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The Legendary Silk Road: From Almaty

Overview

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. Overnight: Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar).

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 your the Orient Silk Road Express, your private train on this legendary journey. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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, is 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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar) (BLD)

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. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar) (BLD)

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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

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. Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar) (BLD)

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. Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 12. Merv, the Ancient Pearl of the East
At daybreak, your private train draws into the ancient city of Merv. 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) (BLD)

Day 13. Ashgabat, Former Royal City of Nisa and Today’s Capital
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. Overnight: Hotel Ashgabat (or similar) (BLD)

Day 14. Farewell to the Legendary Silk Road
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.

(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

Habibi

This compartment has sleeping berths (26.4 × 72.4 in /67 × 184cm) for up to four guests. A table near the window separates lower and upper berths on either side. Each car has nine compartments, with washroom facilities at both ends.

Ali Baba

This compartment has two lower berths (27.5 × 74.8 in/67 × 184 cm each), as well as a table and additional storage space. Each car has nine compartments, with washroom facilities at both ends.

Aladdin

This category features two lower beds (27.5 × 74.8 in/67 × 184 cm each), a small table and storage space. Each car has eight compartments and a shower, together with washroom facilities at both ends. Guests in this category also receive one bathrobe per compartment.

Sultan

This category features two beds, upper and lower (31.6 × 68.5 in/80 × 174 cm and 43.3 × 72.4 in/110 × 184 cm) These compartments also offer comfortable seating, a larger table and a small closet. Each room has its own private bathroom, complete with integrated shower. The cars in this category are comprised of just six compartments.

Kalif

The Orient Silk Road Express’ grandest accommodation. The Kalif category features two beds, upper and lower (31.6 × 68.5 in/80 × 174 cm and 44 × 72.4 in/112 × 184 cm). Each compartment includes a closet, safe and private bathroom with a separate shower cabin. Each car in this category is limited to four compartments and a maximum of just eight guests.

 

Rates Include

  • 7 nights on an exclusively chartered train
  • 5 nights in mid to high-end hotels
  • Excellent service, whether from your tour director, group guide or local guide, each with excellent command of English
  • Doctor on board
  • All excursions and sightseeing as per itinerary, including entry fees
  • Transfers and bus tours as per itinerary
  • Hugely popular catering, with local specialties prepared on board and served as per itinerary
  • Attentive porters at all railroad stations
  • Entertaining and enlightening lectures on local lands, people and cultures
  • A booklet on the region and the train itself for each reserved compartment
Highlights Of Your Journey

  • Traditional welcome ceremonies in Bukhara and Samarkand
  • Insights into everyday life, witnessing crafts and traditions such as silk carpet weaving
  • The fascinating excavations at ancient Afrosiyab
  • The 600-year-old Ulugh Beg observatory
  • The spectacular nature of the Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts and the Tian Shan mountains
  • Local vodka and Uzbek wine tasting sessions

DATES for 2019

(14 days / 13 nights)

Departure Dates
Oct 03 – Oct 16

 

RATES (per person, twin share)

03 October

Habibi US$3920
Ali Baba US$5760
Aladdin US$6730
Sultan US$10360
Kalif US$10520

DATES for 2020

(14 days / 13 nights)

Departure Dates
April 02 – 15 April
Oct 08 – Oct 21

 

RATES (per person, twin share)

02April

08 October

Habibi US$3840 US$4270
Ali Baba US$5650 US$6160
Aladdin US$6600 US$7160
Sultan US$10150 US$10950
Kalif US$10350 US$11310