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The Legendary Silk Road: From Almaty

Overview

Day 1 Welcome to Almaty
Like traders on the Silk Road one thousand years ago, you arrive in Almaty surrounded by the cool midnight air. A bus whisks you to your hotel to rest. Tomorrow, you will explore Kazakhstan’s vibrant capital city. Overnight: Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar).

Day 2 Life in Almaty
Standing beneath the brilliantly colored patterns on the Ascension Cathedral, you gaze up at one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. It’s been a morning of discovery, strolling through Kazakhstan’s capital of avenues and cafes, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range. Soon you will be treated to a welcome lunch in a yurt restaurant, before you board your private train. Your luggage is ready and waiting for you in your personal compartment. You unpack and relax, then head for the dining car. Overnight on board. Meals included: breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D).

Day 3 Nomad’s Pilgrimage Center: Turkistan
As you eat breakfast, the glorious steppe unfolds outside the window to the steady beat of the railroad moving along the tracks. Soon you arrive in Turkistan, and stand before the magnificent Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi: the vast, brightly-tiled testament to power and beauty that UNESCO have made a World Heritage site and the Kazakhs revere as their national icon. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 4 Tashkent, the Green Oasis
Under the cover of night, your train crosses the border into Uzbekistan. By morning, you are in Tashkent, a city studded with monuments that hark back to the Silk Road. You experience the lush, green oasis of the steppe and tour caravanserais, fortresses and madrasah—history in earthen brick and turquoise tile. As evening arrives, you depart and travel the Silk Road trail to Shakhrisabz. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 5 Shakhrisabz, the Mighty
Under wide blue skies, you explore Shakhrisabz, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Timur, the fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror, filled this once-mighty city with grandiose testaments to his earthly power. Now his palaces stand in ruins around you in the bustling market town as crumbling reminders of a lost empire. You experience a folklore performance in a small village and meet some of the locals. Before night closes in, the train departs, and you join fellow travelers for an Uzbek wine tasting in the dining car. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 6 Samarkand, the Ancient
Wealth, conquest and faith intertwine among the splendors of Samarkand, one of the oldest settlements on Earth. At the time of Timur, this was called the most beautiful city in the world. Today, as you stand among the ornate marble pillars and vaults of Registan square or the exquisite glazed tiles of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, it’s impossible to suppress your sense of wonder. In visiting the Afrosiyab excavation site you untangle the roots of this astonishing civilization. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar). (BLD)

Day 7 Samarkand, the Magnificent
Another day to soak up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Samarkand on this train journey. Delve into its Islamic past and sift through its riches. You see Uzbek craftsmen skillfully weave silk into carpets and press paper from mulberry bark, before casting your eyes to the magnificent past at the Ulugh Beg Observatory, the ruins of Bibi Khanum Mosque and the impressive Gur Emir Mausoleum. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar). (BLD)

Day 8 From Samarkand to Khiva
On a last bright morning in Samarkand, you breakfast, wander the city, and board your private train as the sun touches noon. The spectacular steppe scrolls by your window in green hills, ancient rock and distant mountains. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 9 A Fairy Tale of 1001 Nights
This is Khiva, an ancient city fortress. Beneath the vivid blue glazed bands of the Kalta Minor Minaret, you set out through the sun and shadow of winding streets on a dreamlike tour of the town’s palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasah. All inhabited, thriving – a living museum. You lunch in the old Summer Palace of the Emir. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 10 Bukhara, the Noble
Beneath the imposing yellow brickwork of the Kaljan minaret, you gaze at the magnificent gateways on either side of the courtyard, each a heady cocktail of intricate tilework and grand design. This is only a first glimpse of old Bukhara, a site of UNESCO World Heritage that holds a miraculous city-museum of a thousand monuments, each a testimony to the glory days of caravan trade. At the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, you witness the 500-year-old architectural ingenuity that keeps a pool full in the baking Kysylkum desert. You learn about the satirical Sufi Nasreddin Hodja, watch local dances, listen to exotic Uzbek tunes and have dazzling national costumes paraded in the courtyard of a madrasah. Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar). (BLD)

Day 11 Mausoleum of the Samanid
Another long, glorious, desert day devoted to the infinitely rich Bukhara. From the sumptuous stylings of the Mire-e-Arab Madrasah, you move to the textured geometry of the Samanid Mausoleum regarded by many as the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia. Then onto the gargantuan, 1,500-year-old Ark fortress, and the only women’s mosque in the country. Standing on its vast rampart, you take a last view out over Bukhara, glistening turquoise and yellow in the bright afternoon light. A diamond in the dust. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 12 Merv, the Ancient Pearl of the East
At daybreak, your private train draws into the ancient oasis of Merv. In the twelfth-century, this was one of the largest cities in the world. Nourished by the Silk Road, its fame crossed continents. Now you stand surrounded by imposing 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 Former Royal City of Nisa and Today’s Capital, Ashgabat
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. (BLD)

Day 14 Ashgabat: An Epic Journey Comes to an End
You catch the transfer for your flight home, leaving wide blue skies, the open steppe, and epic monuments behind you, laden with unparalleled memories of the Silk Road.

(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
Mar 28 – Apr 10
Oct 03 – Oct 16

 

RATES (per person, twin share)

28March

03 October

HabibiUS$3700US$3940
Ali BabaUS$5540US$5780
AladdinUS$6510US$6750
SultanUS$10140US$10380
KalifUS$10300US$10540

DATES for 2020

(14 days / 13 nights)

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

Please contact us for pricing.