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Follow the footsteps of Marco Polo to discover the history of the Silk Road; a centuries-old route strongly influenced by Muslim and Buddhist beliefs. Visit Ancient forts and desert oases, walk on the far western end of the Great Wall and experience the famous bustling Sunday Market in Kashgar.
Cycle on Xian’s ancient city walls
Explore Tibetan Xiahe
Discover the desert oasis of Turpan
Shop like a local at Kashgar’s legendary bazaar
Enjoy the tranquillity of the Heavenly Lake
Take a walk on the Great Wall of China
- Return international flights
- All Accommodation
- All meals
- All transportation & transfers
- All sightseeing & entrance fees
- English speaking National Escort & local guides
- Visa fees for UK & EU passport holders
Days 1-2: Fly to Xian
Fly overnight to Xian, the ancient former capital. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3: Terracotta Warriors
After their fortuitous discovery in the 1970s, the Terracotta Army of China's first Emperor Qin Shihuang has intrigued visitors ever since – spend the morning viewing their enigmatic ranks. Visit the workshop of the craftsmen who recreate Terracotta Warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Watch the skilled production process and buy a souvenir warrior to take home. Later, stroll on the beautifully preserved 14th-century city walls that enclose Xian's old town. Enjoy a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing and a Shui Jiao dumpling dinner.
Day 4: Explore Xian
Enjoy a relaxed day admiring the treasures of the Shaanxi Museum and wandering around the atmospheric alleys of the Muslim Quarter. Also, see the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Board an overnight train to Lanzhou.
Days 5-6: Explore Lanzhou
Enjoy a moment of tranquillity at the hilltop Baita Temple and tuck into some delicious Lanzhou-style noodles made with hand-stretched dough. Cross Liujiaxia Lake by speedboat. The next day, head into the green hills around Liujiaxia to explore the extraordinary Thousand Buddha Caves of Bingling Temple and their wealth of Buddhist murals, statues and sculptures.
Day 7: Journey to Xiahe
Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe.
Day 8: Labrang Monastery
Giving a taste of the mysteries of Tibet, Labrang Monastery is a fascinating maze of prayer wheels, chapels and chÃ¶rtens. Take some time to reflect and explore before heading back to wander around Xiahe itself.
Days 9-10: Great Wall at Jiayuguan
Return to Lanzhou and board an overnight train for Jiayuguan. Seen as China's western gateway, Jiayuguan is the perfect place to get to grips with your Silk Road history. Visit the Jiayu Fortress and take a walk on the western extremes of the magnificent Great Wall for panoramic views over the starkly beautiful Gobi Desert.
Day 11: Dunhuang
Drive to Dunhuang. Located on a major trade and cultural crossroads, Dunhuang, known as the ‘City of Sands', sits in a verdant oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert.
Day 12: Mogao Grottoes
A system of temples and sanctuaries, the Mogao Grottoes exhibit wonderful examples of Buddhist paintings and statues that span thousands of years.
Day 13: Singing Sand Dunes
Visit Crescent Moon Spring, nestled among strolling sand dunes, and the famous Singing Sand Dunes, phenomena produced by the wind blowing through the grains.
Days 14-15: Explore Turpan
A legendary oasis set in a vast basin, Turpan is a lush green smudge in a barren landscape. An easy-going town, famed for its grapes, its pleasant streets are lined with lush vine trellises. Visit the ruins of ancient Jiaohe and the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains. The next day, see elegant Emin Minaret before visiting a typical home in the grape valley. Also, learn about the fascinating Keraz irrigation canals.
Days 16-19: Drive to Kashgar
Over the next four days travel along the original Silk Route by coach through the Xinjiang Region, viewing ruins and sights largely unvisited by tourists. Travel to Kurla and visit the ruins of the Iron Fortress. The next day, see the ruins of Subashi, arriving in Kuqa to visit the old city wall. Also, visit the Kyzil Thousand Buddha Caves before travelling to Aksu. Arrive in fabled Kashgar the following day.
Day 20: Explore Kashgar
Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar’s bazaar have remained unchanged for millennia, as it continues to be an integral trading post as in its Silk Road heyday. Today’s visits include Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square.
Day 21: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Dive headlong into Central Asia's largest bazaar. Within this riot of textures, vivid colours and traditional dress, you can browse hundreds of stalls selling anything from spices and carpets to boots and blenders.
Days 22-23: Discover Urumqi
Escape to the tranquillity of Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake) formed in a crater atop BÅkdu Mountain, where yurts nestle on its grassy banks. Enjoy local Uyghur lamb skewers for dinner. The following day explores the collections of the Xinjiang Museum which includes costumes, historical relics and ancient mummies. Fly to Beijing.
Day 24: Great Wall of China
This morning is dedicated to China's most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate its sheer magnificence. Jade has been long cherished by the Chinese - at the Jade Museum you can understand and appreciate the delicate process of carving the stone and buy a piece if you wish. In the afternoon savour the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens.
Day 25: Forbidden City
Heading to Beijing's symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you'll find a complex full of imperial treasures. Soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape. This evening, dine on Beijing's best-known delicacy – Peking Duck.
Day 26: Fly Beijing to UK
Fly to the UK arriving the same or following day.
Designed for those who wish to be further immersed in the authentic charm of Asia; Immerse Yourself tours include more cultural and active experiences. You will be accompanied by our dedicated and professional National Escorts and local guides, whose unparalleled knowledge will turn your holiday into an unforgettable experience. These tours include: ▪
- Walking through classic sites
- Unique cultural experiences and encounters
- Off the beaten track destinations
- More evenings at leisure for independent exploration
Your accommodation is selected for convenience of location, comfort or character, and can range from a business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. In more remote areas, accommodation may be of a lower standard and may not have all western amenities.
Coaches: Coaches with air conditioning are used on our group tours for city sightseeing, short excursions to the countryside and longer transfers where necessary.
Planes: Internal flights are based on economy class, with reputable airlines.
Most Wendy Wu groups consist of 10 travellers or more and will be accompanied by both a National Escort and local guides. There will usually be no more than 18 travellers in each group although you may encounter other Wendy Wu tour groups while you are travelling.
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