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Silk Road: 10 days Classic Tour from Xining to Dunhuang

Silk Road Xining to Dunhuang

Trip Details:

Contact us for a quotation

10 Days


Type: Sightseeing (no hike)
Dates: Choose your own date 😊

Embark on an unforgettable 10-day journey along the historic Silk Road, exploring China's breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage. This sightseeing adventure, tailored for those who seek awe-inspiring beauty without the rigor of hiking, takes you through a series of China's most magnificent destinations, including Xining, Kanbula National Forest Park, Tongren, the enchanting Chaka and Qinghai Lake, the vibrant colors of Zhangye's Pingshanhu, Rainbow Mountain, and Mati Temple, the historic Jiayuguan, and the mystical landscapes of Dunhuang & Yandan Geological Park.

Customize your dates and prepare to immerse yourself in an experience filled with extraordinary sceneries and cultural revelations, any time of the year. This Silk Road tour isn't just a trip; it's a gateway to the heart of China's beauty and ancient wisdom, promising memories that will linger long after your journey ends. Get ready to witness China's hidden wonders and timeless culture in an experience that is as limitless as your own curiosity. 🤩


🌈Amazing sceneries: Kanbula National Forest Park, Rainbow mountain, Pingshanhu, Qinghai and Chaka Salt Lake, Yandan Geological park, Gobi Desert...

🐪 Fun experiences: Sleep in Yurt, can ride a camel...

🤩Culture: meet Buddhist monks and nomads, visit Tibetan temple...

⛺️ Historic: Silk Road, Western Great Wall, historic city of Dunhuang, Mogao Grottoes (366 AD)


Comprehensive itinerary for a Harbin tour, highlighting key attractions like the Ice and Snow Festival, Siberian Tiger Park, and historical sites.

Day 1

Arrival - Xining

Highlight: Ta'er Monastery

Today is arrival day 😊 We suggest arriving in Xining by 12:15 as we have some visits planned in the afternoon!

After the airport pickup, we'll head to the hotel for the check-in (~40min drive). You'll then have a bit of free time for lunch.

~14:30, we'll head to Ta'er Monastery - also known as Kumbum Monastery (~1h drive). It is one of the two most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside Tibet itself. It presents a beautiful landscape of both Han and Tibetan architecture temples and residences nestled in the peaceful hills of Xining's suburbs.

~18:00, we will drive back to Xining (~1h drive), where we will stay overnight.

Free time in the evening.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~2-3h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Xining

🍚 Meals: None

⛰ Altitude: 2261m

Day 2


Highlight: Kanbula National Forest Park

~9:30, we will drive to Kanbula National Forest Park.

Located in Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Kanbula National Forest Park is famous for its unique Danxia landform of red gravel rocks and features forest vegetation, lofty mountains, soaring peaks crystal water, and Tibetan culture.

~16:30, we will drive back to Xining, where we will stay overnight.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~4h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Xining

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 2261m

Day 3

Xining > Tongren

Highlight: Wutun Temple, Longwu Lamasery

~9:30, we will head to Tongren. We will first visit Wutun Temple with a history of more than 600 years, the temple is divided into the "lower" and "upper" temple. These two half-temples combine a comprehensive record of the religious history of Tongren and Qinghai. There, you will discover exquisite Thangka, embroidery, sculpture, and other works of art, which have high cultural relics and artistic value.

We will then drive 15min to visit Longwu Lamasery, which is also a Gelupa Lamasery. Inside the temple hall are remarkable ornaments and cultural relics and is considered by many as a museum of Buddhist Art.

Overnight in Tongren.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~3.5h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Tongren

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 2495m

Day 4

Tongren > Chaka Lake

Highlight: Chaka Salt Lake

~7:00, we will drive to Chaka Salt Lake. It is one of several salt lakes in the Quidam basin. ~13:00 we will arrive and have our lunch break.

~14:00-18:00, we will visit Chaka Lake. Chaka is unique because it has both solid and liquid salt, which makes the scenery particularly beautiful. Many people rename this lake the “Mirror of the Sky” because the snow-white bed of the lake contrasts with the deep blue of the lake, giving it a mirror-like impression. 📸 Prepare your camera!

Free time in the evening.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~6h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: Hotel in Qinghai Chaka

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 3059m

Day 5

Qinghai Lake > Xining >  Zhangye

Highlight: Qinghai Lake

~8:00, we will drive to Qinghai Lake (~2/3h drive) which is the largest saline lake in China.  We will find nice spots on the way to wander and admire the beautiful views of the lake, mountains, and grassland. If you're interested, you can have a bike ride at Qinghai Lake.

After lunch (~12:00-13:00) we will drive back to Xining (~2/3h drive) and take the train to Zhangye (2h ride) where we will spend the night.

Free time in the evening.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~5-6h drive)

& Train (2h)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Zhangye

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1400m

Day 6


Highlight: Mati Temple, Pingshanhu

~8:00, we will drive to Mati Temple (~1.5h drive) for a nice visit. Mati temple was built in the Jin Dynasty. It is said to be a series of horseshoe prints left by the legendary heaven horse, which then became the treasure of the temple.

After lunch (~12:00-13:00), we will head to Pingshanhu Danxia (~2.5h drive). We will have a chill hike at Pingshanhu Danxia. As one of the best off-the-beaten-path adventures in the region, the grand canyon has a wild natural beauty that is both grand and beautiful.

~18:30 We will then drive back (~1h30) to do the check-in (~20:00). Tonight, we are staying in a very special accommodation: a traditional Kaoshan Tent, similar to a Yurt! Free time in the evening.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~5.5h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: Yurt or Hotel in Zhangye

*yurt available from April to September

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1400m

Day 7

Zhangye > Jiayuguan 

Highlight: Rainbow Mountain & Western end of the Great Wall 

~8:00, we will visit Danxia Landform Geological Park, aka the "Rainbow Mountain!" 🌈 These famous Chinese mountains are known for their colors that mimic a rainbow painted over the tops of rolling mountains. 🤩 Amazing! If you're wondering where these colors come from, it's basically layered sandstone and minerals built up over millions of years; when tectonic plates moved, the colors began to appear. 

After lunch (~12:00-13:00), we will drive to  Jiayuguan City (~2.5h drive), in northwestern Gansu Province. It has a history of more than 600 years and is famous for the Jiayuguan Fort as well as the western end of the Great Wall

~15:30-17:00, we will visit the Jiayuguan fort. If you're interested in knowing more about the history and culture of the Great Wall you can even visit the Great Wall Museum there. Very interesting and comprehensive (optional). 

~17:30-19:00, we will go to the hanging Great Wall and walk through the Western Part of the Great Wall, up and down the wall. Can you believe that this part was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)? 

Free time in the evening.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~2.5h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Jiayuguan

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1462m

Day 8

Jiayuguan > Dunhuang

Highlight: Dunhuang, Mogao Grottoes

~8:00, we will drive to Dunhuang (4-5h drive) which was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road and is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves.

~13:00-13:30, we will have our lunch break.

~14:00-17:00, we will do the Mogao Grottoes visit.

These caves were carved by hand (the first one in AD 366) as places of Buddhist meditation and worship and contain the world's largest collection of Buddhist art. Not surprisingly, they have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and are great artistic and religious wonders of the World.

Free time in the evening.

We recommend going to the Shazhou night market. This is the perfect place to try local specialties (such as Yellow Noodle,  Dunhuang Rang Pi, Apricot Peel Water...) and buy some local crafts & souvenirs.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car  (~4-5h drive)

🛌 Accommodation: Hotel in Dunhuang

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1138m

Day 9

Dunhuang / Yandan

Highlight: Yandan Geological Park

This morning, we will head to Yandan. The scenery is absolutely stunning and will make you feel like you're on another planet, like... the moon.

Yadan National Geologic Park is full of wind-eroded sandstone towers called Yadan Landforms. The landforms rise above the flat Gobi Desert and cover a vast area.

🚗 Transportation: Private Car (~5hrs driving)

🛌 Accommodation: 4* Hotel in Dunhuang

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1138m

Day 10

Dunhuang & Departure

Highlight: Echoing Sand Mountain & Crescent Lake

~8:00, we will drive (~30min drive) to the Echoing Sand Mountain and the Crescent-shaped Lake - an oasis in the Gobi desert. Get ready for boundless desert, mysterious sand-echoing, breathtaking desert cape, and azure blue sky. There, you can choose to ride a camel (extra cost) following part of the Ancient Silk Road.

~11:00, It is now time to drive to the airport and go back home, head full of wonderful memories!

🚗 Transportation: Private car

🛌 Accommodation: /

🍚 Meals: Breakfast

⛰ Altitude: 1138m

*Note that this itinerary is for referral only. Actual timing might be flexible depending on the weather or other organizational factors.


Get a glimpse of the the Tour Experience!

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The price will depend on the number of people you have. Contact us for a quotation 😊


- 1 Airport pickup on day 1
- 1 Airport drop off on day 10 at ~12 h
- On-site private transportation with AC
- Train from Xining to Zhangye, 2nd class seat
- English-speaking local guides (one for Qinghai area and another for Gansu area)
- Accommodation: Comfortable hotels (4-star hotels except in Qinghai and Zhangye Kaoshan Yurt). 2 persons sharing one room.
- Meals: daily breakfast
- Entrance fee listed in the itinerary
- Water: 2 bottles per person per day
- Travel insurance


Choose your own date


- Flights arriving in Xining / leaving from Dunhuang
- Meals not mentioned (lunches and dinners)
- Personal expenses and tips to the guide and driver
- Invoice

- Single room occupancy: to be confirmed
- Train upgrade: first-class train tickets (day 5)
- Hotel upgrade: 5* hotels or best available
- Extra activities: boating, camel riding, culture show, etc.

Cancellation Fee

Cancellation fee (per person)
- Between booking and 15 days prior to departure: 300 RMB
- Between 15 and 5 days prior to departure: 2000 RMB
- Between 4 and 1 days prior to departure: 50% of the price
- On departure day or no-show: 100% of the price

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

If the weather is really bad and represents a risk for people's safety, or if there is any government restrictions we could cancel the trip up to 1 day in advance. The deposit would be fully refunded. Note that we are NOT responsible for flight cancellation fees. This would need to be dealt with by the airline company directly.

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