Road to Samarkand

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Journey through the heart of Central Asia crossing beautiful deserts and mountain landscapes. Discover ancient cities full of intricate Islamic architecture, thriving bazaars and a mystical old-world atmosphere, all linked with the legends of the Silk Road.

Places Visited

Australia – Urumqi (1N) – Kashgar (2N) – Naryn (1N) – Kochkor Village (1N) – Karakol (2N) – Chon Kemin Valley (2N) – Bishkek (1N) – Tashkent (1N) – Nuxus (1N) – Khiva (2N) – Bukhara (3N) – Samarkand (3N) – Tashkent (1N) – Australia

Days 1-2: Fly to Urumqi
Fly overnight with China Southern Airlines to Urumqi. Depending on the time of your arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture. (D)
Day 3: Tian Chi Heavenly Lake
Escape to the tranquillity of Tian Chi Heavenly Lake. In the evening fly to the remote city of Kashgar, the heart of the Silk Road. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Tian Chi Heavenly Lake
Day 4: Explore Kashgar
Its skyline punctured by minarets, Kashgar feels a million miles from anywhere. Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar's streets have remained unchanged for millennia, as it remains as much of an integral trading post as in its Silk Road heyday. Today's visits include Akbah Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Explore Kashgar
Day 5: Tian Shan Mountains
Cross the border into Kyrgyzstan through the magnificent Tian Shan Heavenly Mountains. Making our way over the Torugart Pass to Naryn, stop en route at the 15th-century caravanserai at Tash Rabat. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Tian Shan Mountains
Days 6-7: Eagle hunting and Karakol
Drive to Kochkor Village and enjoy a traditional lunch at a ger camp. Watch a 'shyrdak' demonstration (making of Kyrgyz wool carpets). The next day continue to Karakol via Bokonbayevo village on the shores of Issyk Kul, where the locals will demonstrate their skill at hunting with eagles. (B,L,D)
Days 6-7: Eagle hunting and Karakol
Days 8-9: Explore Karakol
Spend the morning soaking up the atmosphere of the bustling animal market before examining the region's diverse religious influences with visits to the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral and the Chinese mosque. Take an afternoon stroll in Jety-Oguz and through the beautiful Valley of Flowers. (B,L,D) The next day visit the Przhevalsky Musuem and Semenov Gorge before driving to Cholpon-Ata. Explore animal petroglyphs etched into glacial stone before continuing to Ashu in the Chon-Kemin Valley. (B,L,D)
Days 8-9: Explore Karakol
Day 10: Ethnic Ashu Village
Walk in the foothills of the mountains and take in the local way of life in Ashu Village. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Ethnic Ashu Village
Day 11: Bishkek folk performance
Drive to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital, a city of wide, leafy boulevards which contrast with the Soviet-era architecture. En route visit the 11th-century Burana Tower, an intricate minaret out in the countryside. This afternoon visit Ala Too Square and Oak Park. This evening enjoy a traditional folk performance. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Bishkek folk performance
Day 12: Fly to Tashkent
This morning take a leisurely hike in Ala Archa National Park. This evening fly to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Fly to Tashkent
Day 13: Journey to Nuxus
Fly to Nuxus. Visit Svaitskiy and explore the Mizdahkan, an Islamic complex in Hojeli Village. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Desert fortresses
Explore the desert fortresses of Chalpik Kala (Tower of Silence), Kizil Kala Fortress, Toprak Kala Fortress, Ayaz Kala and Kyrk-Kyz Kala. Arrive Khiva. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Desert fortresses
Day 15: Kuhna Ark Fortress
The ancient city of Khiva has a long and turbulent history as part of the Silk Road and a slave trading post. This fascinating destination is lovely to explore – wander around the many medressahs, mosques and minarets within the ancient city walls, as well as the magnificent 17th-century Kuhna Ark Fortress. (B,L,D)
Days 16-18: Sacred Bukhara
After a day's drive across the Kyzy Kum desert arrive at the holiest city in Central Asia, Bukhara. Bukhara has been built up over thousands of years, with an atmospheric old centre and some pre-Soviet era architecture. Spend two days seeing the sights, with visits to the Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Chor Minor, Kalon Minaret, Labi-Hauz Plaza and the summer residence of the last Bukharan Emirs. (B,L,D)
Days 16-18: Sacred Bukhara
Days 19-21: Samarkand
Perhaps the most notable name in Silk Road history Samarkand is a UNESCO World Heritage city with an evocative skyline of domes and minarets and a mystical presence. Drive to the city via Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the great historical leader, Tamerlane. Spend two days exploring some of the many historical sites of Samarkand including the Registan, Sher Dor Medressa, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-I-Zinda, Timur's Guri Amir Mausoleum and the Ulugh Beg Observatory. (B,L,D)
Days 19-21: Samarkand
Day 22: Samarkand to colourful Tashkent
Begin the return journey to Tashkent, passing through the impressive Gates of Tamerlane. This afternoon will be spent exploring this eccentric city, visiting the 16th-century Kukeldash Medressa, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Khan Medressa and Khast Imom Complex. Also see the Chorsu Bazaar, a traditional market under a beautiful blue dome, the Crying Mother Monument. (B,L,D)
Day 22: Samarkand to colourful Tashkent
Day 23: Tashkent to Beijing
Explore Tashkent, including the Museum of Applied Arts, Independence Square, 1966 earthquake memorial, Amir Timur Maydoni, the Russianstyle Alisher Navoi Theatre and Broadway Street. This evening fly overnight to Beijing. (B,L,D)
Day 23: Tashkent to Beijing
Day 24: Beijing to Guangzhou
Arrive early into Beijing and fly to Guangzhou, with the rest of the day at leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 24: Beijing to Guangzhou
Day 25: Depart Guangzhou
Explore the Chen Family Temple, Six Banyan Tree Temple and neighbouring Shamian Island. Later transfer to Guangzhou airport to board your overnight flight to Australia. (B,L)
Day 26: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

Tour prices are per person, twin share



Additional Price Information:

Above prices include airline fuel surcharge and tipping. Subject to change
Standard itinerary flies with China Southern from SYD, MEL, BNE & PER
Single Hotel Room Option from $1,740
Land Only (Urumqi to Guangzhou) 24 days from $9,080 per person (includes tipping)
Brisbane & Perth passengers may require a stopover in Guangzhou at an
additional cost
Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin passengers please contact reservations for joining the tour
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 1300 318 203. Limited seats denotes 5 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visa in the price of our tour for Australian passport holders. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call Australia – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 61, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. .
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in Asia and you will find high quality coverage. Asia has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.


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Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 1300 318 203 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is ideal for those with an extensive period of time to travel and who are looking for a comprehensive visit to the main sights and cities in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This tour is active and involves more walking and outdoor activity which allows you to further experience this fascinating area.



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