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16 Days Adventurous Silk Road with Splendid Tibet Odyssey

Tour Route: Beijing-Urumqi-Kashgar-Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang-Xian-Lhasa

Home>China and Tibet Tours>16 Days Adventurous Silk Road with Splendid Tibet Odyssey

Trip Overview:

Explore the most “inland” region in the world. Immerse yourself in Uygur minority culture. Follow in the footsteps of ancient merchants along the historic international trade route. Enjoy the spectacular and intriguing desert scenery. Marvel at the never-ending landscapes and unique culture and folklores of Tibet.

  • Tour Code:
    TTO-TT-BXDXL16
  • Max Altitude:
    3,650 m
  • Tour Type:
    Private tour with private guide and vehicle
  • Phisycal Demand:

    Phisycal Demand Level Guide:
    1. Easy (1 point) - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
    2. Moderate (2-3 Points) - suitable for those having average level for fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 years.
    3. Moderate to Strenous (4 Points) - suitable for those physically fit and have experiences of high altitude trekking.
    4. Strenuous (5 Points) - suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.

  • Season:
    springSpringSummerSummerautumnAutumn

Hightlights:

  • Tour Beijing including Tian'anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tomb, Olympic National Stadium,i.e. Bird's Nest, and Summer Palace
  • Fly to Urumqi, and explore the lively Sunday Market, Id Kah Mosque, Old Street of Kashgar, Abakh Khoja Tomb and visit Jiaohe Ruins,Karez Well, Sugong Pagoda, Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave and the Flaming Hill
  • Take train to Dunhuang and tour Mogao Caves, Dunhuang Museum, the Echoing-Sand Mountain and endless Gobi desert
  • Fly to Xian, and tour Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and City Wall, Great Mosque
  • Fly to Lhasa, and begin Tibet Tour. Tourists are about to visit many well-known religious sites like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monastery and stroll on vibrant Barkhor Street

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

The prelude of your exciting China tour starts when you meet our professional local guide at Beijing Airport after reclaiming your luggage and clearing the customs. The guide will accompany you in a comfortable vehicle to the hotel and help you with the check-in procedure. The rest of the day is left for you to have a good rest or to become familiar with our capital city by yourself. 

Day 2: Beijing Sightseeing

Today your tour officially starts. First you will meet your group members at the hotel lobby and have a short meeting with the guide. Then head to the first stop today, the impressive Tian'anmen Square, which is the biggest urban city square in the world. Nowadays, many constructions of great historical importance have been built on and around it.  From there you will enter the "Imperial Palace" known as the Forbidden City to explore its many fascinating halls and pavilions.

Here, you will not only get to know how the emperor handled political affairs and lived their lives, but also appreciate numerous ancient art treasures. In the afternoon, you will go to the Temple of Heaven, the place where the emperors worshipped the heaven for good harvests. As the dwelling of the God of Heaven, it covers an area even larger than the dwelling of the emperor, Forbidden City. To round off a memorable start to your travel, we will arrange a lively and dramatic Chinese Kung Fu Show at the Red Theater.

Day 3: Beijing Sightseeing

This morning you will be taken to Badaling where you will experience at first hand the wonder of the Great Wall. Standing on the wall and looking at it stretching up and down into boundless distance is an exciting experience and will leave you a life-long memory. To celebrate and commemorate this moment, we specially provide red wine for a group-toasting on the Great Wall. Later the journey will take you to the Sacred Way and the Ming Tomb in the peaceful shadow of Longevity Mountain. The Sacred Way is a road in the front of the body part of the imperial necropolises, which means the road leading to the heaven.

Among all the existing Sacred Ways, the one of the Ming Tomb is the best preserved and complete. Although it has a history of more than 600 years, the Ming Tomb has been perfectly preserved. The encircled mountains, meandering river and grand mausoleum architecture have formed a majestic and large-scaled mausoleum group of integrate structure. To conclude the full day visit you will have a glance at the Bird‘s Nest (Olympic National Stadium) en route to downtown. 

Day 4: Beijing Sightseeing & fly to Urumqi

Your first stop today is the Summer Palace - the existing largest imperial garden with graceful landscape and magnificent constructions. The site is divided into three areas: the area for political activities centering about Hall of Benevolence and Longevity; the residential area of royal family whose main architecture are Hall of Jade Ripples and Hall of Joyful Longevity; the sightseeing area mainly consisting of Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill.

Then, have a Hutong tour to experience the original Beijing culture by taking a special rickshaw riding through the various Hutongs and to know about Old Beijing's manners and customs.  Later afternoon you will board a flight to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Our guide will be waiting for you outside the Arrival Hall of the airport and escort you to the hotel in downtown.

Day 5: Fly Urumqi to Kashgar

You will board a morning flight to Kashgar - the pearl on the ancient Silk Road, described as “fruitful soil, cotton aplenty, and inhabitants who live by trade” by Marco Polo. Upon your arrival, our local guide will escort you to the local hotel in Kashgar. After a short rest, you will visit the famous Sunday Market, namely Sunday Bazaar, a famous local market which is considered the largest international trade market in northwest China. Traders at home and abroad come to purchase or sell all kinds of goods. The bazaar opens everyday in Kashgar, but the one on Sunday is the liveliest, as the whole community gets together.

Day 6: Fly Kashgar to Urumqi

Today's tour starts from the Id Kah Mosque, a 500-year-old important mosque for the locals. There you will see the typical Islamic architecture like domes, minarets and arches, as well as pious prayers. Just a few minutes' walk, you will come to the Old Street of Kashgar. The maze of narrow alleys and traditional houses built with earth or bricks may give you the illusion of walking into the ancient Kashgar.

The last stop in Kashgar will be the Abakh Khoja Tomb, which is an ancient Islamic building complex and a cemetery where five generations of a famous Islamic master were buried. You will see the largest dome architecture of Xinjiang in the east of the cemetery. Then you will board a return flight to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Our guide will be waiting for you outside the Arrival Hall of the airport and escort you to the hotel in downtown. Evening and dinner are free to explore the city on your own.

Day 7: Drive Urumqi to Turpan

Drive to Turpan in the morning, upon arrival you will visit Jiaohe Ruins, which is one of the most important towns along the ancient Silk Road. It is also the largest, oldest and best-preserved earth construction in the world. Although 2,000 years have passed, the former glory of Jiaohe can still be found from the ruins.

Then you will visit the famous Karez Well, the gigantic underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. Over 1,100 Karez Wells in Turpan have provided precious water source to this dry and hot area during the past 400 years. The next stop will be the existing largest ancient pagoda in Xinjiang, Sugong Pagoda. The pagoda is a 44-meter-high (144 feet) Islamic pagoda, which bears a history of over 200 years. 

Day 8: Turpan Sightseeing & board overnight train to Dunhuang

Today you will visit another famous ruin in Turpan, Gaochang Ruins, which used to be the capital of ancient Gaochang Kingdom. From the outline of the ruins, you can still find the trace of many former buildings, like temples, markets and palace. Then you will go to the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, a cluster of caves with thousands of Buddhism murals.

The vivid murals show many Buddhism figures, stories, and the social life about 1,000 years ago in Ancient Gaochang Kingdom. The last stop will be the hottest place in China, the Flaming Hill, which is located at the north of ancient Silk Road. Nothing grows on the hill and the highest temperature of summer could reach 47.8 C (118 F). Seen from afar, the Flaming Hill resembles a red fire dragon flying upward. Afterwards, you will board an overnight soft sleeper train to Dunhuang.

Day 9: Dunhuang Sightseeing

Breakfast is on your own. Upon your arrival, our guide will meet you at Liuyuan railway station and escort you to the hotel in Dunhuang. It will take about two hours' drive from Liuyuan Station to Dunhuang. After a short rest in the hotel, visit the famous Mogao Caves, which is one of the four most famous caves in China. Known as the “Oriental Louvre”, the Mogao Caves not only boasts a large number of vivid Buddhism murals, statues and architecture, but also is renowned as the treasure house of Buddhism culture. Then continue your trip to Dunhuang Museum, where you will get a better understanding of the Silk Road from the exhibited historical relics.

Day 10: Dunhuang Sightseeing & fly to Xian

Today you will visit one of the most famous attractions along the Silk Road, the Echoing-Sand Mountain. It is so named because when you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands. You will experience a short camel ride along the mountain to reach the Crescent Lake. It is really a natural wonder that the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert has not dried up over the past one thousand years and still gushes with fresh current. Then you will board a flight to Xian. Our guide will meet you and escort you to the hotel in downtown.

Day 11: Xian Sightseeing

The visit to the majestic Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum will start your day's trip. In the museum, there are altogether three excavated pits exhibiting amazing warrior figures and Chinese ancient weapons. No wonder a great site to learn about Chinese ancient military affairs. At noon, a special homely cooked a la carte lunch will be served to you at a local people's home.

It is a good chance for you to experience close contact with the local people and will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.  In the afternoon, visit one of the landmarks of Xian, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Originally built to collect Buddhist scriptures, now the pagoda has been a symbol of this ancient capital city. Later, our guide will take you to the Provincial History Museum, China's most comprehensive museum exhibiting ancient China in all aspects. 

Day 12: Xian Sightseeing

Pay a visit to the City Wall in the morning. Originally built as military defensive systems in the Ming Dynasty, at present, a garden has been built along the wall. Standing on it, you may see the local people doing morning exercises, singing, playing games. Or you could cycle on the ancient wall which is a special experience that many people like to try. In the afternoon, continue to visit the Great Mosque, a place where the local Muslims attend worship ceremony. You may have a glimpse of Xian Muslims' life here. This evening, you will enjoy a marvelous Tang Dynasty Dinner Show at the Tang Dynasty Palace. The show will take you back to 1400 years ago - the dreamy and glorious Tang Dynasty.

Day 13: from Xian to Lhasa by air

Take morning flight to Lhasa, and your Tibet journey starts with a warm Tibetan style greeting from your local tour guide who will present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). Then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. For most of the way, you follow the Kyichu River, you could see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags, and Tibetans walking beside the roads wearing their distinctive national costumes.

Do have a comfort stop near Nietang Buddha where a giant statue of Buddha has been carved out of a stone cliff-face centuries ago. One of the first buildings you could see as you enter the city is the Potala Palace, sitting majestically on a hill dominating Lhasa. Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.

Day 14: Lhasa highlights escorted tour

After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.

In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha. Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.

Day 15: Drepung and Sera Monastery

In the morning have a tour for Drepung, the ever largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.

The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.

Day 16: Finish this unforgettable tour

Free time at your disposal this morning, explore the bustling markets of the Barkhor to buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. After lunch, our guide will pick you up from the hotel and send you to the airport so that you can board the flight out after this pleasant tour. Alternatively, should you wish to stay on rather than return home right away, you could contact us and choose our other City Packages as an extension to your memorable adventure!

What’s included?

1.Tibet Entry Permit

2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;

3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;

4. Professional English speaking tour guide;

5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.

6.All measl listed in the itinerary;

7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance

What’s not included?

1. International flight to and out of China;

2. Chinese Visa

3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)

4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;

5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish

6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.

Trip Notes:

1. Tibet Travel Permit

Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.

In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.

2. Accommodation

Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.

We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.

3.Guiding and Tipping

Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.

Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.

4. Toilet

Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.

However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.

5. Tibet Weather

One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.

Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.

6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude

For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.

7. Other Dos and Don'ts

Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.

As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.

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