Silk Road overland holiday
Optional Single Supplement: from £1,815.
Please note some itineraries are reversed.
Description of Silk Road overland holiday
The word ‘epic’ has a tendency to be overused, but this trip fully deserves that title. Over an extraordinary seven weeks you’ll travel from Beijing to Istanbul, following the ancient Silk Road which for centuries connected East with West, and allowed great cultures and empires to form.
You’ll begin with several days exploring key landmarks in China, including the magnificent Forbidden Palace, Tiananmen Square and a section of the Great Wall, not forgetting of course the world-famous Terracotta Army. Then it’s on, by plane, train and road to unforgettable sights and experiences too numerous to list.
Highlights include the Buddhist treasure trove in the Mogao Grottoes, the ghost city of Jiaohe, and the 15th century Blue Mosque of Tabriz. You’ll travel through spectacular landscapes, from the Flaming Mountains of Xinjiang to the drive over the Irkishtam Pass and the mountainous desert of Iran. You’ll visit Turkmen, Uighur, Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities on a tour that allows for plenty of cultural immersion yet rarely stops for breath.
Treasures of the Islamic world, fascinating archaeological sites, Ottoman mansions and sprawling UNESCO-protected bazaars add colour to thisjourney through history. Travelling as part of a small group, you’ll spend time in Osh, Samarkand, Abiverd, Ancient Merv and Esfahan, all the while discovering the significance of the Silk Road.
For those with the time available to them, this is surely one of the great overland routes. It spans 12,000km and six distinct countries, and will provide you with enough memories to last twenty lifetimes.
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1 Reviews of Silk Road overland holiday
Reviewed on 24 Oct 2019 by Lynda Perkins
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Mosque and shrine in Mashad - but so difficult to choose one amongst so many places visited on this amazing adventure
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be prepared for long days and early starts. Walking boots and water bottles not essential as walking easily done in walking sandals, and water providied in
plastic bottles in most hotels.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Supported local people by visiting areas of the normal tourist route and therefore putting money into their pockets
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Excellent - it is what it says in the title, an adventure NOT a holiday. Weren't sure what to expect - certainly spectacular and varied.
PlanetWe have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote. Your guide on this trip will have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas.
We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients across all these regions can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive - after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring.
By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some delicate ecosystems.
PeopleIn all six countries (China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey) we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economies and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions.
By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism. For example on day 15 of the tour on crossing the border into Kyrgyzstan we will spend a night with a local family in Sary Tash. Sharing rooms in this simple, rustic but cosy setting gives travellers a first-hand, authentic experience of the lifestyles of the peoples of this region whilst also allowing for deeper cultural understanding and interaction.
We show support to local communities through engaging and appreciating local culture and customs. On day 17 of this tour we will arrive at the town of Margilon in Uzbekistan where clients can admire and learn about the process of silk-weaving from start to finish. We will also visit nearby Rishton renowned for its remarkable blue and green ceramics.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.