Tuesday, 14 October 2014

China Silk Road Travel Part 1: Overview

My Silk Road Tour covered more than 4000km over two provinces and one autonomous region of China. We started our journey in Xian in the province of Shaanxi, flew westward to Urumqi in Xinjiang  before slowly making a loop eastward back to Xian, traversing through part of Xinjiang and most of Gansu Province.
It would have been great if we had gone further west all the way to Kashgar to complete a bigger loop but that was something we didn't manage to do.
I was naive to think a China Silk Road Tour would be an adventurous one - something like navigating rugged terrain on jeeps and four-wheel drives, riding camels across deserts, putting up in native Uighur tents and passing through very remote villages. I thought I could really get real glimpses of the original path that was used by ancient traders but alas I was so wrong.
All the time we were travelling on modern highways, staying in state of the art hotels in highly developed cities with sky scrapers towering high.
We did however visit ancient places affiliated to the ancient Silk Route but it would have been better if  the "Silk Road Tour" is what I'd imagined it to be.
I have made a summary of the places I visited and given them my very personal rating. 
I have also done brief photo review of the hotels I stayed but these are superficial and may be flawed as I spent very little time in the hotels. Do read all the 44 postings on my travel.

China Silk Road Tour Related Posts: 
Part 2: Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Part 3: Hancheng Lake
Part 4: I Stayed In Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza, Xian
Part 5: Xinjiang Where The People Speaks Mandarin With A Funny Accent
Part 6: Heavenly Lake
Part 7: Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar
Part 8: Hooray! 2 Nights In Cinda Hoi Tak Hotel, Urumqi
Part 9: Glimpses Of Turpan (Xinjiang)
Part 10: Karez Well
Part 11: The Ruins Of Jiohe
Part 12: The Grape Valley Of Turpan
Part 13: Nothing Comes Free!
Part 14: Emin Minaret
Part 15: Flaming Mountain
Part 16: Tuyugou Canyon
Part 17: Mazar Village Of Tuyugou Valley
Part 18: Kumtag Desert
Part 19: Turpan Maixi Laipu Hotel Review
Part 20: Xinjiang Cuisine
Part 21: The Journey To Hami
Part 22: Hami Hotel Block 6 Photo Review
Part 23 : Glimpses Of Dunhuang (Photo Gallery)
Part 24: An Amazing Desert Experience At Echoing Sand Dunes
Part 25: A Camel Ride At Echoing Sand Dunes
Part 26: An Oasis Of Flowers At Echoing Sand Dunes
Part 27: Crescent Lake
Part 28: Mogao Grottoes
Part 29: Dunhuang Fuguo Hotel Photo Review
Part 30: Jiayuguan pass
Part 31: Jiuquan Park
Part 32: 1 Night In Jiuquan Hotel
Part 33: Glimpses Of Jiuquan
Part 34: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park
Part 35: My Journey From Jiuquan Into Zhangye
Part 36: Giang Buddha Temple, Zhangye
Part 37: Power Mansion Hotel, Zhangye
Part 38: The Journey Into Wuwei
Part 39: Leitei Tomb Of The Han Dynasty
Part 40: Glimpses Of Langzhou
Part 41: Langzhou Waterwheel Garden
Part 42: Only 8 Hours In Langzhou Legend Hotel
Part 43: Huaqing Hotspring
Part 44: Terracotta Warriors
Part 45: Shaanxi Sunshine Grand Theatre


hui nee said...

thanks for sharing lily :)

Lily... said...

Hope you'll get a better insight on China Silk Road Travel if you're planning to go on one.

Anonymous said...

hai Lily
bertuah nya dapt cover ke lalauan sutera.
boleh saya tahu 1.u ambil pakage dr malaysia atau pakage di china.
2.adakah semua makanan yg disediakan di semua restoren berkenaan halal?

tq Lily...

Lily... said...

(1) Dr M'sia. (2) Tempat-tempat (kecuali Xian) diduduki orang Muslim kebanyakannya jadi tidak menjadi masalah untuk mendapat makanan halal. Hampir semua restoran yang dikunjungi menyediakan makanan Muslim.

Twilight Man said...

Hi Lily. I am so impressed with all the fabulous places you have visited. I am planning to visit Xian again at year end and proceed on to Dunhuang. I understand that it is advisable to engage a tour guide to bring me to see the Mogao Caves etc. Do you have any recommended tour guide's contact or I could easily find them on arriving at Dunhuang?? Thanks a lot!!!

Lily... said...

A tour guide just for you will be very costly but if you are willing to pay why not? Xian is a big city so there should be no problem finding travel agents. But Dunhuang is very faaaarrrr away from Xian. There are endless options to get there but I am not familiar with the local travel agents in Xian so I am sorry I can't be of any help in this regard.

Twilight Man said...

Thanks for your prompt reply. When I visited Xian 2 years ago, I had a personal tour guide to bring me & wife to see all the sites including a hike up atop Mount Hua. I am now familiar with Xian and won't need a guide for the balance KIV places. Now I am just concerned about getting a guide to tour Dunhuang as I read several forums that didn't provide any contacts besides one who mentioned the hotel helped to arrange. No worries, I still have 10 months to check around.
Happy weekend! :-)

Q-Highness said...

Hi Lily thanks for your insight!

I am a Malaysian passport holder, did you need a special travel permit to travel through xinjiang?

Lily... said...

Hi sorry for the late reply. Has been away on a travel. As a M'sian you'll need a China Visa to travel around China. As far as I know there is no need for special permit to get into Xinjiang. For Tibet ,yes.

Michael Z, USA said...

Hi Lily,

Just finished reading a few parts of your Silk Road adventure that I came across TripAdvisor. I'm thinking about many of the places you visited. Also, I'm thinking about doing a self-guided tour. However, it seems to me that you were on an organized tour. If yes, I would appreciate hearing from you - what tour company did you book with? Thank you. Michael Z, USA

Lily... said...

Hi Michael, if you are not in a hurry and can spend many days in China travelling at your own pace, doing a self guided tour should be fine. But you may encounter a few serious problems. It is indeed rare to find someone who can speak English. There is also the logistics problem as some of the places I went are really remote. You can join a fully guided group tour with English speaking guide - I think that should be the best option for you. If you go solo or twosome, it may cost a bomb. My agent was
CITS . Tel (0931) 8732301 Website: However the tour guides were mandarin speaking. I am not sure whether they conduct English speaking tours.

somboi_sweet said...

Hi Lily,
Love your write up about your Silk Road. I noticed you took the tour with CITS. However, the website you provided seems to be China base. Do you engage a tour agent from Malaysia or self planned and engaged tour agent in China?
Hope to hear from you. =) -Mei-

Lily... said...

It's from Malaysia, dear.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...