Silk Road Stans Rail Tour - SRR

Mike and Stephie
May 03, 2021

Explore the ancient cultures of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, as we journey from Ashgabat to Mary, Merv, Bukhara, Khiva, Samarqand, Shakhrisabz, Tashkent, Turkestan and Almaty.

This journey makes you familiar with the manifold cultures along the legendary Silk Road and numerous localities that made history, among them no less than 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Tien Shan Mountains, the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are richly endowed with history and culture, a flavour of which you will sample on this exciting journey by Private Train.


July to October. Price: On application.

What’s Included

  • 7 overnights onboard the Private Train according to the booked category
  • 6 overnights at hotels
  • All meals as per final itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • Sightseeing program including entrance fees as per final itinerary
  • Guided transfers to and from all airports and train stations for scheduled group flights
  • Tour host
  • Experienced local guides for a maximum of 26 guests per group
  • Doctor on board
  • Traditional welcome in the train stations of Bukhara, and Samarqand
  • Lunch/dinner with an Uzbek and a Turkmen family
  • Wine and Vodka tasting
  • Information about the Silk Road


  • Visa
  • fees
  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Additional/optional items


You arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to our centrally located hotel. The balance of the day is free to relax or explore. This evening meet up with your tour host. Overnight: Grand Turkmen Hotel (or similar)

In the morning, you visit a bustling, typical oriental market. You then travel to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa. In the afternoon you go on a guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat where artefacts excavated from the ruins at Nisa are on exhibit. After lunch you undertake a brief tour of Ashgabat, whose distinctive appearance is 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. You dine aboard your train, which departs later in the evening. Overnight on board our train.B,L,D

Your private train arrives early in the 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. Lunch is eaten with a local family in the picturesque courtyard of their home. Overnight on board our train. B,L,D

The city of Bukhara, located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, has some one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Exotic spices, furs, and especially silk were stored and traded in the city’s caravanserais. In Bukhara’s Old Town (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage), you see the almost fifty-metre tall Kalyan Minaret and the Lyab-I Hauz Ensemble by the pond, among other sights. In a madrassa courtyard you watch a performance of local dances, and a presentation of colourful national costumes with musical accompaniment. Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar). B,L,D

Bukhara, which also bears the by-name Sherif (the noble one), has preserved its ancient oriental countenance in its extensive, unparalleled collection of authentic architecture. During the morning, we drive you to the splendid Mir-e-Arab Madrassa and the Samanid Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s most beautiful structures. Afterwards you tour the massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city that was once the seat of government of Bukhara’s former rulers. There you view the Throne Room, after which you go to the last emir’s Summer Residence. Your stay is completed with a visit to the world’s only women’s mosque, at a Sufi complex and pilgrimage centre about fifteen kilometres outside of the city. Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar). B,L,D

The morning is yours to spend as you please – relax or explore. Your train leaves for Khiva, Uzbekistan around noon. Overnight on board our train.B,L,D

After breakfast, your train will have arrived at the southern extent of the Zhetysu (seven rivers) landscape, at the oasis of Khiva. Standing at the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick, you feel transported into another world. Life still pulses around the base of the Kalta Minor Minaret, just as it did in former times. Your tour allows you to take in the atmosphere and sights of the oasis. Its palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums, and madrassas (Muslim religious schools) represent some of the best-preserved examples of oriental town architecture from medieval times. After lunch in the former emir’s Summer Palace. Our private train leaves for Samarqand this evening. Overnight on board our train. B,L,D

Today is spent visiting the sights of this famous historic city, which during the rule of Timur was considered the world’s most beautiful and prestigious city. The Necropolis of Shah-e Zinde (the living Shah), the excavation sites at Afrosiab (with a museum tour), and Registan Square are certainly among the most notable architectural ensembles in Central Asia. It is also historically important as the site where many Uzbek women burned their veils (paranjas) in 1917, to mark their arrival in a new era. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar). B,L,D

Your day in this fascinating city includes a tour of a silk carpet manufactory, a visit to an Uzbek craftsman’s family to see paper being made from mulberry bark, stops at the Ulug Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, and viewing the interior of the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar). B,L,D

Today you enjoy an excursion to the surrounding mountain region, where fire worship and shamanism are still practiced in the form of rituals and myths seldom found elsewhere. A traditional ceremony offers you first-hand insight into the region’s unique folklore and you have the chance to experience the daily life of the local residents. Aboard your train, you then continue along the Great Silk Road to Timur’s birthplace, the green city of Shakhrisabz (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site). Here you will see monumental architecture of the Mongol ruler’s Great Palace from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the evening you depart to Tashkent on your private train. On board you are invited to a tasting of Uzbek wines. Overnight on board our train. B,L,D

In the morning your private train arrives in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Your sightseeing tour of the city offers a closer glimpse of this green oasis in the steppe. You see the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and the typical Kazakh mud brick houses. In the evening you attend a concert in a music hall (programme permitting). Afterwards your train departs for Kazakhstan. Overnight on board our train. B,L,D

Border formalities at the Kazakhstan border are completed in the comfort of your compartment and you arrive before noon in the city of Turkestan. You visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the most significant examples of Timurid architecture. Afterwards you continue on towards Almaty aboard your private train. Overnight on board our train. B,L,D

Your train arrives in Almaty after lunch. A sightseeing tour of the city offers you an impression of this green metropolitan city at the foot of the mighty Ile Alatau Mountains. You see the imposing Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral built entirely of wood, the Wedding Palace, the Almaty Circus, and the Central Mosque. That evening you are served a tasty dinner in a traditional Kazakh yurt. Overnight/day room (depending on time of departure flight): Rahat Palace (or similar). B,L,D

Today is the end of our very special journey. Transfer to Almaty airport for onward travel arrangements.

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