Legendary Silk Road by private train

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Legendary Silk Road by private train

Escorted from Almaty to Ashgabat
Guaranteed single room
03 October, 2018 –  16 October, 2018

This once-in-a-lifetime Central Asian train journey,  follows the legendary Silk Road back in time, across three countries and takes in seven breath-taking UNESCO World Heritage sites.   We’ll explore the winding streets and market life of Khiva and Bukhara, discover enchanting backstreets, vast gateways, glittering domes, and ancient city walls.  You’ll feel as if the stories of one thousand and one nights have come to life.  See the desert sun in Registan Square, the most beautiful square in the Orient and enjoy insights into the local way of life, from a folklore show in a madrasah, to lunches in the former Summer Palace of the Emir and an Uzbek family.  The Orient Silk Road Express train offers the best possible comfort for travelling the legendary Silk Road.

Silk RoadThe cool ease and simplicity of your own private train, in a region usually limited to long, uncomfortable bus rides makes this a most enjoyable experience.   Most of the train’s wagons, including several sleeping cars and a restaurant car, were completely refurbished in 2013.  The comfortable restaurant cars serves freshly prepared regional dishes and also bar service in the evening.  The train is air-conditioned while moving.

Silk road Aladdin cabinYou will have sole use of your Aladin compartment on the train.  This category features two lower beds (27.5 × 74.8 in/67 × 184 cm each), a small table and storage space.  You’ll have 7 nights accommodation in your own private compartment on the train and 6 nights in your own room with private facilities in mid to high end hotels en-route.   Each car on the train has 8 compartments and a shared shower and washroom  facility at the end of each car. Guests in this category also receive one bathrobe per compartment.  Please note; air conditioning operates while the train is in motion but is turned off while the train is stationary.

Silk road cabin diagram

Quote Jan 17


Day 1  03 October, 2018   Arrive Almaty, Kazakhstan   Make your own way to Almaty.  We can book your flights for you and team you up with others in the group who may be on the same flight, or you can use your frequent flyer points.   Your Australian group leaders will meet you at the hotel.  Tomorrow, you will explore Kazakhstan’s vibrant capital city.
Accommodation:  Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar) overnight
Located just 200 m from Almaty Circus and Central Stadium, this hotel offers a spa centre with heated indoor pool.    Rahat Palace Hotel’s classically furnished rooms feature cable TV and a minibar, and all rooms have a balcony with views of the city or Alatau Mountains. The bathrooms include toiletries and a hairdryer. International cuisine and Kazakhstani dishes are served in the Dzhambul Restaurant and the Grill Restaurant. Exotic cocktails are available in the stylish Yourt Bar & Lounge, or outside in the summer beer garden.   Massages can be booked at the Rahat’s spa, which also features a well-equipped gym, hot tub and sauna. Almaty’s sights are easy to reach from Rahat Palace, with the city’s central tram line just 200 m away. Almaty Airport is a 30-minute drive from the hotel.

Silk Road Almaty Ascension cathedralDay 2  04 October, 2018  Almaty   Standing beneath the brilliantly coloured patterns on the Ascension Cathedral, you gaze up at one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. It’s been a morning of discovery, strolling through Kazakhstan’s capital of avenues and cafes, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range. Soon you will be treated to a welcome lunch in a yurt restaurant, before you board your private train. Your luggage is ready and waiting for you in your personal compartment. You unpack and relax, then head for the dining car.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
TurkestanDay 3  05  October, 2018 Turkestan, Kazakhstan  As you eat breakfast, the glorious steppe unfolds outside the window to the steady beat of the railroad moving along the tracks. Soon you arrive in Turkestan, and stand before the magnificent Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi: the vast, brightly-tiled testament to power and beauty that UNESCO have made a World Heritage site and the Kazakhs revere as their national icon.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

TashkentDay 4  06 October, 2018   Tashkent, Uzbekistan  
Under the cover of night, your train crosses the border into Uzbekistan. By morning, you are in Tashkent, a city studded with monuments that hark back to the Silk Road. You experience the lush, green oasis of the steppe and tour caravanserais, fortresses and madrasah—history in earthen brick and turquoise tile. As evening arrives, you depart and travel the Silk Road trail to Shakhrisabz.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Day 5   07 October, 2018 Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan  Under wide blue skies, you explore Shakhrisabz, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Timur, the fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror, filled this once-mighty city with grandiose testaments to his earthly power. Now his palaces stand in ruins around you in the bustling market town as crumbling reminders of a lost empire. You experience a folklore performance in a small village and meet some of the locals. Before night closes in, the train departs, and you join fellow travellers for an Uzbek wine tasting in the dining car.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Samarqand alleyDay 6  08 October, 2018   Samarqand,  Uzbekistan   Wealth, conquest and faith intertwine among the splendours of Samarqand, one of the oldest settlements on Earth. At the time of Timur, this was called the most beautiful city in the world. Today, as you stand among the ornate marble pillars and vaults of Registan square or the exquisite glazed tiles of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, it’s impossible to suppress your sense of wonder. In visiting the Afrosiyab excavation site you untangle the roots of this astonishing civilisation.
Accommodation:  Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar) 2 nights  Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hotel Registan Plaza is located in the city centre, with easy access to its business and historic district. Near the hotel there are many historical monuments.  All rooms have air conditioning, cable TV, telephone, hair dryer, Internet access, safe, mini-bar. 

Samarqand Registan squareDay 7  09 October, 2018   Samarqand,  Uzbekistan  Once deemed the most important and the most beautiful city in the world, Samarquand’s giant Registan Square is certainly among the most notable architectural ensembles in Central AsiaAnother day to soak up the UNESCO World Heritage site of Samarqand on this train journey. Delve into its Islamic past and sift through its riches. You see Uzbek craftsmen skillfully weave silk into carpets and press paper from mulberry bark, before casting your eyes to the magnificent past at the Ulugh Beg Observatory, the ruins of Bibi Khanum Mosque and the impressive Gur Emir Mausoleum.   Breakfast, lunch and dinner included  

Silk road diningDay 8  10 October, 2018   Samarqand to Khiva     On a last bright morning in Samarqand, you breakfast, wander the city, and board your private train at noon.    Samarkand is situated in the valley of the river Zerafshan. It is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome.  The history of Samarqand is about 2,750 years old and has witnessed many upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane’s. Hence, the culture of Samarqand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures. Majestic and beautiful city Samarkand has a marvellous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it “Rome of the East, The pearl of the Eastern Muslim World”. Its advantageous geographical position in the Zarafshan valley puts Samarqand to the first place among cities of Central Asia.  Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included  

KhivaDay 9  11 October, 2018   Khiva, Uzbekistan  Like a tale from Arabian nights carved in stone, Khiva was once one of the ancient Silk Road’s most prominent oases. After breakfast, your train will have arrived at the southern extent of the Zhetysu (seven rivers) landscape, at the oasis of Khiva. Standing at the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick, you feel transported into another world. Life still pulses around the base of the Kalta Minor Minaret, just as it did in former times. Our tour allows you to take in the atmosphere and sights of the oasis. Its palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums, and madrasas (Muslim religious schools) represent some of the best-preserved examples of oriental town architecture from medieval times. This is Khiva, an ancient city fortress. Beneath the vivid blue glazed bands of the Kalta Minor Minaret, you set out through the sun and shadow of winding streets on a dreamlike tour of the town’s palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasah. All inhabited, thriving – a living museum. You lunch in the old Summer Palace of the Emir.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Silk road Ark BukharaDay 10  12 October, 2018 Bukhara,  Turkmenistan   Beneath the imposing yellow brickwork of the Kaljan minaret, you gaze at the magnificent gateways on either side of the courtyard, each a heady cocktail of intricate tilework and grand design. This is only a first glimpse of old Bukhara, a site of UNESCO World Heritage that holds a miraculous city-museum of a thousand monuments, each a testimony to the glory days of caravan trade. At the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, you witness the 500-year-old architectural ingenuity that keeps a pool full in the baking Kysylkum desert. You learn about the satirical Sufi Nasreddin Hodja, watch local dances, listen to exotic Uzbek tunes and have dazzling national costumes paraded in the courtyard of a madrasa.
Accommodation:  Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar)  overnight  Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Located in the centre of Bukhara, Hotel Asia Bukhara features an outdoor pool and a garden. With free Wi-Fi access, the air-conditioned rooms come with a satellite LCD TV. Each has a private bathroom equipped with free toiletries and a hairdryer.The restaurant serves local specialities, as well as European cuisine. Breakfast is offered daily. Guests will find several shops within a 10-minute walk from Asia Bukhara Hotel. The Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Complex is a 15-minute walk away. 

Bukhara 1Day 11  13 October, 2018  Bukhara,  Turkmenistan   Another long, glorious, desert day devoted to the infinitely rich Bukhara. From the sumptuous stylings of the Mire-e-Arab Madrasah, you move to the textured geometry of the Samanid Mausoleum regarded by many as the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia. Then onto the gargantuan, 1,500-year-old Ark fortress, and the only women’s mosque in the country. Standing on its vast rampart, you take a last view out over Bukhara, glistening turquoise and yellow in the bright afternoon light. A diamond in the dust.
Overnight on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

MervDay 12  14 October, 2018 Merv , Turkmenistan    At daybreak, your private train draws into the ancient oasis of Merv. In the twelfth-century, this was one of the largest cities in the world. Nourished by the Silk Road, its fame crossed continents.  The city was destroyed by Genghis Khan’s so Toloi in 1221, but its ruins are still nothing but stunning.  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 tombsYou walk among the relics of this UNESCO World Heritage site, including the gigantic Tomb of Ahmed Sanjar, the Virgin Fortress, and the cold room, and are invited to lunch in the courtyard of a family home.
Accommodation:   Ashgabat hotel 2 nights   Breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

NisaDay 13  15 October, 2018   Nisa, Turkmenistan  You begin the day at the site of ancient Nisa, and follow its smaller relics to their new home in Ashgabat, at the National Museum.  We have a  guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat where artefacts excavated from the ruins at Nisa are on exhibit. After lunch we have a  brief tour of Ashgabat, whose distinctive appearance is characteristic of Turkmenbashi, the self-proclaimed “great leader of all Turkmen”. Hollywood-style settings throughout this city flush with new-found oil wealth can be impressive, but sometimes also cause a chuckle.  In the evening, you settle down to a farewell dinner.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included 

Day 14  16 October, 2018  Ashgabat  
Sadly our tour has come to an end.  Transfer to the airport for your flight home, leaving wide blue skies, the open steppe, and epic monuments behind you, laden with unparalleled memories of the Silk Road.   We would be happy to assist with your onward travel arrangements.

Please note:   We regret that due to the intricate logistics of this tour, itinerary changes are sometimes unavoidable.

Tour cost $AU11690 includes:

  • Services of an Australian escort
  • Services of multi-lingual train tour director
  • Services of English speaking local guides
  • SINGLE accommodation throughout
  • 7 overnights on the Private Train in Aladin category – sole occupancy
  • 6 overnights in hotels – sole occupancy
  • All meals according to program
  • Sightseeing program including all entrance fees according program
  • Guided transfers to and from all airports and train stations according to program
  •  Doctor on board
  • Traditional welcome in the train stations of Bukhara, and Samarqand
  • Lunch/dinner with an Uzbek and a Turkmen family as well as in in a Madrasah with folklore
  • Wine and Vodka tasting
  • Log book with information about the Silk Road

Tour cost does not include:

  • International airfare and taxes
  • Pre and post tour accommodation
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Gratuities
  • Meals or drinks not stated in itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature

Please note:   This tour involves services which are settled in a number of currencies and the exchange rate has been calculated on rates current at the time of uploading this tour onto our website.  

Should there be a fluctuation of exchange rates of more than 3% from this time to the time we receive payment, we reserve the right to pass on an exchange rate surcharge.

To contact us for reservations or enquiries:

Destination World Travel

PO Box 2040

South Plympton    South Australia   5038      Australia

Phone:  08-8293-6988   Outside of Australia 61-8-8293-6988

Email:  destinationworld@internode.on.net