I would like to travel (part of) the silk road this summer (related question). As southern Turkey, Syria, Iraq and possibly Iran (due to the recent strains in relations with Saudi Arabia) are not safe territory, I was thinking of the following two possible routes by either car, bus, or train:

  1. Starting from Samarkand, travel east either passing through Tajikistan or passing north of it to get to Kyrgyztan and then to China (Ürümqi and then east for a while, or take an internal flight to get to the east coast of China).
  2. Starting from Pakistan (but I think the situation there is not very safe, at least according to gov.uk, so maybe departing from Lahore?) go a bit east into India (New Delhi?), then north through Tibet, maybe again 'till Ürümqi, and then as above.

I am trying to understand which of the two possibilities is safer (any raccomendation or resource is welcome), but also which one is more interesting. Any advice and/or personal experience in the areas mentioned above would be great.

Edit: I have double nationality: Swiss and French.

  • 1
    I don't have an opinion on the comparative advantages of the 2 routes (and the question is opinion-based and I won't be surprised if it will be closed). However, I did do the Kyrgyzstan to China crossing, and it was definitely a very unique and unusual experience. If you create a question about this (e.g. "What methods are available to get from Osh, Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar, China" or something along these lines), I'll gladly write up my experience there. – Eugene O Jan 27 '16 at 23:18
  • @EugeneO Ok, thanks. I will probably do so in a couple of days and let you know. – Daniel Robert-Nicoud Jan 27 '16 at 23:53
  • 2
    I am not aware that you can travel from New Delhi to China directly without going via Pakistan (Islamabad - Kashgar). If there is a legal direct way to travel India-China I'd love to know of it. Please comment. – Russell McMahon Jan 28 '16 at 2:04
  • Daniel - it might be cleaner and easier (and less likely to provoke the vote-to-close trolls) if you split this into a question about what risks and limitations in the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-Xinjiang route, and what risks and limitations are involved in the Pakistan-India-Tibet-Xinjiang route. (Tip- mention your nationality, and maybe don't be too specific about Osh-Kashgar as it's possible the Torogut pass might open to foreigners. Erkeshtam is beautiful and an adventure but it's tough going. – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 28 '16 at 9:17
  • 1
    As for which is safer, not tried the other route but Kyrgyzstan route is pretty darn safe. Dangers are traffic accidents, breakdowns towards the border (but you can hitch with a truck), and drunk truckers in the dubious border hotel if you get stuck overnight. Kyrgyzstan's lovely, just get a safe driver who doesn't cut corners around blind bends on mountain roads - CBT have reliable drivers in every major town. Chinese will search your things and prob try to confiscate your guidebook if it has a map showing Taiwan as a separate country, maybe tear out the map before you reach the border. – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 28 '16 at 9:19

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.