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The Great Silk Road Across the Taklamakan Desert

The Great Silk Road Across the Taklamakan Desert

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 8 people
Destination(s): China  
Specialty Categories: Desert Expeditions   Cultural Journey  
Season: May - September
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 1590 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1590 US Dollar (USD)

"Go in and never come out", the literal translation of the Taklamakan Desert, is an apt description of the dangers caravan traders on the Silk Road once faced. For those who wish a more complete trip along the Silk Road, a Northern extension can be arranged through Turpan and ending in Dunhuang.

In fact, the Silk Road is not one continuous route, but a collection of caravan trails that stretch from Xiian in the East to multiple destinations across Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Although we undertake this excursion in the comfort of air-conditioned vehicles, travelers must be prepared for long days of driving. However, this allows us to visit lesser known sites along the Silk Road that were once only accessible by camel caravan. We shop in local bazaars, rest at remarkably green oasis outposts, visit the ruins of a 5th century Buddhist temple, and camp in the desert to awake to a stunning sunrise.

This journey is a demanding one - the accommodations are standard, the driving is tedious, and the cuisine, while exotic, is repetitive. Nevertheless, the rewards are immense, as we learn about a culture markedly different from the Chinese, travel through stunning desert vistas more appropriate to Central Asia and the Middle East, and discover the treasures of silks, jades, and spices that made this road famous.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Fly to Urumqi. On arrival, we visit Xinjiang Regional Museum. Then take a evening flight to Kashgar.

Day 2: Whole day is set aside to explore Kashgar Sunday Market, livestock market and numerous jade and carpet workshops.

Day 3: Kashgar to Khotan via Yarkand (Shache). Explore Zawa Monday Market en route.

Day 4: Khotan to Tazhong via Minfeng. Visit Niya Ancient Town. For tonight, we will camp in the Taklamakan Desert.

Day 5: Drive across the Kaklamakan Desert to reach Kucha.

Day 6: Visit Kizilya Grand Canyon and Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves.

Day 7: Fly back to Urumqi.

Day 8: Fly out Urumqi.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- All 4-star hotel accommodations based on double occupancy, including tax and service
- All meals as stated in the itinerary highlighting the local cuisine with water, tea, coffee, local beer, and soft drinks.
- Group airport arrival and departure transfers
- All ground transportation in private air conditioned vehicle with bottled water and snacks on coach
- All sightseeing, entrance fees
- Services of local guides, site experts, and other support personnel.

Price Excludes:
- International airfare
- Any en route stopovers, hotels, and meals to and from China
- Excess baggage charges and airport taxes
- Passport and visa fees
- Items of a personal nature such as, laundry, mail, phone calls, faxes, spa treatments, hard liquor
- Normal level of gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Trip cancellation, travel delay or baggage insurance.

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Asia   China   Outdoor: Land Rambler   Desert Expeditions   Cultural Journey