China's Ancient Silk Road
19 days tour from £5295
Introduction - China's Ancient Silk Road
Our recommended route for exploring China’s Silk Road begins with an in-depth exploration of the imperial cities which the trade artery helped to create. Xian was where the monk, Zhang Qian, began his legendary journey to India in 139 BC, and Luoyang is the site of China’s oldest Buddhist temple.
After a visit to the Longmen Grottoes and Terracotta Army – two of China’s most splendid archaeological sites – you’ll head west to Labrang Monastery on the fringes of the Tibetan Plateau, then north via the Bingling Grottoes to Jiayuguan Fort, at the far western end of the Great Wall, and the famous Mogao Caves at Dunhuang. It’s desert all the way from here, as you proceed west from Turpan, site of a couple of long deserted Silk Road cities, to Kashgar, the fabled Uyghur market town at the crossroads of high Asia – one of the most remote cities on earth.
Although this tour involves a lot of travel, none of it could be described as ‘arduous’. China’s domestic air and rail networks are modern and efficient, as are trunk roads and the air-con vehicles we use for day trips and overland stages of tours. Hotel standards are high in China’s heartland, but decline slightly as you travel west into Xinjiang.
You travel independently on a departure date of your choice. Internal travel is by air-conditioned car, train and plane.