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12-Day Silk Road Tour from Xian to Kashgar

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Bespoke This Itinerary

This itinerary is completely customizable and can be modified in any way. Select only the destinations you wish to visit, stay in accommodations that meet your preferences, engage in activities that pique your interest, have genuine experiences in lesser-known locales, take advantage of the insider knowledge of ICT Destination Experts, and design a trip that fits your budget. You dream it, we make it happen.
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Stretching 6,437 kilometers (4,000 miles) from Xian to Rome, the Silk Road took shape between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD and remained in use until the 16th century, linking multiple civilizations and facilitating far-reaching exchanges of activities in trade, religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, technological innovation, cultural practices and the arts. Following footsteps of Zhang Qian who opened up the Silk Road in 138 BC, This 12-Day Silk Road Tour takes you to visit Xian, Zhangye, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar. Xian is the ancient imperial capital of China and eastern departure point of the Silk Road. Zhangye boasts the Rainbow Colored Mountain, one of Allah’s creations mentioned in the holy Quran. Dunhuang is where the two branches of the Silk Road, running around the Tarim Basin on the north and on the south, converged. Jiayuguan is the western end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall of China. Turpan is famed as China’s hottest city. Get a glimpse of the Beauty of Loulan Mummy at Xinjiang Regional Museum. Locked away in the westernmost corner of China, Kashgar is the Uyghur capital of Xinjiang.

Highlights
  • Salat prayer at historical mosques during sightseeing
  • Meals (lunch & dinner) at hand-picked Halal restaurants
  • Exclusive private tour guide and private vehicle
  • Marvel at the life-sized Terracotta Warriors, considered the eighth wonder of the world
  • Salat at Xi’an Great Mosque, the largest ancient mosque of China
  • Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle Muslim Quarter of Xian to experience the life of Hui Muslims
  • Admire the towering Little Wild Goose Pagoda, landmark of Xian since it was built in 707
  • Stroll along Xian City Wall, one of the oldest and best-preserved Chinese city walls in the world
  • Admire the otherworldly Rainbow Colored Mountain, one of Allah’s creations mentioned in the holy Quran
  • Visit Mogao Caves, a complex of 492 grottoes representing the pinnacle of Chinese Buddhist art
  • Admire Crescent Lake, an oasis nestled in the colossal sand dunes of Dunhuang
  • Enjoy an exciting camel riding over Singing Sand Dunes in Dunhuang
  • Marvel at the awesome Jiayuguan Pass, the first pass on the western end of Ming Dynasty Great Wall
  • Devle into Wei Jin tomb murals depicting the real scenes of life in the Hexi Corridor, using comic strips
  • Step onto the rich and colossal Ruins of the Ancient City of Gaochang in Turpan
  • Pass by the surreal sight of the Flaming Mountains, a scorching set of red sandstone ridges
  • Admire the Central Asian-style Emin Minaret, intricately sculpted with traditional floral patterns
  • Explore Turpan's ingenious ancient Karez water system, one of the oldest irrigation systems in the world
  • Admire the awe-inspiring Heavenly Lake which is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list
  • Hike Red Hill for a breathtaking bird's-eye view of the hustle and bustle city of Urumqi
  • Visit Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum, home to 4,000 year old mummies
  • Admire the distinctive Islamic architecture of Abakh Khoja Mausoleum in Kashgar
  • Salat at Kashgar Id Kah Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Central Asia and the largest in China
  • Enjoy the vibrant bursts of color and sound at the famous Kashgar Grand Bazaar
Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Xian, Greet & Meet at Airport, Transfer to Hotel

Destination: Xian
Meals included: Dinner at Halal restaurant
Accommodations: Mercure Xian Downtown or similar

Your professional Muslim expert tour guide will meet you at the arrival hall of the airport with your private vehicle on standby and assists you to your hotel. Relax at hotel to recover from the jet lag.

Day 2 Terracotta Warriors & Reproduction Factory, Great Mosque, Muslim Quarter

Destination: Xi’an
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Salat prayer: Xian Great Mosque
Accommodations: Mercure Xi ‘an Downtown or similar

Morning visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses and its reproduction factory. Considered one of the foremost archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the 2,000-year-old Terracotta Army was discovered by accident in 1974 by local farmers digging a well. The 8,000-plus life-sized figures are arranged in vaults to guard the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China, a major architect of the Great Wall and unifier of China. Visit the Muslim Quarter after lunch and Salat at Xian Great Mosque. The area north of the Drum Tower is the Muslim Quarter of Xian which covers several blocks with an estimated 60,000 Muslims in the region. There are about seven ancient mosques in the area, among which the Great Mosque built in 742 is most famous and popular among all. Experience a seemingly endless labyrinth of street food, restaurants and bustling local life at Xian’s Muslim Quarter.

Day 3 Little Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian Museum, City Wall, Fly to Zhangye

Destination: Xian & Zhangye
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: Zhangye Ding He International Hotel or similar

Visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xian Museum in the morning. With a history of more than 1,300 years, Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built to store the Buddhist scriptures delivered from ancient India. It is a perfect example of the multi-eaved square brick pagodas built in ancient China. Currently there are 13 storeys left as the top two storeys were destroyed in earthquakes. Continue to visit Xian Museum. Xian Museum boasts nearly 130,000 relics that all relate to the history of Ancient China and Xian specifically. Afterwards visit Xian City Wall. The City Wall of Xian is one of the oldest and best-preserved city walls in the world. Walking atop the Wall you can get the panorama of Xian skyline. Fly to Zhangye which is famous for its Rainbow Colored Mountain, one of Allah’s creations mentioned in the holy Quran.

Day 4 Rainbow Colored Mountains, Bullet Train to Dunhuang

Destination: Zhangye & Dunhuang
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel or similar

Morning visit to Rainbow Colored Mountains located inside Zhangye Danxia Geopark. Covering 200 square miles, Zhangye Danxia Geopark was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The Rainbow Mountains are considered one of the geological wonders of the world. These mountains take their colors from the colorful rock formations. No one would think of any mountains to take such amazing colors but the Quran mentions the existence of colorful mountains as one of Allah’s creations. Here is the verse of the Quran: “Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black.” Board second class bullet train to Dunhuang (approximately 4 hours). Dunhuang was one of the first trading cities encountered by merchants arriving in China from the west. Starting from Dunhuang the Silk Road was split into the northern and southern routes.

Day 5 Mogao Caves, Dunhuang Mosque, Singing Sand Dunes, Crescent Moon Spring

Destination: Dunhuang
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Salat prayer: Dunhuang Mosque
Accommodations: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel or similar

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mogao Caves in the morning. The Mogao Caves (also known as the Dunhuang Grottoes) boast the largest collection of Buddhist grottoes in existence in China. Housed in the 492 cave temples are over 2000 sculptures and 45,000 square meters of frescos dating back as early as one thousand years ago (covering a period of ten dynasties). The statues are painted and carved directly into the cave walls. The most famous aspect of Dunhuang’s grottoes is the murals that feature Buddhist stories, folk culture, farming, hunting as their main themes. After Salat at Dunhuang Mosque, enjoy a camel ride on the scenic Singing Sand Dunes, called by Marco Polo as the rumbling sands. Then relax at the desert oasis, the Crescent Moon Spring, a small freshwater lake that has been a vital source of water here for thousands of years.

Day 6 Bullet Train to Jiayuguan

Destination: Dunhuang & Jiayuguan
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: Jiayuguan Plaza Holiday Inn or similar

Free and easy in the morning in Dunhuang. Take second class bullet train to Jiayuguan (about 2.5 hours) in the afternoon. Jiayuguan is one of the defining points of the Silk Road and the first frontier fortress at the west end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall of China.

Day 7 Jiayuguan Pass, Wei & Jin Mural Brick Tomb, Bullet Train to Turpan

Destination: Jiayuguan & Turpan
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown or similar

Visit Jiayuguan Pass in the morning. Also known as “the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven”, Jiayuguan Pass is the best preserved and most magnificent military building among the three passes of the Great Wall. Located at the narrowest point of the western part of Hexi Corridor, Jiayuguan Pass is a key passageway of the ancient Silk Road. It commands fascinating views of the boundless Gobi Desert and the snow-capped Qilian Mountains. Then proceed to Wei & Jin Mural Brick Tomb, a huge tomb group of more than 1,400 tombs built between the 3rd and 5th century and houses vast collection of murals. Take second class bullet train to Turpan (about 5 hours). Turpan has long been the center of a fertile oasis famous for its grapes and melons, and an important trade center on the main northern branch of the Silk Road from Hami to Kashgar, with an alternative northern route, via Uruqmi running into Central Asia. At 154m below sea level, Turpan is the second-lowest depression in the world and the hottest spot in China.

Day 8 Ruins of Gaochang Ancient City, Flaming Mountain, Emin Minaret, Karez Wells

Destination: Jiayuguan & Turpan
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Salat prayer: Turpan Emin Minaret Mosque
Accommodations: Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown or similar

Visit the ancient city of Gaochang in the morning. Built of mud and adobe bricks as a garrison town in the 1st century AD, the city of Gaochang was abandoned during the early Ming dynasty and what is left now is just ruins of the ancient temples, houses, palaces and the old city wall. Next, visit the Flaming Mountain. Nothing grows on this mountain and the highest temperature of summer could reach 47.8 degree centigrade or 118 degree Fahrenheit, making it the hottest place in China. Perform Salat at Emin Minaret. This 40 meter-high brick minaret is part of a large mosque, built in 1778. The minaret has an elegant conical shape; its brick laid in patterns that make it looked knitted. Afterwards, visit the Karez Wells. Karez is covered water channels that bring melt-water from the Tianshan Mountains to the north and west into the Turpan basin. Today over 1,100 Karez Wells are still in use bringing water to this dry and hot city.

Day 9 Drive to Urumqi, Xinjiang Regional Museum, Red Hill Park, International Grand Bazaar

Destination: Urumqi
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: Grand Mercure Urumqi Hualing or similar

Drive to Urumqi in the morning. Upon arrival, visit Xinjiang Regional Museum. Xinjiang Regional Museum is a large building of Uyghur architectural style, containing a diverse range of historical artifacts unearthed in Xinjiang. These items represent the ethnic lifestyle and culture of Xinjiang. Most interestingly of all, the museum contains a fascinating exhibition of ancient Indo-European mummies that were excellently preserved through their natural environment over 3,800 years ago. Then, visit Red Hill Park to enjoy the skyline of Urumqi. Afterwards, roam around the bustling Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, an iconic landmark of Urumqi, combining Islamic culture, architecture, ethnic commerce, tourism and entertainment.

Day 10 Heavenly Lake, Fly to Kashgar

Destination: Urumqi & Kashgar
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Accommodations: Kashgar Luxemon Qinibagh Hotel or similar

Visit Heavenly Lake in the morning. With Pine trees covering the hillsides and the snow capped mountains in the background, this huge lake (3km long and 1km wide) sits half way (560 ft) up the Tianshan mountain range and offers excellent walking with breathtaking views. Take a boat ride around the lake and see some local nomadic Kazakhs herding their sheep. Fly to Kashgar in the afternoon. Located at the foot of the Pamirs Mountains between a vast desert and immense mountain range, Kashgar was once an isolated oasis on the long trade route across the Asian continent. It was a major hub along the great Silk Road as the northern and southern Silk Routes crossed here and caravans departed for Central Asia, India, Pakistan and ancient Persia (current Iran). Kashgar was described as ‘fruitful soil, cotton aplenty, and inhabitants who live by trade’ by Marco Polo.

Day 11 Kashgar Old Town, Abakh Hoja Mausoleum, Id Kah Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Destination: Kashgar
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel, lunch & dinner at Halal restaurants
Salat prayer: Id Kah Mosque
Accommodations: Kashgar Luxemon Qinibagh Hotel or similar

Visit Kashgar Old Town in the morning. The Old Town of Kashgar has a history of more than 2,000 years. Amongst the most popular professions in the old town are coppersmiths, carpenters, jewelers and cobblers, all using tools of bygone days. Take a walk through the Old Town and visit the friendly Uyghur people in their home and experience their unique culture. Next, visit Abakh Hoja Mausoleum. This mausoleum is one of the best examples of Islamic architecture in China. It is an ancient Islamic building complex and a cemetery where five generations of a famous Islamic master were buried. Salat prayer at the 500 year old Id Kah Mosque. Afterwards, explore the bustling Grand Bazaar, one of China’s most famous weekend markets. The weekly Sunday Bazaar draws a variety of ethnic groups like the Uyghur, Tajik, Kyrgyz and Kazakh to the streets of Kashgar. They come on foot, bikes, horsebacks, modern motorcycles and donkey carts, all with the hope of selling merchandise that ranges from scissors to camels.

Day 12 Departure from Kashgar

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel.

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight (without guide). Wish you a pleasant journey home and thank you for traveling with IslamiChina.

Price Inclusions

  • Second class bullet train ticket as specified in the itinerary
  • Domestic economy class flight airfare with tax included as specified in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodations with daily breakfast
  • Halal meals (lunch & dinner) as specified in the itinerary
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with experienced driver for land transportation
  • Experienced private English language speaking tour guide
  • All admission tickets to sightseeing places

Price Exclusions

  • International airfares
  • Optional tour & insurance
  • Gratuities or tips to guides and drivers
  • Excursions & activities not included in itinerary
  • Expenditure of a personal nature, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, etc

Complementaries

  • Two bottles of mineral water every day during tours
Booking Notice
  • This tour starts in Xian, ends in Kashgar
  • 80% of adult price applies to child between 2-12 without occupying a bed
  • Contact us if you have child (2-12 years of age) traveling with you
  • Free for infants (under 2 years of age) traveling with parents
  • If you prefer to book your own hotel, feel free to contact us for a quote without accommodation
  • If you have your pick of hotels and want a quote based on your picks, feel free to contact us
  • If you want to book domestic flights on your own, feel free to contact us for a quote without airfare
  • This itinerary can be tailored to your individual interests
Photos