• C.asia.itin3

Travels on the Silk Route

Overland from Uzbekistan via Kyrgyzstan to China  |  34 days

A spectacular journey following the silk road thousands of miles from Khiva in the heart of Central Asia across China to Beijing.  Journey by air, road and train, passing through rural markets and great Imperial cities, visiting tranquil pagodas, historic palaces and world renowned monuments along the way. We can also extend your trip to include the magnificent Yangtse River, the longest in China and Asia.


Day 1: Fly to Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city

Day 2: Fly to Urgench

Day 3: Visit the fabled Khanate of Khiva

Day 4: Drive to Bukhara

Day 5: Tour the dazzling Islamic monuments of Bukhara

Day 6: Drive to Samarkand, Tamerlane’s imperial capital

Day 7: Visit Samarkand, Uzbekistan’s greatest architectural treasure

Day 8: Return to Tashkent by road

Day 9: Fly to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek

Day 10: Drive to Issykul

Day 11: Drive to Naryn

Day 12: Overnight in yurts at the Tash Rabat Caravanserai

Days 13/14: Cross the remote Turugart Pass to Kashgar in China

Day 15: Drive to Yarkand, oasis city in northwestern China

Day 16: Drive to Bachu

Day 17: By road to Kucha, city on the southern slopes of the ‘Celestial Mountains’

Day 18: Drive to Korla in the Xinjiang province

Day 19: Drive to Urumqi

Day 20: Enjoy Urumqi’s lush pastures in the Tien Shan Mountains

Day 21: Drive to Turpan

Day 22: Drive to Hami and explore both the new and old city

Day 23: Drive to Dunhuang

Days 24-25: Explore Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves

Day 26: Drive to Jiayuguan

Day 27: Train to Lanzhou

Day 28: Fly to Xi’an, one of China’s six ancient capitals

Days 29-30: Tour Xi’an and its Terracotta Warriors

Day 31: Fly to Beijing

Days 32-33: Beijing

Day 34: Return flight to London


guide price £6,775 per person



Trip report for Central Asia

Central Asia

Fiona’s travel tips

THE GREAT GAME: The Great Game refers to the 19th century battle for supremacy played out by the Russian and British empires for political dominance in Central Asia. While Russia spread east, swallowing up the Silk Route khanates of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, Britain edged determinedly north towards the forbidden land of Tibet, with the aid of knowledge accumulated by fabled pundits like Nain Singh. The very centre of this political chessboard was the Gilgit Valley, where, high among the mountains, the borders of India, China, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan all converge.

Drinking green tea in Bukhara’s Lyiab-y-hauz in the shade of an ancient mulberry tree, watching some of the elders sitting cross-legged on charpoys bent over a chess board.

Peter Hopkirk’s The Great Game and Eastern Approaches by Sir Fitzroy Maclean.

The ideal time to travel is May to September, apart from Turkmenistan where the height of summer is better avoided.

For wild, remote, back to nature trekking, Tajikistan is perfect.

Start your journey in Azerbaijan and cross by local ferry from Baku into Turkmenistan, the hottest, driest and harshest of the stans, where Ashkhabad’s Sunday Market will be swarming with the dominant Turkmen tribe, the Tekke, resplendent in their extraordinary shaggy hats.

Kazakhstan:  9 hours (direct)
Kyrgyzstan: 9½ hours (direct)
Tajikistan: 9 hours (indirect)
Turkmenistan: 9 hours (indirect)
Uzbekistan: 8¾ hours (direct)

Clients’ comments

“Our journey along the Silk Route was truly memorable. These beautiful ancient lands with their Khanate cities and bazaars, unforgiving deserts and high, snow-capped mountains with lakes and lonely passes are memories we will treasure. Our guides were knowledgeable, helpful and fun, sharing their own family lives and culture with us, helping put all that we saw into a social context. The planning and organisation of our trip was faultless and Fiona’s first-hand knowledge and contacts in Central Asia smoothed a forced change in plans at short notice efficiently and effortlessly. Thank you so much."

Mr and Mrs Rob Aylott,
Central Asia from Baku to Urumqi