Northern Silk Road Route ​- the Northern Silk Road Route is a route through China

Last Update: 16th October 2020

In 139 BC, Zhang Qian was sent to the Western Regions and went through various difficulties along the route. He returned to Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) in 126 BC. When he went to the Western Regions for the second time, he took a large amount of silk, which promoted the exchange of economic and cultural between the East and the West.


Since then, the Western countries had established diplomatic relations with the Han Empire (202 BC – 8 AD and 23 – 220 AD). Merchants and the diplomats who went to the Western Regions started from Xi’an, and went through Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Dunhuang, and Yumen Pass, and entered Xinjiang to visit the countries in the Western Regions. The then trade caravans in West Asia and Central Asia also entered China through this road for trade.

Northern Silk Road Route ​Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Beifang Sichou Zhilu (北方丝绸之路)
  • History: built in 139 BC
  • Things to do there: Photography, Ruins, Chinese History and Culture
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts, Chinese History and Culture Lovers
  • Time required: 5 – 10 x days

What to expect at the Northern Silk Road Route

Through the Northern Silk Road Route, people from China and the West in the ancient time exchanged cultures and the unique articles one another to enrich their life. During the interactive events and business activities, the old people have left us countless precious heritages, including the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.


Along the Northern Silk Road Route, you will find the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an – the starting point for the route, the stunning rainbow mountain, the 1,400 tombs buried in the desert for more than 1,500 years in the Wei and Jin Dynasties (220 – 420) 2 tombs of which reflecting the high skills in the ancient China are open to the public (you will see the amazing frescoes created over 1,500 years which present the then local life), Qinghai Lake, the Mogao Grottoes situated 25 kilometres southeast of Dunhuang offering 492 well-preserved grottoes in Gansu, the Ancient City of Loulan, Iduqut Shahri, Kanas Nature Reserve, Ghost City and Koktokay in Xinjiang. The list of the scenic spots along the Northern Silk Road Route is endless

Best time to enjoy the Northern Silk Road Route

The best months to explore Northern Silk Road Route are from April to October.​


How to get to the Northern Silk Road Route

As many high-speed trains and airplanes reach the cities along the Northern Silk Road Route, you can get to Xi’an or Xi’ning or Lanzhou first by plane. Many airlines have opened the route to Xi’an. Therefore, it is recommended that you visit Xi’an first. Then, you can go to other cities along the route by high-speed train or by air.


Additional Northern Silk Road Travel Advice

  • Generally speaking, the water shortage is common in some of the cities along Northern Silk Road Route, especially in Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu.
  • Sometimes, the power supply is cut or limited in Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu. Please ask the hotel for the supplying time of the power and the water when you check in.
  • In Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu, some hotels are not qualified to host foreign tourists. Please consult the hotel you are interested to book beforehand.
  • Please take care of your valuables and kids during the trip.
  • It is not suggested to explore the cities in Xinjiang, Qinghai or Gansu in winter as it is always chilly with heavy snow.

Interested in visiting the Northern Silk Road Route on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Northern Silk Road Route, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.