Journey with us on A Mystical Odyssey in Bhutan (12 - 18 March '23).

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Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan: Unrivalled Silk Road wonders at the heart of Central Asia

Set off on from the vibrant Uzbek cultural capital, Tashkent, on a high-speed journey by rail, taking in a trio of marvellous Silk Road cities whose names have long evoked a deep sense of mystique: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, each bursting with nostalgic charm and crammed with architectural gems, reflecting a wondrous blend of the styles that swept across these arid steppes over the centuries, arriving from every corner of the continent to leave their mark. Step into gorgeous mosques, madrassas and elaborate, turquoise-tiled mausoleums, sip green tea in the heart of Samarkand’s Siab Bazaar, climb the parapets of Bukhara’s Ark, and try your hand at baking Khorezmian bread in the great walled city of Khiva. Arriving by air in Almaty, Central Asia’s glitziest hub, you’ll then ascend to the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains, where pristine alpine lakes and ancient Buddhist carvings await, along with memorable performances of traditional music and the time-honoured art of falconry.

This journey outline is by no means fixed. As the traveller takes centre stage in our planning – from the type of lodging to daily activities – your journey will be crafted to suit you.

Day by Day Highlights

Day 1
In – Tashkent, Uzbekistan

After breakfast, we will visit the highlights of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The history of Tashkent is almost 2,000 years old, and is now one of the most important industrial, financial and cultural centers not only in Uzbekistan but all over Central Asia. We will cover various places of interest, such as the Independence Square, Theatre Square, Earthquake Memorial, Museum of Applied Arts, Khast Imam Square etc, as well as a visit to a well known local ceramicist’s studio to understand and appreciate this traditional Uzbek craft.

Day 2
Tashkent - Samarkand

After breakfast, we will transfer to the train station and take a high speed train to Samarkand.

Arrive in Samarkand, a key Silk Road city and UNESCO site. Samarkand had witnessed several upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane’s. Hence, Samarkand’s culture was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures. Places of interest include the Gur-Emir Mausoleum, where the mausoleum of the 14th century Mongol conqueror Tamerlane can be found; the mausoleum of Prophet Daniel as well as the Ulugbek Observatory.

Day 3

After breakfast, we will continue our tour of Samarkand. We will visit madrassahs, mosques and mausoleums dated as far back as the 11th century. Enjoy tea/coffee with local sweets along a pedestrian street, or do a spot of shopping at the city’s main bazaar, Siab bazaar.

Day 4
Samarkand - Bukhara

Transfer to train station for your train journey to Bukhara. Arrive at Kagan train station for a 30 min drive to Bukhara. Places of interest in Bukhara: the 9th century Samanid Mausoleum (resting place of the powerful Islamic Samanid dynasty that ruled the Samanid Empire from approximately 900-1000, the Fortress Ark (a fortified residence of Emirs of Bukhara), and the 18th century Bolo-Khauz mosque.

Day 5

There is much to explore today – we will explore more of Bukhara’s rich architectural heritage, with its madrassahs (Nodir-Divan-beghi, Kukeldash), mosques (Magoki-Attari), cap maker’s and jewellers’ bazaars etc. Enjoy local tea and coffee at pitstops along the way, as well as meet with another local artisan and learn the skill of miniature painting.

Day 6
Bukhara – Khiva

Today’s journey will take us across the Kyzylkum desert towards Khiva. Take in the arid landscape along the way, and catch glimpses of sheep farmers or hunters roaming across it. The drive will take approximately 7-8 hrs.

Day 7

We will begin with a walking tour in Itchan Kala, the walled inner town of the city of Khiva. It is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains more than 50 historic monuments and old houses dating from the 18th/19th centuries. We will visit places like the Mukhammed-Amin-Khan madrassah, Kalta Minor minaret, Kunya-Ark fortress, Djuma mosque, Tash-Khauli palace etc. We will also stop by a handicrafts center to see woodcarving and  carpet weaving artisans at work. Try your hand at cooking special Khorezmian bread.

Day 8
Khiva – Urgench – Tashkent – Almaty

Today is a day of travel as we leave Uzbekistan for Kazakhstan. Transfer to Urgench airport to catch your flight to Tashkent. Pick up from the Domestic Terminal and transfer to the International Airport (approximately 20-30 min drive).

After a quick lunch at a local café, proceed for your flight to Almaty. Arrive at Almaty and transfer to your hotel (approximately 1 hour’s drive). Should time permit, we will visit Kok Tobe Park and Independence Square prior to check-in.

Day 9

Depart for Tamgaly Tas (translated as “stones with signs”). Located in the south of Kazakhstan, near the Ili River (120 km/2 hrs drive from Almaty), it is famous for its Buddhist inscriptions and numerous ancient petroglyphs depicting deities). Have a 2 hour walking excursion followed by a picnic lunch.

Return to Almaty by 16h00. Visit the Museum of Musical instruments and sit in for a short concert. Walk back to the car through Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, before heading back to your hotel.

Day 10
Almaty (Big Almaty Lake + Shymbulak Resort) - Out

After breakfast, we depart for the Big Almaty Lake (35 km, 1 hr drive one way). We will spend around an hour touring the place. We will visit Medeo gorge, and take a cable car to Shymbulak resort. In the afternoon, we depart for Sunkar falcon farm in Alma Arasan village (app. 30 min drive) to catch a public performance with eagles.

Return to Almaty by 1830 for head for dinner. Transfer to Kazzhol Park for a couple of hours to freshen up. Leave for the airport at around 2200 and check in for your flight.

Let’s plan your perfect escape. To start the conversation, contact us via our interactive form or drop us an email at


Practical Information

Locations covered

Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Almaty

Recommended months to travel

March – Mid November

Level of difficulty


Indicative price

From USD$5,800/pax based on twin-sharing, on a private basis. Excludes international flights.

As we’ll customise your journey based on your preferences and needs, please note that this indicative price is just a rough estimate. Prices can fluctuate depending on season, type of accommodation and activities/experiences chosen (private vs. shared) etc.

This journey outline is by no means conclusive. It is just a guideline and can be tailored according to your comfort level, interests and preferences for every detail from accommodation to activities.

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