Ultimate Silk Road: Beijing to Ashgabat

10/04/2022 through 09/08/2023
10/04/2022 through 09/11/2023
Intrepid Travel

Ultimate Silk Road: Beijing to Ashgabat

Unlock the secrets of the Silk Road on this immersive journey across Central Asia. From Beijing all the way to Ashgabat, this epic 41-day trip heads west across China, showcasing stunning relics, dynastic palaces, Muslim minarets, hidden grottoes and rock-cut Buddhist masterpieces. Continuing into Kyrgyzstan and to the heartland of Uzbekistan, be dazzled by Central Asia proper: the tranquil landscape of Song-Kol Lake; wild boar and deer around Chychkan Gorge; Solomon’s Throne in historic Osh; and the superb mosques and museums of Samarkand. Finish up in the often forgotten Turkmenistan, watching eternal flames glazing over Darvaza crater, visit settlement of Yerbent in the desert and blow your imagination of Central Asia in the futuristic Ashgabat. Full of warmly hospitable locals, spectacular expanses and constant evocations of a legendary past, this is Silk Road and Central Asia at its magical best.

Activities

  • Xi’an – Muslim Quarter walking tour
  • Xi’an – Terracotta Warriors Tour (entrance fee, transport, local guide included)
  • Zhangye – Danxia Landform Geological Park
  • Jiayuguan – Hanging Great Wall
  • Jiayuguan – Fort
  • Dunhuang – Mogao Caves
  • Dunhuang – Crescent Moon Lake & Singing Sand Mountains
  • Turpan – Jiaohe Ancient City
  • Kashgar – Livestock Market & Grand Sunday Bazaar
  • Bishkek – City Tour
  • Shamsy Valley – Burana tower
  • Don Aryk – Local home visit & horsemanship demonstration
  • Kochkor – Market
  • Kochkor – Women’s Felt Co-op
  • Uzgen – Uzgen Minaret & Complex
  • Osh – Sulaiman-Too Mountain
  • Osh – National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex
  • Tashkent – Chorsu Bazaar
  • Tashkent – Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
  • Tashkent – History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
  • Samarkand – Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Samarkand – Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand – Shakh-I-Zinda
  • Samarkand – Registan
  • Samarkand – Paper making workshop & home cooked lunch
  • Bukhara – Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara – Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
  • Bukhara – Chor-Bakr Necropolis
  • Bukhara – Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara – Kalon Mosque
  • Vobkent – Minaret
  • Gijduvan – Ceramics workshop
  • Khiva – Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
  • Khiva – Kuhna Ark
  • Khiva – Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
  • Khiva – Juma Mosque
  • Khiva – Tosh-Hovli Palace
  • Darvaza – “Door to Hell” Crater
  • Konye-Urgench – City tour
  • Yerbent – Village visit
  • Ashgabat – National Museum of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat – Nisa ruins
  • Ashgabat – Anau ruins
  • Ashgabat – Independence Monument
  • Ashgabat – Neutrality Arch
  • Ashgabat – Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque & Family Mausoleum of the First President of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat – Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
  • Merv – Big & Small Kizkala
  • Merv – Erk Kala & Gayur Kala
  • Merv – Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

Highlights

  • Follow the route of the ancient Silk Road, travelling in the footsteps of countless generations of nomads and traders
  • Discover the unreal, rainbow-coloured landscape of Zhangye, a UNESCO site that looks like countless pots of bright paint have been spilled across sandstone mountains. You won’t be able to put your camera away!
  • Uncover the ‘other terracotta warriors’ in Xi’an’s Hanyangling Mausoleum, an authentic and more personal burial site that’s home to tens of thousands of buried pottery figures
  • Experience the unique atmosphere of Kashgar’s Sunday Market
  • Central Asia is a fascinating and unique mix of ancient Silk Road culture, Soviet influence and striving to redefine nations post independence. Geographically and for a time historically, it is the real centre of Asia.
  • The much-photographed Registan in Samarkand is one of the true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. You’ll be wowed by the scale, grandeur and beauty of the monuments to iconic figures such as Tamerlane and the Persian influenced madressas, mosques and mausoleums.
  • Experience for yourself the legend that is Central Asian hospitality – there’s really nothing like being welcomed into a local home or yurt for a meal, chatting with stall holders at bazaars or simply marvelling at the sights alongside locals.
  • Kyrgyzstans mountains are its monuments and its majesty. The landscapes here will stay with you long after the journey is over.
  • Marvel at the beautiful Song Kol Lake, where in mid-summer you may see flocks of sheep, goats and herds of horses watched over by nomadic herdsmen and their families.
  • Stay overnight in a yurt lakeside and live like the locals have for centuries in these portable, felt lined traditional tents.
  • Reflect on the important role horses have played in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic life style while witnessing horseback sports like odarysh (wrestling on horseback), tiyin-enish (where riders try to pick up coins at full gallop) or kok-baru (goat polo).

Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing
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Day 2 Xi'an
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Day 3 Xi'an
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Day 4 Xi'an - Overnight Train
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Day 5 Zhangye
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Day 6 Zhangye - Danxia Geological Park
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Day 7 Jiayuguan
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Day 8 Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
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Day 9 Dunhuang
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Day 10 Turpan
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Day 11 Turpan
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Day 12 Overnight Train
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Day 13 Kashgar
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Day 14 Kashgar
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Day 15 Kashgar
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Day 16 Bishkek
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Day 17 Bishkek
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Day 18 Don Aryk - Issyk Kul - Kochkor
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Day 19 Son-Köl
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Day 20 Kyzyl-Oi
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Day 21 Suusamyr Valley - Chychkan - Kok-Bel
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Day 22 Osh
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Day 23 Osh
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Day 24 KGZ/UZB border crossing - Andijan - Tashkent
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Day 25 Tashkent
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Day 26 Samarkand
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Day 27 Samarkand
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Day 28 Samarkand - Shahrisabz - Bukhara
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Day 29 Bukhara
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Day 30 Gijduvan - Bukhara
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Day 31 Tashkent
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Day 32 Tashkent
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Day 33 Khiva
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Day 34 Khiva
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Day 35 Konye-Urgench - Darvaza
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Day 36 Yerbent - Ashgabat
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Day 37 Ashgabat
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Day 38 Mary
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Day 39 Merv - Mary
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Day 40 Ashgabat
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Day 41 Ashgabat
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