The latest New Zealand China Friendship Society educational tour in the “Explore China” series is a first to travel deep into Xinjiang, skirt around then cross the Taklamakan desert to explore the ancient civilisations as well as the dynamic cultures in this area. Follow the silk road west through Gansu to enjoy the legacies left by diverse travelers on the road, ending with NZCFS’ own connection to Bailie schools and cooperative through Rewi Alley.
Xi’an to Kashgar:
Explore the ancient historical civilisations and buried cities in the vast Xinjiang Province. Enjoy the culture of the Uighur and other peoples, and travel through dramatic landscapes as we journey east by train and coach along the Old Silk Road into Gansu. Follow the legacy of Rewi Alley and the Bailie school he founded.
Kashgar animal market
Karez underground irrigation site, old Jiaohe ruins – oldest preserved earthen city, bazaar, Turpan
Buddhist caves, Kuqa
Cross the Taklamakan Desert
Hotien jade carving factory
Dunhuang Buddhist Grottos and Crescent Moon Lake, sand dunes
Zhangye Danxia landscape
Lanzhou City University, Yellow River Park
10 October 2017: Depart NZ
Day 1: Arrive Xi’an, wander around Muslim market and other sites depending on flight arrival time. Stay in Xi’an.
Day 2: Visit Terracotta Warriors, continue to
Huashan, stay at the foot of the mountain, Huashan.
Day 3: Take cable car up Huashan, explore the peaks (according to ability), return (2 hours) to Xi’an.
Day 4: Fly to Kashgar, either direct flight or via Urumqi. Stay in Kashgar.
Day 5: Visit the animal market, Idkah mosque, the oldest mosque in China dating back to the middle 15th century, Zhiren Shopping Street and Abakh Hoja Tomb. Stay in Kashgar.
Day 6: Travel Kashgar-Yarkand-Khotan (520KM, 7hrs). Visit Xinjiang Knife
Factory, the best small knife in Xinjiang, and a silk factory. Stay in Khotan.
Day 7: Drive on to Niya County, located on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert (300km, 4 hrs), where the valley is rich in jade deposits. Visit a night market, stay in Niya.
Day 8: Travel north across the Taklamakan Desert (750km, 9 hours), passing the poplar nature reserves tracing back 65 million years, arriving in Kuqa.
Day 9: A one day tour around Kuqa, including the Kizil caves, the earliest Buddhist cave in China, and the grand canyon and red cliff features of Tianshan UNESCO heritage site. Stay in Kuqa.
Day 10: Kuqa to Korla (390 kms, 5 hrs), over the Tiemenguan Pass, including a cruise on Bosten Lake, the pearl of Xinjiang, stay in Korla.
Day 11: Korla to Turpan (300km, 4 hrs). Visit the Kariz underground irrigation system. Stay in Turpan.
Day 12: Visit the Jiaohe ruins, the best- preserved old earthen city in the world, and the museum in Turpan before passing the most extensive wind energy farm in China on the way to Urumqi.
Day 13: A relaxing day in Urumuqi, visit the park to enjoy the locals’ recreational life, and the biggest bazaar in the world. Enjoy an evening show, stay in Urumqi.
Day 14: Travel 5 hours by bullet train into Gansu and 3 hours by bus to Dunhuang.
Day 15: Visit Mogao Grottoes, Crescent Lake and ride camels on the Sand Mountains. Stay in Dunhuang.
Day 16: Back to the rail line, and bullet train to Zhangye.
Day 17: Visit Zhangye Danxia land forms, then travel to Shandan.
Day 18: A day in Shandan with NZCFS partners at Shandan Bailie School and Shandan government, visit the Big Buddha, Rewi Alley museum. Stay in Shandan.
Day 19: Travel by bullet train from Zhangye, through the new tunnel under the Qilian Mountains, to Lanzhou.
Day 20: Visit the new Rewi Alley exhibition at Lanzhou City University, Bailie Square, sites alongside the Yellow River, stay in Lanzhou.
Day 21: Depart for airport, take domestic flight to our connection for the international flight to NZ, to arrive Tuesday 1 November 2017. Flight to be confirmed.
Tour Name: NZCFS Explore China: The Northwest/Silk Road Tour
Dates: 10 October 2017 to 1 November 2017
Tour Duration: 21 days
Tour Type: Fully escorted, 4-star twin-share accommodation
Cost: All inclusive indicative price NZ$8,500 per person (subject to currency exchange), includes domestic flights in NZ, all meals etc., (excludes Chinese visa and insurances).
Itinerary: See Flyer for Silk Road and NW China Tour 2017 (updated 21 June 2016)
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