Silk Road railway holiday
Description of Silk Road railway holiday
From Shiraz to Beijing, the Silk Road unfolds before you on this overland adventure, travelling mainly by train as part of a small group. Led by a professional tour leader, you’ll explore ancient civilizations and fascinating cultures, an astonishing diversity of landscapes and world-renowned architecture, with a whistle stop trip through history. Plus, going by train, you will have plenty of opportunities to encounter local people and understand modern life in Central Asia, no doubt providing just as many memories as the landmarks you'll see.
Begin in Shiraz, a treasure-trove of Persian culture, where you will meet the rest of your group before continuing on to Yazd via the legendary ruins of Persepolis, which was razed to the ground by Alexander the Great. Travel on through the desert to a classic Silk Road stop, Isfahan, where one highlight is the chance to sample some delicious Persian nougat.
Entering Turkmenistan, admire the monumental Soviet architecture of Ashgabat, and the famous flaming crater of Darvasa, said to be a doorway to Hell. From the desert oasis of Mary, pause in Merv, before continuing on across the desert to Bukhara, and some of the oldest monuments along the Silk Road.
Shakhrisabz was the birthplace of Tamerlane, while Samarkand is one of the essential Silk Road stops, boastings some of the finest architecture in Central Asia, including the Registan and the Bibi Khanym Mosque.
Via Tashkent and Almaty, you near China, passing through exotic Urumqi and Xian with its world-renowned Terracotta Warriors as you approach the final destination on your itinerary: Beijing, that booming metropolis that makes for a breathtaking blend of the ancient and modern. Visit a section of the Great Wall, before bidding farewell to the rest of your intrepid group and, should the mood take you, containing your adventures even further on.
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PlanetWe are committed to positive environmental impacts through our Responsible Travel Policy. As an overland company we have extremely low carbon emissions throughout all our journeys. This journey operates over 9,087km departing from Shiraz, travelling through Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China before concluding in Beijing. We like to ensure that rail travel is used where possible, allowing for the journey to be shared between many. We also ensure to use experienced drivers who know the areas best when transfers are needed. This allows us to be confident there will be no risk of damage to the environment and local flora.
We use Local Partners who work with us to design journeys an optimal way to limit our impact on the environment. We make certain to reduce plastic waste by promoting reusing drink bottles instead of buying bottled water. Where possible our clients stay in smaller-scale accommodation, such as locally owned guesthouses, in support of the local people. We try to include as many local lunches, dinners and wineries in our journeys which enables us to spread economic benefits while also promote cultural understanding. We also make certain that none of our scheduled sightseeing visit zoos or orphanages.
PeopleWe have a very clear mandate to support the local community and without these Local Partners our on ground experiences wouldn’t be the same. We have been operating journeys throughout Asia for over 50 years and strive to build on our long established reputation for having the utmost respect for the places and communities that we visit.
We contract the services of local guides and City Ambassadors through our Local Partners. We use Djonghir, a trusted Local Guide from Samarkand for many of our tours. Djonghir loves showing our travellers the lifestyle in Samarkand and has even been known to demonstrate how to make local cuisines upon request. He wants all travellers to leave Uzbekistan loving it as much as he does.
In addition, we partner with local families, which we find not only enriches the overall experience but allows us to understand local traditions and create sound relationships between clients and locals.
We visit local markets where possible again helping to serve as an authentic and cultural experience and one, which maintains a closer bond between client and local. We always encourage our group to buy locally and encourage local trade and artistry.