Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4395  
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.

Our Glimpses of the Silk Road is designed to be done in conjunction with The Great Game. Take both trips and enjoy a $900 discount!

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

Note: This trip can be taken in conjunction with our Great Game adventure departing June 29, 2014. Take both and receive a discount off the price of both trips!

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


Departures & Leaders

Jun 21-30, 2014  Roger Williams

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$4395 (10-12 members)
$4795 (8-9 members)
$4995 (6-7 members)
Single supplement: $695
Internal airfare: $650 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Roger Williams and local guides
  • Arrival and departure transfers for those arriving on the scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • Accommodations as indicated
  • All meals except 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Touring activities as indicated
  • Gratuities to local airport and transfer agents and hotel and restaurant staff
  • Entrance fees to all sites listed in itinerary

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

Internal airfare, international airfare, airport departure taxes, individual arrival or departure transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, optional tipping or gratuities to the leader, hotels en route to and home from the trip, any additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by international airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations, visa fees, travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (laundry, telephone, internet, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Roger Williams

Roger Williams has led Wilderness Travel trips for over 25 years. He is a Tibetologist who lived in Nepal for eight years, studying Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist iconographics, Himalayan languages, and woodblock art. He lived in Kyoto for two years studying Japanese woodblock art, Japanese language, and Shingon Shu, an esoteric sect of Japanese Buddhism. Roger has led many trips for us through India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, along the Silk Road, in Southeast Asia, to Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Iran, Mongolia, and into remote corners of the Russian Far East. Since 2002, Roger has been working as a technical advisor with USAID consulting in tourism development projects in Mongolia, Armenia and Croatia. In July, 2010, he returned from his third The Great Game journey, a special WT Expedition that included visits to the Wakhan Valley as well as Mazar i-Sharif and Balk (formally Bactria) in northern Afghanistan. When not leading trips, Roger is the director of Snow Lion Graphics/SLG Books in Berkeley, California, a publishing house specializing in books and calendars relating to Asian cultures.

Upcoming Trips:

Glimpses of the Silk Road, June 21-30, 2014
The Great Game, June 29-July 23, 2014
Trans-Caucasus Adventure, September 6-30, 2014
Land of the Golden Fleece, September 30-October 9, 2014
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon, November 3-30, 2014

Client Testimonials:

Tibet is a place like no other on the planet! Roger’s language skills and knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism opened many doors. Connie D., Alamo CA
Heart of Tibet
Exceedingly knowledgeable, very caring. Priscilla and Franklin O., Malvern PA
Mystical Bhutan
Roger knows how to run a trip. He’s very organized and clearly communicates the daily plan. Also, he's a lot of fun and I was impressed with his expertise on Buddhist iconography. Fran M., Mill Valley, CA
Hidden Himalayas
Roger is remarkable. This trip showed him at his best. We could never have traveled across the roof of the world without his preparation and energy. Thanks for a grand experience! Ruth and Frank H., Edmonds WA
In the Footsteps of the Great Game
Roger takes good care of his travelers and we learned a lot about the people, their culture, and history. His love for this part of the world is infectious. Ruth G., Del Mar CA
In the Footsteps of the Great Game
Roger is great! Hard working, knowledgeable, personable. He really makes a difference. Bill R., Walnut Creek, CA
Passage to India
I can understand why Roger has such a big following. He worked all the time to make the trip the best it could be. Marsha S., New York, NY
The Great Game
Roger is clearly a well-seasoned professional. He is passionate about India and it shows everyday, whether it is interacting with the locals or talking about the iconographics and sites. Grace L., Boston, MA
Passage to India
Exceptional dedication, passion, and professionalism. Roger has the right personality and attitude for this. Jonathan T., Boston, MA
Passage to India
Roger is a wealth of knowledge and very well traveled. He takes his duties as trip leader extremely seriously and goes out of his way to please each client. Terri H., Berkeley, CA
Armenia and Beyond
Roger provided a unique and enjoyable travel experience. His knowledge and familiarity with the sites visited and enthusiasm for these countries and peoples made this a great travel experience. Judy A., Davis, CA
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon
Roger's extensive travel experience and knowledge of Asian culture and Buddhism greatly enhanced the trip. And all the planning he did before and during the trip ensured an excellent itinerary and made everything run smoothly. Nancy R., Walnut Creek, CA
Tribal China
There should be a rating higher than excellent for Roger. His knowledge, energy planning, and attentiveness are superlative. Debra B., Jackson, WY
Central Asia Explorer
Roger is the best tour leader with lots of experiece and profound knowledge of the subject area. Kudos to him and WT. Tan Kiet T., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tribal China
Roger has tremendous skills as a trip leader. He has a real gift with people and his relationship with local guides enriches the areas we visit. Joan L., Baltimore, MD
Journey to the Heart of China
Roger is simply a brilliant organizer and always finds the very best services available. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to anything Asian. Elizabeth M., Providence, RI
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon