Journey to the West
December 13, 2006 7:23 PM   Subscribe

Monk and Monkey seek western paradise. Can you help us plan our Journey to the West?

A friend and I are hitting the (rail) road from Beijing to western China (and perhaps beyond) for two weeks. We’re both male American citizens with Chinese residence permits and no special dietary concerns. We are both fairly seasoned travelers, including experience traveling in Muslim countries.

There are some difficulties: We’d like to keep the budget around $500 (US) each, including transportation. We’re going in mid-January and it’s cold, though this is when we can do it. We don’t speak any Turkic languages.

So, oh ye mighty hive mind, what are the things we must see and must do in and around Xinjiang? What are the must eats and must drinks? Should we even bother to try and enter Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan (I think Pakistan is right out this season and Afghanistan is a bit touchy shall we say, but please correct me if I’m wrong)? Anyone have suggestions for places to stay? Suggestions to stay safe? Hard sleeper or soft?

Bonuses: I’d like to spend some time in some Tajik areas (see previous posts regarding my Iranian family connections). I'm a history and archeology buff, my friend is a cultural anthro buff and amateur photographer. Web links for hotels, restaurants, travel guides, etc are great. Suggested reading lists, please!
posted by Pollomacho to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pollo, my email is in the profile, if you don't get a lot of responses, I can give you some Central Asian insights.
posted by k8t at 7:40 PM on December 13, 2006

Well for Xinjiang, I would say skip Unrunchi (sp) and go to Kashgar instead, you will get a much better impression of the Silk road there. Also stop over in Xi'an for a day or two, it has a fantastic Muslim quarter, and the terra cotta soldiers are quite impressive.
If you can get out of the country try and visit Samarkaand.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2006

Best answer: Eat: lamb, lamb and more lamb. They make these kebob type things that you can get at streetside stands with cumin. Very tasty (.5 to 1 rmb apiece ... get like a dozen). They also have roasted lamb. you can get plates full for less than 15 rmb.

The noodles are really really tasty(and cheap). They're hand pulled and have great texture.

Everywhere you go ask for the hot sauce or hot oil. most people make their own and it can be pretty tasty.

Fresh squeezed pomegranate juice!

I'm hungry now.
posted by captaincrouton at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks guys keep 'em coming!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2006

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