There is no journey on earth to rival the mystique and romance conjured up by the Silk Road. Connecting the east and west across Central Asia, this route has beguiled travellers since the time of Marco Polo, drawn to its exotic cities and staging posts and its dramatic and foreboding landscapes. As a transit for not only silk and other precious goods, but technology, religious beliefs and great armies, the Silk Road has been an important historical region for millennia, from the time of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane to the spies and agents of the Great Game in the 19th century. Much of the region in Central Asia was cut off under communism but is now opening up again and becoming one of the great travel experiences and destinations. There are actually numerous 'Silk Roads' between Istanbul in the west and Xian in the east, but generally the route travels through Turkey and Iran to the 'stans' of Central Asia and through western China to Xian. Along the way you'll encounter magnificent medieval Silk Road cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Kashgar and Merv, ancient caravanserai, some startling modern and frankly bizarre cities such as Ashgabat and dramatic desert and mountain landscapes, ideal for trekking, camel riding and staying in traditional yurts. The Silk Road is a journey like no other - challenging, demanding, dramatic and utterly unforgettable.


Frontiers of Travel Articles

The Road to Samarkand, The Turkmenistan Enigma

China Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Turkmenistan
Iran Azerbaijan Georgia Turkey

Silk Road Map

Routes for Silk Road

Beijing - Istanbul

The complete Silk Road journey from China to Istanbul is a mammoth trip across several countries thousands of kilometres and centuries of history one of the most evocative and memorable travel experiences in the world.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

Beijing - Ashgabat

The eastern portion of the Silk Road includes the journey across the vast lands and ancient staging posts of western China and the great Silk Road cities of central Asia in particular Samarkand Bukhara Merv and Khiva.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Beijing - Tashkent

Connecting the capitals of China and Uzbekistan this route includes the Chinese Silk Road from Xian to Kashgar the stunning mountains and lakes of the Kyrgyzstan landscape and the great medieval cities of Uzbekistan.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Beijing - Bishkek

A route along the eastern Silk Road of China and Kyrgyzstan that takes in the ancient Chinese capital of Xian and the remarkable Terracotta Warriors Silk Road staging posts such as Lanzhou Dunhuang Kuqa and Kashgar and the wild landscapes of Kyrgyzstan.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Bishkek - Istanbul

The long journey from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Istanbul explores all the highlights of the Silk Road without the long overland trip through China and includes all the great historic cities of Iran Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Tours: 4 available View highlights of this route

Bishkek - Ashgabat

This route takes in the heart of the Silk Road in the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan and includes many of the great historic Silk Road cities modern capitals and the remote wilderness of Kyrgyzstan.

Tours: 5 available View highlights of this route

Bishkek - Tashkent

This short route in Central Asia explores the highlights of the contrasting countries of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan the former renowned for its historic cities and monuments and the latter famous for its spectacular and wild landscapes.

Tours: 4 available View highlights of this route

Tashkent - Istanbul

The western portion of the Silk Road connects Istanbul and Uzbekistan via the historic cities and distinctive cultures of Iran and Turkmenistan.

Tours: 0 available View highlights of this route

Tashkent - Tehran

The route from Tashkent to Tehran encompasses many of the great historic Silk Road cities such as Samarkand Bukhara Khiva Merv and Yazd - famous for their spectacular palaces mosques and madrassas and their atmospheric bazaars and alleyways.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Tashkent - Ashgabat

This short route through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan goes to the heart of the Silk Road following in the footsteps of historic leaders from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan Tamerlane to the late President Nizayov of Turkmenistan and his futuristic capital of Ashgabat.

Tours: 3 available View highlights of this route

Ashgabat - Istanbul

An overland trip between Ashgabat and Istanbul explores the highlights of the western end of the Silk Road, either through Iran and its extraordinary cities like Esfahan Yazd and Shiraz or via the Caucauses in Georgia and Armenia.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

Tehran - Istanbul

This relatively short trip gives you a taste of the Silk Road from the great Islamic cities of Istanbul and Tehran to the historic Silk Road staging posts of Urfa and Tabriz.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

Ashgabat - Caucasus

This route along the western portion of the Silk Road links Turkmenistan with Georgia and Azerbaijan either through Iran or across the Caspian Sea.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Bishkek - Caucasus

A route that connects the Stans of the Central Silk Road with the ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus.

Tours: 0 available View highlights of this route



Guidebooks for Silk Road

Guidebooks for this journey from all the major travel publishers are listed below. Links to Amazon (UK, US and Canadian stores), Waterstones (UK) and selected publisher websites allow you to purchase the guidebooks online at best value with one simple click (individual chapter downloads are also available for selected Lonely Planet titles).

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Trailblazer The Silk Roads

Trailblazer Travel

The Silk Roads

3rd ed.
446 pages

Author(s): Paul Wilson


Insight Silk Road

Insight Guides

Silk Road

Dec 2012 (2nd ed.)
432 pages