Silk Road Experience Tour

Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan

Silk Road Experience Tour is an extended expedition to uncover ancient mysteries strewn throughout Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and western China. As you journey to mountains, deserts, cities, villages and alpine lakes, history will materialize before you in the form of palaces, towers, caravanserais, fortresses, bazaars and a melting pot of peoples keeping their ancient traditions alive.
Central Asia is peppered with vestiges from the Silk Road Era. Samarkand, Bukhara and Sarazm are so jaw-dropping that they’re inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Treasures such as Tash Rabat Caravanserai, Old Kashgar and Chorsu Bazaar are infused with Old World Charm, while activities at Kochkor felt rug classes, Yodgorlik Silk Factory and Rishtan pottery workshops take cultural discovery to a whole new dimension.

Arrive in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. Your driver will meet you at the airport to take you to your hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Begin your sightseeing tour of Bishkek to the following:

  • Ala Too Square, Bishkek’s large central square with a distinctly Soviet feel. Watch the hourly changing of the guards, take a selfie under the Kyrgyzstan flag and pay respects to a Kyrgyz legend at Manas Monument;
  • Old Square, including Parliament House and Lenin Statue;
  • Philharmonic Hall, a stately Bishkek landmark whose courtyard is a popular meeting place for locals;
  • Oak Park, including the tree-lined Erkindik Boulevard and statue of Kurmanjan Datka, a 19th- century Kyrgyz leader nicknamed “Queen of the Mountains”;
  • Opera and Ballet House, a stylish hall serving as a key center for the arts in Bishkek;
  • Victory Square, including a World War II memorial of an eternal flame burning under a granite half-yurt.
Drive back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Bishkek.
Meals provided: none

Breakfast at the hotel before an adventure-filled day as you leave the city and head into rural Kyrgyzstan. The first stop is the small town of Tokmok (80km, 1hr 30min) for an excursion to Burana Tower and Museum Complex, including:

  • Burana Tower (11th century), a 25-meter-high minaret and the only remaining structure from Balasagun city. Climb its dark, winding stairwell for a spectacular view from the top;
  • Balbals (6th century), round stone figures used as grave markers and memorial stones for the deceased;
  • Museum containing items found in Balasagun, including jewelry, pottery and religious objects;
  • Petroglyphs (2nd century) discovered in the greater Chuy Region.
Continue driving to Kochkor (130km, 2hrs), a Kyrgyz village known for its shyrdak felt rugs, embroideries and other handicrafts. Try your hand at the classical art and support local entrepreneurs by purchasing handmade souvenirs from village artisans.
Transfer to Naryn (120km, 1h 40min) through beautiful mountain landscapes. Arrive in the small town and relax over dinner at the guesthouse. Overnight at the guesthouse in Naryn.
Meals provided: breakfast, dinner
After breakfast, drive to Tash Rabat Caravanserai (110km, 2hrs 15min). Located at an altitude of 3200 meters, this 15th-century stone fortress served as an inn for Silk Road travelers.
Continue driving to Torugart Pass (80km, 2hrs). Cross into China, where your guide will be waiting for you, and transfer to Kashgar (170km, 4h). Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and have a rest.
Overnight at the hotel in Kashgar.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, a local guide will give you a private tour of Kashgar to the following sights:

  • Kashgar Old Town, a labyrinth of traditional Uyghur home and shops;
  • Handicraft Street, where you can browse and buy a variety of handmade souvenirs;
  • Id Kah Mosque (1442), one of the largest mosques in China which reflects a traditional Uyghur design;
  • Apak Khoja Mausoleum (16th century), regarded as the holiest site in all of Xinjiang;
  • Yekshanbe Bazaar (Sunday Market), whose colorful aisles are filled with fabrics, kitchenware, knives, hats, fresh produce, carpets and jewelry. A horse and livestock bazaar is also located nearby.
Overnight at the hotel in Kashgar.
Meals provided: breakfast
Drive in the morning to Kala Kule Lake (200km, 3hrs), a spectacular body of water located 3650 meters above sea level. On the way, marvel at Red Mountain and White Sand Mountain which loom before you.
Kala Kule Lake is guarded by Muztagh Ata (7546m) and Kongur Tagh (7649m), mountains which remain covered in snow year-round. Have a picnic at the lake and spend a few hours relaxing by its waters. Although the weather at the lake is too cold for swimming, you can mingle with shepherds, see their traditional yurts and even take a horse or camel ride. Return to Kashgar. Overnight at the hotel in Kashgar.
Meals provided: breakfast, picnic lunch

After breakfast, drive to the Kyrgyzstan border (230km, 4hrs). Pass through the border to meet your Kyrgyz driver, who will take you to Osh via the village of Sary-Tash (260km, 4hrs). Bask in the spectacular views along the way.
Upon arrival in Osh, take a short sightseeing tour:

  • Sulaiman Too National Historical and Archaeological Museum - one of the largest museums in Kyrgyzstan, it’s housed in a mountain cave;
  • Dom Babura (Bobur’s Prayer House, 16th century) - built by Bobur, founder of the Mughal Empire;
  • Silk Road Museum - a collection of artefacts discovered on Sulaiman Too Mountain.
Overnight at the hotel in Osh.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the Uzbekistan border. After passing through customs, meet your Uzbek driver and travel to the Fergana Valley via Kuva.
In Kuva, you will visit the ancient Buddhist settlement for which Kuva is famous in the region.
Continue to Margilan (30km, 40min), where your tour will include:

  • Visit to Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah, where craftsmen produce handmade carpets and silk;
  • Tour of the Yodgorlik Silk Factory and workshop, where you can observe silk weaving with traditional Ikat patterns and shop for handmade khan-atlas material (closed Sundays).
Continue to the city of Fergana (20km, 30min). Upon arrival, check in to your hotel*. Overnight at the hotel in Fergana.
Meals provided: breakfast
*Note: If you will be in Fergana on Thursday or Sunday, you may shop at Kumtepa Bazaar, the largest market in Fergana Valley.

Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for your tour of Rishtan and Kokand, which was once the capital of the entire Kokand Khanate.
Drive to Rishtan (55km, 1hr) to the house of a well-known ceramic master (Rustam Usmanov or Alisher Nazarov) whose works are exhibited in world exhibitions. Tour the pottery workshop and see the collection of local ceramics.
Continue driving to Kokand (45km, 50min). Your tour will include:

  • Palace of Khudoyar-Khan (19th-century), Kokand’s most famous attraction;
  • Jami Mosque, the iconic centerpiece of Chorsu Square;
  • Norbutabiy Madrasah (18th century), which still serves as a functioning madrasah.
Transfer to Tashkent through the gorgeous Kamchik Mountain Pass (2267 meters a.s.l, 240 km, 3-4 hrs). Arrive in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital, and check in to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tashkent.
Meals provided: breakfast

Your guide and driver will pick you up to begin your Tashkent city tour, which will include:

After the tour, head to Tashkent domestic airport for a flight to Bukhara (440km, 1hr 20min). Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Old City, an area resembling a scene from Arabian Nights. Overnight at the hotel in Bukhara.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast, enjoy a private guided walking tour of the most impressive sights of Bukhara’s Old City:

  • Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, including Lyabi-Hauz Pool and the Khanaka, Kukeldash and Nadir Divan Beghi Madrasahs (all 16th century);
  • Magoki-Attori Mosque, the oldest mosque in Bukhara (12th century);
  • Four Trade Domes (15th-16th centuries), where you can purchase handmade souvenirs;
  • Poi Kalyan Ensemble (12th-16th centuries), including Kalyan Minaret and Mosque and Amir-Allimkhan and Miri-Arab Madrasahs;
  • Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century) and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah (17th century);
  • Ark Fortress (4th century), ancient center of Bukharin statehood now home to a small museum;
  • Bolo-Khauz Complex, consisting of an artfully decorated 18th-century mosque, a minaret and reservoirs.
Overnight at the hotel in Bukhara.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy free time before check-out from the hotel. Continue your tour of Bukhara region to the following locations:

Transfer to the train station to catch the bullet train to Samarkand (280km, 1hr 30min). Arrive in Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane's Empire. Overnight at the hotel in Samarkand.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast, begin your private tour of Samarkand with a local, experienced guide to the following:

  • Gur Emir, the imposing burial site of Tamerlane and Mirzo Ulugbek;
  • Registan Square, Samarkand’s most famous site which includes Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah and Tilla-Kori Madrasah (15th - 17th centuries);
  • Walk through a boulevard lined with workshops, souvenir stores and ice cream stands;
  • Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by Tamerlane for his favorite wife;
  • Siab Bazaar, where you can shop for souvenirs, fruits, sweets and Samarkand’s famous bread;
  • Shakhi-Zinda, an exquisite burial complex built between the 9th-14th centuries;
  • Ulugbek Observatory, including Ulugbek Museum and the remains of a 14th-15th century sextant.
Overnight at the hotel in Samarkand.
Meals provided: breakfast

A driver will meet you at your Samarkand hotel for transfer to the Jartepa border (50km, 1hr). After passing through customs, your Tajik guide and driver will meet you and drive to Penjikent (30km, 40min).
Stop on the way at Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient city founded by 3500BC. The excavation site still holds intact structures of palaces, temples, altars, homes, city walls and paved roads.
Continue driving to Penjikent (Panjakent) to tour the following:

  • Republican Museum of History (Rudaki Museum), which has diverse exhibits on Tajik customs and the life of Rudaki, founder of Tajik-Persian classical literature;
  • Central Mosque and Olim Dodkhoh Madrasah, the city’s main center for worship;
  • Penjikent Bazaar, a bustling bazaar with standard goods and Tajik souvenirs;
  • Ancient Penjikent (5th century BC), a labyrinth of walls and passages decorated with amazing murals.
Free time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel in Penjikent.
Meals provided: breakfast

Depart Penjikent in the morning and drive to Khujand (260km, 4hrs) via Istaravshan.
Arrive in Istaravshan and begin your city tour to the following:

  • Istaravshan Bazaar - housed chiefly in a 3-story building, it’s impressively large and authentic;
  • Hazrat Shah Architectural Complex (18th-19th centuries) - includes two mausoleums and a mosque known for its brightly painted ceiling;
  • Mug Teppe – a renovated fortress which provides a great overlook of the city.
Continue driving to Khujand. Free time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel in Khujand.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, begin your tour of Khujand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. The tour includes:

  • Khujand Fortress (dates vary), once one of the most impenetrable castles in Central Asia;
  • Historical Museum of Sughd, which houses unusual artefacts from the territory of Sughd;
  • Mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin Khujandi (12th century), a two-story mausoleum commemorating this 12th-century ruler and poet;
  • Payshanba Bazaar (Thursday Bazaar), a colorful oriental market rumored to be the best in Tajikistan;
  • Somoni Park, where a statue of Ismoil Somoni, fountains and bright mosaics are displayed.
In the afternoon, drive to the Uzbekistan border and pass through customs. Meet your Uzbek driver and transfer to Tashkent. Overnight at the hotel in Tashkent.
Meals provided: breakfast
Free morning to pack. Check out from the hotel by noon for transfer to Tashkent International Airport. End of Silk Road Experience Tour.
Meals provided: breakfast
  • Round-trip airport transfers;
  • Private local guide;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (15 nights, with breakfast);
  • Bottled mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • Dinner on day 2 and picnic lunch on day 5;
  • Economy class train ticket from Bukhara to Samarkand (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace it with a reservation on the regular train);
  • Economy class flight ticket from Tashkent to Bukhara.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Lunches and dinners not specified under Inclusions;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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