"I'm paid to be lucky and that means making your own luck - getting yourself in the right position, in front of the right subject at the right time, and in the right light."

MIKE YAMASHITA

EXPLORE

Travel through one of the worlds’ most famous trade routes, together with Mike Yamashita, award winning and National Geographic photojournalist for over 30 years.

The Silk Road transverses more than 20 cities from central to western China. Every place booming with fascinating and lively culture as well as unforgettable natural landscapes.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Terracotta Army, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Big Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in China.
  • Photograph the Zhangye Rainbow Mountain and the Jiayuguan Fortress at sunset and sunrise.
  • Mingsha Sand Dunes.
  • The Crescent Moon Lake.
  • Photograph the Sunday morning livestock bazaar, at Kashgar.
  • The Id Kah Mosque, the largest in mosque in China.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

Learn about how to approach the unique challenges of travel and landscape photography, how to capture candid moments and portraits and how to capture spaciousness, dynamic energy and the simplicity of natural landscape photography.

ON LOCATION

  • Teaching and training in the best techniques with personal hints and advices.
  • Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground, middleground and background.
  • Work in different lighting and with short/long exposure times and aperture.
  • How to handle equipment with care on location.
  • Private hands-on lessons that can help to take your photography skills to the next level.

IN CLASSROOM

  • Expert review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day.
  • Workflow in Photoshop and/or Lightroom, and printing.
  • Portfolio Review.
  • A Better Moments Certified Photo Instructor is available during the entire workshop to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, guide and help in general.

 


ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN XIAN

Arrival in Xian, meet hotel lobby at 4 pm for orientation meeting and have welcome dinner. We are staying at Sheraton Xi’an North City Hotel.

Day 2: XIAN

Early this morning, we visit and photograph the Terracotta Army, created to guard the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor to unite China. One of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all times, the Terracotta Army is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We leisurely admire this vast array of soldiers.
We have lunch in the Muslim quarter if time permits, where we find a way of life that derives as much from the ancient cultures of Central Asia as it does from China. For over 1,300 years, Muslims have been an integral part of the colorful daily life of Xi’an. We visit the Great Mosque if time permits.
In late afternoon, we have a quick look at the Big Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in China, provides an opportunity to reflect on how the location of Xi’an at the eastern end of the Silk Road made it a flourishing center of Buddhist development in ancient China.
We stay at Sheraton Xi’an North City Hotel.

Day 3: XIAN TO ZHANGYE

We fly to Zhangye by GS7679 (0740/0940). Visit and photograph the Zhangye Rainbow Mountain at sunset.
We will stay at the local Zhangye Juxian Hotel.

Day 4: ZHANGYE TO JIAYUGUAN

After sunrise photograph at Zhangye Rainbow Mountain, we drive directly to photograph Jiayuguan Fortress with sunset from outside the right spot, which is at the west terminal of the Great Wall of China.
We stay at the Jiayuguan 4 star Hotel.

Day 5: JIAYUGUAN TO DUNGUANG

Early morning, we photograph the Jiayuguan Fortress with sunrise from outside. After breakfast and check out, we visit Jiayuguan Fortress. Afterwards, we drive 5 hours to Dunhuang. We photograph the Mingsha Sand Dunes at sunset.
Dunhuang, known as the City of the Sands, it is a former terminal of the ancient Silk Road, perched on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. The Taklamakan Desert is one of the world’s largest deserts with an area of 272,000 square kilometer. The city holds the richest treasure troves of ancient Buddhist murals and statues.
We will stay at the Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel.

Day 6: DUNGUANG ON TRAINT TO TURPAN

After breakfast, we visit the Mingsha Sand Dunes, which Marco Polo referred to as the “rumbling sands”. Then visit the Crescent Moon Lake, where the oasis meets the desert. Climbing to the top of the dunes, we take in a spectacular view of a green oasis surrounded by an endless desert landscape. The sands don’t smother the lake because of a certain earth movement that creates winds that blow the sand away from the spring.
In the afternoon, we drive 25 km to photograph the Mogao Grottos, which mark the height of Buddhist artistic development in China. The Grottos were created over nine dynasties, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, and contain 492 caves, each housing murals (45,000), Buddhist paintings and terra-cotta statues (2,000). These grottos are carved into a 1600-meter high cliff.
If time permits, at sunset, we take donkey cart to visit and photograph Yangguan Pass, then visit the Yangguan Museum.
Drive 135 KM to take an overnight train in soft sleeper tickets (four berths in one compartment) to Turpan by train No. Z138 (00:48/09:07).

Day 7: URUMQI TO KASHGAR

Arrival in Urumqi Train Station, we will have breakfast and drive to Urumqi Airport for our flight to Kashgar by 3U8525 (1240/1440). If time permits, we walk around the local bazaar. If you’re up for a bit of a culinary adventure, you can sample some of the traditional specialties such as laghman, a kind of noodle, poluo, a tasty fried rice pilaf, or even goat’s head soup! Of course, the most popular food, lamb kebab seasoned with Xinjiang spices, is everywhere. In the late afternoon, we arrive at Kashgar.
We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar.

Day 8: KASHGAR

Kashgar is the largest oasis city in Chinese Central Asia. We photograph the Sunday morning livestock bazaar, a massive gathering of farmers and merchants from across the area. This colorful and lively market provides a great opportunity to pick up some of the Silk Road’s most interesting souvenirs, from hand made leather boots, to traditional musical instruments, to bags of fresh spices.
In the afternoon, we photograph the old town and another bazaar. Afterwards, we visit the Abakh Hoja Tomb, commonly known among the Chinese as the Tomb of Xiangfei, is the most magnificent tomb in Kashgar, filled with history and symbolism. Here, our local guide will introduce the history of relationship development between Xinjiang and Qing Dynasty.
We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar.

Day 9: KASHGAR TO KALAKULI LAKE

Kashgar is also the heart of Islam within China, and thus we pay a visit to the Id Kah Mosque, the largest in mosque in China. This beautifully decorated mosque more closely resembles a mosque in Pakistan or Afghanistan than China, and will attract up to 10,000 worshippers for Friday prayers.
Afterwards, we drive 3 hours (200 km) to Kalakuli Lake (3600 meters above sea level), photograph the snow mountains and Kyrgyz people en route.
Overnight by Kalakuli Lake.

Day 10: KALAKULI LAKE TO TAXORGAN

After sunrise photograph the lake and mountain, we then drive 3 hours to Taxkorgan (or tashikuergan). Photograph local school and markets, etc.
Overnight in Taxkorgan.

Day 11: TAXKORGAN

We photograph the Tajik people and drive to the border with Pakistan.
Overnight in Taxkorgan.

Day 12: KASHGAR

Today, we drive back to Kashgar, photograph en route.
We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar.

Day 13: KASHGAR

Today is our last photo session in Kashgar. We have a photo review in late afternoon and farewell dinner.
We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar.

Day 14: KASHGAR TO URUMQI TO BEIJING

Today, we fly from Kashgar to Urumqi by CZ6885 (1105/1250), Trip Ends at Urumqi Airport.

The above itinerary may flexible in terms of local conditions, specific situation and interests at that time, or unforeseen reason.

map-SILKROAD-485x485

CHINA

THE SILK ROAD – A HISTORICAL LEGACY

October 8-21, 2017

14 days

MIKE YAMASHITA

Photographer Michael Yamashita has been shooting for the National Geographic magazine for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of photography and travel. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Asian studies, he spent seven years in Asia, which became his photographic area of specialty. Upon returning to the US, Yamashita began shooting for the National Geographic as well as other American and international magazines and clients.

TRAVEL WITH THE BEST

 

SEE ALL EXPERTS

OVERVIEW

Number of guests: 8-12

Local transport: Train, private vehicle
Exertion level: Easy
Accommodation: Hotels and overnight train 
Meals: All meals included
Type of photography: Travel & Landscape
Weather: average temperature 15 °C

PRICE

€8,200 per person in double room.
€8,700 per person in single room.

Groups
If you sign-up a group of 4+ participants you will receive a discount based on the size of your group.

Includes:
Hotel accommodation and all meals.
Water and ground transport.
Coaching, teaching, workshops and seminars with Mike Yamashita.

Excludes:
Transportation to Xian and from Urumqi Aiport, Travel insurance, alcoholic beverages.

QUICK GUIDE

GETTING THERE

Good international connections to Xianyang International Airport, approximately one hour from the city centre.


VISA

All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay, and all visitors will need a visa.
Read more about Chinese vis at http://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa.htm
If you’re still not sure what you need to do, let us know.


WEATHER

It’s very cool and dry, with big temperature differences between day and night. It still feels like summer in the afternoon during a sunny day, but may cool down to 3-4 C (37-39 F) quickly after a few days’ rain.

“The short but beautiful autumn (from mid-September to the end of October) is all time travel favorite. Autumn in this city enjoys mild temperature and plenty of sunshine. Long-sleeved shirts and thin coats are adequate for autumn.” – from www.travelchinaguide.com

The rough weather in October 2015 was as follows:

 

Xian: 12 – 21 celsius degrees

Zhangye: 4 – 23 celsius degrees

Jiayuguan: 3 – 18 celsius degrees

Dunhuang: -1 – 15 celsius degrees

Turpan: 8 – 26 celsius degrees

Kashgar: 3 – 20 celsius degrees

Taxkorgan: -6 – 13 celsius degrees

 


LANGUAGE

Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) based on Beijing dialect, plus local dialects

Many can also communicate in english.


CURRENCY

Yuan, Renminbi.