THE LEGENDARY SILK ROAD

THE LEGENDARY SILK ROAD BY PRIVATE TRAIN

Ashgabat–Mary/Merv–Bukhara–Khiva–Samarqand– Shakhrisabz –Tashkent–Turkestan–Almaty

14 days 

This journey familiarizes you with the many different cultures along the legendary Silk Road and numerous localities that made history; among are 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Tien Shan Mountains, the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are richly endowed with history and cultures. Explore them on this exciting journey by Private Train.

Day 1:  Ashgabat

Transfer to your First-Class hotel in Ashgabat.

Day 2:  Karakum Desert

In the afteroon, board your Private Train and start your journey through the infamous Karakum Desert. Witness fascinating nature with sandhills up to 90 meters high. In the evening, reach a train station in the Karakum where, after a short bus ride, you will see a crater with a huge fire, burning day and night since the 1960s. An unforgettable sight! Overnight in your Private Train. [B,L,D]

Day 3: Former Royal City of Nisa and today’s Capital Ashgabat        

In the morning  visit the colourful Tolkuchka Bazaar, a typical oriental market, one of the largest in Central Asia, where in addition to camels one can also buy precious silver jewellery and valuable carpets. Then drive to the old Parthian city of Nisa. In Ashgabat’s National Museum you will be able to see ruins of ancient Nisa. After lunch take a city tour and become acquainted with today’s capital Ashgabat, known for the unmistakable handwriting of the Turkmenbashi, the leader of the Turkmens. Dine with locals and later depart on your Private Train. [B,L,D]

Day 4: Merv, the Ancient Pearl of the East    

In the early morning you arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Merv with its gigantic walls and ramparts in the desert. See impressive ruins of old buildings, such as the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, the Virgin Fortress (Kis Kale), the cold room and other mausoleums. Enjoy lunch in the picturesque courtyard of an artist, before boarding your Private Train for Bukhara. [B,L,D]

Day 5: Bukhara – The City with the Desert Lighthouse 

Situated in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara features approximately a thousand monuments, which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. Foreign spices, furs and especially silk fabrics were stored and handled in the caravansaries. In the old city (UNESCO-World Culture Heritage)  see the Kaljan Minaret and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble. Enjoy dinner in the courtyard of a Madrasah with musical accompaniment, local dances and a presentation of colourful national costumes. Spend the night in a centrally located upper Middle-class hotel in Bukhara. [B,L,D]

Day 6:  Bukhara, the Noble         

Experience the city in an all-day tour program, including lunch. Bukhara is a large, unique and authentic art museum that maintains its old oriental face. In the morning, we guide you to the magnificent Mire-e-Arab Madrasah and the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia, the Samanid Mausoleum. Then  take a tour through the fortress Ark and  see there the coronation hall. Visit the summer residence of the last Emir. At the end of your stay  see the only women’s mosque in the world. In the evening your train departs for the overnight journey to Khiva. [B,L,D]

Day 7: A Fairy Tale of 1001 Nights       

After breakfast go to the Southern border of the seven river lands, in the oasis of Khiva. Tour the palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and Koranic schools which show you what medieval oriental urban development must have been like. You will enjoy lunch in the atmosphere of the former Summer Palace of the Emir. In the evening depart to Samarqand. [B,L,D]

Day 8: Samarqand – Intersection of Cultures       

Today experience the historical importance of Samarqand, one of the most beautiful cities in the world during Tamerlane’s time. The grave city Shah-e-zende (“the living Shah”), the excavation sites of Afrosiab and the Registan Square present an impressive collection of Central Asian architecture. Spend the night in a First-Class hotel in Samarqand. [B,L,D]

Day 9:  Samarqand, the Magnificent   

Visit a silk carpet factory and an Uzbek craftsman’s family, see paper manufactured from mulberry bark, the observatory of Ulug Beg, the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque and the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. Overnight in your First-Class hotel in Samarqand. [B,L,D]

Day 10:  On the Great Silk Road to Shakhrisabz           

Enjoy an excursion into the surrounding mountain region where forgotten ceremonies of Shaman cults are still held. Experience a folklore performance in the unique tradition of this region and get to know the inhabitants in their surroundings. A friendly welcome is guaranteed! Next, follow the Great Silk Road and arrive in the green city, the birthplace of Tamerlane. Here, in Shakhrisabz (a UNESCO-World Heritage Site) tour the monumens of the barbaric Mongol Prince and also have the opportunity to experience the bustle of this lively town. In the evening return to your Private Train and continue to Tashkent. On board: Uzbek wine tasting.[B,L,D]

Day 11: Tashkent, the Green Oasis                 

In the morning arrive in Tashkent at the foot of the Tien Shan Mountains. On your sightseeing tour  experience the green oasis of the Steppe: the Madrasah Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments and the opera. In the evening attend the famous Tashkent Navoy Opera (depending on the schedule). Return to your Private Train and depart for Kasachstan. [B,L,D]

Day 12: Nomad’s Pilgrimage Center: Turkestan                                                                                                              

After breakfast and lunch on board arrive at the city of Turkestan in Kazakhstan (border checks occur in the comfort of your cabin). See the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its dome hall, mosque and well- house. Return to your Private Train and travel on to Almaty – at dinner it will be time to say farewell to your friendly train staff.[B,L,D]

Day 13: Almaty – The Father of Apples   

Arrive to Almaty after lunch. Enjoy a city sightseeing tour of Almaty, situated at the foothills of the northern Tien Shan Mountains. View the wide, tree-lined avenues and the many parks and street cafes. Visit the Zenkov Russian Cathedral, one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. In the evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner in country-specific yurts. Transfer to the airport. A day room or overnight hotel can be arranged depending on flight departure time. [B,L,D]

Day 14: Almaty                                                                                                                                                                          An epic journey comes to an end!

Included:

  • Arrival and departure transfers;
  • 5 night accommodation in superior or deluxe hotels;
  • 8  night accommodation on the train according to the booked category;
  • All  meals according to program;
  • Sightseeing program for a maximum of 25 guests per group including all entrance fees;
  • Sightseeing tours/guided walks in Ashgabat, Bukhara, Khiva, Samarqand, Taschkent and Almaty;
  • Traditional welcome in the train stations of Mary, Bukhara, Samarqand and Urgentch;
  • Log book with information about the Silk Road;
  •  Doctor on board;
  • Lunch/dinner with an Uzbek and a Turkmen family as well as in in a Madrasah with      folklore;
  • Wine and Vodka tasting; 

Please call YYZ Travel Group for full details.