Planning the Trip to Silk Road

When to Go

Modern Camel Train
Modern Camel Team, Dunhuang, Gansu

The months of May and October are the best time to travel the Silk Road. The summer can be searingly hot. The winter is freezing. During May, the average temperature along the route is around 15C. The scenery is most beautiful during this month. The accumulated winter snow on the tableland is melting. The grass is turning green. Visitors can enjoy this enchanting scenery without suffering extreme temperatures.

In addition, visitor can travel to Silk Road during festivals. There are about 20 nationalities (ethnic groups) living along the Silk Road. If lucky, visitors may have the chance to witness or attend some of the colorful festivals and holidays of these various nationalities.

With the exception of the Han nationality, (which has the same festivals and holidays of China), each nationality celebrates their own festivals and holidays according to their different historical, religious and cultural background. 

Tourist Riding on A Camel
Tourist Riding on A Camel

Manchu has the same festivals with the Hans, although there are still some differences in respective celebrating styles.

Different nationalities may enjoy the same festivals as they might be influenced by the same religion. People from Bao'an, Kazak, Hui, Kergez, Tatar, Uigur, Ozbek, Dongxiang and Salar nationalities all believe in Islam. All Muslims celebrate Kaizhai Festival and Guerbang Festival.

Other major celebrations are the Mongolian Nadam Festival, the Kazak Nawurezi Festival, the Tibetan Dafozhanyang Festival (Festival to Worship the Buddha statues) and the Tatar Saban Festival.


What to Take

Tourists to Nalati Grassland, Yili, Xinjiang
Tourists at Nalati Grassland, Yili, Xinjiang
Even during May and October, topography and climate along the Silk Road vary greatly. Some stretches of the road are high and cold, others low and dry. Take clothing for a wide range of temperatures. Comfortable shoes are a must. Personal items such as dental floss and feminine hygiene supplies must be taken. Such items cannot be bought along the route. Particularly at higher elevations, the sun's ultraviolet radiation can be very strong. Carry sun block and suntan oil to prevent sunburn. Also carry basic medical supplies, perhaps a small first aid kit plus medicines for ordinary ailments. Such medicines cannot be bought along the route.

However, do not burden your trip with more baggage than you can easily carry. It is best to travel fairly light but well prepared.
- Last modified on Aug. 21, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Planning the Trip to Silk Road
Asked by Surya from INDIA | Jul. 05, 2021 17:53Reply
Which places along silk road do you suggest in July for 10day trip
I'm planning to travel silk road from Xi'an to kashgar in 10days in month of July'21
Answers (1)
Answered by Kimi from SINGAPORE | Jul. 11, 2021 23:48

I advise you to travel through these cities: Xi'an, Tianshui, Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Hami, Urumqi, Hetian, and Kashgar.
Asked by Cathy from MALAYSIA | Aug. 20, 2018 20:55Reply
How is the weather in Silk Road in late October
Hi, we are planning to join a tour to silk road in late October till early November 2018. How is the weather in that time?
Answers (1)
Answered by Bob from USA | Aug. 21, 2018 18:01

Hi, Candy. The Silk Road tour itinerary in China is mainly from Xi'an to Dunhuang.
Xi'an: The average temperature in October is 10 ~ 19C and 3~ 12C in November.
Dunhuang: The average temperature in October is 1~19C and -6 ~ 8C in November.
Had better take your warm clothes, including the hats, gloves, sweater...
Asked by Morgane from BELGIUM | Dec. 19, 2016 16:28Reply
Silk Road in December
As part of a no-flying trip from Europe to Southeast Asia and back between June and December next year, I was planning on making my way back to Europe by train along the Silk Road. Since it would be a shame to just pass through without visiting anything, I'd like to plan a few stops along the way, but as it plans out now, it will be the beginning of December by the time I'm getting to that part of the journey. I understand that the temperatures are rather low in that time of year. Would it be worthwile anyway?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joe from USA | Dec. 19, 2016 18:48

Hi, dear! It is well worth to tour along the Silk Road in December. Though the temperature is rather low, the natural scenery won't let you down. You can make some stops at Urumqi, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, and Xi'an. Keep warm and may you have a wonderful journey! :)
Asked by Smith from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 28, 2016 16:38Reply
Can you give me some tips on travelling the silk road on a bike?
Answers (1)
Answered by Marcus from BELGIUM | Aug. 28, 2016 20:28

It is really a long way from the central area of the country to the westernmost regions. I wonder if you mean ride all the way along it? If so, it is very important that you get the right direction. The climate in the western areas can be hot at noon but a little bit cold at night. Make sure you pack some warm clothes with you. Currently, it is quite safe to cycle along. Make sure you bring enough Chinese yuan or at least bank card to pay for the accomodation, food, etc.

Anyway, it is still suggested you take trains or planes to get to cities along the route, which may save you a lot of time and energy.
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