trips

From $ 5,870

The Legendary Silk Road

 

 

The Legendary Silk Road

14-day Private Train Journey from Kazakhstan through Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan

Experience the fascination of the diverse cultures in three of the countries along Central Asian’s Silk Road while traveling in the comfort of your private train. You start your journey in Almaty, “the father of the apple”, and travel to the Uzbek oasis of Tashkent, to Samarqand and to Khiva, where a tale from 1001 Nights – preserved in stone – awaits you, to romantic Bukhara in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, to the ruins of the ancient cities of Merv and Nisa, and finally to Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashgabat. You have the opportunity to experience the region’s cultures, peoples, and delicious cuisine along this otherwise quite inaccessible section of Central Asia’s Silk Road, while enjoying the amenities of private train travel: all the makings of your very own 1001 Nights tale.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit 7 important UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Nisa – the former imperial city of the Parthians
  • The ruins of the ancient city of Merv
  • The oasis and caravan hub of Khiva
  • The historic center of Bukhara
  • Samarqand, a Crossroads of World Cultures
  • The historic center of Shahrisabz
  • The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
  • The massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city
  • The excavation sites at Afrosiab
  • Almaty – the “father of the apple”

 

Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrival in Almaty

You arrive in Almaty and are transferred to your centrally located 4-star hotel.

 

Day 2: Almaty, the Father of the Apple

In the morning, you enjoy a sightseeing tour of this green metropolitan city at the foot of the mighty Ile Alatau Mountains. You see the imposing Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral, built entirely of wood, the Wedding Palace, the Almaty Circus, and the Central Mosque. At midday you are served a Kazakh welcoming lunch in a traditional yurt. You depart aboard your private train in the afternoon. Porter service guarantees the transfer of your large luggage directly to your train compartment. You are welcomed aboard the train with a drink or refreshment and a short informative talk. You spend the night aboard your private train.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 3: Turkestan, a Center of Nomad Pilgrimage

You arrive in Turkistan after having breakfast on board. You visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which was built in 1394 and is one of the most significant examples of Timurid architecture (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Afterwards your private train continues it journey, crossing the Kazakh-Uzbek border towards Tashkent. Border formalities are completed in the comfort of your compartment. The night is spent on the train.

Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Tashkent, the Green Oasis

Your private train arrives in the early morning at the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. On your sightseeing tour of the city you are able have a look at this green oasis in the steppe and see the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and the typical Kazakh mud brick houses. In the evening you attend Tashkent’s famous Navoi Opera or a concert in the Tashkent Philharmonic Hall (program permitting). You continue on with your private train after the performance. The night is spent on the train.

Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5: Traveling through Time

During the night, your train passes through mountainous territory. The Greek heritage has been preserved in this inaccessible mountainous region and cultural influences of the Bactrians and the Kushan Empire also survive here. Fire worship and shamanism are still practiced here in the form of rituals and myths seldom found elsewhere. Trade caravans once traveled through these narrow mountain gorges and the armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Timur (or Tamerlane) also passed by here. A traditional ceremony offers you firsthand insight into the region’s unique folklore. Your journey then continues along the Great Silk Road aboard your train to the green city of Shakhrisabz, the birth place of Timur. Your sightseeing here includes the monumental architecture of the brutal Mongol ruler’s great palace from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and a visit to the bustling marketplace. In the evening you depart for Samarqand on your private train. On board you are invited to a tasting of Uzbek wines. The night is spent on the train.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 6: Samarqand, the Crossroads of Culture

Today is spent visiting the sights of this famous historic city, which during the rule of Timur was considered the world’s most beautiful and prestigious city. The Necropolis of Shah-e Zinde (the living Shah), the excavation sites at Afrosiab (with a museum tour), and Registan Square are certainly among the most notable architectural ensembles in Central Asia. It is also historically important, as the site where many Uzbek women burned their veils (paranjas) in 1917, to signal their arrival in a new era. The night is spent in a 4 star Samarqand hotel.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 7: Samarqand

Your day in this fascinating city includes a tour of a silk carpet manufactory, a visit to an Uzbek craftsman’s family to see paper being made from mulberry bark, stops at the Ulug Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, and viewing the interior of the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. You spend the night in your Samarquand hotel.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Samarqand

The morning is yours to explore Samarqand or spend as you please. Your train departs for Khiva in the west around noon. Your spend the night on the train.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 9: Khiva

Today you will visit the oasis of Khiva, a fairy tale from 1001 Nights – in stone. Standing at the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick you feel transported into another world. On your sightseeing tour of the oasis you have a chance to take in its exotic atmosphere. Its palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums, and madrassas (Muslim religious schools) represent one of the best preserved ensembles of medieval oriental urban architecture in the world. You enjoy lunch in the surroundings of the former emir’s Summer Palace. You spend the night  on the train.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Bukhara, the Noble One

Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara has some one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Exotic spices, furs, and especially silk were stored and traded then in the city’s caravanserais. In Bukhara’s Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage), you see the almost 165 foot tall Kalyan Minaret and the Lyab-I Hauz Ensemble by the pond. Dinner is served in a madrassa courtyard, with musical accompaniment, local dances, and a presentation of colorful national costumes. You spend the night in a 4 star hotel in Bukhara.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 11: The Samanid Mausoleum

Bukhara, which also bears the by-name Sherif (the noble one), has preserved its ancient oriental countenance in its extensive, unparalleled collection of authentic architecture. In the morning, we drive you to the splendid Mir-e-Arab Madrassa and the Samanid Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s most beautiful architectural treasures. Afterwards you tour the massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city that was once the seat of government of Bukhara’s former rulers. There you view the Throne Room, after which you visit the last emir’s Summer Residence. Before your train continues its journey that evening you are invited to meet with the Imam of Bukhara. You spend the night on the train.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 12: Merv, the Pearl of the East

Your private train arrives toward morning at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Merv, the remnants of what was once one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cities. The initial impression is of disbelief: gigantic walls and ramparts simply standing in the middle of the desert next to the imposing ruins of ancient buildings such as the Tomb of the Sultan Sanjar, the Maidens’ Castle (Kyz Kala), the historical ice-houses, and other tombs. Lunch is eaten with a local family in their home’s picturesque courtyard. The night is spent in a 4 star hotel in Ashgabat.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 13: The Capital City Ashgabat and the Former Imperial City of Nisa

In the morning you are driven to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa. After lunch you take a guided tour of the modern-day capital, with its distinctive appearance so characteristic of Turkmenbashi, the self-proclaimed “great leader of all Turkmen”. Hollywood-style settings throughout this city flush with new-found oil wealth can be impressive, but sometimes also cause a chuckle. In the afternoon you take a guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat, where you view artifacts excavated from the ruins at Nisa and gain insight into the development of a culture shaped by various peoples, ethnicities, and religions. In the evening you are brought to the airport.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 14: Return Home

Your flight home departs in the early morning, marking the end of a very special journey.

Gallery


 

 


Map

עולם נסתר-הרכבת הטרנס סיבירית-מפה

Inclusions/Exclusions


Includes:

  • Travel by private train (Days 2 – 13)
  • All transfers specified in the itinerary
  • 7 nights aboard your private train in  reserved cabins
  • 5 nights in mid-class or 4-star hotels (travelers’ selection), double occupancy, with bath or shower
  • Meals specified in the itinerary
  • Tour director and competent travel guides throughout the train journey
  • Experienced local guides for off-train excursion
  • A physician on board the train
  • Traditional welcome ceremonies upon arrival at Bukhara and Samarqand railway stations
  • Dinner in a madrassa with a folklore performance; lunch with an Uzbek family
  • Wine tasting

Excludes:

  • Visa fees
  • Entry fee for Turkmenistan: $12 cash,  paid at the border
  • Gratuities
  • International flights

Entry Requirements

Immigration/Tourist

  • Passport required (passport must be valid for more than 6 months after departure date from Turkmenistan/ Uzbekistan/ Kazakhstan)
  • Visa required, depending on your nationality
  • For immigration Turkmenistan: $12 cash and 2 passport photographs required
  • No vaccination mandatory

Departure dates & prices

DepartureReturnFrom - To
31.03.2016 13.04.2016from Kazakhstan through Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan
06.10.2016 19.10.2016from Kazakhstan through Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan

Rates

Compartment CategoryPrice Per person
Habibi (Standard, 4 berths) $3,844
Supplement for use of the compartment by 3 person$1,056
Ali Baba$5,781
Single use supplement in Ali Baba category$1,437
Aladin$6,558
Single use supplement in Aladin category$1,907
Sultan$10,824
Single use supplement in Sultan category$5,073
Kalif$11,337
Single use supplement in Kalif category$5,220
Single use supplement for 5 hotel overnights$557
supplement High Season (October)$264

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