7-Day Silk Road Urumqi to Jiayuguan
This 7-day classic private tour takes you to explore Chinese section of ancient Silk Road northern route from Urumqi to Dunhuang. You will travel the path of thousands of merchants and camel caravans and witness its changes in modern days. Attractions you will visit during this tour include Mogao Grottos, Turpan Oasis, Loulan Mummies, and Heavenly Lake located on the northern side of Tianshan Mountains.
Day 1: Arriving Urumqi
Upon arrival at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport or Urumqi Rail Station, your guide will pick you up at arrival lobby and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. You may spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the streets of Urumqi.
Accommodation: Urumqi 3-star Jinggu Hotel or similar
Day 2: Urumqi - Heavenly Lake - Urumqi (B)
Your first stop of the day is Xinjiang Museum where well-preserved Chinese mummies are exhibited. Among which, you will find the spectacular one standing out from the rest named "Beauty of Loulan," who was buried 4,000 years ago near the town of Loulan in Taklimakan Desert. "Beauty of Loulan" was remarkably preserved in an open coffin under hot desert sands of the Taklamakan when she was excavated in 1980. After the museum, you will break for lunch and then take a one hour ride to Heavenly Lake, which is located on the north side of the Bodga Shan range of the Tianshan Mountains to enjoy fantastic mountain views and serene lake scenery. Later, you will return to Urumqi and stroll through the wonderful Erdaoqiao Bazaar before driving back your hotel.
Accommodation: Urumqi 3-star Jinggu Hotel or similar
Day 3: Urumqi - Turpan (B, L)
After breakfast, you will take a 3 hours ride to Turpan, the centre of a fertile oasis and an important trade center along the Silk Road that was once adjacent to the kingdoms of Kroran and Yanqi. You will visit Emin Minaret which is the symbol of Turpan before sampling an authentic local lunch at a Uyghur home under the grape vine in open air. Later in the afternoon, you will explore the Ancient City of Gaochang, Bezklik Grottos, Astana Ancient Tombs before returning to your hotel.
Accommodation: Turpan 3-star Turpan Hotel or similar
Day 4. Turpan - Liuyuan (via bullet train) - Dunhuang (B)
Today we will explore ruin of Ancient City of Jiaohe that was once the capital of Anterior Jushi kingdom during 108 B.C. to 450 A.D. but abandoned in the 15th century. With helps irrigating the oasis, Jiaohe was an important site along the Silk Road trade route leading west adjacent to Korla and Karasahr kingdoms. Afterwards, you will catch a bullet train to Liuyuan arriving in approximately 4 hours and be transferred to Dunhuang hotel in about two hours. Be sure to explore the night market nearby the hotel in the evening!
Accommodation: Dunhuang 3-star Hantang Hotel or similar
Day 5: Dunhuang (B)
You will visit the highlight of Silk Road today, Mogao Grottoes (Caves of the Thousand Buddhas), where you will be impressed by the fresco and statues in the caves. These caves are examples of rock-cut architecture of soft gravel conglomerate not suitable for either sculpture or elaborate architectural details. In the afternoon, enjoy a fun hike on the Singing Sand Dunes to visit the Crescent Spring.
Accommodation: Dunhuang 3-star Hantang Hotel or similar
Day 6: Dunhuang/Jiayuguan (B) Train
Take a morning train from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan. Upon arrival, your guide will take you to visit Jiayuguan Fort, Overhanging Great Wall.
Accommodation: Jiayuguan 3-star Starway Hotel or similar
Day 7: Departing Jiayuguan (B)
If time permits, you could visit Wei Jin Ancients Tombs before heading to Jiayuguan Airport where this 7 days trip concludes.
Ürümqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country. With a built up population of 3.1millions as of 2010census (5 urban districts plus Midong), Ürümqi, whose name means "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people, is the largest city in China's western interior. Since the 1990s Ürümqi has developed economically and now serves as a regional transport node and commercial centre.
The largest city in western China, Ürümqi has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most remote city from any sea in the world. It is about 2,500 kilometers(1,600 mi) from the nearest coastline as Ürümqi is the closest major city to the Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. The city has an administrative area of10,989 square kilometres (4,243 sq mi) at an average elevation of 800metres (2,600 ft).
Although Ürümqi is situated near the northern route of the Silk Road, it is likely to be a relatively young city. According to Chinese scholars, during the 22nd year of Emperor Taizong's reign in the Tang Dynasty, AD 648, the Tang government set up the town of Luntai in the ancient town seat of Urabo, 10 kilometers from the southern suburb of present-day Ürümqi.
Thus, little is heard ofthe region following the Tang Dynasty in the Chinese texts until the Qing Dynasty conquest of Dzungaria in 1755 under the Emperor Qianlong. Qianlong Emperor named the expanded town of Luntai "Dihua", meaning "to enlighten." In 1884, the Guangxu Emperor established Xinjiang as a Province, with Dihua (today’s Urumuqi) as its capital. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China, on 1 February 1954, the city was renamed Ürümqi, meaning "beautiful pasture" in the Mongolian language of the Dzungar people.
Turpan also known as Turfan or Tulufan, is an oasis county-level city in Turpan Prefecture, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Its population was 254,900 at the end of 2003. Turpan is located about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Ürümqi, Xinjiang's capital, in a mountain basin, on the northern side of the Turpan Depression, at an elevation of 30 m (98 ft) above sea level. Turpan has a harsh, cold desert climate, with long and very hot summers, winters that are quite cold and moderately long, and brief spring and autumn in between. Annual precipitation is very low, amounting to only 15.7 millimeters (0.62 in). July is the hottest month, averaging 32.2 °C (90.0 °F), while January is the coldest, at −7.6 °C (18.3 °F), for an annual mean of 14.4 °C (57.9 °F).Extremes have ranged from −28.9 °C (−20 °F) to 48.1 °C (119 °F).
Turpan lies in the 2 deepest inland depression in the world with more than 4000 sq km of land below sea level. Anciently called Huozhou (land of fire) its climate has not changed, although a vast tree-planting program to the NW has helped break the wind. Turpan survives with the assistance of karez, covered water channels, which bring melt water from the mountains to the north and west. These merge with the waters of the Tian Shan that, having been absorbed by the desert, resurface at the foot of the Flaming Mountains. However, the very heat and dryness of the summer, when combined with the area's ancient system of irrigation, allows the countryside around Turpan to produce great quantities of high-quality fruit.
Kashgar (Kashi) 喀什
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km²and a population of approximately 3.5 million. Located in the western extremity of China, the city covers an area of 15 km² at the altitude averages 1,289m/4,282 ft. above sea level.
Kashgar has been an important trading centre since the days of the Silk Road, and still is today. The road from Eastern and Central China branches out to both the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the desert. The local population is a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks, boasting a colorful ethnic variety. The majority residents are Uyghurs in Kashgar. The Uyghurs employed an alphabet based upon the Syriacand borrowed from the Nestorian, but after converting to Islam widely used also an Arabic script. They spoke a dialect of Turkic claimed to be preserved in the Kudatku Bilik, a moral treatise composed in 1065.
Dunhuang is a city (pop. 187,578 (2000)) in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancientSilk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu , or 'City of Sands', a name still used today. It is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves.
It commands a very strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route and the main road leading from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and Southern Siberia,as well as controlling the entrance to the narrow Gansu Corridor which led straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an) and Luoyang.
In the history, the commercial prosperity on the Silk Road provided a basis for a flourishing and diverse Buddhist community. Most Buddhist monks came to China from India and Central Asia by way of the Silk Road. As the westernmost Chinese station on the route, Dunhuang became the ideal place for these foreign monks to learn the Chinese language and culture before entering central China.
Foreign monks and their Chinese disciples formed the earliest Buddhist communities at Dunhuang in the late 3 and early 4centuries. Many Buddhist sutras were translated at Dunhuang and then distributed into central
China. Monk Zhu Fahu, a famous translator of Buddhist texts, organized his translation team at Dunhuang and became known as "The Bodhisattva of Dunhuang”. Enormous economic and human resources were used to produce Buddhist sutras and to build places of worship, including thousands of cave temples.
Jiayuguan City is a prefecture-level city in Gansu, China, with a population of 127,532 as of 2007. It is most famous for the nearby Jiayu Pass, the largest and most intact pass of the Great Wall of China. In ancient times, many inns were built near the pass. Gradually, more and more people decided to stay there for business and Jiayuguan City was built. At present, Jiayuguan City is not only famous for Jiayuguan Pass but also for Jiuquan Steel Company built in 1958. The steel company is the largest in Gansu Province.
Jiayuguan and its fort represented the Wild West frontier of Ancient China. In centuries past there were many levels of capital punishment, the highest being death by decapitation or strangulation. The next level of severity was banishment for life from the capital. The worse the crime, the further you were sent from Beijing. Jiayuguan was considered the furthest place to be sent, a land ofbarbarians and criminals.
Today Jiayuguan is a relatively wealthy industrial center producing chemical fertilizers, cement and iron, with the raw materials coming from nearby mines. It is richer per capita than Xi’an and the government is in the process of building a large steel plant which will bring more money to the area.
Travelers are advised to read the Trip Notes before your China tours.
Visas - A China visa is required for entry into China for all nationalities except Japan, Singapore and Brunei. Travellers holding APEC cards are allowed entrance visa free if their card has already been approved for China. Please view our web page for detailed information about China Visa: http://silkroadtrips.com/260.html
Insurance - Travel insurance is compulsory for all our customers. Please provide us with:
• Insurance company
• Policy number
• 24 hour medical emergency contact number
• The expiry date of the policy
You may check our webpage for more detailed information as below.
Vaccinations and Your Health - We recommend that you contact your primary care physician or a travel doctor for advice on vaccinations and travel health and we advise that you check to see if your tetanus-diphtheria booster is still valid every 10 years.
Luggage - We suggest you to take one main piece of lockable baggage and a shoulder bag. Total allowance: 44lbs/20kgs. Don’t overload yourself, because you have to carry your own baggage.
Itinerary Disclaimer – The information in this trip details has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.
Accommodation - Each tour lists the hotel standard, you can check it before your booking, The hotels are selected for convenience of location, comfort or character, and can range differently from tour to tour. In some remote areas, accommodation may be of a lower standard and may not have all western amenities. Please note that there is no international classification system for hotels, and differences and quality do exist between the European Countries and China, though it is marked 4 or 5 star hotel.
In bigger cities and large towns the standard is similar although on a lesser scale. In small towns or villages where tourism is less prevalent, the hotels we use are smaller and facilities are more limited, though we generally stay in the best place in town. Rooms will still be en suite but rooms can be basic. Plumbing and electricity supplies can be somewhat erratic and although the welcome is warm, service levels may be less efficient than you may be used to.
Booking a Single Room – Silkroadtrips are pleased to offer travellers the option of pre-booking a guaranteed single room. Kindly note our single supplement do not include sharing cabins on the overnight trains or cruises. All of our tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation.
Aboard the overnight sleeper train, berths are usually in 1st class ‘soft sleeper’ lockable compartments for 4 which have 2 sets of bunks with clean bedding provided. WC and washbasins are provided for shared use at the end of each carriage. Hot meals and snacks are sold to your berth on all overnight journeys. In times of large demand we may have to travel in 2nd class ‘hard sleeper’ which consists of sectioned off compartments for 6,leading off an open plan carriage.
Bullet trains are getting popular, it is very modern with a high velocity of 300km per hour. There are western toilets, dinning car on the bullet trains, and normally for short distance running 1—8 hours.
You can check in 20 kg baggage and carry 5kg hand bag with you while boarding a flight in China. Please be aware, before boarding a flight in China that the Chinese authorities will only allow bottles onto aircraft if they have been checked in as main luggage. Any bottles in the hand luggage may be confiscated.
Eating is always an important part of the tours. Each tour of Silkroadtrips has listed the included meals, please check it on-line. Our professional guide will always arrange the meals at clean local restaurants to taste different food with different budget approximately from CNY20 to CNY200 per person per meal. Please check our webpage for Chinese Cuisine as below.
Tipping - If you're happy with the services provided then a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. Tipping is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across China and other Asian countries. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Tipping is not common practice at restaurants in China or Tibet.
Tour guides: Throughout your tour you may at times have local guides or national guide. We suggest CNY10-15 per person per day for guides.
Porters: In some hotels a porter may offer to carry your bag to your room. We suggest CNY5 per bag for porters.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest that you tip only those more involved with the group (for example those that help you with your bags etc). CNY5-10 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Optional Extras - Our standard tours are planned to be as fully inclusive as possible. However, from time-to-time you may be suggested to join optional tours/sightseeing in addition to the standard sightseeing planned for that city. Such options are at an additional cost, with prices ranging from 20-200 CNY per person. If you do not wish to take part in any optional extras, you will have the option of enjoying some free time at leisure or to return to the hotel.
Personal Expenses - Kindly check the inclusions for your tour, you will need to take some extra money to cover drinks, laundry and souvenirs, plus any additional sightseeing that may be offered to you. Based on the advice of previous customers an approximate amount of $250 per week should be sufficient; however for those that can’t resist a bargain, consider allocating a higher amount.
Electricity Supply & Plugs
China operates on a 220V and uses a combination of US/European and Chinese style plugs in most hotel rooms. You can buy an international adaptor before the tour