The Great Silk Road Adventure

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Experience the best of East and West on this extraordinary journey through Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Delight in the natural beauty of the northern Silk Road route's immense deserts and rich cultural heritage. Explore some of region's most stunning ancient and modern cities, from Tashkent and Samarkand to Bukhara and Khiva. Visit bustling bazaars; explore mosques, mausoleums, and palaces; take in local folk performances; and sample traditional regional cuisine. Let MT Sobek guide you on this adventure of a lifetime along the Silk Road — part of the world where few Westerners go!

Details

Duration: 12 Days
Starts in: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Ends in: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Group Size: 5-14

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.

Itinerary

Welcome to Uzbekistan

Welcome to Tashkent! Meet your MT Sobek guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. This evening, the group convenes for a brief orientation and a welcome dinner.

Scenic Drive to Samarkand

After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to Samarkand, a historic and central part of the old Silk Road. En route stop for a small picnic with beautiful mountain views near the legendary gate of the 14th-century nomadic ruler Tamerlane, for a brief photo op near the second-largest river in Central Asia, Sir Darya, and then at a famous local market where the region's best melons are sold. If melons are in season, you'll try some! Tonight have a traditional dinner at a historic UNESCO-protected home.

Explore the Legendary City of Samarkand

Begin today's tour of legendary Samarkand at Guri Emir, the mausoleum and burial place for Amir Temur and his family, and regal Registan Square, with its intricately designed and vibrantly colored blue-tiled mosques and madrassas (Muslim schools). 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. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or just relax before dinner.

Visit the UNESCO-Listed Sites of Shakhrisabz & Bukhara

Drive to the 2,000-year-old city of Shakhrisabz, Tamerlane's birthplace and a city of fabulous ruins. Visit Tamerlane's palace Ak Sarai, the famous blue-domed Kok Gumbaz Mosque, the Mausoleum of Jehangir (Tamerlane's grandson), and Tamerlane's Mausoleum. After lunch, continue to Bukhara, the medieval capital of the once-powerful Emirate of Bukhara and, today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the Sheibanid-era architecture and, as in Samarkand, the city's bustling markets offer plenty of opportunities to buy crafts, from musical instruments to saddlebags made of carpet and quilted materials. Tonight enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner of plov, a local lamb and rice pilaf dish, followed by a festive folklore and national dress show.

Stroll the Streets of Old Bukhara

Tour Old Bukhara, with its bustling trading domes and active mosques, including Kalyan Minaret, one of Central Asia's tallest towers. Stroll the old town center, where locals chat endlessly while drinking tea around a natural oasis spring. Bukhara's UNESCO recognition has resulted in restorations of some of its 11th- to 15th-century mosques. Visit Bukhara's massive fortress, the Ark, and Ismail Samani's beautiful 10th-century mausoleum. Tonight, enjoy a festive folklore and national dress show at the historic Nodir Devonbegi Madrassah.

Cross into Turkmenistan & Discover Historical Mary

After breakfast, drive to the Turkmenistan border and on to Mary — known as Merv in ancient times — a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert. En route, stop for lunch 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 Khalifat capital for eight years. During the 12th century, it was said to be the world's biggest city. Take in Old Merv's historical sites before enjoying a hearty dinner.

Explore the Historical Sites of Merv

This morning we explore more of ancient Merv, the oldest and best-preserved of the oasis-cities along the Silk Route in Central Asia, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We explore the history museum and other sites, before transferring to the airport for an evening flight to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Its gleaming domes, monuments, minarets, and lavish palaces make it feel like an enchanted city.

Tour Ashgabat’s Tombs & Sanctuary of Parthian Kings

Today browse the city's famous Sunday bazaar, a truly medieval experience! Everything from camels to auto parts to world-famous Bukhara rugs — both new and old — are sold. Later, we'll tour more of Ashgabat, including the majestic Turkmenbashy Ruhy Metjidi, one of the biggest mausoleum complexes in Central Asia, containing the tombs of Turkmenbashy (the former ruler of Turkmenistan) and his family. Visit the ruins of Nissa, the former seat of the Parthian kings and an important Silk Road trading town, then take a city tour. After dinner, drive Ashgabat's main avenues to take in its brightly lit buildings and monuments. This exquisite city is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble than any other in the world!

Arrive in the Ancient City of Khiva

This morning, transfer to Ashgabat Airport for a flight to Dashoguz. Upon arrival, take a 35-minute drive to one of the most impressive fortresses of the Middle Ages: the ruins of Yzmukshir Fortress, birthplace of famous scientist and philologist As Zamahshary. Return to Dashoguz for lunch and then drive into Uzbekistan and on to Khiva, a very ancient city said to be founded by Shem, the son of the biblical Noah. Visit a Khorezmian singer's house and enjoy traditional, ethnically Khorezmian music. There will be time to rest before dinner at the hotel, the largest in Khiva.

Tour Old Khiva & Fly back to Tashkent

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

Explore the Wonders of Tashkent

Enjoy breakfast, before exploring the bustling and cosmopolitan city of Tashkent, with its tree-lined boulevards, verdant parks, and elaborate monuments. Take in many of the city's highlights, including the Khast-Imam Complex and its architectural marvels; the world-renowned Uthman Qur'an Friday Mosque, which houses an early copy of the Quran; and the Chorsu Bazaar, a traditional market set beneath a vibrant, blue dome. After lunch, visit the newer part of the city: Independence Square, Amir Temur Museum, Alisher Navoi Theater. This evening, enjoy a festive farewell dinner and cultural show.

Depart from Tashkent

After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport, bid farewell to your travel companions, and depart on your homeward-bound flight.

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Starting From

$5,795/person

Add your business today to reach The Outbound's audience of adventurous travelers.