Travel on this once an important envoy and trading route between Tang Kingdom and Tubo Kingdom (present-day Tibet), which allowed access from central China to other cities in Qinghai, Tibet, Nepal and India. In the year 641, during the Tang Dynasty, Princess Wen Cheng was sent as a bride to Louxie (present-day Lhasa), the capital of Tubo Kingdom. This 3,000 km route extends through 4 provinces, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet, of which over 1,500 km lies on Qinghai Province. This strenuous journey from Chang'an (present-day Xian) later became the Tangbo Road and promoted friendly links between the two kingdoms.
Dunhuang, a desert treasure trove famed for its historical cave-paintings, is one of the most important oasis towns on the Silk Road.
Dunhuang used to be called Shazhou and was one of the “four counties in Hexi Corridor” in Gansu Province. Dunhuang adjoins Anxi to the east, and borders Aksay all the way to the neighboring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest. There are many tourist attractions in Dunhuang, including the world famous Mogao Caves which were put into the “World Heritages” by UNESCO in 1987. Dunhuang is listed as a state historic and cultural city.
Jiayuguan City is located at the central part of the Hexi Corridor. Jiayuguan Pass was an important strategic spot in ancient times. It has been a magnificent pass for over 160 years. Although it is a booming industrial city now, there are many rich tourist resources, for example the Jiayuguan Pass, the Suspended Great Wall, and the Great Wall Museum. Other attractions include the Mural Tomb of the Kingdom of Wei and Jin Dynasties, Qiyi Glacier and Jiayuguan Glide Range.
Jiuquan was one of the “four counties in Hexi Corridor”. It has a variety of historic and cultural sites including the Jiuquan scenic spots dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC- 25 AD) and the many murals from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) tomb. It is also a well-known wine glass production city.
Lanzhou is the capital city of Gansu Province in northwest China. It is situated on the upper course of the Yellow River, where the river emerges from the mountains. It was once called “Gold City” in the ancient times.
Lanzhou has been a center since early times, being at the southern end of the route leading via the Hexi Corridor across Central Asia, playing a vital role in economy and cultural exchange between the East and the West. With a history of more than 2,000 years, Lanzhou is a city hub of the northwest China nowadays
Shenyang is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in northeast China. Shenyang was first adopted by the Manchu people as their capital in the 17th century and is today’s biggest city in the northeast. Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial centre in China, and it serves as the transportation and commercial hub of China's northeast – particularly with Japan, Russia, and Korea.
Taklamakan Desert is located in the Tarim Basin in the south of Xinjiang. It is the second largest desert in the world and the largest in China. Its moving sands continue to shape the desert during the wind season. Due to its mysterious landscape, Taklamakan Desert is also called ”Sea of Death” – people got in would hardly find the way out in the old days.
Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, is located at the confluence of the Yangtze and Hanshui rivers in central China. The Yangtze River and the Han River join here, dividing the city into three towns: Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang. Due to its advantageous geographical location, Wuhan has become a commercial center. Built 3,500 years ago, the city has rich natural and cultural resources. It provides easy access to many scenic spots, such as the Three Gorges and Shennongjia.
Wuwei, one of the “four counties in Hexi Corridor,” was called Liangzhou in the past. It is located at the eastern edge of the Hexi Corridor and borders Qilian Mountain to the southwest and Tenggeli Desert in the north. It is an important stop on the way west from Lanzhou. Ancient Liangzhou was a large city; Monk Xuanzang preached Buddhist doctrines here. Wuwei has many places of interest, such as the Eastern Han Tomb in Leitai Temple, Haizang Temple and Tiantishan Grottoes.
Xian (also Xi’an)
Xian, the capital of Shaanxi Province, is located in the heart of the Guanzhong Basin, with the Weihe River running along the northern border of the city. It is the largest metropolis in northwestern China. Known as Chang'an in ancient China, Xian is a world-renowned ancient capital.
For 1,062 years beginning in the 11th century B.C., Xian was the capital of 13 dynasties including the Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Eastern Han, Sui, and Tang. The continuous dynastic occupation kept the city beautiful and magnificent. More than two hundred and seventy palaces and temples were built during its heyday, such as the "Three Han Palaces" in the Han dynasty, namely Changle, Weiyang, Jianzhang Palaces, and numerous other palaces and watch towers. The most well-known among these is the Tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, with the Terracotta Warriors and chariot. Xian is also the starting point of the ancient Silk Road.
Xining Located on the northeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Xining is the provincial capital of Qinghai. It is the hub of Lanzhu-Qinghai and Qinghai-Tibet Railways, and sits astride the main route to the hinterland of Qinghai and Tibet. Xining is 7,463 feet above sea level and is a typical example of a plateau city.
Xining has unique and beautiful scenery and many places of interests. The Ta’er Lamasery which holds plenty of precious relics and good editions of Tibetan scriptures. Major attractions include the world-famous Qinghai Lake, Bird Island, Sun & Moon Hill, Jin Yin Tan plain and mysterious Atom City.
Located in the central part of the Hexi Corridor, Zhangye was one of the four counties in Hexi Corridor. It was known as Ganzhou in the past and is regarded as a granary in this area. Visitors can visit the sleeping Buddha in the Giant Buddha Temple. Visitors can get the feel of the prairie in south Gansu, riding horses and tame deer on the grasslands with the hospitable Yugur people. There are also opportunities to sing and dance with the Yugur people. Mati Temple is near Zhangye in the Sunan area.
We had a fabulous experience in Dunhuang. We learned that less than 3% of the visitors are American yet more should go to experience the richness of the area. Truthfully, it was The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel website and link to your tours that piqued our interests to visit. As seasoned, independent travelers who have never utilized a tour company, we were immensely gratefully that we chose you to coordinate our trip to Dunhuang. The customized 4-day tour with a private driver and English speaking guide allowed us to enjoy the incredible historical sites, vast Gobi desert ventures, fun camel ride and authentic Chinese culture, cuisine and life, which we would never have experienced on our own. Our guide, Ms Fan, was knowledgeable, compassionate, friendly, and flexible to adapt each day to best suit our interests and desired activities. She was absolutely fantastic, and we give her five stars for her extraordinary skills as a guide. Mr Lee, our driver, was always reliable and a safe driver. Thank you for employing the best people to serve your clients. Also a note of acknowledgement for the wonderful stay at The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel. Our suite was beautifully decorated, the beds were very warm and comfortable, and the staff were always gracious and helpful. Eric Huang, Assistant Manager, was definitely a key resource person and we appreciated his help. We dined at the Chinese Restaurant because Western foods we could eat at home. All the meals were attractively presented and tasted outstanding. Hot Pot was a favorite dining experience. We traveled to China solely to visit Dunhuang, to stay 6 days at your hotel, and to take the 4-day personalized tour. Standing on the roof top cafe to enjoy the sand dunes and walking around the large hotel grounds are memorable experiences. We were never disappointed, and would highly recommend the hotel and your tour services to others traveling to Dunhuang. We will definitely share our experiences with family and friends, and hope more travelers will make the journey to Dunhuang.
Again, many thanks to all the fine staff who made our trip memorable.
Eirin and Gregory Hilton
4 Days Dunhuang (21 – 24 October 2012)
After a fantastic couple of weeks in China we leave for Hong Kong tomorrow. We have had a great time and the memories will stay with us for a lifetime.
Could you please forward our sincere thanks to our local guides, ZHAO in Beijing, SUSAN in Xian and SISSI in Shanghai who have made our trip so memorable? They have all been extremely kind and helpful making sure we experienced the local culture and history in each location.
Thank you also for organising the trip and ensuring we had such a great time.
With sincere thanks.
Kevin & Sallie Redmond
The Titan Times Hotel in Xian is very recommendable. The guide Mary Qu was excellent, her English is outstanding and she is very friendly. The pre-tour briefing was very good.
Ms. T. Lesaffre
24-28 Sep 09
Mr. E. Lam:高原醫生和各導遊值得嘉許
M. Kwok:Thank Silk Road Travel once again to run such a wonderful trip. Will recommend it to anyone who plans on a trip to China
Federation of Hong Kong Industries
7 Days Qinghai and Tibet tour (Sep 2008)
Conditions along the Silk Road vary from a typical continental climate around Xian to a desert climate as you travel westward. Average daily variation is about 12°C. Temperature in certain desert areas may vary up to a maximum of 36°C in one day between noon and midnight.Despite the hot weather, the summer months of June, July, August and September are a popular time to travel when the oasis towns are full of life, flowers are blooming, fruits are in season, and the fragrance of sweet melons and grapes fill the air. Spring and autumn though short and barely noticeable, are a comfortable season to travel too. Winter is cold but offers a different perspective in scenery.
Light cotton dresses, sunglasses and a hat to guard against sunburn for the summer. Wool and fleece layers, topped with a down jacket with wind-breaking shell, scarves, gloves, hats and woolen socks for the winter.Wear layers that can be added on or discarded as weather changes. Comfortable rubber-soled shoes are recommended.
“Culture Hotel” is our hotel brand that aims to bring to you a unique hotel concept. Each hotel blends in with local architectural style and décor to preserve the indigenous flavour of the region. During your trip, you may have a chance to stay at one of below distinctive hotels that have character and soul:
: Lusongyuan Hotel
: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel
: Pingjiang Lodge
: Tunxi Lodge
: Turpan Oasis Hotel
: Xidi Travel Lodge
: Tsongkha Hotel
Food & Beverages
Hotels in China usually offer buffet breakfast or continental breakfast. You may bring some snacks along with you for the trip. Avoid drinking tap water and eating cold dishes or beverages at the street market. Drink only bottled water and well cooked food during the trip.
The most efficient and comfortable way to travel is by air. Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines operate regular flights along the Silk Road cities using aircraft models Boeing 707, 737, 757 and Airbus A320. In addition, the Lanzhou - Urumqi Railway line operates train service along the Silk Road. For the more adventurous travellers who prefer to trace the footprints of Marco Polo, they can consider entering China by road through the Khunjerab Pass from Pakistan on the KarokoramHighway, or by the International Railway from Moscow to Urumqi.
China Visa & Travel Document
Most of the overseas passport holders are required to apply for a China Visa to enter China. Please check with your local Chinese embassy for visa application. To visit Tibet, all overseas passport holders are required to apply for a special permit. Please allow at least 14 working days to apply for the Tibet Permit. Remember to check if your passport is valid for at least 6 months’ before your departure date.
There are two service systems for China Cell Phone – GSM and CDMA. China Mobile's feature is the GSM system, while China Unicom the CDMA system. Cell phone network covers most provinces in China except that transmission may sometimes be interrupted in certain desert areas. Most hotels have IDD lines where you can make IDD calls in your room. Internet access is available at the business centre of most hotels.
The currency is called Chinese Yuan (CNY), which is also known as Renminbi (RMB) locally. International credits cards like Visa and Master are accepted by hotels in the major cities. US Dollar Travellers Cheques are acceptable for money exchange in most hotels.
Health information for Travelling Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau With an elevation ranging from 3,660 meters to 5,500 meters above sea level, the air pressure of most of the region in Tibet is relatively low. For those who visit plateau for the first time may suffer from different levels of high altitude sickness such as headache, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. One should avoid vigorous activities on the plateau and dress properly to keep warm. Normally, the symptoms will be relieved or disappear gradually after 2 to 3 days. Get restful sleep to maintain good health, take more deep breath and keep your walking speed slow upon arrival. If you are constantly not feeling well, please go to the nearest hospital or return to a low altitude place to rest.Our itineraries are designed to ascend gradually from relatively low altitude spots such as Xining in Qinghai (2,200 to 3,200 meters) so that travelers can acclimatize to high altitude environment gradually.