Place To Be – The Silk Road

When the rich and famous go on holiday, just chilling on a pearly white beach or visiting remote locales often isn't enough. The new credo seems to be that it's all about experiences. Well, it seems we've found just that, the ultimate traveling experience, the Silk Road. So what is the Silk Road? In essence, it's a 2000 year old, 4000 mile long trading route stretching from sea in China to Istanbul, Turkey. In days gone by, caravans of merchants traveled this network transporting luxury goods like spices, ivory, precious gems, gold, jade, pearls and the, lest we forget of course, silk. The modern trip through Central Asia is done by train, and if you're willing to see the entirety of the route, which we highly recommend, then it'll take no less than 48 days. But since not many people have that much spare time, shorter trips are possible as well, although travelers then only get to experience a fraction of the road. Ultimately, the trip is a very long train ride, but that doesn't mean that globetrotters are confined to their luxury cabins. There are stops at various cities to explore, to ride the Caucasus steps on a horse, or to relax at a lake. Passengers get to witness no less than 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites along the way. The tour begins in Siena city, best known for their ancient army of terracotta soldiers. After departing, tourists soon find themselves marveling over the country's Taklamakan desert, stopping at Oasis towns and exploring impressive caves before reaching the market village of Kashgar. Then we're on to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, a very old city full of ancient architectural wonders. The place simply oozes Central Asian vibes. Next stop, Uzbekistan travelers can experience the mesmerizing cities Kiva and some are canned. The latter boasts the Registan Square that'll probably leave you speechless. Although Kiva's cult of minor minaret isn't something soon forgotten either. Another image that's likely to be burned in your memory for the rest of your life is the Darvaza crater in Turkmenistan. This is actually a giant collapsed gas crater in the middle of the desert. The place is also called the Door to Hell, and judging from this footage, they're not exaggerating. When people hear Kazakhstan, the image of Borat might spring to mind, but those who've traveled the Silk Road are more likely to look back at their time in the great city of Almaty. The centuries of history paired with Soviet era architecture make for a truly unique mix. Iran is also on the list of countries on the Silk Road. While it's often in the news for all kinds of negative reasons, the truth is that also some of the friendliest locals live here and that it's just a very beautiful nation. The last state on the list is Turkey. Mainstream tourists normally head for the beach towns on the West Coast, but this time around, train passengers arrive from the east, showing a side of the country often overlooked by travelers. The final stop is in Istanbul, a massive metropolis that'll take days to explore and never ceases to amaze. To say touring the Silk Road is the experience of a lifetime would still be an understatement. People taking on this trip get to enjoy numerous countries, national histories, religions and locals. The best part is that the region has evaded mass tourism, making for a very authentic expedition, and that it's done by train only adds an extra layer of uniqueness. If there's one holiday that'll provide food for interesting conversations for ages and enough photos to fill 15 Instagram accounts, then it's got to be this one. Traveling the Silk Road will give you bragging rights for life.

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