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Welcome to China and the start of your holiday, enjoy an met and greet airport arrival transfer to your hotel.
Enjoy an excursion beyond Beijing to the legendary UNESCO-listed Great Wall at Badaling. Spanning rugged mountain ranges, lush green valleys and barren plains, it stretches as far as the eye can see - at least 6,700 kms. Continuing on, visit the tombs of the Ming emperors, where some 13 emperors were interred and a cloisonne workshop of decorative metal and enamel sculpture. Later today, we fly to Xi'an.
Xi’an in Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old terracotta warriors comprise more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers which stand battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. Today, visit Huanqing Hot Springs, a scenic spot in the shadow of Li Mountain, before continuing to a workshop where crafts people make replicas of the terracotta warriors. Then visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors.
Today enjoy a city tour, taking in the highlights of Xi'an, including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim Quarter, the Great Mosque and the medieval City Wall, which to pay locally you can take a bike ride along.
Today, we fly to Jiayuguan.
Before your coach transfer to Dunhuang, we enjoy a visit to the awesome Jiayuguan Fort at Jiayuguan Pass - the farthest outpost of the Great Wall which was built here by the Ming in 1372, over 5,000km from the wall’s easternmost point at Shanhaiguan. This was literally the final defence of the Chinese empire, the spot where China ended and beyond which lay an uncharted, terrifying wilderness.
Visit Yueya Quan (Crescent Moon Lake), a small spring-fed lake surrounded by gigantic sand dunes, that has been a vital source of water here for millennia. If feeling energetic, the giant dunes can be climbed if inclined! Visit Dunhuang’s most famous attraction, the UNESCO-listed Mogao Caves. The colourful cave paintings which were the legacy of travelling pilgrim monks, merchants and nobles form the most fascinating repository of Buddhist art in China. Coach transfer to Liuyuan to board your overnight train to Urumqi.
Arrive into Urumqi and enjoy an excursion to the Southern Mountain Pastures. Capital of Xinjiang, a largely desert and grassland province fringed by some of the highest mountains in the world, Urumqi sits amidst beautiful scenery, with the snow-clad Tian Shan range to the city’s east. Two thousand years ago a string of oasis towns were developed along the Silk Road that skirted the surrounding deserts.
Today, we fly to Kashgar. Lying at the foot of the Pamir mountains in the far west of Xinjiang, Kashgar’s importance grew from its location as an oasis at the point where the northern and southern routes of the ancient Silk Road converged, forming a gateway to the mountains leading to India and Russia. See the Id Kah Mosque, Aba Khoja Mausoleum - where the local cemetery filled with distinctive mud and brick tombs is still used by the local Uighur peoples and the colourful Old Town.
A visit is made to Kashgar’s local market with free time to explore. Later, catch a flight to Urumqi.
We enjoy an excursion to Tian Chi (Heaven Lake), located at an altitude of 2,000m among the Tian Shan Mountains, which rise to nearly 6,000m. Also visit the local Xinjiang Museum.
Departure flight to the airport.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...