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Holidays

Samarkand and the Silk Road

Uzbekistan
3 reviews
Available Departures: Apr, May, Sep, Oct

13 days from

US$2,520

without flights
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
LEISURELY LEISURELY

Gentle mountain walks and cultural discovery in Uzbekistan, including visits to Central Asia's most colourful Silk Road cities

Trip Code: SST
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Samarkand and the Silk Road

Highlights
  • Meet Uzbek shepherd's on day walks in the Nurata and Zarafshan mountains
  • Discover the mosaic clad and turquoise tiled mosques of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva
  • Sleep in a yurt and enjoy a warm welcome at our Uzbek mountain village homestay
  • Stay in a wonderfully located guesthouse close to Samarkand's Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Enjoy sampling Uzbek cuisine, with all meals included

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 4 days walking
  • Max altitude - 2000 metres
  • Join In Tashkent / End in Samarkand

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 4 nights Guesthouse
  • 5 nights Hotel
  • 1 nights Yurt
  • 2 nights Homestay
Overview

Sitting at the heart of Central Asia, the republic of Uzbekistan has a richness of history matched by few places on earth. A succession of conquering forces, from Alexander the Great to Ghengis Khan and his descendants, have left their unique mark on the region's culture and architecture. We start out exploring Khiva, before following the Oxus River to the magical Silk Road oasis of Bukhara, which flourished in the 9th and 10th centuries. We'll also travel to Samarkand, one of the undoubted wonders of the world, with its mosaic-clad and turquoise-tiled monuments. Here we'll stay in a well located guesthouse, close to the Bibi-khanym Mosque,  one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world and commissioned by Tamerlane himself. As well as visiting Uzbekistan's most famous cities, to allow us a better understanding of Uzbekistan and it's people, we will also enjoy some easy paced mountain walks in the high valleys of Zarafshan and Nurafan mountains, where we have the opportunity to meet the Uzbek shepherds and farmers who make their livelihood in this rarely-visited part of the greater Pamir range. During this part of the holiday we stay as welcomed guests at village homestays and experience nomadic shepherd life sleeping in a traditional yurt. With a unique blend of sightseeing and straightforward mountain walks, this is a superb adventure holiday situated at the crossroads of Asia.

Is this holiday for you?

This holiday is a mix between sightseeing, cultural discover and easy-paced mountain walks, which will allow us to gain a fuller understanding of this fascinating part of the world.  Three of our walking days are relatively short (days 7, 8 and 10).  There are 2 options for the walk on day 9 - either a short walk around the foothills of the Zarafshan foothills near Tepakoul or a longer w …

This holiday is a mix between sightseeing, cultural discover and easy-paced mountain walks, which will allow us to gain a fuller understanding of this fascinating part of the world.  Three of our walking days are relatively short (days 7, 8 and 10).  There are 2 options for the walk on day 9 - either a short walk around the foothills of the Zarafshan foothills near Tepakoul or a longer walk traversing the range  of around 8 - 9 hours. This extended day-hike is entirely optional. All of our walking is on good trails and walking times will vary between 4 - 6 hours. Please note that the sightseeing tours in Khiva and Bukhara will be primarily on foot which alllows for a more personal experience of life in these ancient cities. There will also be some reasonably long drives on roads of variable condition.  There are 2 nights where we will use basic but charming village  homestay accommodation, which will be a real highlight of the holiday, and 1 night in a traditional yurt.

Why KE?

Discover the fabled cities of the Silk Road and the welcoming villages of the Nurata and Zarafshan mountains with KE's unique mix of sightseeing and easy-paced walking in Uzbekistan.

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Itinerary

KE Land Only package services begin with an early morning airport transfer to the hotel. Rooms are provided for a brief rest and the opportunity to wash and change. The group will meet over breakfast. Afterwards, there is time for sightseeing with our tour leader in the Uzbek capital, including the Tchorsu Bazaar and the Koukeldash Madrasah. Later in the afternoon we return to the airport and fly to Urgench, from where we take a short transfer to our hotel accommodation in the town of Khiva, close to the border with Turkmenistan.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Khiva is an ancient settlement, with a long and turbulent history. There may have been a city on this spot for more than 1500 years. More recently, Khiva was the capital of an important Khanate in the 17th century and was a major Silk Road trading centre. The Ichan Kala (historic centre) has more than 50 important monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasahs (schools of Koranic learning). On our sightseeing tour we will visit Tosh-Houli Palace and Juma (Friday) Mosque. Later in the day there will be some free time for independent exploration. The ancient city looks particularly magical in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set. This is best viewed from the minaret of the Juma Mosque. We spend a second night at the hotel in Khiva.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Today, we make a reasonably early departure for the drive back east. After the first hour, our road runs alongside the Oxus River, locally known as the Amu Darya. Here we are following in the traces of Alexander the Great, whose army passed this way in 329BC. Turning away from the river, we cut through the striking landscape of the Kizilkum Desert, stopping off for lunch at a roadside restaurant and reaching our guesthouse in Bukhara in the late afternoon. Journey-time will be around 6 - 7 hours.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Bukhara is another important Silk Road city. It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with a structure that has remained largely intact. Bukhara was one of the largest cities of Central Asia, owing its prosperity due to its location on a rich oasis at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. It became a major cultural centre of the Caliphate of Baghdad in 709, and in 892 the capital of the independent Samanid Kingdom. It was destroyed in 1220 by the Mongol horde of Genghis Khan. Every stage of the city's history can be glimpsed today. The earliest monuments include the 10th century Ismail Samani Tomb, the decorated brick minaret of Poi-Kalyan from the 11th century, along with the Magok-i-Attari Mosque and the Chasma Ayub Shrine. The Timurid period is represented only by the Ulugbek Madrasah. The most celebrated buildings date from the Shebibanid period - the Poi-Kalyan group, the Lyabi-Khauz ensemble, the Kosh Madrasah, and the Gaukushon Madrasah. The historic part of the city is, in effect, an open-air museum and we will have a full guided tour today, the first of our 2 days in this city known as the 'Pearl of the Desert'. Of particular interest is the Ark Fortress, former home of the Bukhara Khans, where, in the 19th century the Emir of Bukhara had the English officers Stoddart and Connolly imprisoned and killed. Much of the "The Great Game", the battle between Imperial Britain and Tsarist Russia for control of the Central Asian states was played out in this part of the world. During the course of the day we will also visit the Tim Abdullah Khan (covered market), where we find beautiful hand woven silk Ikat, the ancient Zoroastrian temple, the Kukeldash Madrasa, the Nodir-Devon Begui and we will also take a walk in an old Jewish quarter and visit the synagogue. After a full day of sightseeing we return to our guesthouse for a second night.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

After yesterday's guided sightseeing, we will have the opportunity today to do some exploring on our own. As well as its famous monuments, Bukhara has excellent bazaars and tranquil squares, such as Lyabi-Hauz, shaded by mulberry trees and a great place to take it easy. Watch the world go by as you sip a cup of green tea in one of the Chaikhanas (tea shops) or visit one of the city's hammomi (baths) for a hammam steam bath and massage. The hammomi in Bukhara are housed in ancient buildings and are amongst the most atmospheric in the country. Bukhara is an excellent place to shop for souvenirs, with a wide range of goods available from street vendors and the shops in the ancient bazaars. Overnight at our Bukhara guesthouse.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

It's back into our bus today, for the drive north and east towards the lake of Aydarkul. Our first stop is at the ancient oasis of Nur, now known as Nurata, where the sacred 'Chasma' spring rises close to 2 mosques and flows through the town in a narrow canal. The spring waters are teeming with fish, which are considered sacred and grow to a good size. There is also the ruin of an Alexandrian fort on a low hill above the mosques and visiting it will both stretch our legs and give us great views over the town. Our overnight stop tonight is in a yurt camp at Yanghi-Gazgan, a short drive from Nurata.

Accommodation

Yurt

Meals

B L D

This morning we will drive north for an hour or so to Lake Aydar. Amazingly, this 200 kilometre-long lake is a recent development, having arisen as an accidental bi-product of the damming of the Syr Darya River in the late 1960's. This flooded former salt flat now appears to be a permanent feature of the landscape and has been stocked with fish, which thrive in the slightly salty water. We will have a picnic lunch at the lake, meet the local fishermen and maybe even have a swim. Returning to our transport, we drive to the village of Ukhum in the Nurata Mountains. Here we will check in at our comfortable homestay accommodation and take an out-and-back walk to the nearby village of Hayat where we can visit the breeding enclosures of the highly endangered Severtzov's wild sheep. Overnight at Ukhum.

Accommodation

Homestay

Meals

B L D

Ascent

100 M

Descent

100 M

Time

2 - 3 hrs walking

Distance

6 KM

To gain a better appreciation of this culturally rich region, we go for a walk in the Nurata Mountains which form a 200 kilometre-long chain, rising to just over 2000 metres, on the south side of Lake Aydar. Our walk takes us through a picturesque valley and nature reserve which is home to shepherding communities. Arriving at a 1500 metre pass, we have tremendous views of the highest peaks of the range, including Hayotboshi (2169m). Returning to Ukhum, we make the 3-hour drive south via Samarkand to the Uzbek village of Tersak in the Zarafshan Mountains, where we ovenight in a local Uzbek homestay.

Accommodation

Homestay

Meals

B L D

Ascent

450 M

Descent

450 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs walking

Distance

12 KM

This morning we enjoy a walk into the Zarafshan Mountains, the western extension of the Pamir-Alay Range that reaches greater prominence in neighbouring Tajikistan. After breakfast we slowly climb up a valley that leads us to a set of interesting rock formations where we see 'statues' of gorillas, snakes and other animals carved by nature into the mountainside. From 'Kichik Kurgan Tov' (Small Mountain Fortress) we continue on to a ridge to reach the high point of the valley 'Katta Kurgane Tov' (Big Mountain Fortress) at 1780 metres for impressive views over the valley. We descend to the village and after lunch, we drive to the Omonqutan Valley where we overnight at a comfortable mountain resort with a swimming pool.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

600 M

Descent

600 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs walking

Distance

13 KM

This morning's hike gives us a final chance to discover everyday life of the Uzbeks. We start walking through a flat area dominated by large rock features, the path zig zags between these beautiful formations before reaching the Langar Pass (1850m) and the high summer pastures favoured by the local shepherds with their herds of goats and sheep. After lunch back at the village, we drive to the ancient city of Shakhrisabz, formerly known as Kesh. This is a pleasant place, set within a green landscape of orchards and vineyards and was the summer home of Tamerlane. It has a number of important architectural landmarks linked to Tamerlane, including the ruins of the incredible Ak-Saray Palace, the Jahangir Mausoleum, which dates from the late 14th century and is the resting place of Tamerlane's eldest son. We'll also be able to visit the impressive Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, built by Ulugbek, Tamerlane's son and successor and the mausoleum of Sheikh Shamseddin Kulyal, spiritual guide to Tamerlane and his father. Shakhrisabz is a traditional centre of handicrafts, especially embroidery, and is a good place for souvenir hunting. After our visit, we make the drive to the Silk Road City of Samarkand, where we will overnight in a hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

450 M

Descent

450 M

Time

4 - 5 hours walking

Distance

10 KM

Capital of the ancient Timur / Tamerlan Empire, this ancient city is located at the crossroads of the main trade routes from China, Siberia, Perisa and the West, making it an important stopping point along the Silk Road. Today we embark on a full day guided city tour. Our tour will include the Registan, one of the most magnificent squares in the Islamic World.The 3 Madrassahs (Islamic Colleges); Uleg Beg, Tillya-Kari and Shir Dor, that border the square have been restored to their former glory. We also visit Gur Emir, where the tomb of Tamerlane lies beneath an enormous slab of dark green jade. The interior of the mausoleum is ornately decorate with blue and gold panels. Other highlights will be a visit to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built for Tamerlane by his favourite wife, and the atmospheric Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

This morning we will continue our tour of this ancient Silk Road City. We visit the astronomer King Ulugbek's observatory before visiting the Silk Papar Centre of 'Meros' to see the traditional process of paper making. We also visit the colourful farmer's market of Siab Bazaar.

The afternoon is free for you to explore at leisure, return to your favourite sites and choose from Samarkand's impressive range of souvenirs. Before meeting the group for a final dinner this evening.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

We make an early morning transfer to Samarkand Airport, where your holiday ends.

Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Direction Direction
Transfer
Trek
Internal Flight

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • Single timed airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Domestic flights listed in the trip itinerary
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All activities/excursions/entrance fees mentioned except where specified as ‘optional’

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Tips
  • Fees for using a camera at some of the monuments
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure - drinks and souvenirs etc...

The group will meet for breakfast at the hotel in Tashkent at 0900 on Day 1.

A single group transfer from Tashkent Airport to the group hotel will be provided. This transfer will meet the arrival of the Turkish Airlines flight from the UK and will be in the early hours of Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary.

At the end of the holiday, there will be a single group transfer from the group hotel to Samarkand Airport timed to meet the check in for the Turkish Airlines flight back to the UK. This transfer will be in the early morning of Day 13 of the Land Only itinerary.

Anyone may join these transfers by prior arrangement.

If your flight schedules do not fit with these single timed airport transfers we can provide private transfers at an additional cost.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided in your booking confirmation.

All meals are included in the holiday price.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Meals are either taken at our overnight accommodation or in local restaurants. Breakfasts consist of yoghurt or eggs, fruit juices, bread, tea and coffee. Lunch will be mostly taken in in restaurants, although packed lunches will be provided on some occasions. Dinner is a three-course meal and will usually include a selection of salads and bread, sometimes soup, a main course that could be a "pot au feu" style stew or the local plov (rice pilau) speciality followed by cake or fresh fruit for dessert. All meals in Uzbekistan are served with copious amounts of delicious green tea. Please note that vegetarianism is not a concept widely understood in Central Asia and choices for vegetarians will be much more limited. You may also wish to bring along some snacks from home. If you are vegetarian please remember to inform us of your dietary requirements before you travel. 

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

When in Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand we will stay in hotel/guesthouse accommodation. We will also enjoy 1 night at a traditional yurt camp and 2 nights in Uzbek homestays with good facilities in different villages in the Nurata and Zarafshan mountains. There will also be a night at a comfortable mountain resort with swimming pool in the Omonqutan Valley.

Sleeping arrangements in the yurts and at the homestays are communal, with 3 to 6 people sharing a room, with basic shared toilet and shower facilities. Mattresses and bedding are provided, but we recommend you bring a light sleeping bag to supplement the bedding. The modest facilities are more than made up for by the warmth of the welcome from our hosts.

In the hotels and guesthouses accommodation will be twin share. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Single rooms at these places can be pre-booked at supplementary cost. If you are planning to extend your holiday, additional nights at the group accommodation in Khiva and/or Samarkand can also be pre-booked.

The group will be led by a professional and qualified tour leader.

Approximately $200 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. This will allow you to pay tips of approximately $50 to the local staff. We recommend that you take your travel money in the form of US dollars cash. Money can be changed at a reasonable rate at the airport or at the hotel in Tashkent. Please note that whilst better rates of exchange can be obtained on the black market in the bazaars, unofficial exchange is illegal and can result in imprisonment. For this reason we advise you change money only at accredited bureaux. Credit cards are of limited use in Tashkent and Samarkand. On arrival in Uzbekistan Airport you will need to complete 2 copies of the Customs Declaration Form (ask for copies of the form in English if none are available). The forms asks for a declaration of the amount of currency you are bringing in to the country - please be careful to state correctly exactly how much money you have with you in different currencies. One form will be retained by Uzbek Customs, you will retain the other copy until departure. On departure you will need to complete another form showing how much currency you are taking out of the country. Once again, please be careful to state the exact amounts and note that it is illegal to take more money out of the country than the sum you arrived with.

In Central Asia, it is usual to tip the members of your trek crew, including your local guide, if you are happy with the services provided. As mentioned above, we estimate that $50 will cover this aspect of your trip expenditure. The guide will help the group to determine an appropriate level of tipping for drivers and other local staff.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a UK passport you can enter Uzbekistan as a visitor for stays of up to 30 days without a visa. For stays longer than 30 days you can apply for an e-visa via the Uzbekistan e-visa Portal

Other nationalities, should check entry requirements with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in their own country.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

Getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.

In Tashkent and Samarkand, the daytime temperature in April and May will be around 20 to 30 degrees centigrade. In the mountains it will be cooler, 15 degrees during the day and 10 degrees at night. In September and October, daytime temperatures range from 20 to 35 degrees centigrade in the cities. The temperature can drop to single figures overnight at the desert camp at Yanghi-Gazgan and it can feel chilly in the evenings whilst staying at the mountain villages so you are advised to take a warm fleece jacket. The weather is usually good throughout the summer, with clear skies and little rain or snow.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • The Golden Road to Samarkand, Odyssey Guides. Mcleod and Mayhew. (By far the best guidebook on Uzbekistan)

  • Central Asia. Lonely Planet

  • The Great Game. Peter Hopkirk

  • The Lost Heart of Asia. Colin Thubron

  • Shadow of the Silk Road. Colin Thubron

  • Eastern Approaches. Fitzroy McLean

  • A Carpet Ride to Khiva. Christopher Aslan Alexander

  • Setting the East Ablaze. Peter Hopkirk

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

Please try to keep the weight of your baggage to a minimum. See the ‘baggage allowance’ section for further details.

You SHOULD bring the following items:

  • Walking shoes

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated +5°C) for the 'homestay' nights
  • Socks

  • Underwear

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers

  • Baselayer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)

  • T-shirts

  • Casual shirt

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Sunhat

  • Sunglasses

  • Small padlock (to lock your luggage)

  • Daypack 20 - 25 litres

  • Headtorch with spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets
  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers or sandals

  • Spare laces

  • Trekking poles

  • Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Camera

  • Travel clothes

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

5 out of 5 from 3 reviews

A Silky Mix ★★★★★

I’ve been fascinated by the Silk Road ever since a trip on the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan back in 2001. This trip promised to be an opportunity to look at some of the more iconic bits, while still not going totally ‘tourist’ – and getting in some walking too. I won’t say much about the delights of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, except that although I’d read about them and seen the pictures, visiting them in the flesh was something else (though I can probably manage without seeing a nother madrassah…..)! Being of advancing years, I like to know in advance what the walking is going to be like – and can report that it was excellent. Consistent with the grading, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Rarely steep, the only people we met were locals who were usually happy to stop and try out their English. We were there in the dry season, so everything was a bit parched and sometimes the stock tracks we followed were a bit loose and ‘slidey’. Boots were definitely better than shoes, which needed frequent emptying. Trekking poles were useful too. Accommodation was excellent, from hotels to the lovely yurt camp in the desert and then the sometimes quirky homestays (don’t expect too much in the way of toilet and washing facilities, though we always managed a shower, but more than made up for by the warmth of the welcome!) Food was everywhere plentiful and excellent (and plov is fantastic!) and the local wine and beer were good. We did, however, have to resort to bottled water at times, although 'Water to Go' was very useful. Uzbekistan is a strange country. I hadn’t expected the miles and miles of flat thorny desert. The original Silk Road travellers must have found this challenging. The blocky Soviet buildings are another reminder of the past, but the people were generally bright and welcoming, and although this is a Muslim country, it appeared to be ‘relaxed Muslim’ and I never felt that being a woman was noteworthy. Other tips? October was hot, but the hills were a pleasant walking temperature. Note that on our trip we weren’t offered the opportunity to split up for a long or a short walk on day 9 – the whole group (10 of us) had to opt to do either one or the other, which isn't clear from the trip notes. Needless to say we did the shorter walk, which everyone enjoyed. Money goes quite a long way, but can be a hassle to change, and most of the souvenir sellers (of which there are many!) were quite happy with dollars or euros (1 dollar = 1 euro = 10,000 som). Despite the KE advice, we didn’t have to declare the amounts we brought in. Another excellent KE trip – made more enjoyable by excellent companions and attentive crew.
By Catriona from Kingussie | 04 December 2019

Great trip, spectacular sights! ★★★★★

Just back from this trip and can't stop looking at my pictures because the sights were downright surreal. The hiking portion of the trip was beautiful and gave you a good dose of rural, traditional culture. I won't pretend I liked the drop toilets and lack of showers at the four home stays, but there was truth in the advertising and the experience met my expectations. That said, the hosts were warm and welcoming and we were well fed. Responsibilities on the trip were divided among two female gui des, one who specialized in the urban historic sites and another on logistical support, including mountain guides. Great concern was shown for our welfare. Overall, great trip!
By Richard from FOREST HILLS | 05 May 2019

Good mix of sight-seeing and walking ★★★★★

If you're reading this, then you're already thinking about this trip, so I won't discuss the wonders of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand - you will already know about these! This is a two-week trip, well-planned so that the sight-seeing of the ornate and imposing madrassas and mosques (etc) is broken up with a few days of walking with country-side/desert stays in yurts and homestays rather than city hotels, thus creating variation in the schedule. You will not need much money, unless you want to buy many souvenirs. All food is included and there is plenty of it. You would only need some money for soft drinks and beer/wine/vodka - these are not expensive. Regarding the money changing, the tour guide will help you with finding Uzbek Som - there is now a 5,000 som note so large wads of 100 som notes will not be required! Consider asking KE to look at and quote for flights with Turkish Airlines on and around your preferred dates of travel. The timings are usually better and TA is quite a good airline. People are friendly and interested in foreigners, especially in the cities where you will be called upon for English practice. English is now being taught in schools. Russian is useful with the older generation. French is also spoken in many tourist areas as many French tourists visit the country. Most of the hotels are of a good standard, especially in Samarkand - the best breakfast and a shaded roof terrace. The homestays and yurts are basic, but all have toilet and shower facilities, usually located away from the main buildings - bring a torch for the after dark trips. Water is heated up by wood especially for the showers at the time you arrive, and would not usually be available 24/7. There is no gas or oil supply to the country side and electricity can be variable. People live quite different lives in the cities and the country-side; the cities are modern with wide roads and an abundance of parks with fountains. A lot of building is going on, mostly housing and especially in Shakhrisabz/Kesh. Some of the Soviet housing is being knocked down and some is being restored. Some new government housing is being built in the country villlages, with modern conveniences. Lunches are mostly provided at private houses which double up as small restaurants, the food was invariably good and plentiful. You would not find these houses on your own, they are unmarked and on quiet backstreets. It was very hot and quite dusty at times in October. It would be lovely to visit in the spring, when the wild flowers are out. It can be quite cold in the hills so make sure you have warm clothes too. You will be well looked after by the tour guide; also the staff in the hotels speak good English and were always helpful.
By Anita from CAMBRIDGE | 10 October 2016

Traveller Reviews
5 out of 5 from 3 reviews

A Silky Mix
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I’ve been fascinated by the Silk Road ever since a trip on the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan back in 2001. This trip promised to be an opportunity to look at some of the more iconic bits, while still not going totally ‘tourist’ – and getting in some walking too. I won’t say much about the delights of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, except that although I’d read about them and seen the pictures, visiting them in the flesh was something else (though I can probably manage without seeing a nother madrassah…..)! Being of advancing years, I like to know in advance what the walking is going to be like – and can report that it was excellent. Consistent with the grading, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Rarely steep, the only people we met were locals who were usually happy to stop and try out their English. We were there in the dry season, so everything was a bit parched and sometimes the stock tracks we followed were a bit loose and ‘slidey’. Boots were definitely better than shoes, which needed frequent emptying. Trekking poles were useful too. Accommodation was excellent, from hotels to the lovely yurt camp in the desert and then the sometimes quirky homestays (don’t expect too much in the way of toilet and washing facilities, though we always managed a shower, but more than made up for by the warmth of the welcome!) Food was everywhere plentiful and excellent (and plov is fantastic!) and the local wine and beer were good. We did, however, have to resort to bottled water at times, although 'Water to Go' was very useful. Uzbekistan is a strange country. I hadn’t expected the miles and miles of flat thorny desert. The original Silk Road travellers must have found this challenging. The blocky Soviet buildings are another reminder of the past, but the people were generally bright and welcoming, and although this is a Muslim country, it appeared to be ‘relaxed Muslim’ and I never felt that being a woman was noteworthy. Other tips? October was hot, but the hills were a pleasant walking temperature. Note that on our trip we weren’t offered the opportunity to split up for a long or a short walk on day 9 – the whole group (10 of us) had to opt to do either one or the other, which isn't clear from the trip notes. Needless to say we did the shorter walk, which everyone enjoyed. Money goes quite a long way, but can be a hassle to change, and most of the souvenir sellers (of which there are many!) were quite happy with dollars or euros (1 dollar = 1 euro = 10,000 som). Despite the KE advice, we didn’t have to declare the amounts we brought in. Another excellent KE trip – made more enjoyable by excellent companions and attentive crew.
By Catriona from Kingussie | 04 December 2019

Great trip, spectacular sights!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Just back from this trip and can't stop looking at my pictures because the sights were downright surreal. The hiking portion of the trip was beautiful and gave you a good dose of rural, traditional culture. I won't pretend I liked the drop toilets and lack of showers at the four home stays, but there was truth in the advertising and the experience met my expectations. That said, the hosts were warm and welcoming and we were well fed. Responsibilities on the trip were divided among two female gui des, one who specialized in the urban historic sites and another on logistical support, including mountain guides. Great concern was shown for our welfare. Overall, great trip!
By Richard from FOREST HILLS | 05 May 2019

Good mix of sight-seeing and walking
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
If you're reading this, then you're already thinking about this trip, so I won't discuss the wonders of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand - you will already know about these! This is a two-week trip, well-planned so that the sight-seeing of the ornate and imposing madrassas and mosques (etc) is broken up with a few days of walking with country-side/desert stays in yurts and homestays rather than city hotels, thus creating variation in the schedule. You will not need much money, unless you want to buy many souvenirs. All food is included and there is plenty of it. You would only need some money for soft drinks and beer/wine/vodka - these are not expensive. Regarding the money changing, the tour guide will help you with finding Uzbek Som - there is now a 5,000 som note so large wads of 100 som notes will not be required! Consider asking KE to look at and quote for flights with Turkish Airlines on and around your preferred dates of travel. The timings are usually better and TA is quite a good airline. People are friendly and interested in foreigners, especially in the cities where you will be called upon for English practice. English is now being taught in schools. Russian is useful with the older generation. French is also spoken in many tourist areas as many French tourists visit the country. Most of the hotels are of a good standard, especially in Samarkand - the best breakfast and a shaded roof terrace. The homestays and yurts are basic, but all have toilet and shower facilities, usually located away from the main buildings - bring a torch for the after dark trips. Water is heated up by wood especially for the showers at the time you arrive, and would not usually be available 24/7. There is no gas or oil supply to the country side and electricity can be variable. People live quite different lives in the cities and the country-side; the cities are modern with wide roads and an abundance of parks with fountains. A lot of building is going on, mostly housing and especially in Shakhrisabz/Kesh. Some of the Soviet housing is being knocked down and some is being restored. Some new government housing is being built in the country villlages, with modern conveniences. Lunches are mostly provided at private houses which double up as small restaurants, the food was invariably good and plentiful. You would not find these houses on your own, they are unmarked and on quiet backstreets. It was very hot and quite dusty at times in October. It would be lovely to visit in the spring, when the wild flowers are out. It can be quite cold in the hills so make sure you have warm clothes too. You will be well looked after by the tour guide; also the staff in the hotels speak good English and were always helpful.
By Anita from CAMBRIDGE | 10 October 2016

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Samarkand and the Silk Road
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SST /04/24/
  • This trip begins on Mon 30 Sep and ends on Sat 12 Oct
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$395 - 7 nights (Includes the group hotel nights in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand (n/a in yurt or homestays))
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Samarkand and the Silk Road
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SST /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 14 Apr and ends on Sat 26 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$395 - 7 nights (Includes the group hotel nights in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand (n/a in yurt or homestays))
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Samarkand and the Silk Road
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SST /02/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 19 May and ends on Sat 31 May
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$395 - 7 nights (Includes the group hotel nights in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand (n/a in yurt or homestays))
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Samarkand and the Silk Road
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SST /03/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 1 Sep and ends on Sat 13 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$395 - 7 nights (Includes the group hotel nights in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand (n/a in yurt or homestays))
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Samarkand and the Silk Road
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SST /04/25/
  • This trip begins on Mon 29 Sep and ends on Sat 11 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$425
  • Single Supplement Price: US$395 - 7 nights (Includes the group hotel nights in Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand (n/a in yurt or homestays))
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and departing from Samarkand, Uzbekistan. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Tashkent International Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the departure is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

Please note that the 2021 departures of this holiday are 1 day shorter (13 days) and the holiday ends in Samarkand.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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