If you have followed some of our previous posts on the epic Silk Road, you will be aware that part of the adventure also involves travelling into the countries that border China. The previous cool articles I mean are about Kashgar and Xinjiang, thanks to our expert Josh. Bordering China on the Silk Road are India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan & Gorno Badakhshan, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan so there is a vast amount of ground to cover.
Many backpackers follow a traditional route, but in all honesty – everything is the Silk Road if you are going overland from Beijing to Istanbul for example. Here are some highlights, within and without China.
1.Turpan, Xinjiang, CHINA
If you have followed our blogs the last few years, you might have read our guide to Turpan. A recommended sight is Turpan’s Emin Minaret in Xinjiang, China
2.Kashgar, Xinjiang, CHINA
Kashgar’s yellow-tiled Id Kah Mosque in Xinjiang, China is an absolute stunner on the eye so make sure you get this on your itinerary as you head through the epic Silk Road in western China.
3.Khorog, Gorno Badakhshan, TAJIKISTAN
Once you cross from China into Tajikistan, you are not quite in Tajikistan. The reason being, there is an autonomous region here called Gorno Badakhshan. Its capital city of Khorog has some wild backpacking sights and the journey from here, onwards to the capital city, Dushanbe is memorable. As a bonus, you get to see Afghanistan across the border too.
Who could ignore glorious Uzbekistan? The absolutely magnificent city of Samarkand is a pure fire backpackers gem and a photographer’s paradise. Winding your way round the city alone can get tricky though, so make sure you get a Samarkand Uzbekistan Map in advance and get your camera ready to be overwhelmed.
5.Masar e Sharif, AFGHANISTAN
If you are feeling brave, bold and adventurous, head to Masar e Sharif in Afghanistan. This is a totally cool Islamic city with the famous Blue Mosque. Here, there are not many tourists at the moment, but it’s a Silk Road highlight and you can admire the Hazrat Ali tomb. The one thing you need to remember though – it’s a highly risky place to visit so get some good insurance and have a local guide. You will love it!
For more European adventures you can also keep tabs with Jonny as he backpacks through Poland.