The Buddha Path

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13 Days
Summer, Fall
Beijing
Dunhuang

Set out on a pilgrimage through five provinces as you piece together the history of Buddhism in the Middle Kingdom. You’ll marvel at cave art in far-flung desert grottoes, defy gravity in the “Hanging Monastery,” and find inspiration amid the “ten-thousand Buddhas” of sacred temples.

About this Journey

Take the road less traveled on this exploration of China’s Buddhist history. Specially designed for those of you interested in understanding Buddhism’s influence on Chinese life and culture, this adventure will see you traveling through five provinces as you witness wonders constructed as a result of Buddhist belief. The Hanging Monastery, which has been clinging to a sheer cliff face since the 5th century in apparent defiance of gravity, is just one example of how Buddhist devotion has manifested itself in the most unexpected places in China. Go off the beaten path on this pilgrimage-like journey.

What we love
  • Being dazzled by the 10,000 gleaming Buddha statues in one of China's oldest Buddhist temples
  • Marveling at the creative genius behind the breathtaking Hanging Monastery, which has been clinging to a sheer cliff face for 1,400 years
  • Experiencing Marco Polo's "rumbling sands," the vast expanse that is the Mingsha Sand Dunes along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road
Where you're going
The Buddhist Path on map
Itinerary

Day 1 - 2Beijing

Begin your Beijing adventure in style as WildChina arranges private access to the concept store and gallery of Ma Ke’s fashion house, Wuyong. • Explore the imposing Forbidden City, where emperors ruled for 500 years • Hike up jingshan and take in a commanding view over the Forbidden City • Weave your way through Beijing’s ancient, interwoven hutong alleys • Uncover a treasure trove of Qing Dynasty curios in the Temple Hotel • Peking duck dinner • Enjoy a champagne picnic on the majestic Great Wall, built to protect China’s heartland from invaders

Day 4Datong

Stand before the awe-inspiring Yungang Grottoes, a classical masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist art constructed during Buddhism’s peak in the 5th to 6th century • Admire the wondrous Hanging Monastery, an ancient, surreal structure of pavilions clinging to a sheer cliff

Day 5Wutaishan

Visit Xiantong Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China with a dazzling Bronze Hall with ten thousand gleaming Buddha statues • Explore the wealth of monasteries on Mount Wutai, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains

Day 6 - 7Pingyao

Visit the Chang Residence, former house of a distinguished merchant-scholar family • Enjoy a walk on Pingyao’s turtle-shaped ancient city wall and take in a commanding view of the old town • Explore what used to be China’s “Wall Street” by strolling through Pingyao’s narrow streets • Head to the old merchant town of Jingsheng and visit the Wang Residence, a sprawling complex featuring Qing Dynasty architecture • Walk through the sutra chanting halls of Shuanglin Temple for a closer look at the countless bodhisattva figurines which grace the temple

Day 8 - 9Xi'an

View the proudly unflinching, life-sized Terracotta Warriors • Learn about Xi’an’s 1,300 year old Muslim community by visiting the Great Mosque • Practice the calming art of taichi in a private lesson on Xi’an’s ancient city wall • Visit the grand Taoist Temple of the Eight Immortals • Wander through the exhibition halls of the “Treasure Chest of Ancient China,” the Shaanxi History Museum • Admire the towering seventh-century Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built to hold sacred Buddhist texts and artifacts brought back from India

Day 10Luoyang

Spend a day at the awe-inspiring Longmen Grottoes, where Buddhas hewn in stone tower above you • Optional: Learn about the history of Shaolin kung fu (re-popularized in the 2001 movie Shaolin Soccer) at Shaolin Temple

Day 11 - 13Dunhuang

Set out for the Mingsha Sand Dunes, which Marco Polo dubbed “the rumbling sands” for the sound they make when the wind blows • Travel to Crescent Moon Lake, an oasis situated in the notoriously inhospitable Taklamakan Desert • Explore the Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, an ancient treasure trove filled with numerous manuscripts, frescoes, paintings, and sculptures (Optional special access with WildChina Expert) • Learn about Dunhuang’s rich past by visiting Dunhuang Museum, home to thousands of ancient artifacts

Hotels

Park Plaza Beijing

4 star

Centrally located just steps away from the famous Wangfujing shopping district, Park Plaza is an oasis in the heart of bustling Beijing.

Garden Hotel Datong

3 star

The Garden is located near the Drum Tower in downtown Datong and is the best hotel in the city. Beds can be firm, but guestrooms are modern and well-kept.

Hilton Xian

4 star

Conveniently located in downtown Xi’an, the Hilton has spacious rooms and combines contemporary design with traditional Tang Dynasty artwork.

Silk Road Hotel Dunhuang

4 star

Boasting unbeatable views of rolling sand dunes and a traditional design, this hotel brings out the character and history of the ancient Silk Road.

Details

Recommended seasons

Summer

Fall

What’s Included

  • All overland transfers with private chauffeur and in-transport refreshments
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water
  • Ground transportation, including airport transfers
  • Services of an English-speaking WildChina guide
  • Private chauffeur service to and from airport at start and end of your trip

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers

Hotels

We would be delighted to recommend our favorite hotels for this journey. Please just fill up the form on the right of this page or email us via info@wildchina.com. One of our experienced travel designers will get back to you within 24 hours.

Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in Beijing and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans hand make shoes in Yunnan, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm in Fujian, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.

1 Review
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Sheryl M

Group Traveller

We had the most wonderful experience with WildChina! First, working with WildChina to plan our trip was a pleasure. They listened to where we wanted to go and the type of experiences we wanted to have, and then formulated a trip tailored to exactly what we had envisioned… I cannot say enough about our local guides and could not begin to choose which one we liked the best, because they were all fantastic. Each guide was very knowledgeable, fluent in English, and very helpful if we had a specific thing we were looking for or wanted to do in their city. The guides were amazing, the hotels were great, and, in short, our trip was perfect from start to finish, mainly because WildChina took care of all the details, large and small… If you are looking for a tour company for an amazing trip to China, I highly recommend WildChina. Cannot think of a single negative aspect of our trip. Thank you, WildChina, for orchestrating our amazing trip to China.

October 18, 2019