Welcome to Southern Silk Road


This off-the-grid journey takes you far into the Uyghur heartland, as well as deep into the ancient multi-ethnic heritage of the region. You're as likely to come across a centuries-old tiled mosque as the ruins of a Buddhist pagoda from the 4th century.

It’s possible to visit the southern towns as a multiday trip from Kashgar before crossing the Taklamakan Desert to Ürümqi, or as part of a rugged backdoor route into Tibet or Qīnghǎi.


Top experiences in Southern Silk Road

Travel guides

Starting at $34.99

Image for

Southern Silk Road activities

$245 Kid Friendly

Private - Tiger Leaping Gorge Day Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Yangtze River First Bend, Shangri-La County, YunnanAppreciate the history and geography of an area important militarily and commercially as part of the Southern Silk Road to Tibet and renowned for the spectacular scenic gorge pivoting 90 degrees within a kilometer in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, channeling a rush of water. Duration: 1 hourStop At: Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia), Shangri-La County, YunnanConverging steep cliffs more than 3900 meters high between Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain squeeze the waters of the roaring Jinsha River to form the formidable Tiger Leaping Gorge, with its awesome spectacle of rushing water and spectacular scenery.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Zhiyun Temple, Yulong County, YunnanSoak up the vibrant color and spirit of this lamasery, featuring architecture, carvings and structural design drawn from the Naxi, Han and Bai people. In the temple courtyard are different kinds of flower and fruit trees, hundreds of years old, while the temple over looks beautiful Lashi Lake.Duration: 2 hours

Rail

The Silk Road of China

Geographically and culturally, Northwest China is about as far away from “traditional China” as you can get without crossing the border. The source of the Silk Road – the ancient trade route that helped create the modern world – is unlike anything you’ll find in Beijing or Xi'an, and this 18-day adventure crossing the country via rail takes you deep into the China few ever see. Otherworldly experiences abound, both on train and off: watch the sun rise over the dunes outside Dunhuang, explore the world of the Muslim Uyghurs, spend the night in traditional yurts near Urumqi, and venture into the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar. There’s more, of course, but we’ve got to keep a few secrets, right?

Southern Silk Road in detail