What to expect on a Silk Road tour
What is the Silk Road?
Contrary to its name, the Silk Road is not actually one road at all, but an intertwining network of roads and trading routes that were formed over centuries to facilitate trade between the West and the Far East. Silk was a hugely popular export from China, but also spices, cotton, wool, precious metals and much more were traded along this route. It served not just as a trade route, but also formed a framework for spreading religion, technology, art, even empires across the land.
Where does the Silk Road run to and from?
It is generally understood that the Silk Road starts in Xian, China, and runs through Central Asia and ancient Persia before ending in Istanbul, Turkey. From there, an existing network ferried goods into Europe.
What is the best time of year to visit the Silk Road?
As it covers vast distances, it’s very difficult to pick a time where weather is favourable for the entire route but the spring and autumn months offer the best balance of temperatures that are cool enough in the hot desert countries like Uzbekistan and Iran, but warm enough in the more mountainous regions like Kyrgyzstan or Georgia.
What is the best way to see the Silk Road?
There are many ways to traverse the old trade routes. You can fly into see the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, where it all started, you can zip across dusty desert plains by high-speed trains in Uzbekistan, trek through the snow-capped mountains of Kyrgyzstan, rattle along isolated, bumpy routes by 4WD on our small-group tour in Tajikistan, cycle parts of the stunning Caucasus mountains in Georgia, or you can try and conquer much of it in one epic trip on our Five Stans of the Silk Road trip.
Is the Silk Road a good place to travel solo?
All of our small group trips are ideal for solo travellers, and as a solo traveller you’ll be in good company - around half of travellers on our trips are travelling solo. The Silk Road is not an easy place to travel completely independently: English is not widely spoken and infrastructure in many countries is limited. But for a solo traveller travelling as part of a group it’s perfect as all of the complexities of logistics and travel arrangements are taken care of, allowing you to enjoy the places you visit and the company of other like-minded travellers.