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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

Almaty: Welcome to the Silk Road

Just as Silk Road merchants did centuries ago, you arrive in Almaty, Kazakhstan's vibrant capital city, welcomed by the cool midnight air. A bus whisks you away to your well-appointed hotel, where you spend the first night of what will be an unforgettable journey. Dreams of your Silk Road adventure begin to fill your head as you lie down to rest. Tomorrow you will wake early to explore this legendary city.

Accommodation

Rahat Palace Hotel

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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 2

Almaty, Capital of Kazakhstan

Today you explore the amazing city of Almaty, Kazakhstan's capital. You stand beneath the brilliantly colored patterns of the Ascension Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. You stroll through the city's streets, discovering its hidden gems on the way. You have the chance to sit in a typical cafe, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains. After an enjoyable welcome lunch in a yurt restaurant, you hop aboard the Orient Silk Road Express, your private train on this legendary journey.

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

Turkistan and Timurid Architecture

Aboard the Orient Silk Road Express, you enjoy a tasty breakfast as the gorgeous landscapes of the Central Asian steppes pass by the dining car window. Soon you arrive in the city of Turkistan, known for the magnificent Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a popular religious pilgrimage site. Its historic design, including its beautiful tiling and brickwork, known for being the earliest example of Timurid architecture. Its impressive turquoise dome is the largest in Central Asia. The mausoleum has long been a symbol of the Kazakh nation and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Tashkent, Capital of Uzbekistan

Today you wake up in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, a city filled with medieval monuments of its past, surrounded by the region's lush, green steppes. Here you visit caravanserais, inns traditionally used as lodging by caravans along the Silk Road trade route. You also visit beautifully restored medieval fortresses and madrasas (madrasa is the Arabic word for an educational institution), built from brick and turquoise tile. Later that evening you board your private train and depart for the city of Shahrisabz.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Shahrisabz, Birthplace of Timur

Today under bright blue skies, you explore the city of Shahrisabz, including its historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formerly known as Kesh, Shahrisabz is the birthplace of fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror Timur. Many of the monuments you visit here were built as testaments to his power, including Ak-Saray, his summer palace. Later you enjoy a traditional folklore performance in a small village, where you meet some of the locals. That evening you enjoy a tasting of Uzbek wine on board your private train, which departs for the city of Samarkand.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Samarkand and Its Historic Center

Samarkand is one of Central Asia's oldest settlements, and in the days of Timur, it was considered the world's most beautiful city. That beauty seems undiminished as you stand among the carefully restored buildings of Registan Square with their gorgeous tiling, brickwork, domes, and minarets. Equally stunning are the intricate tile designs of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis--known as the Tomb of the Living King, named for the legend of Kusam Ibn Abbas, who brought Islam to the area now known as Uzbekistan. Later you enjoy a visit to the Afrasiyab excavation site, the oldest part of Samarkand's historic center and one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. In 2001, the city of Samarkand was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its many monuments and preservation of traditional crafts.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Registan Plaza Hotel

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  • 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 and Traditional Craftsmanship

Today you delve into the historical traditions of Uzbekistan and visit local craftspeople, whom you observe as they skillfully, weave silk into carpets and press mulberry bark into paper. Later you enjoy visits to the magnificent Ulugh Beg Observatory, the beautifully reconstructed Bibi Khanum Mosque and the impressive Gur Emir Mausoleum.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Farewell, Samarkand!

This morning you enjoy a delicious breakfast and have one last walk through the enchanting streets of Samarkand. Around noon, you board the Orient Silk Road Express private train, which departs for the next stop on your adventure, the historic city of Khiva. The spectacular landscapes of the Central Asian steppes pass by your window. Green hills and grasslands stretch before you as far as the eye can see, while distant peaks of mountain ranges reach for the sky.

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

Khiva, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today you wake up in the city of Khiva, whose numerous historic monuments earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List as Uzbekistan's first World Heritage Site. Khiva is known for the well-preserved medieval city walls, gates and fortifications of its historic center, Itchan Kala. You take a tour through the city's charming, winding streets, where you discover the beauty of its many palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasas. It is filled with stunning architectural monuments like the multicolored Kalta Minor minaret, whose alternating bands of tiles leave you speechless. Later you enjoy lunch in the summer residence of a former king.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Bukhara, City of a Thousand Monuments

On your first day in Bukhara, you visit the city's unforgettable historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains numerous monuments from the height of the caravan trade on the legendary Silk Road. You visit stunning sites like the Po-i-Kalyan architectural ensemble, whose buildings are known for their intricate tiling and beautiful brickwork. This includes the impressive Kalyan Minaret, centerpiece of the ensemble, the gorgeous Kalyan Mosque and the intricate Mir-i-Arab Madrasa. You also visit the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, which includes the iconic Kukeldash Madrasa. As you explore these amazing locations, you learn about Uzbek history, including the philosopher and historical character Nasreddin Hodja. You watch beautiful local dances, enjoy traditional Uzbek music and watch a dazzling folklore performance with national costumes in a madrasa courtyard.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
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 11

Bukhara, Medieval Center of Power

On your second day in Bukhara, City of a Thousand Monuments, you return to the Mir-i-Arab Madrasa to continue your exploration. From here, you set out to visit Persian king Ismail Samani's historic burial place, also known as the Samanid Mausoleum. It is a unique example of ninth-century Central Asian architecture, influenced by both Zoroastrian fire temples and Islamic design. Later you visit the enormous Ark of Bukhara, a citadel that was once the residence of the king and a center of power in the region. As you stand on its high walls, you look out over the city and imagine what it must have looked like centuries ago.

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 city of Merv in Turkmenistan. In the twelfth century, this was one of the largest cities in the world. By the Silk Road, its fame crossed continents. Now you stand surrounded by 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.

Overnight: Hotel Ashgabat (or similar) - 2 nights

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Day 13

Ashgabat, Capital of Turkmenistan

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

On your last day of your legendary Silk Road adventure, you check out of your hotel and catch a transfer to the airport for your flight home. On the way, you look back on the marvelous journey that you've just completed. The beautiful landscapes, impressive monuments and unforgettable experiences you have enjoyed on the legendary Silk Road will be memories that last a lifetime.

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 LERNIDEALM21RA: TLSRW H
7 Oct 2021
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