In AD 414, he recorded his travels in "Record of Buddhist Countries" today known as the "Travels of Fa-Hsien". It is an excellent geographic account of his journey along the Silk Roads, and an comprehensive report of the history and customs of Central Asia and India.
Fa-hsien, while traveling through the dangerous Taklamakan desert left us with this account:
After traveling for seventeen days, about 1,500 le, they arrived at the country of Shan-shan, today's Lop-Nor, which was a thriving oasis at that time. Fa-hsien reports:
He also left a vivid account of the Kingdom of Khotan, on the southern arm of the Silk Road, where he stayed for three months. He reports that there were fourteen large monasteries, 'without counting the smaller ones'. He continued on his pilgrimage via the Kingdom of Kashgar, where the northern and southern branches of the Silk Roads reunite. He also tells us that he observed the Buddhist practice of resting during the summer and rainy seasons, and the differences between the Chinese and Indian calendars. Traveling through Afghanistan (Punjab), he commands: "...there are approximately three thousand priests belonging to both the Greater and Lesser Vehicles. Here we kept out summer retreat, and when it was over, we proceeded southwards..." In India he reports of the Middle Kingdom as. "It has a temperate climate, without frost or snow, and the people are all happy". There he spend six years in one of the most prosperous periods of the Gupta dynasty.
The purpose of his travels to India was to collect Buddhist canon to bring back to China, and it took him three more years returning to China AD 413. He traveled through nearly thirty countries from China's most treacherous deserts to the land of India. He recorded his extensive and hazardous travels on bamboo and silk, for the benefit of future explorers and historians.