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The Legendary Silk Road: Across Central Asia by Private Train

Duration
13-14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,333

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
13-14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,333

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Ashgabat

Mountains meet the desert in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan's extraordinary capital city. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to rest and acclimatize. Tomorrow you will explore this vibrant young capital.

Accommodation: Hotel Ashgabat or similar (1 night)
Rating: Moderate

Duration1 Night
Day 2

Ashgabat and Nisa

Amid the early morning bustle, dive into the vast, dizzying delights of the Tokuchka Bazaar, a typical Central Asian market. Scents mingle: rugs, piled spices, sheepskin, sizzling street food. Continue to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa and view its relics in the National Museum. After lunch, take a brief tour of Ashgabat, complete with newly-built boulevards, golden domes and marble monoliths. In the evening, board the private train and find your luggage ready and waiting in your personal compartment.

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

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. Admire the imposing ruins that rise up from the desert sand, and crumbling arches which frame a bright blue sky. Walk among the relics of this UNESCO World Heritage site, including the gigantic Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar, the Virgin Fortress and the cold room. Have lunch in the courtyard of a family home. In the afternoon, continue on your journey to Bukhara.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Bukhara

The city of Bukhara, located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, has some one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Gaze up at the the imposing yellow brickwork of the Kaljan minaret and admire the intricate tilework of the magnificent gateways on either side of the courtyard. At the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, witness the 500-year-old architectural ingenuity that keeps a pool full in the baking Kysylkum desert. Later, in the courtyard of a madrasah, learn about the satirical Sufi Nasreddin Hodja, watch local dances and enjoy exotic Uzbek tunes.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Asia Bukhara

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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

Another long, glorious, desert day devoted to the infinitely rich Bukhara. From the sumptuous stylings of the Mire-e-Arab Madrasah, move on to the textured geometry of the Samanid Mausoleum, regarded by many as the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia. Afterwards, tour the massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city that was once the seat of government of Bukhara's former rulers. View the Throne Room as well as the summer residence of the last emir. Finally, pay a visit to the world’s only women’s mosque at a Sufi complex and pilgrimage centre about fifteen kilometres outside of the city.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Bukhara to Khiva

A last morning exploring the streets of Bukhara before you board the train and depart for Khiva. Pass through spectacular landscapes of steppe, open sky, rock and distant mountains.

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

After breakfast, your train will arrive at the southern extent of the Zhetysu (seven rivers) landscape, the oasis of Khiva. Standing at the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick you will feel transported into another world. Life still pulses around the base of the Kalta Minor Minaret, just as it did in former times. Set out through the sun and shadows of winding streets on a dreamlike tour of the town's palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasah. Have lunch in the former emir's summer palace. This evening, depart for Samarkand.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Samarkand

Ancient wealth, conquest and faith intertwine among the splendours of Samarkand, one of the oldest settlements on earth. During the time of Timur, this was considered the most beautiful and prestigious city in the world. Visit Registan square, the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, and the Afrasiyab excavation site to untangle the roots of this astonishing civilization.

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

Enjoy another day in this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage city. Take a tour of a silk carpet workshop and visit an Uzbek craftsman's family to see paper being made from mulberry bark. Continue to the Ulug Beg Observatory, visit the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, and view the palace-like interior of the Gur Emir Mausoleum.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Shakhrisabz

Today take an excursion to the surrounding mountain region, where fire worship and shamanism are still practiced. A traditional ceremony offers you firsthand insight into the region's unique folklore. Aboard the train, continue along the Great Silk Road to the green city of Shakhrisabz. Timur, the fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror, filled this once-mighty city with grandiose testaments to his earthly power. Now his palaces stand in ruins around this bustling market town. Witness a folklore performance and meet some of the locals. In the evening, depart for Tashkent. Enjoy a tasting of Uzbek wines 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

This morning, arrive the Uzbek capital of Tashkent and take a tour of the city. Visit the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and typical mud brick houses. In the evening, attend Tashkent's famous Navoi Opera or a concert at the Tashkent Philharmonic Hall (programme and schedule permitting). Tonight, depart for Kazakhstan.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Turkestan

Border formalities at the Kazakhstan border are completed in the comfort of your compartment. Before noon, arrive the city of Turkestan, a nomad's pilgrimage centre along the Silk Road. Visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most significant examples Timurid architecture. Afterwards, continue on towards Almaty.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13

Almaty

Your train arrives in Almaty after lunch. This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of this green metropolitan city at the foot of the mighty Ile Alatau Mountains. Gaze up at the imposing Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral, built entirely of wood. Visit the Wedding Palace, Almaty Circus and the Central Mosque. This evening, dinner is served in a traditional Kazakh yurt.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Rahat Palace Hotel

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstarstar

    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

Depart Almaty

Transfer to Almaty airport for your onward flight (depending on the airline, your flight may depart very early this morning or very late the previous night).

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017 Eastbound: Oct 17

2018 Eastbound: Apr 10; Oct 16

2018 Westbound: Mar 29

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 LERNIDEASH0118RA: TLSRE ALI
10 Apr 2018
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