In The Footsteps of Marco Polo (Xian to Tashkent)


Overview

Tour operates:  April until October
No of days: 24 nights 25 days
Route: Xian-Lanzhou-Xiahe-Labrang-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang-Turfan-Urumqi- Heavenly Lake-Kashgar-Karakul Lake-Torugart pass-Issyk Kul lake-Karakol-Bishkek-Ala Archa park-Tashkent-Urgench-Khiva-Bukhara-Shakhrisabz-Samarkand.
Transport: All private transfers in air conditioned car, bus depending on the group size, High speed bullet trains,economy class domestic flight
Accommodations: All comfortable accommodations with private facilities
Guide: Fully Escorted English speaking guides in each country except China each cities
Tour starting point: Xian Ending point: Tashkent
Guaranteed departure: Every Wednesday- Minimum 2 people required

Itinerary

Day by day itinerary

Day 01: Xian (China)
On arrival at Xian airport you will be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure on your own. Overnight at hotel in Xian (D)

Day 02: Xian
Today we visit the exquisite Terracotta Warriors, considered the greatest archaeological discovery of the last century. The figures vary in height from 182cm to 195cm, according to their role; the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. It is estimated that 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses exist in the 3 pits on the excavation site, with the majority still buried in the pit l.
We return to the city and visit big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian Great Mosque and Muslim quarter. Overnight at hotel in Xian (BLD)

Day 03: Xian- Lanzhou-Xiahe
Morning flight to Lanzhou later transfer to Xiahe. Xiahe is referred to a “Little Tibet”, a stunning town surrounded by mountains and bustling with pilgrims. It is a key passage on the ancient Silk Road between East and West. Visit the famous Labrang Monastery – one of the six leading Buddhist Lamaseries in China.
Overnight at hotel in Xiahe (BLD)

Day 04: Xiahe – Lanzhou
Morning more visit around Xiahe later in the afternoon return to Lanzhou for city tour.
Overnight at hotel in Lanzhou (BLD)

Day 05: Lanzhou Bullet train to Jiayuguan
Early morning transfer to the train station for express train to Jiayuguan. Jiayuguan is the westernmost end of the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. After refreshments, we visit Jiayuguan Fortress, set between snow-capped Mountains of Qilian in south and the Mazong Mountain in North. Take a short climb on the western end of the Great Wall for some spectacular views over this wild and magnificent region. Overnight at hotel in Jiayuguan. (BLD)

Day 06: Dunhuang
Drive to the oasis town of Dunhuang surrounded by rolling sand dunes and home to countless camels. In the afternoon visit Crescent Moon Spring and camel ride or climb one of the sand dunes to enjoy the sunset. Overnight at hotel in Dunhuang (BLD)

Day 07: Dunhuang Bullet train to Turfan
Morning visit the spectacular Mogao Grottos-home to the world acclaimed Buddhist murals and sculptures dating back to 386 AD. Later in the afternoon transfer to the train station for Turfan. Overnight at hotel in Turfan (BL)

Day 08: Turfan
Turfan is the oasis city in the province of Xinjiang. Turfan is inhabited mainly by Uighur people. We visit the ancient ruined city of Jiaohe, richly coloured Flaming Mountains and Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves and Grape Valley. In the evening, enjoy the local Uighur dance. Overnight at hotel in Turfan (BLD)

Day 09: Turfan- Urumqi
In the morning, more sightseeing of Turfan. Later drive to Urumqi, visit the museum famous for their Mummies. Tour the Grand Market.
Overnight at hotel in Urumqi (BLD).

Day 10: Tianche Lake Excursion-Kashgar
Travel to Tian Chi Lake or Heavenly Lake for breath-taking views the surrounding mountain range. Here you have a chance to explore the area around the Lake or take an optional boat ride. Later return to Urumqi to catch an evening flight to Kashgar. Overnight at hotel in Kashgar (BLD)

Day 11: Kashgar Karakul Lake
Day trip to Karakul Lake along the famous Karakorum Highway. The scenery along the way is magnificent. We will be stopping at the Lake where you can enjoy the breath-taking views of the Muztagh-ata Mountain. After lunch, free time to enjoy the area. Later return to Kashgar for overnight. (BLD)

Day 12: Kashgar Sunday market
This day is planned to coincide with the famous Sunday market in Kashgar where everything from carpets, blankets, foods, horses, donkeys, sheep and even camels are for sale! Wonderful assortments of people come from all over the region, and the population of the town swells by 100,000! This is truly one of the most incredible bazaars in Asia, and a photographer’s paradise. Later visit Ed-gah Mosque, and Apak Khoja’s tomb. Overnight at hotel in Kashgar. (BLD)

Day 13: Kashgar Tash Rabat – Narayn (Kyrgyzstan)
In the morning transfer to the border crossing of Torugart pass. After border formalities you will be met by greeted by our Kyrgyz team. Later, visit the Caravan Sarai dated from 11th century which served as a fortress for travellers along the Great Silk Road. Continue driving to Naryn.
Overnight at Guest house in Naryn with basic sharing facilities. (BLD)

Day 14: Issyk Kul Lake
Today our destination is Lake Issyk-Kul, which is the second-largest alpine lake after Lake Titicaca in South America. A combination of depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes, thus its name `Issyk-Kul’ means `warm lake’. Archaeological discoveries from the lake’s bottom include ancient relics and graves dating back to the first millennium BC. An ancient trade center from the second century BC is thought to have been destroyed by the rise and fall of the lake’s level. Before checking in at our hotel we will visit Cholpan-Ata, known for petroglyphs which are thought to have been created by the tribes of the Neolithic period. The images are mainly primitive long-horned ibex, horses, camels and snow leopards. Overnight at hotel in Issyk Kul Lake. (BLD).

Day 15: Bishkek
In the morning drive to Bishkek. En-route we stop at Jety Oguz canyon, where you have chance to do some short hikes or optional horse riding, later visit Burana tower which was built in the 11 centuries. Overnight at hotel in Bishkek. (BLD)

Day 16: Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
In the morning visit Ala-Archa National Park for a picnic lunch followed by a city tour of Bishkek in the afternoon.
Late evening transfer to the airport for Uzbekistan airways flight HY 780 EDT 6:40pm ETA to Tashkent at 7:00pm. On arrival at Tashkent airport you will be met by our Uzbek guide and transfer to your hotel.Overnight at hotel in Tashkent. (BLD)

Day 17: Tashkent-Urgench Khiva
Morning flight to Urgench and transfer to Khiva. Depending on the flight schedule, possibly half day sightseeing of Khiva city. Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BLD)

Day 18: Khiva City Tour
Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, discovered a well here. The town certainly existed by the 8th Century, as a minor fort and trading post on a Silk Road branch to the Caspian Sea and the Volga. In the early 16th century, Khiva was made capital of the Timurid Empire, becoming a busy slave market and pivot of the khanate for the next three centuries. Until Russia finally wrested the region from Timurid’s grasp in the 19th century, even the boldest hearts feared encounters with these fierce tribesmen and their desert territory. Khiva is an ancient walled city and looks much like it did in centuries past. It is one of the few sites in Central Asia where one can easily imagine life during the time of the emirates. We will spend the morning wandering it’s maze of ruins and great mosques. Later, a tour of this living museum including the Ichon-Qala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Medressas, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Islom-Huja Medressa and Minaret. Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BLD)

Day 19: Khiva-Bukhara
Our drive to Bukhara is through the arid setting of the Kyzyl Kum Desert. Along the way we stop for some refreshments and see how humans have survived over the centuries in this unforgiving landscape. With buildings spanning 1,000 years of history and city centre that has not changed much in past two centuries, Bukhara is one of the best places in Central Asia to catch a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. Most of the city centre is an architectural preserve and includes a massive royal fortress, plenty of former Madrassas, a number of ancient public baths and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. There are over 140 protected buildings in the city. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BLD)

Day 20: Bukhara: City Tour
Today we explore the old quarter on foot. Bukhara is an ancient city with bustling “trade domes”, active mosques, and the Kalyan Minaret (“tower of death”), one of Central Asia’s tallest. We’ll stroll around the streets and visit the old town centre where old men with long white beards gossip for hours over cups of tea. Bukhara has been designated a World Heritage Site; resulting in the complete restoration of some of the 11th to 15th century mosques. There are even some structures still standing that date back to Zorastrian times 2,500 years ago. We also visit the massive fortress The Ark, with the Emir’s open-air throne room and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th century brick structure that is nicely preserved. We’ll also venture to the outskirts of Bukhara and visit the summer palace of the last emir, built by a Russian Czar with grand halls and a harem. We will also see Char Minar, a gate of a ancient madrassa long time gone. It was built in 1809 and has more in common with Indian art styles than local.
Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BLD)

Day 21: Bukhara 
Full free day at leisure or optional activities can be arranged on request.
Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (B)

Day 22: Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand
We depart early for Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, where we tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur, a man who changed the course of Central Asian history. There’s little left of Timur’sAk-Saray Palace except bits of the gigantic, 40 m (98 foot) high entrance covered with gorgeous filigree like blue, white and gold mosaics, but it’s staggering to try and imagine what the rest of this glorious summer palace must have looked like. We continue later to Samarkand. For most people, Samarkand is as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Tombouctou. The sublime larger-than-life monuments of Timur, the technicolour bazaar and the city’s long, rich history work a special kind of magic. On arrival we’ll visit the old bazaars for which this exotic city is famous. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BLD)

Day 23: Samarkand: City Tour
Samarkand, sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Orient’ was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full day tour we visit the famous Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Observatory of Ulughbek, the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-I Zinda, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of BibiKhanym, and the adjacent colourful market. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicated back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties. Our afternoon tour covers the Afrosiab Museum, located on the site of ancient. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BLD)

Day 24: Samarkand express train to Tashkent
In the morning transfer to the train station for express train to Tashkent. Afternoon continue on a city tour of Tashkent visiting mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops and dating from the 14th century. We visit the Kukeldash Medressa, a grand 16th century academy undergoing restoration and the History Museum of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Fine Arts. Overnight at hotel in Tashkent. (BLD)

Day 25: Onward flight
Trip will end with airport transfer (B)

Notes


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Map



Coming soon

Dates/Prices


Tour costs and Dates

We guarantee all tour departures for a minimum of 2 passengers. In order to confirm your booking we will need a non-refundable deposit of 400 USD per person. The final invoice will be sent to you 4 weeks before the tour departure, the final cost dependent on the final group size. If the following dates or the described itinerary does not meet your travel needs, please write to us, we can arrange a customized tour for you.

 Tour cost comfort class hotels

No of Pax. 2 3-5 6-9 10 Above Single Supplement
Price in US Dollar per person $6870 $6480 $5330 $4790 $995

Tour cost tourists class

No of Pax. 2 3-5 6-9 10-14 Single Supplement
Price in US Dollar per person $6060 $5670 $4470 $4020 $575

Hotels

Places Premium class hotels Tourist Class hotels
Xian Sofitel On Renmin Square Forest City Hotel
Xiahe Royal Palace hotel Wangfu Hotel
Jiyayuguan Jiyayuguan Hotel Gotai Hotel
Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel Dunhuang Hotel
Turfan Tuhua Petroleum Hotel Mexilap or Jiaohe Manor Hotel
Urumqi Universal hotel Cinda Hoitak Hotel
Kashgar Radisson Blu hotel Qini Bagh new 5* Bulding
Naryn Khan Tengri Guest house Guest House
Issyk Kul Lake  Karven Issyk Kul 3 Karony
Karakol  Green Yard Hotel Elite Guest House
Bishkek  Golden Tulip or Holiday Hotel Asia Mountain Number 2
Tashkent Lotte City Tashkent Palace Shodlik Palace or Uzbekistan Hotel
Samarkand Asia Hotel or Emir Khan Malika Prime
Bukhara Asia Hotel or Zargaron Plaza Devon Begi or Zargaron Hotel
Khiva Asia Hotel or Malika Khivek Malika Classic Hotel

*** Please note that all above hotels are subject to availability or we will arrange
alternative hotels of a similar standard.

Tour departures 2017 – 2018

Starting Date Ending Date Availability  
11-April 2018 05-May 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
09- May 2018 02 – June 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
23-May 2018 16-Jun 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
30-May 2018 23-Jun 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
13-Jun 2018 09-Jul 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
20-June 2018 14-Jul 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
04-Jul 2018 28-Jul 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
18-Jul 2018 11-Aug 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
25-Jul 2018 18-Aug 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
01-Aug 2018 25 -Aug 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
15- Aug 2018 08-Sep 2018 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
06-Sep 2017 30-Sep 2017 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
13- Sep 2017 07- Oct 2017 AVAILABLE Enquire Now
11- Oct 2017 04- Nov 2017 AVAILABLE Enquire Now

TOUR COST INCLUDES

All private transfers in air-conditioned cars bus depends on the group size
High speed bullet trains in China
Domestic flights
Xian Lanzhou
Urumqi Kashgar
Bishkek Tashkent
Tashkent Urgench
Twin sharing accommodation at hotels mentioned above with private facilities, one night in Naryn Kyrgyzstan sharing with basic facilities at Guest house
Meals full board: Key (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
All the sightseeing tours as described in the itinerary and entrance fees
English speaking guides in each cities in China fully escorted throughout Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
Visa support letters if required

TOUR COST EXCLUDES

Visa Fees.
Expenses in hotels such as laundry, telephone and room service, etc.
Optional activities
Meals not mention above
Personal expenses
Single supplements
Tips for Guides and drivers
Early check in hotels and late checkout

***If you would like to customize your trip please write to us we are more than happy to arrange your trip according to your request

About Tour operators Silk Road and Himalayas

We are a small, highly experienced “boutique” travel company operating unique tours thoughout Central Asia, Far East, and Indian Subcontinent.