Discover a land of vast open landscapes and ancient treasures on this adventure from Beijing to Kashgar. The ever-breathtaking Great Wall, imposing Terracotta Army, beautiful Buddhist artwork in the Mogao Caves and a mixing pot of people, culture and cuisines all await, as we journey along the legendary Silk Road through the Taklamakan Desert to the fascinating market town of Kashgar.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Days 1-2 Beijing
Ni hao and welcome to China where a grand adventure awaits! Begin by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing - a place where discovery and intrigue lie around every corner. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.
Day 3 Qing Dongling
Journey into the valley of the Changrui Mountains, where emperors and their concubines lay entombed at Qing Dongling.
Day 4 Huairou
Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Imagine the exhaustive effort of farmers and labourers who toiled for many generations to construct the Wall.
Days 5-6 Chengde
Stroll through the lush Shanzhuang gardens in the footsteps of past Emperors who holidayed here. Take in the rich heritage of Chengde by bicycle or admire the Mongolian and Tibetan influences in local temples and monasteries.
Days 7-8 Datong
Marvel at the Hanging Monastery, delicately perched on a steep cliff face in Golden Dragon Gorge, and explore the World Heritage listed Yungang Grottoes, home to a staggering collection of over 50,000 statues and fascinating ancient rock art.
Days 9-10 Hohhot
Travel to the cultural centre of Hohhot at the gateway to Inner Mongolia. This busy ancient city gives off a laidback vibe making it the perfect place for to reload before embarking on a Mongolian homestay. Yak butter tea, anyone?
Day 11 Yinchuan
After a pit stop at the grand temples of Zhongwei Gao Miao, enjoy fraternising with locals in the friendly city of Yinchuan, amid the ebb and flow of daily life in provincial China.
Day 12 Shapotou
The reward for a morning of travel is letting off steam in Shapotou, where daredevils will delight in the dune sliding madness of this sandy wonderland. And if the stars align, embark on an overnight camel safari on the fringes of the stunning Tengger Desert.
Days 13-14 Gansu Province/Mount Kongtong
Admire the view from atop the temple-studded Kongtong Mountain and enjoy the spoils of Gansu Province, which has a rich and colourful history as one of the important links on the ancient Silk Road.
Days 15-18 Xi'an
Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors and explore significant cultural sites and museums both in and around Xi'an. Enjoy a plate of hand-pulled noodles as you watch the locals dance, eat and practice martial arts in South Park.
Day 19 Pingliang, Gansu Province & Mount Kongtong
Overland through the province of Gansu to Pingliang, which sits at the edge of the beautiful Kongtong Mountain. Peruse the wonderful shops or climb the mountain for rewarding views.
Day 20 Lanzhou
Travel down the fertile Gansu Corridor, a rugged stretch of the famed Silk Route.
Days 21-22 Xiahe
Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.
Day 23 Liujiaxia
At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
Day 24 Bingling Si/Zhangye Bush Camp
Continue the journey west towards Jiayuguan, where we set up camp en route.
Day 25 Jiayuguan/Great Wall
Arrive in Jiayuguan after a full day of driving, and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.
Days 26-27 Dunhuang
Arrive in Dunhuang and relax in this Gansu oasis trading town. Visit the nearby Mogao Caves and discover their breathtaking Buddhist art.
Day 28 Bush Camp
Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient oasis town of Turpan. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.
Days 29-30 Turpan
Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.
Days 31-32 Urumqi & The 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.
Days 33-34 Bush Camp
Head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travel into seemingly unchartered terrain and begin two days on an overland adventure.
Day 35-38 Kashgar
Arrive in 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 before saying goodbye to this incredible part of the world.