Samarkand and the Silk Road
Day 1: Rendezvous at Tashkent Airport in the morning. A single group transfer will take the group to a hotel where rooms are provided. After breakfast, there is time for sightseeing in the Uzbek capital, at the Tchorsu spice bazaar and the Koukeldash Madrasah. After lunch in the city, later in the afternoon we return to the airport and fly to Khiva near the border with Turkmenistan. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 2: We have a day for sightseeing, with a guided tour of the city. Khiva was a major Silk Road trading centre and the historic city is a masterpiece, with its palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasahs. Free time later in the afternoon to explore.
Day 3: We have an early morning departure to Bukhara on a road that runs alongside the Oxus River. Here, we are following in the traces of Alexander the Great through a striking desert landscape. Arriving in the late afternoon, we check in at a guesthouse.
Day 4: On this first of 2 days in this city known as the 'Pearl of the Desert', we have a sightseeing tour of the most important mosques, minarets and madrasahs, many of them ornately decorated. Overnight in the World Heritage Site of Bukhara.
Day 5: We have a second day in Bukhara, time for some independent exploration of the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia. Highlights include the famous tomb of Ismail Samani and the Poi Kalan architectural complex. The bazaars and hammomi (bath houses) are also great fun.
Day 6: Today, we drive back towards the east, to the old oasis of Nur, now known as Nurata. We visit the sacred Chasma Spring and an Alexandrian fort before continuing our drive to Yanghi-Gazgan and our overnight yurt accommodation.
Day 7: After breakfast, we have the chance to take a camel ride. We then drive north to Lake Aydardul, where we go for a hike, take a picnic lunch and maybe even have a swim. Overnight in a yurt at the village of Urazmat.
Day 8: To gain a better appreciation of this culturally rich region, we go for a hike into the Nurata Mountains, ascending to cross a 1500 metre pass and dropping down to the village of Andak. Late afternoon drive to the Uzbek village of Tepakoul and homestay.
Day 9: There are 2 options for today's walk - a morning's walk into the Zarafshan Mountain foothills, followed by lunch and a drive to Taragay, the birthplace of Tamerlane's father. Alternatively a longer hike (8 hours) crossing the Zarashan Mountains by way of the Ilonsay Pass (1842m) can be arranged. We spend the night with the local people in a homestay in the village of Taragay.
Day 10: Drive to Shakhrisabz (previously known as Kesh) and visit the ruins of Tamerlane's 'White Palace', as well as other mosques and mausoleums. Then, drive to another Zarafshan foothills village for a third night in a homestay, in Ayoqchi.
Day 11: Today we enjoy a walk to Alvastikul, a pool in the river at the head of the valley. Traversing the Zarafshan foothills we'll see shepherds tending their flocks. After lunch at the homestay, we will meet our transport for the drive to Samarkand and our guesthouse.
Day 12: Today we take an escorted tour of Samarkand including its most famous sights such as the tomb of Tamerlane and the Registan. In the afternoon we can visit the souks to haggle for bargains. Overnight at the guesthouse.
Day 13: The morning is free for relaxing or further independent sightseeing in the magnificent city of Samarkand. In the late afternoon we transfer to Tashkent. Overnight at the group hotel.
Day 14: We have an early morning transfer to the airport where KE Land Only package services end.
GPS Trip Data
You can view the detailed stats for this holiday via Garmin Connect. Tracked using a Garmin etrex20 you can see detailed mapping of the route, daily distances travelled, the total ascent and descent each day and maximum altitude. Just click on the link below to view the PDF document with all the Garmin connect links. In addition you can click on the images below to view Google Earth images of the full route, elevation profile and daily tracks.