THE SILK ROAD

WHY IT’S HOT: TRAVEL IN THE FOOT­STEPS OF ‘LUMMERS’ AND THE TRADERS OF OLD, DAR­LING!

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Wonderlust Travel Hot List 2019 -

We say: Where our idols go, we fol­low. And ac­cord­ing to our 2018 Wan­der­lust Reader Awards, your en­dur­ing TV travel crush is still the ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous Ms Joanna Lumley. With her lat­est se­ries trac­ing the Silk Road, the an­cient trade net­work con­nect­ing China to the West, we’re bet­ting it’s on your list, too. And why not? The once dif­fi­cult-to-visit lands it passes through have be­come ever more ac­ces­si­ble to trav­ellers – just this year, Uzbek­istan in­tro­duced a new e-visa sys­tem and five-day visa-free stays for vis­i­tors in tran­sit.

Ex­pect ro­mance, his­tory and end­less va­ri­ety, from over­land­ing the rugged Pamir High­way in Ta­jik­istan to trotting the sap­phire-blue lakes and vel­vet val­leys of Kyr­gyzs­tan on horse­back. But the wild set­tings are just the back­drop to cul­tures and tra­di­tions un­changed for cen­turies. Soak them up first-hand on com­mu­nity stays or in tales told over the crackle of camp­fires.

But it’s in the bazaars, car­a­vanserais (inns) and desert forts of Uzbek­istan and Turk­menistan where you’ll ar­guably find the Silk Road of the imag­i­na­tion. Here, between Sa­markand’s Regis­tan Square and the oa­sis of Khiva, the ghosts of trav­ellers long past can still be felt on a jour­ney that, for all the myr­iad op­tions en route, hasn’t al­tered in spirit since the first camel train set out.

Don’t miss: Silk Road trav­ellers of­ten skip China’s western Xin­jiang re­gion, but its Uyghur cul­ture, alpine lakes and in­cred­i­ble food are worth the visit. Spicy chuan’r ke­babs and fried naan bread, any­one?

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