17-Day Glorious Beijing Kashgar Urumqi Turpan Dunhuang Xian Shanghai Tour

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17-Day Glorious Beijing Kashgar Urumqi Turpan Dunhuang Xian Shanghai Tour Highlights

  • Cover Beijing (the capital of China), Xian (an important historical city & ancient capital for 13 dynasties of China), and Shanghai (China’s emerging global financial hub) and the important cities along the Ancient Silk Road: Kashgar, Urumqi, Turpan, and Dunhuang.
  • Explore the must-see sites including the Great Wall & Forbidden City in Beijing, Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar, Heavenly Lake in Urumqi, Grape Valley in Turpan, Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Terracotta Army in Xian, and the Bund in Shanghai.
  • Taste China’s delicious local food including the iconic Peking Roast Duck, something that should not be missed, other delicious items highlighting China’s culinary culture.

Price Per Person: available upon request

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Services Included:

  • Entrance fees to tourist sites as specified in the itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Buffet breakfast at the hotel, L=Chinese lunch, D=Chinese dinner)
  • Experienced English-speaking guide in each city
  • Private car and driver for transfers in each city
  • Hotel accommodations (double occupancy basis)
  • Bullet train from Turpan to Dunhuang (business class)
  • Flights from Beijing to Kashgar, Kashgar to Urumqi, Dunhuang to Xian and Xian to Shanghai including airport and fuel taxes (economy class)

Services Not Included:

  • International transportation to Beijing and out of Shanghai
  • China visa
  • Personal expenses such as excess luggage charge (please verify your flight documentation), beverages, laundry services, etc.
  • Tips or gratuities to local driver and guide

Book Now!

Interested in booking this tour or customizing it to fit your needs? Fill out this quick form!


100% privacy -- we will never spam you.

BOOK BY PHONE:

1-888-373-6882

  • Groups allowed
  • Tour guides

Tour Schedule by Day


Day 1 Arrive in Beijing

Meals: N/A

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

When you arrive in the capital of China, you will be greeted by your friendly guide who will escort you to your hotel. You will settle into your hotel for the night. Enjoy free time on your own.

Beijing

Day 2 Beijing

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

The history of Beijing can be traced back to 3000 years ago. It was then known as Ji, a city-state from the 11th century to 7th century BC. Ji was conquered by the State of Yan and was renamed as Yanjing. Beijing’s glory starts in early the Ming Dynasty when Emperor Yongle decided to establish it as the capital city of the empire. Thereafter, Beijing has served as China’s capital for around 600 years. The rapidly developing economy has shrunk portions of its historical sections, to give way to modernity. However, there are still many places where travelers can get a glimpse into the city’s ancient past.

In the morning, you will be transferred to the suburb of Beijing to visit a less-traveled section of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall. You will spend some time walking on the wall, taking pictures and admiring the might and grandeur of the Great Wall. The sheer scope of this engineering marvel is spectacular. The construction of the Great Wall started as early as the Spring and Autumn Period. During that time and the following Warring States period, different states such as the Qin, Wei, and Zhao,  built several walls to defend their own borders. At the end of the Warring States Period, Ying Zheng, King of Qin State, conquered his opponents and united China again as one great empire. He joined the walls together. Since then, the Great Wall has been rebuilt and vastly enlarged. The current wall was mainly built during the Ming Dynasty.

In the afternoon, you will continue to explore the Ming Tombs to learn more about that period of history. In total, 13 emperors from the Ming Dynasty were buried here, together with their empresses and concubines. You will visit Changling, the tomb of Emperor Yongle, who built the Forbidden City. The tomb is not excavated so you will visit the on-site museum which houses many artifacts unearthed from another tomb, Dingling. After that, drive back to Beijing and stop to do an outside tour to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

mutianyu great wall - hilly

Day 3 Beijing

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Peking Roast Duck Dinner

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Your adventure begins in Tiananmen Square, in the center of Beijing. It is an important meeting place for political events. The square is lined with many buildings such as the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Great Hall of the People, and the National Museum of China. Each morning, the five-star red flag, China’s national flag, is raised up here with the rising sun.

Then walk your way to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which was off-limits to commoners in the past. The construction of Forbidden City started in 1406 and ended in 1420, under the reign of Emperor Yongle. In total, 24 emperors together with their households resided there. Most of them were born and raised up here, came to the throne and worked diligently to rule the country, and later died here. You will visit the main palaces, the imperial garden, the treasure gallery, and the clock and watch the exhibition hall.

Next, you will explore another landmark of Beijing, the Temple of Heaven. It was built at the same time as the Forbidden City by Emperor Yongle. In ancient China, the emperors claimed themselves as the son of Heaven and they ruled the country on behalf of gods. The temple was built to hold sacrificing ceremonies to show respect to the gods and pray for good harvests.

At night, you will taste the iconic food of Beijing: Peking Roast Duck for dinner. After dinner, you will watch the Legend of Kungfu Show.

Day 4 Beijing - Kashgar by plane

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Tianyuan International Hotel Kashgar 4stars or similar

Travel to the airport and board the morning flight to Kashgar. The city of Kashgar sits in an oasis at the far edge of the Taklimakan Desert and the towering Pamir Mountains at the crossroads of historic trading routes. The town has served as a center for exchange of goods and ideas in Central Asia since ancient times. Marco Polo visited Kashgar in 1273 A.D. and observed Nestorian Christians amongst other exotic populace. Step off the flight for a quick journey to your hotel and settle in as the day ends.

Day 5 Kashgar 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Tianyuan International Hotel Kashgar 4stars or similar

Kashgar is home to one of the world’s largest and oldest outdoor markets, the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar. Thousands of donkey carts, tractors, trucks, horses, sheep, and people from around the region congregate each Sunday to trade in Kashgar’s fairground. Uygur, Hui, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Tajik, Han, and Pakistani merchants all ply their unique cultural wares. After your exploration in the market, go to visit the Id Kah Mosque, largest in Xinjiang, and the Old Town Area, where small alleys run through traditional neighborhoods and streets are lined with vendor stands, craft shops, and small restaurants. Next, visit the Cemetery of Abakh Hoja, the richest and most influential man in the region in the late 17th century, and whose great-granddaughter was believed to be the “Fragrant Concubine” of Emperor Qianlong. Later, visit the Tomb of Yusup Hazi Hajup, an accomplished Uygur poet and philosopher in the 11th century.

Day 6 Kashgar 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Tianyuan International Hotel Kashgar 4stars or similar

Today’s excursion takes you into the lofty Pamir Mountains, some of the world’s highest. First, stop by the small town of Upal for a tour of its active market. Then visit the Tomb of Mahmud Kashgari (1008-1105 A.D.) a prominent Uygur scholar and creator of the first comprehensive dictionary of the Turkic language. Continue driving up along the fabled Karakorum Highway passing stunning views of high mountains and deep canyons. Arrive at the Karakuri Lake for a breathtaking walk along the shore and behold the extraordinary glacier peaks of Muztagh Ata and Kongur which soar over 24,000 feet into the sky. Return to Kashgar by the evening and spend the third night in this most exotic Silk Road city.

Day 7 Kashgar - Urumqi by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Oasis Grand Hotel  4stars or similar

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly back to Urumqi. A geographic superlative, Urumqi is the most inland city on earth. It lies 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) from the nearest ocean. Check into your hotel upon arrival and have lunch. In the afternoon, you visit the Erdaoqiao Muslim Market for a true enjoyment of the senses, and then the Xinjiang Museum to view the famous Caucasian featured “Loulan Mummies”, buried and preserved over 2000 years ago.

Day 8 Urumqi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Oasis Grand Hotel  4stars or similar

Today’s excursion will take you out of the city of Urumqi to the beautiful Heavenly Lake set among the alpine peaks of Tianshan Mountain. The snowcapped Mount Bogda (5,445 meters or 17,900 feet) is reflected in the clear water of the lake. You have the opportunity to take a pleasant hike along the trails and visit a yurt home of the local Kazakh herdsmen. There are about one and a half million ethnic Kazakh people living in northwestern China. Return to Urumqi for the night.

Day 9 Urumqi - Turpan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Turpan Silk Road Lodges 4stars or similar

In the morning, depart for Turpan, a Uygur town in an oasis surrounded by searing desert and towering mountains. The Turpan depression is the second-lowest spot on earth (only the Dead Sea is lower) at 154 meters (505 feet) below sea level. The Uygur people are a distinctive Turkic-speaking ethnic minority in northwestern China. Islam is the dominant religion for the Uygurs and many other minorities in the region. Once in Turpan, visit the site of the ancient Jiaohe City built on a strategic high ground over 2,000 years ago; the remains of some structures are still standing, and the iconic Emin Minaret, the tallest Islamic structure in China.

Day 10 Turpan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Turpan Silk Road Lodges 4stars or similar

Begin today’s sightseeing at the Gaochang Ruins, which reveals traces of a prosperous ancient Silk Road trading center and Chinese military stronghold dating from 100 B.C. Take an excursion to the Beziklik Caves, which attest to the flourishing of Buddhism in western China before Islam became the dominant religion in the 15th century. Stop at the Flaming Mountains, a fascinating and colorful geological phenomenon. Turpan is famous throughout China for its large sweet grapes. A visit to the Grape Valley gives you the opportunity to walk through the shady vineyards, stop by homes of Uygur farmers, and go down into Karez Wells, an ingenious underground irrigation system that has been efficiently keeping all the crops alive with snow melt water in the scorching summer heat for millennia.

Day 11 Turpan - Dunhuang by bullet train

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel 4stars or similar

Head to the railway station and travel for 3.5-4 hours by bullet train to Dunhuang. Upon your arrival, travel to the hotel and settle in.

Day 12 Dunhuang

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel 4stars or similar

Today, you explore the fascinating Buddhist art at the Mogao Caves, a World Heritage Site since 1987, carved into cliffs facing the desert. For well over one thousand years from the Wei to Ming dynasties, Buddhist monks and devotees poured tremendous amounts of money and effort into creating this treasure house of fascinating Buddhist art with thousands of murals, sculptures, carvings, and reliefs. Unfortunately, many of these treasures were looted and taken away by European “explorers” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A research institute was set up on-site in the 1970s to catalog, study, and protect these precious ancient artworks.

In the afternoon, visit the incongruous Crescent Spring Lake, a spring-fed pool situated within the huge Singing Sand Dunes of the Gobi Desert. You have the opportunity to enjoy a camel ride up the sand dunes. After that, explore the famous Shazhou Night Market.

Day 13 Dunhuang - Xian by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Grand Noble Hotel Xian 4stars or similar

Explore Dunhuang Museum before being transferred to the airport and fly to Xian. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel.

Day 14 Xian

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Grand Noble Hotel Xian 4stars or similar

There is an interesting saying which goes that people come to Beijing to see bricks (palaces, the Great Wall, etc.) and they come to Xian to see tombs. As the capital of 13 Chinese dynasties, many emperors, empresses, princes, and princesses were buried in Xian.

You will kick off the day with a tour to one of the most important tombs, the Terracotta Warriors. These life-sized terracotta warriors, chariots and horses were discovered in 1976 by local farmers who were digging a well, after being hidden underground for around 2000 years. They were built by Ying Zheng (259BC-210BC), King of Qin State, later known as Emperor Qin Shihuang (秦始皇) of Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC), as a part of his mausoleum after he came to the throne in 246BC. He believed the terracotta army could protect him in his afterlife. These clay warriors have different uniforms, hairstyles, and even facial expressions. This incredible archaeological finding is surely one of the manmade wonders of the world.

Return to Xian afterward, and you will have a leisurely walk along the Ancient City Wall which was built during the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). It is the most complete city wall in China. It encircles the inner city of Xian and its perimeter is 13km. Next, you will move on to the largest Muslim Quarter in Xian. You will explore the narrow alleys lined with lively markets, food stalls, and restaurants. It is the most famous food street in Xian and you can taste various local snacks at your own cost.

terracotta army in china

Day 15 Xian - Shanghai by plane

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhaibei  image ofe 3 star rating or similar

In the morning, you will travel to the Shaanxi History Museum which has a large collection of ancient relics and is one of the best museums in China.

Then you will pay a visit to the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi of Han Dynasty. It is the tomb for Liuqi, one emperor of the West Han Dynasty and his empress. It is a museum and meanwhile an archeological site. The pits where human and animal figurines were buried are well laid out. Travelers can walk along the see-through glass panel floor to view the pits beneath closely. One difference between Terracotta and Han figurines is that the latter ones are much smaller while Terracotta soldiers and horses are life-size. And also the Han figurines are all similar in shape and expression and they have no hands. It is said that they originally had hands made of wood and clothes as well. Both had disintegrated over time.

After that, travel to Shanghai by plane. Upon your arrival, travel to the hotel and settle in.

hanyang tomb stones

Day 16 Shanghai

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhaibei  image ofe 3 star rating or similar

Today you will take a full-day city tour in Shanghai to explore its major attractions. First, explore the Jade Buddha Temple, an important Buddhist Temple in Shanghai, to get a glimpse of Buddhism and Buddhists in China. This temple has a history of 120 years and contains two jade Buddha sculptures. Hence, why it is called the Jade Buddha Temple.

Next, you will visit the Yuyuan Garden. The garden was built in 1559 by an official of the Ming Dynasty to please his father. When you visit the garden, you will be impressed by its size, the buildings with ornate carvings, and the artistic rockeries.

Next, you will move on to the Shanghai Museum. It is one of the most important museums in China. It houses more than 120,000 artifacts covering bronze ware, pottery, ancient furniture, amongst other items.

After that, you will take a leisure walk on the Bund, a district in the center of the city, to explore the exquisite architecture there.

Yuyuan Garden

Day 17 Depart from Shanghai

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: N/A

Enjoy free time until being driven to the airport for your homeward flight. Thus, ending this magnificent tour of China.