Remote China: Kashgar to Xi'an 2020
|Tour Dates||10 Aug 2020 - 27 Aug 2020 (18 days)|
|Tour Price (Per Person)||Price to be announced|
|Spaces Available||Spaces available|
- Wander the Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar, an ancient and scenic market with many goods on offer.
- Have a fascinating experience in Livestock Market full of various animals on Sundays.
- Have a meal at the edge of Lake Karakul — a sparkling glacial lake, then walk around the lake or take a ride by pony or camel to enjoy the scenery.
- Travel to the Heavenly Lake regarded as “Jewel in the Crown”; and admire the marvelous glacier and snow mountain to the east.
- Meander through the Erdaoqiao Bazaar, a bustling market with almost everything imaginable.
- Enjoy fantastic caves and frescos in Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
- Take time to visit Suleiman’s Minaret, the only ancient Islamic pagoda in the country.
- Marvel at Karez Well, famous for its irrigation systems and explore the intriguing history and construction in the nearby museum.
- Walk along the Jiaohe Ruin lying between two rivers and imagine it in ancient times.
- See the mysterious murals and Buddha sculptures with a history dating back thousand years.
- Appreciate one of the four largest grottoes in China — Longmen Grottoes, which contain amazing cultural relics amid green mountains and blue rivers.
- White Horse Temple the cradle of Buddhism is also called Home of Sakyamuni; or the Court for Ancestors.
- Appreciate the marvelous Terracotta Warriors in full battle array of Emperor Qin’s tomb.
- Full services of an Out of Bounds Tours leader with local guides and drivers.
- All meals from arrival until departure.
- All transport within the itinerary.
- All accommodations.
- All entrance fees, sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary.
|Tour Fact Sheet|
|Max Group Size||12 plus 1 Out of Bounds leader|
Day 1: Beijing
We begin our China tour on arrival into Beijing, where you will be met by your guide and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of your day will be at leisure to relax after your international flight. Overnight at the Dongfang Hotel in Beijing.
Day 2: Kashgar
Today on our China tour, we will fly to Kashgar. Populated with Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks, Kashgar boasts the most colorful ethnic diversity of people in the country. We will wander the old town streets viewing the 500-year old remnants of the city wall along narrow lanes and sampling a snapshot of life in this exotic outpost of Western China and provide a sense of what this legendary Central Asian hub was like in the days when the Silk Road was at its zenith. Later we will have dinner and go over our plans for the month ahead. Overnight at Barony Hotel in Kashgar.
Day 3: Kashgar
Sunday is the liveliest and most atmospheric day to be in Kashgar, and we will take full advantage of that. After breakfast we will head to the enthralling Sunday Market, the biggest market in Central Asia where people from all over Central Asia and China come to exchange and buy goods and which dates back over two thousand years.
With more than 20 sections spread throughout the market, there is hardly a corner of the market that is not bursting with energy, from average household goods to the livestock areas with donkeys, horses, goat, sheep and cattle — a truly unforgettable experience.
Later we will head for lunch and then to the 15th century Id Kah Mosque, which is one of the largest and busiest in China. Continuing on we will reach Zhiren Street, an old street with an amazing range of goods being crafted for sale by hand, from strictly utilitarian cookware to exotic musical instruments. Copper, metal, porcelain, woodwork, jewellery and other goods are seen to be made and you will marvel at incredible devices like the wooden objects that prevent babies from wetting the bed.
Finally we will venture through the Grand Bazaar. Famed throughout Asia, this ancient market attracts locals and merchants from all over Xinjiang and nearby countries such as Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. Overnight at Barony Hotel in Kashgar.
Day 4: Lake Karakul — Tashkurgan
This morning on our China tour, we will drive about 200km west of Kashgar along the famed Karakoram Highway to stunning Lake Karakol (meaning “Black Lake”), which is an icy blue lake located at the foot of the Muztagata Mountains, the second highest of the mountains which form the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Lake Karakol is known for its otherworldly scenery and the clarity of the reflection in the water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue. There are two Kyrgyz (Kara-Kyrgyz) settlements along the lake edges and the area is dotted with nearby yurts. For those interested, there will be an opportunity to ride a camel or donkey around the lake to admire the remote and beautiful scenery. Overnight at the Crown Inn in Tashkurgan.
Day 5: Kashgar
After an early breakfast we will begin our pleasant 6-hour drive back to Kashgar. En route back we will stop off at the City of Rocks, which is also known as Stone City and house the remains of the the capital of the Puli Kingdom, one of the 36 kingdoms in the Western Region under the jurisdiction of the Han Dynasty.
Once back in Kashgar, we will visit the Abakh Hoja Mausoleum, which is arguably the finest example of Islamic architecture in Xinjiang. Overnight at Barony Hotel in Kashgar.
Day 6: Kuqa
A long, 10-hour day of exploration across Western China is ahead today as we drive throughout the countryside of the Taklamakan Desert to Kuqa, which is the birthplace of Qiuci Culture. On arrival we may stroll the town, which is divided between the New Town (Chinese) section to the east and the Old Town (Uighur) to the west. Overnight at the Kuche Hotel in Kuqa.
Day 7: Kuqa — Urumqi (Train)
This morning on our China tour, we will venture 65km west of Kuqa and visit the Kizil Caves, which are a set of rock-cut caves believed to be the oldest Buddhist cave complex within the country on the northern bank of the Muzat River. Moving on we will visit the Grand Kuqa Mosque, dating back from the 15th century and housing a praying hall supported by 88 pillars and a fine example of Uygur architecture.
Finally, we will visit Subah, an ancient city that remains in ruins but was once the capital of the Kingdom of Guici and dates back around 4,000 years. In the evening we will board our sleeper train and begin our 10-hour overnight journey to Ürümqi. Overnight on the train.
Day 8: Ürümqi
Upon arrival we will transfer to the hotel for a short rest and shower before joining for breakfast and heading out to explore the city of Ürümqi. Among other places, we will pay a visit to the Xinjiang Regional Museum. The museum is a virtual treasure trove of Western China discoveries and houses over 50,000 items, ranging from recently discovered Ancient Caucasian mummies and their artifacts; silks and writing in various languages from various eras; and dried food that dates from the Tang Dynasty era around 1,200 years ago. Overnight at the Yilite Hotel in Ürümqi.
Day 9: Ürümqi
After breakfast we will drive 110km miles outside of Ürümqi to the Heavenly Lake. Surrounded by beautiful, snowcapped Tian Shan Mountain peaks and located in the middle of Bodga Peak, the crescent-shaped area of Heavenly Lake deserves its name, “Pearl of Heavenly Mountain”. We will explore the surroundings and have an opportunity to climb the steps to a temple on the hilltop with sweeping views and enjoy a boat cruise on the lake.
Returning to Ürümqi, we will visit the Erdaoqiao Market, which is the largest in the city. Later we will enjoy dinner in the old town and have the evening at leisure. Overnight at the Yilite Hotel in Ürümqi.
Day 10: Turpan and surroundings
Today on our China tour, we will drive roughly 3-hours on the Silk Road to the city of Turpan, which is also known as Turfan or Tulufan. The area around the city, the Turpan Depression, is the lowest point in China and second lowest on Earth (after the Dead Sea) at 154 meters below sea level.
We will venture out to the desolate Gobi Desert and visit first the sprawling Gaochang Ruins, located at the foot of the Flaming Mountain (the hottest area in China), about 46 kilometers southeast of Turpan. The ancient city of Gaochang was at one time a fortress city for the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty army garrisons, and it was a fortress city and a capital city for the Turpan region for more than a thousand years. It was a stopping place and market town for caravan traders. Now it is lays across a long stretch of sandy piles of mud and bricks with the remains of walls and buildings scattered around.
Nearby we will also visit the Astana Graves, which holds mainly Chinese tombs and Chinese shrines that date from about the middle of the 200s to the late 700s. Over the years thousands of historical relics had been unearthed in this area, including writings, paintings, stone and pottery wares, and ancient coins. Although there are almost 500 tombs in this area, only three tombs are open to the public, including one which houses two mummies and the other two have murals.
Lastly we will pay a visit to the spectacular Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. This imposing complex of Buddhist cave grottos were carved over a 900 year-long period of time between about 400 and 1,300 AD. In these grottoes, people created artwork depicting daily life and their religion. Nearby to the caves are some stunning sand dunes which can be climbed and admired for excellent photos of the complex.
Turpan is famous for their grapes, which are grown primarily for raisins but also used for wine, and you will have the opportunity to taste this at dinner tonight (optional). Overnight at Huozhou Hotel in Turpan.
Day 11: Turpan — Liuyuan (Train)
Today on our China tour, we will do some more exploring of the Turpan area with visits to the Karez Well System, where we will learn about the agricultural practices of the local people and explore the tunnels. Next we will head to the Flaming Mountains, also called “Red Mountain”. Their striking gullies and trenches caused by erosion of the red sandstone bedrock give the mountains a flaming appearance at certain times of the day. We will enjoy a walk around this stark area admiring the backdrop to the oases and scenery of the Turpan.
Later we will drive to the historic Jiaohe Ruins, which is the largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city in the world, with a history dating back 2300 years. Walking along this majestic place among the town structure — administration building, residential area, guard tower, temple — will give you a feeling of traveling back in time.
Finally we will visit the Islamic, Emin Minaret (Sugong Tower), the largest minaret in China. In the evening we will board our 9-hour overnight train to Liuyuan. Overnight on train.
Day 12: Liuyuan — Dunhuang
In the morning, we will arrive at the railway Liuyuan Station and drive to Dunhuang, where we will visit the Mogao Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on a strategic point along the Silk Road, the 492 cells and cave sanctuaries in Mogao are well-known for their statues and wall paintings, comprising the largest and longest used treasure house of Buddhist art in the world. There are about 30 caves open to the public, and we will have a comprehensive and informative visit of about 10 of them.
Later we will head to the beautiful Crescent Moon Lake, where we will take an enjoyable camel ride among the smooth yellow Mingsha Sand Dunes. Overnight at the Jiayuguan Hotel in Dunhuang.
Day 13: Jiayuguan — Lanzhou (Train)
After breakfast, we will drive to the Jiayuguan Pass, which is the western starting point of the Great Wall of China. We will visit the impressive fortress where there is a two-storied watchtower on each corner.
Next, we will walk along the Great Wall on the Cliff. This section of the Great Wall was built on a steeply sloping valley mouth among strikingly arid scenery. We will enjoy some time in this remote area of the Great Wall before heading to the train station for our overnight trip to Lanzhou. Overnight on the train.
Day 14: Lanzhou via Liujiaxia
Upon arrival in Lanzhou, we will head to our hotel for breakfast and then drive out to Liujiaxia to visit the Bingling Temple by yacht, which has one of the biggest surviving carved statues of Buddha from the Tang Dynasty era (618-907) in China.
Next, we will continue our cruise and visit the Zhognshan Iron Bridge bridge, built during the Qing Dynasty and renowned as the “first bridge on the Yellow River under the heaven”; the ancient Waterwheel Garden, which was once used to lift water from the Yellow River to supply the needs of this dry region, and where we may also have a chance to ride on a raft of inflated sheep skins (optional); and the Yellow River Mother Sculpture, which is the most beautiful of its kind in China. Overnight at JJ Sun Hotel in Lanzhou.
Day 15: X’ian
After breakfast this morning on our China tour, we will set off on an 8-9 hour drive across Ningxia province to Xi’an. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, we will stretch our legs and explore the old city areas on foot and enjoy a traditional dinner. Overnight at the Skytel Hotel in Xi’an.
Day 16: Xi’an — Luoyang
This morning on our China tour, we will take a short 2-hour train to Luoyang, where we will visit the nearby Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a spectacular example of Chinese Buddhist art, housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples.
Later, we will visit the White Horse Temple, which boasts architecture which has remained intact for over 1,900 years. After a traditional lunch, we will make our return by train to Xi’an. We will have the evening at leisure and dinner in the old town (optional). Overnight at the Skytel Hotel in Xi’an.
Day 17: X’ian
Today on our China tour, we will visit the UNESCO-listed and mindblowing, Terracotta Army, which is a vast collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, which was buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife, and is considered the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. Remaining hidden for 2,200 years, and only discovered in March 1974, over 6,000 pottery soldiers (each soldier has distinct facial features), horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits.
Later we will explore the old city walls area of Xi’an with its ramparts, gates and watchtowers that form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses in the world. Overnight at the Skytel Hotel in Xi’an.
Day 18: Departure
After breakfast we will have transfers to the Xi’an International Airport for our onward flights to Beijing and home.