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The Legendary Silk Road: Across Central Asia by Private Train

Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 6,096

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$ 6,096

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Welcome to Almaty

Like traders on the Silk Road one thousand years ago, you arrive in Almaty surrounded by the cool midnight air. A bus whisks you to your hotel to rest. Tomorrow, you will explore Kazakhstan's vibrant capital city.

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 2

Life in Almaty

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 morning of discovery, strolling through Kazakhstan's capital of avenues
and cafes, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range. Soon you will be treated to a welcome lunch in a yurt restaurant, before you board your private train. Your luggage is ready and waiting for you in your personal compartment. You unpack and relax, then head for the dining car.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration4 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

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 Khoja 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Tashkent, the Green Oasis

Under the cover of night, your train crosses the border into Uzbekistan. By morning, you are in Tashkent, a city studded with monuments that hark back to the Silk Road. You experience the lush, green oasis of the steppe and tour caravanserais, fortresses and madrasah--history in earthen brick and turquoise tile. As evening arrives, you depart and travel the Silk Road trail to Shakhrisabz.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Shakhrisabz, the Mighty

Under wide blue skies, you explore Shakhrisabz, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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 you in the bustling market town as crumbling reminders of a lost empire. You experience a folklore performance in a small village and meet some of the locals. Before night closes in, the train departs, and you join fellow travelers for an Uzbek wine tasting in the dining car.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Samarkand, the Ancient

Wealth, conquest and faith intertwine among the splendors of Samarkand, one of the oldest settlements on Earth. At the time of Timur, this was called the most beautiful city in the world. Today, as you stand among the ornate marble pillars and vaults of Registan square or the exquisite glazed tiles of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, it's impossible to suppress your sense of wonder. In visiting the Afrosiyab excavation site you untangle the roots of this astonishing civilization.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
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 7

Samarkand, the Magnificent

Another day to soak up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Samarkand on this train journey. Delve into its Islamic past and sift through its riches. You see Uzbek craftsmen skillfully weave silk into carpets and press paper from mulberry bark, before casting your eyes to the magnificent past at the Ulugh Beg Observatory, the ruins of Bibi Khanum Mosque and the impressive Gur Emir Mausoleum.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Samarkand to Khiva

On a last bright morning in Samarkand, you breakfast, wander the city, and board your private train as the sun touches noon.

The spectacular steppe scrolls by your window in green hills, ancient 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 9

A Fairy Tale of 1001 Nights

This is Khiva, an ancient city fortress. Beneath the vivid blue glazed bands of the Kalta Minor Minaret, you set out through the sun and shadow of winding streets on a dreamlike tour of the town's palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasah. All inhabited, thriving - a living museum. You lunch in the old Summer Palace of the Emir.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Bukhara, the Noble

Beneath the imposing yellow brickwork of the Kaljan minaret, you gaze at the magnificent gateways on either side of the courtyard, each a heady cocktail of intricate tilework and grand design. This is only a first glimpse of old Bukhara, a site of UNESCO World Heritage that holds a miraculous city-museum of a thousand monuments, each a testimony to the glory days of caravan trade. At the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, you witness the 500-year-old architectural ingenuity that keeps a pool full in the baking Kysylkum desert. You learn about the satirical Sufi Nasreddin Hodja, watch local dances, listen to exotic Uzbek tunes and have dazzling national costumes paraded in the courtyard of a madrasah.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
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 11

Mausoleum of the Samanid

Another long, glorious, desert day devoted to the infinitely rich Bukhara. From the sumptuous stylings of the Mire-e-Arab Madrasah, you move to the textured geometry of the Samanid Mausoleum regarded by many as the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia. Then onto the gargantuan, 1,500-year-old Ark fortress, and the only women's mosque in the country. Standing on its vast rampart, you take a last view out over Bukhara, glistening turquoise and yellow in the bright afternoon light. A diamond in the dust.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
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 12

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. Now you stand surrounded by imposing ruins that rise up from the desert sand and crumbling arches framing bright blue sky. You walk among the relics of this UNESCO World Heritage site, including the gigantic Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar, the Virgin Fortress, and the cold room, and are invited to lunch in the courtyard of a family home.

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

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Day 13

Former Royal City of Nisa and Today's Capital, Ashgabat

You begin the day at the site of ancient Nisa, and follow its smaller relics to their new home in Ashgabat, at the National Museum. The gleaming white marble of the city center testifies to the young city's new wealth. In the evening, you settle down to a farewell dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 14

Ashgabat: 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:

2019 Eastbound: Apr 9; Oct 15
2019 Westbound: Mar 28; Oct 3
2020 Eastbound: Apr 14; Oct 20
2020 Westbound: Apr 2; Oct 8

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 LERNIDEALM19RA: TLSRW ALI
3 Oct 2019
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