Embark on a breathtaking adventure following in the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Silk Road! The legendary trade route that connected the Roman and the Chinese Empires ran across the Mediterranean Sea, through the barren planes of the Middle East and over the mountains of Caucasus to finally reach the rich cities of China after an incredible 6000 km journey! Enjoy a unique opportunity to explore the opulent cities and the colourful oasis that flourished along the most beautiful and best-preserved section of this historical trade route traveling across Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on the Silk Road Express!
The Silk Road Express Kazakhstan – Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan
Itinerary: Almaty - Turkestan - Tashkent - Shakhrisabz - Samarqand - Khiva - Bukhara - Merv – Ashgabat
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 “Orient Silk Road Express” with a drink or refreshment and a short informative talk. You spend the night aboard your private train. Breakfast (B), lunch (L), and dinner (D) are included.
DAY 3 Turkestan, a centre of Nomad Pilgrimage
You arrive in Turkestan 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. (BLD)
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 can attend a concert in the Music Hall (programme permitting). The train journey continues after the performance. The night is spent on the train. (BLD)
DAY 5 Travelling through Time in Shakhrisabz
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 travelled through these narrow mountain gorges and the armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Timur (or Tamerlane) stepped on these stones. 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. (BLD)
DAY 6 Samarqand, a crossroads of cultures
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. (BLD)
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. (BLD)
DAY 8 Samarqand to Khiva
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. (BLD)
DAY 9 Khiva: lunch at the Emir’s Summer Palace
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 is spent on the train. (BLD)
DAY 10 Bukhara, the Rich
Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara has some one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Road. 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 fifty-meter 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 colourful national costumes. You spend the night in a 4 star hotel in Bukhara. (BLD)
DAY 11 The Samanid Mausoleum on the way to Merv
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. You spend the night on the train. (BLD)
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. We will have lunch with a local family in their home’s picturesque courtyard. The night is spent in a 4 star hotel in Ashgabat. (BLD)
DAY 13 Turkmenistan’s capital city Ashgabat and Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire
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 newfound 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 artefacts 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 transfer to the airport for departure at night. Most of the flights depart at night, in case you have different flights you can book an additional night at the hotel and the transfer will be organized the following day. (BLD)
DAY 14 Departure from Ashgabat
Your flight home departs in the early morning, marking the end of a very special journey.
(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
Dates and Prices Silk Road 2018
Silk Road Express Almaty- Ashgabat (14 days)
|28.03.2019||10.04.2019||English / French|
|03.10.2019||16.10.2019||English / French|
Silk Road Express Ashgabat- Almaty (14 days)
|09.04.2019||22.04.2019||English / Spanish|
|15.10.2019||28.10.2019||English / Spanish|
Prices per person in double-occupancy compartments (except category Habibi, quad-occupancy)
|3060 euro||4575 euro||5160 euro||8450 euro||8730 euro|
N.B.: for october departures, there is a supplement of 180 euros per person.
|Habibi (supplement for 3 people sharing a 4-pax Habibi compartment, charged per person)||1160|
- Travel on the private train (Days 2 – 13)
- All transfers according to itinerary
- 7 nights aboard your private train in a compartment the selected category
- 5 nights in good, middle-class OR 4-star hotels according to the selected category
- Meals: as per itinerary
- Tour director present throughout the train journey and additional competent travel guides for each group of not more than 26 guests. (In the Kalif category: 12 guests)
- Experienced local guides
- Visit programme and entry tickets: visits in Almaty, Tashkent, Samarqand, Khiva, Bukhara and Ashgabat as per itinerary
- A physician is on board the train
- A free book on the history and places of the Silk Road
- 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 and vodka tasting
- Invitation letter/tourist voucher to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkekistan
- International airfare (included on request)
- Tips and personal expenses
- Full visa service to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
- Entry fee for Turkmenistan: 12 USD (to be paid at the border)
Each Habibi compartment provides sleeping space for up to four guests, with berths arranged two on each side of the compartment, one above the other, and a table in the middle below the window. Each car has nine compartments; combined toilet and washing facilities are located at both ends.
The Ali Baba compartment features two comfortable lower beds (67 x 184 cm/27.5 x 74.8 in.). There is a table below the window and various other possibilities to stow belongings or luggage. Each car in the Ali Baba category has nine compartments; combined toilet and washing facilities are located at both ends.
This category features two lower beds (67 x 184 cm/27.5 x 74.8 in.), a small table and storage space. Each car has eight compartments and one shower facility. Guests in this category receive one bathrobe per compartment; combined toilet and washing facilities are located at both ends of each car.
This category features two beds, with an upper berth measuring ca. 80 x 174 cm (ca. 31.6 x 68.5 in.) and the lower one a more generous ca. 112 x 184 cm (44 x 72.4 in.). The compartment also offers comfortable seating, a larger table and a small closet. Each compartment has its own lavatory equipped with toilet, washing basin and integrated shower with shower curtain. Every car of this category contains only six compartments.
This category features two beds, with an upper berth measuring ca. 80 x 174 cm (ca. 31.6 x 68.5 in.) and the lower one a more generous ca. 112 x 184 cm (44 x 72.4 in.). Each compartment features closet, safe and an en-suite bath with a separate shower cabin. This category, offering the highest level of comfort available on the Silk Road, contains only four compartments and offers space for a maximum of just 8 guests.