Travel Tips for the Silk Road

If you are planning a trip along the Silk Road here are a few useful guidelines which will make your trip all the more comfortable and enjoyable. It is best to travel with an experienced and professional guide on an organized Silk Road tour.

Best Time to Go

May to January is the best time to travel the Silk Road. During these months the weather is at its best averaging temperatures of around 15°C. Not only that but during this period from late-spring to early autumn the scenery is at its best with bright greens, fruit laden trees and fields covered in wild flowers. The high season from June to October means that there are more tourist amenities available including a wider range of accommodation choices and more eating options. In the low season from November to April you may find fewer hotels and that the air-conditioning has been turned off due to low occupancy. On the other hand this is a great time to travel if you want to avoid other tourists.

Weather

As you move west into China the weather gets drier and drier along the Silk Road. The road leads you through desert and across mountainous areas so you should be prepared for extreme temperatures anywhere between 40°C and -20°C. The dry weather is hot but thankfully lacks the unpleasant humidity of coastal areas. At night the temperatures drop dramatically.

Clothing

Bring warm cloths even in the summer as the temperatures tend to vary drastically from night to day. At some points along the route the nights can be extremely cold. Wear thick soled walking shoes and don’t forget a hat, sunglasses and modest clothing for visiting temples. Bring a scarf to cover your head in temples and your face in case of high winds and sand storms.

What to Bring

Among the things you should bring don’t forget sunscreen, medicine for heat stroke, diarrhea, headaches and any medication you take on a regular basis.

Tour Guides

choose a Silk Road tour company which provides local guides that know the area and culture. To make your silk road adventure  more enjoyable it is preferable to have a knowledgeable English speaking guide who can tell you about the sites along the way. A local guide will also know the best places to shop, the best scenic areas and how to handle any unexpected situations along the way. It is always handy to have a guide who can translate for you and talk to the locals for you.

Culture

Respect the local culture which is primarily Muslim so do not bring pork along on your trip, dress modestly and follow any instructions that your guide might give you. Be aware of sensitive political and cultural subjects and it is best not to engage in any conversations about controversial subject as we are guests in their country. At some attractions it is forbidden to take photos and your guide will inform you of these. Do not bargain in Silk Road markets unless you intend to buy.

Accommodation

The Silk Road is a long route and goes through modern cities as well as isolated villages and small towns so the standard of accommodation can vary. Be prepared for both luxury and primitive accommodation.

A Final Tip

Take your own toilet paper and carry water!

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