Quest to Xanadu – Private Departures Only


  • Arrive at the final point on Marco Polo’s quest from Jerusalem to Xanadu
  • Visit the Gongbaolage Grasslands
  • Watch traditional Mongolian wrestling or horse racing
  • Mingle with ancient ethnic groups

Xanadu – a world that has in many ways has already disappeared.

The final point on Marco Polo’s route in his quest from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to the site of Shangdu (Xanadu) – a fantasy destination for some. Venture north to Inner Mongolia where you will witness rare cultural performances in the spectacular grasslands, dine on traditional local foods before reaching the site of Xanadu – the site of which encompasses the remains of Kublai Khan’s legendary capital city, designed by the Mongol ruler’s Chinese advisor Liu Bingzhdong in 1256. Over a surface area of 25,000 ha, the site was a unique attempt to assimilate the nomadic Mongolian and Han Chinese cultures. From this base, Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty that ruled China over a century, extending its boundaries across Asia. From here, you will visit ancient counties, home to many ethnic minority groups and witness time frozen traditions and ancient farm techniques. A journey for the true history buff who can use their imagination.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 - Beijing -Taipusi Qi -Zhenglan Qi

This morning you will depart from your Beijing hotel and head to Taipusi Qi, 330km to the northwest of Beijing. Taipusi Qi has a picturesque tourism zone known as ‘Taipusi Qi Yumayuan’ which is well known for its mesmerising Baolage Grassland (part of the world famous Xilingol Grassland). Upon arrival at Gongbaolage Grasslands, you will receive a welcoming ceremony – you will be warmly welcomed by the local colourfully dressed Mongolians. They will present each of you with a silver cup of wine and Hada (white or blue silk scarves which are tokens of greetings in Inner Mongolia ).

After lunch, you will watch the traditional Mongolian wrestling (subject to local schedules) and horse racing performances before continuing on to Zhenglan Qi, a famous historical city in Inner Mongolia also known as the Plain Blue Banner. (B,L,D)

Overnight in Mingzhu Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Zhenglanqi - Xanadu - Duolun

After breakfast, you will visit the Shangdu (Xanadu) Museum 5km south of the site of Xanadu. It is a two-story building with four exhibition halls, a video room, antiques room and arts & crafts section. The museum is focused on the Yuan Dynasty culture, Shangdu (Xanadu) as well as Zhenglan Qi as the main body. The museum has a rich collection of valuable antiques from the Yuan Dynasty in addition to the collections from local government and the Inner Mongolia Association of antiques and artefacts.

From here, you will visit the site of the Yuan Dynasty Upper Capital (Shangdu or Xanadu). In 1260, Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the summer capital at Upper Capital, about 20km northeast of Plain Blue Banner (Zhenglan Qi). When the Yuan Dadu Capital was founded at Yanjing (present Beijing City) in the year of 1264, the imperial system of inspection tour between the two capitals was formed. Upper Capital and Dadu (Grand Capital) became two alternate capitals for the Great Yuan Dynasty, spanning the 108-year reign of 11 emperors in succession.

In this period the Yuan empire controlled a vast territory and thrived, becoming a great power and ushering the new era of the Chinese ancient history and the world history of nomadic nations. Marco Polo, his father and uncle arrived in Shangdu (Xanadu), in 1275 when Marco Polo was at the age of 21. Marco Polo met Kublai Khan soon after arriving in Shangdu.

The religious debate that took place here resulted in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism over north-east Asia, a cultural and religious tradition still practised in many areas today. The site was planned according to traditional Chinese feng shui in relation to the nearby mountains and river. It features the remains of the city, including temples, palaces, tombs, nomadic encampments and the Tiefan’gang Canal, along with other waterworks.

Enjoy Jinlianchuan Prairie (part of the world famous Xilingol Grassland) where the Yuan Dynasty Upper Capital was built. There are yellow flowers and many other kinds of unknown flowers all over the mountains and plains. The Jinlianchuan Prairie is the most beautiful grasslands in Inner Mongolia. It is rich in edible and medicinal plants such as the fern, day lily.

From here, you will drive to Duolun County. 34km southeast of Xanadu. Duolun County is an ancient county with ethnic groups composed of Han Chinese, Hui, Uygur, Tibetan. Animal husbandry is its main business including cattle cattle, horse and donkeys. Its farming includes wheat and potatoes. It has some fascinating historical sites and temples which you will have time to explore. (B,L,D)

Overnight in Duolun Hotel or similar

Day 3 - Duolun -Taipusi Qi – Beijing

After breakfast, you will visit Huizong Temple. Huizong Temple was originally built in Duolun by the Kangxi emperor in 1711, and it was staffed by monks from the 120 banners of Mongolia. In the past Duolun (Dolonnor) was also nicknamed ‘Lama miao’, or ‘Lama temple,’ named after the many temples located there. One of the two famous temples is Huizong Temple (Koke Monastery).

You will then visit Shanxi Guild Hall. In the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kangxi, under the request of the dukes in Mongolia, permitted the merchants from inland China to set up business channels here in Duolun and gave preferential policies to the inland merchants who would do business in Duolun. Thus, numerous businessmen from Beijing, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Shandong flooded Duolun which formed a large team of businessmen travelling in Mongolia. Today, its glorious past can be found from the well preserved Shanxi Guild Hall.

Following lunch, you will drive back to Beijing where you will be dropped at your hotel (not included) on arrival. (B,L)

Don’t have time now?

Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!

What’s included

  • Private transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • Services of an English speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • International and domestic flights
  • Beijing accommodation and airport transfers
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
  • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary
    due to security concerns

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.