1. What is Silk Road?
The concept of the "Silk Road" was introduced by the German geographer Richthofen in the 19th century. The Silk Road is one of the most frequent routes of cultural exchange between East and West. It was called the Silk Road because the bulk of trade products traded along this route were silk.
The Silk Road is generally referred to as the Land Silk Road. It originated in the Western Han Dynasty (202-8 BC) and was a land route from Luoyang through Chang'an (now Xi'an), Gansu, and Xinjiang to Central Asia, West Asia, and Europe, and to the Mediterranean countries.
The original Silk Road was an overland trade route opened by Zhang Qian during the Western Han Dynasty, starting from Chang'an and reaching as far as the West Asian countries. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, Ban Chao sent another mission to the West to open the long-abandoned Silk Road and extended the eastern end of the route to Luoyang, the capital of the Eastern Han Dynasty, and the western end to Europe (Rome), which is the current complete Silk Road route.
2. What countries did the Silk Road pass through?
The traditional Silk Road starts from Chang'an (now Xi’an), the ancient capital of China, and reaches the Mediterranean Sea via Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, ending in Rome, with a total length of 6,440 kilometers.
3. What are the cities along China’s Silk Road?
Important cities along the Silk Road in China are Xi'an, Baoji, Xining, Tianshui, Dingxi, Pingliang, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Hami, Urumqi, Shihezi, Yining, Loulan, Turpan, Korla, Kuche, Aksu, Ruoqiang, Qiemo, Hotan, Yecheng and Kashgar.
4. What are the attractions along the Silk Road in China?
The Silk Road in China is more than 4,000 kilometers long, about one-half of the entire Silk Road. The attractions along the route include Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Banpo Village, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Huaqing Hot Spring, Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Labrang Monastery, Bingling Temple, Maiji Mountain, Hexi Corridor, Jiayuguan Pass, White Pagoda Mountain, Qinghai Lake, Ta’er Temple, Sun and Moon Mountain, Daotang River, Berzikli Thousand Buddha Cave, Ruins of Ancient City Loulan, Gaochang Ruins, Jiaohe Ruins, Flaming Mountain, Abakh Khoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque, etc.
5. Why is the Silk Road so important?
The Silk Road connected several civilization circles in the world, including East Asia, Central Asia, India, West Asia, and the Mediterranean, and was of great significance in promoting the process of world civilization and the progress of human society.
First, the caravans on the Silk Road brought rare animals, plants, hides, herbs, spices, and jewelry from the West, and then shipped goods such as silk, tea, and porcelain to the West from China. These goods enriched the daily lives of people in various countries.
Secondly, after the opening of the Silk Road, the cast iron smelting, well-drilling, and other technologies were introduced to the West, promoting economic development. China's four inventions, silk weaving technology, lacquer crafts, etc. also spread to the world through the Silk Road, promoting the process of global civilization.
Third, after the opening of the Silk Road, countries traveled to and from each other, promoting cultural exchanges between China and the West.
Fourth, Buddhism and other religions also came to China along the Silk Road and became the faith of many people. In addition, the Silk Road was also of great significance in promoting the intermingling of peoples and the exchange of art and culture.
6. When is the best time to take a Silk Road tour?
The peak season for Silk Road tourism is from July to October, with August and September being the most popular months. The end of August to the beginning of September is the best time of the year. At that time, the climate is mild and the fruits and vegetables are most ripe. In fact, if you are not very concerned about fruits, or if you are not afraid of the cold, May to June or September to October will be also a good choice to avoid the crowds and have a better quality of travel.
7. How long would it take to visit the Silk Road?
The length of your Silk Road tour depends on the number of cities you choose to visit. If you want an immersive and enriching experience on your China tour, we recommend that you spend at least 6 days (for two or three destinations) to about 2 weeks. Xi'an, Dunhuang, Zhangye, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar are the most recommended classic destinations along the Silk Road. If you have other requirements, we can customize your itinerary. Itineraries can be adjusted according to the number of people, time, budget, interests and other requirements.
8. What should I prepare for China Silk Road tours?
First, you need to bring clothes for all temperatures and comfortable shoes. Even in May and October, the climate along the Silk Road is highly variable.
Next, bring enough skincare products. Lotions or creams to replenish adequate moisture are necessary as you will pass through several Gobi and deserts. And be sure to bring sunscreen to prevent sunburn, as the sun's UV radiation is very strong along the way, especially at high altitudes.
Third, bring your personal items, such as dental floss and feminine hygiene products, as these may not be available along the way.
Fourth, please bring your usual medical supplies, such as cold medicine and band-aids, as these may not be available along the way.
Fifth, please take care of your personal documents, wallet, and cell phone.
Finally, don't bring too much luggage that you can't carry with you when you travel. It is best to travel light, but you should also be well prepared.
9. Someone told me that there is a time difference between Beijing and Xinjiang. Is this true?
The time difference between Xinjiang time and Beijing time is exactly 2 hours.
Although China uses Beijing time uniformly, Beijing and Xinjiang are located in different time zones. Beijing is in the eighth eastern zone and Xinjiang is in the sixth eastern zone, so the time difference between Beijing and Xinjiang is 2 hours (for example, 17:00 in Beijing and 15:00 in Xinjiang).
10. What are the dos and don'ts for the Silk Road tour?
There are many minority gathering areas along the Silk Road in China. Xinjiang, for example, is a multi-ethnic region where they practice Islam. All travelers should respect each other's beliefs. For example, people should not eat pork, dog meat, or donkey meat in Muslim restaurants, or even talk about them. Secondly, you must dress neatly and not wear short skirts or shorts when entering or leaving a mosque. In southern Xinjiang, some mosques forbid women to enter. There is other information that your tour guide will explain to you during the tour.
11. What is the tasty food recommended along the Silk Road?
For the merchants who traveled along the Silk Road, and for the people who lived in the towns next to it, the trade changed their daily lives in one way. That way was food. Amidst the sound of the camel bells of the incoming and outgoing caravans, there were some food traditions that were thus preserved.
In fact, today, many of the food habits on this road have gradually converged during the long exchange, such as the common love of cooked wheaten food as well as beef and mutton. From Xi'an to Kashgar, you will see them everywhere. The only slight differences are in specific practices and flavors.
But each city still has its own special cuisine. A wide variety of foods are available along the way. Rougamo (Chinese burgers) and Rice and Jujube Cake from Xi'an, halal beef noodles from Lanzhou, roast meat from Xinjiang, naan (Uyghur pancakes), yogurt, milk tea and local raisins, cashews, walnuts and various fruits are worth your taste.
12. What is the accommodation condition on the Silk Road?
The Silk Road has become a very popular tourist route. There are more and more high-quality hotels here, but still not as many as in the big cities. To ensure a comfortable hotel experience, we recommend booking a four-star or five-star hotel. They can provide Western breakfast and simple English communication. In remote cities, such as Kashgar and Turpan, the star hotels here may not have the same level of service as the star hotels in the big cities. To provide you with a comfortable accommodation experience, we will help you arrange the best hotels.
If you book hotels on your own, please check if the hotel is qualified to receive foreigners and choose an area that is easy to travel to:
In Xi'an, you could choose a hotel close to the City Wall or the Bell Tower. Here is a good place to eat and get around. And the area near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda will be quieter.
In Zhangye, it is recommended to stay near Zhangye Danxia Landform Park. The yurts at Kaoshan Camp are also popular with tourists.
In Dunhuang, you can stay near Mingsha Mountain or in the city center.
In Turpan, it is recommended to stay in the city center.
In Urumqi, it is recommended to stay in the city center, such as near People's Park and Hongshan Park.
In Kashgar, the best accommodation is in the city center.
13. How about transportation on the Silk Road?
Since ancient times, transportation along the Silk Road had been very difficult. To overcome the difficulties, desert caravans relied on camels as pack animals because camels can carry heavier cargo and require less water than any other animal. Today, the Silk Road is quite developed and has become much more convenient. Airplanes and high-speed trains are the regular means of transport to get to major tourist cities on the Silk Road, while automobiles are the best option for visiting cities and getting to major attractions.
Taking a plane is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel to the major cities along the Silk Road. Xi'an and Urumqi have international airports. Apart from international airlines, there are also domestic flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha and other cities in China.
Traveling by train is the most popular way to travel along the Silk Road. If an overnight stay is required, we strongly recommend that you take a hard or soft sleeper train rather than a hard seat. For short trips, we recommend that you take a bullet train or high-speed train. For longer train rides, please bring enough food and drinks in case you are not used to eating the food onboard.
Traveling by car is the cheapest way of travel on the Silk Road and the slowest. For example, it takes three days to drive from Urumqi to Kashgar if you want to spend the night in Korla and Aksu. Traveling along the Silk Road by car is more suitable for travelers who like adventure and are physically fit. It offers breathtaking views of Mount Tianshan and glimpses of the oasis towns on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Away from the cities, traveling by car may be the only way to get there.