The West Dragon

Always one of CHINASMITH's more popular programs, this tour goes beyond the end of the Great Wall along the “ Silk Road,’ into the furthest reaches of Chinese Turkestan!

Travel to the furthest inland city in the world and to a city over 2000 years old which is below sea level! Visit areas dominated by some of the 55 minority nationalities of China. See Tibetans, Mongols, Uighurs, Kazaks, Hui and be given an introduction to their customs, music, handicrafts and skills. You will visit the Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar where you will hear 20 languages and observe the barter in everything except dragons. You could ride on camel back, climb sand dunes, visit Mosques, ancient Buddhist caves covered with paintings, and explore archaeological ruins.

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WEST DRAGON
the “ Silk Road ” the Great Wall & beyond!
Scheduled Group Departures - April to October

DAY 1 Tuesday depart USA
Connect on a flight from a Gateway City across the Pacific and the International Dateline to Asia .

DAY 2 Wednesday arrive SHANGHAI
Arrive in the evening where you will be met and escorted to the Bund Hotel.

DAY 3 Thursday SHANGHAI (B, L)
Tour China ’s most metropolitan city visiting the Urban Planning Center, the Shanghai Museum, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the Pearl TV Tower for a panoramic view of the famous waterfront known as the Bund.

DAY 4 Friday SHANGHAI/XI’AN (B, L, D)
This morning fly to Xi’an , the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and known today for its archeological discoveries. Stay at the Bell Tower Hotel.

The highlight of Xi’an is the on-site excavation Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors. Also visit the Great Mosque, and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

DAY 5 Saturday XI’AN/DUNHUANG (B, L, D)
This morning fly over remnants and ruins of the Han Dynasty [206 A.D.] watchtowers extending into the desert to Dunhuang. In Dunhuang stay at the Solar Energy Hotel.

DAY 6 Sunday DUNHUANG (B, L, D)
Visit the Mogao Grottos, dating from 366A.D. and spanning a thousand years. Abandoned in the 14th Century, they were rediscovered in 1900, paintings and sculpture are a panorama of Buddhist. This afternoon visit the ‘Singing Sands’, and Crescent Lake with an opportunity for a desert ride on camel back!

DAY 7 Monday DUNHUANG (B, L, D)
Return for a second visit to the Mogao Grottos and also tour the Folklore Museum for a perspective of Dunhuang’s importance on the trade routes to the West.

DAY 8 Tuesday DUNHUANG/TURPAN (B, L, D)
Fly to the small city of Turpan , 500 feet below sea level, one of the lowest depressions on earth only rivaled by the Dead. Stay at the Huozhou Hotel. Now mostly Moslem, the tour of Turpan includes Bezeklik, site of the ‘ Thousand Buddha Cave ’ adjacent to the ‘Flaming Hills’ a local desert landmark. Also visit the ancient walled capital of Gaochang, an 8th Uighur century community and the nearby Tang dynasty tombs at Astana. This evening there will be a performance of local music and dance.

DAY 9 Wednesday TURPAN/URUMQI (B, L)
Tour Jiaohe, a fortified city from the Han Dynasty where the monk, Xuan Zhuang, lectured on his return from India to Xi’an with the Buddhist scriptures he brought to China . Also see Sulieman’s Minaret (an Afghan style mosque built in the Qing Dynasty). This afternoon drive to Urumqi , capital of this autonomous region. Stay at the Yilite Hotel.

DAY 10 Thursday URUMQI (B, L)
Full day tour to the white poplars area where Kazak nationalities perform in a horsemanship exhibition.

DAY 11 Friday URUMQI/KASHGAR (B, L, D)
Visit scenic Heavenly Lake in the mountains [Tianshan] source of the snow melt that supplies the water to Turpan. This evening fly to the westernmost point in China , Kashgar, just 200 miles from the border with Pakistan . Stay at the Tuanyuan International Hotel.

DAY 12 Saturday KASHGAR (B, L, D)
Explore this remote city, visiting the Great Id Kah Mosque, Tomb of Abakh Hoja, and street markets.

DAY 13 Sunday KASHGAR/URUMQI (B, L, D)
Spend most of the morning at the fascinating Sunday bazaar, a dream for photographers, with nearly everything imaginable for sale, from handicrafts to camels! This evening fly back to Urumqi and return to the Yilite Hotel.

DAY 14 Monday URUMQI/BEIJING (B, L)
This morning a tour of the Museum includes a diorama of the local minority nationalities and a display of dinosaurs. After lunch fly to China ’s capital, Beijing , a modern contrast to most of this tour. Transfer on arrival to the Park Plaza Hotel.

DAY 15 Tuesday BEIJING (B, L, D)
Tour the Great Wall at one of the less visited areas (Simatai or Haungyaguan). This afternoon there will be time to explore the ‘street of antiques’, Liulichang, and the current market area called ‘silk alley’. A farewell dinner features Peking Duck.

DAY 16 Wesnesday BEIJING/USA (B, L)
Tour to a ‘hutong’ area of traditional North China courtyard homes and stop at the Olympic Park to see the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Water Cube before the return flight across the Pacific to the States.

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2013 Schedule

 

Code Depart/Return

WD1 • March 19-April 3
WD2 • April 23-May 8
WD3 • May 21-June 5
WD4 • June 11-26
WD5 • July 9-24
WD6 • August 13-28
WD7 • September 10-25
WD8 • October 15-30

 


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