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Silk Road Explorer

  • history
    DURATION
    28 days, 27 nights
  • history
    DURATION DAYS
    28 days
  • history
    DURATION NIGHTS
    27 nights
  • calendar_month
  • calendar_month
    DEPARTURE MONTHS
    September 2024 - October 2025
  • J​ourney along the world's most famous trading route, the Silk Road
  • C​ome face to face with Xian's most famous army, the Terracotta Warriors
  • V​isit the striking red sandstone Flaming Mountains and the elegant Emin Minaret

Follow in the footsteps of adventurers by journeying along one of the world's most famous trading routes, the Silk Road. Beginning in ancient Xian, venture across this vast land to reach the fascinating outpost of Kashgar and its famous Sunday market.

  • Visit Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
  • Admire Jiayu Fortress
  • Explore Tibetan Xiahe
  • See the Rainbow Mountains
  • Discover Magao Grottoes
  • Experience the Taklamakan Desert

Xian (2N) - Lanzhou (3N) - Xiahe (2N) - Zhangye (1N) - Jiayuguan (2N) - Dunhuang (3N) - Turpan (2N) - Kurla (1N) - Kuqa (1N) - Aksu (1N)- Kashgar (2N) - Urumqi (2N) – Beijing (3N)

Photos

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Slide 1 of 26
DAYS 1-2: Fly overnight To Xian

Inclusions/Exclusions

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  • International flights and current taxes (prices may vary depending on departure city)
  • All Meals (refer to itinerary)
  • Breakfasts: 25 /Lunches: 24 /Dinners: 25
  • Domestic transportation
  • Touring with guides and entrance fees
  • 3-4 star accommodation
  • Visa fees for Australian passport holders
Your fare excludes:
  • T​ravel insurance

Itinerary

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    Days 1-2: Fly Overnight 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.

    Includes: Dinner

    Day 3: Terracotta Warriors

    Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, each one unique, whilst your guide introduces you to these life-like soldiers' fascinating story. Later, enjoy a gentle cycle ride that will take you the nine miles around the ancient city wall and take a walking tour of the narrow and winding streets of the Muslim Quarter. Tonight, enjoy a traditional dumpling dinner and take an optional 'Xian by night' tour.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 4: Train To Lanzhou

    Start the day with a visit to Xian Museum and the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Later, board the bullet train to Lanzhou.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Days 5-6: Explore Lanzhou

    Begin today with a leisurely walk along the Yellow River and then head to the hilltop Baita Temple for a moment of tranquillity. Along the river and in Baita Park you can see locals practising tai chi. Later, tuck into some delicious Lanzhou-style noodles made with hand stretched dough. The next day, cross Liujiaxia Lake by speed boat and 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. Also visit the statue of Maitreya.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 7: Tibetan Xiahe

    Conquer the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to arrive at Tibetan Xiahe and spend time acclimatising to the altitude.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 8: Labrang Monastery

    Giving a taste of the mysteries of Tibet, Labrang Monastery is a fascinating maze of prayer wheels, chapels and chortens. Dine on traditional Tibetan food for lunch, including Tibetan dumplings, known as momos.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 9: Travel To Zhangye

    Return to Lanzhou and take the speedy bullet train to Zhangye, once an important commercial town along the Silk Road.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 10: Rainbow Mountains

    Rise early this morning to witness the sunrise over the kaleidoscopic mountains in Danxia National Park. Return to Zhangye and visit the Giant Buddha Temple before boarding your bullet train to Jiayuguan.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 11: Great Wall At 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.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 12: City Of Sands

    Drive to Dunhuang. Located on a major trade and cultural crossroads, Dunhuang, known as the 'City of the Sands', sits in a verdant oasis on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Visit the Shazhou Night Market where you can wander amongst the stalls.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 13: Mogao Grottoes

    A system of temples and sanctuaries, visit the Mogao Grottoes that exhibit wonderful examples of Buddhist paintings and statues that span thousands of years.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 14: Singing Sand Dunes

    Visit Crescent Moon Spring, nestled amongst rolling dunes and the famous Singing Sand Dunes, a phenomenon produced by the wind blowing through grains of sand.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 15: Turpan

    Take the bullet train to Turpan, a lush green oasis set in a barren landscape. An easy-going town famed for its grapes, its pleasant streets are lined with lush vine trellises.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 16: Explore Turpan

    Visit the ruins of ancient Jiaohe and see the elegant Emin Minaret, the tallest in China.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 17: Kurla

    Learn about the fascinating 2000-year-old Kerez irrigation canals and drive to Kurla.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 18: Kurla To Kuqa

    Over the next 3 days travel along the original Silk Road through the Xinjian Region, viewing ruins and sights largely unvisited by tourists. Today, drive to Kuqa where you will visit the Subashi Ruins, a lost city of the Silk Road.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 19: Kuqu To Aksu

    Drive to Aksu, stopping en-route at the Kyzil Thousand Buddha Caves, a spectacular caves built between 3rd and 8th centuries.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Days 20: Aksu To Kashagar

    The journey continues through the Taklamakan Desert, along the ancient Silk Road, all the way to Kashgar.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 21: Explore Kashgar

    Its skyline punctured by minarets, Kashgar feels a million miles from China – in fact, it feels a million miles from anywhere! Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar's bazaar have remained unchanged for millennia. Sightseeing today includes a visit to Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and stroll through the narrow atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 22: 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. Later, fly to Urumqi.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 23: Heavenly Lake

    Escape to the tranquillity of Tianchi (Heavenly Lake), formed in a crater. Visit a Kazak minority family in their yurt and spend some time learning about their way of life.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 24: Urumqi

    Make a short visit to the Xinjiang Museum before flying to Beijing, China’s historic capital.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 25: The Great Wall

    This morning is dedicated to China's most iconic sight – the Great Wall. In the afternoon, enjoy the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens and see the exquisite architecture.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 26: Imperial Beijing

    Head to Beijing's symbolic heart, Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you will find a complex full of imperial treasures. Soak up the ambience of the Temple of Heaven before visiting Yandaixiejie, where you will have some free time to wander the hutongs. This evening, dine on Peking duck and enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show.

    Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Days 27-28: Fly Beijing To Australia

    Fly to Australia, arriving home the same or following day.

    Includes: Breakfast

* The above itinerary is subject to change.

Dates and Prices

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  • 01 Sep 2024 - 27 Sep 2024
    from $9,880 pp twin share / $12,000 pp solo
  • 15 Sep 2024 - 11 Oct 2024
    from $9,880 pp twin share / $12,000 pp solo
  • 06 Oct 2024 - 01 Nov 2024
    from $9,880 pp twin share / $12,000 pp solo
  • 13 Oct 2024 - 08 Nov 2024
    from $9,880 $9,280 pp twin share / $12,000 / $11,400 pp solo
  • 05 May 2025 - 30 May 2025
    from $10,480 $9,280 pp twin share / $12,660 / $11,460 pp solo
  • 09 Jun 2025 - 04 Jul 2025
    from $10,480 pp twin share / $12,660 pp solo
  • 08 Sep 2025 - 03 Oct 2025
    from $10,480 pp twin share / $12,660 pp solo
  • 06 Oct 2025 - 31 Oct 2025
    from $10,480 pp twin share / $12,660 pp solo

Advertised pricing subject to departure date and availability. Please call 1300 414 198 to confirm up-to-the-moment availability and pricing.

Accommodation

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Dajing Castle Hotel - Xian
Formerly known as Grand Park, the Dajing Castle hotel is a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Xi'an's Beilin district. Blending traditional and contemporary elements, the guestrooms boast comfortable interiors that exude style and elegance. Each room is equipped with modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a minibar, and a safety deposit box. The ensuite bathroom is well-appointed with bathrobes and slippers for added convenience. The hotel features Wi-Fi, a fitness center, sauna, massage service, buffet breakfast and atrium bar.

Changxin International Hotel - Lanzhou
Located in the centre of Huzhou City, Changxing International Hotel Lanzhou offers cosy rooms with air conditioning, safety deposit box, minibar and satellite television. It features an indoor swimming pool, a spa and a gym, as well as 2 onsite restaurants offering both Chinese and Western cuisine.

Xiahe Labuleng Civil Aviation Hotel - Xiahe
Centrally located opposite the main square, the 3-star Labuleng Civil Aviation Hotel offers traditional and comfortable accommodation. Each room features complimentary Wi-Fi along with air-conditioning, a TV and private bathroom. The hotel’s restaurant offers guests a Chinese style buffet breakfast to enjoy.

Diamond International Hotel - Zhangye
Positioned 5km from the Zhangye West Railway Station, the Diamond International Hotel offers 4-star modern accommodation with great transport links. It is conveniently situated for exploring the city and natural beauty of the surrounding areas as well as uncovering the history of the Silk Road. Hotel amenities include a gym, restaurant and room service, with each room being well-equipped with a TV and Wi-Fi.

ChenFeng Grand Hotel - Jiayuguan
Perfectly located just a short drive from the Jiayuguan Pass, the 4-star ChenFeng Grand Hotel is an ideal option providing guests with comfortable accommodation. Opening in 2020, each of the 130 bright and airy rooms offer a fresh and contemporary feel, and feature a flat-screen TV, while the hotel restaurant provides a great buffet breakfast serving Western and Chinese options.

Dunhuang Shazhou Jinghua Hotel - Dunhuang
Having recently opened in 2023, the 4-star Dunhuang Shazhou Jinghua Hotel offers a comfortable stay, located within easy reach of the key attractions. The rooms are tastefully appointed, boasting an elegant and modern décor with Wi-Fi, a TV and tea and coffee making facilities. The spacious private bathroom features a walk-in shower and comes well-equipped with a toothbrush and toiletries for your convenience.

Mercure Hotel Turpan Downton - Turpan
Set in the heart of Turpan, the 4-star Mercure Hotel Turpan Downtown offers a stylish place to stay. The rooms are elegant and spacious, and come well-appointed with Wi-Fi, a refrigerator and flat-screen TV, as well as a sleek and contemporary en-suite. There is a buffet restaurant offering a Chinese and Western breakfast, along with the expansive yet inviting lobby bar with its welcoming atmosphere.

Pear City Garden Hotel - Korle
Situated on the Peacock river front, and just a short drive from the airport, the 4-star Pear City Garden Hotel is well located for uncovering the delights of Bayingol. The hotels modern architecture blends seamlessly with the warm interiors that also draw on some classical local influences. There is a Western and Chinese buffet breakfast on offer, and the hotels café and teahouse make for a relaxing spot to unwind. Enjoy the in-room facilities on offer including Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and flat-screen TV.

Ku Che Hotel - Kuqa
The 4-star clean and modern Ku Che Hotel is located close by to the local sights, including the Old City of Kuche. Each room is well-appointed with free Wi-Fi and air- conditioning, while the large windows ensure the rooms feel bright and airy. Other hotel facilities include a fitness rooms and restaurant serving Chinese cuisine.

Minghua Hotel - Aksu
A short distance from the main sights and landscapes of Aksu, the 4-star Minghua Hotel offers guests a comfortable stay with a wide inclusion of amenities. Each room is bright and airy with large and windows and is equipped with Wi-Fi, cable TV, air-conditioning and black out curtains for your convenience. The well-appointed en-suite provides slippers and bathrobes for added comfort.

Qinibagh Hotel - Kashgar
Positioned a short walk from the Kashgar Old City, the 3-star Qinibagh Hotel offers guests a clean stay. Although the interior isn't grand, each room is decorated in traditional Chinese style with a TV, twin beds and bathroom.

Oasis Grand Hotel - Urumuqi (Xinjiang)
The 4-star clean and comfortable Oasis Grand Hotel is located in the city centre and offers views of the Red Mountain. The hotel features a sauna, fitness facilities and tea room, with the rooms offering a minibar, refrigerator and Wi-Fi for your convenience.

Mercure Beijing Downtown - Beijing
The 4-star Mercure Beijing Downtown is very well connected across the city, with easy access to the city centre and multiple transport links. The elegant and spacious guests rooms offer free internet access and satelite TV.

FAQs

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Climbing Steps

Sightseeing at nearly all palaces, fortresses and some temples involves climbing quite a number of steps. These palaces were built to provide defence against potential invaders so nearly all of them stand on top of a hill, while the interiors have layers of narrow hallways and steps to slow down the advance of enemies once they were inside. The steps tend to be quite large, not level and sometimes without handrails. Buddhist temples or pagodas also tend to be built at an elevation, as this is the most auspicious position according to ancient beliefs. This means you sometimes need to walk from the bus park to the entrance, and/or need to climb some steps inside. People with knee or hip injuries, who have poor balance or are otherwise unable to complete these activities independently should consider the suitability of this itinerary carefully.

Luggage

All travellers are limited to two items of luggage each; a suitcase with a maximum weight of 20kg and one piece of hand luggage with a maximum weight of five kilograms. It is essential that your luggage is lockable. Please note that authorities will only allow bottles onto the aircraft if they have been checked in as main baggage. Bottles in hand luggage may be confiscated.

What type of food can I expect during this tour?

Chinese cuisine is one of the most influential, diverse and flavoursome culinary styles in the world with a legacy stretching back thousands of years. Often, you’ll find that the local Chinese style is very different from what you’re used to at home. We welcome people on our tours with a wide variety of tastes and as such try to present an array of food to suit everyone in the group. Our schedule of meals is designed so that you can experience the local dishes, their individual flavours as well as the different ways they are prepared and cooked throughout China.

T&Cs

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Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply.

    • Flight Inclusive rates only: These include airline fuel surcharge and taxes. Correct as of 1 August 2023. Please note supplements may apply if lead in economy rates are not available.
    • Customary tipping amount of approximately RMB1,360pp (AU$302pp) is paid locally in China.
    • Depending on airline schedules, you may depart and/or arrive on Day 2. Extra nights' accommodation (pre or post tour) or stopovers may be required at an additional cost.
    • Flight Inclusive rates only: Based on departures from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth. Departures from other cities and flight upgrades available on request.
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Prices per person from

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