Discover the city of eternal spring, Kunming
Explore the once ancient capital of China and the start of the famous Silk Road, Xi'an
Centuries old grottoes, Buddhist temples, monasteries, markets and contrasting landscapes form the amazing Silk Road
Ancient shopping streets and the amazing Giant Pandas
|Tour Provider||Bunnik Tours|
|Number of Days||
4 to 20
Marine/Cruise, Slow paced
|13 Oct 2018||02 Nov 2018||Fully Booked||AUD $10,600|
Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Welcome to China and the city of Kunming. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure before tonight's group welcome dinner. [D]
Today we discover Kunming's amazing Stone Forest. These UNESCO World Heritage-listed limestone formations cover a huge area of around 400 square kilometres and are approximately 270 million years old! Many resemble petrified trees, creating the illusion of a forest. [B,L]
We begin the day at Cuihu (Green Lake) Park. Often described as 'Jade in the Kunming', the park is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or to just sit and observe daily life. This afternoon we fly to Xi'an, gateway to the famous Silk Road. [B]
Late this morning we visit the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers, the Terracotta Warriors were one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century. More than 6,000 life-sized warriors and horses were sculpted individually and arranged in battle formation to protect the mausoleum of China's first emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang. We'll also see the well-preserved ancient city walls and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty. [B,L]
This morning we'll explore the Muslim Market, passing through its narrow bazaar street filled with local delicacies and souvenirs. This was the starting point of the famous Silk Road more than 1,000 years ago. This afternoon we fly to Lanzhou. [B]
Special Experience: Today we cruise along the Yellow River to see the Bingling Temple, a series of grotts filled with Buddhist sculptures. Bingling means 'ten thousand Buddhas' in the Tibetan language and the construction of these caves dates back to the Western Jin Dynasty some 1,700 years ago.
After lunch we'll continue east to Xiahe. [B,L]
Special Experience: Begin the day at Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery outside of Tibet, Labrang Monastery, characterised by its white walls and gilded roof with views out over the city.
We'll then travel to the site of Bajiao, an old Chinese village, now inhabited by Tibetans. [B,L]
This morning we return to Lanzhou where we board the fast train to Jiayuguan. [B,L]
The Jiayu Pass is the largest and best-preserved pass of China's Great Wall. This morning we'll visit the pass, along with an amazing portion of the Wall now known as the 'Overhanging Great Wall'. This afternoon we travel through the vast open desert to Dunhuang. [B,L]
Special Experience: Today we visit the incredible Mogao Caves, a system of 492 temples carved into the rock face. Also known as the Thousand Buddha Grotts, the caves are a shrine of beautiful Buddhist art. Constructed over a millennium, the caves hold an impressive array of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures.
This afternoon we'll discover the ancient oasis of Crescent Lake, an amazing crescent-shaped lake completely surrounded by sand dunes. [B,L]
This morning we'll visit the Dunhuang Town Museum before our afternoon fast train to Turpan, one of China's oldest cities and one of the Silk Road's key points since ancient times. [B]
Special Experience: Venture out into the Silk Road's vast open expanses this morning in the Tuyaq Valley, visiting Gaochang and the Tombs of Astana. Gaochang was once a prosperous city along the Silk Road but today not much remains. The city's inhabitants were interred in the Tombs of Astana. Three of these tombs are open for us to explore and we will see the well-preserved paintings on the tomb walls and artefacts dating back to the 5th century.
The amazing Flaming Mountains await after lunch where the mountains radiate the heat of the midday sun, so much so that they can appear to be on fire. We also visit the Bezelik Thousand Buddha Caves. Here 57 of the original 83 caves remain but have been subject to damage over the centuries from foreign explorers. [B,L]
Leaving Turpan this morning, we head out to the ruins of a 2,300 year-old city located along the Silk Road, Jiaohe. Now an archaeological site, Jiaohe is considered one of the oldest, largest and best preserved earthen cities of its time in China. We continue to The Emin Minaret and the Turpan Museum before heading to the Karez Irrigation Site, an indigenous method of irrigation developed by the Turpan people. [B,L]
This morning we fly to Kashgar, another important trading city on the Silk Road, famous for its buzzing Sunday bazaar. We'll explore the Old City, which was home to the revered and powerful ruler Abakh Khoja. Later we visit Id Kah Mosque, considered the biggest mosque in China. [B,L]
Special Experience: Wander through what was once the Silk Road's most important trading market, the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar, imagining how Marco Polo and other famous explorers would have stopped here to trade their goods.
This afternoon we'll visit the Xiangfei Tomb. The Xiangfei Tomb belongs to his granddaughter who was forced to marry an emperor of the Qing dynasty. She spent 28 years in the Forbidden City, never to see her family again. After her death, her body was brought on a three year journey back to the city. [B,L]
This morning we fly to Urumqi. Here we'll visit the incredible Heavenly Lake, nestled in the middle of Bogda Peak. Lying 1,900m above sea level, one of the lake's main water sources is melted snow, meaning it enjoys crystal-clear water. [B,L]
We visit Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar, the largest Uigur bazaar in Urumqi. This bustling market is filled with fruit, clothing and crafts. We then fly to Chengdu. [B]
We get up close with the endangered giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding this morning! This afternoon we'll soak up the atmosphere of Jinli Old Street then visit Renmin Park and observe local day-to-day life. Tonight we'll enjoy a group farewell dinner. [B,L,D]
Today we begin our journey home. [B]