Discover the unique Silk Road culture that spans Central Asia and beyond.
A journey through time down this ancient trade route is a true adventure for travelers intrigued by less-frequented parts of the globe. You’ll follow in the footsteps of generations of nomads, visiting some of the most important world heritage sites that connected the East to the West. Cross sprawling desert landscapes, visit glittering Islamic monuments and stop at small villages where you’ll meet the locals and learn about traditional ways of life. Buckle up for the ride, this is no ordinary road trip.
Our Silk Road tours
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Highlights of the Silk Road
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The Silk Road was originally an expansive region that covered Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and parts of the Pacific. In modern times, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) classifies the Silk Road region as 34 countries.
While many of these countries retain remnants of the Silk Road era, we have highlighted several of the destinations that showcase this incredible history within our Silk Road tours. We are currently running Silk Road trips in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The following FAQ answers are related to these countries.
In the Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan sections of the Silk Road, the weather is categorized as typically between moderate to arid continental. This means summers are hot and sunny, with winters between cold and freezing. There can be extreme temperatures in these seasons, with highs getting to 122ºF, typically in the desert regions, and winter lows of -4ºF. There's also snow in the mountain regions. This region can also get sudden cold spells, heatwaves, and intense winds, causing sand and dust storms.
The best time to visit the Silk Road for travel within Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan is from April to October, as the rainiest time of year typically falls from October to April. The shoulder months of March and November are also good times to visit as there shouldn't be as cold or get as much rain as in the winter months. It can get very hot from June to August, so if you'd prefer a milder visit, visit in the spring and autumn seasons.
If you are traveling to countries in the Silk Road region, you should ensure you have checked the entry requirements for each destination you are visiting. Currently, in the countries we run trips in, a visa is required for entry into Turkmenistan.
Many nationalities are able to enter and travel within Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan for up to 30 days without a visa. This is extended to 60 days in Kyrgyzstan.
The page is for general information only and may be subject to change. It is your responsibility to obtain the relevant visa and travel information required for entry, departure, and travel to each country or region you visit on your trip. You should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates.
Tipping isn't universally done across the Silk Road region, however, it is becoming more popular in certain areas. In Kazakhstan, a service charge of 10% is typically included in bills, whereas in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a tip of about 5-10% is welcome. Tippnig is not customary in Turkemenistan.
Internet in countries throughout the Silk Road is typically accessible in cities and large towns. You can generally find internet in hotels and restaurants as well as in internet cafes. When outside of these major hubs, internet can range from reduced to non-existent.
In Turkmenistan, many sites, including social media, are blocked by the authorities.
Similar to internet use, mobile phone access in the Silk Road region is typically good in cities and main towns. There can be limitations on using your device and home carrier, depending on the country you are traveling in and your provider. You may be able to purchase a local SIM card while abroad in this area. However, if you are planning on using global roaming, ensure it is turned on prior to leaving your home country.
Toilets throughout the Silk Road area can vary from modern flushable toilets to outside drop toilets. Some areas in this region may not sanitize toilet facilities to the same standards as in Western countries and there may not always be hot water available.
Because there is so much variation, especially between the cities and remote areas, it is generally advised that you bring your own toilet paper, sanitizer, and soap while traveling.
Travelers are advised not to drink tap water in Central Asia and while in the Silk Road regions. It is also a good idea to be careful when eating salads and other uncooked foods that may have been washed in water. Similarly, avoid ice, peel fruit before eating, and ask for filtered water to be used for tea.
Credit cards are usually accepted in business in the major cities and hubs of this region of the Silk Road. Outside of cities, credit cards aren't typically used and you will need small local currency. You may find that foreign cards aren't as accepted, especially in Uzbekistan, so it's advised that you have enough cash to cover your daily expenses.
Similarly, ATMs are usually commonly found in cities and large towns and not so much in rural regions.
Discretion is advised for LGBTQI+ travelers in this region of the Silk Road. In Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, same-sex relations are illegal and can incur prison sentences of up to two years. While in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, homosexuality is legal, however, attitudes are not accepting, especially outside of major cities. In this area of Asia, displays of affection between heterosexual couples are generally frowned upon and can even offend, so it is advised for all travelers to take care not to engage in any public displays of affection.
If you are traveling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travelers who do not wish to share a room.
Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability, and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travelers seriously and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun, and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travelers check with their government or national travel advisory organization for the latest information before departure:
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
From New Zealand?
From the US?
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveler. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects.
Eden Reforestation Projects
Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.