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Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Enjoy an arrival transfer to our hotel, where you can relax after your long flight.
This morning you will be transferred to Beijing airport for your flight west to Urumqi. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Urumqi. Overnight at hotel.
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. Today you will 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. Following dinner we fly west to Kashgar.
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.
This mornig visit is made to Kashgar’s Grand Bazaar with free time to explore. We return to Urumqi this evening.
Enjoy an excursion to the southern mountain pastures before continuing by road to Turpan. Located on the northern Silk Road, Turpan is a rural Uighur settlement. The Uighur descended from nomadic Siberian and Central Asian tribes who settled the region in the 9th century. Renowned for its grape production, you’ll visit Putao Gou (Grape Valley), heart of the region’s massive grape production.
Today, enjoy some sightseeing beyond Turpan. Driving to Bezeklik past the Flaming Mountains which due to sun and shadow at certain times of the day seeming to flicker as though glowing poker-hot. You’ll also visit the Bezeklik Caves, the Astana tombs and the impressive ruins of Gaochang city.. Tonight, enjoy a traditional show of song and dance.
Today we visit Imin Ta (Imin Minaret) constructed in 1778, before heading beyond Turpan to the Jiaohe Ruins. Occupying a spectacular position on a steep plateau, the ancient street plan, thanks to the many ruins of this former garrison town, is still evident. A stop is also made at some 2,000-year-old Karez water channels, an irrigation system that many Silk Road cities and towns relied upon; the idea for which came from ancient Persia. Tonight, travel by overnight sleeper train to Liuyuan.
This morning we arrive in Liuyuan, and continue to remote Dunhuang, a small and strategically important desert oasis town on the Silk Road, a stone’s throw from the end of the Great Wall. 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!
Today we visit perhaps 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.
Today, 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. Situated between striking mountain ranges, everything that travelled between the deserts of central Asia and the fertile lands of China, had to file through the Jiayuguan Pass. Tonight, we take the overnight sleeper train from Jiayuguan to Lanzhou.
Upon arrive in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province and a former staging post on the Silk Road, we will transfer to our hotel to check in. Later you will Enjoy a boat ride on the 5,487 km long Yellow River (2nd longest in China after the Yangtze) and a visit to Bingling Temple.
Today, following our flight from Lanzhou to Xi’an, we enjoy City touring including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and medieval City Wall, enjoy a bike ride atop the City Wall and check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque.
Xi’an is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. 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. Made of local clay, no two faces are alike – each is said to be an individual portrait. Today, we visit Huanqing Hot Springs, before continuing to a workshop where crafts people make replicas of the terracotta warriors. We then visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors.
This morning following our flight from Xi’an to Beijing. you will make 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, we visit the tombs of the Ming emperors, where some 13 emperors were interred and a cloisonne workshop of decorative metal and enamel sculpture. Returning to Beijing we bid you farewell and hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in China!
The discovery of despotic Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s army of 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors occurred in 1974 when local farmers digging...