Travel along the legendary Silk Road from Kashgar to Beijing

Discover a land of vast open landscapes, timeless treasures and ancient civilisations on this overland odyssey from Kyrgyzstan to Xi’an along the legendary Silk Road. Travel from the heights of the Kyrgyz mountains, over the legendary Torugart Pass through the Taklamakan Desert and into the lush countryside of the Gansu Corridor. Discover places seldom visited, from the breathtaking Buddhist artwork in the Mogao Caves to deserted stretches of China’s Great Wall. Get to know the wild landscapes, secluded oases, fascinating cultures and welcoming people who inhabit this legendary route along the Silk Road.

Start
Kashgar, China
Finish
Beijing, China
Countries
China
Themes
Overland
Code
CDOS
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 21
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Follow the legendary Silk Road
  • Make local friends while staying with a Kyrgyz family
  • Cross the infamous and dramatic Torugart Pass
  • Learn the secrets of Chinese silk production
  • Camp out in the Taklamakan Desert
  • Admire the breathtaking Mogao Caves
  • Climb over deserted section of the Great Wall
  • See the massive carvings in the cliffs of Bingling Si
  • Discover the enchantment of Tibetan influenced Xiahe
  • See the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors

Itinerary

Travel to the westernmost end of China and visit Kashgar, an exotic fusion of Chinese, Uzbek and Kyrgyz. Wander the streets that weave through the old town and discover the markets and bazaars of this diverse city.
Leave Kashgar and head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travelling into seemingly unchartered terrain, spend two days on an overland adventure.
Travel towards the Tian Shan mountain range, and arrive at the pristine Heavenly Lake. Located at the top of a mountain - and in the middle of a desert - this is a remote spot, perfect for relaxation.
Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.
Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient Silk Road town of Dunhuang. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.
Arrive in Dunhuang and relax in this Gansu oasis trading town. Visit the nearby Mogao Caves and discover their breathtaking Buddhist art.
Drive to Jiayuguan and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.
At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.
Relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.
Camp beneath the stars.
Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xian.
Admire the view from atop the temple-studded Kongtong Mountain and enjoy the spoils of Gansu Province, which has a rich and colourful history as one of the important links on the ancient Silk Road.
The reward for a morning of travel is letting off steam in Shapotou, where daredevils will delight in the dune sliding madness of this sandy wonderland. And if the stars align, embark on an overnight camel safari on the fringes of the stunning Tengger Desert.
After a pit stop at the grand temples of Zhongwei Gao Miao, enjoy fraternising with locals amid the ebb and flow of daily life in provincial China in the friendly city of Yinchuan.
Travel to the cultural centre of Hohhot, the gateway to Inner Mongolia. This busy ancient city gives off a laidback vibe making it the perfect place to reload before embarking on a Mongolian homestay. Yak butter tea, anyone?
Marvel at the Hanging Monastery, delicately perched on a steep cliff face in Golden Dragon Gorge, and explore the World Heritage listed Yungang Grottoes, home to a staggering collection of over 50,000 statues and fascinating ancient rock art.
Stroll through the lush Shanzhuang gardens in the footsteps of past Emperors who holidayed here. Take in the rich heritage of Chengde by bicycle or admire Mongolian and Tibetan influences in local temples and monasteries.
Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Imagine the exhaustive effort of farmers and labourers who toiled for many generations to construct the Wall.
Perhaps go on a short trek along a stunning section of the Great Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai.
Journey into the valley of the Changrui Mountains, where emperors and their concubines lay entombed at Qing Dongling. End the tour by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing - a place where discovery and intrigue lie around every corner. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nights), Hotel (24 nights), Yurt (1 night)
Included activites
  • Beijing - Forbidden City
  • Datong - Hanging Monastery
  • Datong - Yungang Grottoes
  • Entrance Jiayuguan fort
  • Great Wall, Entrance, Jinshanling section, Beijing
  • Imperial City, entrance, Chengde
  • Ming Tombs, entrance, Beijing
  • Pingliang - Kongtong Mountain
  • Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors guided tour

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Important notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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