Are you ready for the most exciting journey in life?If you have decided to explode the adventure of the Silk Road Travel in China, then perhaps you are ready, or maybe not.You can never know what to expect from the next trip.This trip will change your life for sure. Beautiful landscapes and such a diverse and unique culture like are expected on a Silk Road Travel.
They say: Every trip is a new experience.
And so it is.
This trip is entirely different from any tour you’ve ever been to.
Silk Road is about 7000 kilometers long, of which 4000 belong to the territory of China.
Silk Road Travel Guide
A Small History Lessons for the Silk Road Travelers
The history of the Silk Road dates back to the time of the Han Dynasty in China.
The Silk Road is known for trade exchanges in the East and West.
The road was in use from 130 BC to 1453 AD. The “culprits” for closing the traders’ path was the Ottoman Empire, which boycotted trade with China.
The term “Silk Road” was not used until 1877 when the German geographer and historian Ferdinand von Richthofen used it for the first time to describe the routes of merchants.
Before each trip, it is normal to explore more about the place where you go, in this case, the Silk Road, which is not usually a trip, but a journey and experience that will change your life.
Below see the silk road map of how magnificent and long was this journey.
Everything you need to know before going on a Silk Road Travel journey and what to expect during the trip.
1. When to go on a Silk Road Travel
Generally, the best time to travel on the Silk Road is from May to October.
But since the road extends as far as 4000 km across China, there is a big difference in the areas that are being visited.
Some people might choose to take this adventure alone, but if you are not a trip savvy individual i would recommend going on a Silk Road Travel with an experienced Guide.
- Xi’an is the city from which the trip begins, but the journey from here is not likely to be part of the visit.
It features a continental Monsoon climate, with four seasons.
The summer in Xi’an is hot and humid, while winter is dry and rarely there is snowfall.
Spring and Autumn are rainy seasons, which are the months from July to September.
Generally, the weather is enjoyable throughout the year, but still spring and autumn are the most suitable for a visit.
- A semi-arid climate characterizes Dunhuang. The region has four different seasons with a considerable variation of temperatures between summer and winter.
In this region, there are no rains, as a matter of fact, on average, only 39.3 mm of rainfall on average.
The best time to visit Dunhuang is the period from May to October when the weather is humid.
- Urumqi has a semi-dry continental climate. Winters are quite cold, and the days in autumn are warm and pleasant.
The best time to visit Urumqi is from May to October.
2. Do you need multiple Visas for traveling through the Silk Road?
Depending on which part of the Silk Road you are traveling, or which route you will be taking, you will need different permissions due to visiting different countries.
The Silk Road covers almost all the countries in Central and East Asia- China.
If you decide to travel exclusively on the territory of China, then you will only need a visa from that country, which is not easy to get.
Generally, visa applications are submitted to Embassies of these countries, you pay a certain amount of money, depending on the type of visa you want to remove and depending on which country you are applying for a China visa.
Organizing such a great trip like this is not easy and not as simple as in other countries. You must be careful with the data that you have in your documents. You must be careful what you type in the visa application.
Make visa applications from home as a safer option, because if you go on a trip without a visa and expect to get it when you reach the destination, perhaps things will change and you will not get the permit to enter in the country.
For all this to be simpler and easier for you, it is best to leave the organization of the trip along the Silk Road to an agency that has been doing it for a long time.
The tour operator will provide you with a visa on your behalf without having headaches and stress.
3. What to pack for the Silk Road Journey
What’s very important is not to fill the handle or luggage you carry with you so you cannot move. Bring things as much as you can to carry weight with you. You would not want to spoil this fantastic journey along the silk route just because of the heavy load on your back.
Pack the most necessary things that you think would really be of use to you.
What clothes to take with you on this travel.
Due to the difference in weather conditions during the Silk Road journey, you will need different clothes. Some parts of the route are at high altitude, so in those areas the weather can be even colder, and some parts of the road are low and dry.
Light and comfortable shoes are required.
This is valid for any period of the year, even if your trip is planned from May to October
Personal hygiene kit
Bring things such as utensils for oral hygiene, and it’s mandatory for women to use accessories for women’s hygiene. For most of the trip, these things have no place to buy.
Take with you a little medication packing for essential diseases such as diarrhea, painkiller, a drug for cold and fever, probiotic, bandage and antiseptic. You can also take vitamins that you regularly take
Skin protection is a must
Bring sunburn cream and sunburn oil, protect the skin from high radiation in the sun. Do not forget the sunglasses and anti-mosquito spray.
You must take hydrating creams and lip balm with high hydration because no parts of the road are so dry that definitely if you do not protect your skin can damage it.
4. Health Concerns before taking a Silk Road Route
If you suffer from heart or lung disease, if you have problems with the liver or kidneys, if you have hypertension or anemia, we advise you not to go to the Xinjiang region. Аs many parts of this area are at a very high altitude, which can have a significant impact on your illness and in the worst case worsen the current condition.
A few weeks before you go on Silk Road Travel, be sure to visit your doctor or your clinic to conduct general health examinations.
Check if you have all the necessary vaccines because the Xinjiang region is a mainly rural area where there is still a high probability of some diseases.
Medical care in China is generally at a reasonable level, but hospitals in major cities can often be overwhelmed. In smaller towns, medical care varies, but there is some standard.
Health insurance in China is not provided so treatment prices can be quite high.
As far as medical care and hospitals in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are concerned, they are in a deplorable condition. Hospitals are in poor hygiene and are not sure if you will be examined with sterilized medical equipment.
Do not even drink tap water in China. We advise you not even to wash your teeth with tap water. Use bottled water and always keep a sufficient amount of water with you.
5. Safety during The Silk Road Travel
Security is the highest in China. It’s one of the things you do not have to worry about at all during your Silk Road Travel.
But you should always be careful in security because there are exceptions everywhere.
For your safety, keep your money in a safe place near you. It would be best to keep them in the belt for the money that will be under your clothes.
I’m telling you this to be especially careful in the bazaars or the stations where there is a high frequency of people. Keep your eyes open in the bazaars.
Police are somewhat strange in countries such as Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan because they can ask for money for no reason. Do not resist. It will not be in your favor.
In Uzbekistan, for example, have a high coefficient of crime so the streets will notice more police than they usually are accustomed to seeing in your place of residence.
There are those who pretend to be police officers, so be very careful. Keep an eye on your travel documents or ID cards.
6. How many days are enough to travel along the Silk Road?
For you to experience the real “Silk Road” and experience the journey in the right way, I advise you to choose a trip that will last from 7 to 15 days.
Five days are enough to visit two or three destinations, depending on the route of the Silk Road.
If you want to experience the right Silk Road, then choose a journey that will last for two weeks.
My advice is to go as far away as possible because you will not regret anyone passing day in the areas through which the Silk Road passes
Each city, each region tells a story that is unique and worth visiting and experiencing.
Some offers last 7-8 days. If you think that for two weeks you are too much about this experience, then choose at least one of these shorter ones lasts for a week.
7. What to visit while traveling the Silk Road
There are many options for tours offered by tour operators on the Silk Road trip, pick the one that sounds most appealing and exciting to you. But believe in which route to go, you will not make a mistake. Every city that is part of the Silk Road, every province, every temple has its own exceptional and unique beauty.
Many of the places that are part of the Silk Road are protected by the Unesco, which gives them even greater significance and value.
Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
The First Qin Emperor feared what he was waiting for in the afterlife after his death, so he wanted to have as much protection as he had in his present life. That is why he issued an order to build an entire army of soldiers, of which 720,000 men worked.
Thirty-eight years have passed for the construction of the project. Even when the Emperor died, the project was not completed to the end.
Terracotta Army was found on March 29, 1974, when young farmers randomly found part of the site when they dug land for their agricultural needs.
This significant archaeological discovery is one of the largest non-precision in China, but worldwide
When planning a trip to the Silk Road, you should not forget to visit Mogao Grottoes.
Mogao Caves have 492 cells and caves filled with wall paintings and statues representing 1000 years of Buddhist art.
In December 1987, Mogao Grottoes was listed on the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO.
If you have always wanted to see an oasis in the desert as the movies, then you must visit Crescent Lake while on Silk Road Travel.
The lake is located 6 km from Dunhuang in the Gobi Desert.
Although the ezine has been decreasing in the last 40 years and has been reduced by one-third of its size to date, it still attracts the attention and admiration of tourists.
Another unusual destination to visit the Silk Road. Heavenly Lake is located on the Celestial Mountains and with its magnificent lakes and surrounding mountains covered in snow make you feel like you are outside of this world.
If you are adventurers, stay up another day plus to hike on the mountain paths and browse through this unreal natural beauty.
Zhangye Danxia Landform
When nature plays with colors as an artist, we get this picture: Zhangye Danxia Landform
Choose a tour along the Silk Road that will include this natural beauty. You will not regret it.
Such a color mix can be seen only in the rainbow.
These mountains are often called the beautiful landscape in all of China. I will say these are the most unrealistic mountains in the whole worl
This is a city filled with rich past and history, a city that has a market that is older than 2000 years.
In antiquity, there was the largest market and one of the leading trade routes of traders.
Kashgar is located near the border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, strategically situated between Tian Shan Mountains, the Pamir range and The Taklamakan Desert.
Take a tour around the city. Visit the market, and you can buy souvenirs handmade and unique to China and those areas.
If you have the option to visit Kashgar in the route you choose, do not miss it. You will experience a wave of diversity and cultural events enriched with traditional sound and dance.
8. Food during The Silk Road Travel
Due to the length of the Silk Road from China to the east along its territory, you will encounter many different foods and cuisines depending on which part of the road you are in, depending on the province and the city.
Shaanxi cuisine It is rich and often consists of specialties from pork and lamb, but also uses other types of meat and fish. The most common spices used in food are salt, onions, onions, and vinegar.
There is plenty of soups and stews and noodles differently.
What is inevitable to try out in Xi’an is Yang Rou Pao Mo. An interesting portion of stew. The way it’s served is very unusual: you will first need to trim the bread in the bowl and then serve your Mutton Stew.
Liang Pi (cold noodles)- These are pasta made from rice, chopped in long strips. As the name itself says, this dish is served chilled. There are several types of serving, but most commonly those are seasoned with pepper, garlic, vinegar, curry, chopped cucumber, and topping.
Rou Jia Mo- is street food. It can also be found as Rougamo or Roujiamo which means a sandwich with meat. It is usually with pork, but in the areas where there is a Muslim population, it is lamb. Prevalent street food you cannot leave when you are on the Silk Road travel.
Lanzhou dishes are a representative of Gansu cuisine. Preparation of meals in this region is characterized by baking, steam cooking and equalization, and mainly beef, mutton with vegetables and mushroom. There are still specialties made from camel meat, prepared just as they were prepared in the past.
One of those ancient dishes is gelatinous camel’s hoof. It boils for a long time on low heat, to make it easier to separate the meat from the bone.
If it sounds tempting, look for this dish while on the Silk Road
Niang Pizi (Wheat Noodles) is pasta made from wheat. There are two types of Niang Pizi: Shuixi and Gaodan, and both types of noodles are quite popular among both the population in this area and the tourists.
Food in Kashgar
Because of its location, this region has more central Asian cuisine than typical Chinese.
There are many restaurants where you can order meals, but there is also street food that is also very tasty. If you are buying street food avoiding that containing ice. The ice can be made from tap water (which is not for drinking), but it is also stored in large buckets, which most often stand on land that is not very clean and hygienic.
In the summer there is plenty of fruit, especially watermelons and melons, which are like a welcome refreshment in those hot summer days.
Mutton kebabs (Kaoyangrouchuan) are one of the delicious street foods you can find all over Kashgar, and there are other cities in China, but here are the best and most authentic.
The kebabs are stamped on heat and are seasoned with various spices.
If you are fond of good food and meat, I recommend that you try at least one, and I’m sure you will ask for more.
Nan Flat Bread is the primary bread in Xinjiang. Several types of different flavors are also very delicious, but this is the primary bread.
The bread is made so that the dough is glued on the inside of a very heated oven and in just a few minutes the bread is ready. The shape of the bread is usually round with a golden-brown color.
Zhuafan (Uighur Rice), the name of this dish in Chinese translation, means “grabbed rice” because it is eaten with hands.
The rice is boiled in the mutton broth along with carrots, spring onions and a piece of mutton. Meat can be replaced with beef, chicken or duck meat.
9. Silk Road Shopping
On this journey along the Silk Road, besides being richer with yet another experience, you can also buy souvenirs which will be a reminder of everything you will experience on this journey. Whenever you see the souvenirs in your home, they will remind you of an unforgettable journey that rarely and perhaps never will be like. Souvenirs from any trip can wake up much more emotions and feelings than any photo. So keep in mind, whenever you are traveling to buy at least one and even the smallest souvenir, believe it will mean a lot to you after several years.
In any city you will visit on the Silk Road you will find unique souvenirs after China is recognizable.
Since ancient times when merchants traveled along this route, silk was the most popular product that was traded as the most luxurious fabric. And today it has not changed, and still, silk is the most famous fabric, not only in China but also in the world.
Kashgar is a city with the largest market in the entire region. You will find various ceramic products, jewelry, wooden products, all handmade. For the price, you can negotiate with the marketers, but be careful with the money. Be aware that you are a tourist and that prices for tourists and locals are different
When you are in Xinjiang, look for the knives they produce here. It is the most popular souvenir in the area. The knives are handmade made of wood, silver, copper, and horns, and are made in Yengisar. I have to tell you about the transfer of the blade to your permanent place of residence. Inform yourself about how to send it to your home because if you travel by plane, you will not be allowed to carry it with you. Although it is a souvenir, it is still a kind of weapon.
When talking about shopping in Dunhuang, three things must be mentioned as the most popular souvenirs among tourists:
Yangguan Jade Cup – Must Buy! On the one hand, it has a beautiful shape and color, and on the other side, it is beneficial for health if you drink water from it. It is made of high-quality jade from the Qilian Mountains.
Wax Painting – Waxing is the most characteristic of this region. The population in Dunhuang is pretty successful in art. Buy a unique picture made with wax. You will not find a similar artwork anywhere else.
Fruits – Despite all the uniqueness Dunhuang has, however, the smell of fruit will attract you the most attention. Beautiful mild scent notes spread all over the air. Buy dried fruit and immediately notice the difference to the one purchased from a supermarket and fruit purchased from the Dunhuang market.
When you visit Xi’an, what you need to buy is a replica of the terracotta soldiers. Yes, it is one of the popular souvenirs, but here you can find the best sculptures from the Buddha. The population in Xi’an is the best in modeling sculptures.
10. Travel Accommodation
When looking at the route of the Silk Road, it may seem almost impossible for you to spend so many miles in a couple of days, and you are surely getting yourself stuck in what would be the smithy in provinces that are not infrastructural developed.
Do not worry. After the whole journey along the silk route, you will have a comfortable accommodation. You will have a warm service and warm welcome from all hoteliers.
There are hotels for every tourist, from luxury to economy hotels.
In major cities like Xi’an there are luxury hotels, hotels from the famous bred, in the more rural environment you will find small hotels and guest houses that will undoubtedly provide you with excellent hospitality and service.
If you organize your trip yourself, book accommodation from home because it’s easy in the major cities to find a hotel, but in those smaller cities, and especially in those along the borders, it can be a little inconvenient.
Or as I said about the visas: find a travel agency that has already organized accommodation during the trip so your job will be to pack your bags and enjoy your travel and exploring.
The most important advice that I will give you is:
Wherever you go on a trip, never forget that you are a tourist.
The unwritten rule for every tourist is to respect the rules and laws of the destination where he is traveling. Respect the local population and their habits and customs.
Respect the religion of the local population and do not do things that are against their belief.