tailor made tour

Ask a Question


I accept the Privacy Policy.

Questions & Answers

How to Plan a Silk Road Tour?

The Silk Road was an ancient trade route linked China with Europe which stretches more than 4,000 km in China passing Xi’an, Lanzhou, Xining, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar. Want to explore the mysterious Silk Road in China? Follow the footprints of Marco Polo to discover the colorful history, ancient culture and marvelous natural beauty along the Silk Road, it must be one of the most unforgettable memories in your life. How to plan a Silk Road tour? Information below including the best time to go, places to go and travel tips, which may help you easily work out your Silk Road travel plan.


Reading Guideline:


Best Time to Go

Stretching from Xi’an to Xinjiang, beautiful views along Silk Road vary from each season. According to different geographic conditions and climate of those main cities along the Silk Road, the best time to have a Silk Road tour may be from May to October, especially in May, September and October, since summer in the desert is really hot while winter is freezing cold, but you may enjoy a great view of green grassland and colorful flowers during summer,


Qinghai Lake Ili Grassland Kanas Lake Mt. Huashan Fruits in Turpan
July and August June September April to October September

Ili Grassland


Better to avoid these periods since the price for hotel and transportation may be higher and it’s crowded everywhere.

  • Late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival)
  • First week of May (Labor Day)
  • First week of October (National Day)


More information about Climate of the Silk Road.

Top Cities to Visit


Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province and the starting point of Silk Road, is a world-famous historical city with a long history of more than 1,100 years as the capital, the political, cultural and economic center of ancient China. The most famous Terracotta Warriors, which is one of the World’s Eight Wonders, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an City Wall, Mt. Huashan and plenty of historical sites, Xi’an offers so many chioces for you to explore both beautiful natural landscapes and splendid culture.

Terracotta Army


Read more about Attractions in Xi’an.


Xining, as the capital city of Qinghai Province, is also an important center of the northwest China and a gateway to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This is the hub to visit the Qinghai Lake, which is the largest inland lake in China. During July and August, a wonderful picture of the azure blue lake surrounded by the blossoming rape flowers around will be captured along your Silk Road tour. Cultural sites like Taer Monastery and Dongguan Mosque can also be put on your visiting list.

Qinghai Lake

Read more about Attractions in Xining.


Zhangye, renowned for its unique geographic landscape of Danxia Landform, is an important stop along the ancient Silk Road which is located in Gansu Province. Mati Temple Grottoes will be a good choice if you’re interested in murals and Buddhism culture.

Zhangye Danxia Landform


Read more about Attractions in Zhangye.


Jiayuguan, located in Gansu Province, is another important city along the ancient Silk Road. Jiayuguan Pass is the western starting point of the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty, it is also one of the Three Wonders of the Great Wall, along with Shanhaiguan Pass and Juyongguan Pass.


Read more about Attractions in Jiayuguan.


Dunhuang, a well-known historical city situated in Gansu Province, is the gateway to Xinjiang. What makes Dunhuang so famous around the world must be the Mogao Grottoes which is the largest, oldest and also the best preserved Buddhist grottoes in the world, and the Crescent Spring of Mingsha Hill, a great place to experience particular sceneries in the desert.

Crescent Spring of Mingsha Hill


Read more about Attractions in Dunhuang.


Turpan, oasis of the desert located at the middle area of Xinjiang, is a marvelous place with the fusion of both ancient and modern civilization where the eastern culture and western culture merge with religion culture. Gaochang Ancient City, Karez Well and Flaming Mountains, here you can not only explore the historical culture and natural scenery, the abundant fruits in Turpan is another attractive reason, especially grapes.

Flaming Mountains

Read more about Attractions in Turpan.


Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, is the farthest city from sea in the world. The rich ethnic culture and customs of Uygur ethnic group and varieties of ethnic groups make Urumqi more attractive. Furthermore, natural sceneries in Urumqi are also top reason for a visit, such as the wonderful Tianchi Lake, Southern Pasture and Ili Grasslands. And you can go to Kanas Lake from Urumqi, which is regarded as the most beautiful lake in China.

Tianchi Lake

Read more about Attractions in Urumqi.


Kashgar, where the South Silk Road and North Silk Road meet in the ancient times, is an important hub for the cultural and economic communication between China and western countries. Go around Kashgar Old Town to experience the long history and rich culture of Kashgar, or go to Karakul Lake to appreciate its extraordinary beauty will be your unforgettable memory during your Silk Road tour.

Kashgar Old Town

Read more about Attractions in Kashgar.

How to Arrange a Silk Road Tour

Choose cities and main attractions you’re interested in first, so that you can plan your travel length and decide how long to stay in each city, then you could easily figure out your travel route. Most of people would like to start their Silk Road tour from Xi’an while some people prefer to begin from Urumqi, just decide your starting point according to your situation.

If you have a really tight schedule, choose part of the route. Xinjiang will be an ideal choice for you to discover the history, culture and the beautiful sceneries along the road. Take tours information below to find some planning ideas.

5 Days Xinjiang Highlight Tour: Urumqi and Turpan

7 Days Xinjiang Discovery Tour: Urumqi, Turpan and Kashgar

If you have heard about the mysterious Kanas Lake, just go there to find out the myth and enjoy the amazing landscape of the most beautiful lake in China.

7 Days Picturesque Xinjiang Tour to Kanas Lake: Urumqi, Burqin, Kanas

Kanas Lake

If you have flexible schedule and want to explore more cities along the Silk Road, take tours below into consideration to work out your Silk Road tour plan.

10 Days Silk Road Adventure by China Orient Express: Xian, Tianshui, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi

12 Days Silk Road Tour with Zhangye Danxia Landform: Beijing, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Beijing

If you have plenty of time, you can also consider arranging your Silk Road tour connecting with other popular tourist cities like Beijing and Shanghai. View tour information below to get some inspirations for your Silk Road travel plan.

14 Days Best Silk Road Tour: Shanghai, Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Beijing

16 Days Marco Polo Silk Road Tour: Beijing, Urumqi, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Xian, Shanghai

If you can’t figure out your travel plan or have more questions about the Silk Road, feel free to contact us, we’re glad to help you with your Silk Road tour. You can also tailor-made your personal Silk Road tour here at Free Online Tailor-made Tour.

Read more about Silk Road Tours.

How to Travel along the Silk Road

Transportation along the Silk Road are mainly by air, train and car. Tourists usually start their trip from Xi’an which is easily approaching from other big cities in China, also available for international airlines from Korea, Thailand, Japan and Singapore. Recently more and more tourists prefer to have a road trip in order to better explore the sceneries along the way. Transportation information below may help you decide the best way to travel along the Silk Road according to your schedule.

►From Xi’an to Xining, 4-5 hours by high-speed train, one and half hour by plane.

►From Xining to Zhangye, about 2 hours by high-speed train, airplane to Zhangya is only available in Lanzhou and Chongqing.

►From Zhangye to Jiayuguan, 1 h 20 m by high-speed train, it’s available to get to by air from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an and Lanzhou.

►In Dunhuang, only normal train is available to take, 5 hours from Jiayuguan by normal train, 1 hour by air.

►In Turpan, you can transfer in Urumqi from most of cities in China and some international destinations from Thailand, Malaysia and Russia. And it’s only 1 hour from Urumqi to Turpan by high-speed train.

►In Kashgar, better to take plane since there is only normal train and it takes a long time, but just 2 hours from Urumqi.


What to Eat

Since there are lots of Muslim people gather in the northwestern area in China, food along the Silk Road are mainly Halal Food with strong flavor, based on beef, mutton and wheaten food. You may find Chinese food or western food in the downtown area of main cities. Xi’an Roujiamo, Mutton Paomo, Lanzhou Noodles, Beef Jerky, or Roasted Whole Lamb and Saute Spicy Chicken in Xinjiang are highly recommended.

Roujiamo in Xi'an

Due to the dry weather in northwestern area, eat more fruits and vegetables will be better, however, vegetables in this area are more expensive so that there are less variety of vegetables to choose. But fruits in Xinjiang are incredibly good, you can taste numerous delicious fruits there, such as grapes, melons, pomegranates and apricots.

Grape Valley in Turpan


Accommodation Tips

►In Xi’an, near Xi’an City Wall or the Bell Tower will be good for eating and transportation, with all kinds of hotels to choose.

►In Xining, choose your accommodation in the city center, more convenient.

►In Zhangye, better stay near Zhangye Danxia Landform Park if you’re planning to watch sunrise, or else stay in the city center since Mati Temple Grottoes is the other direction from the park.

►In Jiayuguan, you may find lots of choices around the railway station and commercial streets.

►In Dunhuang, stay near Mingsha Hill will be a good choice, convenient for you to watch sunrise and sunset on the hill.

►In Turpan, most of the hotels in downtown area are along the main streets, such as Gaochang Road, Qingnian Road, lvzhou Road and Wenhua Road.

►In Urumqi, in Erdaoqiao area or near Hongshan Park.

►In Kashgar, accommodation in downtown area will be good.


Travel Tips for a Silk Road Tour

What to Prepare

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use, Vitamin C is highly suggested.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats for the strong ultraviolet ray in the desert.
  • Be aware of the weather change along the Silk Road, pack enough suitable clothes, windproof jacket or outdoor jacket will be good.
  • A pair of comfortable shoes is needed since a lot of walking involved.
  • Take some snacks and fruits with you in case you can’t find what you want to eat.


What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Silk Road history and Silk Road facts so that you could have a better experience there.
  • Choose a good time for those attractions you want to visit the most, it may help you get a more wonderful time during your Silk Road tour.
  • Respect the local customs and ethnic culture in each place.
  • Weather along the Silk Road is really dry, remember to eat more vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water.
  • Local time in Xinjiang is two hours later than the standard time in China, better to arrange your schedule from 9 am to 8 pm.

Read more information about Silk Road Travel Tips.

Basic Chinese You Might Need

Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry
请问卫生间在哪里? Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ? Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?

Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.


Other Articles You Might Like

heart How to plan a trip to Suzhou?

heart How to plan a trip to Hangzhou?

heart How to plan a trip to Sanya?

heart How to plan a trip to Guizhou?

heart Top Reasons to Visit China, China Facts & Where to Visit in China