Journey through the Guanlong region – the first steps on the China-India Silk Road.
Visit the Buddhist grotto artworks of Sumeru and ‘Haystack’ Mountain. Cross the Yangtze river by goat skin raft, take a donkey cart through the Yinma gulley, then hike into the Tengger Desert. Study Tai Chi with Taoist mountain priests, and more.
A six-day journey. An unforgettably rich adventure roadtrip.
Meet up in Lanzhou. Check in. Explore the Lanzhou CBD.
Meet up in Lanzhou. Check in.
Meet up in Lanzhou on Day 1.
Make your way to the westerly city of Lanzhou. Check in at our designated hotel.
Explore the Lanzhou CBD.
Arrive early and you can explore the Lanzhou CBD: see the Yangtze River on Zhongshan Bridge, or eat your way through a smorgasbord of traditional ethnic snack cuisine on Zhengning Food Street.
Noodle house breakfast. Yangtze river goat skin raft. Yinma gulley donkey cart caravan. ‘Dragonport’ Village ‘Stone Forest’ panorama observation deck. Zhongwei.
Noodle house breakfast in lanzhou.
A breakfast to remember.
Join locals in a morning noodle house. Only in Lanzhou - before you even consider what dish to order there are 4-5 types of noodle to choose from. Eat and experience what makes the “Lanzhou Ramen” name famous throughout China.
Yangtze river goat skin raft. Yinma gulley donkey cart caravan. ‘Dragonport’ Village ‘Stone Forest’ panorama observation deck.
Today’s journey: through the Yangtze River ‘Stone Forest’.
Ride north and step off the coach at the banks of the Yangtze river. How do we cross? Meet the goat skin raft - the oldest of ways to travel the Yangtze waters. Raft across to the mouth of Yinma gulley. Step up on the opposite bank, where donkey-powered transportation awaits.
The donkey cart caravan departs. A dramatic landscape of scorched rock. Trace slowly along the rising dusty corridors of Yinma Gulley, to ‘Dragonport’ Village. At the village, step up onto the panoramic observation deck and see the ‘Stone Forest’ unfold at your feet.
Zhongwei hotel check-in.
From here it’s a short road North to the town of Zhongwei, and your hotel.
Breakfast. Desert transit Station. Lunch. Desert trail hike. Ride south. Stay at Xiaoguan Guyuan city.
Breakfast. Desert transit Station. Lunch.
Eat breakfast, meet your desert guide, then depart. On the road the guide will explain safety and survival.
Arrive at our hike start point – the Desert transit Station. Organize equipment as lunch is rationed out (includes one main meal, soda water, energy bars, protein, candy, etc.).
Eat, then hike off into the vast desert.
Desert trail hike. Ride south. Stay at Xiaoguan Guyuan city.
Reach the trail end, then re-board transport and reverse direction. We head south. Check in and stay the night at Xiaoguan Guyuan city.
Breakfast. Sumeru Mountain Buddhist grottoes. Kongtong Mountain. Meet a Taoist priest. Kongtong-school Tai Chi. Ritual mantras on the ‘Platform of Eight Deities’. Follow a monk’s procession. A night in the Kongtong Middle mountain lodge.
Breakfast. Sumeru Mountain Buddhist grottoes.
Today: the great Buddhist grotto caves of the Silk Road. Eat breakfast. Set out.
163 hand-carved grottoes. Over 500 Buddhist sculptures. Deeply spiritual wall paintings.
Sumeru mountain is the site of a Silk Road Buddhist temple. For over 1500 years, Sumeru monks have lovingly devoted mind, body and soul into turning desert mountain rock into a monument to their faith.
Visit the mountain. Feel the aura that those monks left here.
From Sumeru, depart for the famed temple mountain of Kongtong.
Kongtong Mountain. Meet a Taoist priest. Kongtong-school Tai Chi. Ritual mantras on the ‘Platform of Eight Deities’. Follow a monk’s procession.
Arrive. Meet your experience leader – a Taoist priest.
Practice the forms of Kongtong Tai Chi. Listen silently to ritual mantras the ‘Platform of Eight Deities’. Follow a monk’s procession through the Nine shrines, Eight platforms and 12 monasteries of the mountain. Spend one whole day in the realm of mountain monks – your window into Taoist culture.
A night in the Kongtong Middle mountain lodge.
Check in at the Kongtong Middle Platform mountain lodge and stay the night.
Sunrise Taichi. ‘Qigong’ breathing exercises. Taoist ritual chanting. Leave Kongtong. ‘Heaven’s Water’ Tianshui. Jieting Old Town. Jieting Hot Spring mountain villas. Stay the night.
Sunrise Taichi. ‘Qigong’ breathing exercises. Taoist ritual chanting.
Rise and shine.
A round of sunrise Taichi on Kongtong’s eastern platform, energizing ‘Qigong’ breathing exercises, plus one last session of Taoist ritual chanting to begin the day.
Leave Kongtong. ‘Heaven’s Water’ Tianshui. Jieting Hot Spring mountain villas.
Exchanges wishes. Say goodbyes. Leave Kongtong mountain for a place called ‘Heaven’s Water’ – an oasis of this dry province.
Relaxation. We need some.
Arrive in Jieting Old Town. Check in at Jieting Hot Springs mountain villas. Relax from head to toe in milky, mineral-rich, 39.5° outdoor hot spring pools. Nothing but the deep calm of mountain forest green all around you.
Stay the night in a mountian villa.
Stay the night. Eat a light, farm fresh country meal. Fall asleep in the quiet of your mountain villa room.
Breakfast. The Haystack Mountain Grottoes’. Xi’an. Farewell.
Breakfast. The Haystack Mountain Grottoes’.
Eat breakfast then head out. Your destination: ‘the Haystack Mountain Grottoes’.
Carved, sculpted, crafted for 1700 years and 10 Chinese dynasties. The Silk Road Haystack Mountain is beyond a Chinese Buddhist temple – this is a world-level relic, a vault of time and art, a national treasure.
Wander the mountain-face on sunlight scaffold walkways. Feel the expression on the faces of thousand-year-old Buddhist sculptures.
Arrive in Xi’an. Farewell.
In the afternoon, board a coach bound for the ancient capital of Xi’an.
Farewell. Remember us next adventure!