21 days 20 nights Beijing/Urumqi/Turpan/Kashgar/Dunhuang/Xi’an/Guilin/Shanghai/Hangzhou (PT21D-3)
As the capital of China, Beijing is one of the world’s truly imposing cities, with a 3,000-year history and 11 million people. Covering 16,808 square kilometers in area, it is the political, cultural and economic center of the People’s Republic of China. Situated in northeast China, Beijing adjoins the Inner Mongolian Highland to the northwest and the Great Northern Plain to the south. Five rivers run through the city, connecting it to the eastern Bohai Sea. Administratively, the Beijing municipality equals the status of a province, reporting directly to the central government. Rich in history, Beijing has been China’s primary capital for more than seven centuries. China’s imperial past and political present meet at Tiananmen Square, where the Forbidden City palace of the emperors gives way to the Great Hall of the People congress building and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong. The old city walls have been replaced by ring roads, and many of the old residential districts of alleys and courtyard houses have been turned into high-rise hotels, office buildings, and department stores. Beijing, a dynamic city where the old and new intermingle, remains a magnet for visitors from inside and outside China.
Story of Silk Road is fascinating and full of military conquest, fearless explorers, religious pilgrims and great thinkers, along with the humble tradesmen who risked life and limb for profit as they led their loaded caravans across dangerous deserts, mountains and steppes. Historical figures like Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane were all familiar with Silk Road which was established by 100DC. It lasted until 15th century when newly-discovered sea routes to Asia opened up.
This tour is focus on the ancient Silk Road of China. The Silk Road is a great East to West trade route and vehicle for cross-culture exchange started in the second century BC. It was first traveled by the adventure of Zhang Qian started the journey to the far West for the political contact with Yuezhi, a nomadic tribe, in 138 BC. But, it was only in 1870s that the geographer, Ferdinand von Richthofen gave the name by which we now know as the Silk Road. This road wriggle from Xi’an, cross Gansu, Xinjiang to ancient Middle East .
To the many merchants, wandering armies, and adventurers of our ancient civilizations, the Silk Road served as an important communication link between cultures and economies. During the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), this 5000-mile stretch of trade routes was possibly the world’s first “Internet,” linking Asia to Europe and Africa. Today one can travel the Silk Road and still find evidence of the people, ideas, and goods that traveled and transformed its links.
Two thousand years ago Urumqi was an important town on the northern route of the Silk Road, a vast network of trade routes that also facilitated cultural exchanges throughout Eurasia. Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is located in a green oasis between the lofty ice-capped Bogda Peak, the vast Salt Lake in the east, the rolling pine-covered Southern hill and the alternating fields and sand dunes of Zunggar Basin in the northwest. Urumqi has an average elevation of 800 meters and the city has an area of 10,989 km². The largest city in the western half of China, Urumqi is the most remote city from any sea in the world at a distance of about 1,400 miles from the nearest coastline In the Mongolian language of the Junggar tribe, Urumqi means “Beautiful Pasture.”
Turpan is an old city with a long history. Traces have been found of humans living there, dating as far back as 6,000 years ago. The city was known as Gushi in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD); and in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it got its name Turpan. Turpan means ‘the lowest place’ in the Uygur language and ‘the fertile land’ in Turkic. Lying in the Turpan Basin, the elevation of most of the places in the area is below 1,640 feet. Occupying an area of 6,076.5 square miles, Turpan, city with the lowest elevation in China, is located to the southeast of Urumqi. It has a population of 250,000, made up of 21 different nationalities. Among these the Uygurs account for over 70% of the total number. A key point on the Silk Road since ancient times, Turpan is a marvelous city blending Western and Eastern religions and culture together perfectly, and the city is known as a “natural museum of man and culture.”
The abundant sunshine of the hot summer days in Turpan give the melons and grapes ideal conditions to grow. The fruit here is widely known for its high sugar content, especially the grapes. Turpan is praised as the ‘Hometown of Grapes’ and the Grape Valley is a good place to enjoy the grapes of hundreds of varieties. Other attractions in Turpan include: Flaming Mountain, the hottest place in China; Emin Minaret, the largest ancient Islamic tower in Xinjiang; Jiaohe Ancient City; Bizalkik Thousand Buddha Caves; and Karez System, one of the four great irrigation system of China.
Kashi, short for Kashgar, was called Shule in ancient times and has a history of more than two thousand years. Kashgar is sited west of the Taklamakan Desert at the feet of the Tian Shan mountain range. Kashgar has been noted from very early times as a political and commercial center. The Kashgar oasis is where both the northern and southern routes from China around the Taklamakan Desert converge. It is also almost directly north of Tashkurgan through which traffic passed from Gandhara, in what is now northern Pakistan, and Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. The earliest mention of Kashgar is when the Chinese Han Dynasty envoy traveled the Northern Silk Road to explore lands to the west. Kashgar is home to an important Muslim community (Uyghurs). The area does not have the same high level of Han Chinese immigration as does Urumqi, which is strongly industrial. The city has a very important Sunday market. Thousands of farmers pour in from the surrounding fertile lands with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Kashgar’s livestock market is also very lively.
Serving as the westernmost fort of the early Tang Dynasty, Dunhuang was not only a key trading post situated on the “Silk Road” but also the military headquarters for the operations in the Western Regions. Foreign merchants and monks from the West as well as officials and soldiers from central China brought their own cultures to Dunhuang and made the trading center a cultural “melting pot.” The economic, military, political and cultural activities which took place at this cross-road provided the basis for the flourishing of one of China’s earliest Buddhist centers. Most Buddhist monks came to China from India and Central Asia by way of the Silk Road. As the westernmost Chinese station on the route, Dunhuang became the ideal place for these foreign monks to learn the Chinese language and culture before entering central China. Foreign monks and their Chinese disciples formed the earliest Buddhist communities at Dunhuang in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. Many Buddhist sutras were translated at Dunhuang and then distributed into central China. Although it was only a small oasis town located in the desert of northwestern China, Dunhuang became the site of the largest complex of ancient Chinese art. Particularly, the Mogao Caves, which are located in the gobi-desert 25 kilometers away from the city, consist of 492 caves with 25,000 square meters wall paintings and more than 3000 painted sculptures. These well preserved caves span a period of one thousand years, from the 4th to the 14th century, and visually represent with vivid detail the culture of medieval China. The discovery in 1900 of a secret library cave, which was sealed around the mid-11th century and remained untouched for nine hundred years, has further made Dunhuang an extremely important site for the studies of medieval Chinese civilization.
Xi’an is a city with incredible history, as well as a prosperous modern city. As the capital city of Shaanxi province, it holds a key position in the fertile plain between the highland plateau of the north and the Qinling Mountains to the south. Xi’an has been the capital of eleven dynasties for more than 2000 years. Along with Rome and Constantinople, this city played a vital role in bridging the gap between east and west. There are important sites and relics in this city. The Terracotta Army of Qin Emperor is regarded as the eighth wonder of the world.
The city of Guilin, named after the fragrance of osmanthus, built in Qin dynasty over 2000 years ago, prospering in Tang and Song, flourishing in Ming and Qing, is a world famous tourist city for its picturesque scenery, as well as a well-known cultural and historic city. Located in the subtropical zone, Guilin boasts a pleasant climate for sight-seeing throughout the four seasons. It is inhabited by 12 nationalities with a total population of 1,260,000. The typical Karst formation makes Guilin the prettiest wonder on earth which notables of all dynasties and heads of different states have been coming one after another to appreciate, all gasping with admiration:”Guilin is the most beautiful place in the world!” Today’s Guilin ranks second respectively on the list of China’s ten best scenic spots and that of China’ s top forty tourist spot. With her new appearance today, she is ready at any moment to bid you welcome.
Shanghai is China’s most comprehensive industrial and commercial city, ranking the first in population and population density. As a tourist city, it attracts travelers from both home and abroad by its commercial activity rather than scenic beauty. Shanghai is situated on the bank of the Yangtze River Delta, with East China Sea in the east and Hangzhou delta in the south. Housing a population of over 16 million at present, it was once a small town supported by fishing and weaving before the first Opium War. Late in 1990, the central government started developing the area, and has since become the well-known booming metropolis city.
Hangzhou was settled as early as 4,700 years ago, thus giving birth to the auroral Liangzhu Civilization. One of the seven ancient capitals and the key scenic tourism and historical culture cities in China, Hangzhou once was applauded as “the most splendid and luxurious city in the world” by Marco Polo, the Italian traveler in the 13th century.
|1||Arrive at Beijing. Transfer to Days & Suites Beijing Hotel for 3 nights stay. (D)|
|2||Full Day City Tour (Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven) (B,L,D)|
|3||Visit Badaling Great Wall & Summer Palace (B,L,D)|
|4||Beijing to Urumqi by air. Transfer to Urumqi Hoi Tak Hotel. Half day city tour (Hongshan park). (B,L,D)|
|5||In Urumqi Drive 60 miles northeast to Heavenly lake elevation 8,500 feet. Back in the city visit the Provincial Museum to view the incredible 2,000 year old mummies.Stay at Urumqi Hoi Tak Hotel (B,L,D)|
|6||In the morning, we will drive for 3 hours southeast from Urumqi to Turpan. On the way, we will pass the biggest windmill power station in Asia and Salt lake. Turpan is an Uighur town set in a large oasis surrounded by desert and dry mountains. Upon arrival, we visit the mysterious death city-the ruins of Jiaohe, which reveals traces of a prosperous ancient trading center and military stronghold at 1600 years ago. This city used to be the most frontal barrier at the west for the dynasties. Then we visit Ancient Karez, the underground water supply & irrigation system and its museum. Turpan is famous throughout China for its big and sweet grapes and gourds. We will visit the grape valley and enjoy fruits. Stay at Oasis Hotel, VIP Building (B,L,D)|
|7||Turpan / Urumqi by bus, Urumqi / Kashgar by air Morning visit Sugong Pagoda, The Flaming Mountain & Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Grottoes, and have our lunch at local family. We drive back to Urumqi in the afternoon and take the flight from Urumqi to Kashgar. Stay at Barony Hotel (B,L,D)|
|8||Kashgar / Urumqi
We visit Sunday Morning Moslems Pray. It is incredible that thousands of all Moslem kneel down on the streets and the squares facing to the temple. Then we visit the Sunday Bazaar, which is the largest outdoor market in the Mid-Asia. We Visit Temple & the tombs of Fragrant Concubine, the Old Town of Kashgar in the afternoon. The old town will bring you thousand years back to a paramilitary age. Stay at Urumqi Hoi Tak Hotel (B,L,D)
|9||Urumqi / Dunhuang by air We take a morning flight to Dunhuang In the afternoon visit the world wonder – Mogao Grottoes. Stay at Dunhuang Hotel VIP Building. (B,L,D)|
Today we drive 2 hours west forward across the desert to Yumen Guan (Jade Gate Pass) which was the west terminal of Great Wall built in Han Dynasty in 2100 years ago. After we return back to the city our sightseeing is to tour Moon Lake & Sander Sand by riding on camels to see the sunset. Stay at Dunhuang Hotel VIP Building (B,L,D)
|11||Dunhuang/Xi’an by air
Take morning flight to Xi’an. Half day City Tour (Shaanxi History Museum & City Wall). Transfer to Xi’an Sheraton Hotel for 2 nights stay. (B,L,D)
|12||Full Day Terra Cotta Tour (Terracotta Museum & Big Wild Goose Pagoda & Banpo Museum) (B,L,D)|
|13||Fly to Guilin. Transfer to Guilin Bravo Hotel. (B,L,D)|
|14||Full Day Li River Cruise. Transfer to Yangshuo Regency Holiday Hotel. (B,L,D)|
|15||Full Day Yangshuo. Transfer to Guilin Bravo Hotel. (B,L,D)|
|16||Fly to Shanghai. Transfer to Shanghai Hotel for 2 nights. (B,L,D)|
|17||Full Day Zhouzhuang Water Town tour (B,L,D)|
|18||Train to Hangzhou visit West Lake. Transfer to Shangri-La Hotel. (B,L,D)|
|19||Visit Linyin Temple. Train to Shanghai. Transfer to Shanghai Hotel for 2 nights stay. (B,L,D)|
|20||Full Day Shanghai City Tour (Shanghai Museum, Yu Yuan Garden, The Jade Buddha Monastery). (B,L,D)|
|21||Departure from Shanghai. (B)|
The price includes:
- Days & Suites Beijing Hotel Standard room for 3 nights, with ABF daily
- Urumqi Hoi Tak Hotel Standard room for 3 nights, with ABF daily
- Turpan Oasia Hotel Standard room for 1 night, with ABF daily
- Kashgar Barony Hotel Standard room for 1 night, with ABF daily
- Dunhuang Hotel Standard room for 2 nights, with ABF daily
- Xi'an Sheraton Hotel Standard room for 2 nights, with ABF daily
- Guilin Bravo Hotel Standard room for 2 nights, with ABF daily
- Yangshuo Regency Holiday Hotel Standard room for 1 night, with ABF daily
- Shanghai Hotel Standard room for 4 nights, with ABF daily
- Hangzhou Shang r i-la Hotel Standard room for 1 night, with ABF daily
All airport transfers
All entrance fees to all sightseeing
Private English Speaking tour Guide, and Driver
All domestic airfare (Economy Class)
- Beijing to Urumqi
- Urumqi to Kashgar
- Kashgar to Urumqi
- Urumqi to Dunhuang
- Dunhuang to Xian
- Xian to Guilin
- Guilin to Shanghai
Train Ticket ( Soft Seat)
- Shanghai to Hangzhou
- Hangzhou to Shanghai
This price excludes:
- Gratuities for the Guides and Drivers
- Incidentals in hotel such as dry cleaning, phone, mini bar
- Inbound and outbound international air
- Hotels used may be changed prior to tour but will be replaced with similar category of hotels
- Price and availability subject to change without notice until deposit is received