20 days includes Xian, Lanzhou, Labrang, Xining, Jaiyuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Korla, Aksu, Khotan, Kashgar.
Commence Xian on 17th July 2012 and concludes in Kashgar on 05th August 2012.
Today we commence our ¡®Journey to the West¡± with visits to three sites central to the story of the Silk Road, The Terracotta Warriors, The Wild Goose Pagoda and the exceptional Shaanxi Museum.Overnight Xian.
Our sightseeing programme today is the Great Mosque and its colourful bazaar. After lunch we have free time. Overnight Xian.
19-July-12 to Tianshui
This morning we leave Xian and drive to Tianshui via Qian Tomb (Quian Ling) of the Tang Emperor Gao Zong and his wife Empress Wu Zetian. Our route to Tianshui follows the gorge of the Wei River into the terraced hill country of Gansu province. Overnight Tianshui.
20-July-12 to Lanzhou
We are off to visit the impressive Maijishan Buddhist grottoes this morning, one of China¡¯s four most important temple groups. After lunch in Tianshui we drive directly to Lanzhou arriving late PM. Overnight Lanzhou.
21-July-12 to Labrang
This morning we are heading ¡®up country¡¯ to the Tibetan county of Xiahe to overnight at Labrang on the edge of the grasslands in the shadow of high snow clad peaks. Overnight Labrang.
22-July-12 to Linxia
We spend the morning touring the extensive Labrang monastery, have lunch at Xiahe and look around the Tibetan market. In the afternoon we retrace our route to the Hui Muslim centre of Linxia. Overnight Linxia.
23-July-12 to Xining
Today we leave early to take back roads to Xunhua via the stunning Jishi gorge of the Yellow River. Late PM we will arrive at Xining capital of Qinghai province.
This morning our programme includes a visit out to Ta¡¯er Monastery, one of China¡¯s great Tibetan yellow hat sect monasteries. Afternoon at leisure in Xining.
25-July-12 to Zhangye
Our route today will take us through the majestic scenery of the Qilianshan mountains, China¡¯s great dividing range. Our destination is Zhangye on the historic trade route to the west. Overnight Zhangye.
26-July-12 to Dunhuang
This morning we have a short drive up the Expressway to historic Jaiyuguan, site if the most westerly fort on the Ming dynasty great wall. After having a look around the well preserved fort and exceptional Silk Road museum we head up the Hexi corridor to Dunhuang, arriving early evening . Overnight Dunhuang
27-July-12 Dunhuang and train to Turpan
This morning we are booked for a tour of the Mogao grottoes, China¡¯s most important Buddhist cave temple complex and historic site of the great scriptures heist perpetrated by 19th century European explorer archaeologists. PM spend some time in town around the curio bazaar and late PM head for the ¡®singing sands¡¯ for a camel ride before dinner and transfer to the station.
Early AM arrival in Turpan after a comfortable night in soft sleeper class. Transfer to our hotel, freshen up and PM sightseeing to Emin Minaret or Toyuk valley. Overnight Turpan.
Key sites for sightseeing today include Jiaohe ancient city, Karez aquifer museum and time at leisure to enjoy the atmosphere of Turpan.
30-July-12 To Korla
Today we take to the Expressway for the drive to the city of Korla 330km west along the northern axis of the Silk Road. At Korla visit Iron Gate Gorge, historic site of successive Han Chinese attempts to subdue the west. Overnight Korla.
31-July-12 To Aksu
We have another road day ahead today as we continue around the north slope of the Taklimakan desert en-route to Aksu, capital of ancient Baluka and strategic site of several kingdoms. Overnight Aksu.
01-Aug-12 To Khotan
Today we take the new cross Taklamakan highway to follow the course of the Tarim and Karkax Rivers into the heart of the desert to cross to the southern Silk Road at Khotan. Overnight Khotan
This morning we have a chance to visit with traditional silk spinning and weaving families and visit the local museum. This afternoon we can enjoy leisure time in Khotan. Overnight Khotan.
03-Aug-12 To Kashgar
Today we turn west again for the final leg to historic Kashgar via Yarkand. Overnight Kashgar.
Today we can explore Kashgar at leisure with a walking tour of the old city quarter and an impromptu chance to visit with a local farming family.
It¡¯s Sunday market day today in Kashgar when country comes to town. We first visit the livestock market and then have a leisurely wander around the main bazaar. Farewell dinner tonight. Transfer to airport for departure flight.