a wonder in the desert. The lake is half-moon shape, hence the name. The lake is surrounded by sand and the Singing Sand Mountain approximately 100 meters from north to south, 25 meters from west to east, and 5 meters deep at maximum. Even though the lake was merely meters away from drift sand, it was miraculously never buried.

    Accommodations: Overnight on the train
    • Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

      Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

    • Crescent Lake

      Crescent Lake

    Day 8Turpan Arrival (B,L)

    Highlights: Welcome to Turpan! Today upon your arrival, be met by our guide and escorted to hotel. Rest of the day you will visit Karez System, Jiaohe Ancient City, Emin Minaret. 

    Karez System: As a crystallization of ancient people's diligence and intelligence, the Karez System exceeded 3,106 miles in its heyday in order to get enough water in the area of Turpan. It is one of the moust famous 3 ancient irrigation projects with the other two being Ling Canal and Dujiangyan Irrigation Project. And also reputed as 'the underground Great Wall'.

    Jiaohe Ancient City: Which was a prosperous ancient trading center and military stronghold with over 2000 years history. The site is 10km east of Turpan and built on a isolated plateau of 30 meters high, stretching 1650m from south to north, and 300m from east to west.  The city has well preserved temples, pagodas and streets are dotted around, and a lot of cultural relics were unearthed, which are great value to the history study. 

    Emin Minaret: Located 2km away from Turpan, the Emin Minaret was built in 1777 in honor of the heroic Turpan general, Emin Khoja. The Emin Minaret is well-known for its unusual and unique architectural design, while the elegant design and decoration add to it's beauty. It is one of the more distinguished landmarks of the Xinjiang and the only Islamic tower among the hundred famous towers in China. Unfortunately, the minaret is no longer open to the public in an effort to preserve the structure. However, you can view the surroundings from the roof of the mosque, where stunning panoramic views of Turpan will greet you.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Turpan
    • jiaohe ancient city

      jiaohe ancient city

    • emin minaret

      emin minaret

    Day 9Turpan - Urumqi (B,L)

    Highlights: Today you will drive to Urumqi. Rest of the day you will visit the Flaming Mountains, Grape Valley, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.

    Flaming mountain: Also called “Red Mountain”, is located 10km north of Turpan city.  It is the hottest place in China, in the summer, the ground surface temperature can reach 80 degrees Celsius or 175 degrees Farhenheit. Because of the high temperature, eggs can even be roasted at that time and no vegetation exists there. "The Journey to the West" is a famous story written in the 1500s during the Ming Dynasty, you may know the major role of the story-- Monkey King.  Now, the scenic area includes the mountain, a Culture Gallery of Journey to the West, Flaming Mountain Geographic Culture Museum, Gaochang Historical Celebrities Hall and a 12m high thermometer.

    Grape Valley: Which is a green and highly cultivated valley in the Flaming Mountain area. Due to the unique climate, the grapes here are particularly sweet with especially high sugar content. There are mainly 3 types of grapes: Manaizi grapes, Core-free White grapes and red grapes. About 2,000 years ago, Zhang Qian who was dispatched on a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions found grapes growing here and introduced them to the mainland China. The total cultivation is about 400 hectares including grapes, willows, poplars and other kinds of ornamental trees. Today the valley become a tourist spot where people can visit and eat fresh grapes.

    Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves: Turpan was the Buddhist center on the Silk Road because of its geographic location. It has witnessed the earliest development of Buddhist cave art in China. Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves stand high on the cliffs of west Mutou Valley under the Flaming Mountain. There were originally 83 caves, but only 57 remain.The murals inside cover an area over 12,917 square feets. The caves were carved over a 900 year-long period of time between about 400 and 1,300 AD. In these grottoes, people created artwork depicting daily life and their religion.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Urumqi
    • flaming mountains

      flaming mountains

    • bezeklik caves

      bezeklik caves

    Day 10Urumqi (B,L)

    Highlights: Today you will visit the Red Hill, Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, Xinjiang Regional Museum. 

    Red Hill Park: Situated on Urumqi's Red Mountain, as a symbol of Urumqi, Red Hill Park is a perfect place for a panoramic view of the city. The mountain is aubergine rock, has a reddish brown color, hence the name. It is 0.93miles long and 0.62miles wide from east to west. A belvedere and a pagoda can be found half way up the mountain. The pagoda was built in the Qing Dynasty, supposedly to keep away an evil dragon. A statue of the national hero Lin Zexu (1785-1850) was built here, the man is famous for his effort to eliminate opium in China during the Opium Wars. 

    Grand Bazaar: Also called Erdaoqiao International Bazaar,  is a great place to see and buy the regional products and imported products from neighboring countries such as Russia and Mongolia. It  is a magnificent commercial architectural complex embodied with a strong  flavor of Islam, people can also try the local food, Uighur fruitcakes and dried fruits.

    Xinjiang Region Museum: Built in the Uygur style in 1953 and opened to the public in 1963, the Xinjiang Region Museum is a provincial level comprehensive historical museum with an exhibition area of 7800 square meters and 50,000 items of collections represent the ethnic lifestyle and humanity of the region but also illustrate its revolutionary spirit.

    Accommodations: Overnight in Urumqi
    • red hill park

      red hill park

    • grand bazaar

      grand bazaar

    Day 11Urumqi - Tianchi Lake - Urumqi (B,L)

    Highlights: Today you will drive to visit the beautiful Heavenly Lake. Then drive back to Urumqi. 

    Heavenly Lake: Located 68miles east of Urumqi, the Heavenly Lake is also called Tianchi Lake,  covers 1.89 square miles,  is a natural paradise with the reputation of“the Pearl of the Heavenly Mountain”. Heavenly Lake is  half-moon shaped and with crystal-like melted snow as its source, twater reflecting the snow-topped peaks, fluffy white clouds and blue sky create a breath-taking view. The banks of the lake are covered with lush spruce forest. It is an ideal cool resort in summer time, visitors can take boats around the this fairyland. 

    Accommodations: Overnight in Urumqi
    • heaven lake

      heaven lake

    • heaven lake

      heaven lake

    Day 12Urumqi Departure (B)
    Transfer Via: Flight arranged by you

    Today is free for you to explore Urumqi by yourself until your tour guide escort you to airport for your flight.


      Meals as listed in itinerary

      Accommodation as listed in itinerary

      Domestic flights/trains if listed in itinerary

      Lisenced local English-speaking tour guides

      Private transportation with experienced drivers

      Entrance ticket fees for attractions listed in itinerary


      China Visa

      Personal expense

      Travel insurance (Recommended)

      International flights to and out of China

      Tips and gratitude to tour guides and drivers

      Meals if not specified in the itinerary (Average meals cost is USD5-8/per)

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