The Legendary Silk Road: Ashgabat to Almaty

  • CAD $6,120

  • 14 days / 13 nights

Experience an old-world railway adventure on the legendary Silk Road. Travel on a luxurious private train, the recently refurbished Orient Silk Road Express. Explore ancient capitals and visit modern archaeological digs. Stops include Bukhara and Samarqand in Uzbekistan; Panjakent and Shahrisabz in Tajikistan, and the ruins of the 3000-year-old city of Merv. Visit bustling markets and ancient architectural wonders. Between stops, take in the desert landscapes and mountain vistas, while enjoying unparalleled luxury, local cuisine and personal service on the magnificent train.

Itinerary

Just as Silk Road merchants did centuries ago, you arrive in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s vibrant capital city, welcomed by the cool midnight air. A bus whisks you away to your well-appointed hotel, where you spend the first night of what will be an unforgettable journey. Dreams of your Silk Road adventure begin to fill your head as you lie down to rest. Tomorrow you will wake early to explore this legendary city.

Accommodation: Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar)

Today you explore the amazing city of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s capital. You stand beneath the brilliantly colored patterns of the Ascension Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. You stroll through the city’s streets, discovering its hidden gems on the way. You have the chance to sit in a typical cafe, framed by the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains. After an enjoyable welcome lunch in a yurt restaurant, you hop aboard your the Orient Silk Road Express, your private train on this legendary journey.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Aboard the Orient Silk Road Express, you enjoy a tasty breakfast as the gorgeous landscapes of the Central Asian steppes pass by the dining car window. Soon you arrive in the city of Turkistan, known for the magnificent Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a popular religious pilgrimage site. Its historic design, including its beautiful tiling and brickwork, is known for being the earliest example of Timurid architecture. Its impressive turquoise dome is the largest in Central Asia. The mausoleum has long been a symbol of the Kazakh nation and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you wake up in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, a city filled with medieval monuments of its past, surrounded by the region’s lush, green steppes. Here you visit caravanserais, inns traditionally used as lodging by caravans along the Silk Road trade route. You also visit beautifully restored medieval fortresses and madrasas (madrasa is the Arabic word for an educational institution), built from brick and turquoise tile. Later that evening you board your private train and depart for the city of Shahrisabz.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today under bright blue skies, you explore the city of Shahrisabz, including its historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formerly known as Kesh, Shahrisabz is the birthplace of fourteenth-century Mongol conqueror Timur. Many of the monuments you visit here were built as testaments to his power, including Ak-Saray, his summer palace. Later you enjoy a traditional folklore performance in a small village, where you meet some of the locals. That evening you enjoy a tasting of Uzbek wine on board your private train, which departs for the city of Samarkand.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Samarkand is one of Central Asia’s oldest settlements, and in the days of Timur, it was considered the world’s most beautiful city. That beauty seems undiminished as you stand among the carefully restored buildings of Registan Square with their gorgeous tiling, brickwork, domes, and minarets. Equally stunning are the intricate tile designs of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis—known as the Tomb of the Living King, named for the legend of Kusam Ibn Abbas, who brought Islam to the area now known as Uzbekistan. Later you enjoy a visit to the Afrasiyab excavation site, the oldest part of Samarkand’s historic center and one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. In 2001 the city of Samarkand was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its many monuments and preservation of traditional crafts.

Accommodation: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you delve into the historical traditions of Uzbekistan and visit local craftspeople, whom you observe as they skillfully weave silk into carpets and press mulberry bark into paper. Later you enjoy visits to the magnificent Ulugh Beg Observatory, the beautifully reconstructed Bibi Khanum Mosque and the impressive Gur Emir Mausoleum.

Accommodation: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning you enjoy a delicious breakfast and have one last walk through the enchanting streets of Samarkand. Around noon you board the Orient Silk Road Express private train, which departs for the next stop on your adventure, the historic city of Khiva. The spectacular landscapes of the Central Asian steppes pass by your window. Green hills and grasslands stretch before you as far as the eye can see, while distant peaks of mountain ranges reach for the sky.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you wake up in the city of Khiva, whose numerous historic monuments earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List as Uzbekistan’s first World Heritage Site. Khiva is known for the well-preserved medieval city walls, gates and fortifications of its historic center, Itchan Kala. You take a tour through the city’s charming, winding streets, where you discover the beauty of its many palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasas. It is filled with stunning architectural monuments like the multicolored Kalta Minor minaret, whose alternating bands of tiles leave you speechless. Later you enjoy lunch in the summer residence of a former king.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On your first day in Bukhara you visit the city’s unforgettable historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains numerous monuments from the height of the caravan trade on the legendary Silk Road. You visit stunning sites like the Po-i-Kalyan architectural ensemble, whose buildings are known for their intricate tiling and beautiful brickwork. This includes the impressive Kalyan Minaret, centerpiece of the ensemble, the gorgeous Kalyan Mosque and the intricate Mir-i-Arab Madrasa. You also visit the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble, which includes the iconic Kukeldash Madrasa. As you explore these amazing locations, you learn about Uzbek history, including the philosopher and historical character Nasreddin Hodja. You watch beautiful local dances, enjoy traditional Uzbek music and watch a dazzling folklore performance with national costumes in a madrasa courtyard.

Accommodation: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On your second day in Bukhara, City of a Thousand Monuments, you return to the Mir-i-Arab Madrasa to continue your exploration. From here you set out to visit Persian king Ismail Samani’s historic burial place, also known as the Samanid Mausoleum. It is a unique example of ninth-century Central Asian architecture, influenced by both Zoroastrian fire temples and Islamic design. Later you visit the enormous Ark of Bukhara, a citadel that was once the residence of the king and a center of power in the region. As you stand on its high walls, you look out over the city and imagine what it must have looked like centuries ago.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express Private Train
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At daybreak, your private train draws into the ancient city of Merv. In the twelfth century, this was one of the largest cities in the world. by the Silk Road, its fame crossed continents. Now you stand surrounded by ruins that rise up from the desert sand and crumbling arches framing bright blue sky. You 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: Hotel Ashgabat (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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. The gleaming white marble of the city center testifies to the young city’s new wealth. In the evening, you settle down to a farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Ashgabat (or similar)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On your last day of your legendary Silk Road adventure, you check out of your hotel and catch a transfer to the airport for your flight home. On the way, you look back on the marvelous journey that you’ve just completed. The beautiful landscapes, impressive monuments and unforgettable experiences you have enjoyed on the legendary Silk Road will be memories that last a lifetime.

Dates & Prices

Departure Date Compartment Category Price per person
  • 31 Mar – 13 Apr 2022
  • 6 – 19 Oct 2022
  • 30 Mar – 12 Apr 2023
Category Habibi From $6,120
Category Ali Baba From $9,180
Category Aladdin From $10,250
Category Sultan From $16,760
Category Kalif From $17,290

Note: Price per person is based on double occupancy except for Category Habibi compartment. Due to the dynamic nature of availability and pricing, please click here to contact us directly for departure dates and full pricing.

Train Information

Orient Silk Road Express

The train was refurbished a few years ago to the highest standards of comfort and safety. For further peace of mind, there is a doctor on board, available 24/7. As for comfort, the train is fully air conditioned and offers fresh dining options and bar service, perfect for a cool drink.


Habibi

This compartment has sleeping berths (26.4 × 72.4 in /67 × 184cm) for up to four guests. A table near the window separates lower and upper berths on either side. Each car has nine compartments, with washroom facilities at both ends.


Ali Baba

This compartment has two lower berths (27.5 × 74.8 in/67 × 184 cm each), as well as a table and additional storage space. Each car has nine compartments, with washroom facilities at both ends.


Aladdin

This category features two lower beds (27.5 x 74.8 in / 67 x 184 cm each), a small table and storage space. Each car has eight compartments and a shower, together with washroom facilities at both ends. Guests in this category also receive one bathrobe per person.


Sultan

This category features two beds, upper and lower (31.6 x 68.5 in / 80 x 174 cm and 43.3 x 72.4 in / 110 x 184 cm) These compartments also offer comfortable seating, a larger table and a small closet. Each room has its own private bathroom, complete with integrated shower. The cars in this category are comprised of just six compartments.


Kalif

This category features two beds, upper and lower (31.6 x 68.5 in / 80 x 174 cm and 44 x 72.4 in / 112 x 184 cm). Each compartment includes a closet, safe and private bathroom with a separate shower cabin. Each car in this category is limited to four compartments and a maximum of just eight guests.


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