A road trip along the silk route in China is an incredible journey through the arid landscape and ending at the Great Wall. The journey evokes a wonderful ancient era when trade flourished by the transportation of goods through caravans of horses, camels, and mules. 15 years of trade gave birth to numerous trade cities, some of them thriving to this day. For an adventurous traveller who is looking for something different, the Chinese Silk Road offers outstanding rewards.
The traditional Silk Route starts from Xi’an and continues northwest through Gansu and Xinjiang. The historical road splits into two routes- one ending at Urumqi in the northwest, and the other reaching Kashgar at the westernmost part of China. Both routes are unique in their own way.
The northern route which ends at Urumqi opens a vista into the fascinating Uyghur culture. In this route, you will encounter the towering Tian Shan Mountains and China’s wine country. The southern route goes through a more enduring landscape. The journey passes across the fiery desert and age-old Buddhist caves before finally ending in Kashgar. If you have extra time, you can follow the northern route till Urumqi and then continue further till Kashgar.
On the way, you would encounter numerous enthralling sites. Here is the list of sites that you wouldn’t want to miss on this road trip:
Northern Silk Road Route:
- Jiayuguan Fort: Situated in the middle of the desert, this is the ruined mud fortress where the Great Wall ends.
- Turpan Grape Valley: Turpan, a small oasis town is the oldest and most remarkable wine-making regions in China.
- Jiaohe ruins: This is a 2300-year-old ruined archaeological site that was demolished by the Mongol invaders during the 13th The Jiaohe ruins tell a tragic story of a ruined city.
- Tian Chi Lake: One of the most serene lakes in China, Tian Chi is surrounded by the backdrop of majestic Tian Shan Mountains. With its turquoise waters surrounded by snow covered peaks, this lake will surely take your breath away.
Southern Silk Road Route:
- Kashgar Sunday market: This is arguably one of the liveliest and largest markets in the world. Although the market is open for all days, it becomes livelier on Sundays.
- Mogao Caves: These are the series of small Buddhist caves containing a rich collection of arts and murals. Situated nearby are the orange and red coloured sandstone hills, which appear to be on fire during sunset.
- Endere: Endere is an ancient Buddhist archeological site with ancient buildings dating back to the Han and Tang dynasties.
The Silk Route in China has a lot to offer and has something for every taste. The road trip along this historical route opens a window into the unexplored territories of China. With a lot of amazing experiences, this trip will surely give you memories that you can cherish for your whole life.