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The Silk Road

Tuesday April 17 – Thursday May 24, 2018

Full 38-day Silk Road Tour
$14,995 SS: $1,995 (exc. international airfare)

Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan (Day 1 – 19)
$7,995 SS: $1,150 (exc. international airfare)

Kazakhstan & China (Day 20 – 38)
$7,995 SS: $1,150 (exc. international airfare)

Your place on this tour can be secured with a $1,500 deposit


Tour Description


  • Turkmenistan – the more mysterious and less explored of Central Asia’s ‘stans is home to mesmerising Merv and the haunting Karakum Desert
  • Uzbekistan – Central Asia’s showstopper – discover a cradle of culture across stand-out cities including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva

  • Kazakhstan – current home to glorious cities; former land of famous tribes and nomadic empires; and scene of bloody and devastating wars
  • China – from Terracotta Warriors to Forbidden Cities; the Great Wall to Tiananmen Square, so many historical delights await us


All meals included


April 2018
Craig Benjiman


There is a reason why the Silk Road features on many ‘trip of a lifetime’ lists. Join us on an awe-inspiring journey following parts of the legendary Silk Road through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan into China. A road much traveled by merchants in antiquity, every inch of it is concentrated with fascinating tales. This great artery once linked the major trading centers of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. It not only conveyed much-desired exotic products to far away destinations, but also cultural traits and ideas. Join us as we trace the way the caravans took their long trips through a kaleidoscope of landscapes. Besides some truly amazing archaeology, we also experience the modern-day cultures of these captivating countries, and wander through countless cities steeped in history.


This really is a tour of two halves… and it’s up to you how much you decide to join us for. Join us on Day 1 and take the Silk Road from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan. Or take it slow and catch up with us on Day 20, when we travel from Kazakhstan to China. Of course, if you’re up for an epic adventure you could always join us for the whole tour and discover the full story of the fascinating Silk Road. Full pricing details overleaf.

April – 17: ASHGABAT
We arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to our hotel, where the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Ozukent, Ashgabat

April – 18: ASHGABAT
We spend the morning at rest, ready for the long and rewarding journey ahead of us. Following an opening lecture discussing the Silk Road we take an afternoon tour of Ashgabat. The capital is home to lavish marble palaces, gleaming gold domes and vast expanses of manicured parkland.
Overnight: Ozukent, Ashgabat

April – 19: ANAU
Our day begins at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa. We continue to Anau, where traces of habitation date back to the 4th millennium BC. We return to Ashgabat to visit the Archaeological Museum this afternoon.
Overnight: Ozukent, Ashgabat

April – 20: ASHGABAT
We spend our Sunday morning at Ashgabat’s oriental bazaar, Altyn Asyr. It is on of the largest markets in Central Asia.
We fly to Merv this afternoon, and check into our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Margush, Mary

April – 21: GONUR DEPE
We visit the archaeological site of Gonur Depe this morning. The largest ruins in the Morghab delta region can be found here; with over 150 settlements dating to the early Bronze Age. We continue to the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum this afternoon.
Overnight: Hotel Margush, Mary

April – 22: MERV
We tour a collection of sites in ancient Merv today. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important cities along the Silk Road. We explore the Tomb of Sultan Sanjar and the Erk-Kala fortress. We fly to Ashgabat this afternoon.
Overnight: Ozukent, Ashgabat

April – 23: DAŞOGUZ
We catch a morning flight to Daşoguz this morning. We make our way to Konye-Urgench, once the center of the Islamic world. We also visit Khanym Mausoleum, Najmuddin Kubra mausoleum and Kutluk Timur Minaret. We continue to Nukus, and cross the border into Uzbekistan.
Overnight: Jipek Joli Hotel

April – 24: KHIVA
We discover one of the best collections of Soviet art in the world at the Savitsky Gallery this morning. After our visit, we travel to the ‘museum city’ of Khiva.
Overnight: Malik Khiva Hotel, Khiva

April – 25: KHIVA
Our morning is spent exploring Old Khiva – the first site in Uzbekistan to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visits to Khiva Palace, and the carved wooden columns of the Djuma Mosque, we enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Malik Khiva Hotel, Khiva

April – 26: AYAZ KALA
We rise early today, and journey to Ayaz Kala. The towering mud-brick walls of the three fortresses found here are truly a sight to behold, rising dramatically from the surrounding plains.
Overnight: Malik Khiva Hotel, Khiva

April -27: BUKHARA
We fly to Bukhara, ready for a day spent amongst the museums and mosques of the Ark Citadel. Following visits to Samanid Mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum and Kalyan Minaret and Mosque, we also visit the Lyab-I Hauz Fountain. We end the day by browsing through Bukhara’s famous array of bazaars.
Overnight: Omar Khayam Hotel, Bukhara

April – 28: PAIKENT
We spend the morning at the ruined town of Paikent. In its heyday, it was home to a citadel with a Zoroastrian fire temple and several residential quarters. On our return to Bukhara, we stop at the memorial complex of Chor-Bakr. We also visit the Tomb of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband.
Overnight: Omar Khayam Hotel, Bukhara

April – 29: VARAKSHA
Our first stop today is Varaksha, one of the major towns of the Hephtalite civilization, and the final retreat for local kings when the Arab armies advanced. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to see more of Bukhara. This evening, we will take in a show of ancient costumes before dinner.
Overnight: Omar Khayam Hotel, Bukhara

April – 30: SAMARKAND
We travel to Samarkand, stopping at Shar-i-Sabz, one of the most ancient cities along the trade routes of Central Asia. The grand ruin of the entrance arch to the Ak Sarai is a particular highlight. We arrive in Samarkand in the evening and transfer to our hotel.
Overnight: Sultan Boutique Hotel

We begin the first of three days in Samarkand, at the crossroads of many world cultures. We tour Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand to learn more about the city. We also visit the Ulugh-Beg observatory, considered one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world.
Overnight: Sultan Boutique Hotel

We continue our exploration of Samarkand at the Bibi-Khanum mosque and Sha-i-Zhinda necropolis. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring independently.
Overnight: Sultan Boutique Hotel

We enjoy a final morning in Samarkand and visit its main attraction: Registan Square, surrounded by its three madrassah.We continue by train to Tashkent.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Tashkent

Enjoy a full day at leisure. Relax at your hotel, or venture out into Tashkent.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Tashkent

We spend the whole day in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. The Barak Kahan madrassah here immediately catches your eye. Its unique construction is different from the traditional buildings of this type. We end the day at the Archaeological Museum Institute of Restoration.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Tashkent

PLEASE NOTE: Those not wishing to continue to Kazakstan will depart today. Those beginning their journey from Kazakstan, will join the tour on Day 20.

We travel to the vibrant city of Shymkent, entering the Kazakhstan portion of our journey. Following a visit to the fascinating Regional Museum, we end the day at Shymkent bazaar.
Overnight: Rixos Hotel Shymkent

May – 7: ALMATY
We spend today traveling from Taraz to Almaty, stopping for a number of scenic breaks along the way. In the evening we drive to Kok Tobe, and take a cable car to enjoy the views over the city.
Overnight: Intercontinental Hotel Almaty

May – 8: TAMGALY
We travel to Tamgaly – a wonderful Petroglyph site set around a gorge. We return to Almaty afterwards.
Overnight: Intercontinental Hotel Almaty

May – 9: ALMATY
We enjoy a relaxed start to the day, at Almaty Central State Museum. Following visits to Panfilov Park and the Green Bazar, you are free to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight: Intercontinental Hotel Almaty

We explore the largest reserve of Kazakhstan today: the Altyn Emel Park, home to a variety of landscapes from mountain to sand-desert. We continue sightseeing at Kyzylauyz petroglyphs and the Singing Dune.
Overnight: Altyl Emel hotel

May – 11: ALMATY
We take in more of the Altyn Emel Park this morning, before venturing into the Aktau chalk and Katutau volcanic mountains, a gorgeous display of natural color. We return to Almaty this afternoon.
Overnight: Intercontinental Hotel Almaty

May – 12: ALMATY 
We enjoy a final morning at leisure in Almaty, before flying to Ürümqi.
Overnight: Ürümqi

May – 13: ŰRŰMQI
We arrive in Ürümqi early this morning and travel to our hotel. After some time to relax, we tour Ürümqi. Xīnjiāng’s capital is truly a modern city, edged by a distant preview of the Tiān Shān mountains.
Overnight: Ürümqi

May – 14: ŰRŰMQI
We begin today at the Xinjiang Regional Museum – a large integrated museum and center for the collection and study of cultural relics discovered in the region. We continue to Shuimogou Park, home to a number of ecological delights including the famous Shuimogou Hot Spring. We end the day at the Grand Bazaar.
Overnight: Ürümqi

May – 15: TURPAN
We travel to Turpan and take an afternoon walking tour of ‘China’s Death Valley’.
Overnight: Turpan

May – 16: TURPAN
We continue exploring Turpan today. We start at Imin Ta mosque, which has the tallest minaret in China. Following a visit to Turpan Museum, we drive out to visit the Jiaohe Ruins – one of the best preserved cities of its time in China.
Overnight: Turpan

We travel to Jiayuguan today. Following a quick tour, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Jiayuguan

We begin the day at Jiayuguan fort, once a vital traffic fort along the Silk Road. Our next stop needs no introduction: we pay a visit to the Great Wall of China.
Overnight: Jiayuguan

May – 19: XIAN
Enjoy a morning at leisure before our flight to Xian. You are free to relax again after checking into our hotel.
Overnight: Xian

May – 20: XIAN
We begin our day at the Terracotta Army Museum where the fascinating collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, have been assembled. We end the day at Banpo Neolithic village.
Overnight: Xian

May – 21: XIAN
We discover more terracotta warrior finds at the Provincial Museum this morning. Enjoy some time at leisure this afternoon.
Overnight: Xian

May – 22: BEIJING
We fly to Beijing this morning. After checking into our hotel, we take a walking tour of the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.
Overnight: Beijing

May – 23: BEIJING
We explore Tiananmen Square this morning. Built during the Ming dynasty, the square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Overnight: Beijing

May – 24: TRAVEL
Enjoy some time at leisure this morning before we transfer to the airport for our flights home or onward travel.

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