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+86 592 5161466 info@chinamemorytrip.com

8-Day Private Silk Road Tour to West China Gansu and Qinghai

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Following the footsteps of ancient Silk Road to visit Qinghai Lake, Chaka Salt Lake, the Buddhist Temples with profound history and culture, explore the UNESCO Mogao Grottoes, splendid Danxia Landform, as well as the mysterious Crescent Lake surrounded by desert. You will discover a fascinating landscape of Northwest China with our 8 days itinerary.



Tour Code



8 Days/7 Nights

Day 1Dunhuang Arrival

Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Dunhuang

Welcome to Dunhuang, the brightest star in the Gobi desert. Your tour guide will welcome you in the airport/train station, and then escort you to your hotel. The rest of today is for you to explore this exotic city by yourself. Free time idea: Shazhou Night Market is the most bustling place in the city where you can stroll leisurely to experience local living, hunt for delicious food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc.

Day 2Dunhuang

Attractions: Yardang National Geologic Park, Yumen Pass, Great Wall of Han Dynasty, Mingshashan Desert
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Dunhuang

After breakfast, you will be taken to explore the remote wild Gobi Desert landscape as well as several legendary historical sites. Drive westwards about 100 km, you will firstly arrive at Yumen Pass (Jade Gate Pass) which used to be a military defensive pass as well as an important border for international trading along the ancient Silk Road. It is said that the jade wares from West were imported to China through this gate, which is how the name Yumen was given. About 5 km from Yumen Pass is the Ruin of Great Wall of Han Dynasty which was built to fight against Xiongnu in the ancient time. Keep driving more 80 km, you will get to Yardang National Geologic Park. It is also called Devil City in that you will hear the sound just like the devil screaming when the strong wind goes through the desert. The park is featured Yardang landforms in distinct shapes like Mongolian Yurt, Stone Bird, Peacock and others. Make full use of your imagination, you may find some rocks with some miniatures similar to famed architectures, like the Potala Palace in Tibet, Heaven Temple in Beijing or something else.

Leave Yardang National Geologic Park, and drive along the coming way back to Dunhuang. The following attraction is the Echoing Sand Mountains (Mingshashan). It is said, in the sunny days, the sand mountains echo like Orchestra music even if there is no wind. If you slide from the sand mountains, you can hear the echoing sound clearly. Your last thing to do for today is the Crescent Lake. Surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake is a beautiful oasis with some well decorated traditional Chinese architecture, some trees and flowers and a lake that has never dried up and shapes like a crescent moon.

Day 3Duhuang - Jiayuguan

Attractions: Mogao Grottoes
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Jiayuguan

After breakfast, drive to Mogao Grottoes. Mogao Grottoes is famed as the “Louvre of the East”, which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features. There are about 40 common caves opened to the public. In the tourist area, you will be divided into groups by different tour guides who will accompany you to visit the caves (usually 7~8 caves during April~November and 12 caves during December~March) with great introduction. After that, if you want to visit more other caves, you can do it by yourselves or follow other tour guides. Besides, there are 10 special caves (with extra fees) available for your extensional visiting.

After lunch, drive about 5 hours to Jiayuguan from Dunhuang. Enjoy the breathtaking desert and Gobi views along the road.

Day 4Jiayuguan - Zhangye

Attractions: Jiayuguan Fort, Zhangye Danxia Geopark
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Zhangye

After breakfast, visit the Jiayuguan Fort. Wander on the ancient city wall, and feel the heartbeats of the first pass under heaven. Then stroll to visit the Great Wall Museum where you will learn about the history of Jiayuguan and the Great Wall.

In the afternoon, drive to Zhangye to explore the famous Danxia Geopark(Danxia Landform). Danxia landform is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape which is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates. The one in Zhangye was formed in the pre-Jurassic Age. Thousands of mountains and stiffs stretch like the colorful sunset glow. The barren mountains are covered by a red grit rock stratum. At the same time, some surfaces of mountains appear other colors, such as white, yellow, etc, and form many irregular lines and blocks looking like some abstract oil paintings. There are four viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transferred by interzonal buses from one deck to another.

Accommodate in Zhangye city.

Day 5Zhangye - Xining

Attractions: Matisi Temple
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Xining

After breakfast, you will go to visit the famous Matisi Temple (Matisi Grottoes). Built in Northern Liang period (A.D. 397 – A.D.460), Matisi Temple blends Buddhist culture, grotto art, Qilian Mountain landscape and Tibetan culture together in a single site. Its key site is the Puguang Temple which is set in the side of a sheer mountain rock wall with 21 grottoes in five storeys arranged in the form of a pagoda. The facades of several temples jut out on the surface of the cliff, making them look like they are hanging in the air. There are somewhere you need to climb up steep stairs to get up to the top storeys of the temple. The view outside the grotto is very beautiful with rolling hills covered with trees. In the distance is the Qilian Mountain which is usually snow covered (November to June).

After sightseeing at Matisi Temple, you will be transferred to Xining, it will takes about 5 hours.

Day 6Xining - Chaka

Attractions: Ta'er Monastery, Qinghai Lake
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Chaka

In the morning, you will be transferred to visitTa’er Monastery; a wonderful architectural complex contains 9,300 structures, including Buddha halls, scripture halls, Buddhist pagodas and lamas residences.

Then drive to Qinghai Lake. Enjoy a walking tour around the lake; you will be amazed by this highland lake’s scenery. It is also interesting to see grazing animals – sheep, goats, duos, horses. You can ride a bike or cruise around the lake to taking in the incredible landscape here (If you come in July or August, you can still see the golden rapeseed flowers by the roadside). Then drive to Chaka for an overnight stay.

Day 7Chaka - Xining

Attractions: Chaka Salt Lake
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Overnight in Xining

Enjoy a delighting breakfast at the hotel and set off by the private vehicle to enjoy the most charming landscape of Chaka Salt Lake, which was nominated by the national tourist geography magazine as one of the 55 places to go. We will arrive at the ticket office and the guide will assist you with the tickets. Entering the scenic area, you will follow a long Salt Lake avenue to the Prayer Square and Mirror of the Sky Square, see a variety of salt sculptures, as well as the exquisite Muyaoluosang Goddess Statue. Take a small train to explore the depths of Chaka Salt Lake and leave some fabulous photos in the Mirror of Sky Square Experience Area. Believe you will have a beautiful day at Chaka Salt Lake. Transfer back to Xining city at the end.

Day 8Xining

Attractions: No
Meal: Not Included
Hotel: Not Included

Free to explore Xining City. Transfer to airport to catch the flight. Tour ends.

Price Includes

  • Local transportation with private vehicle and skilled driver
  • Experienced tour guide
  • Entrance fees as listed in the program
  • 7 nights accommodation(3 or 4 or 5-star depends on yourself)
  • Pick-up and send-off services at the beginning/end of the tour
  • 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day

Price Excludes

  • Flight/train tickets
  • Meals
  • Gratuities(optional)
  • Any optional programs/activities
  • Any services not mentioned