Silk Road Travel Tips

This page introcudes Silk Road Travel Tips including China silk road attractions, Silk Road climate and Silk Road food, as well as FAQs such as when is the best time for Silk Road travel and things you should know for Silk Road travel, etc. View our Silk Road travel guide when you plan your China Silk Road tours.

Silk Road Travel Route in China

Where should I visit most on the Silk Road? This may be the first question for your Silk Road tour plan, as the The Chinese section of the Silk Road runs from Xi ‘an in the east to the Pamirs plateau in the west. The Silk Road covers vast regions of northwestern China, including Henan, Ningxia, Shanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang.

  • The most traversed portion of the route is from Xi’an to Lanzhou and Jiayuguan in Gansu. From here, you can choose to head northwest to Urumqi in Xinjiang, where you can explore fascinating Uigher culture, China’s wine country, and the soaring peaks of the Tian Shan mountains
  • The southern route heads through the fiery desert of Gansu, with its huge dunes and ancient Buddhist caves, ending in the distinctly Central Asian city of Kashgar, renowned for its bustling Sunday livestock market.
  • You can also explore both routes by heading southward from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang in Gansu, then upwards to Urumqi and finally south again to end in Kashgar.

Silk Road Attractions

What should I visit along the Silk Road? China Silk Road is the most important section of Silk Road.  Not only is it historically significant, but it’s been a rite of passage for adventurous travelers for decades. The road is lined with stunning natural attractions and cultural hot spots, making it one of the top places to visit in China and beyond. You shouldn’t miss the highlights along the road, such as Baima Temple, Jiayuguan Pass, Yangguan Pass, Mogao Grottoes and Gaochang Old Town, as well as magnificent and magical natural scenery such as  Zhangye Danxia Landform, Mingsha Mountain, Tianshan Mountain in Xinjiang. 

Top 10 Attractions on China Silk Road

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China Silk Road Attractions by Region

Silk Road Climate and When to Visit

Most regions of Silk Road are featured in dry climate and distinct four seasons. Spring is short and a bit cold. Summer may be hot but good season for travel. Autumn is warm and windy. Winter is snowy and chilly. Since the road meanders through desert and mountainous areas, be prepared for extremes in temperature. The temperature in Turpan can reach 40 °C in the summer and –20 °C in January. Winter is long and bleak.

May to October are the best time to travel the Silk Road. Weather conditions are pleasant from late spring to early autumn, with an average temperature of 15 °C. Although summer weather can be scorching, the heat is dry and more comfortable than in the humid tropics. The scenery is ideal when the fruits ripen, the flowers are in full bloom, and green grass covers grassland areas. in spring (April, May, June) and fall (September, October).

Silk Road Climate by Region

Main sections in China can be traced from some major cities. So although the best time to the silk road is from May to October, it varies from different major cities along silk road including Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan and Urumqi.

Food and Drink along the Silk Road

Beisides the stunning natural landscapes, mysterious historical site, you will also be shocked by huge cultural shock of different areas and colorful lifestyles of ethnic minorities. You will notice the difference in the varieties of food you can find. In the eastern end, the cuisine is predominantly Chinese, with rice and noodles and other traditional Chinese dishes, and you should have no problem finding Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine along the entire route. However, you will also find that much of the eating habits of northwest China have a distinctly Islamic influence. The featured food along the Silk Road in China includes Yangrou Paomo, Dumpling Banquet, Liang Pi and Rou Jia Mo in Xi’an; Lanzhou Beef Noodle, Camel Hoof, Niang Pi and Stir-fried Hump in Gansu; Xinjiang Kebabs, Big Plate of Chicken, Grilled fish and Nang in Xinjing. 

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Silk Road Tour Accommodation

Compared to large city like Beijing, Shanghai, the accommodation on the Silk Road are relatively basic. Bigger cities, such as Xian, Luoyang, Dunhuang and Urumqi offer luxury hotels. But smaller cities, such as Turpan, Kashgar provide little luxury hotels. While choosing hotels or guesthouse, a careful consideration of many facets including the transportation, the conformance, the service quality and the eating habits of customers are needed.

Hotels on the Silk Road by Region

Silk Road Transportation

Silk Road covers remote northwestern regions of China, including Henan, Shanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang.  transportation infrastructure on Silk Road is more and more convenient. You can get there via airline, train or bus.

  • By air is the most convenient and comfortable way and there are airports in Xian, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Urumqi and Kashgar. You can transfer from Beijing, Shanghai, HK, Guangzhou, Chengdu to Xian, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, Urumqi by flight. While if you take a trip in Gansu or Xinjiang, both train and car are available.
  • By Train: There are railways on Silk Road connects with Beijing, Zhengzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu. Transfer between the major cities along the Silk Road by train is convenient and inexpensive.
  • Road Transportation: By bus or by car are the most inexpensive methods of transport along the Silk Road,  but uncomfortable and slow. However, the three-day bus ride from Urumqi to Kashgar (with overnights in Korla and Aksu) is highly recommended for very active travelers. Some local travel agencies and hotels offer rental service of cars or mini-vans, which is the best way for you to visit sites far from cities or towns. Rental prices are based on the number of days and kilometers traveled, and sometimes they can be negotiated.


There are about 20 different nationalities living along the Silk Road, including the Uigur, Tibetan, and Mongolian. As the tourism develops, some ethnic groups began to learn Mandarin and use Chinese writing, most of road signs combine local languages and Mandarin. In general, Mandarin is spoken throughout the region, including by taxi drivers and hotel staff and at large stores and restaurants. However, in some more remote areas and at smaller cafes, you may find older people only speak local dialects of Chinese or Uigher. 

Silk Road Travel Safety

1. Travel in China is relatively safe, as most trains that run the network of railways across China have police officers on board. Stations and airports all have a large police presence, and you will find police checkpoints in most places you go. This makes it a safer place to travel than many other places in China, though crime is not unheard of.

2. Remember to take good care of valuable belongings, especially in crowded public area like bazaar, train stations.

3. When traveling by yourself, since the attractions are far away from each other without vehicles which can transfer you directly to another, you can call a taxi even if it cost a lot; and it is better not to go outside alone in Xinjiang and Gansu in case of unpredicted affairs.

Silk Road Travel FAQs

When is the best time to take a Silk Road trip?

May to October is the best time to visit Silk Road. Get avoid of cold and windy time in Winter.

How many days needed to travel the Silk Road?

If you want to follow the ancient Silk route, you have to take a long trip of 7~12 days. A tour of 10 days is an average

How to get a tourist visa?

Visa on arrival and transit visa you require when you are up for the trip. The tourist visa you will get if you pre-plan the trip with a tour operator. They take care of your Visa on arrival and transit visa as well.

What medicines should I bring?

Pain-killer pills, medicine for colds, diarrhea, nausea and fever, nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills, travel pill or anti-nausea medicine, medicines for preventing sunstroke and colds, diarrhea, nausea, fever and carsickness, anti-mosquito spray, cream or lotion.

What clothes should I bring when I visit for Silk Road?

Dressing in layers is very sensible for out of doors sports considering the fact that it can get cool inside the early mornings or evenings as nicely. Try to avoid over-packing and take a high fine, relaxed garment. Take an amazing rain/wind/fleece jacket with you to the mountains, along with a warm sweater and excellent footwear. For women, its always suggest carry few scraps along with their decent dress.

Read more about How to Plan Silk Road Tour in China

Other Silk Road Travel Tips and Things to Know

  • Please have a grasp of the different customs of the ethnic groups ahead of your Silk Road tour and show respect to local culture and religion.
  • Please do not eat pork or talk about pig in the Islamic regions (like Mosque restaurant) since it is the most serious taboo for Muslims; it is also prohibited to eat the meat of dog and horse, smoke and drink wine.
  • Xinjiang is the “paradise of fruits”, especially grape; you can enjoy a fruit feast. But do not eat hot tea afterwards in case of diarrhea.
  • Silk Road is also famous for craft products which deserve to be taken back home; but please note that it is not allowed to take local crafted knives when you are taking plain or train.
  • Do not touch the metal-made things in the sun, as they become very hot in the long-time sunshine, especially in Turpan.

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