Authentic Silk Road Journey of a Lifetime

Duration of this Trip 28 Days Priced From $16,658 per person

Travel the Silk Road. Photo by Christy Warren Travel the Silk Road. Photo by Christy Warren

The ancient Silk Road is an historical route which connected East and West, from China to Turkey, through Central Asia to India, and Persia and the Middle East. Begun as a trade route more than 2,000 years ago, it later it became a cultural bridge linking the cultures, religions, languages and traditions. Caravans took years to ply the routes that now take days for us on this caravan to explore Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and China Silk Road destinations. A perfect combination of culture, adventure, history and natural wonders. Visit everything from UNESCO World Heritage sites to magnificent mountain ranges and deserts. Clamber over the ruins of Parthian fortresses, sleep in the desert next to a giant gas crater, and enjoy the friendly hospitality of nomadic yurt camps. Marvel at the geometric beauty of the blue tiled mausoleums and ride horses next to a stunning glacial Lake in Kyrgyzstan. Explore the bazaars still as bustling as ever from Konya -Urgench   to Samarkand, Kashgar to Turpan!
Immerse yourself in legend and feel the pulse of civilization as you explore the treasures of the Silk Road; the bridge between history and today.

At a Glance

Duration

28 Days

Priced From

$16,658 per person

Departures

  • September 10-October 8, 2018
  • Choose your dates

Itinerary

Days 01- 03: Ashgabad, Mary, Merv (Turkmenistan)
Days 04-11: Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Samarkand, Khiva,  Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Days 12-15: Bishkek, Kochkor village, Son Kul Lake, Tash Rabat Caravanserai, Torugart (Kyrgyzstan)
Days 16-28: Kashgar, Yarkent, Urumqi, Turpan, Dunhuang (Liuyuan), Lanzhou, Xian, Beijing

 

Itinerary

Day 01-02. Ashgabad

Arrival in Ashgabad at 2:45AM. You will be met by your guide and will be transferred to the hotel for accommodation. After breakfast you will drive to Nissa and explore the ancient ruined capital of the Parthians. Enjoy discovering the unique fortresses, citadel, temples and tombs (III Century BC). Visit the National Museum with its impressive displays of archaeological finds from sites excavated in the oasis and an informative and attractive display of fabulous Turkmen carpets, Turkmen costumes and domestic equipment. Sightseeing tour to the Blue Mosque, Talkuchka Sunday bazaar (animal bazaar visit is included), one of the largest open bazaars in the world filled with colorful items.

Day 03. Ashgabad - Dashogus-Konya Urgench-Kala, Uzbekistan

Early morning flight from Ashgabad to Dashoguz.
Explore Konya Urgench, the oldest well-preserved heritage city. The drive to the border to continue our Silk Road journey to Uzbekistan. Today we will stay in nomadic yurt near Tuprak Kala and explore Khorezm Shakhs palaces and ruins. We will also enjoy our stay in a nomadic yurt and ride the camel.

Day 04. Kala-Khiva

After desert activities we drive to Khiva. Khiva is one of the popular World Heritage Sites of the Silk Road. Sightseeing tour in fairy-tale city Khiva. Explore antiquities of Ichan Kala (Old City): Ata–Darvaza, Kalta Minar, majestic blue-tiled Tower from the XIX century, Medreseh Mohammad Aminkhan and Khodja Islam, Kunya Ark (Ancient Citadel), Tash Hauli Palace (Stone yard, with view of the palace's harem-women's quarter), Caravanserai ( traditional inn for travelling merchants), Juma mosque with 200 wooden beautiful pillars. Dinner panoramic view of Khiva on moonlight.

Day 05. Bukhara

After morning sightseeing tour in Khiva we drive to legendary Bukhara. Upon arrival you will be accommodated. Short walking tour to Labi Khaus, the heart of ancient Bukhara. Dinner.

Day 06. Bukhara

Bukhara, one of the most ancient and incredible cities in the world. This is another World Heritage Site.Visit Labi Khaus Complex ("the complex around the pond"), Nadir Divan Begi Khanaka (old hotel for merchants). Labi Khaus pond dates from the XVIIth century when it was the principal source of water. Enjoy tea in an ancient Chaykhana (Tea house), near the the sculpture of humorist Khodga Nasriddin. The sightseeing continues with trade domes of money changers, hat sellers, silk, carpets, puppets and jewelry, Magoki Attari site which was originally a Zoroastrian temple, Abdulazizkhan Madreseh with its sandali (old version of house heating), Poi-Kalon Ensemble with the greatest minaret of Central Asia. Discover ancient winter residence of local rulers from the first century which is located near Bolo Khaus Mosque. Complimentary lunch in traditional uzbek house with uzbek family.
Discover the exotic villages of Bukhara located outside of city. Visit Bakhauddin Nakshbandi and Chor Bakr Complexes which are considered the famous pilgrimage centers for the people of Central Asia. You may see the process of sacrificing sheep. Enjoy dinner with Folklore show featuring local dancers, singers and fashion stars. Sasha and Son or similar

Day 07. Bukhara-Samarkand

This morning you visit magnificent Summer Residence of Last Bukhara Emirs "Sitorai Mohi-Khossa" (The Palace of Moon and Stars) and Chor Minor Minarets. Golden Road to Samarkand (300 km). ) through Shakhrisabz. Sightseeing tour in Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Amir Temur, the founder of Temurids state in the 14th century. Visit ancient ruins of Summer Residence "Ak-Saroy", the Mosque Khazrati Imom, blue-tiled Kok Gumbaz and Chorsu. Drive to Samarkand.
Arrival in Samarkand. Enjoy your stay in ancient paradise. Samarkand is the city with more than 3000 years history. It was the site of the marriage of Alexander the Great to the local princess Roxana. Overnight in Samarkand.

Day 08-09. Samarkand-Shakhrisabz-Samarkand

Sightseeing tour to Registan Square, the main attraction of Samarkand and an impressive place for holding the world's finest old and modern music festivals and holidays. Exploration in ancient Samarkand. Shahi Zinda Ensemble – ancient necropolis, Bibi Khanum Complex and Guri Emir Mausoleum. We will also visit fascinating Shakhrisabz city which is 2 hours from Samarkand. This is the birth place of Amir Timur where we will explore Friday mosque and Kok Gumbaz. Meet amazing artists and handicrafts people. Wine Tasting in Legendary Samarkand. Discover the colorful bazaars and handicraft centers of this Silk Road City. Dinner in the National House.

Day 10-11. Samarkand-Tashkent

After Rukhabad, Divan Begi and Al Bukhari complexes  we will take a high speed train to Tashkent. Sightseeing tour in Tashkent: Kukeldash Medresseh, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Barak Khan Medresseh, Mosque on Khast Imam Street. Visit to Chor-Su Bazaar, watch craftsmen at work, and bargain for souvenirs. Mustakillik Square (Independence Square), Famous Tashkent metro (subway) and The Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the biggest in Central Asia. Earthquake memorial, and Amir Timur Museum. Dinner. The night panorama of Tashkent.

Day 12. Bishkek

Morning flight to Bishkek. Today we'll explore Bishkek. The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, marvelous buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city's vast central square; yet it is the permanently snow capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop. Cycling. We visit Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Then excursion to the State History Museum and walking tour around the main Ala Too Square to watch ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, Independence Monument, main governmental buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Parliament House. Transfer to the Victory Square to finish the city tour by a short excursion there. After we will visit picturesque Oriental Osh bazaar. Dinner.

Day 13. Bishkek – Kochkor village via Burana tower (250 km)

In the morning after breakfast, one hour drive to Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok city. That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town, one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling on. Also watch a collection of Balbals,Turkic ancient tombs.
In the afternoon continue your journey to Kochkor village where you can watch how local people make felt, various carpets and other handicraft stuff. Optionally: If you want it is also possible to take part in "shyrdak show" yourself and try to make your own felt rug! Overnight and dinner in a family guest house in Kochkor.

Day 14. Kochkor village – Son Kul Lake (150km)

In the morning you leave Kochkor village for Son Kul Lake. It is a fabulous mountain lake located in Tien Shan Mountain Range at the altitude of 3016m above sea level. Son Kul is used by the shepherds from Kochkor, Naryn and At Bashi regions as a jailoo – a pasture during the summer months. It is considered to be the pearl of Kyrgyz summer pastures. The route to Son-Kul winds through mountainous terrain until it seems to disappear into the very sky itself. This is probably why it is named Son Kul that from Kyrgyz translates as "the last lake". You pass greenery valley and a very dramatic pass on your way to the lake. Today we step into the nomadic life at the Son Kul Lake. Here the Kyrgyz people still live in traditional simplicity. We spend the night in the summer pastures of the mountains. We enjoy horseback riding or just hiking, spend time with always friendly Kyrgyz families and taste their fresh airan (yogurt) and kumis (a fermented national drink from mare's milk).Overnight in a yurt camp.

Day 15. Song-Kul Lake – Tash Rabat Caravanserai (100 km)

After breakfast we are going to visit Tash Rabat. On our way we will have chance to enjoy the beautiful mountain ridges and vast green valleys. Tash Rabat is a carefully restored stone building that once housed an inn on the Great Silk Road. Its date of origin is a complete mystery; however, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that the site was occupied in the 10th century. There is evidence that it was a place of both rest and worship and would have served to protect caravans travelling to and from China from both the ravages of the weather and of bandits; even before the time of both Tamerlane and Genghis Khan. Upon arrival to Tash Rabat we have some time to walk around and to explore this wonderful construction. Overnight in a yurt camp.

Day 16. Tash Rabat Caravanserai – Torugart pass-Kashgar

After breakfast we start driving to the Kyrgyz-Chinese border at the Torugart Pass. Here you say goodbye to your Kyrgyz guide and meet Chinese guide to continue the tour with you. On arrival in Kashgar you will be accommodated at your hotel. Enjoy your free time.

Day 17. Kashgar

Sightseeing in Kashgar: Visit the largest mosque in China Idkah mosque (1442), Apak Khoja's Tomb – the holiest place in Xinjiang for Sufis (1640), Handicraft Street, old parts of the town. Afternoon excursion to the Mor Stupa (3BC) which is the remnant of the big Buddhist temple, located 30 km northeast of Kashgar and picturesque Atush village.

Day 18. Kashgar

Morning visit the colorful unique Great Sunday bazaar where you will see numerous sections: silk and cotton, knives, hats, pots and pans, fresh vegetables and fruits, carpets and jewellery, there is a separate livestock and horse section located 6 km from the main market. Later transfer to the ancient Yarkent en route visit Yingsa village to see traditional local knife making workshop. On arrival to Yarkend visits in the ancient city Yarkent: see Golden Mosque (1533 AD) Altun Mosque was built by Abdureshidhan son of Sultan Saidhan, Amani Sahan Mausoleum (1526-1560) a great mukam master and queen who was born in Yarkend, the cemetery of kings (1514-1682) where Sultan Saidhan the founder of Yarkand Saidiya Dynasty was buried. Later see local bazaar little bit crowded very traditional and interesting. Overnight in Yarkent.

Day 19. Kashgar -Yarkend – Kashgar

Morning transfer to the ancient Yarkent en route visit Yingsa village to see traditional local knife making workshop. On arrival to Yarkend visits in the ancient city Yarkent: see Golden Mosque (1533 AD) Altun Mosque was built by Abdureshidhan son of Sultan Saidhan, Amani Sahan Mausoleum (1526-1560) a great mukam master and queen who was born in Yarkend, the cemetery of kings (1514-1682) where Sultan Saidhan the founder of Yarkand Saidiya Dynasty was buried. Later see local bazaar little bit crowded very traditional and interesting. Return back to Kashgar.

Day 20. Kashgar – Urumqi-Turpan

Morning transfer to the airport for Urumqi, arrive Urumqi. (12:50PM-14:02PM). Explore the Hinjiang museum and International Bazaar. We will also visit the Urumqi Central Mosque. Accommodation. .

Day 21. Turpan

Morning drive to Turpan. Excursion to Jiaohe ancient city - Jiaohe ruins dates from 1st BC and flourished around 5th AD. Much of the city structure is understandable with well laid out city plan the administrative section to housing settlement and to the secular parts with surviving Stupa ruins. It was part of Tang Dynasty in 7th AD continued under successive domination till 13th AD when the Mongols destroyed the city. Later visit the notable Emin Minaret (44 meters high, completed in 1778) and Mosque. At the end of the day visit famous Grape valley (12 km) is a pleasant park with vineyards and fruit trees, there are special places for relaxing and eating the grapes and melons. Grapes were introduced to Turpan over 2000 years ago.

Day 22. Turpan – Dunhuang

Half day sightseeing around Turpan: Early morning visit picturesque Tuyoq ancient village (70 km) to see the oldest in Turpan area Buddhist caves dated back to the 4th c. Visit local Uygur families enjoy beautiful mountain and grapes sceneries. Later visit the impressive ruins at Gaochang ancient city (47 km), built in the 2nd c. BC, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Gaochang under the Han dynasty, destroyed around 14th century, take a donkey cart taxi to venture deep into this famous ancient site. Get inside of Astana Tombs to see well preserved mummies and unique wall paintings dated back to 2AD. Later visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (56 km) on the flanks of the Flamting Mountains, there are 67 caves dating from 317 to 1368, Bezeklik was an important center for Buddhist worship. Then visit Kanel irrigation system, High speed train to Dunhuang. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the hotel.

Day 23. Dunhuang

Visit Mogao Grottoes in the afternoon. Mogao Caves are the nation key cultural relic preservation organ, is named Thousand Buddha's Cave, is situated west the Gansu Corridor end Dunhuang, is world famous by the fine mural and the cast. Its beginning constructs at 16 countries' former Qin times, has been through repeatedly 16 countries, the Northern Dynasty, Sui, Tang, five generations, Tangut , the Yuan and so on all previous dynasties constructing, forms the huge scale, existing cavern 735, the mural 45,000 square meter, argillaceous painted sculpture 2,415, are in the world the extant scale is biggest, the content richest Buddhism art place. Transfer to the airport and take a flight (MU 2750: 1955-2130).

Day 24. Lanzhou

Drive to Liujiaxia Dam on the Yellow River. LUNCH AROUND THE LAKE, Transfer to a motor boat (entrance fees can be paid on the spot) and cruise up stream in the yellow river to stop at Binglingsi Giant Buddha. Visit Binglingsi Grottoes carved into the cliffs at both ends of Dasigou valley(Shangsi, Dongsi and Xiasi). Then transfer to Linxia, visit kilns where Muslim people make their grey and red tiles and red bricks. Dinner in a restaurant in the town.

Day 25. Lanzhou-Xi'an

To take a high speed train to Xian.  Visit Xi'an big goose pogoda and Shanxi province history Museum, city wall and Muslim street. Free time. Dinner.

Day 26. Xian-Beijing

Explore the Qin Terra-cotta Warriors & Horse Army & copy factory. Afternoon flight to Beijing (12:10PM-14:05PM). Upon arrival you will be met and transfer to the hotel. Discover the Tian'an men square and Forbidden city. Then visit the Hutong and Xiushui streets.

Day 27. Beijing

Sightseeing and cultural discovery tour in Beijing. Visit National Stadium (Bird's Nest) on the way to the Great Wall of Ba Da Ling. Admire Mutianyu Section and have lunch there. Continue sightseeing in Ming Tomb Temple of Heaven and Wangfujin street. Enjoy some free time. Overnight in Beijing.

Day 28. Beijing.

Morning transfer to the airport to take your International flight. Departure

Land Tour Costs

From $16,658 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$2,170

Scheduled Departures

  • September 10-October 8, 2018
  • Choose your dates

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the cultural treasures and Silk Road destinations of Central Asia, Turkey and China: magnificent temples, monuments, and archaeological sites
  • Enjoy Silk Road Treasure Tours' best adventures and cultural interaction
  • Visit exotic bazaars, traditional tea houses and timeless villages, where hospitality is king
  • Hiking spectacular mountains and gorges
  • Enjoy Folklore and Fashion Shows
  • Wine tasting at centuries-old historical sites

Visited Countries

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China

Visited Cities & Places

Ashgabad, Mary, Merv, Gongur Depe, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Tashkent, Khiva, Ayaz Kala yurt, Nukus, Bishkek, Kochkor, Tokmok, Song Kul Lake, Tash Rabat Caravan Serai, Torugart Pass, Kashgar, Yarkent, Hoten, Urumqi, Turpan, Astana, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, Xian, Beijing

Suggested Extensions

Silk Road Tour to Iran

Reading Lists

Mark Norell, Denise Party Leidy, AMNH, Laura Ross Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World
Lonely Planet Central Asia (2014), Turkey, China
Frances Wood "The Silk Road, Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia"
Peter Hopkirk "The Great Game"
Colin Thubron "The Lost Heart of Asia"

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Visa support /invitation Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China
  • Meals: All Breakfast, 4 lunches, 10 Dinners
  • Experienced escort guide in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China's Turkistan and some local guides
  • Transport service throughout tour with Jeep
  • Tea stops in Central Asia and Western China
  • 1,5 L Bottle of water every day
  • Entrance fees to all museums, sites, parks and mountains (based on the itinerary)
  • Folklore shows in Bukhara, Kochkor- take part in "shyrdak show"
  • All airport Transfers
  • Welcome gifts and pre-departure Travel Package
  • Domestic Flights in Uzbekistan, China and local trains

What's Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Charges in hotels for additional services
  • Consular fees at the Embassies
  • Some meals

Image Gallery

Visited Countries

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China

Visited Cities & Places

Ashgabad, Mary, Merv, Gongur Depe, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Tashkent, Khiva, Ayaz Kala yurt, Nukus, Bishkek, Kochkor, Tokmok, Song Kul Lake, Tash Rabat Caravan Serai, Torugart Pass, Kashgar, Yarkent, Hoten, Urumqi, Turpan, Astana, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, Xian, Beijing

Suggested Extentions

Silk Road Tour to Iran

Reading Lists

Mark Norell, Denise Party Leidy, AMNH, Laura Ross Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World
Lonely Planet Central Asia (2014), Turkey, China
Frances Wood "The Silk Road, Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia"
Peter Hopkirk "The Great Game"
Colin Thubron "The Lost Heart of Asia"

Authentic Silk Road Journey of a Lifetime Map

Visited Countries

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China

Visited Cities & Places

Ashgabad, Mary, Merv, Gongur Depe, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Tashkent, Khiva, Ayaz Kala yurt, Nukus, Bishkek, Kochkor, Tokmok, Song Kul Lake, Tash Rabat Caravan Serai, Torugart Pass, Kashgar, Yarkent, Hoten, Urumqi, Turpan, Astana, Dunhuang, Lanzhou, Xian, Beijing

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Authentic Silk Road Journey of a Lifetime Tour

A 34 day tour available as scheduled group tour or as custom private tour

Scheduled Departures

  • September 10-October 8, 2018
  • Choose your dates

Land Tour Costs

From $16,658 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$2,170

 

 

 

Our 10 Year Anniversary - Once-in-a-Life-Time Adventures

For our celebration we want to make 2018 a very special year for our travelers, so we have planned a series of extraordinary events and anniversary tours to recognize and celebrate our ten year anniversary.

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