Traveling China's Silk Road is a journey into China's ancient history and diverse culture quite unlike any other. It's a journey of contrasts: Han and Uyghur ethnicities, Buddhist and Muslim religion, Eastern and Central Asian culture, natural and man-made wonders, dry desert and Alpine mountain scenery.
The best time to travel to the Silk Road is from May to October. Weather conditions are pleasant from late spring to early autumn with an average temperature of 15 C. Although summer weather can be hot, the weather is dry and much more comfortable than hot days in the humid tropics. We recommend this time because the scenery is ideal when the fruits ripen, the flowers are in full bloom, and green grass covers the plateaus.
Located in south western Gansu province and the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Gannan has both Tibetan culture and stunning plateau landscape.
This area is famous for having a similar feel to Tibet but doesn't require a travel permit. With the average altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, you can experience Tibetan culture and enjoy the plateau scenery in comfort and without the risk of altitude sickness.
Here you will see grand prairies, scattered lakes, monasteries, Tibetan villages, unique mountain peaks, and hidden wonderlands.
Where is the mystical Shangri-La? The answer is hidden in the wrinkles of the Hengduan Mountains in the northwest of Yunnan province.
Shangri-La can be found in the chanting of the monks and lamas of Songzanlin Monastery. It can also be seen at the top of the Meili Snow Mountains, which have never been summited. You may find it in the valley of the Three Parallel Rivers or in the forest where the Yunnan golden monkeys live.
Autumn is a perfect season for outdoor activities and is when you can enjoy the fresh air and cool weather. How about taking a hike through tall mountains and rolling fields? The western part of Sichuan offers routes with stunning natural scenery and minority cultures that are popular with photographers and outdoor lovers alike.
The golden fall colors in Daocheng are gorgeous. Especially when put together with the white snowy mountains and different varieties of plant life. Daocheng is a popular stopover point on the journey to Yading, a place where you can gain insight into the nature of the Tibetan minority culture. In autumn, the red bushes of Hongcaodi combined with the yellow foliage under the clear blue sky are believed to exhibit the colors of heaven. The temples in these mountains represent the local Buddhist culture.
Guizhou province is home to many of China's minority groups and Kaili is one of the best places to use as a base for exploring these minority cultures. In Kaili, the museum, the Sunday market, and the villages nearby with their unique culture and architecture are all worth a visit.
It is said that in Kaili "grand festivals occur there every three days, while minor ones occur every day."
October is a great time to visit Inner Mongolia autonomous region. At this time, travelers can go to the quiet Ejina to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the area's unique populous Euphratica forest.
The particularity of its geographical position has blessed Inner Mongolia autonomous region with rich travel resources including plains, deserts, sparkling lakes, and massive herds of cattle and sheep. You can even experience the Mongols' ancient sporting traditions like horse racing, wrestling, and archery.
If you have a craving for pure and stunning natural scenery and don't want to be disturbed by crowds, Qinghai province in the northwest of China may be just the place for you.
Qinghai Lake is the sparkling jewel of north west China. Although autumn is not said to be the best time to visit the lake, the season offers a different kind of beauty well-worth seeing. The lake is quieter and more peaceful in autumn when it is decorated with yellow grasslands and snow-capped mountains. Standing on the banks, you will have a wide view of the scenery. This huge lake and quiet environment will make you feel at peace and engulfed in natural beauty.
The crowds during China's golden week have little impact on the fixed-number-per-ship Yangtze River cruise. However, booking the cruise during the National Day holiday is much more difficult than normal and we recommend you book at least two months in advance.
The Yangtze River cruise is the most popular cruise in China with beautiful natural landscapes and places of cultural interest to be seen along the way. The ship frequently stops and you can stretch your legs while exploring the attractions along the river banks. The Yangtze River in October is painted with bright fall colors. Also, the weather in October is quite comfortable and cool, making it a pleasant time to stand on the deck and survey the scenery.