Kashgar to Xi'an

22 days
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Small Group Tour
Discover China away from the tourist trail. Beginning at the famous market town of Kashgar, this trip will explore China's remote west. Our route skirts the edge of the isolated Taklamakan Desert, stopping along the Silk Route at the oasis of Turpan. Many travellers to China visit the Great Wall, but few see the remote western end of it at Jiayuguan, 3000 mil...

Overview

Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Basic - 2 star
Physical level
Strenuous
Trip pace
Full schedule

Highlights

    • See the crumbling remains of Kashgar's enigmatic Old Town and the busy Sunday Market
    • Camp beneath the stars in the Taklamakan Desert
    • Overnight in a yurt beside the pristine waters of Heavenly Lake
    • Follow the ancient Silk Road through Far Western China
    • See where the Great Wall meets its end in the Jiayuguan Desert
    • Discover the discipline of Tibetan monks in Xiahe
    • Be stunned by the beauty of Kongtong Mountain

What's this trip about?

    Discover China away from the tourist trail. Beginning at the famous market town of Kashgar, this trip will explore China's remote west. Our route skirts the edge of the isolated Taklamakan Desert, stopping along the Silk Route at the oasis of Turpan. Many travellers to China visit the Great Wall, but few see the remote western end of it at Jiayuguan, 3000 miles from Beijing. From here the road climbs up to the Tibetan Plateau, and we visit the pilgrimage site of Xiahe before descending to the historic city of Xi'an, home of the Terracotta Warriors.

Details

Itinerary focusActive and Outdoor Sports
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 22 people
Age rangeNo age restrictions
Flights and transportRound trip airfare and all internal transport included
Start CityKashgar
End CityXi'an

Travel Themes

  • Overland Journeys

Destinations

  • Asia
  • China

Trip includes

    • Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary
    • all other activities are optional and at your own expense
    • If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary
    • the cost will not be refunded

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Itinerary

Travel Map

Day 1 Kashgar

Travel to the westernmost end of China and visit Kashgar, an exotic fusion of Chinese, Uzbek and Kyrgyz cultures. Wander the streets that weave through the Old Town and discover the markets and bazaars of this diverse city.

Day 2-3 Kashgar

Day 4-5 Bayanbulak

Leave Kashgar and head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travelling into seemingly unchartered terrain, spend two days on an overland adventure.

Day 6-7 Heavenly Lake

Travel towards the Tian Shan mountain range, and arrive at the pristine Heavenly Lake. Located at the top of a mountain - and in the middle of a desert - this is a remote spot, perfect for relaxation.

Day 8-9 Turpan

Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan. Explore the famous Jiahe ruins, visit the night market or perhaps soak up the lively energy among locals in the town square.

Day 10-11 Dunhuang

Continue the Overland adventure towards the ancient Silk Road town of Dunhuang. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.

Day 12 Jiayuguan

Day 13 Zhangye

Drive to Jiayuguan and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.

Day 14 Liujiaxia

At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.

Day 15-17 Xiahe

Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.

Day 18 Lanzhou

Make tracks to Lanzhou and relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.

Day 19-20 Pingliang

Overland to lovely Pingliang, located at the base of the verdant Kongtong Mountain. If feeling energetic, climb through five lush terraces to the scared site of Mount Kongtong, passing temples and shrines along the way.

Day 21 Xi'an

Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xi'an.

Day 22 Xi'an

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Dates & Availability

Price From $2,448
Price per day$111
Last Updated: 12/7/2021

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Tour Operator

Intrepid Travel

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The Intrepid Travel Experience

If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. For the past 25 years, we’ve been taking small groups of travelers on unforgettable trips around the world. What makes them unforgettable? Take a look for yourself and discover the Intrepid experience.

Our travelers have three styles of tour to choose from: Basix, Original and Comfort. Each has a different level of inclusions and accommodation, but all have unforgettable real life experiences as part of the package. Travellers can also choose themed trips, such as Family, Sailing or Food, to suit their interests.

Our group size has an average of just ten travellers, which allows us to get off the beaten track, use local accommodation and transport, and really get to know the culture. It also ensures we are contributing to the local economy; by choosing local suppliers we were able to keep AUD 60 million in local economies in 2012. We’re also working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and were the first in our sector to introduce carbon offset trips. This, along with our many corporate sustainability activities, has meant we’re one of the travel industry’s leaders in responsible travel.

Why Intrepid?

  •   Small groups - average of 10 people per trip
  •   Sustainability - pioneers for the industry
  •   Local leaders - authentic perspectives
  •   Local transport - get close and personal
  •   Local accommodation - experience real living
  •   Intrepid travelers - like-minded companions 

History

Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its beginnings in 1989. From two university friends, a typewriter and a kitchen desk, it is now a proud member of The Intrepid Group, taking over 100,000 travelers every year.

Intrepid Travel is part of The Intrepid Group of companies, alongside leading small group adventure companies Peregrine, Urban Adventures and PEAK DMC.

Despite growing into a global business with over 1,000 staff based all over the world and over 800 different trips across every continent, we’ve remained devoted to the same grassroots values and responsible travel philosophies that we had at the very beginning.

 

Values

On every trip we operate and in every interaction we have with a client, supplier or local, we live our core values everyday:

  • Integrity – Doing the right thing
  • Responsible – Think global, act local
  • Growth – Stakeholders in our own success
  • Innovation – Thriving on new ideas and embracing change
  • Fun – It’s engrained into who we are and what we do
  • Passion – We are inspired by the work we do and the trips we offer

 

Why we love this operator
They’re very committed to sustainable and responsible tourism and contribute to important initiatives like climate action.
What they’re known for
Small group tours for active and adventurous travelers at a range of different price points and service levels.

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Logistics

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts), Yurt (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt),

Transportation & Flights

Overland vehicle,

Transportation & flights

Overland vehicle
Guides
On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
Requirements
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday. ,Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Visa requirements
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Health & Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: DRAGOMAN SAFETY HOTELS: • Ensure you know where your nearest fire exit is and check to ensure that it is operative. • Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher. • Study the fire instructions in your room if available. • Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs. • If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects. • Proceed to an assembly point well away from the building. • Electrics in hotels in many of the places that we visit will not be up to the same standards as at home. Please ensure that you check rooms, especially bathrooms and are aware of any issues that look unsafe. If in doubt inform the crew who will endeavor to sort the situation out. • Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under Western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care. • We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks. • If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or home stays CAMPSITE FIRE SAFETY: • Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is. • Know how to raise the alarm. • Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed. • Observe any regulations regarding fires and bushfires in dry conditions. • Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite. OTHER CAMPSITE SAFETY • Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards. • Group tents around our vehicle wherever possible. • No open flames, smoking or flammable liquids in or near the tents. • Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents. • Ensure all water for cooking and drinking is purified first. • Ensure any soil toilets are min 50m away from tents & cooking area. • All food waste should be burnt or buried – min 100m away from the site. • Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife. • Keep valuables locked in the vehicle. • Be aware of any local security issues that might be important. • Do not set out tents close to perimeter fences which may be a security risk. • Be aware of the security arrangements and local guards for campsite and if in doubt ask them where and where not to pitch tents. • If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with campsite. • When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group. FOOD SAFETY • We prepare many meals during the tour and our crew are hygiene trained; however, some general tips can help in order to avoid the possibility of stomach upsets; • Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked. • Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold. • Avoid any uncooked food, except fruit and vegetables, (notably those you can peel or shell yourself). • In many countries you should only drink bottled water or purified water and ensure any seal is intact when purchasing bottles. • On the Dragoman vehicles we have a tank of drinking water that is kept purified by the crew. • Avoid ice in drinks as this can cause upset stomachs in hot climates. • Make sure you wash your hands in antibacterial product when preparing and/or eating food. • Restaurant Food: This is grassroots travel and many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the Western World. Unfortunately this is part of travel in these regions. Therefore think carefully about what food you order and be aware of the risks. DRAGOMAN TRANSPORT SAFETY • Our own vehicles have fully fitted seat belts; make sure you always belt up. • If you find a safety belt inoperable or missing on one of our vehicles, please inform the crew immediately. • Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that other vehicles we may use or recommend in some countries will be fitted with seat belts on every seat as it is not a legal requirement in much of the world. • Please remain seated on board vehicles at all times when the vehicle is in motion • Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells • Ensure you know where your nearest Emergency exit is; this may be a designated emergency exit, a window or a roof hatch. • Check the location of the fire extinguisher and first aid kit. • Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver • Our vehicles are fitted with roof seats which can be used in certain conditions, such as when driving at low speeds, off main tarmac roads, etc. They can only be used with the express permission of the crew and you must never sit in them without seat belts. DRAGOMAN PERSONAL SAFETY: One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise you to leave any valuable jewellery, watches, etc, at home. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow: • Follow the crew’s specific safety advice in each destination. • Be aware, stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable. • Avoid carrying too much money. • Use of a money belt / neck wallet or is encouraged at all times while travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. • Avoid walking in poorly lit areas. • Ensure your valuables are left secure when you go out. • In any hostels/hotels, place all valuables in a safety deposit box, where available or with reception or locked away by the crew. • Do not take any valuable jewellery/watches etc. away with you. • If possible avoid walking around on your own; it is always safer to explore with others. www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
Meals Included

Meals introduction

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

Meals

All meals when camping

Age Requirements
No age restrictions
Additional Information

Style descriptions

Our Basix style trips are designed for travellers who want exceptional value, plenty of free time and having the flexibility to choose where and how their time and money is spent. By working plenty of free time into the itineraries and keeping many of the activities optional, we aim to make travel possible for those on even the most slender of budgets. After all, why pay for an activity or excursion you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in? Or a level of comfort you don’t require? As a wise person probably once said, a bed's just a bed when there's exploring to be done.

Finish point

  • Jianguo Hotel Xi'an
  • No.2 Huzhu Road, Beilin District,
  • Xi'an
  • Xi'an
  • CHINA
Trip ID
intrepid-CDOK

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