The silk road was NOT a "highway" where people just walk to China and just buy something and go home. Silk Road consisted of may minor trade routes and included may diffrent roads. Silk Road connected Asia - Africa - Europe indirectly. It also provided a "Cross Road" of cultural exchange and Cultural diffusion (Sychrotizm). Many goods from Europe will usually take weeks or months to get to China.
Where ever the Silk Road when, it bought great wealth and prosperty because of the goods that were traded on it. Silk Road also was a "Homing Becon" to many dangers. The wealth and gold attracted bandits and thieves. For this reason Traders travelled in huge groups called caravans and was protected by a regional regiment of troops (footsoliders or Calvary).
Europe and Asia NEVER had a direct contact with each other until Venician (Italian) traders like Marco Polo made his way to China. For even this to happen, there needed to be a safe pasage way and a safe trade route. This was accomplished when the Mongols campaigned and took control of over 80% of Asia. They insured safe trade even on the Silk Road. They also encouraged trade and soon bought the Europeans to China which was controlled by the Mongol Dyansty called the Yuan Dynasty.
The Silk Road prospered even more under the Mongol rule and even the people who hated the Monogls benefited from the trade. Many unspeakable riches where given and traded all around Asia and Africa.
Cross-cultural trade in Indian Ocean basin
Dhows and junks (large ships involved in maritime trade in Indian Ocean) from China and other South Asian islands traded with India
Emporia, Indian port cities, were clearinghouses of trade and cosmopolitan centers. They were Ware houses for Merchants from Africa, Asia, Europe and China.
In Indian Ocean Basin Specialized production was on the increase.
Many other Items were traded in the trade network (as shown above). Indian Ocean Trade remained the largest trade network until the 1600-1700 because after 1600 the Age of Exploration begins and the Americas are founded. The Monsoons also played a important role in the trade. People had to wait for 5 months to wait till monsoon (heavy Rains) were over. Then they had another 5 months to tade freely until the Monsoons were over.