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China's Silk Road

1 country
2 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites
Travel part of the famous Silk Road and discover the history of ancient dynasties. From stone-carved grotts and Tibetan temples to bustling bazaars and ancient villages, discover the fascinating culture and diverse scenery of China's north on this in-depth journey.Pagodas & Terracotta WarriorsOur tour starts in Xi'an where we will see the well-preserved ancient city walls and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. We'll explore the Muslim Market and pass through it's narrow bazaar street - this was the starting point of the famous silk road more than 1,000 years ago. Next we'll see the world famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century with more than 6,000 life-sized warriors and horses individually sculpted and arrange in battle formation to protect the mausoleum of China's first emperor.Travel the Silk RoadAfter a flight to Lanzhou, we start our journey along part of the famous Silk Road. Enjoy a cruise along the Yellow River stopping to see the cave grotts of Bingling Temple and visit Labrang Monastery; the most important Tibetan Monastery outside of Tibet. Our journey continues via the Jiayu pass to see the "Overhanging Great Wall', then through vast open dessert to Dunhuang where we explore the incredible Mogao Caves, a system of 492 temples carved into rock face. As we head North to Turpan, we visit the ancient tombs of Astana and travel through the dramatic red landscape of the flaming mountains.Ancient MarketsOur adventure continues as we head to Kashgar to wander through what was once the Silk Road's most important trading market, where famous explorers like Marco Polo once traded goods. We will then stop by the beautifully scenic Heavenly Lake at Urumqi.

Inclusions

Travel

  • Economy-class flights between Australia and Asia. Taxes included
  • 4 economy-class flights within China
  • 2 train journeys based on 1st class reserved seats
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles (excluding some water-based activities)
  • Tipping Made Easy, $420pp pre-paid

Accommodation & Meals

  • 14 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • 14 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 2 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based guides
  • English-speaking national guide throughout

Porterage

  • Porterage included where available

Sightseeing

Explore the once ancient capital of China and the start of the famous Silk Road, Xi'an

  • Visit the spectacular Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum, the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century.
  • Stroll along the Ancient City Walls of Xian and visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built during the Tang Dynasty in 652.
  • Visit Xian's Muslim Market, the starting point of the Silk Road more than 1,000 years ago.

Centuries old grottoes, Buddhist temples, monasteries, markets and contrasting landscapes form the amazing Silk Road

  • Take a boat trip to Bing Ling Temple, a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculptures carved into natural stone.
  • Visit Labrang Monastery, Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery outside of Tibet.
  • Explore the historical ruins of Bajiao City, once a transportation hub enroute from Qinghai to Gansu during ancient times.
  • Visit Jiayuguan Pass, the western end of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty, a vital traffic fort along the Silk Road.
  • Travel to the Mogao Caves, a shrine of Buddhist art treasures.
  • See Crescent Lake, an Oasis in the Gobi Desert.
  • Journey to the vast open expanses of the Tuyaq Valley, near Turpan.
  • Travel to Flaming Mountain, located north of Turpan and considered to be the hottest place in China during summer reaching temperatures of around 50 celcius.
  • Visit Turpan's Tombs of Astana, the burial ground of Xinjiang's ancient kings from the nearby Gaochang Kingdom.
  • Study the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, a complex of Budhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to 14th century.
  • Continue to the ancient ruins of Gaochang and Jiaohe, sitting proudly in the Gobi Desert and considered the best preserved ruins of the ancient cities in China.
  • Explore Turpan including The Emin Minaret (Sugong Tower), Turpan Museum and Karez Irrigation Site - an indigenous method or irrigation developed by the Turpan people.
  • Explore the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar including the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar, Id Kah Mosque, Xiangfei Tomb and the Old City.
  • Visit the incredible 'Heavenly Lake' and admire its crystal-clear water sourced from melted snow.
  • Visit the Erdaoqiao Bazaar, a combination of modern and ancient Islamic architecture.
Tour Provider Bunnik Tours
Number of Days
16
Price From
AUD $9,195
Start Location
China
End Location
China
Age Range
Avg. 50+
Group Size
6 to 20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Slow paced, Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Moderate
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
13 May 201928 May 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
27 May 201911 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
10 Jun 201925 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
01 Jul 201916 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
29 Jul 201913 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
26 Aug 201910 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
23 Sep 201908 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
07 Oct 201922 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
21 Oct 201905 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $8,530
ItineraryExpand
China's Silk Road

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1. Depart Australia - Arrive Xi'an

Welcome to China and the city of Xi'an, gateway to the famous Silk Road.

Day 2. Xi'an

Enjoy a morning at leisure to relax or explore before we see the well-preserved ancient city walls and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty. We'll also explore the Muslim Market, and pass 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. Tonight we'll enjoy a group welcome dinner. [B,D]

Day 3. Xi'an - Lanzhou

After breakfast we'll 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. This afternoon we fly to Lanzhou. [B,L]

Day 4. Lanzhou - Xiahe

Special Experience: Today we cruise along the Yellow River to see the Bingling Temple, which is 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]

Day 5. Xiahe

Special Experience: Begin the day at the most important Tibetan Buddhist monastery outside of Tibet, Labrang Monastery, characterised by its white walls and gilded roof with views out over the city.

Later we travel to the site of Bajiao, an old Chinese village inhabited by Tibetans. [B,L

Day 6. Xiahe - Lanzhou - Jiayuguan

This morning we return to Lanzhou where we board the fast train to Jiayuguan. [B,L]

Day 7. Jiayuguan - Dunhuang

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]

Day 8. Dunhuang

Special Experience: 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]

Day 9. Dunhuang - Turpan

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]

Day 10. Turpan

Special Experience: Venture out into the Silk Road's vast open expanses this morning in the Turoq 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]

Day 11. Turpan - Urumqi

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, it 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]

Day 12. Urumqi - Kashgar

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]

Day 13. Kashgar

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]

Day 14. Kashgar - Urumqi

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. We'll also visit the Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar before our group farewell dinner this evening. [B,L,D]

Day 15. Depart Urumqi

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 16. Arrive Australia