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Legend of the Silk Road - 15 days, 14 nights

Beijing - Xi'an - Lanzhou - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Kashgar - Urumqi - Shanghai
Trace the history of the ancient Silk Road, from the seemingly inhabitable Gobi Desert, to vast mountains and fast-paced cities.  The fascination and mystery of China that once drew migrants and adventurers long ago still attracts modern-day travelers to these far-flung regions. In this 15 day tour, marvel at Beijing’s historical Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.  Wander through hidden hutongs, and see relics of the past in some of China’s most prominent museums.  Travel to the Gobi Desert, climb a section of the Great Wall, and get lost in Chinese culture from the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda to a modern day acrobat show.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, dropoffs, and daily excursions. 
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.
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Trip Highlights

  • Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
  • The Great Wall
  • Heavenly Lake
  • City tour of Kashgar
  • The Gobi Desert and Singing Sand Dunes


Day 1:  Arrive Beijing
Upon arrival in Beijing you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy free time to rest or explore the city on your own. Overnight in Beijing.
Day 2:  Beijing           
Your tour of the capital city begins with historical Tiananmen Square. From the square, walk through the gates to explore the endless halls and palaces of the Forbidden City, which took 15 years (1405-1420) for 100,000 artisans and laborers to construct. In the afternoon visit the Summer Palace – the summer resort of China’s monarchs during the Qing Dynasty. Overnight in Beijing. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3:  Beijing            
After breakfast, visit the Great Wall of China, the only man-made construction visible from outer space. In the afternoon, visit the 7km long Sacred Way consisting of stone carvings of animals and officials and one of the Ming Tombs. Enjoy a Beijing duck dinner in the evening. Overnight in Beijing. (Breakfast, Lunch, Special Dinner)
Day 4:  Beijing to Xi'an         
Spend your morning visiting the Temple of Heaven – China’s largest altar complex. Then explore the narrow alleys of Beijing’s hidden hutong neighborhoods by rickshaw. Witness a different way of life as you pass by ancient local homes.  Drive by the old Bell Tower used to announce time and feast your eyes on Prince Gong’s Palace.  In the afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Xi'an. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 5:  Xi'an to Lanzhou           
After breakfast, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which was initially built in the 7th century to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India.  Explore the history of Islam in China with a tour of the Great Mosque and then visit the Terra Cotta Warriors excavated from the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. Take an evening flight to Lanzhou the capital city of Gansu Province. Overnight in Lanzhou. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Great Wall

Day 6:  Lanzhou to Jiayuguan     
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Binglingsi Caves located 75km to the southwest of the city and isolated by the waters of the Liujiaxia Reservoir. Also called the Thousand Buddha Caves, it is a spectacular setting with soaring cliffs composed of eroded rock and dramatic natural caves. Visit the Provincial Museum if time permits before taking an overnight train to Jiayuguan. Overnight in Jiayuguan. (All meals)
Day 7:  Jiayuguan to Dunhuang     
Upon arrival to this ancient outpost at the western most part of the Great Wall, enjoy a tour to Jiayuguan Fort, built in 1372. Continue to the Overhanging Great Wall, a section used for defense by the Ming Dynasty. In the afternoon take a 5 hour drive to Dunhuang. Overnight in Dunhuang. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 8:  Dunhuang to Liuyuan to Turpan     
In the early morning, climb the massive Singing Sand Dunes stopping for a great view of Crescent Moon Lake. Visit the Mogao Grottoes renowned as the site of the greatest trove of Buddhist art the world has known and home to over 1,000 caves that were cut out of the cliffs between the 4th and 14th century. In the afternoon, transfer to the train station for an overnight train to Turpan. Overnight on train. (All meals)
Day 9:  Turpan       
Upon arrival in the early morning, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  After breakfast embark on a full day tour to the Gobi Desert to see the Gaochang Ruins, the ancient Uighurs capital, and key locations along the Silk Road. Continue on to the Bezkelik Thousand Buddha Caves in the heart of the Flaming Mountain and later visit the Grape Valley and Karez—underground irrigation channels, one of China’s greatest public works projects. Overnight in Turpan. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 10:  Turpan to Urumqi to Kashgar     
After breakfast, drive to Urumqi – the capital city of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Visit the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum to learn about local minority groups and then visit the Hongshan Park and Pagoda. Take an evening flight to Kashgar. Overnight in Kashgar. (All meals)

Heavenly Lake

Day 11:  Kashgar to Urumqi     
Spend your morning wandering through the bustling Sunday bazaar to practice your bargaining skills. After lunch, visit the Idkhar Mosque and the Abahoja Tomb. Take a late evening flight back to Urumqi. Overnight in Urumqi. (All meals)
Day 12:  Urumqi             
After breakfast embark on a full day excursion to Heavenly Lake. Located on the northern slope of Mt. Tianshan, this small, deep-blue lake is surrounded by hills covered with firs and grazed by horses. Overnight in Urumqi. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 13:  Urumqi to Shanghai      
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Shanghai. (Breakfast)
Day 14:  Shanghai    
Begin your tour of Shanghai with the Bund—a walkway along the river offering beautiful views of the river and the 19th Century European-Style buildings that once housed the colonial powers. In the afternoon visit the Shanghai Museum for an incredible collection of ancient Chinese art.  Continue on to the Jade Buddha Temple and the Yu Garden and Bazaar. In the evening enjoy an amazing contortion and acrobatic show. Overnight in Shanghai. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 15:  Departure   
After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy some free time for last-minute shopping before being transferred to the Pudong Airport for your onward journey.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Soft sleeper train tickets for Lanzhou to Jiayuguan and Liuyuan to Turpan
  • Internal flights for Beijing to Xian, Xian to Lanzhou, Urumqi to Kashgar and Kashgar to Urumqi, Urumqi to Shanghai

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • China visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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