Silk Road China – What to expect & prepare for this Amazing Race!

Ancient Silk Road

Silk Road went along the northern borders of China, India and Persia and ended up in Eastern Europe. The Silk Road that I explored in June was Silk Road China which include two important provinces of China – Gansu & Xinjiang. The tour that I joined was with Chan Brothers, departing from Singapore to Lanzhou and transit in Beijing. The route that we covered is from east to west, starting point from Lanzhou Gansu and move to Xinjiang.

Why called Silk Road?

The international trade route is named “Silk Road” because Silk was one of the important items traded. In fact, silk cost more than gold in ancient time as the West love silk fabric so much and only the rich and the Royal could afford to wear such elegant fabric.

Who should travel Silk Road?

Silk Road tour is for someone who is very interested in culture and history. You will see many splendid cultural bridge liking the cultures of China, Central Asia, India, Persia, Arabia, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Silk Road is a bridge for the West and East to meet and where all the cultural exchange happen.  One need to be physically strong as there are many walking, climbing & many hours of traveling in the bus.  You also need to catch the bullet train from Gansu Liuyuan to Xinjiang Turpan.  There are many rush hour for you to experience!

Cities in Silk Road route with Chan Brothers

Ancient Silk Road begins at Xian (Chang’an) then by way of the Hexi Corridor and it reaches Dunhuang, where it divides into three, the Southern Route, Central Route and Northern Route where three routes spread all over to Xinjiang and extend as far as Pakistan, India and Rome. However, my recent trip to Silk Road China with Chan Brothers’ tour started at Lanzhou Gansu, proceed to Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang then Xinjiang. The total duration is 14 days. We spend 5 days in Gansu Province and 9 days in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The 9 days in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region include cities, Turpan, Urumqi, Fuyun, Jiadengyu, Kanas, Burqin and Karamay, you can consider this as an in-depth Xinjiang tour.

Expectation & Preparation for Silk Road China

Here are all the things you need to know before traveling to Silk Road China, what to expect and preparation, including food, weather, toilets facilities, hotel, transport and tour guides.

1. Airport & Custom Clearance in Beijing

Our original plan was flying from Singapore to Lanzhou and transit in Beijing.  However we missed our Lanzhou flight.  Reason being our transit time was too short and not enough for 30 of us to clear custom in Beijing within 2 hour.  China immigration recently has new rules to store all foreigners’ 10 fingerprints and photographing upon entry. There are few steps to store our fingerprints, first put your both thumbs to scan, then the rest of 8 fingers. After the fingerprint san, officer will ask you to aim your eyes at the camera and take photos of you. These steps take roughly about 5-10 mins to clear for each person.  Sometimes the fingerprints scan cannot go through easily.

We were told to go to the toilet in the plane, before landing in Beijing which we all did but we still missed our flight by 10 mins.  I think we need minimum at least 3-4 hours for custom clearance, 2 hours is certainly not likely to make it.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Step 1 – Catch the Airport Bus

=> Upon arrival, you will need to catch the airport bus which bring you to the airport terminal.  You may want to hurry and catch the first available bus in case you are rushing for another plane.  Else the next bus will not move until all passengers are full.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Step 2 – Queue to clear custom

=>After clearing Beijing custom, that is to scan your 10 fingers and take photograph of your face.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Step 3 – Catch train to claim luggage

After you have clear custom, go to catch the airport train to claim your all luggage.

Step 4 – Claim luggage from the Belt

Check which number of belt your luggage will be, information from the arrival TV screen in airport then immediately go claim all your luggage.

Step 5 – Go to Domestic Airport to check in

Bring all your claimed luggage and walk to domestic terminal and check in at the domestic counter together with all your luggage to Lanzhou.

Things to note : 

  • When you check in Singapore Changi Airport, there are 2 boarding passes.
  • Make sure 2 boarding passes with your name correctly printed and keep them until you are back to Singapore, just in case for any insurance claim.
  • Luggage stickers also needed to be kept well and do not loss it, in case for any luggage claim
  • Please keep the second portion of the  boarding pass inside your bag and do not put together with the first portion of the boarding pass (Singapore to Beijing portion). This is to ensure you won’t loss it when you hand it over for airport staff to scan the first portion.  This is to prevent the boarding passes accidentally dropped out from the passport and losing it.
  • Please use toilet in the airplane before landing as there are not enough time if you are rushing for another connecting flight.
  • Air China luggage : Economy : 2 pieces only and each piece is up to 23 kg.
  • Summary : Airplane landed Beijing=> catch airport bus => foreigner to clear custom with 10 fingerprints and face photo => catch airport train to reach belt for luggage => search for your belt and claim luggage => carry your luggage to enter to domestic airport (by walk) => check in domestic flight counter with your luggage => go to gate to catch your flight to Lanzhou.

2. Hotel Stay

Overall our hotel stay in Gansu and Xinjiang are pretty good.  It is about 4 to 5 stars China standard, that is equivalent to 3.5 to 4 stars international standard.  Most of the stay are in hotel but two nights in resort style in Jiadengyu near Kanas Lake Xinjiang.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Above picture is hotel stay in Dunhuang, Gansu.  Below is one of the resort we stay in Xinjiang.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

3. Toilet facilities

There are three type of toilets that we experienced in Silk Road journey.

1. Highway Rest Area toilet  – 3 Stars

Our tour buses usually stopped at nice rest area in the highway.  The toilets are clean but please bring along your own toilet paper.  Most toilets do not provide toilet paper.  Usually there is water to flush after used, there are flush button, some at your waist line or some at the bottom of the toilet bowl.  You can use your feet to press the toilet flush button if it is at the bottom.  Most toilets are squat toilets and not many with seats.  In rest area toilets, you may find few toilet seat available, 90 % of the toilets are squat toilet.  Most of the toilets are with doors but few are without doors.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

We usually stop for 15-20 mins in the rest area.  Queue to get in toilet, then rush to find some snacks and drinks.  You don’t have to bring so many snacks from Singapore, you can always try out the snacks here.  Explore their snacks and drinks.  Some flavour only available here and cannot be found back home.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

2. Toilet without water  = 旱厕 ( 1 star)

You will also experience Hanche/旱厕 toilet during your long trip.  It usually located next to the petrol station.  Hanche mean toilet without water.  Han/旱 meaning no water.  Hanche toilet is very stink, be prepared.  It is best to wear a mask and spray some perfume to cover your nose and mouth before entering.  Hanche toilet setting – you squat at the hole that is already digged up for you.  After you finish, there is no water to flush.  Do not look down as there are many unpleasant things underneath and you may see worms too.  Last but not least, don’t fall…

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

3. Toilet in the nature – All star.

During silk road trip, you may need to pee in the nature.  Well, it is easy for men but not for women.  Umbrella is not enough, bring along a big scarf as a second protection.  You cannot see me as I am behind the scarf 🙂  Thanks to Connie, one of the tour member shoot this picture while I am doing business at the back of the scarf.

Things to prepare : Dry tissue & wet tissue & face mask.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

4. Meals in Silk Road

Meal timing

It did not happen in the first part of Silk Road Gansu province but it happened few times in the second part of Silk Road in Xinjiang.  Lunch can be very late from 3.30pm starting and dinner can be as late as 10.30 pm start eating so by the time we finish our dinner it was already 11 pm.  Be mentally prepared and always have some snacks in the bus.  The delay can be due to many reasons, traffic, roadblocks from police and other unforseen circumstance.

Lamb & Beef

In Silk Road, most of the meals included with lamb and beef in the meals, if you don’t eat lamb and beef, there are also fish and chicken.  I strongly suggest you to try out their beef and lamb as these meats tasted fresh and without any foul smell.  Beef and lamb is one of the major meat source used in Silk Road.

Lunch & Dinner in Gansu

We have three tables and each has about 10 pax in the round table settings.  Usually 10 dishes, which includes fish, pork, chicken/duck, beef, tofu, few vegetable dishes (long bean, fungus, tomato eggs, cabbage, green pepper etc), soup & ramen noodle soup, rice, mantou/bun and beers and soft drink – either Coke or Sprite.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Interesting Dish in Gansu

i.Stone Goose Meat 

There are few interesting dish in Gansu.  The below is meat with green pepper, onion, chili and with hot pebble stones.  You will find many big pebble stones in this dish, please be careful and don’t bite into these big pebble.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

ii. Lanzhou lamian/noodle (兰州拉面)

Lanzhou lamian/noodle (兰州拉面) is also one of the famous dish you can find during your meals in Gansu.  The noodles are hand pulled noodles which usually comes with beef plus some vegetable as their toppings.  The soup base is very tasty too, if you love beef you will like this!

iii. Dunhuang Signature Dish –  Camel hoof tendons/雪山驼掌

The dish is meant to serve the emperor in ancient time.  After riding the camel in the afternoon, not many of us are willing to try to eat the camel hoof.  I tried a little, the texture is similar to sea cucumber when you bite it.  It was stew with tofu and some sauces.  Everyone should try one bite since the hoof is already served.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Breakfast 

We have our breakfast in the hotel before departing.  All are buffet style so pick anything you like.  The breakfast served are mostly Chinese style which has all type of porridge, eg – porridge with green bean, red beans, pumpkin, quite healthy I find.  You eat these porridge with the chinese salted pickles/suan chai. There are also sausages & ham and stir fry dish.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Egg is precious!

I notice a very interesting thing when I was having my breakfast in Xinjiang hotel.  You will be given only an egg per hotel voucher when you enter for dining hall for your breakfast.  Some breakfast buffet even has a designated staff to guard the egg corner and stopping anyone from taking more than one egg.  Why are eggs so important & precious?? From my guessing, this is probably to stop anyone from robbing many eggs and taking out from the hotel.   Some mainland Chinese travelers love eggs  so much  and would just grab few and take away.  If everyone brings about 5 eggs, then the number of eggs taken can be very huge.  Hence you will have an illusion eggs are precious and needed to be guarded by a person standing next to the egg corner.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Fruits to eat in Gansu & Xinjiang : Melon

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Drinks to try in Gansu : yogurt drink

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Meals in Xinjiang – Qīngzhēn/清真 Halal Vs Han Restaurant

Most restaurant we dine in are halal restaurant, meaning no pork.  In China, they called it qīngzhēn/清真.  Don’t even mention the word “pork” in the restaurant.  You can replace the pork/ 猪 ( with big 大).  You can asked is this “big meat/大肉”?  Remember do not mention the word “pork” 猪 in Xinjiang.

We also dine in 2-3 times in “Han Restaurant” during our stay in Xinjiang .  Han Restaurant has “big meat”/pork in the meal set.

Xinjiang Top Dish & Drinks

i.  Uyghur Polo – Pilaf – 抓饭  (zhuā fàn)

This is a common dish in Xinjiang, similar to fried rice but raisin, carrots & apricot is added in the rice plus some meat.  You can never find “pork” in this dish.  In Chinese it is named as zhuā fàn/抓饭 because people eat this dish with hands formerly.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

ii. Roasted whole lamb / 烤全羊

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

This dish is served with some Uyghur dance, one of the oldest member from our tour is lucky enough to get picked and feed by the beautiful Uyghur lady.  After they have finished dancing and feeding, they will ask for tips.  I have given tip RMB 10 ( SGD 2.00).  No obligation but I always like to tip them since they bring so much joy to us.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

iii. Fried Naan with onion

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

iv. Burqin grilled fish/冷水鱼

Burqin grilled fish is famous in Xinjiang, the fish are said come from Irtysh River/額爾齊斯河.  Most fishes in China has too many bones since they are river fish.  However Burqin fish has slightly less bones compared to the usual fish in China but not less compare to the salt water fish.  I still prefer saltwater fish but you need to try it out.  Just be careful when you eat.  I nearly swallow the tiny fish bones but managed to cough it out.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

v. Big Plate Chicken – 大盘鸡 – at the far right.

Big Plate Chicken usually cooked with potatoes, chili, onion and plenty of spice, serve in a very big plate.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

vi.Signature drink in Xinjiang : Pomegranates Drinks – RMB 15-20 (SGD 3 to 5.00)

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

5. Bullet Train Experience -> Gansu Liuyuan to Xinjiang Turpan 

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Since there are two province to visit in Silk Road China, Gansu and Xinjiang, our Silk Road tour include a bullet train ride crossing the two province – Liuyuan in Gansu to Turpan in Xinjiang.

Things to note before catching bullet train to enter Xinjiang :

  • Do not bring any knife, including swiss knife in any of your luggage.  Many of us like to bring little swiss knife for cutting fruits.  I have brought along a swiss knife with me and too bad I have to leave it in the hotel.  No sharp object in any luggage be it big suitcases or hand carry luggage.  If the security found sharp object, eg swiss knife, they will ask you to open the big luggage and confiscate it.  Well, swiss knife is expensive so don’t bring along to Silk Road tour.
  • The Gansu tour bus will stop at the bus area, it will not follow you to Xinjiang. The Gansu tour guide and bus driver job end at Liuyuan.  You will have to pull your luggage to the bullet train station ( about 3 mins walk) to catch the bullet train to Turpan.
  • Before you enter the station, you need to go through the security checks.  Very strict security check!

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

  • Be prepared and standby to rush into the bullet train once the door open as you will have luggage to care for.  You need to load all things inside the train before the door closes.  There is a certain timing, not very long, so stay focus and rush in with your big suitcases and hand carry.
  • We encountered police check inside the bullet train again.  Police took each of our picture and also picture of our passport.

  • There is no escalator and no lift in Turpan station, so you need to carry the big suitcases by walking down the stairs.  Be careful of the pushing from the people behind you.  The scene can be quite scary, similar to refugee escaping war.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

  • Report to Police Station upon arrival in Turpan Xinjiang=> Once we arrived at Turpan station, we were stopped again by the police and asked us to report to the police station near Turpan station.  We pushed our luggage to the nearby police station, about 3 mins walk from the Turpan train station.  Each of us line up and waited for the police to take our picture of us and our passport copies.  It was already 8pm but the sky was still bright as it was summer.  By the time we reached our hotel and have our dinner, it was almost 9.30 pm.  This is still not the latest dinner we had, we experience another late dinner few days later, dinner at 10.45pm.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

6. Security Checks in Xinjiang

  • Expect a lot of security checks in Xinjiang – you need to walk through the security scan before entering toilets, groceries shop, hotel, restaurants and any tourist sites.
  • Bus or any vehicles needed to stop in every checkpoint of every town in Xinjiang to register with passport if you are foreigners.  In some check point, we need to physically go down and go through the security scan & checks & finger prints. Some check points are more linear and the polices in full mask & big gun will come up to the bus to check on us.  That is quite fast, less than 3 mins.  Remember, do not take any picture of the police when they come up to the bus.
  • Please make sure seat belts are fastened at all time.  If the police found your seat belts are not fasten, the penalty is to stop the bus from moving for half an hour or an hour.
  •  All vechicle including bus needed to stop to register in each town.  Hence quite a lot of times  were spent but then it is one of the safest place in China.

7.What to wear and bring to in Silk Road China in Summer?

The weather in Gansu and Xinjiang is very hot in the day and cold at the morning and night-time.  The temperature difference between day and night is huge.  The heat is different from Singapore.  It is very dry and some of us experienced nose bleed.  The air you breath in during the day is super dry and warm.  The day temperature can go up from 40 to 70’c especially if you are at the Turpan Flaming Mountain.

Suggestion for you :

  • Bring along a hat or you can also buy hat at most of the tourist attractions.  Hats are selling at very cheap price – RMB 20-35 ( SGD 4 to 7 dollars) each.
  • Bring along a big scarf or you can buy at RMB 10-35 ( SGD 2 to 7 dollars).  Sometimes it is easier to walk with scarf than using umbrella, epecially if you are on camel ride.  Scarf to cover your face and hair work so much better than umbrella in the desert.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

  • Face mask/protection (like below) can be found at most of the tourist attractions in Silk Road.  Get one of these and I am sure you use to cover your neck and face area and don’t bother how people look at you because the heat is just unbearable.  Some people encounter heat stroke if protection was not done properly.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

  • You may want to purchase some gloves from Daiso Singapore to protect your hands and arms from sunburn.  Long gloves are also available at most of the tourist spots in Silk Road.
  • Bring along sunscreen too or hand fan or small electric fan.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

8.Tour Bus

We have two buses for the Silk Road trip.  One at Gansu for 5 days and another bus at Xinjiang for 9 days.  Both buses are luxury buses but there is a downside of these buses, that is the step to move up & down of bus is very high.  Elderly need to be extra careful when going up and down of the buses.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

9. Things to bring back home – souvenirs

There are many things you can bring back,such as those little souvenirs.  My advice is buy whatever you wanted to buy when you see it and don’t wait till your last stop.  The last stop may not have something you see previously.

When we visited the tourist spot, we were told by our tour guide not to look and shop at the small stalls due to time constraint. My suggestion is grab whatever you like and pay for it immediately and go.  Of course I am referring to those cheap stuff, eg few dollars hats, key chains, scarf etc.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

10. Tour Guides

1. Tour Guide from Gansu

We called him Xiao Huang as his surname is Huang.  He spoke a lot of history in the bus but many of us seem to fall asleep due to his monotone voice.  Anyway, he did what he suppose to do.  Responsible guide.

4 out of 5 stars for Xiao Huang

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

2. Guide in Xinjiang

We called him Xiao Ma as his surname is Ma.  He is the Hui people /回族 so he is a muslim.  He don’t eat pork and practice what a muslim does.  He is 1.83 cm tall, aged 37, married with one daughter living in Xinjiang.   His wife is also Hui people simply it is easier to get along as the culture and eating habits are the same as his.  Xiao Ma told us many stories during our 9 days in Xinjiang.  He is a great story-teller and good history teacher.  He has a good voice and speaks with different intonation which make him a great speaker. I felt he has some professional voice training before.

It is really enjoyable to listen to him and he speaks for hours nonstop, eventually you will fall asleep as being hypnotized.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

Xiao Ma also owned a shop selling dried fruits and souvenirs.  He has introduced some of the top grade dates and walnuts.  He also introduced us lavender oil, rose oil and horse oil. I bought big dates (RMB 60 – SGD 12-13.00) and Walnuts with shell (RMB 60).  Buy any 10 packet to receive an (one) additional free.  Free packing in box for you to bring back home.  The Hetian Xinjiang big dates is a good buy, the dates skin are really thin and the meat is really sweet & thick.  It is meant to eat like a snack and not for boiling in soup.  The size of the dates is almost your palm size.  It is advice to eat one to two a day, don’t overeat as it is very heaty and you may experience nose bleed or sore throat if overeat.  The selling is only done during the bus tour ride, it did not take out any of our time.

5 out of 5 star for Xiao Ma.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

3.Chan Brothers’ Tour Leader from Singapore 

Peter Han is a great tour leader who is very responsible and do all his best to protect our rights and also care for every one of us.  Peter lead us from Singapore Airport, 14 days with him help me see the passion in him for his job.  In fact most of the important information above were pass down by Peter.  Looking forward to join him in another journey!

5 out of 5 star for Peter.

Silk Road China - What to expect & Prepration!

11. Medication :

  • Charcoal & vomiting medicine
  • Panadol & fever & cold
  • Drink probiotics daily before your departure to Silk Road
  • Vitamins
  • Half of our tour member fall sick, some vomiting, diarrhea, fever or coughing simply due to harsh weather and hectic schedule.  In fact, my table of 10 pax, 8 of us experienced diarrhea & vomiting & fever.

12. What is the best time to travel Silk Road?

The best time to visit Silk Road is from May to October.  The summer is super hot but lesser tourists.  It is easier to shoot picture in summer.

Autumn – September onwards would be the best weather as it is more comfortable, scenery would be also more stunning as you will see the changes of leaves in the woods but be prepared of the swarm of local Chinese tourists.  Harder to shoot a solo photo in most of the tourist site, most likely will have some photo bomb.

Other to note :

  • Bring along many plastic bags to use for throwing rubbish in the bus and also many of the groceries shops does not provide plastic bags.
  • Try not to drink cold drinks too much as you may experience stomach flu when your immune system is low.  Bring along a thermal flask and try to drink warm water to protect your stomach.
  • Weather in Kanas Lake Jiadengyu is very cold – totally different.  In summer the temperature at night can be lower than 10’c.  The resort does not have a heater so you may want to bring along a jumper and a coat for morning & night use.
  • Best way to dress yourself is with layers.  When the weather turn hot, you can just take off the layer of jacket.
  • Do not purchase jade & Chinese medicine from the rest area.  Beware of scam in rest area, there are actually pretend tourists near the Chinese medicine and Jade stalls who will scam you into the trap.  Stay away.
  • Shop as you go and don’t wait for the last day to shop.  Things in Grand Bazaar Urumqi is not cheap.  In fact things in Xinjiang aren’t cheap, the price is similar to Singapore price.

Final thoughts :

We have traveled over 4000 km of Silk Road China with buses & bullet train.  The tour can be very rushed and you won’t be able to do many shoppings.  You need to be quick and immediately pay for what you like at the stalls in the tourist sites.  No time for bargain.  Anyway, the thing sold there are cheap, few dollars for a hat, scarf, etc.  Really no need to bargain.

This trip has helped me to realise to travel while I am still young, don’t wait till I am too old to crawl.  Most of the complex are very big and plenty of walking uphill and downhill.  There are also many hours of traveling in the bus, there were 2 days that we travel in the bus for more than 7 hours. When you look out from the window of the bus, all you see is deserts & mountains for many hours.  Having said that, I think I am still glad to have make it to Silk Road and glad I survived in this harsh climate.

 

 

 

67 Replies to “Silk Road China – What to expect & prepare for this Amazing Race!”

  1. Wow, that sounds like quite a hectic adventure. All those security checks sound a bit daunting too but it must be so fascinating to see the actual Silk Road in real life.

    1. Dear Michelle,
      You are so right the security checks can be daunting, we were being chased constantly by the police and some even get up our buses with big guns and full mask, just like in the movie. Having said that, the police are actually after any suspects, not us 🙂 This would made the whole Xinjiang very safe.

    1. Dear Gigi,
      Thanks for your comment. At least someone who is going to Silk Road will not get shocked by the frequest police checks. Everyday we need to go through checks!

  2. Wow! All of those security checks! I always hold my breath when going through them. What an incredible guide you have provided for anyone visiting.

    1. Dear Lakesha,
      The security check in Xinjiang China is really something new to me. I have never been to any place like that, even security scan to go in toilets. Really eye opening. But then it is one of the safest place in China.

    1. Dear Daisy,
      Thanks for you comment. Yes, this guide will help people who intend to go Silk Road China and has all the thing they need to know before departing for this long journey.

  3. There’s so much history with the silk road, it’s so cool that you take these tours. Definitely a lot of prep – so this is a great article for anyone that wants to visit. P.S. that fried naan with onions looks delicous.

    1. Dear Jessica,
      Thanks for your comment. You will find naan everywhere in Xinjiang, I guess it get the influence from middle east/Persia. Din’t know they fried it with onion and make it a dish. By the way, it is really delicious.

  4. WOW! What a whirlwind of a trip! I don’t know if I’d be able to handle all the hectic stops, so I’m living vicariously through you with this post. Gorgeous pictures!

    1. Dear Quitterstrip,
      Thanks for your comment. It is not an easy tour for sure as we are rushing within 2 weeks. If given a month, everything should be turn out very good.

  5. Wow, so much information on this post. If anyone is planning to visit, I think that this post is a must read.

    1. Dear Davindra,
      Thanks for your comment. I hope this will give some heads up for anyone who is going to Silk Road China, the toilet facilites, the highway and the security checks.

  6. This is such great information! I don’t think most people would know about things like toilets, wearing layers, & what to bring. The security check sounds like it can take a really long time & people should prepare to be there early. It sounds like an interesting trip!

    1. Dear Samantha,
      Thanks for your comment. Security checks are really something pretty shocking for us, we needed to report to Police check point in every town, so almost 4 times a day for an average. Not including those security scan in toilets and restaurants.

  7. Wow! China sounds like a lot a nice place and has a lot of beautiful scenery to offers. The hotel is so pretty and the food really looks so delicious. This post must read by someone who has a plan to visit this place, such a great guide.

    1. Dear Geraline,
      Thanks for you comment. I hope this post will help to prepare anyone who is going to Silk Road China, a reference to them before stepping into Silk Road.

  8. China through your eyes looks and sounds amazing! Your blog post is really informative and will surely help anyone out with advice if they were looking to visit.

    1. Dear Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your comment. China is full of history and culture but also very advance these day. I was quite shock at their bullet train – efficient and clean. Similar to the Japan bullet train. The changes are very fast in China, it never stay the same everytime I re-visit.

    1. Dear Danielle,
      Thanks for your comment. The food in Silk Road are quite interesting, which include mainly beef and lamb. One of the iconic dish is the camel roof, it tasted like sea cucumber or beef tendon. Really feel sorry for the beautiful camel.

  9. I have transited through both Beijing and Shanghai on numerous occasions and the security clearance is the worst. This sounds like a great tour. However, if I never see China again I won’t be sad.

    1. Dear Nancie,
      Thanks for your comment. The custom clearance in Beijing and Shanghai are just insane, especially the foreigner queue. I guess too many people wanted to get in and too little counter open to help clear the queue. Silk road has given me some intro about the ancient route which connecting east and west. I won’t be going back at least 2 years later, but again – not silk road but other part of China that I have never explore.

  10. K – this is a comprehensive and thorough post. Love the details and the hacks you shared to save us time, energy and effort. It looks as though there is no shortage of good food, and in my mind, makes up for roughing it. What an adventure it must have been! I gasped a few times and laughed a few times reading this delightful post. Thanks so much!! Xo, Evelyn

    1. Dear Evelyn,
      Thanks for your comment. I do laugh about this Silk Road tour, many rush hours and intersting encounter that I could only expereience in Silk Road, such as the toilet in Nature and Hanche/toilet with no water to flush. Plus the many rush hours where we have to rushed to the police station to report and register – taking photos of us and our passport documents – as if we are some suspects. Some checks were done by police on face mask with huge machine gun who rushed up to our bus and look at each of us. – as if we are refugees escaping in the borders….lol Having said that I guess this is one of the memorable experience for me as I can never face that back home.

    1. Dear Czjai,
      Thanks for your comment. The toilets thingy is really something interesting. In the old days (10 years ago), I heard the condition of the toilets in silk road are even more challenging. These days the condition of toilets has improved a lot. At least there are good toilets in the highway rest area 🙂

    1. Dear Holly,
      Thanks for your comment. At least this tour is worth to experience at least once. Many scenes are like in the movies, especially the “road blocks” by police and “detour” us – chasing us to the nearby police station to report and register. This is truly an “amazing race” -Silk Road Series, rushing from one place to another with few different transportation mode, airplane, buses, bullet train, camel ride. “Check in” in every police station in the town and find the way to survive – (toilet survival). Luckily in this tour, food is abundant. 🙂

    1. Dear Kayla,
      Thanks for your comment. Glad you love these picures and some of the pictures were taken by our tour member, especially one of my favorite – toilet in the nature, the one with ladies holding scraf.

  11. Seeing the Silk Road would be so amazing! I’m not sure I am keen to go though after you told of the hectic schedule and illness!

    1. Dear Ann,
      If you have more time and do not need to rush within a certain time frame, then Silk Road can be very pleasant for you 🙂 as you can take your time to see and experience slowly.

  12. It felt like I just watched an enjoyable documentary. So much information and detail, it’s definitely worth bookmarking. Silk Road looks and sounds so promising, I can’t wait to visit this place with my family!

    1. Dear Esme,
      Thanks for kind comment. Silk Road is not an easy journey, especially when you enter Xinjiang China as the security check is so tight and often. Hence a lot of time were spent. This post is work as a head up to anyone who is preparing for Silk Tour journey 🙂

    1. Dear Ayana,
      We were all wonder why a staff sitting next to the egg when we entered, then we realised he was sitting there just to stop hotel guests from taking more than one egg. Lol.

    1. Dear DrAmrita,
      Thanks for your kind comment. The toilet review to give the traveler some heads up, else they will be too shock. As for the scarf, bring along a huge and thicker scarf to protect your skin from the sun.

  13. Looks like quite a hectic trip. I love the bit of history that you shared at the beginning of the post . The toilets without water definitely are a new one for me 🙂 The attention to detail in this post is much appreciated . You have me dying to try these exotic dishes .

    1. Dear Tachira,
      Thanks for your comment. Toilet without water to flush is really something that I hope not to encounter during the tour. However, when you are too urgent, I guess you don’t have much choice. 🙂

    1. Dear Ana,
      Thanks for your comment. Silk Road is for someone who is interested in culture and history. Well, the scenery in Xinjiang is amazing too. They called it Swiss in China.

    1. Dear Katz,
      Thanks for your comment. Hope it is helpfu for anyone who is going for Silk Road China Tour. As you may know the hash weather is Silk Road can be quite challenging.

  14. This is such a great overview on how to best prepare for this tour – thank you for sharing all the details of what to expect (especially the bathroom facilities – best to be prepared!). I would never have known a lot of these things, like the weather conditions, or all the security stops. Sounds like a really fun trip though!

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thanks for your kind comment. This post is meant for anyone who wanted to do Silk Road China. Be mentally prepared of the toilet facilites and police checks on the road.

    1. Dear Hema,
      I hope my article will help many travellers to prepare for the Silk Road journey. What to expect before depart for this incredible road trip. Thanks for your comment.

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