China - Forgotten Cities of the Silk Road


China - Forgotten Cities of the Silk Road

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 – Urumqi

Arrive in Urumqi and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight at Jian Guo Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Urumqi - Kashgar

Visit nearby Tian Chi or Heavenly Lake which sits amidst spectacular mountains and take a boat ride across the lake. We then take a flight over the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar, an important trading centre for merchants from all over Central Asia. Overnight at Qinibagg Hotel or similar.  (BL)

Day 3 – Kashgar

Kashgar’s Sunday Market is famed as the largest and most important trading centre in the region, with traders coming from surrounding countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan to sell their wares. We have a full day to take in the sights and sounds of this amazing spectacle. Overnight at Qinibagg Hotel or similar.  (BD)

Day 4 – Kashgar

Visit some of the sights in and around Kashgar, including the Mor Buddhist pagoda, the old city of Artush, the tomb of Sultan Sutuk Bughra Khan and also a local Uighur family. Return to Kashgar for the evening. Overnight at Qinibagg Hotel or similar. . (BLD)

Day 5 – Lake Karakul - Tashkurgan

Today we drive along the famed Karakoram Highway, one of the most spectacular roads in the world, climbing to 4100m to Lake Karakul. This area is home to Kyrgyz people who live a semi nomadic lifestyle. Later we continue to Tashkurgan for the night. Overnight Tashkurgan Crown Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Please note that there are extensive rebuilding works taking place along the Karakorum Highway. This means the surfaces will be rough and bumpy and the journey may take up to 7 hours. Some people may feel the effects of altitude on this journey.

Day 6 – Kashgar

Today we return to Kashgar. We will visit the 15th century Idkah Mosque as well as the Abakh Hoja Mausoleum. The streets around the mosque offer a great snapshot of Uighur life, and we spend some time walking through them. Overnight at Tianyuan International Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 7 – Turpan

After spending the day at leisure we transfer to the railway station to take the overnight sleeper train to Turpan, passing through the spectacular scenery of the Tian Shan Mountains. (BL)

Day 8 – Turpan

We will take an excursion to some of the many intriguing sites surrounding Turpan. We visit the oasis of Grape Valley, the Flaming Mountains, the ruins of the ancient city of Gaocheng, and the Kerez irrigation system. Overnight at Turpan Huozhou Hotel or similar. (LD)

Day 9 – Turpan - Jiayuguan

Visit the ruined city of Jiaohe and the 18th century Emin minaret, before transferring to the railway station in the evening, to take the overnight sleeper train to Jiayuguan. (BL)

Day 10 – Jiayuguan

Arrive in Jiayuguan which marks the western end of the Great Wall. Here we will visit the iconic Jiayuguan Fort and the Overhanging Great Wall, a section of the Great Wall dating back originally to the 1500s. We will also take in the Wei-Jin tombs, with their excellent frescoes, which depict everyday life from the 3rd century. Overnight at Jiayuguan Hotel or similar. (LD)

Many sections of the Great Wall are popular with domestic tourists who arrive together in large numbers.

Day 11 – Jiayuguan to Dunhuang (5 hours)

This morning we drive to the remote and impressive oasis town of Dunhuang. We will visit the Mogao Caves or Caves of the Thousand Buddahs, site of the first Buddhist temples in China, which contain splendid examples of ancient artwork. Overnight at Dunhuang Tianrun Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 – Dunhuang - Urumqi

After breakfast visit the interesting Dunhuang Museum. We then take a short camel ride among the dunes to visit the Singing Sand Mountain which is said to make a humming noise on occasions. The view across the sands is impressive and we will also see Crescent Moon Lake at the base of the dunes. Later we take an evening train to Urumqi arriving at approximately 10pm. Overnight Jian Guo Hotel or similar (BLD)

Day 13 – Urumqi

Your final day is at leisure to explore the museums and bazaars. Overnight at Jian Guo Hotel or similar (B)

Day 14 – Urumqi

Tour ends. (B)