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23 Day China Silk Road and Russia Waterways Tour 2019 (Tour code: RCT)

Day 01: Sydney/Melbourne – Guangzhou  

Both Sydney and Melbourne passengers depart in the morning to Guangzhou, China on China Southern Airlines and arrive in the evening. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to hotel. Stay overnight in Guangzhou.

Day 02: Guangzhou – Urumqi (B.D)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to airport for flight to Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang province in China to start your China Silk Road tour. Both Sydney and Melbourne passengers will arrive in Urumqi in the afternoon. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to hotel. The rest of the day is for you to explore this city on your own.

Day 03: Urumqi (B.L.D)

A coach drive will take you to the Heavenly Lake located half way to the top of the Bogda Peak. The deep-blue Heavenly Lake of Tianshan is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and covered with evergreen fir trees, which is a fascinating and wonderful sight one can have never seen elsewhere. A highlight today is a visit to local Kazakh family. You will be the guest in a Yurt sitting down having a chat with the warm-hearted Kazakh people, experiencing the authentic local life. Return to Urumqi. Stay overnight in Urumqi.

Day 04: Urumqi – Dunhuang (B.L.D)                

After breakfast, you are transferred to the train station for a train to Dunhuang, a famous passage on Silk Road. Dunhuang is considered by some to be the most wonderful section of the Silk Road tour. Well-known places here are the Mogao Grottoes, Sounding-sand Hill and the Crescent Spring. After arrival, proceed to Singing Sand Dunes, which is also called “Holy Hill”. The Hill is made up of colourful sand that looks like particles of grain. Sliding down on the sand from the top of the mountain makes a pleasant sound. At the beginning, it sounds like music from a stringed instrument and bamboo flute. The further down the person slides, the louder the sound is. Eventually the sound is like the performance of percussion section and drum. The friction between human body and the sand even makes a visible spark. When arriving at the bottom of Singing Sand Dunes, take a camel ride to climb up to the hill (at your own expense). You can slide down the sandy slopes. Another highlight of today’s tour is to visit the Crescent Spring, which is also called Sand Spring. The local people now also call it the “Medicine Spring”. The spring gets its name because it looks like a crescent.

Day 05: Dunhuang (B.L.D)

In the morning, you will visit Yangguan Pass of the Great Wall. For years and years, the flowing dunes have eroded this pass into a broken beacon tower, standing alone in the boundless desert. Today's Yangguan Pass is not only a historic place of recalling the remote past, but also a hometown of tasty grapes. Come here, appreciate the beauty of vicissitudes of the Great Wall, enjoy the natural view combined by oasis, desert and snow peaks, and taste the juicy fruits. Stay overnight in Dunhuang.

Day 06: Dunhuang – Turpan (B.L.D) 

Today you will visit the Mogao Grottoes, one of the eight wonders of the world. On the way to Dunhuang, you will view the ruined portion of the Great Wall, which is traced back to Han Dynasty and the Beacon Tower on the Wall for relaying information of the warfare in the ancient time. Dunhuang Grottoes display a very colourful and descriptive world in the paintings of: Buddha, illustrations of Buddhist scriptures, the stories of ghosts on the earth, stories explaining the tenets of Buddhism, the development of Buddhist history, sacrificial ceremonies, and some paintings apparently just for decoration. There are seven different categories of paintings in these Grottoes. Many foreign visitors draw a conclusion that “it is certain that you will understand the ancient civilization of the whole world after you have seen Dunhuang Grottoes”.

After that, you are transferred to train station to take a bullet train to Turpan, the Ancient city of Jiaohe, a famous historical city. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to hotel. Dinner will be packed and eat on the train. Stay overnight in Turpan.

Day 07: Turpan (B.L.D)

Turpan boasts China’s four most: highest temperature, lowest spot, sweetest grapes, and least rainfall. 

All of these make it possible for many miracles to happen in this area. You will visit the Flaming Mountains, which is 100 kilometres long from east to west, and 10 kilometres wide with an average height of 500 metres. The mountain of red sand stone is covered with visible signs of water erosion, and is devoid of any plant life. It is easy to recognize these mountains as they glow under the blazing sun. A special visit to the Grape Valley nestling on the western slopes of the Flaming Mountains will be arranged, where you will have a chance to call on a local family to experience the ethnic life style, while tasting the beautiful flavours of the Xinjiang fruits and enjoying the local minority songs and dances.

Day 08: Turpan – Urumqi (B.L.D)

You will start with the Ancient Ruins of Jiaohe City, traced back to the later period of Western Han Dynasty. The city was completely abandoned in the Yuan Dynasty and the city of Jiaohe was left to ruin. Continue to visit the ingenious Karez underground irrigation system that created an oasis in the extraordinarily arid area of Turpan. This system covers 5,000 kilometres in length and it is one of the three greatest projects in ancient China as famous as the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.  Drive back to Urumqi and visit the Erdaoqiao International Grand Bazaar the second biggest bazaar in the World. It is a magnificent commercial architectural complex embodied with a strong flavour of Islam. The Bazaar furnishes different kinds of goods made in Xinjiang as well as other neighbouring countries, and offers all the ethnic food and handmade souvenirs you would anticipate. You can practise your negotiation with venders there. Then transfer to hotel in Urumqi. Enjoy a local banquet with Xinjiang specialty in the evening. You will have free time in Urumqi for shopping or further exploration.

Day 09: Urumqi – Moscow (B.L)

In the morning, you are free at leisure until 13:00. Have a lunch at local restaurant. Then you will visit Xinjiang Museum. Afterwards, you are transferred to airport for your flight to Moscow to start your Russia Waterways tour. You will arrive in Moscow in the evening. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to wharf to embark on the cruise ship for your Russia Waterways tour.

Day 10: Moscow (B.L.D)

Moscow is Russia's largest city; it's political and economic capital. Through bribes, diplomacy and coercion, Moscow overcame its two rival principalities to become Russia's first city. Moscow's role was briefly challenged when Tsar Peter the Great moved the capital to his new city Saint Petersburg, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Today is dedicated to exploring Red Square, Leningradskaya and Tverskaya streets, Novodevichiy Convent (exterior), Lubyanka Building, former headquarters of the KGB (exterior), GUM and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (exterior). This afternoon is very special, as we will go inside the Kremlin - the ancient castle built to withstand the Mongol hordes. Throughout history, the Kremlin has been the centre of political power in Russia and it remains a symbolic political centre even today. It is the official site of the inauguration ceremony of the Russian President. The Kremlin is a living museum of Russia's history. This historical treasure has been so well preserved that it seems that you are travelling back in time. You will see the most interesting places in the Kremlin as you follow our professional guide in the steps of some of the world's greatest leaders and its most terrible dictators.  You may also like to take part in the optional excursions like National Folk show ‘Kostroma’, circus show or Moscow by night & Metro.
Accommodation:  On board

Day 11: Moscow (B.L.D)

You will have a leisure morning today! There are several options for you to explore more of Moscow, places including Sergiev Posad, Tretyakov Gallery, and New Maidens’ Convent, River Small Boats tour or City Centre tour. Lunch is served after excursions and you will be sailed to Uglich, a small town located on the Volga River. Dinner is served after welcome cocktail party. Enjoy the on board concert tonight.
Accommodation:  On board

Day 12: Uglich (B.L.D)

Uglich is most famous for the tragic events that took place in 1591, when the 10-year-old Prince Dimitry, the last heir to the throne of the ancient Ruyrik Dynasty, was killed here. Historians now agree that he was killed by Boris Godunov, adviser to Dimitry, who wanted the throne to himself. Dimitry's death plunged Russia into decades of political turmoil known as the Time of Trouble. You will discover the town on a walking tour with a visit to the Kremlin, Transfiguration Cathedral, and the church of Saint Dimitry on the Blood. Enjoy the folk music concert tonight.
Accommodation:  On board

Day 13: Yaroslavl (B.L.D)

By today's standards Yaroslavl is small, but its place in Russia's history and culture cannot be underestimated. Before it was annihilated by the Mongols it was Russia's largest city, its economic, political, cultural and scientific centre. Yaroslavl was rebuilt shortly after but was once again burnt to the ground. While the Mongols had been preoccupied with Yaroslavl, Moscow was able to harness enough power to overthrow the 'Mongol yoke.' You will explore this town on the Volga River by bus with stops in Church of St Nikolas the Wonder-worker, Yaroslavl Art Museum, and Church of Elijah the Prophet. You will also have free time to explore the local market.
Accommodation: On board

Day 14: Goritsy (B.L.D)

Goritzy is famous for the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (1937). This monastery's strong walls and bastions were used by some nobles as a safe house during the Time of Trouble. The Polish Armies stormed it, but never succeeded capturing it. Unfortunately, the monastery was not successful in repelling the attacks of other invaders four centuries later. The Bolsheviks closed the monastery in the early 20th century and sent its monks to the prison camps. On your walking tour around the small town you will go inside the local Monastery of Saint Cyril on the White Lake, an exceptional Museum of icons. You may be interested in the optional tour ‘Vodka & blini tasting party’.
Accommodation:  On board

Day 15: Kizhi (B.L.D)

Kizhi is the name of a unique island located on Lake Onega. In the centre of the island stands the amazing Transfiguration Church. This wooden church and its 22 domes are said to be built without a single nail. In fact, originally, the Transfiguration Church was located in another place. The Bolsheviks, who had little, if no, respect for religion, had some respect for its architectural value. So they decided to move this unique church as far from the major cities and people as possible, to distant Kizhi Island. You will devote this day on the island to the open-air museum of wooden architecture. Whilst cruising on board the ship, you will experience live music concerts, a Russian language course, Russian song lessons, and the Captain's bridge tour.  Enjoy evening show tonight.
Accommodation:  On board

Day 16: Mandrogui (B.L.D)

Mandrogui is the name of a small village that has no architectural wonders, giant castles or churches. You will however discover the unique style and architecture of the northern tribes that have occupied these lands for centuries. Here among the beautiful landscapes of this peaceful place we will have a picnic ashore with a Russian famous shashlik (meat kebab) made on the grill. You will have free time to stroll around the town and buy some souvenirs, before returning to the ship.  Optional visit to the traditional Russian village if you would love to know more about the typical wooden houses, numerous crafts exhibitions, Russia pancake houses, Museum of Vodka (fee-paying entrance). Enjoy talent show tonight.
Accommodation:  On board

Days 17 – 18: St Petersburg (B.L.D)

St Petersburg is Russia's cultural and historical treasure, one of the world's most beautiful cities. It is known as Venice of the north, thanks to its numerous canals and hundreds of bridges. It can rightly be called a living museum - so many of its buildings are a part of Russia's history. These two days there will be a bus city tour to Smolny Convent, Tavrichesky Palace, Summer Garden, Palace Embankment, Winter Palace, St Petersburg Stock Exchange and Nevsky Prospect. There is a walking tour of St Peter and Paul's Fortress. Also included is a visit to the Winter Palace, which is home to the Hermitage Museum - the largest collection of Russian art in the world. The Hermitage originally started as the private art collection of Catherine the Great. The art works are displayed in numerous halls, many of which are works of art in themselves.

Accommodation: On board

Day 19: St Petersburg (B.L.D) 

Today you are free to explore St Petersburg by yourself. Take the Peterhof (lower park only) walking tour to the Grand Cascade with Samson Fountain, Greenhouse, Roman Fountains, Chessboard Hill Cascade, trick fountains, Monplaisir Palace. You may take part in the optional Rivers & Canals tour in the afternoon.

Accommodation:  On board

Day 20: St Petersburg – Urumqi – Guangzhou  (B)

You are at leisure until disembarking the cruise and then transfer to airport to take your flight to Urumqi to connect your flight to Guangzhou. Fly overnight.

Day 21: Guangzhou (D)

You arrive in Guangzhou in the afternoon. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to hotel, and the rest of the day is free at leisure.

Day 22: Guangzhou – Sydney/Melbourne (B.D)

After breakfast, check out of hotel and start an orientation city tour including Chen Clan Temple, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street for some last minute shopping. Afterwards you are transferred to restaurant for an early dinner before transfer to airport for your flight homeward to Australia. Fly overnight. 

Day 23: Sydney/Melbourne

Arrive in Sydney or Melbourne in the morning. Your unforgettable China Silk Road and Russia Waterways tour ends.


Tour price: *$7,280, now $6,480 per person for May departure, $6,680 for August departure, twin or double share for hotels and twin share for cabin.

Single supplement: $1,580

Departure Date: 20/05/2019; 12/08/2019

Note: The departure date is subject to the date of cruise.


Tour price includes:

1. China Southern Airlines economy class ticket: Sydney or Melbourne – Guangzhou – Urumqi – Moscow//St Petersburg – Urumqi – Guangzhou – Sydney or Melbourne;

2. Airport tax and fuel surcharge (currently $780, subject to change). 

3. All accommodation, mainly 4 stars in China;

4. All the sightseeing tours with entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary; 

5. A 12 Day river cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg including all port taxes in a twin shared cabin on the Middle Deck of Motorship «MS. Konstantin Fedin»; 

6. All transfer and transport; 

7. Many meals as mentioned in the itinerary; 

8. Bullet train tickets in China for Urumqi – Dunhuang – Turpan;

9. Russia visa support letter.


Tour price excludes:

1. Travel insurance.

2. Russia visa fee (currently $165, subject to change) and China visa (double entry, currently $150.00, subject to change).

3. Tips to guides and drivers ($6 per person per day in China and 10EUR per person per day in Russia).

4. Personal expenses.

5. Any services or meals not mentioned in the itinerary. 


Motorship «Konstantin Fedin» is a comfortable four-deck vessel (type 301). Built in Germany in 1980 and refurbished in 2018. The motorship is equipped with modern navigational facilities and exceeds the speed of 26 km per hour (around 17 MpH).

• Length –125 m

• Width – 16,7 m

• Draught – 2,7 m

• Passenger capacity – 212 pax

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