China In-depth Tour with High Speed Train

6 Days Lanzhou-Zhangye-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang

As China becomes more and more prominent internationally, are you interested in China's past and present? If so, then book this China train tour. This tour itinerary will take you on the high-speed train that one of the best represents China's modern technology. China's high-speed train is clean, tidy, fast, affordable, and punctual, and this is why you have to experience this 6-day China train tour. In these short 6 days, you will take four times of high speed train. This will not only save your costs, but also give you a deep understanding of the development of modern China. In addition to experiencing the high-speed train, you will also visit several cities on the Silk Road, the most prosperous commercial road in ancient times. In these cities, you will see the stunning Danxia landform, the splendid Mogao Grottoes and the magnificent Jiayuguan Great Wall. Create your own China high-speed tour following China Tour Star's expert suggestions.

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Lanzhou Arrival
You will arrive in Lanzhou and we will take you to the hotel for a good rest

Welcome to Lanzhou! Your guide will hold your name sign and wait for you at the airport, and escort you to the hotel.

Located in the middle of Gansu Province of northwest China, Lanzhou is the provincial capital. The Yellow River, the mother river of the Chinese nation, flows across the whole territory of Lanzhou from southwest to northeast. Lanzhou has the most intensive railway network in northwest China, and many national highways converge here, making it a city with convenient transportation. Besides, it is a famous resort without extreme heat in summer or severe cold in winter. What is more, Lanzhou is a famous cultural city with many places of interest, including natural and historical sites.

Free Time Suggestion:

If you still have enough time and energy on the first day, visiting the Waterwheel Garden is a good choice. It shows visitors the waterwheel and the working principle of the ancient hydraulic machinery. Waterwheel Garden is one of the most distinctive attractions in Lanzhou. It was built in 1994 by Lanzhou Tourism Bureau and made by Gao Qirong, a master carpenter. The diameter of the waterwheel is as long as 16.5 meters. Waterwheel has a long history and a special appearance. Originated in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the waterwheel is the oldest lifting and irrigation tool along the Yellow River in ancient times and resembles the wheel of an ancient chariot.

Standing on the south bank of the Yellow River, the park is composed of a two-wheel waterwheel, cofferdam, water mill service room, and recreation area. When the water naturally impulses the blades of the wheels, it turns the waterwheel, and the buckets attached to the waterwheel are filled with water then. When they reach the top, the water is poured into the wooden trough and flows continuously into the garden for irrigation.

Day 2 LanzhouZhangye
From Lanzhou to Zhangye by train, Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at the hotel and send you to the railway station. You will take an estimated train D55 8:52/12:02 to Zhangye, and your guide in Zhangye will meet you upon arrival at the station.

Lunch will be arranged at a local restaurant. After a short break, you will visit Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. Located at the north foot of the Qilian Mountains, the park is a typical representative of the Chinese colorful Danxia landform and has high values of scientific research and tourism. In November 2005, it was selected as one of the seven most beautiful Danxia in China in the contest of “China’s Most Beautiful Places” jointly held by China Geographic Magazine and 34 domestic media. In 2011, Zhangye Danxia was named one of the “Top 10 Geographic Wonders of the World” by National Geographic Magazine. In 2015, it was selected as one of the world’s 25 dreamlike travel destinations by many famous websites in China.

Zhangye Danxia landform is the only integrated area of Danxia landform and colorful hilly landscape in China. The landscape area mainly includes Binggou Danxia Landform and Colorful Danxia scenic area, which are about 12 kilometers apart. In the park covering an area of 100 square kilometers, thousands of cliffs and hills all show brilliant colors of red and brown, setting each other off in a spectacular way.

Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park
Day 3 ZhangyeJiayuguan
Giant Buddha Temple, from Zhangye to Jiayuanguan by train

In the morning, your guide will pick you up at the hotel after breakfast and drive you to Giant Buddha Temple. Giant Buddha Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”, was built between 1098 and 1103. The temple was so large that it could accommodate four or five thousand people. As a royal temple, the temple is closely related to several royal families in Chinese history and has a typical palace architectural style. The temple is a famous tourist spot on the Silk Road, a landmark building of Zhangye City, and a Buddhist art museum integrating architecture, sculptures, murals, carvings, scriptures, and cultural relics. It is said that famous Italian traveler Marco Polo was deeply attracted by the magnificent structure of this temple and the prosperity of Zhangye so he stayed here for a year.

The wall behind the reclining Buddha in the Giant Buddha Hall is painted with the story murals of Journey to the West, which is one of China’s four greatest literary masterpieces. The murals cover an area of about 15 square meters and consist of several independent stories from the above novel. The characters in this book such as Monkey King, Tang Monk, Piggie, Sha Monk are depicted in detail.

After lunch, you will take an estimated train D2701 14:08/15:20 to Jiayuguan City, and your local guide will wait for you at the station. After checking in at the hotel, you can have a good rest in the afternoon.

Big Buddha Temple
Giant Buddha Temple
Day 4 JiayuguanDunhuang
Wei–Jin Art Gallery, Jiayuguan Great Wall, from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang

After breakfast, you will visit Wei–Jin Art Gallery. We are here to see the murals painted in the tombs of the Wei and Jin Dynasty (220-420). There are about one thousand tombs in total, and the site of the tombs is on the Gobi in the northeast of Jiayuguan in Gansu Province. In 1972, eight of the tombs were excavated, and six of them have murals, with more than 600 pictures, most of which are well preserved. The content of murals does not inherit the previous tradition to take auspicious patterns, myths, or legends as the theme, but shows unique characteristics of Wei and Jin Dynasties, delineates the life scenes of banquets, trips, hunting, farming, mulberry leaf harvesting, livestock raising, threshing grain, etc., and thus reproducing the local people’s semi-farming and semi-grazing economic production and daily life scenes. The most famous mural is “Postmaster” in tomb No. 5. On this mural, a post messenger, who wears a gown with wide sleeves, with a crown on his head and boots on his feet, is riding on a red-maned horse, holding a wooden letter in his left hand, and a bridle in his right hand. This picture reproduces the image of post messengers in the northwest frontier area at that time, and is considered as the earliest image of ancient postmen found in China.

After having lunch at a local restaurant, your guide will lead you to Jiayuguan Great Wall. Built in 1372, Jiayuguan Great Wall, the western end of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), got its name because it was located at the foot of Jiayu Mountain, and “guan” means pass. Because of the dangerous terrain and the majestic building, it is known as one of the world’s magnificent passes. There are also watchtowers, turrets, attics, gate towers on the inner walls. The Jiayu Pass is one of the most intact passes on the Great Wall.

On April 30, 2003, the new “China Jiayuguan Great Wall Museum” was officially opened at the foot of the Jiayu Pass, providing a new platform for the exhibition of the unique historical and cultural heritage of the Jiayu Pass and the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall Museum is divided into 7 exhibition halls with a total of 1,500 square meters. The exhibition is divided into four parts: the History of the Great Wall, the Wars of the Great Wall, the Hexi Great Wall, and the Jiayu Pass. It takes full advantage of the display techniques of modern technologies such as sound, light, and electricity to concentrate the history, cultural relics, arts, and research achievements of the Great Wall in one museum, and comprehensively displays them from multiple angles.

After the sightseeing in Jiayuguan Great Wall, you will take an estimated train D2737 18:50/21:12 to Dunhuang. Your guide will pick you up at the station and drive you to the hotel.

Jiayuguan Great Wall
Jiayuguan Great Wall
Day 5 Dunhuang
Mogao Grottoes, Echoing-sand Dune, Crescent Lake

You will have breakfast at the hotel, and then your guide will drive you to Mogao Grottoes. Mogao Grottoes, commonly known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, is located in Dunhuang at the western end of the Hexi Corridor (a major route from mainland China to the West in ancient times). With 735 caves, 45,000 square meters of murals, and 2,415 clay sculptures, it is one of the four largest grottoes in China and also the largest Buddhist art site in the world. It is said that in 366 AD, the monk Lezun passed by the mountain here and suddenly saw the golden light shining like thousands of Buddhas, so he cut the first cave in the rock. Since then, other monks such as Master Faliang continued to build caves and practice meditation here. During the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and the Tang Dynasty (618-907), with the prosperity of the Silk Road, Mogao Grottoes flourished and there were already more than a thousand caves during the reign of Wu Zetian (690-705) in the Tang Dynasty.

In 1900, a Buddhist scripture cave that shocked the world was discovered here. Unfortunately, soon after the discovery of cultural relics in the Buddhist scripture cave, many western explorers came to Dunhuang and defrauded the Taoist priest guarding the cave by unfair means, therefore, most of the treasures in the cave were robbed, carried abroad and preserved in public and private collection agencies in Britain, France, Russia, Japan, and other countries, and only a few of them were still kept at home, causing an unprecedented catastrophe in the history of Chinese culture.

Lunch will be arranged at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit Echoing-sand Dune and Crescent Lake. Echoing-sand Dune in Dunhuang is one of the four largest echoing-sand dunes in China. The dunes are all made up of fine sand and the grains of sand are red, yellow, blue, white, and black. The dunes have different shapes: some resemble crescents, some are like pyramids, some are like pythons, and others resemble fish scales. There is a peculiarity about Echoing-sand Dune: if people fall from the top of the dune, the sand will hum. Legend has it that during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), when the Han army and the Huns were fighting here, a strong wind blew up, burying all the soldiers and horses in the sand, and the sound made by the sand today is the shouting of the two armies and the neighing of war horses. But actually, it is the sound of grains of sand and stones rubbing against each other. A variety of recreational activities are provided in the scenic area, such as camel riding, sand- skiing, desert motorcycles, etc., and camel riding and sandboarding are the most popular among tourists. If you want to experience these activities, your guide could help, and you need to pay it onsite.

The Crescent Lake is nearly 100 meters long and 25 meters wide, and the deepest part of the lake is about 5 meters. The Crescent Lake is surrounded by quicksand, but even when it encounters strong winds, the lake will not be covered by sand, which becomes a famous spectacle in the desert. According to legend, the eminent monk Xuanzang went to the west to get the scriptures and passed through Dunhuang in the Tang Dynasty. He trekked in the endless desert without water and food. At the time he was going to faint, the Avalokitesvara changed a drop of golden water in her magic bottle into a crescent-like lake with a kind of “Seven Star Grass” growing in it, which can cure all diseases. Therefore, Xuanzang was rescued and was able to continue to march towards the west.

Mogao Grottoes
Crescent Lake
Day 6 Dunhuang Departur
From Dunhuang to Lanzhou by train, you will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home

On the last day, you will take an estimated train D2759 09:58/17:23 to Lanzhou after breakfast, and your guide in Lanzhou will meet you at the railway station and then escort you to the airport according to your schedule. We wish you a smooth homebound journey.

Editor: Hou Qiyue

Proofreader: Summer Hou

This tour ends here
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Zhangye Zhangye Hotel Zhangye Dinghe International Hotel
Jiayuguan Jiayuguan Plaza Holiday Inn Gansu Jiayuguan Hotel
Dunhuang Wan Sheng International Hotel Grand Sun Hotel Dunhuang
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