The Legendary Silk Road: Ashgabat to Almaty

  • CAD $11,500

  • April 11 – 26, 2021 | 16 days / 15 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

Departure to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Arrive early in the morning and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure in Turkmenistan’s extraordinary capital city, where the mountains meet the desert.

Accommodation: Grand Turkmen Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast

In the morning, visit a bustling traditional market, and then travel to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa; then take a guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat, and see artefacts excavated from the Nisa ruins. After lunch, take a brief tour of Ashgabat, rebuilt in recent years on the orders of President Saparmurat Niyazov, the self-proclaimed Turkmenbashi, or “great leader of all Turkmen.” Dine aboard the train, which will be your overnight home for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express (2 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arrive early in the morning at the Merv, once one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cities, now an archaeological site and a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Centre. The initial impression is of disbelief: gigantic walls and ramparts stand in the middle of the desert next to the imposing ruins of ancient buildings – the Tomb of the Sultan Sanjar, the Maidens’ Castle (Kyz Kala), the historical ice houses, and others. Lunch is served in the picturesque courtyard of a local family home.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The city of Bukhara, located deep in the Kyzylkum Desert, is the site of a thousand architectural monuments from the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Exotic spices, furs and silk were stored and traded in the city’s caravanserais, or roadside inns. In Bukhara’s Old Town is the Kalyan Minaret, almost 50 metres tall, and the Lyab-I Hauz Ensemble by the pond, among other sights. In a madrasa courtyard, watch a performance of local dances and a presentation of colourful national costumes with musical accompaniment. Overnight in a hotel for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Hotel Asia Bukhara or similar (2 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bukhara’s ancient oriental spirit lives on in its unparalleled array of authentic architecture. In the morning, visit the splendid Mir-e-Arab Madrasa and the Samanid Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s most beautiful structures. Then tour the massive , once the local seat of government. See the Throne Room, then proceed to the last emir’s summer residence. End your stay with a visit to the world’s only women’s mosque, just outside the city.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend a final morning exploring the romantic winding streets of Bukhara, then board your private train for Khiva and enjoy the stunning landscapes: wide steppes, blue sky and distant mountains, the same natural beauty that inspired the ancients who came before you. Overnight onboard the train for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express (2 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arrive after breakfast at the southern edge of the Zhetysu (seven rivers) landscape. Standing at the town wall, with its gates and bastions of mud brick, you will be transported into another world. Life pulses around the base of the Kalta Minor Minaret, just as it did in former times. Its palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and madrasas represent some of the best-preserved examples of medieval oriental architecture. Enjoy lunch in the former emir’s summer palace. Leave by private train for Samarqand in the evening.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Explore the sights of this legendary city, starting with Registan Square, stop at the Ulug Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, and view the interior of the palatial Gur-e Amir Mausoleum. Overnight in a hotel for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Registan Plaza Hotel or similar (2 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Note: Days 10 and 11 may be swapped due to rail logistics.

Enjoy a private excursion to Panjakent, Tajikistan, where you will visit the historic Rudaki Museum, the Olim Dodkho mosque, and the ruins of ancient Panjakent on the banks of the Zeravshan River.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Note: Days 10 and 11 may be swapped due to rail logistics.

On an excursion to the surrounding mountain region, enjoy a traditional ceremony offering insight into the region’s unique folklore, and experience local daily life. Board the train and continue along the Great Silk Road to the birthplace of Timur, Shakhrisabz, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. See the monumental architecture of the Mongol ruler’s Great Palace from the 14th and 15th centuries. In the evening, depart for Tashkent, and enjoy a tasting of Uzbek wines. Overnight onboard your private train for the next three nights.

Accommodation: Onboard the Orient Silk Road Express (3 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning your train pulls into the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. A sightseeing tour of the city offers a closer look at this green oasis in the steppe. See the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and typical Kazakh mud brick houses. In the evening, attend a concert at a music hall (program permitting). Afterwards, your train departs for Kazakhstan.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Formalities at the Kazakhstan border are completed in the comfort of your compartment. Arrive in the city of Turkestan before noon. Visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most significant examples of Timurid architecture. Afterwards, continue by train to Almaty.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Train arrives in Almaty after lunch. A sightseeing tour offers an overview of this green metropolis at the foot of the mighty Ile Alatau Mountains. See the imposing Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral, built entirely of wood, the Wedding Palace, the Almaty Circus, and the Central Mosque. In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner in a traditional Kazakh yurt. Stay overnight in a hotel.

Accommodation: Rahat Palace Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Catch the transfer for the return flight home. Leave the wide blue skies, open steppe and epic monuments behind, laden with unparalleled memories of the Silk Road.

Dates & Prices

Travel date: April 11 – 26, 2021
Prices are in CAD, per person

Compartment Category Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
Aladdin CAD $11,500 CAD $14,200
Sultan CAD $16,000 CAD $21,930
Kalif CAD $16,380 CAD $22,500
DEPOSITS & PAYMENTS
First Deposit: CAD $2,000 per each confirmed passenger at the time of booking
Second Deposit: CAD $3,000 per each confirmed passenger, due on August 14, 2020
Final Payment: Due on December 11, 2020

Note:

  1. Passenger names must match passport.
  2. Please ensure that passports are valid up till after six (6) months at last destination.
  3. No visa is required to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for Canadian passport holders.
CANCELLATION CHARGES
From time of booking to August 13. 2020: No charge
August 14 – December 10, 2020 CAD $5,000 per person
December 11, 2020 – date of departure 100% of tour cost

Air cancellation penalties are subject to airline regulations.

We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation or comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking. Please contact us for a quotation. Prices above are in Canadian Dollars. The program and all related travel services described herein are subject to the detailed terms & conditions of GLP Worldwide which are available at any time upon request and which will be provided with your booking confirmation.

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.


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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