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20 Days Pilgrim on the Silk Road         Price from: US$ 2098         |         or download the order form and Credit Card Authorization
Summary : A Silk Road experience diverse from the traditional Silk Road travel route starting in Xian; begin instead at Korghas Pass, travel via Yining to Korla where you’ll commence your travel along the Silk Road to Turpan and beyond. For the traveller with a spirit of adventure, this tour, with its less "conventional" itinerary, puts all the excitement and adventure up-front. You then have the convenience of completing your adventure with five days in Xian and Beijing, with access to the massive sources of historical artefacts and information available there to assist you to review your experiences, write up your journal and perhaps compose a travel article to sell with those stunning once-in-a-lifetime photographs you took during the trip. With the inclusion of exotic places like Korla, Kuqa and Kizil, this improved expedition along the Northern and Southern path of the Silk Road features Central Asia’s most historic, dramatic and splendid scenery, and offers opportunities to experience local cultures in some of the colourful oasis towns populated by minority peoples. Here we go!

Day 1

Arrival Korghas    Yining
Arrive in Korghas Pass, after entry, you will be met at the custom on our side and transferred to Yining. Enjoy your dinner at hotel.
Meals: No meal
Accommodation: In Yining

Yining is located on the northern side of the Ili River in the Dzungarian basin, near the border with Kazakhstan, and about 710 km (440 mi) west of ürümqi. The Ili River valley is far wetter than any other part of Xinjiang and has rich grazing land.
 

Day 2

Yining    Korla
After breakfast, you will take driving to Korla through the heart of Tianshan Mountain Range, great Grasslands; enjoy the gorgeous scenery on the way.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Korla

Bayibuluke GrasslandKorla is the capital of the Bayin’gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, which is the largest prefecture in China, larger than the whole France. Korla is an oasis town on Peacock River, at the northern edge of the Tallamakan Desert. With thousands years history, Korla was a throat in the middle of the Silk Road. Korla is known for its production of fragrant pears which are famous for their sweetness and flavor.
 

Day 3

Korla    Minfeng (Niya)
Today, drive through Taklimakan Desert, the second largest one in the world after the Sahara, you will then reach Minfeng. Completed in 1994, the road we will drive on is the longest desert way in the world with magnificent sand dunes vista.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Minfeng
 

Day 4

Minfeng (Niya)    Hotan
In the morning, drive about 320 km to Hotan oasis through ancient towns Yutian (Keriye) on the southern Silk Road. Arrive at Hotan in the afternoon and visit local Bazaar.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Hotan

Famous for its silk and jade, the oasis town of Hotan or Khotan is the capital of Hotan Prefecture. With a population of 114,000 (2006), Hotan lies in the Tarim Basin, north of the Kunlun Mountains. Hotan is strategically located at the junction of the southern branch of the famous Silk Road. It provided a convenient meeting place where not only goods, but technologies, philosophies, and religions were transmitted from one culture to another.
 

Day 5

Hotan
Morning you will take a short drive (140 km) to Qira County to visit Damoko Site, which is a world-famous archaeological site at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert and little monastery museum to see some perfect fresco with Kandahar style. Have local specialty as lunch at the village. Then drive back to the town to visit local family workshops of jade carving and silk carpet.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Hotan

Damoko is world-famous archaeological sites at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert and at the ends of 19th century, many explorers such as British Aurel Stein, Swedish Swenheden, French Paul Pelliot, Japanese Ottano and so on came to the village and took many precious art pieces out of the county and almost lost their lives there. Especially the wooden inscribed statues with characteristic of Persian and Gandharan art style, which are now at the British Museum and Guimet Art Museum of Paris, draw the attention of the global specialists. So many adventurous experiences of those explorers’ books have made Damoko Village even more famous. Recently Chinese government invested money for the excavation to the sites and has excavated world surprising mini Buddhist Temple of the 5th century with the freshly preserved murals, it has been opened to the visitors on Oct 2008.
 

Day 6

Hotan    Kashgar
Today, you will spend hours for a long driving (510 km) to the oasis city - Kashgar, the most western gate of China. It was a prosperous city 2,000 years ago in central Asia, and now continues playing its role as a cultural crossroad. On the way we will pass many oasis towns including Yarkent, the capital of the ancient Uyghur Karahanid Kingdom of 15th century. Have a visit to the Ruins of the King Mausoleum at Yarkent.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Kashgar

Hemmed in by deserts and the Pamirs, Kashgar is a fabled city embracing a rich mixed culture with Mosques and veiled women contributing to its Middle East atmosphere.
 

Day 7

Kashgar
Today, enjoy your one day visiting to Apakhoja Tombs, Id Kah Mosque and the Zhiren Street, an old street with an amazing hand-made stuff from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. If it is Sunday, you can also visit Sunday Bazaar which is of very special local flavor.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Kashgar

Apak Hoja TombApak Hoja Tomb is located about 5 km east of Kashgar. Built in 1640, it is the tomb of Apak Hoja and the families. As the largest Islamic mausoleum in China, Apak Hoja Tomb covers an area of 20,000 square meters, composed of gate tower, great mosque, small mosque, scripture hall and main tomb chamber. The legend goes that a lady called Yiparhan, Hoja’s descendants, was once a concubine of Qianlong Emperor in Qing Dynasty. She was commonly-known as the "Fragrant Concubine".

The Id Kah Mosque is the largest mosque in China. The mosque was built by Saqsiz Mirza in 1442 (although it incorporated older structures dating back to 996) and covers 16,800 square meters. At midday on Fridays around 10,000 people will gather to pray and study the Koran, and prayer 5 times/day on other days. You’ll be asked to remove your shoes before entering the Main Hall, which has traditional Islamic pillars, carvings and rugs strewn over the floors. Women are adviced to cover upper arms and legs. A scarf is not compulsory, but is seen as a mark of respect.

The Zhiren Street or Handicraft Street is the most characteristic place showing the distinctive custom and culture of Kashgar, with many full-time handicraftsmen working on the street and hundreds of workshops and booths alongside. It is regarded as an exhibition for traditional Kashgar and mid-Asian handicrafts. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewellery and other goods are seen to be made here and you will marvel at incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.
 

Day 8

Kashgar
Today, just go a little bit farther for a visit to Karakul Lake through the Karakurum Highway border with Pakistan, you will have great opportunity to enjoy the magnificent glacier of the Karakurum Mountain. Walk around the lake, and visit nomadic Kirgiz ethnic people who are living in yurt.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Kashgar

Karakul LakeKarakul Lake is located approximately 200km from Kashgar. At an altitude of 3,600m, it is the highest lake of the Pamir Plateau, near the junction of the Pamir Mountains, Tianshan and Kunlunshan mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are the Muztagh Ata (7,546m), Kongur Tagh (7,649m) and Kongur Tiube (7,530m). The lake is popular among travelers for its fantastic scenery and the clarity of its reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue.
 

Day 9

Kashgar    Aksu
Take another long journey by vehicle today. You will be transferred overland on the desert highway northeastwards to Aksu. The distance is approximately 500 kilometers, and we will pass an ancient village called Barchuk which is one of the strategically important garrisons during the Silk Road trade period.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Aksu

Aksu is the capital city of Aksu Prefecture. Literally means white water, Aksu was known as Gumo in the ancient times. It was an important stop on the Northern Silk Road that runs along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin between Kuqa and Kashgar.
 

Day 10

Aksu    Kuqa
About 290 km away from Aksu, you will reach Kuqa by car. On the way, take a visit to the Thousand Buddha Caves at Kizil which is one of the earliest and most important Buddhist centers along the northern arm of the Silk Road. Have lunch at Kizil restaurant. Back to the city and visit Kuqa Mosque and old city area in the afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Kuqa

Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves Kuqa (Kucha) was also once the center of the ancient Qiuci Kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River. Kuqa city is divided into the new district and the old where you can see the traditional white adobe houses and many distinctively arabesque style mosques.

The Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves sit on the cliffs on the northern bank of the Muzat River. Carved from 3rd century to 9th century, the cave is the earliest Buddhist cave complex in China, even one century earlier than the famous Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang. Currently there are 236 coded caves in the Kizil, and the murals in the caves are reputed as "the most beautiful murals in Central Asia".

The Kuqa Mosque is the second largest mosque in Xinjiang, right after the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar. Made of bricks, it was reconstructed after the original mosque was burned down in 1931. Within its compound is Xinjiang’s sole religious court. Kuqa Mosque is the only mosque in China having preserved the Shariya (Islamic Court) System.
 

Day 11

Kuqa    Turpan
Transfer to Turpan which is 670 km away from Kuqa, en route you will pass several oasis towns.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Turpan

Turpan, an oasis city, is located at the southern foot of Bogda Peak and in the center of Turpan Depression. Because of the drastic 5,000-meter difference in height between the mountain tops and the bottom of the depression, the scenery too, varies greatly at different altitudes from perpetual snow at the summits to green oasis at the foot of the mountains. After a long journey from the desert, tourists are always fascinated by the extraordinary beauty of the depression with its snow-capped mountains, salt lake, and particularly the Flaming Mountains.
 

Day 12

Turpan      Dunhuang
Get up early today, you will have a full-day excursion including Gaochang Ancient City where you will be taken by donkey cart to visit the temple area, Bezeklik Caves and Astana Tombs - burial ground for the nobles of Gaochang Kingdom, now known by archaeologists as an underground museum. After dinner drive 50 km to railway station for overnight train to Dunhuang.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: On the train

Bezeklik CavesGaochang Ancient City located at the east of Turpan, the city-state that ruled the area from the 9th century to the 13th. The city was actually founded a few hundred years earlier than that, and gradually became known as a trading post on the Silk Road. Most of the ruins are gone, but enough remain to give a feeling of the true size and majesty of this Silk Road city. The city was divided into an outer city, an inner city, and a palace compound. The best-preserved structures in the ruins are two temples in the southwest and southeast corners of the outer city section.

Bezeklik Caves is located in a gorgeous valley of the Flaming Mountains. More than 100 caves were hewn out of this cliff face between the 6th and 9th centuries by Buddhist monks who farmed the valley below. They were abandoned at about the same time as Gaochang Ancient City and Jiaohe Ancient City after the Muslim take over of the region in the late 14th century.

Astana was the public cemetery of the ancient Gaochang residents, both aristocrats and commoners. However, among 456 excavated tombs, no King of Gaochang has been found. The dead were placed on an earthen or wooden bed in the back of the chamber; they had wood in both hands and wore cotton, linen or silk clothes. Around them were arranged miniature pavilions, carts and horses, parades, musical instruments, chess sets, pens and ink, grapes, melons, dumplings and pancakes. In the ancient Chinese people’s mind, these were to be used by the dead in another world. Owing to the arid climate, the relics are very well preserved.
 

Day 13

Dunhuang
On arrival, your local guide will meet you at the train station, you can then enjoy your breakfast. Take a short break, then have an excursion to less-visited but worthy Yumenguan Pass.
Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:
In Dunhuang 

Yumenguan PassDunhuang is located on the western end of Hexi Corridor, at the juncture of Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang in the Northwest of China. Known as Shazhou (sand bank) in ancient times, Dunhuang served as a rest stop for traders and due to its unique geographical location, it was the gateway through which Buddhism, Islam and Christianity entered China.  

Yumenguan Pass or Jade Gate, is the name of a pass located west of Dunhuang. In ancient times, this was a pass through which the Silk Road passed, and was the one road connecting Central Asia and China. Its name came from the fact that jade from Hotan in Xinjiang entered Central China through this pass.
 

Day 14

Dunhuang
oday, you will start your full day trip with a visiting to Mogao Grottoes, the site is considered the great treasure house of Buddhist arts in existence, then continue your trip to Crescent Spring and Sighing Sand Dune.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: In Dunhuang

Mogao Grottoes Lying at the foot of Sighing Sands Dune, Mogao Grottoes has more than 700 caves, of which 492 caves hold more than 2,000 painted sculptures and 45,000 square meters of murals. It is the largest, oldest and best-preserved array of Buddhist grottoes in the world, and three famous ancient sculptural sites of China, together with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes.

Sighing Sand Dune starts from East of Mogao Grottoes. It is 40 km from East to West, and 20 from South and North. Described as the dune with an elegant shape; when people slide down along the slopes, the sands make a distinctive sound, hence the name. Encircled by the sand dunes is Crescent Spring, an oasis shaped like a crescent moon. It is a miracle that the spring has never dried up over the past thousand years. Alongside the Crescent Lake is a traditional Han Chinese pagoda.
 

Day 15

Dunhuang    Xian
Take morning flight to Xian. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport then, have a historic survey in famous Shaanxi History Museum.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Xian

Shaani History MuseumXian, steeped in history and still giving up secrets, is your gateway to ancient Chinese civilization. In its 3,100 recorded years of evolution, it has been home to 13 dynasties. Xian was also the end of civilization for those setting out on the famous Silk Road. Today Xian is a vibrant, modern city, but surrounded by history, even underfoot! So there can be no underground railways due to the obligation to preserve the wealth of ancient treasure still awaiting discovery.

As the regional capital and doorway to the Silk Road, Xian was one of the richest, most well-protected cities in all of China. The famous Shaanxi History Museum introduces the visitor to area rich culture, from Emperor Qin Shihuang to the present day in this walled city. The museum is house in a striking Tang Dynasty-style pavilion and features an enormous collection of 113,000 historic and cultural relics. This is where you experience history, with chronological dynasties exhibits that take you through the dynasties.
 

Day 16

Xian
Today, enjoy your full day tour covering the visit to the Qin Terracotta Army, one of the world most important archaeological finds, with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation, and then move on to see the Big Wild Goose Pagoda from the square, and the massive Xian City Wall. Tonight, if you wanna take a try, Tang Dynasty Show with dinner will be a good choice for an optional activity.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Xian

Big Wild Goose PagodaAs an ancient capital city to 13 dynasties, Xian has a rich recorded history, frequently enhanced by the evidence of new discoveries, like the 1974 unearthing of the fabulous Qin Terracotta Army, the long forgotten army created to guard Emperor Qin Shihuang’s tomb. In accordance with ancient beliefs, this grand project was mounted at enormous cost by the cruel and tyrannical Emperor, only to be attacked, plundered, burnt and buried after his funeral by the peasants who’d labored under the whip to build it. Then, over two thousand years later, this "Eighth Wonder of the World" was rediscovered by farmers digging a well. The fine troops, horses and carriages in battle formation are a National ancient art treasure. Three excavation pits are now opened to the public and a fourth is nearing completion. You can, like US President Clinton, now gaze in wonder upon this historic site, listed by UNESCO in 1987 as a world cultural heritage.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and travelers Xuanzang. Now this well-preserved holy place for Buddhist has been the symbol of Xian.

The Xian City Wall, which stretches round the old city. Xian was always a walled city, and today wall represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The first city wall of Chang’an was begun in 194 BCE. The existing wall was started during the Ming Dynasty in 1370; it is massive, measuring 13.7 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15–18 m in thickness at the base. The South Gate and North Gate are the two main entrances to the inner city. The city itself is neatly arranged along the city wall. This impressive structure is just a precursor to the remarkable discoveries awaiting visitors to Xian.

Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner that was created for "emperors only" in ancient China. You will enjoy the sumptuous dinner while watching a fabulous dancing and singing performance of the Tang Dynasty. This is not only a performance of Chinese traditional dancing and singing, but a re-enactment of Chinese ancient ceremony and culture.
 

Day 17

Xian    Beijing
Take a morning flight to Beijing. On arrival, you will take a short break, then visit the Temple of Heaven.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing

Temple of HeavenBeijing, China’s capital and one of the great travel destinations of the World, offers sights and cultural relics found no where else on Earth. The city has a character all its own; there are quadrangles, small alleys, tricycle, boiled mutton, roasted duck, arts and crafts, Peking Opera, The Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics venue and a vibrancy that is the distinctive flavor of Beijing.

The Temple of Heaven is decorated in blue, the color of the Heavens. The perfect harmony between the architectural environment and nature can be felt here; you might easily imagine the vivid spectacle of a great sacrifice to the Heavens for a good harvest. The magnificent Hall of Prayer of Good Harvest is one of the most important and impressive building in China.
 

Day 18

Beijing
In the morning, depart from your hotel, enjoy your one day visit for Tian’anmen Square, the World’s largest urban square and the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit “the most beautiful garden in China”- the Summer Palace. This evening, Peking Roasted Duck is a good choice for your optional dinner.  
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing 

Forbidden CityTian’anmen Square is the biggest city center square in the world, covering 44 hectares in the heart of Beijing. It is the place where history-changing events and ceremonies occurred. The north entrance gate is the magnificent Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian’anmen), the symbol of the People’s Republic China.

Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and is one of the largest, and certainly the most completely restored, ancient architectural complex in the world. Walk in the footsteps of Emperors; come to the museum and see with your eyes, and feel with your hearts; you’ll begin understand what life in this richest of feudal realms was like for the Imperial Rulers, their concubines and their slaves.

After enjoy your lunch, you will be transferred and took your time to make a visit to the "most beautiful garden in China"- the Summer Palace. Originally known as the "Garden of Clear Ripples", the Summer Palace is a magnificent imperial garden located 15 km north of Beijing City . This is the largest ancient preserved garden in China and a former summer retreat for Emperors and the chosen few! The site includes more than 100 ancient style pavilions, mansions, towers, halls, temples, bridges and an enormous clear water lake. What is most enjoyable about the Summer Palace, it is simply a gorgeous place to relax, escape the smoke and crowds of the city and spend an afternoon walking. It is said one could just as easily spend one week out here as one afternoon. Here is a rare chance in Beijing, to lose the crowds and ’clear away the cobwebs’.

Peking Roasted Duck is the best-known dish in Beijing. It is very tender and unforgettably delicious. You’ll visit a local restaurant to enjoy a full meal and learn the proper way to experience Peking Roasted Duck.
 

Day 19

Beijing
The Great Wall, a massive defensive structure built to keep intruders from entering the mainland. Today you will have the opportunity to traverse the ancient steps of Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall which is famous for its beautiful surroundings of dense woods and rich pastures which change the colors into magnificent red and yellow in the autumn days. If you desire, enjoy Peking Opera tonight can be a good optional activity.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Beijing

Mutianyu Great WallMutianyu Great Wall was first built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, making it older than the Badaling section. It is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi and Jinshanling in the east. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt, mainly with granite and is one of the best-preserved sections with the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall, being 7-8 meters high and 4-5 meters wide with 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long section. It served as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

Peking Opera is China’s national treasure. Expert performers convey powerful emotions to the audience through song, dance, facial make-up, exquisite masks and costume, skilled use of body language and sympathetically integrated musical accompaniment.
 

Day 20

Departure Beijing
Be transferred to Beijing for your homebound international flight.
Meals: Breakfast

Service Ends

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
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#Price#
Remarks:
1. Shanghai Limousine &Travel reserves the right to adjust the prices of any portion of the tour due to the reasons beyond our control without prior notice.
2.All quotation is in US dollar (per person), and based on the exchange rate between CNY and USD in effect at the time of publishing. It is subject to change.
3.The quotation on our website is also subject to change during some Chinese festivals, national holidays, fairs or events, when hotels may levy higher rates which will be advised on a case by case basis.
4.The availabilities of rooms, flights and etc. are subject to change until the actual booking is been made.
5.Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs should be subjected to reconfirm upon your arrival. We would put on your request to the Hotel.
 
Price includes:
1. Airport/railway station welcome and private transfers between airports/railway stations, hotels and sightseeing spots. Separate arrivals and departures will incur extra charges.
2. Domestic airfare of economic class or train ticket(s) as mentioned in the itinerary. Airport construction fee and fuel surcharge are included.
3. Accommodation (if include Yangtze cruiser) based on two adults sharing one standard twin-bed room (cabin); solo travelers or those who want to occupy one twin-bed room/cabin of their own are required to pay additional charge of single supplement rate (S.SUPP in above price table). A single room (cabin) is subject to availability based on prior request at an additional cost; if the recommended hotel is not available, it will be substituted by a similar one.
4. Driver and English-speaking guide service on normal sightseeing activities noted in the itinerary.
5. All entrance fees to scenic spots as shown in the itinerary. The final arrangement will be determined by local tour guides based on the local circumstances which are beyond the control of Shanghai Limousine &Travel. SLT will adhere to the original itinerary as accurately as possible.
6. Travel insurance.
7. Government taxes.
 
Price excludes:
1.Round way International airfare or train tickets, unless otherwise noted.
2.Visa fee, passport application or renewal fee.
3.Tips for guides, escort, drives, bellman, etc.
4.Personal expenses such as excess luggage fees, laundry, postage, communications and beverages.
5.Optional meals and shows mentioned in the itinerary, which will be added up if the clients desire to take the activities.
6.Any extra cost caused by changes of natural disasters, fires, weather, governmental and local authority orders, political change, strikes, war, riots, quarantine, custom regulations, damages or injury caused by accident beyond the control of Shanghai Limousine &Travel and that has incurred due to the tourist action violating the laws.
7.Any items not specified in the plan.

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