Day 1: Arrival to Ashgabat
Welcome to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital city! Upon arrival, you are transferred to your centrally located hotel where you spend the night.
Day 2: Ashgabat City Tour
In the morning you are driven to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa and see this former imperial city's main landmarks. After lunch, you take a guided tour of the modern-day capital of Ashgabat with Hollywood-style settings of the “nouveau riche”.
In the afternoon you visit 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 you hop aboard the Orient Silk Road Express, your private train on this legendary journey.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Merv
In the morning your train arrives at Merv - a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Considered the pearl of the East, Merv today is the unique remnants of what was once one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cities.
You see 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 (Kiz Kale), the historical cold-room, and other mausoleums. Then you have lunch with a local family in their home’s picturesque courtyard.
Day 4: Bukhara City Tour
Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara has about one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Bukhara is also often called Sherif translated as "the noble one" and preserved its ancient oriental countenance in its extensive, unparalleled collection of authentic architecture.
During your tour, you see Bukhara’s Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and its famous almost 50-meter tall Kalyan Minaret and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble by the pond.
Later you have dinner with musical accompaniment, local dances, and a presentation of colorful national costumes. You spend the night in a 4-star hotel in Bukhara.
Day 5: The Samanid Mausoleum
In the morning, you go on a tour to the splendid Mir-e-Arab Madrasah and the Samanid Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s most beautiful architectural treasures. Then you explore the massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city which 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. At the end of your stay, you see the only women’s mosque in the world.
After the tour you return to your hotel.
Day 6: Train to Khiva
Today you board your private train for Khiva and continue your journey.
Day 7: Khiva Sightseeing
Today you visit the oasis of Khiva, a fairy tale from 1001 Nights – in stone. After breakfast, you go to the Southern border of the seven river lands, in the oasis of Khiva. On your sightseeing tour of the oasis, you have a chance to take in its exotic atmosphere.
You see one of the best-preserved ensembles of medieval oriental urban architecture in the world: Khiva's Kalta Minor Minaret, incredible palaces, mosques, mausoleums, Koranic schools, the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick. Then you enjoy lunch in the surroundings of the former emir’s Summer Palace and spend the night on the train.
Day 8: Samarkand and Its Historic Center
Today you arrive in Samarkand - the famous historic city often described as the crossroads of culture. During the rule of Timur, it was considered the world’s most beautiful and prestigious city. The territory is also historically important, it is the site where many Uzbek women burned their veils (paranjas) in 1917 to signal their arrival in a new era. In 2001 the city of Samarkand was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its many monuments and preservation of traditional crafts.
You visit such must-sees as Necropolis of Shah-e Zinde (the living Shah), the excavation sites at Afrosiab (with a museum tour), and Registan Square. After seeing these most notable architectural ensembles in Central Asia you spend the night in a 4-star Samarkand hotel.
Day 9: Samarkand and Traditional Craftsmanship
Today your journey in fascinating Samarkand continues. You go on a tour to a silk carpet manufactory, then visit an Uzbek craftsman’s family to see paper being made from mulberry bark. Then you make a stop at the Ulug Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, view the interior of the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum.
After the tour, you return to your Samarkand hotel where you spend the night.
Day 10: Train to Shahrisabz
In the morning you depart to Shahrisabz
Day 10: Tour of Shahrisabz
Today you explore Shahrisabz that is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Timur, the 14th-century Mongol conqueror, filled the city with immense monuments to his success. Today, his palaces serve as crumbling reminders of a once great empire.
Later you watch a traditional folk performance and meet some locals in a small village. In the evening you return onboard and join your fellow travelers for an Uzbek wine tasting in the dining car.
Day 11: Sightseeing in Tashkent
Today you arrive in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan situated at the foot of the Tien Shan Mountains. During your sightseeing tour you enjoy this green oasis and steppe, see the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and the typical Kazakh mud-brick houses.
In the evening you depart your train car and travel the Silk Road trail to Kazakhstan.
Day 12: Exploring Turkistan
Today you arrive at Turkistan, known as the center of Nomad Pilgrimage. After breakfast on board, you visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, built in 1394, with its dome hall, monumental mosque and well house. It is one of the most significant examples of Timurid architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then you board your private train and continue the journey. You have your last night on the train and your last dinner in the dining car as you travel on towards Almaty.
Day 13: Almaty City Tour
Welcome to Almaty! After arrival you go on a sightseeing tour of the city. You see the main landmarks of this green metropolitan city.
Among them are the impressive Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral, one of the worlds tallest all wood buildings. At midday, you are in for a treat. You try the Kazakh cuisine during a welcoming lunch in traditional yurts.
In the evening you are invited for a farewell dinner in a yurt restaurant. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 14: Departure
Today is the day when you return home. We hope you've enjoyed your trip and return home with lifelong memories and unforgettable impressions. We wish you a safe flight and hope to work on your future trips.
Not included: international flights, multiple arrival/departure transfers, other meals not mentioned in the program, optional tours and services, all personal expenses.
1. Hotels availability is subject to change. In case current hotels are booked out we will provide alternative hotels of an equal value for you.
2. We include 1 vehicle for your arrival and departure transfers. If multiple vehicles are required additional transfer costs will apply.
Stress-free Booking Book your journey without stress and at convenient pace. You can pay a deposit of 20% to book any tour in any major currency; the final balance will be due 90 days before start date. In event if you decide to change or postpone your trip, you can transfer your deposit to any other packages we offer. Cruise bookings and special offers may be subject to different booking terms.
Trip Assurance If you need our assistance during your trip, you can call our support line available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CET) on weekdays and weekends.