Tailor-made Tour 23 days from £6595 per person
Places Visited: Beijing, Xiahe, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar, Torugart, Issyk Kul, Bishkek, Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent
Follow in Marco Polo’s footsteps on a journey from the imperial heartland of China’s eastern seaboard to the dry, dusty capitals of Central Asia – Kashgar, Bukhara and Samarkhand – whose names are synonymous with the ancient caravan trade across the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts, and with the near-mythical figures of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Timur the Lame. This vast and remote region offers a unique holiday experience for the adventurous traveller.
Featuring desolate places, lost cities, ancient trading outposts and vibrant markets, this adventurous tour takes you on a grand exploration of the fabled Silk Road.
Fly to Beijing.
Arrive Beijing in the morning. Stay at the Kapok hotel for the night. Day is at leisure to rest after your long flight.
Fly to Lanzhou today and drive to Xiahe. Stay at the Labrang Hotel for two nights.
Enjoy a tour of Labrang Monastery and visit the stunning grasslands of Ganjia.
Drive back to Lanzhou, visit the Gansu History Museum and board an overnight soft sleeper train to Dunhuang.
Arrive in Dunhuang in the morning and transfer to the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel for the night. Take a trip to the extraordinary Mogao Caves to see some of the world's finest examples of Buddhist art. After lunch visit the nearby Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Moon Oasis. Board the overnight soft sleeper train to Turpan.
Arrive in Turpan and transfer to the Turpan Silk Road Hotel for two nights. Visit the remarkable Karez system, Emin Minaret and Mosque, and a local market in town. Enjoy a traditional Uyghur musical performance.
Visit the impressive ruins at Gaochang. Later visit the Beziklik Caves on the flanks of the Flaming Mountains.
Drive to Urumqi and stay at the Urumqi Sheraton for two nights. Later visit Red Hill Park for some great views of the city.
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Heavenly Lake scenic area outside Urumqi.
Take the first available flight to Kashgar. Transfer to the Barony Hotel for three nights and enjoy some free time.
Visit the peaceful Id Kah Mosque and the lavishly decorated Abakh Khoja tomb.
Stroll through the old city and have lunch with a local family. (Visit the Sunday Market if your stay coincides with this weekly spectacle.)
In the morning complete border formalities, then cross the Torugart pass into Kyrgyzstan. Arrive at the ancient Tash Rabat caravanserai and spend the night in a basic traditional yurt. Have dinner with a local family (optional stay in a guesthouse at nearby Naryn, if preferred).
Spend the morning around the caravanserai. In the afternoon drive to Issyk Kul and stay at a lakeside hotel for two nights.
Explore the beautiful lake area. A visit to the nearby town of Cholpon-Ata can be arranged where you can observe local life and see some ancient petroglyphs.
Drive through the spectacular countryside to Bishkek and stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for one night.
In the morning fly to Tashkent and complete border formalities. Afterwards drive to Samarkand and check in to the President Hotel for two nights.
Enjoy a visit to the Registan, one of the most impressive madrassah complexes in the world. Later visit the Gur Emir Mausoleum and the stunning Albukhary complex.
Enjoy leisure time in Samarkand before driving to Bukhara. Check in to the Bukhara Palace Hotel for two nights.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Bukhara's many madrassas, its minaret and trading domes. Afterwards explore the quiet backstreets or the interesting markets on your own. Perhaps try a traditional hammam to unwind in the evening.
Enjoy a day at leisure. In the evening fly to Tashkent and stay the night at the Grand Orzu Hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK, arriving the same day.
Tailor-made Tour 23 days from £6595 per person
✓ International flights from the UK in economy
✓ 21 nights accommodation
✓ Domestic flights in economy
✓ All road travel and transfers by private chauffeur-driven vehicles
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Breakfast daily in China, half board in Uzbekistan and full board in Kyrgyzstan
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
Places and Experiences in this tour
With its horizons of tower cranes and smog-shrouded skyscrapers, Beijing is a city which has totally reinvented itself in less than a generation, and not without growing pains. At...
The lush mountains southwest of Bingling mark the outer limits of Tibetan influence – a fact dramatically underlined by the presence among them of Labrang Monastery, the largest a...
This atmospheric Uyghur oasis town on the northern Silk Road owes its existence to a 3000-mile network of irrigation tunnels and wells, known as Karez, that collect and channel me...
Urumqi & Heaven Lake
A major stop on the old Silk Road, Urumqi is today the capital of Xinjiang’s ‘Uyghur Autonomous Region’ (UAR), with a population of over 3 million. It’s a sprawling modern city, o...
Having squeezed around the edges of the Taklamakan Desert, the northern and southern Silk Roads converged on Kashgar, Xinjiang’s westernmost city. Crowds of farmers and nomads sti...
In the annals of Central Asian travel, the bleak, windswept, snow-prone Torugart Pass looms large. Forming one of only two crossing points in the Tianshan range between Kyrgyzstan...
Dominating the east of Kyrgyzstan is chimeric Issyk Kul Lake. Around 113 miles (182km) in length, it’s the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca, and one of Cen...
A city of wide, tree-lined boulevards and marble-fronted municipal buildings, Bishkek retains the feel of a Soviet-block capital circa 1990, though it makes an engaging place to f...
The chimeric monuments of Bukhara were mostly erected by the descendant of Timur, and by the Uzbek Shaybanid dynasty who succeeded them in the 16th century. In recent years, a hug...
Crescent Lake & the Singing Dunes
Some of the highest dunes in western China – in fact the entire world – lie a short ride south of Dunhuang. Nestled at their foot is a small, half-moon-shaped lake, next to which ...
Mogao Caves (Dunhuang)
Honeycombing desert cliffs above the Dachuan River, the ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddhas’ at Mogao, Dunes near the town of Dunhuang, are the greatest surviving monuments of the Silk R...
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