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Along Central Asia’s Silk Road

From $7,194
total price from Boston, New York, Wash, DC
$6,395 air & land inclusive plus $799 airline taxes and fees
Tour Days
17 days
Tour Membership
12-24 guests

Overview

Traveling the ancient Silk Road route connecting East and West, we encounter a mélange of culture and religion, art and architecture that conjures tales of trade and treasure, intrigue and empire. On this exciting small group journey, we relish the unfamiliar – and embrace the humanity we share with the people of Central Asia.

Tour Details

Along Central Asia’s Silk Road

From $7,194

total price from Boston, New York, Wash, DC
$6,395 air & land inclusive plus $799 airline taxes and fees

Tour Days
17 days

Tour Membership
12-24 guests

Tour Days
17 days

Tour Membership
12-24 guests

Overview

Traveling the ancient Silk Road route connecting East and West, we encounter a mélange of culture and religion, art and architecture that conjures tales of trade and treasure, intrigue and empire. On this exciting small group journey, we relish the unfamiliar – and embrace the humanity we share with the people of Central Asia.

Small Group Highlights

  • Bishkek yurt-making demonstration
  • Tamgaly Petroglyphs UNESCO site
  • Russian-accented Almaty
  • Falconry demonstration
  • Tashkent touring, including world’s oldest Quran
  • Historic Silk Road gem of Khiva
  • Visits with local artisans
  • Uzbek folklore performance
  • UNESCO site of Bukhara
  • Lunches with local families
  • Legendary Samarkand
  • Visits to Central Asian bazaars
  • Regal Registan Square

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B
= Breakfast Included
L
= Lunch Included
D
= Dinner Included
1
Depart U.S. for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Depart U.S. for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
2
Arrive Bishkek
Arrive Bishkek

Upon arrival in the Kyrgyz capital late tonight, we transfer directly to our hotel.

Upon arrival in the Kyrgyz capital late tonight, we transfer directly to our hotel.

3
Bishkek
B
D
B
D
Bishkek

After time to rest and have lunch on our own, we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead. Then we take our first steps along the Silk Road with a panoramic tour of this former Soviet republic’s largest city. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

After time to rest and have lunch on our own, we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead. Then we take our first steps along the Silk Road with a panoramic tour of this former Soviet republic’s largest city. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

4
Bishkek/Burana
B
L
D
B
L
D
Bishkek/Burana

We travel east this morning to the village of Burana, whose 11th-century tower is one of the few remnants of the ancient Silk Road city of Balasagun. We walk among the surrounding “balbal” stone statues dating from the 6th to 10th centuries then enjoy lunch in the home of a Kyrgyz family. Next: a yurt-making demonstration in this country where the nomadic lifestyle is still practiced.

We travel east this morning to the village of Burana, whose 11th-century tower is one of the few remnants of the ancient Silk Road city of Balasagun. We walk among the surrounding “balbal” stone statues dating from the 6th to 10th centuries then enjoy lunch in the home of a Kyrgyz family. Next: a yurt-making demonstration in this country where the nomadic lifestyle is still practiced.

5
Bishkek/Almaty, Kazakhstan
B
L
D
B
L
D
Bishkek/Almaty, Kazakhstan

En route to Almaty this morning, we stop at Tamgaly Gorge to see the Tamgaly Petroglyphs that date to the Bronze Age. We enjoy a picnic lunch in this archaeological landscape and then continue on to Almaty, where tonight we dine at our hotel.

En route to Almaty this morning, we stop at Tamgaly Gorge to see the Tamgaly Petroglyphs that date to the Bronze Age. We enjoy a picnic lunch in this archaeological landscape and then continue on to Almaty, where tonight we dine at our hotel.

6
Almaty
B
L
B
L
Almaty

This morning we tour Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and cultural and commercial center. We begin at Panfilov Park and the adjacent Holy Ascension Cathedral, an example of early 20th-century Russian Orthodox architecture. Next, we visit the Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments, showcasing unique national instruments. Then we head outside the city to ascend Kok Tobe mountain by gondola to enjoy panoramic views of Almaty and the surrounding Tian Shan mountains. Late this afternoon, we attend a falconry demonstration.

This morning we tour Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and cultural and commercial center. We begin at Panfilov Park and the adjacent Holy Ascension Cathedral, an example of early 20th-century Russian Orthodox architecture. Next, we visit the Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments, showcasing unique national instruments. Then we head outside the city to ascend Kok Tobe mountain by gondola to enjoy panoramic views of Almaty and the surrounding Tian Shan mountains. Late this afternoon, we attend a falconry demonstration.

7
Almaty/Tashkent, Uzbekistan
B
L
D
B
L
D
Almaty/Tashkent, Uzbekistan

We fly this morning to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, where this afternoon we visit the Museum of Applied Arts, housing fine examples of Uzbek crafts, including embroidery, jewelry, ceramics, and carpets. After checking in at our hotel, we have free time this afternoon before dinner at a local restaurant.

We fly this morning to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, where this afternoon we visit the Museum of Applied Arts, housing fine examples of Uzbek crafts, including embroidery, jewelry, ceramics, and carpets. After checking in at our hotel, we have free time this afternoon before dinner at a local restaurant.

8
Tashkent
B
L
B
L
Tashkent

Our morning tour begins in the Old City at the Khazrati Imam Complex of mosques and madrassahs. Here we see the world’s oldest surviving Islamic holy book, the 8th-century Uthman Quran, brought to Tashkent by Tamerlane. Next: Chorsu Bazaar, under whose massive green dome locals purchase everything from produce to clothing. Tonight we attend a performance of ballet, classical music, or opera at the national opera house.

Our morning tour begins in the Old City at the Khazrati Imam Complex of mosques and madrassahs. Here we see the world’s oldest surviving Islamic holy book, the 8th-century Uthman Quran, brought to Tashkent by Tamerlane. Next: Chorsu Bazaar, under whose massive green dome locals purchase everything from produce to clothing. Tonight we attend a performance of ballet, classical music, or opera at the national opera house.

9
Tashkent/Urgench/Khiva
B
L
D
B
L
D
Tashkent/Urgench/Khiva

Very early this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Urgench, then continue on to Khiva. We get a taste of Khiva’s storied past as a major trading post along the Silk Road as we begin exploring the Itchan Kala, the “inner city” whose entirety is a UNESCO site. We start at the double-domed Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum and then visit the Islam Khoja minaret, followed by the Juma Mosque with its 200 wooden pillars. Late this afternoon, we attend a performance of the Khiva Puppet Theatre.

Very early this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Urgench, then continue on to Khiva. We get a taste of Khiva’s storied past as a major trading post along the Silk Road as we begin exploring the Itchan Kala, the “inner city” whose entirety is a UNESCO site. We start at the double-domed Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum and then visit the Islam Khoja minaret, followed by the Juma Mosque with its 200 wooden pillars. Late this afternoon, we attend a performance of the Khiva Puppet Theatre.

10
Khiva
B
D
B
D
Khiva

We continue our exploration of this 1,500-year-old city at the turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor minaret – enormous, stout, and unfinished. We continue on to Kunya Ark citadel; the immense Madrassah of Muhammad Rahim Khan, with its tiled façade; the 163-room Tash Hauli Palace; and the Hunarmand artisans’ workshop. Tonight, we dine on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city, where we enjoy a sunset cocktail party followed by dinner with a local folklore performance.

We continue our exploration of this 1,500-year-old city at the turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor minaret – enormous, stout, and unfinished. We continue on to Kunya Ark citadel; the immense Madrassah of Muhammad Rahim Khan, with its tiled façade; the 163-room Tash Hauli Palace; and the Hunarmand artisans’ workshop. Tonight, we dine on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city, where we enjoy a sunset cocktail party followed by dinner with a local folklore performance.

11
Khiva/Bukhara
B
L
D
B
L
D
Khiva/Bukhara

This morning we journey through the Kyzylkum Desert to Bukhara. Upon arrival in this ancient city of Silk Road commerce and religious piety, we visit the 15th-century Poi Kalyan religious complex. This evening we dine at Akbar House, the preserved home of a 19th-century Jewish merchant.

This morning we journey through the Kyzylkum Desert to Bukhara. Upon arrival in this ancient city of Silk Road commerce and religious piety, we visit the 15th-century Poi Kalyan religious complex. This evening we dine at Akbar House, the preserved home of a 19th-century Jewish merchant.

12
Bukhara
B
L
B
L
Bukhara

Today begins with a walking tour of the 16th-century Lyab-i Hauz religious complex. We continue to the domed Taki-Telpak Furushon bazaar known for its headgear: embroidered skull caps, turbans, and heavy fur hats; then on to a bazaar where we watch silk weavers at work. Next, we return to the Old Jewish Quarter to visit the home of a Sufi miniaturist, where we learn about his craft and enjoy a traditional lunch of plov – lamb and rice – the Uzbek national dish. Touring continues this afternoon at Chor Minor madrassah with its four minarets; the Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum; and the massive 5th-century earthen Ark of Bukhara Fortress.

Today begins with a walking tour of the 16th-century Lyab-i Hauz religious complex. We continue to the domed Taki-Telpak Furushon bazaar known for its headgear: embroidered skull caps, turbans, and heavy fur hats; then on to a bazaar where we watch silk weavers at work. Next, we return to the Old Jewish Quarter to visit the home of a Sufi miniaturist, where we learn about his craft and enjoy a traditional lunch of plov – lamb and rice – the Uzbek national dish. Touring continues this afternoon at Chor Minor madrassah with its four minarets; the Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum; and the massive 5th-century earthen Ark of Bukhara Fortress.

13
Bukhara/Gijduvan/Samarkand
B
L
D
B
L
D
Bukhara/Gijduvan/Samarkand

This morning we call on a sacred pilgrimage site: the Memorial Complex of Naqshband, burial site of the founder of the world’s largest order of Sufi Muslims. Next: the Narzullaev Ceramics Workshop, where potters have used traditional methods for more than a century. After lunch here, we board the train for Samarkand, legendary stop on the Silk Road. Tonight we get our first glimpse of vast Registan, the mosaic-tiled public square flanked by three ornate madrassahs that have stood here since the 14th century.

This morning we call on a sacred pilgrimage site: the Memorial Complex of Naqshband, burial site of the founder of the world’s largest order of Sufi Muslims. Next: the Narzullaev Ceramics Workshop, where potters have used traditional methods for more than a century. After lunch here, we board the train for Samarkand, legendary stop on the Silk Road. Tonight we get our first glimpse of vast Registan, the mosaic-tiled public square flanked by three ornate madrassahs that have stood here since the 14th century.

14
Samarkand
B
L
B
L
Samarkand

Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan left their marks on Samarkand, as did Tamarlane (Timur), who made it capital of his Islamic empire in the 14th century. Our touring today begins at Registan Square, once and current heart of the city, where we join in a calligraphy workshop. We continue to 15th-century Bibi-Khanym mosque, and Siyob Bazaar, the city’s largest market. This afternoon we visit a historic winery for a tour and tasting.

Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan left their marks on Samarkand, as did Tamarlane (Timur), who made it capital of his Islamic empire in the 14th century. Our touring today begins at Registan Square, once and current heart of the city, where we join in a calligraphy workshop. We continue to 15th-century Bibi-Khanym mosque, and Siyob Bazaar, the city’s largest market. This afternoon we visit a historic winery for a tour and tasting.

15
Samarkand
B
L
D
B
L
D
Samarkand

Our discovery of this crossroads of culture continues today at the Afrasiyab Museum, a huge archaeological site and museum depicting the city’s 2,500-year history; 15th-century Ulugh Beg Observatory, one of the finest in the Islamic world; and the Meros Paper Mill, where artisans craft traditional handmade paper. We join a local family in their home for lunch then explore the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis and temple complex, whose 20-plus buildings date from the 11th to 19th centuries. This evening, we visit the Gur Emir Mausoleum, Tamarlane’s resting place. After dinner at a local restaurant, we make a last stop to see Registan lit up for the evening.

Our discovery of this crossroads of culture continues today at the Afrasiyab Museum, a huge archaeological site and museum depicting the city’s 2,500-year history; 15th-century Ulugh Beg Observatory, one of the finest in the Islamic world; and the Meros Paper Mill, where artisans craft traditional handmade paper. We join a local family in their home for lunch then explore the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis and temple complex, whose 20-plus buildings date from the 11th to 19th centuries. This evening, we visit the Gur Emir Mausoleum, Tamarlane’s resting place. After dinner at a local restaurant, we make a last stop to see Registan lit up for the evening.

16
Samarkand/Tashkent
B
D
B
D
Samarkand/Tashkent

We return today to the Uzbek capital, passing through Jilanuti Pass, the “Gates of Tamerlane” passage between the Nuratin and Turkestan hills. After arriving in Tashkent early this afternoon, we have time for lunch on our own and then visit the studio of renowned ceramicist Akbar Rakhimov. Tonight we toast our adventure along the Silk Road at a farewell dinner.

We return today to the Uzbek capital, passing through Jilanuti Pass, the “Gates of Tamerlane” passage between the Nuratin and Turkestan hills. After arriving in Tashkent early this afternoon, we have time for lunch on our own and then visit the studio of renowned ceramicist Akbar Rakhimov. Tonight we toast our adventure along the Silk Road at a farewell dinner.

17
Depart for U.S.
B
B
Depart for U.S.

Early this morning we depart for the airport for our connecting flight to the U.S.

Early this morning we depart for the airport for our connecting flight to the U.S.

Tour Price Includes

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 14 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 36 meals: 15 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of local Odysseys Unlimited Tour Directors
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)

Average Daily High by Month (°F )

  Apr May Sep Oct Nov
Almaty 63 72 76 61 47
Khiva 72 84 82 67 51
Samarkand 70 80 83 71 59

Average Temperature (°F )

  Apr May Sep Oct Nov
Almaty 63 72 76 61 47
Khiva 72 84 82 67 51
Samarkand 70 80 83 71 59

Dates & Prices

Please wait while we retrieve this information.

Tour Directors

Farkhod Karimov

“Our tour director was just marvelous: careful, very knowledgeable, informative, and a sense of humor.”

Timothy McNally
Pomfret Center, CT

Otabek Karshiev

“Absolutely the best. We felt safe and cared for at all times. He handled the group masterfully, his knowledge of the long history, culture, farming, museums – every aspect of life – amazing.”

Ann Bagley
Tampa, FL

Mubashira Bakshillaeva

“Shira is your best advertisement and best director for her knowledge, experience and professional communications.”

David & Gail Baruch
Forest Hills, NY

Farrukh Tursunov

“Farrukh and his narrative insights [helped make] the tour amazing!“

Dr. Matthew Alfano
Denver, CO

Tour Directors

Farrukh Tursunov

“Farrukh and his narrative insights [helped make] the tour amazing!“

Dr. Matthew Alfano
Denver, CO

Farkhod Karimov

“Our tour director was just marvelous: careful, very knowledgeable, informative, and a sense of humor.”

Timothy McNally
Pomfret Center, CT

Mubashira Bakshillaeva

“Shira is your best advertisement and best director for her knowledge, experience and professional communications.”

David & Gail Baruch
Forest Hills, NY

Otabek Karshiev

“Absolutely the best. We felt safe and cared for at all times. He handled the group masterfully, his knowledge of the long history, culture, farming, museums – every aspect of life – amazing.”

Ann Bagley
Tampa, FL

Destination Insights

Exploring...

Recommended Books & Films

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Guest Photos & Testimonials

We were introduced to a new part of the world about which I knew very little. Almost every aspect of history or art was a revelation. Encounters with people, food, and accommodations were all very good to superb.
Rosalyn Doggett
Washington, D.C.
The Silk Road itinerary was perfect, building up to Samarkand, which was magnificent! I have always wanted to visit Samarkand and the Silk Road…so a lifelong dream was realized.
Cynthia Ison
Alhambra, CA
This was a superb tour with fascinating days of architectural magnificence. The small size of our group enabled us to enjoy each other's company and to move efficiently and smoothly.
James Devine
Marriottsville, MD
We were introduced to a new part of the world about which I knew very little. Almost every aspect of history or art was a revelation. Encounters with people, food, and accommodations were all very good to superb.
Rosalyn Doggett
Washington, D.C.
The Silk Road itinerary was perfect, building up to Samarkand, which was magnificent! I have always wanted to visit Samarkand and the Silk Road…so a lifelong dream was realized.
Cynthia Ison
Alhambra, CA
This was a superb tour with fascinating days of architectural magnificence. The small size of our group enabled us to enjoy each other's company and to move efficiently and smoothly.
James Devine
Marriottsville, MD
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET

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