One of the world’s oldest and most historically important trade routes, the Silk Road had a huge influence on the civilisations of the west. A series of trade routes connecting China to the Mediterranean via the Central Asian steppes, the Silk Road covers some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. On our Silk Road holidays, you’ll uncover the intriguing past of this famous route, travelling to some of the most spectacular sites.
The vast plains and great deserts create an unmissable wilderness landscape, home to nomadic tribes and marauding warriors. The Silk Road is also home to the forgotten cities that were once the centre of civilisation: Samarkand and Bukhara in Uzbekistan, and Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang region – regal posts on incredible Silk Road tours to Beijing.
Throughout the centuries, merchants with their caravans would traverse the vast deserts on long trade routes. Our guided Silk Road tours not only steer you to some of the greatest natural wonders of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, but they also give you a fascinating insight into the history and traditions of each place you visit. Hike among the spectacular Jety-Oguz Canyon, visit the architectural feats of Samarkand’s Registan Square and a witness the Door to Hell, a burning natural gas field at Turkmenistan.
On our Silk Road trip, our Expert leaders will guide you on a magnificent journey of discovery where you’ll soak up the unique culture, delve into the past and travel along parts of this historic route.
Silk Road Trips
14 Daysfrom£ 2,799
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
The Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan: At the very heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan is an intriguing country steeped in history and home to ancient architecture and vibrant cities where you’ll find citadels dotted across the desert, fortress ruins and colourful bazaars. If you want to scratch beneath the surface of Uzbekistan and really understand its culture and history, our Silk Road holidays give you an in-depth tour of the most significant sites. Wander through the streets of Bukhara lined with ornate minarets and domes and see the magnificent architecture that makes the Samarkand’s Registan Square one of the most popular attractions.
Kazakhstan: For centuries, diverse cultures have filled the bazaars of Kazakhstan as trade caravans journeyed along this stretch of the Silk Road, with merchants selling silks, jewels, spices and even exotic birds. On a Silk Road trip along this historic route, you’ll be privy to the history that makes this such an important and interesting country. Travel among the beautiful lakes and peaks where you’ll see colourful mountain flowers attracting swarms of bees and visit the impressive Charyn Canyon as it takes centre stage in the national park. Formed by erosion from the River Charyn, this unusual red landscape is a sight to behold on Silk Road holidays and is known as the Valley of Castles due to its unique rock formations.
Kyrgyzstan: A lesser-frequented gem on the Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan is blessed with natural beauty, from dramatic gorges and wildflower pastures to bubbling hot springs. On our Silk Road trip to Kyrgyzstan, you’ll explore idyllic lakes, witness the breath-taking panoramas from Telety Pass and hike along the world-famous Jety-Oguz Canyon. Also known as the Valley of Seven Bulls, this distinctive valley is filled with local legends. A highlight of our Kyrgyzstan tour is an overnight stay in a Kyrgyz yurt where you’ll experience the traditional way of life beneath the stars.
Tajikistan: The mountainous landscapes of Tajikistan feature some of the most treacherous sections of the Silk Road route which served as a vital link between the ancient civilisations. Our Silk Road holidays that incorporate this precious country, guide you to cultural and historical places where you’ll uncover hidden treasures and age-old secrets. See the medieval minaret in the village of Jarkurgan, travel between the majestic Fann Mountains to Iskanderkul Lake and witness the thunderous waterfall known as Tajikistan Niagara. This is without doubt one of the most spectacular nature spots on the Silk Road trip and you’ll be in awe of its unfaltering beauty.
Turkmenistan: Spanning more than 15 centuries, life along the Silk Road has left an indelible impression on Turkmenistan with its ancient monuments and landmarks which give you a greater understanding of this epic trade route. On Turkmenistan Silk Road tours, you’ll delve into the ancient civilisations and explore some of the country’s most notable sites. One of the most unbelievable sights you’ll ever see in Turkmenistan is the Darvaza gas crater, also referred to as the Door to Hell. This huge flaming crater is found in the Karakum Desert and has been burning for more than 50 years. It really is an eerie and mesmerising spectacle and definitely worth a visit.
This was the longest duration trip I’ve ever taken, covering the most ground by road and with some (by my standards) fairly extreme variations of temperature, altitude and landscape. But it was mostly very unusual, often spectacular and totally worth the bumpy ride – take layers, medications and a better camera than I did. The people were also a particular highlight. Jabbar in Turkmenistan was an impossible act to follow, but the local leaders were all very good. The group was a great mix and we bonded over one or two minor glitches and some medicinal vodka. We met the friendliest local people in markets, at the border crossings, on the road. They were very often willing to share my three words of Russian, and to practice their English. It was also very nice to be asked to join them for their photos – probably some of these invitations were from other tourists, but was still great to feel like the exotic extra for a change.
I can honestly say as a seasoned traveller the ‘Five Stans of the Silk Road’ tour was one of the best I’ve been on! In a well-planned and packed 3-week itinerary we got to compare & contrast the highlights of five countries in Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) each with its own distinct culture, history and approach to life. Exodus provided local guides for each country to ensure we got beneath the surface to learn more about the people. We stayed in a variety of excellent accommodation from plush hotels to lakeside yurts and the food was usually locally sourced, freshly cooked and delicious. An endlessly fascinating and thoroughly recommended for anyone with a sense of adventure and desire to learn about & experience a little-known corner of the world!