Embark on a journey along the most famous trade route in the world. On this trip with the Orient Silk Road Express, carried out by our partner Lernidee Erlebnisreisen, you will experience spectacular nature: the Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts and the Tien Shan Mountains. Visiting the colorful markets is also a unique experience: Buyers and sellers who trade in animals, food and traditional jewelry meet here, just as they did then.
Best travel time: April to October
Travel time: 14 days
Travel planning: Fixed travel dates apply to this special train journey. As here, it can be undertaken from east to west, but also in the opposite direction from west to east.
From east to west: 01.04. – 14.04.21, 07.10. – 20.10.21 and 31.03. – 13.04.22
From west to east: 13.04. – 04/26/21, 10/19 – 01.11.21 and 12.04. – 04/25/22
Tip: We can warmly recommend an additional individual stay in Kyrgyzstan as a pre- or post-program (depending on the direction of travel) of the train journey. If you are interested, we will tailor it for you.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
From Almaty to Ashgabat (from east to west)
Day 1: Flight Zurich – Almaty
Flight to Almaty via Frankfurt. Arrival around midnight. Transfer to your comfort hotel.
Day 2: Almaty – father of apples
In the morning, city tour with Russian Orthodox wooden cathedral, wedding palace, circus and central mosque. Lunch in typical yurts. Your journey on the special train starts in the afternoon. A welcome drink and a short lecture await you on board. (FMA)
Day 3: Turkestan – nomad pilgrimage center
After breakfast you will arrive in the city of Turkestan, where the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, built in 1394, awaits you. Your special train then continues to Tashkent. Overnight on board. (FMA)
Day 4: Tashkent
In the early morning your special train arrives in Tashkent. City tour with madrasah Kukeldash, Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments and the typical mud houses. In the evening, continue with the special train. (FMA)
Day 5: Time travel
You drove through the mountains overnight. Today you will experience the unique tradition of this region that has fallen out of time at a folklore demonstration. Then go to Schahrisabs, the birthplace of Tamerlan. In the evening you leave with your special train for Samarkand. (FMA)
Day 6: Samarkand
Today you will experience the sights of this historical celebrity, which was considered the most beautiful and most important city in the world under Tamerlane: the burial city of Shah-e-sende (the living Shah), the excavation sites of Afrosiab (with a museum tour) and the Registan -Place as certainly the most impressive building ensemble in Central Asia. The Registan is surrounded by three mighty madrasas. Impressive in terms of decoration and colors: the huge magnificent portals. In the background the domes of the mosques glitter like in an oriental fairy tale. In 1917 the women of Uzbekistan burned their face veils at this historic site and set out on their way into a new era. Here in Samarkand you will stay in the comfort hotel for the next two nights. (FMA)
Day 7: Samarkand, the glamorous one
Today you have free time. If you have booked the excursion package, you will visit a silk carpet factory and an Uzbek family of craftsmen who make paper from mulberry tree bark, you will see the Ulug Beg observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum mosque. Visit the inside of the palace-like mausoleum Gur Emir. It houses the grave of Tamerlane, who as a famous builder made his capital a paradise, but also went down in history as a feared conqueror. (FA)
Day 8: Samarkand
Free time in the morning. Around noon you will take the train west to Khiva. You spend the night on board your special train. (FMA)
Day 9: Khiva – fairy tale turned into stone from 1001 nights
Today you will visit the Khiva oasis – a fairy tale turned into stone from 1001 nights. You stand in front of the mighty city wall of Chiwas with its gates and bastions made of adobe bricks and believe that you are in another world: around the Kalta Minor minaret, life still pulsates today as in the old days. You can take in all the sights on a tour: Palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and madrasas form one of the best-preserved ensembles of medieval oriental urban development. You will enjoy your lunch in the former summer palace of the emir. You spend the night on board. (FMA)
Day 10: Bukhara, the noble place
Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum desert, Bukhara has around a thousand architectural monuments that are reminiscent of the heyday of the Great Silk Road. In the old town you can see the almost 50 m high Kaljan minaret and the Labi-Hauz ensemble at the pond. In front of the monument to Nasreddin, an oriental version by Till Eulenspiegel, you can listen to some of his teasing and legends. Experience a folklore show with music, local dances and a presentation of colorful national costumes in the courtyard of a madrasah. You spend the night in a mid-range hotel in Bukhara. (FMA)
Day 11: The mausoleum of the Samanids
If you have booked today’s excursion package, you will experience Bukhara as part of a full-day sightseeing program including lunch. The city presents itself to you as a large, unique and authentic architecture museum that has retained its ancient oriental face. In the morning we take you to the magnificent Mire-e-Arab madrasah and the most valuable building in Central Asia, the Samanid mausoleum. Then take a tour of the mighty Ark Fortress, a city within the city that was once the seat of government of the rulers of Bukhara. You will see the coronation hall there and then visit the summer residence of the last emir. You spend the night on board today. (FA)
Day 12: Merw, the pearl of the east
Towards morning you will arrive at the UNESCO world cultural monuments of Merw – once one of the most magnificent cities in the world, Merw was razed to the ground in 1221 by Genghis Khan’s son Toloi. Bairam Ali Khan gave the city a modest rebirth in the 18th century and rebuilt the old irrigation system until the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the dams again in 1795. What remains are seemingly unreal, impressive ruins in the desert. You will have lunch with a family today. You will then travel to Ashgabat, where you will arrive in the late evening. You stay in a middle class hotel. (FMA)
Day 13: Former royal city Nisa and today’s capital Ashgabat
In the morning you drive to the old Parthian city of Nisa. After lunch, take a city tour of Ashgabat and get to know today’s capital, which unmistakably reveals the handwriting of Turkmenbashi, the Great Leader of the Turkmen. In the afternoon: guided tour of the National Museum. After the farewell dinner, it’s off to the airport. (FMA)
Day 14: Departure
Early in the morning you fly with Lufthansa to Zurich via Frankfurt – the end of a fairytale journey!