Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road
Description of Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road
This outstanding trip takes in four of the most important cities of the old Silk Road, and is perfect for culture and history buffs. Starting in Uzbekistan you experience the atmospheric splendour of Samarkand, Bukhara and Shakhrisabz (birth place of Timur) – as well as the quirky modern marvel that is the curiously named Turkmen capital – and carpet-making centre - of Ashgabat (the City of Love).
In Turkmenistan you'll also delve the ancient civilisations centred on the Silk Road town of Merv, set within a fertile valley that cradled some of humanity's earliest civilisations. Dubbed “Queen of Cities”, landmark early towns here include Erk Kala (founded in the 6th century BC), complemented by a host of incredible later settlements dotted with epic structures, from 5000-year-old citadels to the medieval Mausoleum of Muhammed Ibn Zeid.
The trip also takes in the fantastic Uzbekistan cities of Khiva – most remote of Central Asia's Silk Road cities – plus Tashkent. Both remain bustling and colourful Central Asian beacons offering majestic mosques and unforgettable bazaars.
There's a chance to experience one of Central Asia's most unusual natural wonders too, with a night camping in the sand dunes that cradle bizarre gas craters - Darvaza is the largest and most famous – where boiling black water and mud geysers spout from deep within the earth.
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4 Reviews of Silk Road tour, cities of the Silk Road
Reviewed on 20 Oct 2018 by David FinbowThe most memorable part of the holiday was... Camping by the Darvasa gas crater, the off-road drive to the Gonur Depe archaeological site or the wacky city of Ashgabat Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Sep 2017 by Sara WarrenThe hospitable and very friendly people wherever we went - smiling faces all the way. Also the sheer vastness of Kyrgyzstan, which I loved - the dramatic mountain passes, the shepherds bringing their animals down from the high pastures. Read full review
Reviewed on 24 May 2015 by Ann RixExcellent. Our tour leader, Jude, was knowledgeable, unflappable and always encouraging and helpful. She really made the holiday. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Nov 2012 by Simon EmerySeeing the Darvaza gas crater at night was the most memorable part. A good trip to an interesting part of the world. Read full review
Planet and peopleWe are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients through such a region 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.
In Central Asia we ave developed unique relationships with many of the semi-nomadic peoples of the region and through our form of interactive, socially conscience tourism have helped them adapt to the modern, changing world by providing important income opportunities. With Sogan Bai, an eagle hunter from the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, or Noorgul, a shepherdess from the pristine Son Kul, or Nazira and her family at Tash Rabat, we have been responsible for introducing them to the homestay market, helping them to provide good, clean and interesting accommodation which in term allows them to educate their children, improve their standard of living and look after their ill.
The wonderful thing about this kind of interactive tourism is that everyone gains – the nomads financially and us with the wonderful welcome and experience they give us. On our horse treks, we work exclusively with the fine horse-man Anar Bek, who along with his family and members of the local community, ensure that the horses we trek with are well treated, well fed and well looked after. Wherever possible we stay in locally owned accommodation, eat in locally owned establishments and purchase supplies from the local nomads.
We also support several NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.