| Home | China Facts | China Destinations | China Travel Deals | China Hotels | China Flights | China Trains | Q&A |

Silk Road Travel Guide

Silk Road

The term Silk Road (Seidenstrassen, in German) was first coined by the German geographer, Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen (1833-1905), uncle of the famous "Great War" (WWI) German fighter pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, aka the "Red Baron", in Ferdinand von Richthofen's book, "China: Ergebnisse eigener Reisen und darauf gegrundeter Studien" ("China: The results of My Travels and the Studies Based Thereon"), published in 1877. However, the Silk Road identified by von Richthofen was a much more restricted route than the Silk Road route mapped out by a later Orient expert, Dr. Albert Herrmann (1886-1945) of Harvard University in the U.S.

In von Richthofen's defense, the famous geographer derived his Silk Road route based on extensive but perhaps less rigorous, historically speaking, Chinese sources (Hanshu, a Geography; Hanshu, the Biography of Xiyu, etc.) concerning the trade route between the Orient and the Occident, and which connected present-day western China (present-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, or Xinjiang, for short) with Europe via Bukhara and Samarkand, both ancient Soghdian cities that were part of the Persian Empire, but which belong to present-day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan's neighbor to the north. Herrmann, in contrast, relied heavily on the writings of Claudius Ptolemaeus (CE 90-168), aka Ptolemy - the Greek geographer, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer - in pinpointing his Silk Road route.

In addition, one can rightly speak of an overland Silk Road route and a maritime Silk Road route, for both routes existed. According to received wisdom, the maritime Silk Road route arose solely as a result of the decline in the overland Silk Road route, which decline is generally believed to have been the result of increasing local and regional conflicts leading to the breakup of Central Asia into smaller states, which in turn resulted in a steep increase in the "toll fees" levied on passing caravans, since every local chieftain demanded a piece of the pie, as it were, and suddenly there were many such chieftains. Given the fact that Central Asia at this time (the 13th - 14th centuries) was indeed in the process of breaking into smaller ethnic and language groups, the incidence of excessive transit fees sounds quite plausible, which - together with the spread of the bubonic plague to China in CE 1330 - could naturally have caused a decline in the use of the overland Silk Road route.

Scenery On the Silk Road

Click on the cities names to see Silk Road attractions
Kashgar Attractions Aksu Attractions Kuqu Attractions Korla Attractions Hotian Attractions Turpan Attractions Urumqi Attractions Hami Attractions Dunhuang Attractions Jiayuguan Attractions Zhangye Attractions Wuwei Attractions Xining Attractions Lanzhou Attractions Xiahe Attractions Xianshui Attractions Xi'an Attractions

Silk Road Travel Tips


When we speak of the Silk Road in terms of travel tips, we are referring to the ancient overland Silk Road that basically ran through the Hexi Corridor, aka Gansu Corridor because it runs almost the entire length of Gansu Province, and further westward around the Tarim Basin, in whose center lies the Taklimakan Desert, specifically, around the northern rim of the Tarim Basin where the basin meets the foothills of the Tianshan Mountains, since many of the ancient cities along the basin's southern route, where the Tarim Basin/ Taklimakan Desert meets the foothills of the Kunlun Mountains, are either ghost towns, or towns that were buried under sand - sometimes within hours, judging from the traces which indicate that the residents fled for their lives, sometimes leaving their dogs tethered to a stake in the front of the house - that have since become the subject of much historical exploration. Read More »

  • Silk Road Weather
  • Silk Road Fare
  • Food Cautions:
  • Silk Road Lodging
  • The Asphalted Silk Road
  • What To Bring Along On A Silk Road Tour

Silk Road Maps

Silk Road Routes Map Silk Road Attractions Map Silk Road Tourist Map Cities on the Way of Silk Road
Silik Road Routes Map Silk Road Attractions Map Silk Road Tourist Map Cities on the Silk Road

Shangri-la Express Luxury Train Tours

In tradition of the famed Orient Express, the Shangri-la Express is luxury, privately owned hotel train traveling the route of the caravans of the ancient Silk Road. Commencing 1985 the Shangri-la Express provides the first leg – Beijing to Urumqi. The Shangri-la Express offers the perfect way to see this magnificent country in comfort and style. More about Shangri-la Express»

12-Day Silk Road Adventure by Luxury Shangri-La Express A

12-Day Beijing to Urumqi Silk Road Adventure by Shangri-la Express

Destination: BeijingLuoyangXianTianshuiLanzhouJiayuguanDunhuangTurpanUrumqi
Departure Date: Sept. 6 - Sept. 17. 2013
Price: from $ 2599 p/p, based on 4 people in Twin-bed Room
Check out this Tour

Silk Road Adventure by Luxury Shangri-La Express B

12-Day Urumqi to Beijing Silk Road Adventure by Shangri-la Express

Destination: UrumqiTurpanDunhuangJiayuguanLanzhouTianshuiXianLuoyangBeijing
Departure Date: Sept. 13 - Sept. 24. 2013
Price: from $ 2599 p/p, based on 4 people in Twin-bed Room
Check out this Tour

Shangri-la Express Luxury Train Tours


About Us | Contact Us | Site Map |FAQ|Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy

China Travel Tools | Online Jobs

Email: marketing@chinatravel.com Tel:86-773-2831999 Fax: 86-773-2827424

© Copyright 1998 - 2018. All Rights Reserved to China Travel

We'are a Member of CATS IATA NO: 08-301996 PATA NO: SO-026697 We accept Paypal Payment We'are a member of ASTAA member of CNTA

China Travel