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Urumqi – Tian Chi – Turpan – Bezeklik – Gaochang
Since before recorded time, the Silk Road has conjured up images of adventure. Caravans crossing the forbidden deserts of Central Asia brought Cathay’s gossamer silk treasures all the way to Rome. For more than a millennium, the arduous land route not only carried silk and other exotic goods to the west but also provided the way for the eastward expansion of Buddhism. Our adventure begins in Urumqi, with optional tours to end the trip either in Xian, Beijing, or Shanghai for you to experience other parts of China, in addition to the ancient Silk Road. Urumqi is the most “inland” city in the world, with a green oasis amidst the barren and uninhabited deserts. An excursion takes us to Tian Chi, the “Heavenly Lake”, about halfway up the 5,000 mile high Bogda Mountain in the Tian Shan Range. Then we journey to Turpan, an oasis of vineyards on the edge of the vast deserts of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. We visit Bezeklik, in the Flaming Mountains, site of Qianfodong, the “Thousand-Buddha Caves”. Our expedition continues to Gaochang, the ancient walled capital of the Uighurs. An overnight tail adventure takes us to the 2,000 year old corridor town of Dunhuang and site of the most priceless collections of Buddhist art in the world, the Mogao Grottoes. At Jiayuguan Pass we’ll visit an unforgettable Ming Fortress and the western end of the Great Wall. One of the advantages of traveling with US-China Professional Tours is that local staff will handle all the practical details of your stay thus freeing your time for the enjoyment of your personal journey. The Silk Road journey plan takes you to some of the most remote areas of China. We skirt the untamed edges of the Gobi desert where the tourism infrastructure is simple and conditions can be challenging. This unique tour isn’t for everyone. The journey plan is designed for those participants truly interested in traveling through the remote reaches of Western Asia. Historical and cultural enthusiasts as well as seasoned travelers looking for adventure will all find the Silk Road itinerary an incredible life experience.