For centuries the Silk Road was the thread that linked east and west. From as early as 200 BC, the silk merchants of Xian, China’s ancient capital set off with their camel caravans on the long trek to distant Constantinople. They skirted the Gobi and ferocious Takalamakan deserts. They crossed the roof of the world, over the Pamir and Karakoram mountains. This adventure allows you to follow their footsteps, to trace the legendary route taken by Marco Polo from west to east. Conditions of travel have improved since the Italian’s day, but in some of the remote places, where accommodation is comfortable but spartan, a spirit of adventure is required.


Day 1 USA/Beijing
Relax on your transpacific flight to Beijing.

Day 2 Beijing
Welcome to Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China. Upon arrival, met by our guide and transferred your boutique style hotel that is tucked away in a quiet, centrally located traditional Chinese hutong neighborhood. We will spend three nights here. If you arrive early,you may take a stroll in its delightful garden, and enjoy a meal in the patio.Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 3 Beijing
Today we have a full day excursion to the magnificent Great Wall, the only man-made object visible from the moon by naked eyes. After a very traditional northern Chinese style lunch served at a local restaurant, we return to the city via the valley of Ming Tombs. This evening, we attend a Peking duck banquet. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Beijing
After breakfast, we are off to see the sights, including the vast Tian An Men Square, and the Imperial Palaces in the once Forbidden City. In the afternoon, more Ming extravagances are evident as we tour the exquisite architecture and vivid embellishment of the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We end the day with the pleasure of an evening cultural performance of Beijing Opera. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Beijing/Urumqi
In the morning, we take rickshaws for a fascinating tour of Beijing’s Hutongs-old narrow lanes lined with ancient courtyard houses, giving us a glimpse into the daily life of Beijing’s residents. En route, we climb to the top of the Drum Tower; used to report time in ancient China, for a panoramic view of old Beijing. In the afternoon, we fly to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, China’s huge western province. Upon arrival, we are transferred to the deluxe Hoi Tak Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Urumqi/Kashigar
The highlight of our visit to Urumqi is an excursion to Heavenly Lake. Only an hour’s drive from the city, it lies on snow-capped Mount Bogda at almost 2000 meters above sea level. The sapphire-blue lake is set amidst steep slopes of pine forest and meadows of wild flowers, where Kazak nomads camp. The views from the cruise boat are breathtaking. In the evening, we board a short flight to Kashigar, where we stay at the Seman Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Kashigar
Hemmed in by deserts and the Pamir Mountains, Kashigar is a fabled city with a rich mix of peoples and cultures. Mosques and veiled women give it a Middle Eastern flavor. No visitor to Kashigar should miss the Sunday Bazaar. In the morning, we visit this teeming market where we can buy anything from herbal medicines to carpets, from a cradle to a camel. In the afternoon we take a guided excursion to the vast Id Kah Mosque and the tomb of Abakh Khoja. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Kashigar/Urumqi
In the morning, we visit a school and a workshop where traditional carpets are made. We also tour the old town, a warren of twisting alleys and whitewashed walls, in a donkey cart taxi. After lunch at a local restaurant, we fly back to Urumqi. Overnight at Hoi Tak Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Urumqi/Turpan
This morning is spent in the Nanshan Pastures, where nomadic tribesmen herd their yaks and sheep. We will have the opportunity to visit a family in their tent for a taste of traditional nomadic hospitality. A short coach journey takes us through the desert to the Oasis town of Turpan, famous for its melons and vineyards. This is where Marco Polo first encountered spaghetti, an idea he took home to Italy. We stay at the Oasis Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Turpan/Dunhuang
Today’s tour includes visits to the ruined city of Gaochang, the underground tombs of Astana, the legendary Flaming Mountains, and the Bezekli Caves whose walls are adorned with Buddhists frescoes. We will also see the Emin Minaret, one of the finest buildings on the ancient Silk Road. In the evening we board the overnight train to Dunhuang. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Dunhuang
Dunhuang was a strategic staging post on the Silk Road. It is also the end of the Great Wall. A leisurely day includes visits to Minsha Hill and Crescent Moon Lake set in an amphitheater of sand dunes. In the afternoon, we visit Dunhuang’s most famous monument-the Mogao Caves, popularly known as "Thousand Buddha Caves". An art gallery in the desert, the walls of the caves is lined with Buddhist frescoes and sculpted figures. It is said to be the finest example of Buddhist art in the world. Mixing Indian and Chinese styles, they are a remarkable record of Silk Road civilization. In the evening, we can sample local snacks and drinks at the outdoor cafes on the main street. We stay at Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Dunhuang/Xian
Morning at leisure. In the afternoon, we fly to Xian where we are transferred to the city upon arrival. Garden Hotel captures the spirit of Tang Dynasty. Built in the traditional Chinese style, the hotel features a spacious garden, museum, and a theater restaurant, and will be our home during our stay in this historical capital city.(B, L, D)

Day 13 Xian
A full day excursion to the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, guarded by the famous Terra-cotta Army, 7000 life-size clay statues each individually crafted, complete with chariots and horses. We also visit the Huaqin Hot Springs and Banpo Neolithic Villages. Back in the city, we visit the Grand Mosque and its nearby Muslim living quarters. In the evening, we attend a dinner performance of Tang era music and dance at the Grand Tang Theater. (B, L, Dinner show)

Day 14 Xian/Shanghai
In the morning, we visit the well-preserved City Walls and the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, one of the best history museums in the nation. We fly to Shanghai later today. Met by the local guide upon arrival and transfer to the city. We stay at a villa style garden hotel in the heart of this booming city for two nights.(B, L)

Day 15 Shanghai
Shanghai is China’s most populous city with 12 million inhabitants, and it is the nation's industrial center and a busy port. There is the chance to stroll on the Bund overlooking the Huangpu River with its backdrop of early 20th century buildings, to visit the former concession areas and narrow streets of the Old Town. Also of interest are the Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden and Shanghai Museum of Arts. Shanghai style dim-sum lunch will be served in the elegant Lubolang Restaurant. In the evening, enjoy the performance of the city's famous Acrobatics Show. (B, L, D)

Day 16 Shanghai/USA
Transfer to airport for your homeward flight, or extend your journey to another destination of the Orient. (B)

2008 Departures and Prices
(Departures limited to 10 participants)

Departure Date
Return Date
Land  Price
Single Supplement
Apri 16
May 01
Oct 8
Oct 23

Land package price includes:

  • First class or best available accommodation twin sharing basis,
  • Daily western or buffet breakfast at hotel
  • Domestic airfare and train fare
  • Round trip transfers in each city
  • Comprehensive guided tours, visits and excursions in a private vehicle with your English-speaking guide
  • Admission and entrance fees
  • Lunch and dinner indicated by symbols L, D
  • Evening cultural performances as indicated in the itinerary
  • Applicable hotel taxes and domestic airport tax.

Not included in the package price:

  • Trans-pacific airfare.
  • China Visa fee
  • Other costs not stated as included



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