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The Legendary Silk Road: Across Central Asia by Private Train

Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,048

Follow the legendary Silk Road back in time across three countries, weaving your way along ancient trade routes aboard a private train. Explore seven stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites spread across Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and experience the colours, sounds, and spirit of medieval market cities.


This 14-day tour takes you to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan along the legendary Silk Road.

Your Silk Road journey begins in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, just north of the border with Iran. Ashgabat has transformed from a Soviet-style mass of concrete into a glittering example of a booming Central Asian economy. It boasts more marble-stoned buildings than any other city in the world and continues to grow at a breakneck pace. Visit the Tokuchka Bazaar for a taste of the Turkmen past before hitting up the National Museum to learn about the country’s history, spanning ancient splendour to communism and more recent autocratic rule. Visit nearby Nisa to see one of the ancient capitals of the Parthian Empire before moving on to Merv, a major centre on the Silk Road and briefly the largest city in the world during the 12th century.

After exploring the ruins of Merv like the Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar, head east by train along the Silk Road and cross the border into Uzbekistan. Get acquainted with Bukhara, the holiest city in Central Asia that boasts over a thousand architectural monuments in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert. You can fill your days in Bukhara touring the opulent monuments to past civilizations, from the Kalyan minaret at Po-i-Kalyan Mosque to the Samanid Mausoleum and the Ark Citadel, a massive fortress from the 5th century. Head west to Khiva to find an old caravan town made from mudbrick that essentially serves as an open-air museum.

Pass onto Samarkand, one of the oldest settlements on Earth and a city that was once thought of in the same breathless way as fantasies like Atlantis or Shangri-La. Samarkand was the crown jewel of the Mongol conqueror, Timur, who ruled much of the world throughout the late 14th century. While Samarkand has the bustle of a modern city, its appeal lies in its ancient sites, like Registan Square, the heart of the ancient city, the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis where ancient kings are buried, and the Afrasiyab excavation site, where 2,000-year-old ruins are constantly being uncovered. Close out your time in Uzbekistan with a trip to Tashkent, the country’s modern capital. If you’re lucky, take in a concert at the Tashkent Philharmonic Hall before passing into Kazakhstan.

Turkestan used to be the capital of the Kazakh khans between the 16th and 18th centuries. Today, it’s another example of Timur’s vast influence over Central Asia. Tour the Mausoleum of the Sufi mystic, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, before moving onto Almaty to end your exploration of the Silk Road. Almaty is a Russian-style metropolis at the foot of the Alatau Mountains. It’s Kazakhstan’s largest city and its major commercial hub, showing off the impressive growth caused by the oil boom of the past 20 years. Visit the Zenkou Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the old Soviet capital buildings to get a sense of the city’s more recent history before visiting the Almaty Circus and having dinner in a Kazakh yurt to close out your trip to Kazakhstan in a traditional manner.

This train journey along the legendary Silk Road is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit three fascinating but rarely-visited countries and explore their incredible histories.


 

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Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,048

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Welcome to Ashgabat

On you first day in Central Asia, you arrive where the mountains meet the desert, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan's extraordinary capital city. You take the airport shuttle along newly built, modern boulevards, past golden domes and marble monoliths to your hotel. Once you arrive, you make yourself comfortable, getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Overnight: Hotel Ashgabat (or similar) - 1 night

Duration1 Night
Day 2

Ashgabat, Capital of Turkmenistan

Amid the early morning bustle, you dive into the vast, dizzying delights of a typical Central Asian market. Scents mingle: rugs, piled spices, sheepskin, sizzling street food. Soon you leave the day's deals behind and head to the ruins of the ancient city of Nisa, followed by a visit to the Ashgabat National Museum of History. After lunch, you continue to explore Ashgabat, its new marble buildings a gleaming display of the city’s oil wealth.

In the evening, you board your private train and find your luggage ready and waiting in your personal compartment. You unpack and relax, then head for the dining car.

Overnight: Orient Silk Road Express - 2nights

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Orient Silk Road Express

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Orient Silk Road Express



    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer …

    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer bar service in the evening. The train is air-conditioned while moving.

    More Details

Day 3

Merv, the Ancient Pearl of the East

At daybreak, your private train draws into the ancient oasis of Merv. In the twelfth century, this was one of the largest cities in the world. Nourished by the Silk Road, its fame crossed continents. On your city tour, you are surrounded by magnificent ruins that rise up from the desert sand, crumbling arches framing a bright blue sky. You walk among the relics of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which include the gigantic Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar, the Maiden's Fortress and the so-called icehouses of Merv. Later, a local family invites you to lunch in the courtyard of their home. Next stop: Bukhara.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Beneath the imposing yellow brickwork of the Kalyan minaret, you gaze at the magnificent city gates on either side of the courtyard, each a powerful mix of intricate tile work and grand design. This is only a first glimpse of the Bukhara Historical Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a city-museum filled with a thousand monuments, each a testament to the glory days of caravan trade. At the Lyab-i Hauz complex, you discover the 500-year-old architectural ingenuity that makes it possible to have a pond in the middle of the Kyzylkum desert. You learn about the Sufi Nasreddin, watch local dances, and listen to stirring Uzbek music.

Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar) - 2 nights

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Asia Bukhara

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Hotel Asia Bukhara



    Hotel Asia Bukhara provides first class comfort within easy reach of the legendary landmarks of the city. Rooms offer standard amenities and complimentary WiFi, and facilities include an outdoor pool and restaurant.

    Hotel Asia Bukhara provides first class comfort within easy reach of the legendary landmarks of the city. Rooms offer standard amenities and complimentary WiFi, and facilities include an outdoor pool and restaurant.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • 24 Hour Restaurant
    • 24 Hour Room Service
    • Business Centre
    • Laundry Service
    • Sauna
    • Swimming Pool

    More Details

Day 5

Bukhara, Medieval Center of Power

Today, you spend another beautiful day exploring the infinitely rich Bukhara. After taking in the sumptuous tile designs of the Mir-i Arab Madrasa, you move on to the gorgeous geometry of the Samanid Mausoleum, one of the most highly regarded buildings in Central Asia. Later you discover the 1,500-year-old Ark of Bukhara, a fortress built around the fifth century. Standing on its immense rampart, you take a gaze over Bukhara, glistening turquoise and gold in the afternoon light.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

From Bukhara to Khiva

Today, you enjoy your final morning exploring the winding, romantic streets of Bukhara. After you say goodbye to this spectacular city, you board your private train for Khiva. Stunning landscapes pass by your window - wide steppes, blue sky, and distant mountains - the same natural beauty that inspired the ancients who came before you.

Overnight: Orient Silk Road Express - 2nights

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Orient Silk Road Express

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Orient Silk Road Express



    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer …

    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer bar service in the evening. The train is air-conditioned while moving.

    More Details

Day 7

Khiva, UNESCO World Heritage Site

After a delicious breakfast, you set out with your tour guide to explore Khiva, an ancient city filled with historic monuments. Beneath the vivid blue-glazed bands of the Kalta Minor minaret, you stroll through the city's winding streets on a dreamlike tour of palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasas. You marvel at its mix of ancient and modern sights, vibrant and thriving - a living museum. Later, you have lunch in the king's former Summer Palace.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Samarkand, the Ancient

In Samarkand - one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities - wealth, conquest and religion are intertwined. As you become acquainted with the splendors of this ancient city, you learn that it was considered the most beautiful in the world in the time of Timur. Today, it's impossible to suppress your sense of wonder as you stand among the ornate marble buildings of Registan Square. The exquisite glazed tiles of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis give you the same feeling. During a visit to the Afrasiyab excavation site, your tour guide discusses the origins of this astonishing city.

Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar) -2 nights

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Registan Plaza Hotel

More Info

  • starstarstarstar

    Registan Plaza Hotel


    Conveniently located in the city centre, the Hotel Registan Plaza offers 165 spacious and well-equipped rooms. Facilities include two restaurants and bars, a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna and outdoor tennis courts.

    Conveniently located in the city centre, the Hotel Registan Plaza offers 165 spacious and well-equipped rooms. Facilities include two restaurants and bars, a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna and outdoor tennis courts.

    Facilities

    • Fitness Facilities
    • Limousine Services
    • Restaurant
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 9

Samarkand, the Magnificent

Today is another day to soak up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Samarkand. You delve into its Islamic past and sift through the riches you find there. You watch in amazement as Uzbek craftsmen skillfully weave silk into carpets and press paper from mulberry bark. Later, you gaze into the the magnificent past with visits to the Ulugh Beg Observatory, the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and the impressive Gur-e Amir mausoleum.

A special excursion is available to Panjakent, Tajikistan, where you visit the historic Rudaki Museum, the Olim Dodkho mosque and the ruins of ancient Panjakent on the banks of the Zeravshan River. Bookable in advance for 95 EUR/115 USD per person.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Shahrisabz, the Mighty

Under wide blue skies, you explore Shahrisabz, home to yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Timur - the fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror - filled the city with immense monuments to his success. Today, his palaces surround you in the bustling market of the city, crumbling reminders of a once great empire. Later, you watch a traditional folk performance and meet some locals in a small village. Before nightfall, your private train departs for Tashkent. On board, you join your fellow travelers for an Uzbek wine tasting in the dining car.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Orient Silk Road Express

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Orient Silk Road Express



    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer …

    The Orient Silk Road Express offers the greatest possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road. Some of the train's wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013. The comfortable restaurant cars serve freshly prepared regional dishes and offer bar service in the evening. The train is air-conditioned while moving.

    More Details

Day 11

Tashkent, the Green Oasis

Your private train rolls into Tashkent, a city studded with monuments that hark back to the Silk Road. You experience the lush, green oasis of the steppe and tour its caravanserais, fortresses and madrasah - history in earthen brick and turquoise tile. As evening arrives, you depart and travel the Silk Road trail to Kazakhstan.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Nomad's Pilgrimage Center: Turkistan

As you eat breakfast, the glorious steppe unfolds outside the window to the steady beat of the railroad moving along the tracks. Soon you arrive in Turkistan, and stand before the magnificent Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi, the vast, brightly tiled testament to power and beauty that UNESCO have made a World Heritage site and the Kazakhs revere as their national icon.

It's your last night on the train and your last dinner in the dining car. You bid a fond farewell to the staff as you roll on towards Almaty.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13

Almaty, Capital of Kazakhstan

Standing beneath the brilliantly colored patterns on the Ascension Cathedral, you gaze up at one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. It's been a day of discovery, strolling through Kazakhstan's capital of avenues and cafes, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range. You see the circus, the wedding palace and the central mosque, and, in the evening eat a farewell dinner in a yurt restaurant.

Overnight/day room: Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar). 1 night

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Rahat Palace Hotel

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Rahat Palace Hotel



    This deluxe hotel is conveniently located in Almaty's city centre, with many rooms offering spectacular views of the Alatau mountains. Facilities include two restaurants, a spa, fitness centre and indoor pool. Complimentary WiFi is provided.

    This deluxe hotel is conveniently located in Almaty's city centre, with many rooms offering spectacular views of the Alatau mountains. Facilities include two restaurants, a spa, fitness centre and indoor pool. Complimentary WiFi is provided.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Business Centre
    • Fitness Centre
    • Guest Services Desk
    • Internet Access
    • Meeting/ Banquet facilities
    • Pool
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 14

Almaty - An Epic Journey Comes to an End

You catch the transfer for your flight home, leaving wide blue skies, the open steppe, and epic monuments behind you, laden with unparalleled memories of the Silk Road.

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2020 Eastbound: Apr 14; Oct 20
2020 Westbound: Apr 2; Oct 8

2021 Eastbound: Apr 13; Oct 17
2021 Westbound: Apr 1; Oct 7

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Hotel & train accommodation as indicated
  • Guided touring & entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Overland coach transfers as per itinerary
  • Arrival & departure airport transfers depending on flight times
  • On board tour director
  • On board doctor
  • Lectures on the local lands, people & cultures
  • Tour booklet
  • Porterage at railway stations
  • Meals as specified
  • Invitation letter for Turkmenistan visa

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB LERNIDEASH21RA: TLSRE H
19 Oct 2021
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