trip
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3
Introductory

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 14 days adventure touring
Accommodation
  • 12 nights hotel
  • 2 nights homestay
Meals
  • 14 Dinners
  • 13 Lunches
  • 14 Breakfasts

SPECIAL OFFER

15 Days$2870USD

Hit the trails with confidence

Enjoy $0 Deposit
on new bookings for a number of our trips

COVID safety measures
are in place with extra cleaning and hygiene protocols

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: IFA

Trip highlights


  • Discover the desert city of Bukhara
  • Take in the fabled Silk Road city of Samarkand
  • Hike around the picturesque lake of the Fann mountains, Lake Iskander-Kul
  • Marvel at splendid markets, minarets and medressa
  • Experience the historic centre of Shakhrisabz
  • Journey to the ancient city of Khujand

Follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and discover the fabled Silk Road oasis towns of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. After exploring the famous museums of Tashkent we travel to Samarkand with one of the most impressive sights in the region, Registan Square. Discover some of the oldest towns in the world with ancient mosques and palaces, citadels, minarets, colourful bazaars, highly-adorned mausoleums, and age-old traditions. This unforgettable adventure travels through the ancient cultural landscapes and spectacular landscapes of Tajikistan, one of Central Asia's most picturesque countries. Visit the stunning alpine lake of Iskander-Kul on the northern slopes of the Gissar Range in the Fann Mountains, where according to tradition the lake takes its name from Alexander the Great. If you are looking for an unforgettable experience exploring the hidden heart of Central Asia - its natural wonders are perfectly combined with cultural highlights to discover in depth the beauty of this historical region along the ancient Silk Route.


On arrival into Tashkent you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. This evening you will meet the rest of the group for dinner. Overnight: City Palace Hotel or similar

Meals:  D

This morning we board the high speed train from Tashkent to the ancient city of Samarkand. We won't be able to check in to our rooms until 14:00 but we will leave our main luggage at the hotel. The rest of the day is dedicated to sightseeing of Samarkand’s major attractions such as Registan Square considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. Being the "heart" of Samarkand and city’s main square it is enclosed by three spectacular madrassah dating back to 1400s with quite inner courtyards. These huge buildings adorned with domes and minarets are intricately laid in charming azure blue glazed tiles. We will also visit the grandiose Cathedral Mosque Bibi-Khanum, nearby Siab Bazaar with its colorful stalls and Gur-Emir Mausoleum – the resting place of Timurid royal family. Train: ~2hrs Overnight: Hotel City Samarkand or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we head out for more Samarkand sightseeing, covering the remains of meridian quadrant of Ulugh Beg’ observatory which allowed Samarkand's astronomers to produce the most accurate calibration of the stars position. Their outstanding body of work comprised "Zidj -e - Kuragoni", astronomic tables featuring the most exact coordinates of 1018 stars; Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, the resting place of princesses and princes of the Timurid dynasty and aristocracy of the that period boasting unique architectural masterpieces of intricate tile patterns which turn this sanctuary into a real heaven of green turquoise and blue azure colors. Both sights are located on the ancient hill from which the city of Marakanda, once conquered by Alexander the Great, majestically dominated the area. We will also get acquainted with the Hellenistic period in the history of Samarkand exploring the exhibits of local Afrosiab Museum. Overnight: Hotel City Samarkand or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we check out and head to the train station to board the high speed train once again, this time to Bukhara. Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan, situated on the sacred hill, it is supposed to have been founded in the 13th Century BC during the reign of Siyavushids who came to power 980 years before the arrival of Alexander the Great. The name Bukhara originates from the Sanskrit word “vihara” which stands for “Buddhist monastery”. The city with its 140 architectural monuments was once a large commercial centre on the Great Silk Road. The old city of Bukhara consists of a maze of narrow streets, busy bazars and colorfully tailed historic landmarks mainly dating back to the Middle Age. Train: ~1½hrs Overnight: Kavsar Boutique Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we continue our exploration of the ancient walled city of Bukhara. During our two days in Bukhara we'll visit the mausoleum of the founder of the Samanid dynasty the plans of which are based on the geometric pattern of a Buddhist mandala, Bukhara’s citadel belted by massive defensive walls and overlooking the Old City. We will also visit ancient mosques, madrassah and ancient domed bazaars as well as the Summer Residence of the last rulers of Bukhara located in the city’s suburb. Overnight: Kavsar Boutique Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to Shakhrisabz. Along the way we will visit the sights of Nautaka (present day Karshi) located on the banks of the Limpid River (Kashkadarya). In Nautaka, Alexander the Great and his army passed two winters and planned his Indian campaign. Here we will visit Odina Madrassah, the oldest female educational establishment of the region once erected on the sight of Khan’s residence. It is now converted in little local museum. The biggest and the most beautiful mosque of the city, Kok-Gumbaz, built in XVI c. in the basement of the older Namosgokh Mosque and adorned with majolica glazed tiles. upon arrival in Shakhrisabz, we will venture out to explore the burial places of Timurid royalty in their hometown - Shakhrisabz and will explore the ruins of Tamerlan’s summer residence, the Ak-Sarai Palace (1380-1404). Drive: ~4hrs, 265km Overnight: Shahrisabz Star Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to Termez. Along the way we will have half day sightseeing in Baysun. Baysun is a picturesque region situated in the grand Ketmen-Chapti massif. Its deeply rooted folk traditions were included on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Today we will also meet Baysun local families, which will introduce us to the lifestyle, traditions and culture of local people. Along the way to Baysun we will visit 1000 years old “chinara” (plane tree) in Sayrob mountain settlement, 10th century Towering minaret of Jarkurgan and the sight known as the bridge of Alexander the Great. Drive: ~4½hrs, 288km Overnight: Meridian Termez or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will have full day sightseeing in and around Termez. We will first visit ruins of Buddhist monastic complex with stupa “Fayaz tepe”; resting place of Samanid aristocracy; Kyrk-Kyz country estate of Samadid dynasty; archeological site of Kampyr-Tepe with its maze of excavated walls as well as Termez archeological museum. Overnight: Meridian Termez or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will drive to Tajikistan. On the way stop at the well-preserved, C12 corrugated Jarkurgan minaret. The road passes through numerous rural villages along the Baisuntau ridge with peaks soaring up to 4000m. We cross at the Sariosiyo border point and once in the Tajik territory we visit the Hissar fortress and the medieval madrassah en route into Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Drive: ~4¼hrs, 250km Overnight: Lotus Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

With a rural hinterland of grassy pastures and snow-capped mountains visible from downtown, Dushanbe is a delightful city built around parks, lakes and fountains. Dushanbe's origins stretch back some 3,000 years though the city grew from a village into a city under Soviet rule as the capital for the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, a part of the Uzbek USSR. Today we will spend the day in the Tajik capital and enjoy a city tour taking in Dousti Square, the Samany Monument (to the founder of the Tajik Government), Rudaki Avenue and a historical museum. This evening we’ll enjoy a dinner with traditional folklore show. Overnight: Lotus Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we leave the city behind and transfer to the legendary Lake Iskanderkul (Alexander's lake) via the picturesque Varzob gorge and Anzob tunnel. Iskanderkul is a mountain lake of glacial origin in Tajikistan's Sughd Province. It lies at an altitude of 2,195m on the northern slopes of the Gissar Range in the Fann Mountains. Today we will hike around the lake and to the “Fann Niagara”, a 40m high waterfall. Picnic by the lake. After lunch we will drive to Saritag village where we will be acquainted with traditions and the daily life of local people. Drive: ~3hrs, 135km Overnight: Local village homestay

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we set off for Khujand our route will lay through the mountain pass “Shakhristan”. Along the way we will visit the ancient city of Kiropolis, present day Istravshan, founded by Persian King Cyrus in 7th century B.C. We will explore the old city with its bazaar Kok Gumbaz Mosque (XVI) and Mug hill. After lunch we continue the drive to Khujand (Alexandria Eshata). Drive: ~4hrs, 221km Overnight: Khujand Deluxe Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will get around Khujand and visit its main sights such as Sheikh Maslikhiddin Mausoleum and Mosque (XIV-XIX c.c.), Payshambe bazaar and Country estate of Urumkhodjaev family which bears resemblance to the palace of Russian tsars in Petergof. After lunch we commence our drive to the “Oybek” border point and after completing border formalities enter into Uzbekistan. Drive: ~3hrs, 167km Overnight: City Palace Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will get around Tashkent and get acquainted with its main sights: Khast-Imam( Jhazret – Imam) complex including Tillya Sheykh Mosque, Barak Khan madrassah, Muyimuborak madrassah converted in library-museum and housing the world’s oldest copy of the Koran once belonging to Caliph Osman (VII). Overnight: City Palace Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today after breakfast, you will be provided with transfer to the airport where your trip concludes. Hotel check-out will be at 12:00. Luggage storage will be available at the hotel should your flight depart later in the day.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners
  • airport transfers on day 1 and day 15
  • comfortable hotels on twin share basis
  • local sightseeing guide
  • entrance fees to museums and monuments
  • private transport throughout
  • medical kit
  • 2 nights homestay on a multishare basis

  • International airfares and departure taxes
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Visas
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, bottled mineral water, soft drinks, alcohol etc
  • Optional activities and sightseeing during free time
  • Still/video camera fees at monuments

Departure dates


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Total Priceper person from

$2870USD

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Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Videos

Joanna Lumley's Silk Road Adventure | The Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand | ITV

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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