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Marco Polo`s Journey (16-Day Tour to Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xiahe, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar Tour)

Tour Code :ACSR004

Tour Destination :Silk Road

Tour Duration :16 days

Departure Date :Daily departure

Tour Type :Tour Package

Customizable :Yes

Highlights

Exciting trip in 11 cities of the Silk Road; you will cross China from West to East as Marko Polo did, explore the pecularities of China and understand what makes it unique and so attractive

Itinerary

Day 1  Arrive in Xi'an
Upon Arrival in Xi'an by flight or train (not included), greeted by local guide and transferred to hotel in Xi'an.


 
Day 2  Xi'an
Full day sightseeing: Ancient City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, Muslim Quarter.

- Ancient City Wall (30 minutes): The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City, it s surrounding the city centre.

 

   


- Shaanxi History Museum (1.5 hours): The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed.

 

   


- Muslim Quarter (1 hour): The Muslim quarters lies 100 meters west of the Bell tower in downtown Xi'an. The 500 meters long avenue paved by bluestones are dotted with many unique stall, souvenir shop, café and bars which are mostly run by Muslim people.

 

   


 
Day 3  Xi'an
Full day sightseeing: The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda

- The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses (2 hours): Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 B.C. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. There is also an excellent museum and film about the history of the vaults.

 

   


- Big Wild Goose Pagoda (1 hour): A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.


 

Day 4 Xi'an - Lanzhou by flight
Pick up from hotel and take flight for Lanzhou. Upon arrival, greeted and transferred to hotel in Lanzhou.
Half day sightseeing: Waterwheel Garden, White Pagoda Hill, Gansu Museum

- Waterwheel Garden (20 minutes): There are giant steel and wood, once used to lift precious water from the Yellow River to supply the needs of this dry region. There is also a chance to ride on a raft of inflated sheep skins. It is located on South Binhe East Road, the opposite side of the river from White Pagoda Hill, 1 km west of Zhongshan Bridge.

 

   

 

- White Pagoda Hill (1 hour): It is located on the north bank of the Yellow River in Lanzhou. It is named after the white pagoda on top of it, which was originally erected in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). A half hour climb (that could be shortened by a cable car ride over the Yellow River) offers a great view of Lanzhou and the surrounding mountains.

 

   

 

- Gansu Museum: The Museum houses 75,000 cultural relics, ranging from fossil to articles of historical and heritage significance. More than 110 pieces are rated of first class significance including Gansu color-painted pottery, and bamboo medication slips from the Han era. The most famous piece in the collection from the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) is a bronze Galloping Horse of Wuwei that is accompanied by an impressive array of chariots and carriages.
         
Day 5  Lanzhou – Xiahe by road
After breakfast, our guide and driver will escort you from Lanzhou to Xiahe, Songke Grassland

- Songke Grassland (30 minutes): Songke Grassland is located in southwest of Xiahe. Being a natural pasture of Tibetan nomadic peoples, Songke Grassland is famous for its superb grassland scenery.
       
Day 6   Xiahe – Lanzhou by road
Half day sightseeing: Labrang Monastery.
Afternoon, our guide and driver will escort you from Xiahe to Lanzhou

- Labrang Monastery (2 hours): Labrang Monastery, is one of the six important temples of Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the most important temple outside Tibet. It’s now home to over a thousand monks who have come to attend one of the six institutes of learning.

 

   


To tour the monastery, you must be accompanied by an English speaking monk from the monastery. The service is only available twice a day at 10:15am and 3:10pm. The guide will usually show you 6 halls. One of the most interesting stops is an exhibit of colorful sculptures — made of yak butter! The brightly colored sculptures, some more than 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall look more like Fimo clay than butter. They take two to three weeks to make, and are used in parades to celebrate Tibetan New Year.
 
Day 7  Lanzhou – Wuwei by road
Our guide and driver will escort you from Lanzhou to Wuwei.
Half day sightseeing including: Lei Tai, Wuwei Wen Temple (Wen Miao), Tiantishan Grottoes

- Lei Tai (2 hours): Leitai Han Tomb is located in north of downtown area in Wuwei. Being a large brick tomb of the late Eastern Han Dynasty, Leitai Han Tomb is famous for excavating the cultural treasure bronze galloping horse, which is the symbol of Chinese tourism. Now Leitai Han Tomb is one of important scenic spots in Wuwei.

 

   

 

- Wuwei Wen Temple (Wen Miao) (2 hours): Wuwei Wen temple is located in the southeast of the city. Wuwei Wen temple became key provincial level historical reservation approved by Gansu Municipal People's Government on September 1st, 1981.

 

   

 

- Tiantishan Grottoes (1.5 hours): The Tianfo Temple Grottoes is located in Dengshan Village of Zhonglu Town, which is 50kms south of Wuwei City. Tianfo Temple Grottoes, first constructed during Northern Liang of Sixteen Kingdoms Period and carved dynasties and dynasties, forms a grand-scale and owns much magnificent architecture. It is one of earliest grottoes carved in China and regarded as the "forefather of grotto" by researchers. The grotto still preservers 3-story grottoes, 17 different Buddhist shrines, hundreds of square meters of murals and over 100 painted Buddha.


   

Day 8  Wuwei – Zhangye by road
After breakfast, our guide and driver will escort you from Wuwei to Zhangye.
Half day sightseeing: Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty, Grand Buddha Temple

- Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty (30 minutes): Originally built in the Sui Dynasty and restored in 1926, the wooden tower is 9 storied with a height of about 40 meters. It is an essence among the wooden towers in China. Buddhist relics were once stored in this tower.

- Grand Buddha Temple (2 hours): The Grand Buddha Temple is located in Shandan County, Zhangye, 66 kilometers away from the east of Zhangye City. The largest indoor reclining Buddha of China – the Nirvan Buddha lies in this temple, which was built in Western Hsia period (1098). It is recorded that the premier of Western Hsia once discovered a Buddha covered by a bluish-green tile, thus the Grand Buddha Temple was initially built. The Giant Buddha Temple, in the southwestern corner of the Zhangye city, is home to China’s largest indoor reclining Buddha.
 
Day 9  Zhangye – Jiayuguan by road
After breakfast, our guide and driver will escort you from Zhangye to Jiayuguan.
Half day sightseeing: The Great Wall on the Cliff, The Jiayuguan Pass(including Great Walls Museum)

- The Great Wall on the Cliff (1.5 hours): This spot is 11 km northwest of Jiayuguan city center, and 7 km north of Jiayu Pass Fort. The Suspended Wall is part of the Great Wall. The wall there was built on a ridge with a gradient of 45 degrees. It is very steep and it looks as if it should fall down from the side of the mountain range, so people refer to this section of the Great Wall as "the Suspended Wall".

- The Jiayuguan Pass(including Great Walls Museum) (3.5 hours): The "First Pass Under Heaven" is at the western end of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Great Wall. It is the most magnificent and best-preserved pass among over a thousand Great Wall passes. This fort commands an awesome position straddling the Gansu corridor between two mountain ranges. The adjacent Great Wall Museum is full of artifacts tracing the history of the world's longest wall.

 

   
 
Day 10  Jiayuguan - Dunhuang by road,
After breakfast, drive to Dunhuang by road.
Half day sightseeing: Mogao caves, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Dunhuang)

- Mogao caves (3.5 hours): Tours of Mogao caves are conducted by a guide (English, German, French and Japanese speaking guides are available) who you will share with other tourists. There are about 30 caves open to the public, but usually the tour consists of 10 which provide a representation of the total. The selection is at the discretion of the guide.

 

   

Day 11  Dunhuang – Turpan by overnight train, Train No. 1043 (Liuyuan Railway Station - Turpan Railway Station) Dep 20:15 - Arr 04:46
Riding on a Camel, The Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Spring,
- Riding on a Camel: Riding a camel on the desert of the Singing Sand Mountains is a great experience. You can enjoy the beautiful wavy shapes of the smooth yellow dunes against the deep blue sky, and imagine you are traveling the ancient Silk Road. Step off the camel and listen for the singing of the sand.
- The Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Spring (2 hours): Crescent Spring (Yueya Quan) is in the Singing Sand Mountains (Mingsha Shan), 6 km (4 mi) south of Dunhuang. It is an oasis in the desert. The spring's name derives from the crescent-shaped lake formed by the spring water between two huge sand dunes. Although the area is very dry, the pool doesn't dry up as one might expect.

 

   

Evening take overnight train to Turpan.
 
Day 12   Arrival in Turpan
Upon arrival in Turpan train station, greeted and transferred to have breakfast firstly.

Full day sightseeing including Gaochang Ruins, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Pass through the Flaming Mountain, Local vineyard visit

- Gaochang Ruins (1.5 hours): The city's name means 'the King City'. It was founded during the first century B.C. and abandoned during the 15th century, an important point on the Silk Road. Ascending a height to enjoy a distant view, you can see the whole city in a plane shape of an irregular square, which is divided into three parts the exterior city, interior city and the palace city. The total area is about two million square meters.
Now the desert is reclaiming its own. Donkey carts can take you among the ancient ruins, some identifiable, others disappearing into the dust. A few are partly restored and the outlines of the outer, inner and palace cities are clear. This desolate, ancient city evokes an overwhelming sense of history and the march of time. There are no trees in this city so it will be very exposure in summer.

 

   

- Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (40 minutes): The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Caves is the rock-cut building with the most caves and frescos contents at most in Turpan area. It is located on the west cliffs of the Wood Valley of the Flame Mountain, 45 kilometers away from Turpan city. The history of the Caves is more early than Dunhuang but unfortunately that most murals were damaged by nature or by man-made.

 

   

- Pass through the Flaming Mountain (10 minutes): The Flaming Mountains, the hottest place in China, overshadow the cradle of the Turpan ancient civilization and oasis agriculture. They provide a spectacular backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan area, and have given rise to many legends and stories, such as the classic "Journey to the West".

 

   

- Local vineyard visit (40 minutes): Turpan is famous for growing grapes. The Grape Valley is very touristy so we'll arrange a visit to a local family run vineyard so that you get a real experience. They plant their grapes at the back of their house. It is a major source of income for local people. You will be able to walk around the farm and talk to local people to learn about their daily life.


   

Day 13  Turpan – Urumqi by road
After breakfast, our guide and driver will escort you from Turpan to Urumqi.
Half day sightseeing:  Boat for Cruise on the Heavenly Lake, Heavenly Lake,Erdaoqiao Market, The Xinjiang Museum.

- Boat for Cruise on the Heavenly Lake (40 minutes): It is a different way to visit Heavenly Lake by boat.
- Heavenly Lake: Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi) is a beautiful blue mountain lake. The blue lake water is finely contrasted with steep forested hills, high meadows and snowy Heavenly Mountain peaks behind. There you can walk, take electric carts, cable cars and a boat cruise on the lake.

 

   

 

- Erdaoqiao Market (1 hour): The Erdaoqiao Bazaar is the largest in Urumqi. You'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and almost anything that you can imagine. On Sunday, there are more stalls and more goods to buy than any other day. The old streets around the bazaar are really worth seeing. Here is the most welcomed place by tourist especialy by ladies where they can buy some traditional yugur make up cosmetic.

 

   


- The Xinjiang Museum (2 hours): The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum has collections of silver works of art, stone steles, coins and currency, ceramics, wooden articles, and paintings. One of the highlights is the well-preserved collection of 4,000-year-old corpses, unearthed along the Silk Road. A modern-style building occupying 11,000 square meters, it is located on Xibei Road, 2 km north of People's (Renmin) Park.

 

   

Day 14  Urumqi – Kashgar by flight
Pick up from hotel and take flight to Kashgar. Upon arrival, greeted and transferred to hotel in Kashgar.
Afternoon sightseeing including Id Kah Mosque, Zhiren Street.

- Id Kah Mosque (40 minutes): This 15th century mosque is one of the largest and busiest in China. At midday on Fridays around 10,000 people will gather to pray and study the Koran, and prayer 5 times/day on other days. You'll be asked to remove your shoes before entering the Main Hall, which has traditional Islamic pillars, carvings and rugs strewn over the floors. Women are adviced to cover upper arms and legs, a scarf is not compulsory, but is seen as a mark of respect. This is a must visit place for tourist in Kashgar.

 

   

- Zhiren Street (1 hour): It is close to Id Kah Mosque, an old street with an amazing range of goods being crafted for sale by hand , from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. There's not much light industry in Kashgar, so everything is hand-made or imported from a very distant place. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewellery and other goods are seen to be made and you will marvel at incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.
 
Day 15  Kashgar – Urumqi by afternoon flight
Full day sightseeing: Abakh Khoja Tomb, Kashgar Old Town

- Abakh Khoja Tomb (40 minutes): It is a tiled mausoleum holding the tomb of Abakh Khoja, who is a revered sufi preacher and political leader in the 17th century. There are 58 other tombs remaining of the original 72, including that of 'the Fragrant Concubine', a descendant of Abakh Khoja , who was so loved by the Emperor Qianlong that he even built her a special Uighur style house in the Forbidden City. Her body was brought back to Kashgar by her sister-in-law, according to Uighur custom. This is a must visit place for tourist in Kashgar .

 

   

 

- Kashgar Old Town (1 hour): Kashgar is an ancient city, and in walking the streets of its Old Town, will provide a sense of what this legendary Central Asian hub was like in the days when the Silk Road was at its zenith. 500-year old remnants of the city wall, narrow lanes and colorful multi-ethnic crowds combine to make Kashgar's historic district a highlight of any visit to the city.

 

   

 

Transfer to airport and take afternoon flight back to Urumqi. Met and transferred back to hotel in Urumqi.
 
Day 16  Urumqi Departure
Pick up from hotel and transfer to airport for departure.

 

Hotels in Use:
Golden Flower by Shangri-la

Add: No. 8 Changle West Road, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province
Tel: (029)83232981

Lanzhou Sunshine Hotel
Add: NO.428, Qingyang Road, Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 0086-931-4608888

Xiahe Labrang Civil Aviation
Add: No.12 Renmin East Street, Xiahe County.
Tel: 86 941 7128888

Wuwei Xiliang Hotel
Add: NO.58, Jianshe South Road, Chezhan Street, Wuwei City
Tel: 86 935 5965599

Zhangye Tianyu International Hotel
Add: Ganquan Wenhua Square, Xiaoshizi, South Street, Ganzhou District, Zhangye
Tel: 86 936-8860330

Holiday Square Hotel
Add: No.1799 South Wenhua Road, Jiayuguan City, Gansu province
Tel:0937-6768807

Grand Soluxe Hotel
Add: No. 1339 Yanguan Zhong Road, Dunhuang City, Gansu Province
Tel: (0937)8862888

Turpan Huo Zhou Hotel 
Add: Shui Yun Plaza, Donghuan Road, Turpan, Xinjiang 838000
Tel:(86 -995)8666999

Urumqi Cinda Hoi Tak Hotel Xinjiang
Web: www.hoitakhotel.com
Add: No.1 Dong Feng Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China  
Tel: (86-991) 2322828

Kashgar Tianyuan International Hotel 
Add: No.8 Eastern Renmin Road, Kashgar, Xinjiang 
Tel: (86-998)2801111

Inclusion & Exclusion

Inclusions:
1. Transportation between cities: Xi’an - Lanzhou by airplane, Dunhuang – Turpan by overnight train (soft sleeper) & Urumqi – Kashgar round way by airplane;
2. Private transportation in each city;
3. Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast;
4. Buffet breakfast and Chinese-style lunch & dinner;
5. Excellent tour guide and driver;
6. Entrance fees to all tourist sites as listed in the tour itinerary;

Exclusions:
1. Tips to tour guides and drivers;
2. Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary.

Travel Tips

1. The tour program or listed hotels is subject to change before the tour booking done.
2. For the children at age <3, the land tour is free of charge if sharing one bed/seat with parents in hotels. For any air tickets included, the children need to pay actual cost charged by airline compay.
For any question on price for kids, please contact us to get more details.
3. Please leave us message through inquiry form, if you have any question. We are very glad to help you tailor China travel to fit your requests.

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