6-Day Private Silk Road Tour: Xining, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, and Dunhuang Highlights. On a six-day tour from Xining to Zhangye, Jiayuguan, and Dunhuang, you’ll learn a lot about China’s westernmost regions.
Take in UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Ta’er Monastery; Mati Temple; Jiayuguan Pass; Xuanbi Great Wall; Mogao Grottoes; Yumen Pass and Great Wall at Han Dynasty; as well as natural attractions such as Qinghai Lake and Chaka Salt Lake. Breakfast, lunch, and four-star hotel accommodations are included in the price of the tour.
Day 1 Xining City Highlights
Your driver and tour guide will meet you at the hotel lobby at 8 am and take you to the Ta’er Monastery. (Tour can start from Xining Railway Station or Airport) It is one of the largest monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Based on the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, founder of the famous Yellow Hat sect, the monastery contains incomparable treasures, delicate Tibetan butter sculptures.
This sacred place is a real residence where not only the monks live, but also believers come to pilgrimage. Stroll around the halls and courtyards with your tour guide, get to know its history, people, and soul. Then you will stop at a local restaurant for lunch.
After lunch in the local restaurant, heading directly to Qinghai Lake, which takes about 2.5 hours. Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake as well as the largest saline lake in China. As a paradise for birdwatchers and cyclists, the blue water is fascinating.
Around the lake, ethnic groups villages are there to remind the culture mix of the Qinghai region. You will have some time to explore the nearby mountains and area, at the end of the day, you will be transferred to your hotel near Chaka Lake.
Day 2 Chaka Lake-Qilian Mountain- Zhangye
Chaka Salt Lake, Haixi
After breakfast in the hotel, head directly to Chaka Salt Lake. Chaka Salt Lake is rated by Chinese National Geography as one of the 55 must-visit places in your lifetime. This natural crystallized saline lake is regarded as the eastern gateway to Qaidam Basin, which reserves the largest salt mine in the world. There are many giant sculptures scattered along the lakeside upon entering the scenic area. You will spend some time taking photos and exploring the area with your tour guide.
Qilian Mountain, Haibei
Then driving via Qilian Mountain heading to Zhangye. The Qilian Mountain forms the border between Qinghai and the Gansu province. The mountain is at an altitude between 4,000 and 5,000 meters above sea level on average. Formed a long and wide glacier landscape which is a magnificent spectacle. The grassland near Qilian Mountain is full of horses, cattle, and sheep.
At the end of the day, you will be transferred to your hotel in Zhangye. 2 hours • Admission Ticket Free
Day 3 Zhangye City Highlights
Mati Temple Scenic Resort
After breakfast in your hotel, head directly to Mati Temple. Mati Temple was built in the 5th century for Buddhists to study Buddhism. Both Chinese monks and Tibetan monks studied here. Mati Temple is one of the first places where the monks from abroad settled to preach Buddhism. The caves were used as altars to pray to Buddha for refuge but also for traders taking this legendary road. Spend some leisure time exploring the temple and grottoes.
Zhangye Danxia Geopark
After lunch in the local restaurant, heading to Zhangye Danxia Geopark. The Danxia Geopark has developed about 200 million years ago, it was mainly constituted by red gravel, sandstone, and mudstone, with the imprint of a clear arid, semi-arid climate.
Known for its colorful rock formations, it has been voted by Chinese media outlets as one of the most beautiful landforms in China. Accompanied by your tour guide, take the park’s battery bus and stop at different platforms, enjoy the amazing view of nature and take many photos.
In the late afternoon, heading to Jiayuguan City.
Day 4 Jiayuguan-Dunhuang
Jiayuguan Heritage Scenic Resort
After breakfast in your hotel, meet your tour guide and driver, heading to Jiayuguan Heritage Scenic Resort.
Start your exploration with a visit to the Great Wall Museum, learn the history and stories about the Jiayuguan Fortress and Great Wall. Jiayuguan Fortress is considered as “the Impregnable Pass under Heaven”. It is the most magnificent and best-preserved pass among one thousand passes along the Great Wall of China. It was located at a traffic fort along the Silk Road which is the world’s oldest trading route, connecting China, Central Asia, and Europe.
Xuanbi Great Wall
After lunch in the local restaurant, explore Xuanbi Great Wall in the afternoon. As the northern extension of Jiayuguan Fortress, it is an important part of the ancient military defense system. First built in 1539, it was made of gravel and loess on the spot. Accompanied by your tour guide, hiking up to the wall, enjoy amazing views of the surroundings and mountains.
Afterward, heading to Dunhuang city. (4 Hours drive)
Day 5 Dunhuang City Highlights
After breakfast in the hotel, start your tour with a visit to the Mogao Caves Digital Exhibition Center. Watch two documentary movies, get to know the history, culture, and art of Mogao Caves. Then, follow your guide to discover the charms of this UNESCO site.
Mogao Caves are the world’s largest, most richly endowed, and longest used treasure house of Buddhist art. They are located at a strategic point along the Silk Road, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural, and intellectual influences. The carving of the caves started in 366 AD and continued for about 1,000 years. 492 caves are presently preserved, housing about 45,000 square meters of murals
Mingsha Shan – Echoing-Sand Mountain
Enjoy lunch in the local restaurant, then head to Echoing-Sand Mountain. The sand of the mountain has many colors ranging from red to yellow, green, black, and white. When there is a strong wind, the sands will be blown up and make a loud sound, hence the name. Stroll around the area to enjoy the surroundings. You can choose to go up to the dune to enjoy the amazing view of the desert and Crescent Moon Pool.
Crescent Moon Pool
Move on to Crescent Moon Pool. Just like its name indicates, the Crescent Pool is in the natural shape of a half-moon. The pool was surrounded by Echoing Sand Mountain, it was considered as “the first spring in the desert”. According to the historical record, the lake has been in existence for hundreds of years without ever being buried by the sand.
Day 6 Dunhuang City Highlights
After breakfast in your hotel, hop on your private air-conditioned vehicle, heading directly to Yumen Pass (1.5 hours), your tour guide will explain the related histories and stories, feel free to ask questions if you have. The Yumen Pass was a strategic pass on the ancient Silk Road protecting Dunhuang from invasion from the West about two thousand years ago.
Follow your tour guide, take the attraction’s battery bus to explore the area. Admire thousand years old ruins of Hecang City, Han Dynasty Great Wall Ruins, and Yumen Pass. The existing Yumen Pass is a square castle standing in the sandy rocks of Gobi. Climbing up to the tower and overlooking, you will collect in
Great Wall of Han Dynasty
Continue to explore the ruins of the Han Dynasty Great Wall. With a history of over 2000 years, Han Dynasty Great Wall was built from 101 to 121 BC. Stretching as long as over a thousand kilometers in the west land of ancient China, it had taken a crucial role in defending the country against northern invaders and contributed greatly to the prosperity of silk road in history, as it was under such security protection, could the merchants passing through this area both from east and west continue their business and exchange goods and information. Adjusting measures to local condition, Han Great Wall was made by branches, reeds, sand gravels, and other local material.
Yadan National Geological Park
Take a break after finishing your time in Yumen Pass with a tasty lunch, continuing to Yadan National Geological Park. Also referred to as Yadan Devil City for the bleak desert and horrific sound presents an astonishing scene of Yardang landform.
If you care about seeing the natural landscape or having an adventurous trip, this is a must-do. Quite spectacular the natural formation of the landscape will give you an unexpected shot. As the largest one of Yardang Landform found so far, you will hear the sound just like the devil screaming when the strong wind goes through the desert. Accompanied by your tour guide, take the battery bus to explore four main sites in the park. You will have free time to watch the great view and take beautiful photos.
Afterward, you will be transferred to Dunhuang City. Your wonderful tour will end here. (Tour can end in Dunhuang railway station or airport)