This journey makes you familiar with the manifold cultures along the legendary Silk Road and numerous localities that made history, among them five UNESCO World Heritage sites. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran are richly endowed with history and culture, a flavour of which you will sample on this exciting journey by private train.
|Tour Duration||:||16 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||60 persons|
|Max. Tour Size||:||120 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Tashkent (UZBEKISTAN)
Arrive Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan. You will be lead to your hotel.
Overnight: Grand Mir Hotel, Tashkent (1 night)
Day 02: Tashkent/Samarkand
On your sightseeing tour you’ll experience the green oasis of the Steppe: the Madrasah Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments and the opera. In the evening you will attend the famous Tashkent Navoy Opera (depending on the schedule). Afterwards your private train Orient Silk Road Express departs for Samarkand.
Overnight: on board the train (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 03: Samarkand
After breakfast your private train will arrive in Samarkand. Today you experience the historical prominence of Samarkand, the most beautiful city in the world in Tamerlane’s time: the grave city Shah-e-zende (“the living Shah”), the excavation sites of Afrosiab and the Registan Square present an impressive collection of Central Asian architecture.
Overnight: Hotel Registan Plaza, Samarkand (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Samarkand/Bukhara
You visit a silk carpet factory and an Uzbek craftsman’s family, see paper manufactured from mulberry bark, the observatory of Ulug Beg, the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque and the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. In the evening, your private train departs for Bukhara.
Overnight: on board the train (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 05: Bukhara
Situated in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara features about one thousand monuments, which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. Foreign spices, furs and especially silk fabrics were stored and handled in the caravansaries. In the old city (UNESCO-World Culture Heritage) you'll see the Kaljan Minaret and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble. In the afternoon, we guide you to the magnificent Mire-e-Arab Madrasah and the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia, the Samanid Mausoleum. Then you'll take a tour through the fortress Ark. In a madrassa courtyard you watch a performance of local dances, and a presentation of colourful national costumes with musical accompaniment. (B, L, D)
Day 06: Bukhara/Merv/Ashgabat (TURKMENISTAN)
Your private train arrives toward morning at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Merv, the remnants of what was once one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cities. The initial impression is of disbelief: gigantic walls and ramparts simply standing in the middle of the desert next to the imposing ruins of ancient buildings such as the Tomb of the Sultan Sanjar, the Maidens’ Castle (Kyz Kala), the historical ice-houses, and other tombs. Late in the evening you will arrive in the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat.
Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 07: Ashgabat
In the morning you are driven to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa. After lunch you take a guided tour of the modern-day capital, with its distinctive appearance so characteristic of Turkmenbashi, the self-proclaimed “great leader of all Turkmen”. Hollywood-style settings throughout this city flush with new-found oil wealth can be impressive, but sometimes also cause a chuckle. In the afternoon you take a guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat, where you view artefacts excavated from the ruins at Nisa and gain insight into the development of a culture shaped by various peoples, ethnicities, and religions. (B, L, D)
Day 08: Ashgabat/Mashhad (IRAN)
After breakfast, a bus ride will take you to Mashhad in Iran. This city is one of the seven holy sites of the Shiite Islam – and the only one in Iran. Here you find the mausoleum of the eighth Shiite Imam, Ali ibn Musa ar-Reza, who is said to have been poisoned at Calif al Ma’mum’s behest. The sanctuary in his honour consists of numerous patios and features one of the most comprehensive art collections in the whole of Iran.
Overnight: Hotel Homa, Mashad (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 09: Mashhad/Yazd
With the verses of Hafiz in your mind and following the scent of roses, you explore the city of the Persian paradise gardens (UNESCO World Heritage site). Not just flowers and fruit were thriving in the mild climate, but Persian poetry also struck roots here. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Old Town bazaar and discover Nasir-al-Molk Mosque, where the winter prayer hall is one of the most beautiful of its kind. Bud-shaped domed structures are typical for Shiraz – a visit to the Shah Cheragh monument and mosque will show you one of the best examples of this style, before you board your special train to travel to Tehran.
Overnight: on board the train (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 10: Yazd/Isfahan
In the morning, you reach the most exciting desert city of Iran: Yazd. Wind towers and domes dominate the city founded by Alexander the Great. Here, you visit the Zoroastrian fire temples and towers of silence, where the dead were once buried after the Zarathustra rite. The Yazd Water Museum introduces you to the desert city’s water supply by the Qanat system. While you are taking your lunch in the dining car, your private train heads towards Isfahan, where your hotel room is waiting for you. Today’s dinner will be served in the lovely courtyard of a former caravansary.
Overnight: Hotel Kowsar, Isfahan (1 night) (B, L, D)
Days 11 & 12: Yazd/Isfahan
Take your time to explore this wonderful city! Image of the World is what the locals like to call the Imam Square. With 1,840 ft. x 520 ft., it is not only the second largest, but also one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The marble columns bear witness to the fact of this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s former purpose as a venue for polo games. You cross the threshold to visit the Ali-qapu Palace and a veranda where you can enjoy an excellent view of the Imam Square. Once a private mosque for the Safavid royal families, the Lotfullah Mosque opens its doors for you today. You also visit the Jameh Mosque and the Armenian Quarters and you have enough time to explore the city and its markets on your own. Walk the Zayandehrud River and get to know the city’s two famous bridges, a favourite meeting place for the locals. Get enchanted by the merchants’ skills and products on display at the gold bazaar. Two days full of exciting experiences end with a dinner in an oriental style restaurant featuring local food at its best and a visit to a typical zurkhaneh, where the locals go for their sporting activities. Overnight: Hotel Kowsar, Isfahan (1 night) (B, L, D) and on board the train (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 13: Isfahan/Shiraz
With the verses of Hafiz in your mind and following the scent of roses, you explore the city of the Persian paradise gardens (UNESCO World Heritage site). Not just flowers and fruit were thriving in the mild climate, but Persian poetry also struck roots here. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Old Town bazaar and discover Nasir-al-Molk Mosque, where the winter prayer hall is one of the most beautiful of its kind. Bud-shaped domed structures are typical for Shiraz – a visit to the Shah Cheragh monument and mosque will show you one of the best examples of this style.
Overnight: Hotel Chamran Grand Hotel, Shiraz (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 14: Shiraz/Tehran
At the site of his victories, the Persian King, Cyrus the Great, built his capital city of Pasargadae. I am Cyrus the King, an Achaemenian, states the inscriptions on pillars and reliefs of the audience hall of the Residence. Your local tour guide shows you all of the attractions of this sprawling archaeological site, including the Cyrus grave. By bus, you reach your next sightseeing spot in about an hour. The kingdom of Darius the First extended from Egypt to Pakistan, and he founded the capital of Para; the Greeks named it Persepolis. Your guide takes you on a discovery tour of the 1,500 ft. x 985 ft. palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Step up the two stairs to the Portal of All Countries, which gives you an idea of the size of the Achaemenid Empire. The Assyrian models of hybrids and bull figures had a defensive and protective function. Discover Apadana Palace, where King Darius received his visitors, and the Naqsh-e-Rostam necropolis of the Achaemenids. A short bus ride brings you to the train station where your private train waits for you.
Overnight: on board the train (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 15: Tehran
After your arrival in Tehran, you say goodbye to your charming train staff. In the Iranian capital, you visit Golestan Palace, an exciting monument of the glories and excesses of the Qajar emperors. In the Archaeological Museum you take a journey through history. Afterwards you will explore the glass and ceramics museum of Teheran. Dinner will be served in the Milad Tower, the sixth tallest telecommunication tower in the world. Have a rest at your hotel room.
Overnight: Hotel Laleh, Tehran (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 16: Depart Tehran
Airport transfer for individual departure. Check out time is by 1100 hrs.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
Tour PriceWe accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|Departure(s) 2018||Per Person||Single Room Supplement|
|4-berths sharing compartments (Habibi)||US$ 6000||US$ 1030 (for 9 hotel overnights)|
|2-berths sharing compartments (Ali Baba)||US$ 8220||-|
Clothing and alcohol in Iran: The rules that apply to locals also apply to visitors. For men: no shirts with free upper arms and no shorts. For women: wear a headscarf covering the hair. Also, body shape is to be covered. Ankle-length pants and a jacket reaching down to half thigh-length are recommended for women. Waist jackets are not permitted. Alcohol is prohibited.
- Please contact us for possible upgrade to better compartment/category.
- Maximum group size is 26 when sightseeing.
- For Train Info please click here
Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 120 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.