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The Silk Road

From £2149 for 15 days
Trip Overview
For centuries great caravans of merchants made their way through deserts, across steppes and over mountains, creating trade routes between the great civilisations of the Mediterranean and China. Art and religion spread both East and West and grand cities with impressive architecture sprouted alongside nomadic tribes of eagle-hunters. Follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo and uncover the natural and cultural treasures of Central Asia on this two week trip through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan taking in some of the Silk Road’s best sites, from Bukhara and Samarkand to the Tien Shan Mountains.
Essential Info
Starts: Start Tashkent
Ends: End Bishkek
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Discovery
Trip Code: EAXF
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
What's Included


13 breakfasts and 3 dinners included


Accommodation in en suite standard hotels with one night in a yurt and one night on a sleeper train 13 breakfasts and 3 dinners included


Trip Highlights

•    Samarkand and Bukhara : two of the greatest cities on the Silk Road

•    Almaty with its leafy streets and cafe culture

•    Kyrgyzstan’s spectacular mountain scenery

•    Issyk Kul Lake

Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Departing: 19th May 2021
Returning: 2nd Jun 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 24th May 2021
Returning: 7th Jun 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 2nd Jun 2021
Returning: 16th Jun 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 16th Jun 2021
Returning: 30th Jun 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 14th Jul 2021
Returning: 28th Jul 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 4th Aug 2021
Returning: 18th Aug 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 23rd Aug 2021
Returning: 6th Sep 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 30th Aug 2021
Returning: 13th Sep 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 6th Sep 2021
Returning: 20th Sep 2021
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Itinerary & Notes
Those on the group flights arrive very late in the evening into Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Land only passengers can arrive at the hotel any time today, the leader may not be around today. *Hotel Arien Plaza or Shodlik Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel*
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Great two weeks in Central Asia. The first week was in Uzbekistan and more focused on the history of the Silk Road and the gorgeous architecture in the three cities of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara whilst during the second half in Almaty and Kyrgyzstan we learnt more about traditional & modern culture, history from different eras and got a taste of the alpine climates in the gorges and beautiful Issyk-Kol lake
This was a busy trip through three very contrasting countries. Almost a surfeit of historical monuments in Uzbekistan, just a glimpse of Kazakhstan and then the natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan. Some long bus drives but with plenty of "photo stops" and the drives are a great way to appreciate the scenery and see a little of local life along the way. The food was fine, and it was fairly easy to avoid meat, with plenty of delicious salads and pumpkin manti (a type of dumpling) usually available. Also some lovely soups, but often with unexpected chunks of lamb or beef. I did also enjoy the plov and the kebabs, as well as the fresh bread. The people were mostly friendly, welcoming and curious - we encountered no problems.
We have been on a number of Exodus trips and without doubt this is one of the best we have undertaken. Uzbekistan is a stunning country with wonderful buildings and monuments and incredibly friendly and polite people. Our guide was the best guide we have had on an Exodus trip, he was so enthusiastic about his country you could not fail to enjoy your time there. Kazakhstan could really be missed from the trip with the time saved being spent in the other two countries, we just saw lots of open plains and a big busy city in Almaty. Kyrgyzstan is a stunningly beautiful country with wonderful scenery. Some days involved long drives and perhaps driving all the way around Issyk Kul may be a little excessive but you get great views of the snow capped mountains and have the opportunity to stop at various sites along the way. The food overall was very good though the service in all three countries is very slow, haphazard and random. Whilst the dominant religion in each of the countries is Islam they are open to western culture and dress and therefore provided you offer the usual respect in mosques etc. there is no issue regarding the suitability of clothing
We did this trip as a private group of friends. We're all keen on history and museums - we'd also managed as a bonus to book tickets for the closing ceremony of the World Nomad Games, which coincided with our visit to Kyrgyzstan. The Islamic monuments of Uzbekistan were breathtaking, and the natural scenery of Kyrgyzstan was lovely. Both countries are clean and well-ordered and felt safe. I enjoyed the yurt camp far more than I expected too - it had the best beds of the trip ;-) Kazakhstan I cannot recommend. It's the only country I've *ever* been to that I'd consider not worth the effort. It feels like going back into the Soviet era - there was a plainclothesman lurking outside our hotel reporting on arrivals for example - and the police are flat-out corrupt. One of our number was held at the Kazakh border for 7 hours on the way out - there were strong attempts at intimidation (though luckily he kept his cool) and it all ended with him slipping a £100 bribe to an officer to get out of the country.
A varied trip through three Stans. Uzbekistan very Western with modern cities, and has put a loot of effort into monument preservation; Kazakstan, harder to define, its a really big Steppe. Kyrgistan is just beautiful and largely untrodden by tourist hordes.
When I told people I was going to three of the 'Stans', their question was always why ? To be honest, I wasn't sure myself until I'd been, but they are very different countries, not subject to mass tourism, with different cultures, lovely people and a joy to explore.
If you like history, visiting beautiful buildings and tasting local food, this is the trip for you. Yes there are some bad roads to contend with, but that's a small price to pay. The highlights? Bukhara, meeting the eagle hunter and brilliant local guides.
The trip introduced me to many aspects of the history of Central Asia of which I knew little. It has inspired me to read more on the subject. I was also possible to gain a little appreciation of the culture of the three countries I visited.
Really exciting trip, very full on and packed with seeing the best of all 3 countries that you visit. Be prepared for long but very rewarding days of sightseeing and travelling. Go with the flow! Very friendly and hospitable people. Eating out is cheap and there is plenty of choice of good quality meat (lamb, beef) kebabs/ pasties! (or the nearest thing to them, yummy) dumplings, paste/noodle/bread and salads. Local beer very acceptable and even the best vodka is very cheap and taste great.. Great photo opportunities and load of very interesting architecture such as Madrasah's and mausoleums to see! Scenery up in mountains is stunning with waterfalls and turquoise lakes. Staying in the Yurt in the mountains in Kyrgyzstan was wonderful. No light pollution so you can see the milky way and shooting stars! But be prepared for it to be very basic and rustic! We ended up playing hand ball with a international team of people staying at the camp site and then sitting round the camp fire singing and drinking vodka watching the night sky.
This is a trip full of contrasts and culture.
Cities tend not to be high on my list of places to visit but I was surprised by the many parks and green spaces offsetting the large buildings and wide roads in all the cities visited. Of course the amazing architecture of the mosques, madrassas, minarets, mausoleums, museums and markets were impressive and interesting – with a wealth of information from both our tour leaders and local guides, all of whom spoke excellent English. The train journeys and the brief ride on the Metro in Tashkent made pleasant changes to the coach travel. Good to see family groups enjoying the warm evenings in pedestrianised streets and squares, parks, local cafes and bars, etc. No litter, no noisy groups of youths, just a nice atmosphere. Though the planned overnight train ride to Kazakhstan didn’t happen owing to international cancellation at little notice, the replacement coach was large and comfortable. In the morning traffic to Almaty many more upmarket cars were on the roads, after very few in Uzbekistan. The short drive out of Almaty with the walk up to the waterfall was a welcome change from the city streets. Then the long drive into the Kyrgyzstan countryside was literally a breath of fresh air; with the vast lake, snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, flower-strewn meadows and leisurely walks. Not forgetting the impressive golden eagle demonstration. I would have preferred more than one night at the Yurt shores of Lake Camp. A couple of days later, an afternoon swim at the “seaside” on the Issyk Kul Lake was refreshing. Inevitable long road journeys were offset by ever changing views, excellent driving, mainly good roads and frequent stops.
This was a fantastic trip with a real mix of architecture, landscapes and cultures. Lovely tour guides and drivers to help and support. I was astonished by the sheer scale and intricacies of the buildings in Uzbekistan which contrasted with the beautiful snow capped mountains in Kyrgyzstan. My personal highlights were the overnight train and yurt camp experience!
The visits to Samarkand and Bukhara were the principal things I wanted to see apart from Khiva which I did on my own before the main trip. Exodus booked the flights for me and I booked the hotel in Khiva myself.
This is a truly spectacular once in a lifetime trip which I will never forget. I would never have been able to travel to such and so many places in the time available if it weren't for Exodus. The contrast between the three 'Stans' Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan is infinitely fascinating. The hot deserts, magnificent Muslim architecture, Madrashahs, Mausoleums, Markets and magnanimous hearts of the people of Uzbekistan to the epic mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and awesome pride and grace of the people of Kyrgyzstan (especially the Eagle Hunters which is only one of many highlights on this trip).
Previous reviews have covered most things and are worth reading.
A very busy, varied tour. Most of the hotels were of a good standard with one or two not so good. The Hotel Asia Mountains 1 has been mentioned in a review already - take ear plugs so that you drown out the trains.
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