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fascinating cultural and historical journey over the Karakorum Mountains to the
oases of the Taklamakan Desert and on into the
‘Silk Road Caravan’ begins its journey in Islamabad
heading north through lush foothills, along the banks of the
Indus and then up into the geological wonderland of the
Karakorums and the Hindu Kush. Making our way gradually up
the Karakorum Highway, itself an engineering wonder of the
world, we have ample time to explore this, one of the most
beautiful and culturally diverse regions on Earth. We spend
time in Gilgit, backdrop to the ‘Great Game’ when
Imperial British and Russian governments jockeyed for
influence in this strategically vital area. Further north we
have time to relax amidst the apricot trees and wooden forts
of the old Ismaili kingdom of Hunza. Here beneath the
towering majesty of Mt. Rakaposhi it is hard for the visitor
not to be struck by the reasons, both natural and cultural,
why this valley is considered to be the source of the legend
of Shangri- La. We spend our last night in Pakistan in the
sleepy, picturesque village of Gulmit before entering China
via the stunning Khunjerab Pass. After the dramatic, scenic
intensity of the Karakorums we emerge into the gentler, more
rolling landscape of the Pamirs and make our way via the
Tadjik town of Tashkorgan to Kashgar, the oasis stronghold
of the Uighurs.
Our stay is timed to coincide with the Sunday Bazaar
when nomads and traders from all over Central Asia gather to
do business at this extraordinary market.
Urumqi we travel to Turfan to spend time
in another oasis town, exploring Buddhist cities by day,
and, in the evening, relaxing beneath grape trellises,
perhaps to be carried gently back through the centuries by
the plaintive desert songs of the Uighurs. We travel on by
train, past the snowy peaks of the Tianshan
Mountains, to Dunhuang, home to the most remarkable
repository of Buddhist cave art in the world, the Mogao
Grottoes. This town was once the last outpost of the
Chinese Empire and further south we visit Jiayuguan, the
fortress that marks the western end of the Great Wall. We
continue through Gansu’s rural hinterland for much of
the way following the line of the Great Wall. Eventually
we pass through the Wall and after visiting China’s
largest statue of the Sleeping Buddha at Zhangye we make
our way to the bustling, frontier town of Lanzhou. Here we
travel by boat along the reaches and gorges of the Yellow
River to see the acclaimed Binglingsi Caves. Moving
further into the heart of China we arrive the old imperial
capital Xian, formerly Changan and visit the awe inspiring
Terracotta Warriors. In today’s capital of Beijing we
visit the Great Wall and other ancient sites and also have
time to soak up some of the exciting atmosphere of this
dynamic modern city.
||Arrive Islamabad. Drive along the Grand Trunk Road to Taxila and then north
through progressively more rugged scenery to Besham and our hotel on the
banks of the Indus. (Besham)
||Leaving the Indus behind via the petroglyphs of
Shatial to Chilas. On past
the towering ‘Fairy Citadel’ of Mt. Nanga Parbat to Gilgit with it’s lively Bazaar
||Leisurely drive with great views of Mt Rakaposhi
to the valley of Hunza. (Karimabad)
||Visit the recently restored 700-year-old Baltit
Fort and its smaller, older neighbour Altit. (Karimabad)
||Short drive to Gulmit, largest village in Gojal.
Opportunities for hiking. (Gulmit)
||From the Pakistani border post at Sust, enter the
Khunjerab National Park, cross the Khunjerab pass and descend to
Tashkorgan in China. (Tashkorgan)
||Drive via Lake Kar-y-Kul and Mounts Kongur and
Mustagh-Ata along the Ghez River to Kashgar. (Kashgar)
||Visit the Sunday Bazaar. Explore
||More sightseeing in Kashgar and then by air to
Xinjiang’s provinial capital Urumqi. (Urumqi)
to look around Urumqi before a short drive to the oasis town of Turfanwith
its ancient cities, tombs and
relaxation around Turfan. (Turfan)
||More time to Explore Turfan. Overnight train
journey to Liuyan, jumping off point for Dunhuang. (Train)
Liuyan. Drive to Dunhuang via the area’s
impressive sand dunes. Time to explore the town. (Dunhuang)
||Tour of the Mogao Grottoes.
||By road via the Great Wall fortress of Jiayuguan
to the town of Zhangye. Visit
Dafosi temple. (Zhangye)
||Continue along the Hexi corridor through loess
landscape to Lanzhou and the Yellow River. (Lanzhou)
||Day trip along the Yellow River to the Binglingsi
||Fly to Xian. Time to explore this historic city.
||Visit the Terracotta Warriors and also Banpo
Neolithic Village. (Xian)
||Fly to Beijing. Visit the Forbidden City.
||Day trip to see the Great Wall at
day for shopping or sightseeing. (Beijing)
28/07/2002 - 19/08/2002 (land only)
travelling from Europe, due to the time difference, you will need to fly
out one day earlier.
hotels with full board; in China sixteen nights hotels, one overnight
train, breakfast only.
|Mode of travel
Private bus, train, boat and
domestic flights as per itinerary.
services of bilingual leader and China expert Phil Colley assisted by
local guides and drivers.
||Minimum 6 - Maximum 16.
information on visas, insurance and international flights for this trip please contact The Oriental Caravan.
||Arrival transfer; full
services of tour leader and local guides; all transportation as per
itinerary; accommodation (twin share) in comfortable
tourist-class hotels; overnight train; Yellow River cruise; meals as per
itinerary; sightseeing and entrance fees as per
- land only (UK Sterling).
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