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The Great Tours of China

1. The Silk Route:
The ancient Silk Road was not actually a road but the trade route across China (and Europe) all the way to Rome. Each civilization had something the other wanted. While Rome had gold, silver and precious gems, China had silk and spices and ivory.
The bridge between China and Rome was the Silk Road.Traveling along it takes you back many centuries.

The following can be considered depending upon the duration of your holiday.
 
A. The Classical Silk Road Tour:
Beijing-Urumqi-Kashgar-Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang–Xi’an–Shanghai
 
B. The Extensive Silk Road Tour:
Beijing-Urumqi-Korla-Kuqa-Aksu-Kashgar-Hetian-Minfeng-Korla-Turpan-Dunhuang–Xi’an–Shanghai
 
When to go:
May to October are the best months. The summer ismuch toohot while the winter is far too cold.

In May, the average temperature along the route is pleasant: around 15 degrees Celsius.The landscape too is at its glorious best. Once the snow melts, the tableland takes on a thousand vivid shades of green.
 
What to take with you:

Although pleasant for the most part, the climate along the Silk Road can varygreatly between May and October.At high altitudes, the cold can bequitesevere and so can theultraviolet rays. So make it a point to carry:

  1. Both light and warmclothing
  2. Comfortable shoes
  3. Sunblock cream
  4. General medicines
  5. Personal items of feminine hygiene and supplies of dental floss
 
Language:
An English-speaking guide, proficient in dialects, will help you communicate with the 2o different ethnic groups (among them Uigur, Tibetan, and Mongolian) live along the Silk Road and speak and script their own language.
 
Accommodation
The Silk Road spans most of China, from modern cities in central China to isolated villages and towns in the remote west. Accordingly, accommodation along the route ranges from luxurious hotels to simple guesthouses.
 
Food and drink
A vast variety awaits you. Innorthwest China, the food is peppered with strong Islamic influences. Traditional Chinese food is also widely available at restaurants specializing in Sichuan, Cantonese and other region-specific cuisines. Every city has small restaurants (xiao chi) serving local specialties. It’s worth visiting local markets (ye shi), especially at night, to sample local fare.
 
Transportation
The Silk Road is well connected by air as well as surface transport.
 
Travel by air
All major cities in China are connected to two busy airports: Xian and Urumqi.There are also scheduled flights to all major cities within Xinjiang. For airline reservations and tickets,please visit travel agencies in your city.Mostbig hotelsprovide travel services.
 
Travel by train
Convenient and inexpensive,trains allow you to disembark anywhere and explore towns and cities. Urumqi is connected to Beijing, Xian, Lanzhou, Zhengzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu. Regular tickets are easily available while sleeper class tickets can only be bought in major stations. If you intend to travel by train, you must packenough food and drinks for the journey.
 
Travel by road
Buses are the most affordable means of transport along the Silk Road but they are generally slow. The three-day bus ride from Urumqi to Kashgar (with overnight halts at Korla and Aksu) is highly recommended as it presents a spectacular view of the Heavenly Mountains and the oasis towns along the northern edge of the Taklamakandesert.

Travel agencies and hotelsarrange cars and mini-vans. Only in a car can you go off the beaten track to visit sites that would otherwise be inaccessible. Rentals are calculated on the basis of time and distance travelled.
© 2012 China National Tourist Office (New Delhi). All rights reserved