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8 Days Silk Road Summer Camp

8 Days Silk Road Summer Camp

Age: 8+ Child with Family, 10+ alone

Date: July 15th-22nd , 2024 Trip Code: CS001

Guide: Lily

Price: 1,400USD/Pax

Trip Focus: Silk Road + Rich Culture

Route: Lanzhou-Wuwei-Zhangye-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang

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The Silk Road opened 2,000 years ago stretches over the Eurasian Continent with a total length of nearly five thousand kilometers. It is a road for the human being to explore the unknown world and it is also a road to embrace different civilizations and beliefs through communication and conflict. It is a trade route for the exchange of needed goods between different nations. The route features beautiful mountains and rivers, spreading out like a gigantic mobile painting, and going through the natural habitats of various wildlife and plants. Hexi Corridors, which is the essential part of the Silk Road, is the most desired place to appreciate the human and natural heritages from its rich cultural sites and breathtaking views along the Silk Road.


▲ Qilian Mountain Range——a nature scenery along the Hexi Corridor

The Exploration Trip starts from Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu, going westward along the ancient Silk Road to Dunhuang via Wuwei, Zhangye, and Jiayuguan. We will trace the glorious civilization in the western Xia period in Wuwei, which was called Liangzhou or Liang Prefecture in ancient times. We will enjoy the abundant and diversified bird and plant resources in the wetlands created by Heihe, which is the second-largest continental river in China. In the Danxia National Geo Park, you will be thrilled by the vast, spectacular and colorful mountain ridges. While visiting Jiayuguan Pass, we will study the military offense and defense tactics used in ancient times. In Yulin Grottoes, we will have a local expert explaining the stories behind the grottoes and frescoes. We will share the same sadness as the famous poet Wang Wei in the vast Gobi Desert when he could not find a friend once going out of Yangguan Pass.


▲ Endemic plants in northwest China

Trip Targets

1. As the Chinese proverb says, "Reading ten thousand books is like traveling five thousand miles", during our summer camp trip along the Silk Road, we aim to get a direct and in-depth understanding of the historical significance and regional influence played by Hexi Corridors in multiple fields such as religions, economy and culture between the West and China since the Envoy named Zhangqian paid his visit to Arabian countries and opened the Silk Road;

2. Get to know the representative plants in different natural environments such as river wetlands and Gobi Deserts in Hexi Corridor areas. Understand the connections between local food, culture, and architecture as well as the environment and natural geography;

3. By exploring regional civilizations in different parts of China and read the long history of China, we aim to increase our love, curiosity, and exploration toward natural geology, history, and culture.


▲ Starry sky in northwest China

Trip Highlights

1. By focusing on Hexi Corridor Area, we will get to know the past and present Silk Road from different perspectives through our visits to museums, historical architectures, cultural relics, natural scenery, cultural activities, and customs;

2. Enjoy the beauty of China provided by multiple geography and landform from glacial plateaus to Gobi Deserts, and from the oasis in the desert to Danxia and Yadan landform;

3. Explore the flora and fauna and find out the unique survival skills of deserts animals and plants such as lizard and Russian olive in deserts;

4. Visit Yulin Grottoes guided by a local researcher specializing in Dunhuang Study, much more vivid and personalized than knowledge from books, you will learn a different version of the Journey to the West;

5. Enjoy delicious food and abundant fruits unique to the northwest of China and discuss the difference of customs and food between north and south China;

6. Rich activities to indulge yourself in the desert including sand-boarding, camel-riding, and star-gazing...

7. Present the results of your study in different ways such as writing from natural observation, dramatic performance, photographing, and video filming, and post-production.


▲ Silk Road



▲ Tour Map

Day 1:Meet in Lanzhou.

In the morning, our trip participants arrive in Lanzhou, which was also known as the Jinchengguan. The whole city stretches out like a belt with the Yellow River winding its way through the city. We can take the participants who arrive early to Baitashan to gain a bird-eye view of the city.

In the afternoon, we drive to Zhongshan Bridge known as the first bridge on the Yellow River. Here we can gain an understanding of the hundred-year-history of the bridge which witnessed China's first opening up to the outside world and served as a great example of technical cooperation between China and foreign countries. After that, we stroll along the riverside walk on the south bank of Yellow River to Water Wheel Park, where we get the unique water wheel culture and Goat Skin Boat in Lanzhou, visit Yellow River Mother Sculpture and learn how Yellow River is related to Chinese Civilization.

In the evening, welcome dinner and inauguration ceremony for our summer camp trip.


▲ Yellow River flow through Lanzhou

Day 2:Explore the Silk Road and West Xia Civilization.

In the morning, we will pay a visit to Gansu Provincial Museum to understand the civilization from the Silk Road, Colorful Pottery in Gansu, appreciate the famous Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow, and learn about the interesting stories behind many national treasures including the famous brick painting about an envoy on a galloping horse. We will learn the colorful pottery painting inside the museum after we get to know about the pottery history in Yangshao Culture and Majiayao Culture as well as the aesthetic ideas and inner world of those colorful pottery masters.

In the afternoon, we drive 270km to Wuwei (about 3.5 hours on the highway). If everything goes well, we will arrive at Wuwei around 4 pm. Upon arrival, we will visit Xixia Museum and Confucius Shrine. From the artifacts on exhibition, we will get to know the history of Wuwei during the Xixia Period in the area of politics, economy, and military. By visiting the Confucius Shrine, which is the largest and best-preserved in northwest China, we can appreciate its unique architecture and see the Chinese Scholar Tree with a history of over 500 years.

In the evening, we will watch an opera show named Envoy Zhangqian's Journey to the Western Region and the Western Expedition led by General Huo Qubing.


▲ A galloping horse on a flying swallow from the Eastern Han Period

Day 3:Study on plants and wildlife in northwest China as well as the oasis in the desert.

In the morning, we will pay a visit to Wuwei Shenzhou Desert Wildlife Park to learn about typical desert plants such as Russian Olive, Herba Cynomorii and Haloxylon ammodendron as well as endangered and precious mammals such as Saiga (Saiga tatarica), Wild Horse (Equus ferus), Wild Camel, and Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass). We will also learn about the unique skills and surviving techniques possessed by those desert plants and wildlife.

In the afternoon, we head on to Zhangye 240km in total, about 3.5 hours on the highway. We will arrive at Zhangye Heihe Wetland Park around 4 pm.

Here we will learn about the oasis ecological system and its typical aquatic animals and plants in the wetland park created by Heihe, which is the second-largest continental river in China, about connections between the Hexi Corridor river system and its ancient civilization as well as the typical geological and natural environment in Zhangye.

In the evening, we will play indoor-themed games prepared by Apandatour.


▲ A Common Pheasant

Day 4:Visit Zhangye Danxia National Geo Park.

In the morning, we drive to Zhangye Danxia National Geo Park to enjoy sunrise and the colorful ridges in the morning ray. We will learn about the evolution process of the Danxia Landform through the game we have planned. Being one of the largest, best-preserved, and the most varied landform in China, Zhangye Danxia Landform brings us to a world of the colorful fairy tale with its layers of different colors spreading out like waves. 

In the afternoon, we drive on to Jiayuguan 210km in total, about 3 hours on the highway.


▲ Zhangye National Geo Park

Day 5:Learn about the human history in Jiayuguan Pass, which is famous around the world.

In the morning, we will visit the Fortress at Jiayuguan Pass and Great Wall History Museum to learn about the ancient great wall and the movement and fighting of troops in ancient times. We will also learn about the era of cold weapons and how the unique Gobi Deserts are related to their geological location.

In the afternoon, we drive on to Guazhou County which is about 260km away and about 3 hours' drive on the highway.

In the evening, we will bring you to the famous night market in Guazhou to sample the famous food and fruits in the local market. If you have interests, we can play indoor themed games prepared by Apandatour.


▲ The Fortress of Jiayuguan Pass

Day 6 : Learn about the secrets of frescoes Yulin Grottoes.

In the morning, we will drive you to Yulin Grottoes to enjoy the beautiful frescoes there. From them, we can learn about the fresco art in grottoes made in ancient China from a guided tour by a researcher on Dunhuang Grottoes. 

In the afternoon, we head on Dunhuang ( 120km in total and 1.5 hours on the highway ) . 

In the evening, we will drive to Mingsha Sand Dunes ( also called Singing Sand Dunes ) and the Crescent Moon Spring to enjoy and play sand games ( sand-boarding included while camel-riding is on your own ). We will enjoy stargazing after that.


▲ Fresco of Dunhuang Grottoes(Tankasri Avalokitesvara in Yulin during West Xia Period )

Day 7:Visit Yumen Pass and Yadan Landform Park.

We will spend the whole day enjoying the unique Yadan landform in the so-called Devil City. At Yumen Pass, we can share with you some stories from history books and literary works about Yumen Pass. 

In the evening, we will have a closing ceremony and study report of your journey to the west for our summer camp.


▲ Yumen Pass ( Jade Gate Pass )

Day 8:Journey back home.

We conclude our journey in Dunhuang and depart from Dunhuang.



Lily Goo

An ecotour designer, art and writing tutor, the main founder of ApandaTour

During her career, Lily has managed many high-end customized ecotour programs including the annual meeting of over 1,000 people for a world-famous consulting company, and the Wanglang Ecotour Survey by the China Entrepreneurs Association. As one of the main translators of Birdwatcher's Bible, she translated and proofread the book. She is a passionate nature illustrator and her works have been published on China Bird Watch. As a profound nature and nature education lover, she love playing with kids and reading a wide range of books such as Chinese poems, history books, articles and books on Buddhism and Taoism, and artworks. Her profound knowledge makes her class easy for children to understand. Thus she is respected and loved by kids. Now she is fully dedicated to the natural education programs of ApandaTour. She hopes to plan more and more knowledge-based but interest-oriented natural education programs, which can bring high-quality parent-child time to more and more families. In that way, more people will be able to feel the beauty of nature and connect themselves with nature.



A plant expert, photography teacher and snow mountain lover

Cory's love for plants and nature started from a very young age with rich knowledge and experiences on plant survey. During his study at Sichuan University, he started outdoor hiking. Out of his strong love for plants, he traveled to different parts of Sichuan and neighboring areas and photographed over one thousand plant species. He co-founder of some new plant species and new distribution of plants in Sichuan. Frequently, he is interviewed by the local newspaper, and TV stations. In one of the TV programs called To the West of Chengdu, he showed some unique flowers in southwest China. Through his lens and sharing, he hopes to help more people to appreciate the beauty of plants.

Also as a snow mountain lover, Cory is one of the founders of an interest group called For the Snow Mountains to the West Chengdu and their activities have been reported by local TV stations many times.


Bill Zhang

A nature class designer, nature guide, and nature educator

Born in Zhangye of Gansu Province, Bill started his work in an NGO in China, specializing in children's education. He has a wide range of interests, loving bird-watching and enjoying board games. Bill is also familiar with video editing software. He likes making some creative and interesting video clippings with materials he has photographed during trips. After years of working in natural education, Bill becomes very skilled at class design and development. He has built up rich experiences of guiding outdoor activities from his frequent working in the field with students for natural experience and observation activities. He always makes use of any possible chance to go to nature in search of birds and wildlife to enrich his field experiences. Bill also holds AHA first-aid certificate.

Dates & Prices

Location:Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, and surrounding areas, Jiayuguan, Guazhou, Dunhuang, and surrounding areas

Date:July 15th-22nd , 2024

Expected Participants:Parent with a child aged 8 or above and children above 10 without a parent

Trip Size:From 15-25


The price includes the following:guide and expert, local popular restaurants, unique 3-star hotels (twin-bed sharing basis), a tour bus with air-conditioning, entrance tickets and shuttle buses for the sites as mentioned in the itinerary, small objects prepared for this trip and travel insurance, sand-boarding included while camel-riding is on your own

The price does not include:the transportation charges to arrive in Lanzhou and depart from Dunhuang; personal expenses during the trip, and items not mentioned as included


Hotels:Unique three-star hotels or similar (one twin-bed room for one family, for children without a parent, arrange room-sharing according to the actual situation in principle, we do not use one room for one single child. If parent hopes to use a single room, the single supplement is 220USD/Pax).

Transportation:same transportation for all the trip participants during the trip, we will hire a registered tour bus for this trip.

Food:The food in northwestern China varies according to different locations. During the trip, we will arrange a variety of food choices with some unique food and seasonal fruits to gain balanced nutrition from a collection of meat and vegetable dishes. We provide purified water for the whole trip.

Typical food in northwest China:Lanzhou Hand-pulled noodles, Dapan Chicken Dish, Barbecued Lamb, Chinese Sandwich, Cold Noodles.

Seasonal fruits in northwestern China:Yellow River Melon, Hami Melon, watermelon, Kuerle Pear, and grape.

Safety Measures:

1. All around process control and safety check before the start of the trip.

2. Staff with AHA first aid certificate and first aid kit during the whole trip.

3. Detailed rules and reminders for the trip and ensure all the participating parents and children know.

4. Measures for epidemic prevention: we will prepare epidemic prevention materials such as surgery masks, pure alcohols, hand sanitizer, and thermometer. We will have a temperature check before the start of our trip activities.


What's the weather like in summer? Any special measures for the weather?

Located in inland northwest China, Hexi Corridor has a temperate continental climate. During the summertime, it is cool in the morning and evening, and pretty hot during the mid-day (28-30℃). We will adjust our activities based on actual weather conditions with a combination of indoor and outdoor activities. During the whole trip, we will provide purified water and seasonal fruits to ensure our participants do not get dehydrated. We will prepare a detailed trip preparation guide and send it to each participant 2 weeks before the start of the trip to ensure you are fully prepared to adapt to the local environment.

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