Visit the great Silk Road oases of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
On this extraordinary East-meets-West journey, you'll experience the best of both worlds in Central Asia's independent republics—Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—and delight in the natural beauty of the region's immense deserts and the area's rich cultural heritage. Traveling through the heart of the northern Silk Road route, we'll visit cities once ruled by some of the history's legendary conquerors, including Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, and browse some of today's great trading posts, including the legendary Sunday bazaar in Ashgabat, where you can buy everything from carpets to camels. The places we visit live and breathe history, with centuries-old architecture that rivals even the Taj Mahal, and people who still live a traditional way of life as horsemen and herders. But we must warn you! After nearly two magical weeks journeying through one of the world's truly great cultural crossroads, you may find that you never want to leave.
12 days touring
- Visit the 14th-century mosques, domed bazaars, and caravansaries of Bukhara, illustrating 1,000 years of history
- Wander Turkmenistan's legendary Sunday bazaar—one of the largest and best known in the world (one can purchase anything from carpets to camels!)
- Visit the center of the great northern Silk Road trade route between the West and Asia—still fraught with competition for influence between the Islamic world, the West, and Russia.
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Tashkent End Location: TashkentDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Tashkent (This entire trip is below 6,000')
Arrive in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
Day 2 : Tashkent - Samarkand
Drive 4 hours to Samarkand, stopping for a picnic lunch and sightseeing along the way.
Day 3 : Samarkand
Visits to Registan Square, Gur Emir, the mausoleums of Sha-i-Zinda, Bibi Khanum Mosque and Samarkand's vibrant market.
Day 4 : Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Bukhara
Drive to Shakhrisabz to visit the birthplace of Tamerlane and his palace. We then move on to Bukhara (another World Heritage Site) and visit its massive fortress and the old quarter, with beautifully restored 11th century mosques and some structures dating from Zoroastrian times some 2,500 years ago.
Day 5 : Bukhara
Full day to explore Bukhara on foot with visits to the old town center and ancient sites.
Day 6 : Bukhara - Mary
Drive from Bukhara across the border to Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan and then on to Merv and Mary.
Day 7 : Ashgabat
Fly to Ashgabat. Sightseeing in Ashgabat.
Day 8 : Ashgabat
Spend the day sightseeing in Ashgabat.
Day 9 : Ashgabat - Khiva
Fly from Ashgabat to Dashoguz, then transfer to Koneurgench for sightseeing. Return to Dashoguz for lunch, then drive to Khiva.
Day 10 : Khiva - Tashkent
Sightseeing in old Khiva. In the evening transfer to Urgench for flight to Tashkent.
Day 11 : Tashkent
Sightseeing in Tashkent. Festive farewell dinner and cultural show.
Day 12 : Departure
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
DATES: Best time to go: May, September Departures: Sep 14 - 25, 2014 May 2 - 13, 2015 Sep 27, 2015 - Oct 8, 2015
$5,095 (10-15 members)
$500 internal air
$5,095 (9-15 members)
$5,595 (7-8 members)
$500 internal air
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Gary has traveled to more than 220 countries in the last 40 years, researching, writing, photographing, and lecturing about distant lands and cultures. He has worked on humanitarian projects in Indochina, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, and has contributed his expertise to development projects in Ethiopia for UNICEF. In 1981-82, Gary taught at universities in both China and in Tibet and lectured for the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1989. Gary has lectured on Central Asia, Inner Asia, Southeast Asia and Buddhist themes at many universities, including Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Columbia as well as lectured on cruise ships and private jet trips. He has led hundreds of trips to all continents. Gary is a longtime member of the Mongolia Society, the Association of Asian Studies, the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and the Central Eurasian Studies Society as well as a number of Southeast Asian study groups. He has been a long time leader of citizens diplomacy exchanges, including pioneering "peace trains" on the trans-Siberian during the cold war days of the former Soviet Union. Some of his current soft diplomacy "signatures" include utilizing creative techniques, such as Frisbees and dark chocolates. Gary wins rave reviews as a tour director.