Episode 4: Riding along the infamous Ancient Silk Road!

tourists riding camels near the Crescent Moon Lake

Finally i arrived Dunhuang 3 days ago, after a harsh day of cycling some 80km offroad from Aksai Kazakzu. I was really exhausted riding to Dunhuang, firstly because the road was still under construction and secondly of course, the hot weather. The highest of the day was some 45 celcius, it was very hot and i felt so thirsty. While riding, i could imagine a mango juice with ice flowing thru my mouth. I then rode fast to Dunhuang and left Nancy behind hehe. Couldnt take it anymore, i need to get water fast. When i reached Dunhuang, the first thing i look was water… cold water… with ice! Dunhuang, is nothing more than a tourist spot. This town was a very important town to Silk Road Travelers in the past, its an oasis town where it was a major stop for Silk Road Caravans. They have 2 famous tourist spot here which are the Mogao Cave, where its a home of a giant sleeping buddha and a crescent moon lake. So from now on, ill be riding along the infamous ancient Silk Road all the way to the Central Asia border. Actually, the starting point of the Silk Road path on the China part is in Xi’an and it stretches all the way to Ankara in Turkey. So actually i dont miss much on the China side anyway, nothing much in Xi’an except their terracota warriors and also the infamous Hua Shan mountain.

camels waiting to carry tourists

Stayed here 3 days, not because i really like it here, but theres so much to prepare on my cycling journey ahead. Currently im researching the road from Dunhuang to Urumqi in the northwest. Its some 1000km from here and will pass by Turpan, another big town which is some 800km from here. Between that i will pass a few smaller towns, and between those smaller towns… theres nothing, except the desert. Another thing, i need to change my sleeping time. After discussing with Nancy, we agreed to start cycling as early as 6 in the morning, and stop somewhere around 11 am. Its too hot in here, we couldnt take it, cycling at some 45-50 celcius. So we will rest at 11am, and start cycling again somewhere around 5 pm all the way to 9pm. Just that im worried because the distance between town to town is some 120-150km, and we cant take a rest in the middle of the desert, its too hot.

13 Comments on “Episode 4: Riding along the infamous Ancient Silk Road!

  1. Ancient Silk Road eh? Didn’t they use this road to transport prostitute as well back in the middle age??

  2. azmil – its the route used by caravans in the past to export silk from China to middle east. I never heard about transporting prostitutes tho.
    jessica – hehe illegal… awww… guess u know me well.. huh? :)

  3. If you are going straight to Urumqi, then you won’t be visiting Jiayuguan, the western-most end of the Great Wall. Enjoy your adventure.

  4. zulsim – unfortunately, yes im gonna miss jiayuguan. thats the disadvantage of cycling in my opinion. its too far and out of my way. I also gonna miss visiting the beautiful kanas lake in northern xinjiang close to the russian border, because after urumqi im heading west towards kashgar.

  5. Nice experience. Good luck and take care. I used to travel from Istanbul, Turkey to Shiraz in Iran before, and all over Europe. Might do all over again if I’m still young.

  6. I suppose keeping this blog alive is the only reminder for yourself to the modern civilised world you left behind. I only wish you had exploited this wonderful epic journey of your life a bit more, not because i’m greedy but I think you should at least translate your sweats and tears into good course. I only wish you had taken this to raise donation for a charity as a secondary cause. perhaps liaise with a newspaper to bring awareness for a charity.

    wish you all the luck

    p/s does Nancy has her own blog?

  7. hi JJ,
    Im actually thinking about the same idea too. After this ride, i will do that if i plan to continue riding from Russia to Africa. For now its hard for me to do it since i dont have much contacts and im far away from my home soil. But i will surely give it a try :)
    and no… Nancy doesnt have a blog but she kept a personal diary with her…

  8. Z,
    i shall be checking on yr blog from now. If i were you, start writing to all newspapers, radio stations in Malaysia. You already have a blog here to show them and you are only half way in your journey. You wouldnt know what’s there unless you starts knocking at the doors. hey, not long ago, there was a woman fr home who hitch-hiked along an expedition to the coldest place on earth and she was later awarded a title. dun know what has happened to her.
    you have a rare opportunity here since not many back home cycle as much as you have with so little support.

    p/s if you do get attention fr the media, pls pls dun become the ‘government spoke person’ and start chanting slogan like 1Malaysia and carry our national flag, not because I am not patriotic, but because I think you should do it for greater cause, you must do for the humanity. I’ll leave this to you. you’ll have plenty of time to think it over.


  9. hi JJ,
    thank you for your interest on reading my blog, appreciate it :) Im doing this not to earn any title, and also its not really about cycling. I wasnt a cyclist before, honestly i borrowed my friend’s bike to train myself in kl like a month before i did this. there were no preparation for this. I simply want to travel, my interests are simply landscape and culture. And i chose cycling simply because i can travel very detail from village to village instead of using the tedious bus ride from city to city.

    yea thank you for the advice, i will think of a way to contact the media so i could get some help. oh i do carry our national flag.. i got 2 some more! Hehe… but thx again for ur advice… will really think about it…
    cheers JJ…

  10. z,
    i dun want yo to think tht I am disparaging your quest by implying tht u r altering a title. oh no.
    u remind me of Forrest Gump the movie, where he tried to portray Terry Fox running across Canada. u know, got up one day and started to run and run and run…..
    how much weight have you n Nancy lost so far?
    what is your main diet intake?
    do you know how many calories you eat a day while cycling?

    i’m not a sport doctor, I dont know the answers. I merely raise these q’s so that you are aware of them.


  11. JJ,
    hehe yeah… those kind of movies really inspire me. To most ppl its crazy, to me.. its just doing something to get away from the boring repetitive routine life…

    well.. i cant answer ur questions. We dont bring weight scale while cycling u know :)..but sure we lost a lot of weight. and we cant find it anywhere along our route. and surely… i dont know how much calories i take daily. Food i take? Oats n milk when camping. Always. Besides that, it depends on anything available. As u see, my cycling route is very difficult, im dodging cities, and choose to ride on mountains and deserts. When i reach villages or towns, i just pick up whats available. Sometimes, i even eat only instant noodles! I get rice, potatoes and beef if im very lucky…

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