It is vacation time. For those adventurers who want an unforgettable trip this year, I have some great unique tours. And for those who are tired of frequent vacation trips with beach and sea, this can be an extraordinary adventure for them also.
Have you ever considered travelling part of the ancient global trade routes?
You all have heard about the Silk Road. But have you ever wished to go on the same route where Marco Polo traveled a long time ago? Now, your wish can come true with this unique Silk road tour.
Facts about the Silk Road
For those who barely have heard about the Silk Road, here are some essential pieces of information:
- The Silk Road has over 4000 km of roads, most of them are in China.
- The Silk road connects East Asia with Europe.
- The Silk Road was a major route for all traders with different goods.
- From East to West were traded silk, tea, precious stones, porcelain, spices, rice, etc.
- From West to East were traded horses, animal furs, animal skins, fruits, camels, even slaves, and weapons.
There is no trading nowadays, but the road still exists and is an excellent opportunity to be part of an adventurous tour.
Silk Road Tours
If you want to visit West China with all its cultural and historical landmarks, start the Silk Road Tour in Xi’an. Xi’an is the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Therefore it is an excellent opportunity to start this incredible adventure from here.
The first and second day of the Silk Road Tour
First, visit the Eighth Wonder of the World — The Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1970, it is one of the largest and most significant archaeological discoveries not only in China but also in the world.
This tour includes a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the holy place of Buddhists. Then you will go for a walk along the Xi’an City Wall, China’s oldest city wall.
Day three of the Silk Road Tour
On the third day of the tour, you will be taking a bullet train to Tianshui, the first significant city on Silk Road. You will visit the Maijishan Grottoes series of 194 caves containing over 7200 Buddhist sculptures and over 1000 cubic meters of murals. You will finish the day with a nice dinner in Lanzhou.
Day four and five of the Silk Road Tour
In the morning you start with a drive that takes about 4 hours to Xiahe. You will spend the day taking the beautiful grassland. You will visit the Tibetan family, where you can sample traditional Tibetan food.
The next day you will visit the Labrang Monastery, which is one of the six main Gelukpa monasteries in Tibet. The tour continues to Wuwei.
Day six of the Silk Road Tour
Another day of the tour begins with four hours of driving to Wuwei – a road fulfilled with amazing landscapes.
After arriving, you will explore the ancient Han culture. First stop will be the Leitai Han Tomb. Then you will see the famous bronze statue Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow, which is marked as one of the most important symbols for Chinese tourism.
Next for visiting will be the Wuwei Confucian Temple, which is the largest and best- preserved temple dedicated to Confucius in Northwest China.
The last sight for visiting on this day is the Tiantishan Grottoes, where you can see mural paintings dated back to more than 1600 years ago.
Day seven of the Silk Road Tour
For me, day seven is where the whole adventure begins on the tour. After you get to Zhangye, the first thing that you will visit is the Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty. A tower with unique octagon shaped structure. Ascending to the top, you will have a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding city. Then you will have a visit to the Grand Buddha Temple, which is the birthplace for Kublai Khan.
And the most stunning landscapes are the next visit! In the late afternoon, you will have a drive to Zhangye Danxia Landform National Geological Park. These remarkable landscapes have several names as like “the rainbow mountains”. The late afternoon is the perfect timing to see the landmarks in its true beauty. The sun reflects on the mountains and makes a whole range of vivid colors.
The eighth and ninth day of the Silk Road Tour
The tour continues to the Jiayuguan Pass and then to the Dunhuang. You will have a fantastic opportunity to visit the Jiayuguan Pass, which has a reputation as the Greatest Pass under Heaven. There is such extensive history for the Jiayuguan Pass — your guide will tell you more about it, and I am sure that you will listen with special attention. Next, you will visit the large group of tombs at Wei-Jin Art Gallery.
The next morning the tour will stop for visiting the Yulin Grottoes. The must visits are caves 3, 25, and 29 where the paintings are best-preserved as well as the largest in scale. After arrival in Dunhuang, you will explore the Shazhou Night Market.
Day ten of the Silk Road Tour
This day is booked for the most precious treasure of Buddhist art- the Mogao Grottoes. You can see the numerous murals and Buddha statues. You can admire at this art that is dated back to more than the 1500 year ago for a couple of hours and then you will head to the Mingsha Mountains where you can enjoy a camel riding to the Crescent Spring. From there you can enjoy at the beautiful sunset. The tour continues to Turpan.
Day eleven and twelve of the Silk Road Tour
After arriving in Turpan, your first destination for visiting will be Gaochang Ruins, an ancient city which was a primary stop along the Silk Road. The town is abandoned after the war, but still you can see the houses where the people lived years ago, the temples and the city wall.
After the traditional launch in Uyghur, you will drive to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, and on the way back the group will stop for a visit to the Flaming Mountains.
Next day of the tour, you can explore the Turpan and Jiaohe Ruins. At the end of the day, you will take a flight to Kashgar.
Day thirteen of the Silk Road Tour
On this day you will have a visit on the spectacular Karakul Lake. On the way, you will stop to visit the Opal Village, and then you will enter the Kunlun Shan Mountain range. Kunlun Shan Mountain range is one and perhaps the last unexplored place on earth.
Karakul Lake is lying at the foot of Mount Muztagata. You will have the opportunity to ride a horse by the lake or walk along the shore of the lake.
The last day of the Silk Road tour
The last day of this amazing tour is for exploring Kashgar and the monuments that can be seen only in this city. Don’t miss visiting the Abakh Khoja Tomb, which is a family graveyard that buried five generations of the Abakh Khoja. Afterward go to the famous Sunday Market where you can buy souvenirs, but also a fabric like traditional scarves or clothes.
Later that day you will the Id Kah Mosque, the largest and busiest one in China. Your tour will finish with a dinner with an Uyghur family.
I hope this article will make you think about taking your next journey along the Silk Road in China!
I think that this two week itinerary for a Silk Road Tour is enough to see all the beauties and unique places of the Silk Road. Of course, travel agencies offer other tours, some of them have a duration of six days, but some last for thirty days.
To experience the real Silk Road, choose a tour that on the one hand, will fit your leisure time, but on the other hand, the journey will visit all the most famous places and cities along the Silk Road.
Thanks to WindhorseTour for this guest post — check them out for your China tours!