Glimpses of the Silk Road

Xi'an, Dunhuang and Turpan
Repertory Trip: No Future Dates Set

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Xi'an, China
Depart: Kashgar, China
Lodging: 9 nights hotels
Meals: All meals except 2 lunches and 1 dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Walking tours and cultural exploration, overland travel


  • Xi'an's terra cotta warriors
  • The Mogao Grottoes and Bezelik Caves, with their repositories of fantastic art and murals
  • Kashgar's legendary Sunday market, one of Asia’s greatest gatherings of traders

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  Future dates have not been set for this trip, but you can see the “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” below (there may be small changes to the itinerary for the future departures, and prices will be finalized closer to departure). Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!

For 2,000 years, the Silk Road was the principal artery for caravans traveling between China and Europe laden with textiles, spices, gold—and ideas, philosophies, and religions. On this adventure, designed to pair up with our Great Game trip immediately following it, we visit some of the noted historical sites of this legendary route: Xi’an, home of the celebrated Terra Cotta Warriors; Dunhuang, where we explore the cliff-bound Mogao Grottoes, a priceless repository of Chinese Buddhist cave art long lost in the desert; Turpan, close to the ancient city of Gaocheng and the Bezeklik Caves, with their strikingly painted mural art; and the celebrated Kashgar Sunday market.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Xi’an / Terra Cotta Warriors / Big Goose Pagoda

Xi’an, the cradle of Chinese history, was the gateway to the west and the starting point of the Silk Road. Our explorations here include the famed site of Xi’an’s terra cotta warriors, one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all time. Qin Shihuang’s astounding army of 8,000 life-sized terra cotta warriors and their steeds was buried underground in full regalia and arranged in battle formation. We also visit Xi’an’s 180-foot-high Big Goose Pagoda, built in the 7th century AD by Emperor Gao Zong to honor the work of the Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, who traveled to India in disguise to find and translate the original Sanskrit Buddhist texts.

Day 4-6
Dunhuang / Mogao Grottoes / Turpan

Set on the edge of the Takla Makan Desert, Dunhuang is the site of the remote Mogao Grottoes, a World Heritage Site located on the western cliffs of the Singing Sands Mountains. These 492 grottoes honeycomb a giant cliff face and house murals, Buddhist paintings, and statues. After flying to Urumqi, we head to Turpan, an oasis in the Takla Makan Desert. Turpan is our base for visiting the Bezeklik Caves, a cliffside complex of more than 75 rock-cut caves containing remarkable Buddhist murals, the ancient city of Gaocheng (“King’s City”), and Tuyugou, one of the few authentic villages that maintains its old Buddhist traditions despite its conversion to Islam.

Days 7-10
Urumqi / Kashgar /Sunday Market

In Urumqi, we visit the Xinjiang Regional Museum, then fly to Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road marketplace where great swathes of disparate groups from all across Asia once came to trade. The legendary Sunday market, one of Asia’s greatest gatherings of traders, offers a chance to roam amid the aromas of fresh-baked breads, cumin, pepper, and grilled lamb, and watch the spirited negotiations of traders haggling over everything from camels, sheep, silk, spices, and fruits to household goods. Depart on Day 10, or join our Great Game group.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2, Easy to Moderate. While the trip is not expected to be physically strenuous, the long travel days and transportation conditions may be demanding. Accommodations are in good city hotels, and overland travel is in minivans and small buses, depending upon the size of the group. Road conditions can be very basic, and trip members should be prepared for long drives. Our expedition travels to areas that have experienced very little tourism. We believe that the most important requirements are a spirit of adventure and the understanding that you are visiting a remote and fascinating region. This is not designed as a hiking trip, but we do hope to have a few exploration walks of several hours during the journey.

Explanation of Trip Levels