What to Pack for Travel Along the Silk Road

What to Pack for Travel Along the Silk Road

Nearly everyone at the MIR Seattle office has been on one of our signature trips along the Silk Route. Besides the usual advice about comfortable shoes and versatile wardrobe pieces, we’ve compiled a collection of tips on what to pack (and what not to bother with) for a caravan along the Silk Road.

Central Asia is a first-class destination with third-world overtones, so be extra aware of hygiene, hydration and getting sufficient sleep.

You won't go hungry along the Silk Road, but be sure to use hand sanitizer before eating <br>Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

You won’t go hungry along the Silk Road, but make sure the fruit is washed in boiled or bottled water 
Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

Good to Go
  • Light layers: for hot, cool or cover-up
  • Probiotics: for happy bellies when trying new foods
  • Familiar high-protein snacks: for long days, or meals that you don’t care for
  • Earplugs: handy in case of crack-of-dawn calls-to-prayer from a nearby minaret
  • Hand sanitizer: for general hygiene, “bush stops” or cold-water bathrooms
  • Cash: credit cards don’t work in the bazaars (and ATMs can be hard to come by)
  • Socks and scarf: keep them in your daypack for entering mosques
  • Fold-up umbrella: rain happens
Leave scarves at home; gorgeous hand-made silk scarves abound along the Silk Road Photo credit: Michel Behar

Leave your extra scarf at home: there’s a reason they call it the Silk Road – buy them here
Photo credit: Michel Behar

Don’t Bother With
  • More than one silk scarf: buy local – this is the Silk Road, for heaven’s sake
  • A lot of warm clothes, unless it’s winter or your trip travels to high elevations like the Torugart Pass between Kyrgyzstan and Western China: a thin windbreaker should suffice, though a fleece can be welcome on flights
  • A full suitcase: leave plenty of room for fabulous purchases – silks, jewelry, miniatures, carvings, slippers, embroidered suzani (but be sure your suitcase has wheels for convenient handling at border crossings.)
Save room in your suitcase for <i>suzani,</i> hand-embroidered Central Asian designs <br>Photo credit: Christine Z. Anderson

Save room in your suitcase for suzani, hand-embroidered Central Asian designs
Photo credit: Christine Z. Anderson

The Most Repeated TipSadly, Imodium topped the must-bring list. Don’t drink the water!

That said, we recommend that you consult your personal physician or local travel health clinic for suggestions on what you can do about digestive disturbances.

Travel the Silk Route with MIRWith these tips, you’ll travel in style, secure in knowing you’ve got “the right stuff” on MIR’s scheduled tours of the Silk Road. You can also book a custom private journey.

(Top photo credit: Michel Behar)

PUBLISHED: July 30, 2014

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