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Silk Road Discovery Tour / 17 Days and 16 Nights

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 17 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 10 people
Destination(s): China  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Archeology/History  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2362 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 5000 US Dollar (USD)

Follow us to go through China's history by visiting the historical wonders, Buddhism temples, beautiful Chinese classical architectures and historical ruins. Experience the Moslem style weekly Great Sunday Bazaar, known as "the pearl on the Ancient Silk Road". Finish this wonderful trip by visiting the biggest and modern city Shanghai.

Your Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive at Beijing. Arrive at Beijing, the capital of China. To be met at the airport then transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 2: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City / Temple of Heaven. Depart from your hotel in the morning to have city tours to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolical heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people. Have a free walk there, imagining the great historic events of the 20th century that took place there. You will also see legendary landmarks including the Great Hall of the People and the towering 125 foot granite obelisk, Monument to the People's Heroes, honoring those who died in revolution. Walking across the Golden River Bridge, enter the Forbidden City, the inner sanctum and palace where for centuries Chinese emperors ruled their world. It has a 9000-room maze of courtyards, palaces, and ceremonial halls, where 24 emperors used to live. The Forbidden City was indeed a forbidden place, where commoners were kept out for nearly 500 years. Tour the palace and imagine the mystery, intrigue and incredible power that reigned here. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Temple of Heaven. Built in the 15th century, it was a sacred site for ancient Beijing, where the emperor and his 1000 member entourage would retreat twice a year for religious rituals. Surrounded by enormous grounds designed in accordance with fengshui, the Temple complex consists of the Celebrated Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail. It is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture.

Day 3: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall / Ming Tombs / Spirit Way. Depart from your hotel after breakfast. Spending about 1.5 hours to be transferred outside the city to the surrounding countryside to visit the Badaling Great Wall, one of the most remarkable feats of mankind, built over 2,000 years ago. You will be able to climb and walk one of the best preserved sections of the ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountains scenery. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the fabled Ming Tombs, the resting places of thirteen emperors and their splendid treasures. Passing down the Spirit Way, a road lined with statues of dignitaries, as well as huge elephants, lions, camels and horses, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors. Visit one of the spectacular tombs-Dingling-featuring an underground palace.

Day 4: Beijing - Xian (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Beijing / Summer Palace. In the morning visit visit the Summer Palace. Built in 1888, it was once a summer retreat and the imperial for emperors. Have a lakeside cruise on lovely Kunming Lake, enjoy the magical views of the hills, bridges and pagodas that grace the Palace grounds. After lunch, take an afternoon flight to Xian. To be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 5: Xi'an (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Full day private tours to Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses / Bell Tower /Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Today will be your highlight in Xian. Depart from your hotel after breakfast. To be transferred outside the city to visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. It has been regarded as The 8th Wonder Of The World! Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang in search of immortality, ordered the construction of a vast army of 8,000 life-sized Terra -cotta warriors and buried with him to protect his empire after his early death. They were discovered accidentally in 1974 by farmers digging a well. For history lovers, the sight is truly breathtaking. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Bell Tower,which is the most well-preserved and best-known one among many ancient cities of China. The Bell Tower was originally built in the Yingxiang Temple in 1384, at the intersection of West Street and Guangji Street. Then in 1582, it was moved to its present pivotal position, in the very heart of the city at the junction of four main streets extending to the east, south, west and north, for rebuilding and later restorations. With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant. After coming back to the city, have another tour to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of the Xian city, as one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist Da-Ci-En Temple, the pagoda is one of the most distinctive and outstanding landmarks of Xian.

Day 6: Xi'an - Dunhuang (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Xian / Shaanxi Provincial Museum / Old City Wall / Hangyang Tomb. Have a city tour to visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in the province. It is also the fist national-level grand museum equipped with modern facilities. It exhibits primarily historical relics of past dynasties and displays precious art treasures and stone carvings of the Han and Tang dynasties. Walking through the exhibits in the museum is like walking through a 3,000 years of Chinese history. After having lunch at the local restaurant, visit the Old City Wall. It is the most complete surviving city wall in China as well as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). On the way to Xian airport, visit Hanyang Tomb. It is the Jing Emperor's tomb in Han Dynasty which was opened in 2001 and is famous for its rich collections of different kinds of tombs. Take the afternoon flight to Dunhuang. To be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 7: Dunhuang (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tours to Yumenguan Pass / Great Wall of the Han Dynasty / Hecang Fortress / Yangguan Pass. In the morning visit Yumenguan Pass, formly as one of the west gates out of the country during the Han Dynasty (206 B. C. -220 A. D.). It is quite ruined by the shifting sands but still shows its past splendor. Then visit the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty. Though made of clay and bulrushes, the wall still remains intact. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Hecang Fortress. Supplies like food and wine were transported here from nearby towns to be stored for the armies that guarded the Yumen Guan Pass. Then be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 8: Dunhuang - Turpan via overnight train ( Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Dunhuang / Mogao Grottoes / Crescent Moon Lake / Dunes of the Singing Sands. After breakfast, visit the Mogao Grottoes. Located 25 km southeast of Dunhuang, at the edge of the Gobi desert in north-west China, these grottoes are filled with one of the most extensive and exquisite collections of Buddhist paintings and sculptures in the world. Every surface of the walls and ceilings is covered with painted clay stucco, some 45,000 square metres in all: graceful acrobats of the sky scatter flowers and garlands, while dancers and musicians celebrate the beauties of the Buddhist Pure Lands; row upon row of miniature images of the Buddha, subtly varied in coloring or dress, adorn virtually every cave, and give the site its popular name of the Caves of the Thousand Buddha. The Dunhuang caves remain one of the most perfectly preserved of the world's great religious sanctuaries. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit Crescent Moon Lake. It is 6 kilometers (3.73 miles) south of the center of Dunhuang, near the Dunes of Singing Sands, and is said to be the point where the oasis meets the desert. Crescent Moon Lake is a natural spring-fed pond measuring about 240 meters from east to west, and 50 meters from north to south. Today it has an average depth of about 2.4 meters, although in past times all of the dimensions of the lake were larger. In all of the years the desert has never filled up the lake. This was maybe due to the pattern of the winds, or maybe magic or the gods. Then visit the Dunes of the Singing Sands. Located 6 kilometers south of Dunhuang city, the Dunes of the Singing Sands (Mingshashan) offers the very finset picture-book desert scenery. The dunes, surrounded by rolling ridges and precipitous cliffs, reaches a relative height of 250 meters. You can get to the top by riding camels, bicycles, or hiring a taxi. A wonderful view across the rolling desert sands towards the oasis comes to your sight after reach the top. When sliding down the sands, it will make a rumbling sound, lke the sound of thunder or a drum-roll as the wind sweeps across the sands. In the evening, catch the overnight train to Turpan.

Day 9: Turpan (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tour to the Ancient City of Gaochang / Astana Tombs / Flaming Mountain. In the morning, visit the Ancient City of Gaochang. The city's name means "the King City". It was laid in the first century B.C. and abandoned roughly in the 15th century. Then visit Astana Tombs, cemetery of the ancient people of the Gaochang. It is famous for its terra-cotta figurines and tomb paintings. After lunch, visit the Flaming Mountain. Crustal movements and years of efflorescence have created its unique geological features. When the sun's rays beat down in mid-afternoon, the red rocks on the crisscross gullies and ravines reflect and the heat is intense as if the hillsides were engulfed by tongues of fire, hence the name.

Day 10: Turpan - Urumqi via private car or coach (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Turpan / Karez Well / Emin Minaret / Grape Valley. Check out and depart from your hotel to visit the Karez Well. It is an irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels and is considered as one of the three great ancient engineering projects in China. Then visit the Emin Minaret. It was built in 1777 to commemorate and praise the ruler of Turpan, Emin Khoja, who achieved brilliant military success in suppressing the armed rebellion. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Grape Valley. Grape Gorge, with its shady vineyards and fruit-laden trees, provides you with a welcome place of relaxation amidst hundreds of square miles of sand. Be transferred to Urumqi, free at leisure in the evening.

Day 11: Urumqi (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tour to Southern Pasture / Khazak Yurts. Depart from your hotel after breakfast to visit the Southern Pasture. Located in the valley of Tian Mountain, the pasture is a very beautiful place of grazing herbs, with mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and cypress and pine trees. Then visit the Khazak Yurts. Of the three main types of yurt in use today, Khazak yurts, with a bent-wood roof and crown, are mainly used by Uygur people. Be transferred to back to your hotel.

Day 12: Urumqi - Kashgar ( Meals: B/L). Sightseeing:Urumqi / Heavenly Lake. In the morning, visit Heavenly Lake. The lake is 1900 meters above sea level. It is particularly refreshing for travelers arriving in Urumqi from the barren deserts in Xinjiang. After lunch, to be transferred to airport and take the afternoon flight to Kashgar. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 13: Kashgar - Urumqi ( Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Kashgar / Idigar Mosque / Abakh Khoja Tomb. Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit the Idigar Mosque, built in 1426. It is the largest mosque in Xinjiang and the centre of Moslem activities. Then visit the Abakh Khoja Tomb, which served as the family tomb of Abakh Khoja, the powerful ruler of Kashgar in the 17th century who was revered as a prophet and second only to Mohammed. Take evening flight back to Urumqi. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 14: Urumqi - Shanghai (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Urumqi / Bazaar. Check out and depart from your hotel in the morning and visit the Erdaoqiao Bazaar, the largest Uygur bazaar in Urumqi. Here, you'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and more. After lunch take the afternoon flight to Shanghai.

Day 15: Shanghai (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Full day private tour to The Bund / Yu Garden / Jade Buddha Temple. After breakfast, visit the Bund. Have a stroll along the waterfront to experience the smells, sights and sounds of the old "Wall Street" in Shanghai. Banks, trading houses, residences, hotels and clubs all had a view of bustling Huangpu River traffic as they shared in the city's rising and falling fortunes. Then walk along the famous shopping street-Nanjing Road. It is said that shopping in Shanghai is the most varied and rewarding in China. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Yu Garden. This delightfully restored labyrinth of tiny specialty shops and tea and snack houses centered around a Ming-dynasty Mandarin Suzhou-style garden is a fascinating spot to people-watch over a pot of tea, to shop for unique souvenirs and to get a feel for Old Shanghai. It is well worth a meander through the Yu Garden, which has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools and flora, all connected by corridors and passageways. Follow with the Jade Buddha Temple. Built in 1911, it is the most famous and one of the most active Buddhist temples in Shanghai. Named for its two bejeweled white jade Buddhas, one is a 1,000 kg, 1.9 meter-high figure carved from Burmese jade brought to China in 1882, and the other is a smaller reclining Buddha; the temple receives thousands of visitors and worshipers daily. Although Chinese New Year and the Buddha's birthday are the most popular times to visit the temple for the faithful, it is possible to witness ceremonies at other times. Be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 16: Shanghai (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tours to The Shanghai Museum / Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Depart from your hotel to visit the Shanghai Museum. As a museum of ancient Chinese art, the Shanghai Museum possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works of art. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy is specially celebrated in the world. The present Shanghai Museum has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls. After having lunch at a nice local restaurant, visit the Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower. At 468 meters high (1,536 feet), the tower is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the world as well as the tallest structure in Asia. It is the best place to have a bird's-eye view of Shanghai. With its unique and amazing design, it has become the new landmark of Shanghai and a big magnet for tourists. The viewing area is half-way up and offers a splendid, unparalleled view of the Bund and the emerging new modern Shanghai. The view of Shanghai from this height fills you with wonder at the beauty that surrounds you. Be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 17: Depart Shanghai for next city (Meals: B). Free at leisure until transferred to the airport for next city.

Price Includes:
- Hotel accommodations with breakfast as specified (but hotels are subject to change to the same category before finally confirmed.
- All meals as specified in the itinerary.
- Transfers among airports & hotels as specified in the itinerary by private car or coach with driver & English-speaking guide.
- Entrance fees for sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary with English speaking guide.
- Domestic flights, trains or buses as specified in the itinerary.
- Domestic airports departure taxes have been charged with the flight tickets.
- Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
- Arrangements for the planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Excludes:
- Any meals which are not included in the "The trip price includes."
- Single Room Supplements (as the above quotation for accommodation is based on twin sharing room).
- International air and train tickets for coming to & leaving mainland China. Air tickets or train tickets not specified in the itinerary on the first arrival day and last departure day.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
- Personal expenses: Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips to guides or drivers, FAX, telephone, excess baggage charges, or sightseeing or meals which are not included in the day-to-day itinerary.
- Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
- Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.
- Visa fees.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

* Prices are subject to change without notice.