The Silk Road
Take an amazing journey through ancient China, taking in historic sites such as Xi’an and Beijing and traversing mountains, plains and the Gobi Desert, this is a great trip through one of the world’s most inspiring regions gaining in insight to different cultures. There are many variations on travels through this area including in Mongolia, please get in touch to find out which tour, trek or method of transport will best meet your needs.
Historically, the Silk Road or Silk Route was a network of trading routes across the Afro – Eurasian landmasses which connected the European and Mediterranean world with Asia, the Far East and Africa, through Arabia and Persia to India and China. China traded tea, spices, porcelain and silks and India traded in textiles, precious stones, ivory and pepper. The Roman Empire exported in the other direction gold, silver, wine, carpets, glassware and jewels. There were land and sea routes, extending from the Red Sea to East Africa, China, India and South East Asia, but here we look at the inland route which takes you still to this day, from Eastern Europe through Pakistan and maybe the Kharakouram Highway into the high Tibetan plateaus and the Gobi Desert, through ancient Chinese settlements and Mongolia to the far east.
This suggested trip is a 20 day small group tour which includes overnighting in a nomadic yurt, watching deals being struck in the amazing Sunday market at Kashgar and visiting Xi’an’s terracotta army. Crossing mountains, traversing vast plains, skirting great deserts such as the Gobi and visiting fabled cities, as you travel you will gain an insight into the various cultures and landscapes of one of the world’s most inspiring regions. Group size will be between 5 and 16 plus leader and staff and will involve some long train journeys and rough roads. There are 4 nights on sleeper trains, 13 nights in hotels and 1 night in a yurt.
Basic itinerary Arriving in Beijing, enjoy traditional food the your first outing is a day sightseeing at the Great Wall of China - explore Beijing including the Forbidden City, Hutongs and Tiananmen Square – Sleeper train to Xi-an where you have plenty of time to visit the markets, mosques and the Terracotta Warriors – another train trip onwards to Jiayuguan – Sightseeing in this former Ming Dynasty town, at the Hanging Wall and Jiayuguan Fort – into the Gobi Desert and oasis town of Dunhuang – visit ‘thousand buddha’ caves, the largest collection of Budddhist art in China – camel ride in giant sand dunes and evening sleeper train to Turpan – visit second lowest point on earth then to Emin market and Jiaohe ruins – visit ancient Buddhist city on edge of Taklamakan Desert, caves and underground irrigation systems – to Lake of Heaven through the Tian Shan mountain range, exploring the area and staying overnight in a yurt – to Urumqi with museum visit and view ‘Loulan Beauty’ one of the oldest mummies in the world – Train through Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar in Western Xinjiang province where you visit tombs and mosques and enjoy the Sunday market. This town marks the end of the Karakorum Highway and is still an important trading centre today – fly back to Beijing and onwards to London.
If you want a longer adventure, ask me about the overland truck adventure from Istanbul in Turkey all the way through to Xi’an in China – 80 days on the road through Iran, Turkmentistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China.