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The Great Silk Road Adventure

From $5,095

  • Travel through the heart of the great northern Silk Road trade route between the West and Asia—one of world's great cultural crossroads
  • Explore the 14th-century mosques, domed bazaars, and caravansaries of UNESCO-listed Bukhara, illustrating 1,000 years of history
  • Visit the marbled city of Ashgabat and wander its legendary Sunday bazaar, where you can purchase anything from carpets to camels!

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 rich cultural heritage. Traveling through the heart of the northern Silk Road route, you'll visit cities once ruled by some of the history's legendary conquerors, from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to Tamarlane. You'll explore some of region’s most stunning ancient and modern cities, including Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Turkmenabat, Merv, Ashgabat and Khiva. Alongside your expert guide, you’ll spend your days steeped in culture and history as you visit bustling bazaars; explore mosques, mausoleums and palaces; take in local folk performances; and sample traditional regional cuisine. Traveling the Silk Road is an adventure of a lifetime, exposing you to a part of the world where few Westerners venture to go, and MTS is the best company to lead the way.

Book now to join us on our September 2015 departures!

Day 1: Welcome to Tashkent

Welcome to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan! Your MTS guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your comfortable hotel for a good night’s sleep. This evening, the group will convene for a brief orientation and a welcome dinner.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 2: Take a scenic drive to Samarkand

After breakfast, we’ll leave Tashkent and enjoy a scenic drive to the city and region of Samarkand, a historic and central part of the old Silk Road.  On the way, we’ll stop for a small picnic, where we can enjoy beautiful mountain views near the legendary gate of the 14th-century nomadic ruler, Tamerlane. We'll pause for a brief photo op near the second-largest river in Central Asia, Sir Darya, and then at a famous local market where the best melons in the region are sold. If melons are in season, we’ll seek them out! Tonight, we’ll enjoy a traditional dinner at a historic home protected by UNESCO, returning afterward to our well-appointed hotel, situated in the heart of business and shopping district of this legendary city.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Samarkand

Day 3: Sightsee in the legendary city of Samarkand

We’ll begin our tour of the legendary city of Samarkand with visits to Guri Emir, the legendary mausoleum where Amir Temur and his family were buried, and regal Registan Square, where we can marvel at the intricate designs and vibrant colors of the stunning blue-tiled mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools), which date back to the 13th and 15th centuries. We’ll also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-i-Zinda, site of Central Asia's most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of Bibi Khanum, and the adjacent colorful market, where the original “spice girls” sell saffron at unbelievably low prices. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread, which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to duplicate back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons. The afternoon is free to continue exploring on your own or relax back at the hotel before dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Samarkand

Day 4: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Shakhrisabz and Bukhara

After breakfast, we’ll take a one-hour drive to the 2000-year-old city of Shakhrisabz, Tamerlane’s birthplace and a city of fabulous ruins. We’ll visit Tamerlane’s palace Ak Sarai, the famous blue-domed Kok Gumbaz Mosque, athe Mausoleum of Jehangir (Tamerlane’s grandson), and Tamerlane’s Mausoleum. After lunch, we’ll relax and enjoy a scenic three-hour drive to Bukhara, the medieval capital of the once-powerful Emirate of Bukhara and, today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite urbanization in the center of the city, the architecture and urban planning of the city has remained largely intact from the Sheibanid era of Uzbek rule. As in Samarkand, the city’s markets offer plenty of opportunities to buy crafts, from musical instruments to saddlebags made of carpet and quilted materials. We’ll end the day at a four-star hotel, equipped with a pool and free wifi.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Bukhara

Day 5: Stroll the streets of Old Bukhara

This morning, we’ll set out on foot to explore the old quarter of Bukhara, with its bustling trading domes and active mosques, including Kalyan Minaret—the “tower of death,” which is one of Central Asia’s tallest. We'll stroll around the streets and visit the old town center, where locals chat for hours while drinking tea around a natural oasis spring. Bukhara, like Samarkand, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has resulted in the restoration of some of its mosques—originally constructed in the 11th to 15th centuries—making them appear as if they were built yesterday. We'll visit its massive fortress, the Ark, with the Emir's open-air throne room, and the mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th-century brick structure that is nicely preserved. Tonight, we’ll be treated to a cooking demonstration and a dinner of plov, a local lamb and rice pilaf dish, in the historic Nodir Devonbegi Madrassah, followed by a festive folklore and national dress show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Bukhara

Day 6: Cross into Turkmenistan and discover historical sites in Mary

We’ll have an early breakfast at the hotel and then drive for one hour to the Turkmenistan border. After passing through the necessary border formalities, we’ll continue on for another five hours to Mary—known as Merv in ancient times—a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert. On the way, we’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant in the ancient Silk Road crossroads of Turkmenabat, which once connected Bukhara with Khiva and Merv. For about 300 years, Merv was the largest city in Central Asia and the capital of the Khalifat for eight years. During the 12th century, it was said to be the biggest city in the world. We’ll take in Old Merv's historical sites before enjoying a hearty dinner and retiring to our four-star hotel in Mary.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Margush or Yrsgal or Dayanch Hotel

Day 7: Explore Ashgabat, the City of White Marble

This morning, we’ll transfer to the airport in Mary for our flight to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat is situated at the southern edge of the Karakum Desert, tucked against the austere hills less than 50 miles from the Iranian border. Its gleaming domes, monuments and minarets and lavish palaces make it feel like an enchanted city. Today, we’ll visit the ruins of Nissa, the former seat of the Parthian kings and an important Silk Road trading town, followed by a tour of the city. We’ll time our visit with the city’s famous Sunday bazaar, a truly medieval experience rivaling that of Kashgar in China. Everything from camels to auto parts is sold, and world-famous Bukhara rugs—both new and old—are for sale or trade as well. Although the old Ashgabat Bazaar was moved inside to a new complex in 2011, it still offers the same plethora of goods and is an experience not to be missed! After dinner, we’ll drive along the main avenues of Ashgabat, to take in its brightly lit buildings and monuments, making it one of the most spectacular cities in Central Asia. Tonight, we’ll retire to our five-star luxury hotel, said to be one of the most impressive hotels in Asia.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Oguzkent Hotel

Day 8: Tour Ashgabat's tombs and the Sanctuary of Parthian Kings

Today, we’ll tour more of Ashgabat, including the majestic Turkmenbashynyn Ruhy Metjidi, one of the biggest mausoleum complexes in Central Asia containing the tombs of Turkmenbashy (the former ruler of Turkmenistan) and his family. We’ll also visit The Sanctuary of Parthian Kings, and the new, strangely modern buildings, monuments and parks of Ashgabat. This exquisite city is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble than any other in the world! Tonight, we’ll dine at a local restaurant and return to our luxury hotel.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Oguzkent Hotel

Day 9: Arrive in the ancient city of Khiva

This morning, we’ll transfer to Ashgabat Airport for our flight to Dashoguz. Upon arrival, we’ll take a 1½-hour drive to Koneurgench, the ancient capital of Khorezmshahs from the 3rd to16th centuries. We’ll visit ancient mausoleums and one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia. After our visit, we’ll return to Dashoguz for lunch and then drive into Uzbekistan and onto Khiva, a very ancient city said to be founded by Shem, the son of the biblical Noah. There will be time to rest before dinner at our hotel, the largest in Khiva.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Khiva

Day 10: Tour Old Khiva and fly back to Tashkent

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll set off on a walking tour of old Khiva, visiting Kunya-Ark fortress, several mosques, madrassahs and minarets. The walled city of Khiva hosts more than 50 monuments alone, making it an archeological treasure. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own before we convene for dinner tonight at a local family’s house for traditional regional fare. After dinner, we’ll transfer to the Urgench Airport for our evening flight back to Tashkent. Upon arrival, we’ll head back to our hotel from the first night.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 11: Explore the wonders of Tashkent

After breakfast, we’ll set out to explore the bustling and cosmopolitan city of Tashkent, with its tree-lined boulevards, verdant parks and elaborate monuments. We’ll take in many of the city’s highlights, including the famous Khastimam Complex and its many architectural marvels, the world-renowned Uthman Qur’an Friday Mosque which houses one of the earliest copies of the Quran, and the Chorsu Bazaar, a tradional market of everyday goods set beneath a vibrant, blue dome. After lunch, we’ll visit the newer part of the city from Independence Square and Amir Temur Museum to Alisher Navoi Theater. This evening, we’ll conclude our adventure with a festive farewell dinner and cultural show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 12: Depart from Tashkent

After breakfast this morning, we’ll transfer to the airport, bid farewell to our traveling companions and depart for our flights home.

  • Breakfast

Sep 27, 2015 - Oct 08, 2015

May 01 - 12, 2016

Sep 22, 2016 - Oct 03, 2016

pricing

2015 Prices

$5,095 (9-15 members)

$5,595 (7-8 members)
$5,895 (5-6 members)

$500 internal air
$1000 single supplement

2016 Prices

$5,495 (9-15 members)

$5,995 (7-8 members)
$6,295 (5-6 members)

$500 internal air
$1000 single supplement

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Asia Bukhara — Bukhara


Asia Khiva — Khiva


Grand Samarkand — Samarkand


Margush or Yrsgal or Dayanch Hotel — Mary


Oguzkent Hotel — Ashgabat

Tashkent International — Tashkent


  • Travel through the heart of the great northern Silk Road trade route between the West and Asia—one of world's great cultural crossroads
  • Explore the 14th-century mosques, domed bazaars, and caravansaries of UNESCO-listed Bukhara, illustrating 1,000 years of history
  • Visit the marbled city of Ashgabat and wander its legendary Sunday bazaar, where you can purchase anything from carpets to camels!

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 rich cultural heritage. Traveling through the heart of the northern Silk Road route, you'll visit cities once ruled by some of the history's legendary conquerors, from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to Tamarlane. You'll explore some of region’s most stunning ancient and modern cities, including Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Turkmenabat, Merv, Ashgabat and Khiva. Alongside your expert guide, you’ll spend your days steeped in culture and history as you visit bustling bazaars; explore mosques, mausoleums and palaces; take in local folk performances; and sample traditional regional cuisine. Traveling the Silk Road is an adventure of a lifetime, exposing you to a part of the world where few Westerners venture to go, and MTS is the best company to lead the way.

Book now to join us on our September 2015 departures!

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Tashkent

Welcome to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan! Your MTS guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your comfortable hotel for a good night’s sleep. This evening, the group will convene for a brief orientation and a welcome dinner.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 2: Take a scenic drive to Samarkand

After breakfast, we’ll leave Tashkent and enjoy a scenic drive to the city and region of Samarkand, a historic and central part of the old Silk Road.  On the way, we’ll stop for a small picnic, where we can enjoy beautiful mountain views near the legendary gate of the 14th-century nomadic ruler, Tamerlane. We'll pause for a brief photo op near the second-largest river in Central Asia, Sir Darya, and then at a famous local market where the best melons in the region are sold. If melons are in season, we’ll seek them out! Tonight, we’ll enjoy a traditional dinner at a historic home protected by UNESCO, returning afterward to our well-appointed hotel, situated in the heart of business and shopping district of this legendary city.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Samarkand

Day 3: Sightsee in the legendary city of Samarkand

We’ll begin our tour of the legendary city of Samarkand with visits to Guri Emir, the legendary mausoleum where Amir Temur and his family were buried, and regal Registan Square, where we can marvel at the intricate designs and vibrant colors of the stunning blue-tiled mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools), which date back to the 13th and 15th centuries. We’ll also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-i-Zinda, site of Central Asia's most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of Bibi Khanum, and the adjacent colorful market, where the original “spice girls” sell saffron at unbelievably low prices. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread, which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to duplicate back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons. The afternoon is free to continue exploring on your own or relax back at the hotel before dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Samarkand

Day 4: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Shakhrisabz and Bukhara

After breakfast, we’ll take a one-hour drive to the 2000-year-old city of Shakhrisabz, Tamerlane’s birthplace and a city of fabulous ruins. We’ll visit Tamerlane’s palace Ak Sarai, the famous blue-domed Kok Gumbaz Mosque, athe Mausoleum of Jehangir (Tamerlane’s grandson), and Tamerlane’s Mausoleum. After lunch, we’ll relax and enjoy a scenic three-hour drive to Bukhara, the medieval capital of the once-powerful Emirate of Bukhara and, today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite urbanization in the center of the city, the architecture and urban planning of the city has remained largely intact from the Sheibanid era of Uzbek rule. As in Samarkand, the city’s markets offer plenty of opportunities to buy crafts, from musical instruments to saddlebags made of carpet and quilted materials. We’ll end the day at a four-star hotel, equipped with a pool and free wifi.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Bukhara

Day 5: Stroll the streets of Old Bukhara

This morning, we’ll set out on foot to explore the old quarter of Bukhara, with its bustling trading domes and active mosques, including Kalyan Minaret—the “tower of death,” which is one of Central Asia’s tallest. We'll stroll around the streets and visit the old town center, where locals chat for hours while drinking tea around a natural oasis spring. Bukhara, like Samarkand, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has resulted in the restoration of some of its mosques—originally constructed in the 11th to 15th centuries—making them appear as if they were built yesterday. We'll visit its massive fortress, the Ark, with the Emir's open-air throne room, and the mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th-century brick structure that is nicely preserved. Tonight, we’ll be treated to a cooking demonstration and a dinner of plov, a local lamb and rice pilaf dish, in the historic Nodir Devonbegi Madrassah, followed by a festive folklore and national dress show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Bukhara

Day 6: Cross into Turkmenistan and discover historical sites in Mary

We’ll have an early breakfast at the hotel and then drive for one hour to the Turkmenistan border. After passing through the necessary border formalities, we’ll continue on for another five hours to Mary—known as Merv in ancient times—a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert. On the way, we’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant in the ancient Silk Road crossroads of Turkmenabat, which once connected Bukhara with Khiva and Merv. For about 300 years, Merv was the largest city in Central Asia and the capital of the Khalifat for eight years. During the 12th century, it was said to be the biggest city in the world. We’ll take in Old Merv's historical sites before enjoying a hearty dinner and retiring to our four-star hotel in Mary.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Margush or Yrsgal or Dayanch Hotel

Day 7: Explore Ashgabat, the City of White Marble

This morning, we’ll transfer to the airport in Mary for our flight to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat is situated at the southern edge of the Karakum Desert, tucked against the austere hills less than 50 miles from the Iranian border. Its gleaming domes, monuments and minarets and lavish palaces make it feel like an enchanted city. Today, we’ll visit the ruins of Nissa, the former seat of the Parthian kings and an important Silk Road trading town, followed by a tour of the city. We’ll time our visit with the city’s famous Sunday bazaar, a truly medieval experience rivaling that of Kashgar in China. Everything from camels to auto parts is sold, and world-famous Bukhara rugs—both new and old—are for sale or trade as well. Although the old Ashgabat Bazaar was moved inside to a new complex in 2011, it still offers the same plethora of goods and is an experience not to be missed! After dinner, we’ll drive along the main avenues of Ashgabat, to take in its brightly lit buildings and monuments, making it one of the most spectacular cities in Central Asia. Tonight, we’ll retire to our five-star luxury hotel, said to be one of the most impressive hotels in Asia.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Oguzkent Hotel

Day 8: Tour Ashgabat's tombs and the Sanctuary of Parthian Kings

Today, we’ll tour more of Ashgabat, including the majestic Turkmenbashynyn Ruhy Metjidi, one of the biggest mausoleum complexes in Central Asia containing the tombs of Turkmenbashy (the former ruler of Turkmenistan) and his family. We’ll also visit The Sanctuary of Parthian Kings, and the new, strangely modern buildings, monuments and parks of Ashgabat. This exquisite city is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble than any other in the world! Tonight, we’ll dine at a local restaurant and return to our luxury hotel.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Oguzkent Hotel

Day 9: Arrive in the ancient city of Khiva

This morning, we’ll transfer to Ashgabat Airport for our flight to Dashoguz. Upon arrival, we’ll take a 1½-hour drive to Koneurgench, the ancient capital of Khorezmshahs from the 3rd to16th centuries. We’ll visit ancient mausoleums and one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia. After our visit, we’ll return to Dashoguz for lunch and then drive into Uzbekistan and onto Khiva, a very ancient city said to be founded by Shem, the son of the biblical Noah. There will be time to rest before dinner at our hotel, the largest in Khiva.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Asia Khiva

Day 10: Tour Old Khiva and fly back to Tashkent

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll set off on a walking tour of old Khiva, visiting Kunya-Ark fortress, several mosques, madrassahs and minarets. The walled city of Khiva hosts more than 50 monuments alone, making it an archeological treasure. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own before we convene for dinner tonight at a local family’s house for traditional regional fare. After dinner, we’ll transfer to the Urgench Airport for our evening flight back to Tashkent. Upon arrival, we’ll head back to our hotel from the first night.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 11: Explore the wonders of Tashkent

After breakfast, we’ll set out to explore the bustling and cosmopolitan city of Tashkent, with its tree-lined boulevards, verdant parks and elaborate monuments. We’ll take in many of the city’s highlights, including the famous Khastimam Complex and its many architectural marvels, the world-renowned Uthman Qur’an Friday Mosque which houses one of the earliest copies of the Quran, and the Chorsu Bazaar, a tradional market of everyday goods set beneath a vibrant, blue dome. After lunch, we’ll visit the newer part of the city from Independence Square and Amir Temur Museum to Alisher Navoi Theater. This evening, we’ll conclude our adventure with a festive farewell dinner and cultural show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Tashkent International

Day 12: Depart from Tashkent

After breakfast this morning, we’ll transfer to the airport, bid farewell to our traveling companions and depart for our flights home.

  • Breakfast

Asia Bukhara — Bukhara


Asia Khiva — Khiva


Grand Samarkand — Samarkand


Margush or Yrsgal or Dayanch Hotel — Mary


Oguzkent Hotel — Ashgabat

Tashkent International — Tashkent


Dates and Pricing

Sep 27, 2015 - Oct 08, 2015

May 01 - 12, 2016

Sep 22, 2016 - Oct 03, 2016

pricing

2015 Prices

$5,095 (9-15 members)

$5,595 (7-8 members)
$5,895 (5-6 members)

$500 internal air
$1000 single supplement

2016 Prices

$5,495 (9-15 members)

$5,995 (7-8 members)
$6,295 (5-6 members)

$500 internal air
$1000 single supplement

Select Trip Type Before Requesting Reservation

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