Travel the Silk Road from China to Uzbekistan

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2018:
From 1st January 2018 we are adding an extra day in Kyrgyzstan to enable us to enjoy the country at a more relaxed pace given the long distances between destinations. There are some changes to the itinerary as a result of this, with added stops in Kyzyl Oi and Kok Bel in Kyrgyzstan. We have also replaced Shakhrisabz with Gijduvan in order to continue to have an authentic experience of small town Uzbekistan after the recent renovations of the historic centre in Shakhrisabz. Travellers booked on this combination trip will now meet the Bishkek to Tashkent travellers in BIshkek on day 16, so will no longer miss out on this destination. These changes mean the trip will now be 32 days duration.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Countries
China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
CBSAC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Visit the lesser known Hanyangling Mausoleum, of the Han Dynasty. In our opinion this site is far more authentic and interesting than the better known Terracotta Warriors.

  • Visit the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site of the Mogao Caves, a important Buddhist site of the Silk Road.

  • Overnight in a yurt. Yurts are the traditional dwellings of the Kyrgyz people, made of felt and tarpaulins on a round frame.

  • Uncover Samarkand's Registan, probably the most recognisable of all Central Asia's monuments

Is this trip right for you?

  • Due to the nature of an overland adventure through China and Central Asia, we may have to make slight itinerary changes to the planned route due to train schedules and weather/road conditions. You will be informed in advance of this if it is necessary.

  • Some accommodation and facilities my be basic but the rewards are immeasurable.

  • There are some very long driving days over rough terrain, shower and toilet facilities are limited in some places.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Nimen Hao! Welcome to Beijing - the capital of the most populous country on earth. China's capital is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity, however there are still plenty of places that give an insight into the nation's ancient past, as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today, where your insurance and next of kin details will be collected. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place – if you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Any free time today in Beijing is taken at your leisure, so get out and start exploring this vast and amazing city. It's recommended that you arrive a few days early to experience all that Beijing has to offer. Beijing's food is a highlight, from the famous Beijing Roast Duck to dumplings in a tiny backstreet eatery, there’s no chance you’ll go hungry here!
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
  • Beijing - Great Wall Experience Urban Adventure - CNY900
  • Beijing - Beijing Insights Urban Adventure - CNY490
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Catch the bullet train to Xi'an (approximately 5-6 hours). Once the imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xian is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites to explore. Enjoy a walking tour of the Muslim Quarter of Xi'an with your group. After the walking tour, why not visit the Great Mosque, one of the most important in China. This area has plenty of interesting shops, lively street stalls and roving groups of white-bearded men in skull caps. This evening enjoy some free time to uncover what was once the start of the ancient trading route of the Silk Road.
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to explore Xi'an at your leisure. Perhaps hire a bike and ride along the city walls, which are the most complete in China, or climb to the top of the Bell and Drum towers for impressive views. Perhaps visit the impressive Tang Dynasty Small or Big Wild Goose Pagodas. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is in a scenic area which also includes the Shaanxi History Museum and Da Cien Temple. It's very popular with locals, especially in the evenings when there is a nightly light and music show around the many fountains. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is inside the Jianfu Temple and Xi'an Museum is also nearby.
Optional Activities
  • Xi'an - Bell & Drum Towers - CNY50
  • Xi'an - Great Mosque - CNY25
  • Xi'an - Small Wild Goose Pagoda - CNY50
  • Hua Shan day trip - CNY200
  • Xi'an - Karaoke - CNY100
  • Temple of the Eight Immortals - CNY10
  • Xi'an - Cycling on City Wall - CNY80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today starts with a short drive to the lesser-known Hanyangling Mausoleum with a local guide. This is a Han dynasty tomb of Emperor Jingdi, a burial site that’s more authentic and less crowded than the Teracotta Warriors. Dating from 153 BC, the tomb’s a magnificent cultural relic, comprising of tens of thousands of buried pottery figures, the emperor’s tomb, empress’ tomb, burial pits, a ceremonial site, a human sacrifice graveyard and a criminals’ cemetery. You will head underground and walk through the pits, which have glass floors and walls that enable you to see the on-going excavations up close. In the evening the group boards the first overnight train to Zhangye.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xi'an - Hanyangling Mausoleum
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Train travel in China may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face to face with the country and its people as it's the main form of transport for locals. We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound – compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Safe, hot drinking water is always available. It is a good idea to bring a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins). Basic bathroom facilities with toilets and washbasins are situated at the end of each carriage. As toilet paper isn't always available, it's best to bring an emergency supply. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. Food is available on the
Disembark after an overnight train ride to Zhangye, arriving at around midday. Check into your hotel and take an orientation walk with the group leader around this leafy town of temples and parks. The city was established 1,000 years ago as the headquarters of General Huo when he controlled the ‘Hexi Corridor’. Controlling this area meant controlling the lucrative Silk Road, as the corridor is one of the few ways through the Qilian Mountains to the north and the desert and peaks to the south. Zhangye is home to China’s largest reclining Buddha, which would have been visited by Marco Polo in the 13th century while he waited for permission from Kubilau Khan to continue on to the Mongolian capital. Relax with free time for the rest of the afternoon and evening as you prepare yourself for some truly spectacular scenery tomorrow.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today pack your sunscreen, hat and water as you head to see the unreal landscapes of Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, where it looks like millions of coloured paint pots have been spilled across the mountains. This 400-square-kilometer World Heritage site was formed over 24 million - 100 million years ago. The area was originally a lake fed by rivers, which brought many layers of sand and mineral deposits. When the lake dried up the mineral elements oxidised, giving the lake its unique colour palette. The elements then eroded the lake into mountainous shapes and unusual formations. The result looks like an oil painting, with colours ranging from pink and orange to earthy brown. The scale of the formation and the swirling patterns of rainbow colours are stunning. Take a hike around this grand and magnificent area at sunset, and discover that every angle is a photographers dream.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zhangye - Danxia Landform Geological Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today there is an option to rise early and return to the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park for an unforgettable sunrise over the hills. Later at midday the group will catch a day train to Jiayuguan (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Jiayuguan was the last outpost on the edge of the ancient Han Chinese Empire, the last Chinese-controlled stop for travellers and traders before they passed into the uncertain and dangerous deserts beyond. While exploring the city you might notice the growing Muslim influence as we travel further west.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today explore Jiayuguan Fort and a remote section of the Great Wall, which you will either visit today before heading to Dunhuang. The Ming dynasty built a series of forts and towers in Jiayuguan to secure their hold over the area and Jiayuguan Fort, though restored, still offers a feeling of desolation as you look out into the desert from atop its walls. Here we visit a section of the Jiayuguan Pass, which is the western end of the Great Wall built during the Ming Dynasty. Travel to Dunhuang in the afternoon, which is about five hours drive. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jiayuguan - Hanging Great Wall
  • Jiayuguan - Fort
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning the group can decide if they want to drive out of the city and watch the sun rise over the nearby dunes at Crescent Lake. The oasis, which take the shape of a crescent moon, is believed to have existed for around 2,000 years and is surrounded by Mingsha Shan (Singing Sand Dunes). Today you will also visit the nearby Mogao Caves, which house some of the most stunning Buddhist murals in the world, and are perhaps the greatest store of Buddhist art in the world. The first cave was carved out and painted in 366 AD after a Buddhist monk, passing through on the Silk Road, had a vision of a thousand Buddha faces appearing on the cliff. The caves were largely forgotten until a Taoist monk stumbled upon them in 1907. Currently there are more than 492 caves, most containing murals, manuscripts, and over 2,415 coloured statues. Return to your hotel in Dunhuang for the night and perhaps enjoy a drink at the unique beer gardens off the nearby night market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dunhuang - Mogao Caves
  • Dunhuang - Crescent Moon Lake & Singing Sand Mountains
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by private bus this morning to Liuyuan train station and board a day train to Turpan (approximately 3.5 hours). A transfer will be waiting in Turpan to take you to the hotel. Once an important staging post on the Silk Road, Turpan is an attractive oasis town famous for its vineyards, stone fruits, melons and the nearby Flaming Mountains. The Turpan Depression is second only to the Dead Sea in Jordan as the lowest point on earth. It's a small city by Chinese standards, but the surrounding area is full of interesting places. The country roads on the outskirts are lined with poplars and the lovely old mud brick dwellings of the Uyghur people, while the modern ‘inner’ town has shiny new buildings, spacious streets and public squares.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Explore Turpan with your local guide. Visit the ruins of the once great Silk Road city of Jiaohe, one of Xinjiang’s best historical sites and one of the most rewarding to visit. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you as things will be heating up! During free time this afternoon, choose to join the locals socialising in the square, or visit the market tonight for all the flavours of the region and plenty of interaction.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Turpan - Jiaohe Ancient City
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take the last train journey to Kashgar, which departs between 11am and 1pm (approximately 24 hours). See mirages in the Turpan basin, then climb through a high mountain pass, switch-backing up the peak of the Tian Shan Mountains. By morning you will have descended down the other side into the Tarim basin, skirting the northern edge of the sandy Taklamakan desert, passing isolated communities eking out a living in a harsh environment.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Turpan - Emin Minaret - CNY45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
While this is a hard sleeper train journey, the carriages used are often double-decker with compartments for four people. The compartments are smaller than on previous trains with little luggage storage space, so there is a chance that bigger bags will need to be kept on your bed. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey to Kashgar. Much of the excitement of Kashgar lies in just reaching this remote city, which sits over 4,000 kilometres away from its nominal capital in Beijing.
Arrive into Kashgar around midday today. Once a frontier town straddling the crossroads of empires and trading routes, Kashgar is now very much a modern, fast developing city that continues to take advantage of its geographical position near the border of Pakistan and Central Asia. Far from Beijing it may be, but there are still plenty of signs that you are still in China, such as the country's largest Chairman Mao statue.

The once extensive Old Town is just about all but gone, with only a few areas still left to be demolished or rebuilt under the guise of it being overcrowded, with poor drainage and vulnerable to earthquakes. There has been a huge loss of culture with Uyghur families being relocated to newly built apartments.

The town's main landmark is the Id Kah Mosque and its surrounding square. The dusty old laneways are crammed full of shops, food stalls and Uyghur locals living a lifestyle virtually unchanged for a hundred years. Take advantage of the proximity to Pakistan by having a meal of curry and chapattis at a Pakistani café or play a round or two with the lads hanging out at the pool tables on Id Kah Square. Alternatively, you can get lost meandering down lanes and alleyways, stopping at stalls selling tandoori-baked bagels or mulberry juice. 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kashgar's main attraction is undoubtedly the Sunday Bazaar, which you’ll visit today. It’s said to be the biggest market in Asia, and on its main day it can feel like everyone from hundreds of miles around has converged on the city. It’s alive with traders selling all kinds of wares – rugs, hats, spices, boots, dates, ingredients for traditional medicines, auto parts, you name it. The Bazaar is divided into two sections – the Downtown Bazaar, which sells clothing, household goods, produce and everything else you could imagine, and the Animal Bazaar just outside the city. Taking a private van, first travel out to the Animal Bazaar to see the frantic bargaining and bustle of local herdsmen and farmers (watch as they even take donkeys for a 'test drive'). It’s certainly a memorable scene to see every farmer, handler, sheep, cow, camel, horse and donkey from the surrounding villages packed into a small square overflowing with sound and smell. Then return to the city to visit the main bazaar and mingle with the traders and shoppers at your own pace. Perhaps join the locals in Id Kah Square on this free evening.
Included Activities
  • Kashgar - Sunday & Animal Bazaars
Optional Activities
  • Kashgar - Id Kah Mosque - CNY20
  • Kashgar - Tomb of Abakh Hoja - CNY30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Say goodbye to your Chinese leader and group today, and travel onwards with other group members who are completing the Beijing to Tashkent journey.

Depart early morning by private bus for our journey into the seldom-travelled country of Kyrgyzstan, a nation that still embraces nomadic traditions and extends some of the warmest hospitality you'll find anywhere in the world. We'll be travelling for around 11 hours today, including approx 7 hours of driving, plus border formalities (which can require a lot of patience and plenty of waiting).

You will be accompanied by a Chinese Intrepid representative to the border and then meet your new driver and escort on the Kyrgyzstan side who will be with you until we meet the Central Asia group at Song Kul lake tomorrow.

We cross the breathtaking Torugart Pass (3570m) high in the Tian Shan, slated as the most exciting route into Central Asia - take note of the changing landscape between China and Kyrgyzstan - and drive down to Tash Rabat (3500m), a beautifully preserved caravanserai of the 14th century. There is very little public transport in Kyrgyzstan so to make the most of our time here we have a private van for our journeys. It can be a rough ride in places today and often gets quite cold as we ascend higher into the mountains even in mid summer, so make sure you bring some warm clothes!

Drive on to Naryn where we stay in a hotel tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel on to Bishkek, where you will have free time until you meet your new group and leader at 6pm tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a full-day city tour of Bishkek. You'll notice a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere as you stroll around town. The centre of the city is Ala-too Square, which was known as Lenin's Square in Soviet times. Lenin used to stand in his concrete overcoat in the middle of this square, proudly gesturing towards the mountains. For those interested in their Soviet memorabilia, a larger-than-life Frunze can be found still sitting on a bronze horse facing the train station, though his name plaque has been removed. You can also still visit the museum built over Frunze's birthplace. A nice place to watch the world go by is Dubovy (Oak) Park, where you'll find a few open-air cafes that are great to sit at and soak up the atmosphere over a drink. The century-old oaks here and all along Freedom Avenue make Bishkek one of the greenest cities in Central Asia.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bishkek - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Bishkek - State Historical Museum - KGS150
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive 60 km to the 11th-century Burana tower, an ancient minaret from the Silk Road period. In the nearby village of Don Aryk, visit a local home. Reflecting the important role horses have played in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic life style, the country is famous for at least four types of horse games such as odarysh or wrestling, tiyin-enish, where riders try to pick up coins at full gallop and kobber or buzkashi, a type of goat-snatching polo. Enjoy lunch with the family. Continue to Issyk Kul lake – the second largest alpine lake in the world. This beauty is one of the biggest natural water reservoirs in the world, at 170 km long and 70 km wide. A combination of extreme depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes. Next, continue to Kochkor. Explore a small local market in the centre of the village as well as local co-op that provides training to local women in traditional handicrafts.
Accommodation
  • Guest House/Home Stay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Make the 130 km drive to Song Kol Lake, one of the largest lakes in the country. This beautiful alpine lake is considered a sacred place for many Kyrgyz people as well as one of the best summer pastures for nomadic herders. In the middle of the summer, you'll see nomadic herdsmen and their families watching over goats, sheep, and horses. Enjoy exploring your surroundings for the rest of the day. There are many beautiful lake trails to hike along. Alternatively you might like to visit some ancient petroglyphs in the local area, or visit a nomad camp for a first-hand look at nomadic life. Simply sit and take in this beautiful corner of the world. Tonight you will stay in your first yurt camp of the trip. Yurts, made of felt and tarpaulins on a round frame, are the traditional dwellings of the Kyrgyz people. Sleeping arrangements are on a multi-share, mixed-gender basis with mattresses on the floor. It can get very chilly in the evenings, so there's a stove for heating and plenty of blankets. There are no bathroom facilities inside the yurts. Outdoor toilets are to be expected. Those daring enough for an invigorating morning splash can use the lake nearby!
Accommodation
  • Yurt Camp (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Notes: The pass to Song-Kol is not open all year round. When the road is impassable, an alternative destination will be arranged for this day of the trip.
Today you travel along the gravel roads to tiny village of Kyzyl Oi squeezed between the mountains. Enjoy a picnic lunch, which will be arranged by your leader, on the bank of Kokomeren river in a shade of the trees. Take some free time to explore the village.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Keep in mind that the roads in Kyrgyzstan see little regular maintenance, so even short distances can take a full day. You will arrive at tonight accommodation sometime in the early evening so expect a full travel day. The road crosses Suusamyr Valley – a high steppe plateau situated at around 2,200 metres above sea level. The mountainous, lush surrounding landscape is dotted with yurts. Just when you think the road couldn't possibly climb any higher, you will arrive at your guesthouse for an overnight stay. The road follows Chychkan river that cuts thru Tien Shan range. Stop here for a while and soak up the amazing scenery. Surrounded by mountains and rivers flowing below, Chychkan is simply stunning. Arrive in Kok Bel and stay in a guesthouse again tonight.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Home Stay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast, drive to Arkyt Village (approximately 4–5 hours). This UNESCO World Heritage-listed network of nature reserves is located in the Sary-Chelek National Park, about 15 km before Sary-Chelek Lake. The reserve was founded in 1959 to preserve the flora and fauna of the walnut-fruit forests and alpine landscapes. You will make a small detour to drive around a section of the Toktogul Water Reservoir which supplies electricity and water to 90% of the Kyrgyz population. The Toktogul Dam and hydroelectric power station in fact features on the 100 som banknote. After lunch continue another 10 km to the lakes to take a boat trip across the lake. Stay in a local homestay and enjoy more of that warm Kyrgyzstan hospitality.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Home Stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Osh - Bazaar
  • Osh - Solomon's Throne
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
A morning drive (approximately 5 hours from Sary-Chelek Lake) brings you to Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. Located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, Osh is often referred to as the 'capital of the south'. It is one of the truly ancient Central Asian towns, dating back to the 5th century BC. While you are here, be sure to pay a visit to the Jayma Bazaar where you might pick up an interesting local handicraft. Also pop your head into the famous three-story yurt, or perhaps venture to the Suleiman-Too Mountain which looms over the lovely Fergana Valley.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive to the Kyrgyz–Uzbek border in the morning. After passing through the border we meet our Uzbek guide and start our drive through Fergana Valley to the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. We make a stop in Kokand, once capital of the Khanate of Kokand where we visit the former palace of Khudayar Khan, have lunch and see its small museum filled with historic objects and photographs. From Kokand we continue our drive over the mountainous Kamchik pass to Tashkent. Check into our hotel on arrival and head out to explore with your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tashkent - Museum of Applied Arts
  • Tashkent - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue your introduction to the charming culture of Uzbekistan. City sightseeing today in Tashkent will include a visit to the Museum of Applied Arts and the State Art Museum to see embroideries and other fine crafts, visit Abdul Khasim Medrassah with its hujra cells used as metalwork craft workshops to produce jewellery and other goods. After lunch, stop in at the exciting Chorsu Bazaar to see traditional wooden cradles, hand-made musical instruments, and the extensive vegetable and spice market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Samarkand - Ulug Beg Observatory
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Transfer to the train station for the fast train to fabled Samarkand (approx 2 hours). This town is located at the very centre of the ancient Silk Road. Right upon arrival, enjoy a sightseeing tour of this ancient city. We inspect the remains of the remarkable medieval observatory developed by Ulug Beg, Timur’s brilliant astronomer grandson. Today, only half of the below-ground semi-circular track remains to be seen, together with the excellent small museum close by. In the afternoon we drive to the site of Afrosiab, or ancient Samarkand, and visit the Afrosiab Museum with its fine collection of treasures unearthed from the site, including the world famous 10th century frescoes. We check into our hotel in the late afternoon in time to freshen up and perhaps go for a short walk before dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Samarkand - Bibi Khanum Mosque
  • Samarkand - Guri Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda Mausoleum Complex
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the great central square of Samarkand, the Registan. Continue to Guri-Amir, where Tamerlane is buried, to Bibi-Khanum Mosque and also visit the nearby market. Then we drive to Konigil village in the outskirts of Samarkand. A special lunch is served for us here by the family who set up a watermill here for a paper making workshop. After lunch we'll have a tour of this place and explore traditional way of making famous Samarkand paper from mulberry. Upon return to Samarkand we visit Shaki-Zinda ensemble of the Mausoleums. This unusual necropolis has monuments from the 14th and 15th centuries, reflecting the development of the monumental art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue tracing the Silk Road towards Bukhara. One of the most important portions of the ancient route named Royal Road, this route connects two major cities of the area and takes us through steppe to the small town of Gijduvan. Historically this was one of the caravan stops on the way to Holy Bukhara. Local Sufi master Kholiq (Abdukholiq Gijduvoniy) made this place famous because the Sufi Order he founded here in the 13th century. A couple of centuries later Ulugbek – the famous astronomer ruler of Samarkand and grandson of Tamerlane built a medrassah here, just next to the grave of the Sufi Saint. This town has gained further fame as one of the centers of glazed ceramic production. We have a chance to visit the private studio of a local ceramic artist, meet his family and have a master class with ceramic artists. Later we can have some free time to explore this small town and learn more about life of Uzbek people outside big cities. In the evening we can try another specialty of Gijduvan, its cuisine. The juicy kebabs of Gijduvan are famous throughout Uzbekistan! Overnight in a hotel in Gijduvan tonight.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart for Bukhara, seeing a minaret from the late 12th century in Vobkent on the way. Then drive a little way to Bukhara, and just as you enter the modern gate of the city, visit the lovely Sitora-i Mohi Khosa, once the summer residence of the last Emir. Designed by Russian architects, it has lavish interiors decorated with traditional filigree plaster, mirrored surfaces and delicate floral wall paintings by local artisans. Of special interest is a superb collection of large dowry embroideries, historic costumes including veiling garments once worn by women. From the Summer Palace our private transport takes us through the Bukhara oasis to the peaceful 16th century Chor-Bakr necropolis. We enjoy the simplicity of decoration of Khonako-Medrassah-Mosque complex typical of Bukhara. In the afternoon we visit one of Central Asia’s oldest and most exquisite structures, the 10th century Ismail Samani Mausoleum, whose superb decorative brickwork has survived 1,000 years of rugged history. From here it is only a short distance to the Lyabi-Haus area and our hotel which is situated in the old Jewish quarter and decorated with traditional Uzbek crafts. After dinner, there's time to join the locals strolling around the area and visit some of the small craft studios tucked into the ancient nearby madrassas and trading domes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend a full day visiting the historic sites and remarkable monuments of Bukhara. Walk through the fascinating old city and see the impressive 2000 year-old Ark (where the Emirs once lived), the great 12th century Kalon Minaret and neighbouring Kalon Mosque. Along the way you can observe the many master craftsmen of Bukhara and admire their wide variety of superb traditional crafts.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a final breakfast, continue optional sightseeing in Bukhara. In the afternoon, take a fast train back to Tashkent and arrive in time for your farewell dinner with your fellow travellers. Transfer to the hotel and stay overnight in Tashkent.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please speak to your leader about storing luggage at the hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

17 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Overnight Sleeper Train, Private Bus, Public Bus, High Speed Train, Metro/Subway

Accommodation

Hotel (22 nts), Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nts), Guesthouse/Homestay (6 nts), Yurt (1 nt)

Included activities

  • Xi'an - Muslim Quarter Walking Tour
  • Xi'an - Hanyangling Mausoleum
  • Zhangye - Danxia Landform Geological Park
  • Jiayuguan - Hanging Great Wall
  • Jiayuguan - Fort
  • Dunhuang - Mogao Caves
  • Dunhuang - Crescent Moon Lake & Singing Sand Mountains
  • Turpan - Jiaohe Ancient City
  • Kashgar - Sunday & Animal Bazaars
  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Osh - Bazaar
  • Osh - Solomon's Throne
  • Tashkent - Museum of Applied Arts
  • Tashkent - City Tour
  • Samarkand - Ulug Beg Observatory
  • Samarkand - Bibi Khanum Mosque
  • Samarkand - Guri Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda Mausoleum Complex
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - City Tour
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, excluding nights on overnight trains, yurts and home stays.
2. A scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport is required at time of booking in order for us to purchase your train tickets.
3. Some destinations visited on this trip do not have consulates in Australia and New Zealand. See Visa section of the Trip Notes for detailed information and allow sufficient time to obtain your visas for Central Asia prior to travel.
4. Overnight train accommodation on this tour is in 6-berth ‘hard-sleeper’ class. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilet facilities (usually one with a toilet seat and one squat-style in each compartment) are available on all trains, but there are no showers or baths.
5. While traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites.
6. As this is a combination trip your leader and group composition will change along the way. You will have a Chinese, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbek leader in each country. For the border crossing between China & Kyrgyzstan and for the overnight stay in Naryn you will be accompanied by an Intrepid representative.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our The Great Silk Road trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

The Great Silk Road , June 2017

Anne Bowden

The Great Silk Road , June 2017

Verena Juebner