The Silk Road

The Silk Road is actually a sprawling network of interlinked highways, rather than a single route. The main artery ran from China through the ‘Stans, across Persia and ended in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. One of the earliest and most profitable products to make its way along this ancient caravan route was silk – hence the name. Today, the Silk Road ranks among the most iconic overland tours.

Silk Road itinerary & highlights

As it stretches around 7,000km in total, and spokes off in several directions, overland tours on the Silk Road have substantial variations in itineraries and duration. Many routes will take you through at least a handful of the the ‘Stans: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan or Turkmenistan, and may also feature parts of countries such as Azerbaijan China, Iran, Turkey or Georgia.
Often you’ll be traveling through very remote regions, with epic scenery composed of snow capped mountains, lakes, deserts or plains. You might visit the ancient city of Osh, the legendary caravanserai Tash Rabat, Beijing’s Forbidden City, and Samarkand, which over an eventful history has played host to both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.

As you travel, you’ll wander through colourful bazaars, admire stunning Islamic architecture, listen to the call to prayer, and watch traditional sports, handicrafts and cultural performances.


Silk Road overland trips can last anywhere between two weeks and several months. In most cases they will begin and end in capital cities such as Tashkent or Beijing, allowing you to easily extend your vacation if preferred. Domestic flights, trains, boats and public transport will occasionally be employed, but most tours get around either in private trucks or coaches.
You will overnight in yurts, or welcoming guesthouses where you’ll be served delicious home cooked meals. Alternatively you may be wild camping for much of your tour, and shopping for food in local markets.

Our top Overland Vacation

Central Asia overland tour, the stans

Central Asia overland tour, the stans

An epic journey through the five 'stans' of Central Asia

From £4999 to £5699 26 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 2 Sep
2024: 25 May, 7 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Overland or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our vacation reviews

“Be prepared for long days driving - often on very bumpy roads. However, nature's spectacles compensate for the traveling inconveniences. Sleeping in a yurt was a new adventure for me. I am glad I booked it. This vacation gave me insight about the people and the way they live.” – Jayne Hanlin on a Silk Road tour from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan
“I particularly enjoyed the added insight into every day life the guides were able to give us as they were all local. It was interesting to see the three different countries and travel through the countryside, mostly in minibuses with commentary by the guides. We went in April/May and experienced really hot sunny weather, cold evenings -enough for warmish coats, strong cold winds and some rain, so pack for all eventualities. Be prepared for long days with some early starts and to be able to account for all your medicines, jewelry, and exact amount of money in all currencies at border posts. Bring tissues and hand gel.” – Eva Dingwalls on a Silk Road itinerary around far western China
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Phil Whitehouse] [Intro: Ninara] [Itinerary & highlights: tjabeljan] [Practicalities 1: Cory Denton] [Practicalities 2: Ryan Dunn] [Tips 1: Thomas Depenbusch (Depi)] [Tips 2: Ninara]