Road to Samarkand
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Road to Samarkand

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Journey through the heart of Central Asia crossing starkly beautiful deserts and magnificent mountain landscapes. Discover ancient cities full of intricate Islamic architecture, thriving bazaars and a mystical old-world atmosphere, all inextricably linked with the legends of the Silk Road

tour duration 24 Days from
tour price 4,390pp
tour type Group Tour

Places Visited

UK - Urumqi (1N) - Kashgar (2N) - Naryn (1N) - Kochkor Village (1N) - Karakol (2N) - Cholpon-Ata (2N) - Bishkek (1N) - Tashkent (3N) - Nukus (1N) - Khiva (2N) - Bukhara (3N) - Samarkand (3N) - UK

Tour Highlights

Explore the diverse architecture of the oasis city Kashgar
Cross the magnificent Tian Shan Heavenly Mountains
Get to grips with petroglyphs found in Lake Issyk-Kul
Wander the beautiful 17th century Kuhna Ark Fortress
Discover the ancient and pre-Soviet styles of Bukhara
Be mesmerised by the UNNESCO city of Samarkand

Days 1-2 Fly to Urumqi
Fly overnight to the city of Urumqi. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Days 1-2 Fly to Urumqi
Day 3 Tian Chi Heavenly Lake
Escape to the tranquility of Tian Chi Heavenly Lake, a crystal clear body of water formed in a crater atop Baekdu Mountain. In the evening fly to the remote city of Kashgar, the heart of the Silk Road.
Day 3 Tian Chi Heavenly Lake
Day 4 Explore Kashgar
Its skyline punctured by minarets, Kashgar feels a million miles from anywhere. Although now a modern city, the sights and sounds of Kashgar’s streets have remained unchanged for millennia, as it remains as much of an integral trading post as in its Silk Road heyday. Today’s visits include Abakh Hoja Tomb, Id Kah Mosque and the atmospheric alleyways around Id Kah Square.
Day 4 Explore Kashgar
Day 5 Tian Shan Mountains
Cross the border into Kyrgyzstan through the magnificent Tian Shan Heavenly Mountains. Making our way over the Torugart Pass to Naryn, stop en route at the 15th century Caravanserai at Tash Rabat.
Day 5 Tian Shan Mountains
Days 6-7 Kochkor Village & Karakol
Drive to Kochkor Village and enjoy a traditional lunch at a ger camp. The next day continue to Karakol via Bokonbayevo village on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, where the locals will demonstrate their skill at hunting with eagles.
Days 6-7 Kochkor Village & Karakol
Days 8-9 Explore Karakol
Spend the morning soaking up the atmosphere of the bustling animal market before examining the region’s diverse religious influences with visits to the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral and the Chinese mosque. Take an afternoon stroll in Jety-Orguz and through the beautiful Valley of Flowers. The next day explore the Przhevalskii Museum and Semenov Gorge before continuing to Cholpon-Ata. Relax on an afternoon cruise on Issy Kul. Explore the petroglyphs of ibex, wolves and deer etched into glacial stone. Continue to Ashu in the Chon-Kemin Valley
Days 8-9 Explore Karakol
Day 10 Chon-Kemin Valley
Today take in the real life of Kyrgyz people in Ashu village.
Day 10 Chon-Kemin Valley
Days 11 Bishkek
Drive to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, a city of wide, leafy boulevards which contrast with the Soviet-era architecture. En route visit the 11th century Burana Tower, an intricate minaret out in the countryside.This afternoon there is an option to visit spectacular Ala Archa National Park or enjoy the time at your leisure.
Days 11 Bishkek
Day 12 Fly to Tashkent
This morning take a leisurely hike in Ala Archa National Park. This evening fly to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.
Day 12 Fly to Tashkent
Day 13 Journey to Nukus
Fly to Nukus and visit Savitskiy museum before exploring Mizdahkan, an Islamic complex in Hojeli Village.
Day 13 Journey to Nukus
Day 14 Explore Nukus
Discover the magnificent desert fortress of Chalpik Kala, Kizil Kala Fortress, Toprak Kala Fortress, Ayaz Kala and Kryrkkyz Kala. Arrive in Khiva.
Day 14 Explore Nukus
Day 15 Khiva Ark Fortress
The ancient city of Khiva has a long and turbulent history as part of the Silk Road and a slave trading post. This fascinating destination is lovely to explore – wander around the many medressahs, mosques and minarets within the ancient city walls, as well as the magnificent 17th century Kuhna Ark Fortress.
Day 15 Khiva Ark Fortress
Days 16-18 Sacred Bukhara
After a day’s drive across the Kyzyi Kumdesert arrive at the holiest city in Central Asia, Bukhara. Bukhara has been built up over thousands of years, with an atmospheric old centre and some pre-Soviet era architecture. Spend two days seeing the sights, with visits to the Ark Fortress, Chor Minor, Kalon Minaret, Labi-Hauz Plaza and the summer residence of the last Bukharan Emirs.
Days 16-18 Sacred Bukhara
Days 19-21 Samarkand to Tashkent
Perhaps the most notable name in Silk Road history Samarkand is a UNESCO World Heritage city with an evocative skyline of domes and minarets and a mystical presence. Drive to the city via Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the great historical leader,Tamerlane. Spend two days exploring some of the many historical sites of Samarkand including the Registan, Sher Dor Medressa, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-I-Zinda and the Ulugh Beg Observatory.
Days 19-21 Samarkand to Tashkent
Day 22 Samarkand
Return to Tashkent by road. You will pass through the Tamerlane Gates en route. Visit the majestic 16th-century Kukeldash Medressa, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Khan Medressa, Khast Imam Complex and Moyie Mubarek Library Museum. Later, wander the Chorsu Bazaar and explore the Crying Mother Monument.
Day 22 Samarkand
Day 23 Tashkent
Explore famous sights around Tashkentincluding the 1966 earthquake memorial, Independence and Bunyodkor squares, Alishedr Navoi Theatre and the Amir Timur Maydoni before exploring Broadway Street. Spend the night in Tashkent.
Day 23 Tashkent
Day 24 Fly Tashkent to UK
Wake early this morning for your flight to the UK arriving the same day.
Day 24 Fly Tashkent to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking local guides in each destination

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

07-May > 30-May - £4,390
21-May > 13-Jun - £4,390 BOOK NOW
03-Sep > 26-Sep - £4,490 BOOK NOW
08-Oct > 31-Oct - £4,490 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Regional departures available
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £3,790pp (Chengdu - Kathmandu)
Single supplement from £590 (none if willing to share)
Tipping payable locally US$145pp

06-May > 29-May - £4,790 BOOK NOW
07-Oct > 30-Oct - £4,890 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Regional departures available
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £3,790pp (Chengdu - Kathmandu)
Single supplement from £590 (none if willing to share)
Tipping payable locally US$145pp

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

Bintuan Grand Hotel
Bintuan Grand Hotel - Urumqi (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

The Bintuan Grand Hotel located in Urumqi city centre offers spacious rooms with city views, en-suite bathrooms, complimentary toiletries, satellite television and a minibar. The hotel has 2 onsite restaurants, as well as a fitness center, a sauna and a spa.



Tianyuan International Hotel
Tianyuan International Hotel - Kashgar (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

The Tianyuan International Hotel, located in the city centre of Kashi, has traditionally adorned en-suite rooms with modern amenities, including tea making facilities, a minibar, free Wifi and complimentary newspapers and toiletries. The hotel’s onsite restaurant serves local Chinese dishes. There is also a spa onsite.



Guest House
Guest House "Khan-Tengri" - Naryn (1 Nights)
hotel star rating

Guest House "Khan-Tengri" is considered to be one of the best guest houses in Naryn. It’s located in a quiet district of Naryn where you can feel the warm atmosphere of Kyrgyz hospitality. The guest house has 25 en-suite comfortable rooms, all featuring cable TV and furniture. The internet and bar are other facilities provided.



2 Guest Houses
2 Guest Houses - Kochkor (1 Nights)
hotel star rating



Guest House “Green Yard”
Guest House “Green Yard” - Karakol (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

Green Yard Hotel is conveniently located in the centre of Karakol, a short distance from the famous Issyk-Kul Lake and ski-resort. The hotel features spacious en-suite rooms, fitted with modern amenities including a flat-screen TV, wardrobe and desk. Free toiletries and a hairdryer are also available in a bathroom. Guests can also relax in the sauna and massage parlour.



Wangfu Hotel
Wangfu Hotel - 9 Yigu Xiang, Nanmen Street, Ancient Town (2 Nights)
hotel star rating

Wangfu Hotel is located inside the Lijiang Old Town and it is good retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.



A visa is required by all nationalities. A visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. Calls may cost £1 per minute to the UK, plus a 10% service charge, but will vary by location. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. Many websites, including most Google Products, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China and therefore inaccessible. If you need to access your email via Gmail whilst in China, please use an alternative email account whilst in the country.

Tipping while on holiday is common in most parts of the world and China is no exception. However, it is not always clear who it is appropriate to tip and how much. Furthermore, travellers may not have the right amounts of cash available at the right time. In order to avoid any inconvenience Wendy Wu Tours operates a tipping policy where a stated amount is given to your national escort at the beginning of your tour and tips are distributed to local guides and drivers throughout your tour. The amount is designed to be at a reasonable level for travellers while being fair to the local people and includes a gratuity for the national escort. If you are travelling in a smaller group with local guides only, then tipping is paid in each destination.  To be fair to the guides we ask for slightly higher amounts per traveller with small groups. Yangtze cruise companies operate a service charge policy and this is paid separately when boarding the vessel.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre or post tour arrangements, you should allow 65 RMB per person per day for the guides and 35 RMB per person per day for the drivers.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
 
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

Hotels in China are bound by Government laws which mean that air conditioning is switched on nationally in May and the central heating in November (this may vary slightly depending on the region).

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What's Included

all international airfares
all domestic transportation, departure taxes and current fuel surcharges
all accommodation
all meals
entrance fees, guides and daily tours
visa fees for EU and UK passport holders

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is ideal for those with an extensive period of time to travel and who are looking for a comprehensive visit to the main sights and cities in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This tour is active and involves more walking and outdoor activity which allows you to further experience this fascinating area.

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