Example Itinerary

China's Silk Road

Duration
10 days / 9 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Heritage
Destinations
China

This exciting 10-day itinerary traces ancient Chinese trade routes from Shanghai to the western outpost of Kashgar. Along the way, you’ll be immersed in millennia of history, with the chance to see fossils of early man as well as comparatively recent medieval cities, Tang Dynasty relics and fine Chinese art from several eras. Sample the aromatic street foods of Urumqi and ride a camel across the whistling Mingsha dunes of the Gobi in this revealing, culture-rich tour. 

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

  • Buddhist Art: A visit to the awe-inspiring Mogao Caves, which hold ancient Buddhist art and artifacts created by travelers and monks at the crossroads.
  • Nomadic Homestay: Overnight in desert plains staying in a traditional yurt with a Tajik family.
  • Desert Flavors: The aromatic street foods is an unmissable part of traveling in this corner of China. Staples of the region's cuisine include pilaf, pulled noodles, spiced lamb kebabs, breads and local fruits like Turpan grapes.

Day-by-Day

Day 1

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Shanghai

Your journey begins in the dazzling and sophisticated Shanghai, where you’ll check into one of the city’s top-notch hotels. Start the afternoon with a tour of the iconic Bund, with its eclectic array of architecture, high-end bars and restaurants, and beautiful river views. 

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Bespoke Service: The resort prides itself on the quality of its services, and true to this name it makes sure to contact guests before arrival to make sure their stay is tailored to their every need.

Style: The painstakingly restored prosperity perfectly captures the marriage of Shanghainese and Parisian aesthetics indicative of the Paris of the East.

Location: Situated in the heart of Shanghai’s former French Concession, the surrounding neighborhood is an enchanting, tranquil area of tree-lined streets and traditional architecture. That said, guests are still just a short distance from some of Shanghai's most vibrant and iconic areas.

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Capella Shanghai Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Lissoni’s Vision: The Middle House Shanghai, with its bold, clean lines and striking silhouettes adorning its public spaces, guest rooms, and residences, is an architectural triumph crafted by Lissoni Architettura.

Relaxation Amid Activity: Whether passing through Shanghai for business or for pleasure, The Middle House’s spa and wellness offerings abound. Try one of the luxurious treatments by CHA LING, or take an evening dip in the expansive indoor heated pool, to unwind after a busy day.

Culinary Variety: Guests may experience the height of dining in Shanghai without even stepping foot off hotel grounds. The Middle House’s three restaurants, Café Gray Deluxe, Frasca, and Sui Tang Li, serve gourmet dishes that are inspired by regional and culinary traditions and paired with expertly selected wines and cocktails.

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The Middle House Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Architecture: Located centrally on Shanghai's world-famous Bund, the newly-built Peninsula Shanghai was designed to evoke the opulence, grandeur, and Baroque aesthetics of the colonial buildings of the late nineteenth- early twentieth century.

Location: Like all other Peninsula properties, the Peninsula Shanghai boasts top-notch service and a stellar, central location.

Views: The Peninsula Shanghai also features sweeping vistas of the Bund, Pearl Oriental Tower, and the busy, historic Huangpu River.

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The Peninsula Shanghai Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: This stunning hotel is a nod to historical Shanghai, with its location in The Bund, Shanghai’s picturesque waterfront area - a particular tourist favorite.

History: The Bund features a number of historical buildings, many of which housed banks and trading houses from all over the world. The area still retains much of its historical charm.

Service: The Waldorf Astoria is known across the globe for its legendary service.

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Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund Preferred Hotel

Day 2

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Xian

Today you’ll fly to Xian, a UNESCO World Heritage city dating back more than 3,100 years and traditionally the last stop on the famed silk road. Just outside Xian is the site of the Terracotta Warriors, a full-sized army of sculpted soldiers, horses and weapons constructed in the 210 BC tomb of China’s first emperor. After exploring the site, you’ll return to Xian to navigate its immense walls. The fortifications surrounding the city are up to 50 feet wide in some parts, and you can bicycle or walk around its 7.4-mile perimeter. Check into a luxury Xian hotel for the night.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

History: Xi’an once served as one of China’s ancient capitals and is the former home to 13 imperial Chinese dynasties. Guests of The Ritz-Carlton Xi’an can experience some of this history visiting the Terracotta Warriors, Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and the old City Walls.

Attention to Detail: Guests should expect to want for nothing during a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Xi’an, as befitting the prestigious brand.

Dining Experiences: The hotel's quintet of dining venues offers International cuisine, fine dining Cantonese fusion, Japanese teppan grills, signature afternoon tea, and creative cocktails paired amazing views from their rooftop bar.

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Ritz-Carlton Xi'an Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Set in lush landscaped gardens, the Shangri-La Xian offers tranquility with quick access to the city sights.

History: This ancient capital is replete with historic remnants, including its immense city walls.

Views: All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering great views of the city.

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Shangri-La Xian Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Located within the Xian City Walls on the former Imperial Palace grounds, the hotel is close to all the main famous historical sites on offer. History: This heritage building opened its doors in 1953 as the legendary Xian People's Hotel and in 2014 was completely refurbished into an ultra luxury hotel.

Service: Five-star service and experiences including the signature Sofitel MyBed as well as extra luxurious touches including pillow menu, silk robes and Hermes amenities.

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Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian Preferred Hotel
Xian
Xian

Day 3

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Xian

Start the day with a trip to the Shaanxi Museum of History, located in a beautiful Tang Dynasty-styled building. There are more than 300,000 items on display, which range from paintings to ceramics to fossils of Lantian Man, dating back nearly a million years. You’ll enjoy more history at the Han Mausoleum, the vast royal tomb of Emperor Han with more than 60,000 burial items shedding light over the complexities of the social hierarchy of the dynasty. In the afternoon, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a towering structure built in 652 AD, that offers far-reaching city views from its top platform at 610 feet. Enjoy another night in your luxury Xian hotel. 

Day 4

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Dunhuang

Your next stop on the Silk Road is Dunhuang (a 2.5-hour flight), formerly a major stopping point on the trade route.  Here in the “City of Sands” you will discover many historic landmarks, some of which are millennia old. A highlight are the Mogao Grottoes, a network of 735 caves containing Buddhist art and ancient manuscripts - a local expert will guide you through this intriguing historic site. Next, you will enjoy some thrills on the remarkable Mingsha Dunes on the edge of the Gobi desert, where you can sand-toboggan, paraglide or ride a camel. 

Hotel Options
About

Set against the picturesque Mingsha Sand Dunes, the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel is modeled after Tang Dynasty structures, with large rooftops, long corridors, replica furniture, and the mud walls typical of the buildings of the region. The Silk Road Dunhuang comprises 266 rooms, some set around courtyards, and all featuring air-conditioning, mini-bars, high-speed Internet access, and air conditioning.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Dunhuang
Dunhuang

Day 5

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Dunhuang

Today, you’ll be introduced to another fascinating aspect of Dunhuang - the Huyang Forest. This unusual forest is characterized by its golden poplar trees, many of them hundreds of years old. Next, you’ll visit the White Horse Pagoda, dating back to the 4th century. The pagoda was built in tribute to a monk’s beloved horse, which died after faithfully carrying his master from faraway Kucha, carrying with him important Buddhist scrolls. The bells atop the monument are said to echo the horse’s neigh. In the evening, return to your hotel in Dunhuang. 

Day 6

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Urumqi

This morning, it’s another flight, to the striking inland city of Urumqi. First, you’ll get a feel for Urumqi’s heritage at the History Museum, where a curator will take you on a private tour of the complex. You’ll gain insight into the history of the Silk Road and see 3,000-year-old mummies and other rare artifacts. In the evening, you’ll enjoy the colors and flavors of the night market, with its abundance of aromatic street foods, including Chinese Muslim fare and hand-pulled noodles. You’ll also have the chance to see the Grand Bazaar -  the largest bazaar in the world, covering more than 44,000-square-feet and housing an open mosque, a viewing tower and more than 3,000 stalls. 

Hotel Options
About

Located in Urumqi's Central Business District, close to the Xinjiang International Exhibition Center and the Ecological Gardens, the Hilton Urumqi is one of the best accommodation options in the city. Guest rooms are available in a variety of categories, including suite and executive (there is also an accessible room), with warm interiors and standard mod cons.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

About

The newest luxury hotel in the Silk Road region, the Sheraton Urumqi Hotel is located just 20 minutes from Urumqi Airport and sits near a collection of universities and local attractions. Each of the Sheraton’s 380 guest rooms and suites feature in-room safes, air-conditioning, the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, separate bath and shower stall, satellite channels, and fabulous views of snow-topped mountains and the city.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Urumqi
Urumqi

Day 7

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Urumqi

Get out into Urumqi’s brilliant outdoors today with a trip to the aptly named Heavenly Lake. This stunning alpine lake is 6,600 feet above sea level, covering an area of nearly two square miles. Its turquoise colored waters contrasted against Mount Bogda in the background provide a truly unforgettable sight. Drive to the outskirts of Urumqi next to pay a visit to a Kazak campsite to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle of these agricultural people. Return to your hotel in Urumqi tonight. 

Day 8

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Kashgar

Today, it’s a 2-hour flight to the medieval city of Kashgar, China’s westernmost city. This ethnically-rich outpost has long been a center of trade and today boasts a diversity of cultural influences that make it a delight to explore. To see just some of Kashgar’s charms, you’ll begin your stay here with a walking tour of the city. You’ll also visit Yeksjemba Bazaar, with more than 100,000 stalls from international vendors selling everything from livestock to souvenirs to silk. 

Hotel Options
About

Conveniently located in the town center, Kashi Tianyuan International Hotel lies twenty minutes from Kashgar Airport (KHG). The Kashi Tianyuan’s rooms all feature televisions, satellite channels, in-room safes, and clean bathrooms equipped with hair dryers and separate baths.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

About

The Radisson Blue Hotel Kashgar is one of the finest hotels in Kashgar, located at the foot of the grand Pamir mountains. 261 smartly-dressed rooms offer panoramic views of the city and mountains along with modern conveniences such as complimentary WiFi, coffee and tea making amenities, work desk, and minibar.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Kashgar
Kashgar

Day 9

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Kashgar

Today you will be taken on a guided tour of the Mosques of Kashgar. A local history scholar will be your guide, providing insight into the role of Muslim minorities throughout Kashgar history. To completely immerse yourself in the nomadic culture of the Tajik people, tonight you’ll be treated to a homestay in a yurt, a traditional tent dwelling. The yurts are warm and comfortable, and staying overnight on the arid plains of Xinjiang province promotes an unforgettable experience of China’s desert wilderness.

Day 10

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Departure

Today you conclude your Silk Road itinerary with a flight back to Shanghai to continue your onward travels. 

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