Silk Road Travel from China to Kazakhstan
Nowadays, horses and camels have been replaced by modern transportation such as Aeroplane, high-speed railway and new highways, which has promoted the development of the new Silk Road. These advanced modes of transportation have also brought new choices for the tourism industry throughout Eurasia.
What to visit?
There are many beautiful natural landscapes and historical sites along the silk road and it's time to choose some destinations and start our journey!
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Longmen Grottoes represent the high point of Chinese stone carving and will blow your mind. It is home to more than 2,300 caves and niches that were delicately carved into the limestone cliffs of over one kilometre long.
There are around 110,000 Buddhist stone statues and more than 2,800 inscriptions carved on the stones, as well as plenty of historical materials regarding religion, art, calligraphy, architecture and more.
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to visit the Longmen Grottoes and Luoyang. Among them, Summer will be very hot and winter bitingly cold. Meanwhile, The Annual Luoyang Peony Festival from 10 to 25 April, is the best time to see the blooming peonies. There may be some interesting activities during the festival.
Xi'an City Wall
Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, is an ancient city with plenty of history. The city centre is surrounded by a wall, an ancient military defensive system that has preserved in China.
The city is full of classic Chinese architecture. There are a total of 18 city gates and the South Gate, or Yongning Gate is the most time-honoured and magnificent one.
You can enjoy a leisurely walk or bike on the city wall. The city also houses two museums that showcase its history. Admission costs 30 RMB/Person, with children and students paying half-price. After exploring the city wall, you can pay a visit to the nearby Bell Tower.
Another must-visit scenery is, undoubtedly, the renowned Terracotta Army, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to 3rd century B.C.
The life-size warrior figures, chariots and horses were buried together with China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, to protect him in the afterlife. The grand tomb was later accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974, turning it into one of the best-known attractions in China.
The best time to visit Xi'an is from March to May and September to November. If you're interested in a lingering longer, read this post: How to perfect your 72-hour visa-free stay in Xi'an.
Arriving in Lanzhou, we're halfway through the journey. Growing up on a strategic stretch of the Yellow River, Gansu's provincial capital reflected in its mix of ethnic groups and cultures, showing the charm of the city to the world.
Want to taste some local delicacies? Lanzhou beef noodle is one treat you cannot miss. It is usually served with clear soup and hand-pulled noodle. In halal restaurants in China, only quality local beef from the Southern Yellow Cattle prepared by the local halal butcher is used for Lanzhou beef noodle. Specially cooked Chinese spicy oil is also an indispensable part.
Set on the edge of the Silk Road, Dunhuang may seem like an unlikely place to find an oasis of Buddhist art. With towering dunes in the background, the caves here reflect the power of divine inspiration.
The Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang is considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. It is a complex of 492 grottoes adorned with Buddhist statuary and frescoes, created between the 4th and 14th centuries. At its zenith during the Tang Dynasty, the site housed 18 monasteries, more than 1,400 monks and nuns, and countless artists, translators, and calligraphers.
Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Moon Spring:
Six kilometres south of Dunhuang at Singing Sands Dune, the desert meets the oasis in the most spectacular view. From the sheer scale of the dunes, it's easy to see how Dunhuang gained its name "Town of Sand". In the same area is the Shallow Spring fed Crescent Moon Lake, which forms an oasis at the desert's edge. A peculiar natural phenomenon occurs when standing on top of the dune. If it's a windless day, a sound similar to a flute can be heard, but if there are many people descending the dune at once it becomes a thunderclap.
As the provincial city of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumqi has become a new metropolis in northwest China over the last few years.
The International Grand Bazaar:
The International Grand Bazaar is a good place to taste the Xinjiang flavours and buy some souvenirs. It covers a huge commercial complex with a local food plaza, shopping plaza, ethnic handicraft stores, exhibitions, an outdoor performance square, and mosques. It is the largest Bazaar in China and the landmark tourist attraction in Urumqi.
Xinjiang to Kazakhstan:
We ended our trip at Urumqi in Xinjiang. Today we will drive across the border junction of the Western Europe-Western China Highway and travel from China's Khorgos Port to Kazakhstan.
As an intermediate zone linking the Eurasia Land Bridge, Kazakhstan is one of the most important countries for transit transport. Its geographical position is exceptionally good and essential as this is the first station to extend the New Silk Road.
As the "greenest city" in the world, Almaty has more than 60 wall-free parks and street gardens. The forest occupancy per capita is more than 90 square meters, meaning the city is a forest itself.
Take a cable car to the Kok-Tobe Mountains in the southeast of the city. You can have a panoramic view of Almaty. At dusk, the sunset will dye the whole city red, and the snow mountain behind you will look even more significant at this moment.
The Landmark Buildings in Almaty:
When it comes to landmark buildings in Almaty, it must be the Ascension Cathedral. It is a pure wooden church and the second tallest wooden building in the world. The holy statues and murals inside are painted by Russian craftsmen, exquisite as works of art.
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