China Silk Road Travel Tips
Silk Road Local Time:
The Beijing standard time, which is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (London) and 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (New York), is the standard time used in China. The visitor must know though that in Xinjiang, locals often use the Xinjiang time, which is two hours behind the standard Beijing time. For example : 11:00 AM Beijing time = 9:00 AM Xinjiang time
Best Seasons to visit the Silk Road:
The months of May and October are the best time to travel the Silk Road. The summer can be searingly hot. The winter is freezing. During May, the average temperature along the route is around 15C. The scenery is most beautiful during May. The accumulated winter snow on the tableland is melting. The grass is turning green. Visitors can enjoy this enchanting scenery without suffering extreme temperatures.
Tips on visiting Temples along the way:
When traveling along the Silk Road, a temple is often an important spot visited by travelers. There are some important things to remember, though, in order to ensure a pleasant visit to the temples.
Proper Manners: put your palms together and lower your head when meeting with the monks. Attempting to handshake, embrace or touch the head of the monk is considered sacrilegious.
Visiting Behaviour: Be respectful. Do not touch or deface any religious artifacts, and be silent and nonjudgemental during religious ceremonies.
Tips on how to visit the local ethnic families:
When traveling along the Silk Road, you may be fortunate enough to be invited to visit families of other nationalities. Different nationalities have different customs, taboos and living styles. Remembering the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do..." can ensure you a smooth and pleasant visit.
The best time to visit is in the afternoon; however the busy festival period should be avoided. Orderly and clean clothing is a symbol of politeness. Short trousers, waistcoat and hats are impolite. Before your visit a culture, get some knowledge about their religion, habits, living styles and especially taboos. Some gifts should be prepared at the first visit. Don't bring things that they would consider taboo and don't touch the utensils in their houses. When the hosts treat you with their local food, it is considered impolite to refuse it. If you are really reluctant, thank your host and offer some a reasonable explanation. When the hosts toast you, you should receive the cup and first offer your thanks to the hosts. Then you can drink it or let other people help you if you cannot bear the whole cup of wine yourself.
Money Safety along the Silk Road:
China is probably one of the safest countries to visit, although you should still travel wisely and keep your money close to you at all times. In hotels, leave your valuables in the safe. Be cautious in crowded public areas like bazaars, bus and train stations since thefts from pockets and day packs are not uncommon. The best prevention against theft is a money belt worn inside your clothing.
Hotels on the Silk Road:
The Silk Road spans most of China, from modern cities in the central China to isolated villages and towns in the remote west. Accordingly accommodations along the route range from high standard luxurious hotels to simple guesthouse.
In cities like Dunhuang, Turpan, Kashgar, Urumqi, Lanzhou, the visitor can enjoy high standard hotels. They all provide excellent conditions, all-round services and they are quite safe. But this kind of hotels is more expensive. Visitors on a tight budget may consider the cheaper hotels (Guesthouse). With simpler facilities and basic service, these guesthouses are used by most Chinese travelers. In the remote villages only simple and rough lodgings are available. These locations offer nothing but a quite simple room.
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