| Day 01
Kazakhstan (Koreas Border) – China
Border crossing. Meet your guide at the border. Fromalities at the border. Continue tao Ili (Yining).
Distance: approx. 100 km
Formalities at the traffic administration. You will receive your temporary Chinese driving license and number plate after the vehicle check.Yining was occupied by tsarist troops from 1872 to 1881. In 1962, major clashes between Chinese and Soviets took place along the Yili River.Possibilities to visit two mosques
Ili – Kuytun
Kuytun is a city in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China, southwest of Dzoungarie
Distance: approx. 450 km
Kuytun – Turpan
Turpan is an oasis city located in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang, China.This place has been for centuries the centre of a fertile oasis (grape production, among others) and an important commercial city on the Silk Road.
Distance: approx. 430 km
Turpan visiting day
Visiting day in Turpan.Cultural influences are multiple here. The encounter between the culture of the West and that of the East is perfect. The caves of the thousand Buddhas of Bezeklik, the ruins of Jiaohe and Gaochang are very beautiful witnesses of the rich history of the region. The Flamboyant Mountains are among the sites to visit during your visit to Tourfan. A stifling heat emanates from it but the places have become very popular following the famous novel The Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. The Emin Minaret is the oldest Islamic tower built in Xinjiang. It is located in the very city of Turpan.
Turpan – Shanshan – Hami (Kumul)
Walk to the Mazar Village of the Tuyugou Valley, this village is known as the oldest village in the Uygur. Visit the desert park near Shanshan and Hami Hui Kings Tomb…
Distance: approx. 410 km
Hami – Dunhuang
Drive to Dunhuang in the morning. Visit Dunhuang Caves, Moon Fountain and Mingsha Sand Hill in the afternoon.
Distance: approx. 490 km
Dunhuang – Jiayuguan: Jiayuguan Fort, Overhanging Great Wall
The city of Jiayuguan has a population of about 300,000. It is located at the entrance to the Gobi Desert and near the Qilian Mountains. Jiayuguan, one of the province’s first cities, has a history dating back more than 600 years. The city was then a strategic gateway on the ancient Silk Road.The Jiayuguan Fort marks the western end of the Great Wall of China.The Great Hanging Wall is the other jewel of the Great Wall of China to be found in the city of Jiayuguan. Because of the 45 degree inclination of the walls, one would think that the walls fell suddenly from the sky…
Distance: approx. 370 km
Jiayuguan – Zhangye – Mati Si
Located 65 kilometers from Zhangye, the caves and temple of Mati, or Matisi, were established under the Northern Liang dynasty, about 1600 years ago. The temple is embedded in the mountain which itself is pierced by many caves. It preserves more than 500 Buddha sculptures and more than 1200 square metres of frescoes.
Distance: approx. 280 km
Mati Si – Qinghai lake (south shore)
Qinghai Lake is not only the largest lake in China but also an extraordinarily salty lake, at an altitude of 2,205 meters. A paradise for ornithologists and cyclists, this bluish vastness is a beauty. Around the lake, villages are there to remind us of the cultural mix so specific to the Qinghai region.It is an important pilgrimage site for Tibetans and attracts many believers. They go around the lake, but it takes about eighteen days on horseback and twenty-three on foot. To the west of the lake is an island, with a temple called “Mahādeva”, i. e. the heart of the lake, which was the residence of about twenty monks.
Qinghai lake – Tongren
The Tongren region is famous for its Thangkas artists. It is the art of painting, sewing, filler a religious image on a support generally of fabric. This work must then be consecrated by a lama.The city itself is a large, largely Tibetan village where the vast Longwusi monastery dating back to the Yuans (13th and 14th centuries) is located.In the surroundings you can also visit the Wutunsi monastery, which has several halls dedicated to the deities and a superb stupas decorated with multiple coloured statues
Distance: approx. 360 km
Tongren – Xiahe (Labrang)
Labrang is known to be the largest monastery outside Tibet. It currently has about 2000 monks, half as many as at its peak, due to wars between local lords and the cultural revolution.It is an ideal place to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture and religion. Shortly after the Tibetan New Year, the Mönlam ceremony takes place, with many festivities, on this occasion the giant thanka is held on the hill facing the golden stupa.
Distance: approx. 110 km
Xiahe – Songpan
Songpan is a crossroads city between Chengdu, northern Sichuan and the famous sites of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong. The old town is surrounded by ramparts that can be visited.
Distance: approx. 460 km
Songpan – Chengdu
Modern and relaxed, Sichuan’s capital offers a wide range of places and activities: Visit the city’s many temples and parks, relax in a tea house, enjoy a Chinese opera show, taste the famous spicy hotpot…
Distance: approx. 330 km
Chengdu rest day
Chengdu is an invitation to discover the attractions of Sichuan and the surroundings of the city are also rich in monuments and natural sites.Chengdu’s geographical location, at the crossroads of Tibet, Yangtze, the Silk Road and the southern regions populated by minorities, makes it an ideal starting point to other Chinese regions.
Chengdu – Liangshan
The Liangshan massif, literally the “Great Cold Mountains”, forms a region of isolated mountains, which surrounds the great Yangtze River. This region is the ancestral home of the Yi ethnic groups, formerly known as Lolo. This important population, together with the Bai ethnic group of Dali, were the founders of the kingdom of Nanzhao in the 8th century.
Distance: approx. 440 km
Liangshan – Lugu Lake
The crystal clear water of the lake and the green forests around it make it an exceptional site. The lake includes three islands considered by the locals as “legendary homes of the immortals”.
Distance: approx. 310 km
Lugu Lake – Lijiang
The old town of Lijiang is surely one of the most charming ancient cities in Yunnan. Lijiang is the centre of the Naxi minority, with a very specific culture, including its religion and writing made up of over 1000 pictograms. The culture of Lijiang and its old town is a pleasant place to relax and stroll for a while.
Distance: approx. 200 km
Lijiang visiting day
Outside the old town of Lijiang, with its narrow streets and numerous canals, Lijiang is the hub of a region rich in diverse activities. Closer by, you can discover the village of Wenhai overlooking the Lijiang Valley, on foot or on horseback, or the ancient Naxi towns of Shuhe, Baisha or Yuhu, or Lashihai Lake.
Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shaxi
Shaxi once played an important crossroads on the road of tea and horse caravans, an important branch of the Silk Road. Just 1000 years ago, this city was to become the dominant node between Tibet and southwest China.Even if today the exchanges between Tibet and China are no longer carried out by this road, Shaxi keeps this atmosphere of a commercial crossroads city. These old cobbled streets still look like those of a thousand years ago. The minorities of the region, especially the Bai and Yi, still meet every Friday in the village centre for the market. Coming down from the surrounding mountains, they exchange goods with other traders or private individuals through the old streets of Shaxi.
Distance: approx. 225 km
Shaxi – Dali
Dali is the centre of the Bai minority region, and the former capital of the kingdom of Nanzhao. The city is located at the intersection of highways to Myanmar and Tibet, and globally between Kunming and Lijiang as the crow flies. It is known for its white marbles with grayed lines. Despite an altitude of 1900m, the region enjoys a temperate climate all year round, attracting many Chinese city dwellers wishing to escape the pollution of the cities of eastern China, but also Chinese artists, the region having become in some respects a bohemian region. At the foot of Cangshan Mountain in the west, and Erhai Lake in the east, its location is exceptional, and it is one of Yunnan’s major destinations for rest and relaxation.
Distance: approx. 110 km
Dali – Weishan
Half a day for rest and relaxation. In the afternoon, we take a short drive to Weishan. Weishan has one of the most beautiful historic, “untouristy” old towns of Yunnan.There is also the option of spending another night in Dali.
Distance: approx. 60 km
Weishan – Lincang
On the way to Lincang, we arrive in tropical areas. Tea plantations and banana groves replace the forests of northern Yunnan.
Distance: approx. 235 km
Licang – Xishuangbanna (Jinhong)
Journey to the capital city of Xishuangbanna – Jinhong. Here we will experience the lifestyle and architecture of Southeast Asia.
Distance: approx. 400 km
Jinhong – Mohanzhen – departure for Laos
The last day of travel in China leads us to the Sino-Laotian border. Customs paperwork. We recommend making the drive to Luang Namtha.
Distance: approx. 190 km