Silk Road Highlights Tours and China's Golden Triangle Cities
Combined with the Golden Triangle cities, this Silk Road tour offers an adventure for first-time visitors to China. You can not only see the popular highlights but also go off the beaten path.
Jun. to Oct.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
Below is the detailed tour itinerary, which is designed to provide inspiration for your immersion tour. We will follow your requests and assist you to customize your family journey to China.
Your guide will greet you outside the luggage claim area. Please look for your name on a sign. Then you will be transferred to your hotel, which takes about 1 hour. After you have checked in, you can enjoy your free day!
Tip to tailor-make your tour:
Most people usually prefer some free time to acclimatize to the jet lag. However, we are happy to customize the itinerary if you are excited to see this city sooner.
In the morning, walking through Tian'anmen Square, the largest square in the world, you will step into the Forbidden City. Countless events happened there. Every hall has its own stories to share and your guide will bring them alive for you as you visit these majestic buildings.
After lunch, a rickshaw ride (30 minutes) will introduce you to the local lifestyle. You will meet the locals, listen to their stories, and learn how life has changed over the years.
Tips to tailor-make your tour:
Do you want to discover the local life in depth? Visiting a wet market or taking part in a cooking class is a good way to get close to the locals.
Once a very important royal temple, the Temple of Heaven has exquisite architecture. As time has gone on, it has become a city park for locals. In the morning, you can see seniors doing their morning exercises. If you like, you can join them.
After a 1½-hour drive, you will reach the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. After lunch, you will take the round-way cable car to the wall. As a masterpiece of restoration, you can see its original glory.
Tips to tailor-make your tour:
Doing tai chi is quite popular at the Temple of Heaven. If you're interested in this, we can arrange a tai chi class for you.
Besides Mutianyu, you have more options for the Great Wall with distinctive features, such as a wild section of the Great Wall for hiking and a night tour for a unique experience. Just tell us if you want something different.
After breakfast, pay a visit to the Summer Palace, take a boat ride on Kunming Lake, and get an insight into the imperial theater.
Taste some delicious Peking duck for lunch at a local popular restaurant. You will fly to Xi'an after lunch. Your Xi'an guide will be waiting for you and will transfer you to your hotel.
Start your tour with the Terracotta Army. It is regarded as one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. You will meet hundreds of life-size terracotta soldiers, horses, and chariots in battle array.
After lunch, you will visit a craftsman in a local cave dwelling to learn the secrets of making clay warriors. There, you can make your mini warrior.
In the late afternoon, climb up to the ancient city wall. You can ride a bike or have a leisurely walk to enjoy the view of the city.
Visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It's the landmark of Xi'an, which houses precious Buddhist material dating back to the 7th century.
Have a date with Shaanxi History Museum. You will see the largest collections in China, including clay figurines, bronze wares, and jade articles.
In the late afternoon, visit the bustling Muslim Quarter, a paradise of local snacks. After the tour, you will go to the airport and fly to Dunhuang.
Dunhuang, once a hub of the Silk Road, has prosperous cultural relics and stunning scenery.
Discovering the Mogao Caves, you will see the oldest Buddhist artworks shining on the Silk Road. Guided by an expert from the Dunhuang Research Academy, you will have a professional introduction to the culture and history behind the mural paintings and statues.
In the afternoon, take a camel ride along the Singing Sand Dunes, sit next to Crescent Moon Spring, and watch the sunset if the weather permits.
Tips to tailor-make your tour:
The Mogao Caves are recommended for an in-depth tour. You can visit the Dunhuang Research Academy to appreciate copies of other mural masterpieces. You can also copy a sample mural on a mud slab with the guidance of the teacher.
Unlike the Great Wall in Beijing, the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty was built with sand and weeds instead of bricks. The ruins display how people used the limited materials to set up their defensive system.
After lunch, take the bullet train to Turpan. You can enjoy the Gobi Desert scenery along the way.
Visit the Emin Minaret in the morning. Go into the mosque and try to tell the time by checking the sunlight on the wall.
Then discover the extraordinary irrigation system, the Karez Well System. This tunnel system is still widely used in Turpan after thousands of years. You can learn about its history and functions and go underground to see it.
Have lunch at a local Uyghur restaurant. You can see its vineyards if you like.
Finally, walking through the ancient city of Jiaohe, your guide will introduce you to the unbelievable construction method and tell you the vivid stories behind these raw earth buildings.
After breakfast, you will depart from Turpan and be driven to Urumqi. Upon arrival, you will explore the charming Heavenly Lake. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, the lake is simply beautiful under the blue sky. Take a cruise to get close to its beauty or choose a cable car ride for a higher and better viewing point. Doing some walking is a good way to admire the attractive scenery along the paths.
You can't miss the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum if you are a fan of museum tours. You will see the well-preserved ancient Caucasian mummies and their artifacts. You can also find a collection of silk articles and other artifacts from various eras of history as well as written materials in different languages.
After lunch, visit the great bazaar, Erdaoqiao Market. Walking inside this bustling market, you can find goods of the typical Uyghur style. If you like, you can look for some souvenirs.
After the tour, take a flight to Shanghai.
Discover the exquisite Yu Garden. This is the best place to get a glimpse of ancient Shanghai, as reflected in the movies. Go into it to experience the unique design, exquisite carvings, and traditional lifestyle.
A nice stroll along the Bund will introduce you to the living history of Shanghai from its colonial buildings.
Finally, take the fastest elevator in the world to the observation level of Shanghai Tower (the highest building in China) and take in a panoramic view of the Bund.
At the appointed time, your guide and driver will take you to the airport to catch your flight home. They will see you off after helping you with the airline check-in procedure.
We wish you a great trip!
Price from: $4,030 (Tour code: gh-cht-sl-02)
Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.
Every element of the tour above can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustments for you.
1. Extend the Tour
- Suzhou and/or Hangzhou: add 1–4 days — water towns, gardens, the Grand Canal, and West Lake
- Chengdu: add 2–3 days — a panda keeper program, have your photo taken next to a panda, and the Leshan Giant Buddha
- Hong Kong: add 2–3 days — Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, and a day-tour of Macau
- Free days: Yangshuo and Shanghai are popular destinations to add one or more free days to explore on one's own.
- More destinations: Zhangjiajie, Huangshan, and Tibet... Inform us of your interests and we will offer you some recommendations.
Various types of accommodation are available, including famous 5-star hotel chains, 4-star hotels in the best locations, good value 3-star hotels, or boutique hotels that reflect the style of the region. Whatever your accommodation preferences are, our travel experts will seek out and find the perfect one for you.
Most hotels in China allow at most three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting rooms or adjoin rooms.
China is a huge country, so to make your travel experience more efficient, we usually arrange flights to connect your destinations.
China's high-speed rail network is a fast-paced way to travel. We recommend taking high-speed trains for journeys of less than 6 hours to interested customers — please tell us if you are one of them.
Lunches at popular local restaurants are included for you so you can taste authentic Chinese food. Your guide will assist you with ordering the dishes.
Vegetarian, halal, kosher, Indian, or gluten-free — all your dietary requirements can be taken care of by our experienced private guides. Let us know if you have any of these dietary requirements during your booking.
Why Travel with Global Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.