Silk Road holiday, small group
Description of Silk Road holiday, small group
On this Silk Road holiday you’ll explore the wonders of this fascinating and storied region along with a small group of likeminded travellers. Innumerable traders traversed this route over the centuries, bringing goods from Europe to the Far East and back again, and facilitating an exchange of ideas, cultures and religions.
You’ll start this tour in Uzbekistan’s buzzing capital Tashkent, before transferring to Khiva, a city crammed full of ancient monuments, which features on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Then it’s over the border into Turkmenistan to visit the ancient city of Konye-Urgench, the modern metropolis of Ashgabat and the historic town of Merv, which dates back 2,500 years.
Heading back into Uzbekistan, the spectacular and fabled cities of Bukhara and Samarkand are on the agenda, as is the Termez Archaeological Museum, right by the Afghanistan border. Next, you’ll cross into Tajikistan, where you’ll take in the sights of capital Dushanbe, hike around the mountain-backed Lake Iskander Kul, and drive through the Shahristan pass to Khudjand, the capital of northern Tajikistan.
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4 Reviews of Silk Road holiday, small group
Reviewed on 30 Sep 2019 by Sophie LuardFascinating....The wonderful places we saw and the differences between the three stans Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Oct 2019 by Faye WalkerThe most memorable was taking 3 hours for the border crossing from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan. Appreciating the historical importance of the different waves of civilizations in developing The Silk Road and the different resulting cultures, was interesting. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 May 2017 by John HayesIt was all memorable and exciting. Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Nov 2015 by Anne HigginsThe holiday was very good, learnt lots and as only a small group we all got on very well. Read full review
PlanetWe work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted and green thinking is largely absent.
Uzbekistan does not see the same numbers of visitors that many other countries experience and as such some practices which we take for granted in other parts of the world may not be found here. We work closely with our suppliers to introduce concepts of environmental responsibility to the communities that we travel through. This can include asking hotels to implement practices such as asking guests if they need fresh cleaned towels each day, and reminding guests to turn off lights when they leave the room – small things that are standard practice in many places in the western world but not necessarily elsewhere.
Where appropriate and feasible we will always incorporate walking tours of cities rather than being reliant on private transportation - not only reducing our carbon footprint but we believe leading to a more enjoyable and intimate experience for our clients.
This tour travels through some of the world’s most remote regions, away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us
PeopleOur philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community.
When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through.
For example, on this tour we stop in Gijduvan, which is locally renowned as a centre for ceramics. Our team are keen to support this local industry which has benefited from a local micro finance scheme. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local businesses and services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects.
This tour travels through some remote communities that often do not have much exposure to the wider world, and where opportunities for employment are extremely limited. We spend many nights in homestays and local tourist cottages, for example at Lake Iskander Kul in the Fann Mountains.
Not only does this help small communities see some benefits from tourism but we believe it does much to promote cultural understanding and ultimately leads to a more enjoyable experience for our clients.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.