Silk Road Explorer


Follow in the footsteps of adventurers by journeying along one of the world's most famous trading routes, the Silk Road. Beginning in ancient Xian, venture across this vast land to reach the fascinating outpost of Kashgar and its famous Sunday market.

Places Visited

Australia - Xian (2N) - Overnight Train (1N) - Lanzhou (2N) - Xiahe (2N) - Overnight Train (1N) - Jiayuguan (1N) - Dunhuang (3N) - Turpan (2N) - Kurla (1N) - Kuqa (1N) - Aksu (1N)- Kashgar (2N) - Urumqi (2N) – Beijing (3N) - Australia

Days 1-2: Fly to Xian
Fly overnight to Xian, the ancient former capital with China Southern Airlines. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.

Brisbane passengers may depart on Day 2.
Day 3: Terracotta Warriors
Housed in three immense hangars, the ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China's first Emperor in the afterlife. Visit the Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition. Later in the day, take a walking tour of the Muslim Quarter. Sample delicious, freshly cooked snacks and gain an insight into the city's significance as the start of the Silk Road. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Terracotta Warriors
Day 4: Cycling in Xian
Pay an early visit to a local park to see Xian's residents taking part in Tai Chi and dancing. Later, visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda and enjoy a gentle cycle ride that will take you the 14km around the ancient City Wall and past many smiling locals. Visit the Xian Museum before boarding the overnight train to Lanzhou. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Cycling in Xian
Days 5-6: Explore Lanzhou
Enjoy a moment of tranquillity at the hilltop Baita Temple and tuck into some delicious Lanzhou style noodles made with hand-stretched dough. Visit the Yellow River night markets. (B,L,D) The next day, head to Liujiaxia Lake to explore the extraordinary Thousand Buddha Caves of Bingling Temple and their wealth of Buddhist murals, statues and sculptures. (B,L,D)
Days 5-6: Explore Lanzhou
Day 7: Journey to Xiahe
Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Journey to Xiahe
Day 8: Labrang Monastery
Giving a taste of the mysteries of Tibet, Labrang Monastery is a fascinating maze of prayer wheels, chapels and chortens. Dine on traditional Tibetan food for lunch, including Tibetan dumplings, known as momos. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Labrang Monastery
Days 9-10: Great Wall at Jiayuguan
Return to Lanzhou and board an overnight train for Jiayuguan. Seen as China's western gateway, Jiayuguan is the perfect place to get to grips with your Silk Road history. The next day, visit the Jiayu Fortress and take a walk on the western extremes of the magnificent Great Wall for views over the starkly beautiful Gobi Desert. (B,L,D)
Days 9-10: Great Wall at Jiayuguan
Day 11: City of Sands
Drive to Dunhuang. Located on a major trade and cultural crossroads, Dunhuang, known as the 'City of the Sands', sits in a verdant oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Visit the Shazhou Night Market, where you can wander amongst the stalls, tasting local snacks (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Day 11: City of Sands
Day 12: Mogao Grottoes
A system of temples and sanctuaries, the Mogao Grottoes exhibit examples of Buddhist paintings and statues that span thousands of years. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Mogao Grottoes
Day 13: Singing Sand Dunes
Visit Crescent Moon Spring, nestled among strolling sand dunes, and the famous Singing Sand Dunes, a phenomena produced by the wind blowing through the grains. (B,L,D)
Day 13: Singing Sand Dunes
Days 14: Turpan
Catch the bullet train to Turpan, a lush green oasis set in a barren landscape. An easy-going town famed for its grapes, its pleasant streets are lined with lush vine trellises. (B,L,D)
Days 14: Turpan
Day 15: Explore Turpan
Visit the ruins of the ancient Jiaohe and the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains. See elegant Emin Minaret before visiting a typical home in grape valley. Also learn about the fascinating Karez irrigation canals (B,L,D).
Day 15: Explore Turpan
Days 16-19: The Silk Road
Over the next four days travel along the original Silk Route through the Xinjiang Region, viewing ruins and sites largely unvisited by tourists. Travel to Kurla and visit the ruins of the Iron Fortress. The next day, see the ruins of Subashi, arriving in Kuqa to visit the old city wall. Also visit the Kyzil Thousand Buddha Caves before travelling to Aksu. Arrive in fabled Kashgar the following day and transfer to your hotel for a two-night stay. (B,L,D)
Days 16-19: The Silk Road
Day 20: Explore Kashgar
Its skyline punctured by minarets, Kashgar feels a million miles from China. Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar's bazaar have remained unchanged for millennia, as it continues to be an integral trading post as in its Silk Road heyday. Today's visits include Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square. (B,L,D)
Day 20: Explore Kashgar
Day 21: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Dive headlong into Central Asia's largest bazaar. Within this riot of textures and vivid colours, you can browse hundreds of stalls selling anything from spices and carpets to boots and blenders. Fly to Urumqi. (B,L,D)
Day 21: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Days 22-23: Discover Urumqi
Escape to the tranquillity of Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake) formed in a crater. Explore the East Poplar Valley where you will pay a visit to a Kazak minority family in their yurt and spend some time with them, learning their way of life. Enjoy local Uyghur lamb skewers for dinner. The following day explore the collections of the Xinjiang Museum. Fly to Beijing. (B,L,D)
Days 22-23: Discover Urumqi
Day 24: Great Wall
This morning is dedicated to China's most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate its sheer magnificence. Jade has been long cherished by the Chinese – at a jade factory you can understand and appreciate the delicate process of carving the stone and buy a piece if you wish. In the afternoon savour the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens. (B,L)
Day 24: Great Wall
Day 25: Imperial Beijing
Heading to Beijing's symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you'll find a complex full of imperial treasures. Soak up the ambience of the Temple of Heaven before visiting Yandaixiejie, where you'll have some free time to wander the hutongs. Sit down for lunch with one of the families who call the hutongs home. This evening dine on Peking Duck and enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show. (B,L,D)
Day 25: Imperial Beijing
Day 26: Depart Beijing
The morning is at leisure before boarding the overnight flight to Australia. (B)

Due to flight schedules, Perth passengers may arrive home on Day 26.
Day 27: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

Tour prices are per person, twin share

2016

2017

2018

Additional Price Information:

Above prices include airline fuel surcharge and tipping. Subject to change
Single Hotel Room Option from $1,340
Land Only (Xian to Beijing) 25 days from $6,340 per person (includes tipping)
Perth passengers may require a stopover in Guangzhou at an additional cost
Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin passengers please contact reservations for joining the tour
17 Apr, 18 Sep 2017 and 16 Apr, 17 Sep 2018 departures coincide with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 1300 318 203. Limited seats denotes 5 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visa in the price of our tour for Australian passport holders. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 


Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call Australia – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 61, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. .
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in Asia and you will find high quality coverage. Asia has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
 
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 1300 318 203 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.


Why Book This Tour?

This tour is ideal for those with an extensive amount of time available and who are interested in touring the main sights and cities on the famed China section of the Silk Road. This tour incorporates road and train travel which allows you to witness the stunning scenery of this area, but also experience the different modes of travel, making your tour more immersive.

Share

BOOK NOW

Other Tours You Might Like