Retrace the 2000-year old routes which first connected East and West. Travel the legendary Silk Road formed by the forays of Genghis Khan, Marco Polo, and Tamburlaine. Traders, pilgrims and armies followed in their hoofbeats and travelled from the Mediterranean into China via this massive network of many roads. They carried silks and spices and spread an infinity of cultural influences during these colossal journeys. The trip today is no snap, but a lot less dangerous.
This April, 2013, take the trip of a lifetime. Flip on the ignition of a highly charged, tip-top, ready-to-roll Land Rover in Vienna and cruise in a convoy all the way to Hong Kong in an amazing driving adventure. Over the course of 92 varied and dauntless days, navigating 16 countries and about 12,500 miles, “Drive the Silk Road®” is the safe and savvy way to ride into exotic cities, unknown towns and villages while bringing history alive in a gritty, realistic, experiential way. Tab for the whole trip: $37,557.
But if this sounds a tad too cher and/or too long a haul, consider driving one or more of the 4 sections:
Section 1: Vienna to Istanbul – From the Alps into Balkan Peninsula, approx. 1,600 miles. 21 days from April 6 – 26, 2013. Austria – Slovenia – Croatia – Montenegro – Albania – Macedonia – Bulgaria – Turkey
Section 2: Istanbul to Baku – The Ottoman Empire and the Caucasus, approx. 2,750 miles. 26 days from April 26 – May 21, 2013. Turkey – Armenia – Georgia – Azerbaijan
Section 3: Ashgabat to Kashgar – Central Asia, approx. 2,265 miles. 19 days from May 23 – June 10, 2013. Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan – Xinjiang, China
Section 4: Kashgar to Hong Kong – Taklamakan Desert – Amdo (Upper Tibet) and Southwestern China, approx. 4,900 miles. 30 days from June 7 – July 6, 2013 in China
Sections are priced from $9,250 -$12,530 pp on a double basis, and single supplements are approx. $2,500- $3,000.
Convoy commanders are the intrepid and indefatigable Ms.Yue Chi, China-born and Toronto-based, and her husband David Visagie, from Zimbabwe and Germany. An expert mechanic and off-road specialist. Both are popular lecturers with years of travel experience and intimate knowledge of each itinerary who will do everything to minimize risks and problems.
After all considerations, mechanical and otherwise, the top car is the muscular Land Rover Discovery with its 16V engine – best in class for overland expeditions into remote regions and extensively tried and tested for safety and dependability. Very smooth automatic transmission. These tough-ies are loaded to the max with 4-wheel anti-lock braking systems, dual front air bags – all bells and whistles down to cup holders, map lights, and fog lamps.
Driving on any road almost anywhere means putting oneself at risk, even more so on really foreign roads where conditions, signs, and “traffic language” are alien. Driving also maximizes the possibilities of the unexpected: encounters with the startling, the surprising, the unprogrammed –lost thrills of the road.
Requirements: adventurous spirit, voracious curiosity and an open mind. The ability to drive and some stamina also helpful.