Part 1: Hong Kong to Pingyao

The ancient Silk Road was one of the greatest trade routes ever, stretching from Asia to the Roman Empire. Starting from Hong Kong, CNN.com's David Challenger travels the Chinese section between Xian and Urumqi, but not before hitting the mesmeric city of Pingyao. For Buddhist art, Islamic architecture, towering sand dunes, diverse ethnicity and much more, click here and start the journey.

Part 2: Pingyao to Xian

It's about 7 hours by bus from Pingyao to Xian -- Shaanxi's largest city and the eastern gateway to China's ancient Silk Road.

    Part 3: Exploring Xian

    The Banpo Neolithic Village and famed Terracotta Warriors further complement Xian's substantial attractions.

      Part 4: Xian to Dunhuang 

      The train trip between Xian and Dunhuang winds though the Hexi Corridor in Gansu -- once the sole thoroughfare for Silk Road travelers.

        Part 5: The far west

        Home to China's ethnic Uighur population, Xinjiang is more attuned culturally to Central Asia than anything lying east.

          Quick Vote
          Given the chance, which of these trips would you like to make?
          Audio slideshow

          Listen to a Pingyao local and view town's stunning streets


          Audio slideshow

          Watch and listen to a beautiful Uighur folk act

          Xian gallery

          An army of terracotta warriors dominate this ancient capital


          Dunhuang gallery

          An oasis encircled by sand dunes and the odd camel

          Mogao gallery

          Some of the world's most impressive Buddhist cave art


          Turpan gallery

          Islamic architecture, desert ruins and spicy market food

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