Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road

“Experience a quartet of the most wonderful of the ancient cities of the Silk Road – plus one of Central Asia's most unusual natural wonders.”

Highlights

Samarkand | Bukhara | Shakhrisabz (birth place of Timur) | Ashgabat | Merv | Khiva | Darvaza gas crater | Konya Urgench | Crossing Oxus – Amudarya River | Bronze Age Margush | Tashkent

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11 Apr 2020
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Small group cultural tours

Typically you will be sharing your experiences with between 4-20 like minded travelers (depending on the trip, operator and how many others are booked on the trip) and you'll have a group leader with you. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends it's good value, and a great way to meet new people! While itineraries are pre-planned there is some flexibility and you'll have plenty of privacy. This trip will appeal to travelers of all ages who enjoy meeting new people as well as experiencing new cultures.

Responsible tourism

Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Community

In Central Asia we have developed unique relationships with many of the semi-nomadic peoples of the region and through our form of interactive, socially conscience tourism have helped them adapt to the modern, changing world by providing important income opportunities. With Sogan Bai, an eagle hunter from the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, or Noorgul, a shepherdess from the pristine Son Kul, or Nazira and her family at Tash Rabat, we have been responsible for introducing them to the homestay market, helping them to provide good, clean and interesting accommodation which in term allows them to educate their children, improve their standard of living and look after their ill.

The wonderful thing about this kind of interactive tourism is that everyone gains – the nomads financially and us with the wonderful welcome and experience they give us. On our horse treks, we work exclusively with the fine horse-man Anar Bek, who along with his family and members of the local community, ensure that the horses we trek with are well treated, well fed and well looked after. Wherever possible we stay in locally owned accommodation, eat in locally owned establishments and purchase supplies from the local nomads.

We also support several NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.

4 Reviews of Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 20 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It's hard to single out one activity.......Camping by the Darvasa gas crater, the off-road drive to the Gonur Depe archaeological site or the wacky city of Ashgabat would be my top 3.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


1. Don't forget your camera. 2. Be prepared for a fairly monotinous, high carb diet. 3. Leave plenty of room in your luggage for souvenirs.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not really, other than supporting the local economy. Other travelers in the group had booked direct with the vacation company so weren't aware of Responsible Travel at all.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good. The sites visited in both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were excellent. James, the tour leader worked hard with the local guides to ensure the whole trip was a memorable experience for everyone.

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The hospitable and very friendly people wherever we went - smiling faces all the way. Also the sheer vastness of Kyrgyzstan, which I loved - the dramatic mountain passes, the shepherds bringing their animals down from the high pastures. Uzbekistan brought me back to present day - and other tourists (!) - but Bukhara was the city which I loved most - it had an air of tranquillity about it.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open and flexible mind - and a pair of crocs when visiting drop toilets at night (a tip I read about before I went and which proved most useful). Then I left my crocs at Tash Rabat! Just go prepared to accept opportunities if the chance arises - we were able to go to the ballet in Tashkent and on our return to
the city at the end of the vacation we travelled on the Metro (built by the Russians and very beautiful) and then visited the State Circus. Only dogs and horses used, otherwise all human acts.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope that my vacation benefited local people by our inter-action with them, particularly in the bazaars and markets. Our support of local craft work and homestays/restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I have wanted to visit Central Asia for many years - and to sleep in a yurt! Neither disappointed and I had a wonderful vacation, and am left with memories of such very friendly people and fantastic scenery. Now to get to grips with over 1,000 photos!!!

Reviewed on 24 May 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


1. The mausoleums in Samarkand
2. Crossing the Oxus
3. Desert flowers I am still trying to identify!
4. The market in Samarkand
5. The museums in Nuccus
5. The museums in Mary and Ashgabat


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


1. Take as many $1 bills as possible as photo fees etc all require small denominations.
2. Try and miss the Sunday market in Ashgabat
3. Do not miss the museums in Mary and Ashgabat


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


In Uzbekistan, where tourism is an integral part of the economy, the only town where I felt we made a valuable impact was Nuccus which, despite its fascinating art museum, seemed to be in greater need of tourists than the more well known towns. Neither country encourages home stays, which I feel means money goes more directly to locals, but if this could be included, it would be great. Turkmenistan certainly needs tourists to encourage conservation- unlike Uzbekistan no local tourism seemed to be happening. I appreciated using restaurants/ eating houses slightly off the beaten track so that the tourism dollar was spread around as much as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. Our tour leader, Jude, was knowledgeable, unflappable and always encouraging and helpful. She really made the vacation.
The only slight downsides were the border crossings (of which the worst was the first one- 11 checks of passports, searing heat and insane distances between buildings etc), the Sunday market in Ashgabat which is disappointing and a waste of time, and our driver who took us to the gas crater and then North- not a word or a smile, no consideration for passengers and used his mobile while
driving! Murad was our best local guide and Izzat the least impressive. Finally, if at all possible, a direct flight to Tashkent at the end of the vacation would be preferable.

Reviewed on 03 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing the Darvaza gas crater at night.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open mind and remember you are traveling as part of a group. That means you must consider the other peole in the group. It is rude to always keep your fellow travelers waiting.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not particularly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A good trip to an interesting part of the world.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you Simon for your kind and very useful review of our trip.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities. Wherever possible we are happy for our clients to visit these projects to see for themselves where and how this money is being spent. This is a very exciting development for us and something we hope in time will become a major part of our organisation.

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