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China's Silk Road

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.Stone Forests & Terracotta WarriorsOur tour starts in Kumming, home to the amazing UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Forest. Here we explore dramatic tree-like limestone formations resembling a huge petrified forest. We also enjoy time at Cuihu, a stunning green lake known as "Jade in the Kuming". We fly to Xi'an next to see the world famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century, take time to explore the ancient city walls and visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda dating back to 652.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 Markets, Giant PandasOur adventure continues as we head to Kashgar to enjoy a 4WD over spectacular dunes and visit Kashgar's iconic Silk Road markets where famous explorers like Marco Polo once traded goods. We stop by the beautifully scenic Heavenly Lake at Urumqi before heading to our final destination, Chengdu, where we get up close to the amazing Giant Pandas - an experience to remember!

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to China. Taxes included
  • 5 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
  • Tipping payable locally, please allow approx. $125pp AU

Accommodation & Meals

  • 18 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • 18 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 2 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based guides
  • English-speaking national guide throughout (based on min. of 6 passengers)

Sightseeing

Discover the city of eternal spring, Kunming

  • Visit the Stone Forest near Kunming, famous for its dramatic and natural stone formations often in lifelike figures
  • Explore the beautiful Cuihu Park, the perfect place to sit and observe local life

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

  • Stop at the Terracotta Warriors factory before visiting the spectacular Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum, the most significant archaeological excavation of the 20th century
  • Stroll along the Ancient City Walls of Xi'an and visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built during the Tang Dynasty in 652
  • Visit Xi'an'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 en route 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Ancient shopping streets and the amazing Giant Pandas

  • See Jinli Old Street, one of the oldest shopping streets in Sichuan Province dating back 1,800 years ago
  • Visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda breeding
Tour Provider Bunnik Tours
Number of Days
21
Price From
AUD $10,795
Start Location
China
End Location
China
Age Range
Min :14
Group Size
4 to 20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Marine/Cruise, Relaxing
Physical Rating
Moderate
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
23 Jun 201813 Jul 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $10,600
21 Jul 201810 Aug 2018AvailableAUD $10,600
18 Aug 201807 Sep 2018AvailableAUD $10,600
15 Sep 201805 Oct 2018AvailableAUD $10,600
29 Sep 201819 Oct 2018AvailableAUD $10,600
13 Oct 201802 Nov 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $10,600
Itinerary
China's Silk Road

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

Day 1. Depart Australia
Day 2. Arrive Kunming

Welcome to China and the city of Kunming. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure before tonight's group welcome dinner. [D]

Day 3. Kunming

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]

Day 4. Kunming - Xi'an

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]

Day 5. Xi'an

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]

Day 6. Xi'an - Lanzhou

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]

Day 7. Lanzhou - Xiahe

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]

Day 8. Xiahe

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]

Day 9. Xiahe - Lanzhou - Jiayuguan

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

Day 10. 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 11. Dunhuang

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]

Day 12. 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 13. Turpan

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]

Day 14. 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, 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]

Day 15. 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 16. 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 17. 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. [B,L]

Day 18. Urumqi - Chengdu

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]

Day 19. Chengdu

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]

Day 20. Depart Chengdu

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 21. Arrive in Australia

Tour Operators