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The Silk Road

34 days from £9900 per person

Following the dramatic path of the famous Silk Road, traverse Imperial China from capital Beijing to the nation’s barren western limits then through the secretive central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. For many this is the ultimate itinerary — a synthesis of culture, history and life that combines numerous sites central to human civilisation on a journey stretching across one–third of the globe. From Xi’an, Dunhuang, Turpan and Kashgar in China to Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, this is an exhilarating itinerary unlike any other.

Route: Beijing – Xi’an – Lanzhou – Xiahe – Dunhuang – Turpan – Urumqi – Kashgar – Naryn – Issyk-Kul – Bishkek – Fergana – Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara – Khiva – Ashgabat – Istanbul

Itinerary Highlights

Originally a frontier fort on the edge of the Gobi Desert, remote Dunhuang is now known for the incredible Mogao Caves, 492 grottoes filled with statues and drawings.

A crossroad of cultures, Samarkand has a deep-rooted history that dates back 2,500 years, as well an alluring charm that evokes romance, charm and creativity.

Peppered with magnificent medressas, mosques and mausoleums, Khiva is an ancient city that feels like you are in a life-size museum.

Itinerary: The Silk Road

Fly with British Airways to Beijing. (N)
Arrive into Beijing where you will be met and transferred by car to your accommodation. (N)



Accommodation in Beijing: The Pentahotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: the Regent Hotel (or similar)

This morning visit the beautiful Temple of Heaven before continuing onto Tiananmen Square the largest public square in the world. Walk through the square to enter the Forbidden City, the seat of supreme power for the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, where you will spend the remainder of the day exploring the courtyards and buildings of this breathtaking complex. (B)

Accommodation in Beijing: The Pentahotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: the Regent Hotel (or similar)

Travel through the countryside to Mutianyu for the cable car up to the Great Wall. As you stand on the Wall and look at it snaking its way across the top of the mountains it is easy to imagine ancient armies locked in battle on the misty slopes. Afterwards, continue across the mountains and after lunch visit the fascinating tombs of the Ming Emperors. Return to Beijing later in the afternoon. (B/L)

Accommodation in Beijing: The Pentahotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: the Regent Hotel (or similar)

Morning transfer to Beijing railway station for the high-speed train to Xi’an, arriving in the late afternoon. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation. (B)

Accommodation in Xi’an: Grand Mercure Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Sofitel on Renmin Square (or similar)

Today visit the remains of the Neolithic village at Ban Po, where four levels of Neolithic society have been discovered dating from 6,080 BC To 5,600 BC. Afterwards continue to the remarkable Qin Shi Huang, unearthed in 1974, and the burial ground of the first Qin Emperor. Composed of inner and outer circles there are three vaults of life sized terracotta warriors and horses, some with chariots, all interred in battle formation – a site, acclaimed by many, as the 8th wonder of the world. Also visit the nearby Huaqing Hot Springs, a favourite beauty spot and place of relaxation for the Emperors. Evening transfer to Xi’an airport for the flight to Lanzhou. Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu Province, which has been an important garrison town on the Silk Road since ancient times. (B/L)

Accommodation in Lanzhou: Legend Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Crowne Plaza Hotel (or similar)

In the morning visit the Gansu Provincial Museum, which exhibits many items of pottery relating to the Silk Road. Also visit White Pagoda Hill on top of the hill the White Pagoda Temple offers good views across the city. Later drive via the town of Linxia to the Tibetan town of Xiahe – 2,920 metres above sea level – which is situated in the beautiful valley of the Daxia River and is surrounded by mountains. (B/L/D)

Accommodation in Xiahe: Jiusheng Hotel (or similar)

Xiahe is an important Tibetan monastery town. This morning visit the Labrang Monastery to see the Ser Kung Golden Temple, Institute of Medicine and Prayer Hall. In the afternoon return to Lanzhou railway station for the overnight train to Dunhuang. (B)

Accommodation: overnight on train

Arrive at Dunhuang in the morning where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Later visit the Crescent Moon Lake, the Singing Hill, some of the oldest sections of the Great Wall. (B)

Accommodation in Dunhuang: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Soluxe Hotel (or similar)

Today visit the Mogao Caves which are the world's largest example of Buddhist mural art. (B/L)

Accommodation in Dunhuang: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Soluxe Hotel (or similar)

Morning at leisure. In the afternoon fly to Urumqi and then transfer by car to Turpan, the oasis desert town at the crossroads of the Silk Road. (B)

Accommodation in Turpan: Tuha Petroleum Hotel (or similar)

Turpan is both the northern route to Central Asia and the southern route to Pakistan and India. Later today visit the ruins of Gaochang, the Bozaikrick Thousand Buddha Cave and the Flaming Mountain. (B/L)

Accommodation in Turpan: Tuha Petroleum Hotel (or similar)

Depart by car and travel through the Gobi desert to Urumqi via the ancient ruins of the town of Jiaohe. (B/L)

Accommodation in Urumqi: Hoi Tak Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Mercure Hotel (or similar)

Today the major attraction includes a visit to the Heavenly Lake with its snow-capped forested mountains. Kazakh people who are semi nomadic and live in yurts inhabit this area. Also visit the Xinjiang Provincial Museum. (B/L)

Accommodation in Urumqi: Hoi Tak Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Mercure Hotel (or similar)

Morning transfer to Urumqi airport for the flight to Kashgar, an important Silk Road city. (B/L)

Accommodation in Kashgar: Tianyuan International Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Yuexing Jinjiang Hotel (or similar)

Today tour the city visiting the bazaars, Id Kah Mosque and the tomb of Abakh Hoja. (B/L)

Accommodation in Kashgar: Tianyuan International Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Yuexing Jinjiang Hotel (or similar)

Early this morning depart Kashgar and drive to Sino–Kyrgyzstan border at the Torugart Pass. After the border formalities you will be met in Kyrgyzstan and continue by car to Naryn. (B)

Accommodation in Naryn: Khan Tengri Guesthouse (or similar)

This morning leave Naryn and drive to Issyk-Kul Lake. Extremely deep and warmed by thermal activity, over the centuries the lake has been something of an oasis in this inhospitable mountain environment. With diverse flora and fauna Issyk-Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia most remarkable locations. (B)

Accommodation in Issyk-Kul: Karven Four Seasons Resort (or similar)

Today you are at leisure to relax and enjoy Issyk-Kul (B)

Accommodation in Issyk-Kul: Karven Four Seasons Resort (or similar)

Morning at leisure. This afternoon drive to Bishkek. The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city’s vast central square, yet it is the permanently snow-capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop. (B)

Accommodation in Bishkek: Silk Road Lodge (or similar)

Upgrade option: Hyatt Regency Hotel (or similar)

Today enjoy a full day sightseeing in and around the city. Places of particular interest include the blue-steepled Orthodox Church on Jibek Jolu, a well preserved Russian wooden house and the Frunze House-Museum – the place of birth of the Russian revolutionary who was a major player in the October revolution. (B)

Accommodation in Bishkek: Silk Road Lodge (or similar)

Upgrade option: Hyatt Regency Hotel (or similar)

Early morning transfer to Bishkek airport for the flight to Osh where you will be met and then driven across the border to Fergana in Uzbekistan. This fertile valley is one of the most populous and ethnically diverse regions of Uzbekistan and an important staging post on the Silk Road. (B)

Accommodation in Fergana: Asia Fergana Hotel (or similar)

This morning drive on northwards to Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s bustling capital. (B)

Accommodation in Tashkent: The International Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace (or similar)

Today enjoy a sightseeing tour of Tashkent. Places of interest include the 16th Century Kukeldash Madrassah which is being restored as a museum and the Kaffali-Shash Mausoleum. Tashkent also houses many museums of Uzbek and pre-Uzbek culture. These include the State Art Museum, which houses a collection of paintings and ceramics as well as the Bukharian royal robes. The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts exhibits embroidered wall hangings and reproduction antique jewellery. (B)

Accommodation in Tashkent: The International Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace (or similar)

This morning drive west to Samarkand. (B)

Accommodation in Samarkand: Malika Prime Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Samarkand Hotel (or similar)

Today commence your sightseeing of this famous city. Samarkand is situated in the valley of the River Zarafshan and is the second largest city of Uzbekistan roughly the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome. The history of Samarkand is about 2,500 years old and has witnessed the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan and Tamerlane. Majestic and beautiful Samarkand has attracted poets and historians and to this day is known as the ‘Rome of the East’. (B)

Accommodation in Samarkand: Malika Prime Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Grand Samarkand Hotel (or similar)

This morning leave Samarkand and drive to Bukhara, stopping en-route at Shakrisabz. Remains of Ak Saray Palace and old city walls can be found in just north of the city centre, however, the most beautiful historical part of Shakrisabz is the Kok Gumbaz mosque and Dorut Tilovat. Afterwards continue onto Bukhara. The settlement of Bukhara in Uzbekistan dates back to the 8th Century when it was, for 200 years, the centre of an expanding Islamic kingdom prospering as the trade and intellectual centre for Central Asia. (B)

Accommodation in Bukhara: Omar Khayyam Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Asia Bukhara Hotel (or similar)

This morning commence your sightseeing tour of Bukhara. One of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan Bukhara is believed to have been founded in the 13th Century BC during the reign of Siyavushids who came to power 980 years before Alexander the Great. There are more than 350 mosques and 100 religious colleges in the city and sights such as the Poi-Kalon, Kos Madras, Ismail Samani Mausoleum and Kalian Minaret are not to be missed. (B)

Accommodation in Bukhara: Omar Khayyam Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Asia Bukhara Hotel (or similar)

Today is a long drive west to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Khiva. (B)

Accommodation in Khiva: Malika Kheivak Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Asia Khiva Hotel (or similar)

This morning start your tour of Khiva at Ichon-Qala, the area where the majority of the architectural monuments are located. Places of interest are the Kunya-Ark citadel and the Tosh-Khovli Palace, residence of the Khan, which had been preserved intact along with its ornate gates. This area prominently displays the simplicity and monumentality of medieval architectural forms, the delicateness of woodcarvings, and skilled interweaving of ornamentation. The silhouettes of its towering minarets, hemmed in by clay built houses with their flat roofs and surrounded by the fortress's powerful clay built walls, give a clear idea of a typical Central Asian feudal city. (B)

Accommodation in Khiva: Malika Kheivak Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Asia Khiva Hotel (or similar)

This morning leave Khiva for Dashogus in Turkmenistan. En-route visit the archaeological site of Kunya Urgench which is famed for its Putlog Timur Minaret, Aslam II Mausoleum and Traubel Khanum Mausoleum, all of which date from the middle of the 14th Century. In the afternoon continue to Dashogus airport for the flight to Ashgabat. (B)

Accommodation in Ashgabat: Grand Turkmen Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Oguzkent Hotel (or similar)

Today explore the capital of Turkmenistan. Places of interest include the Arch of Neutrality, Lenin Square, the Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky and the Ertogrulgazi Mosque. In the afternoon visit the archaeological site of Nissa which is rich in history. (B)

Accommodation in Ashgabat: Grand Turkmen Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Oguzkent Hotel (or similar)

Early morning transfer to Ashgabat airport for the flight to Istanbul. Later take a half-day sightseeing tour of the Sultanhamet area of Istanbul, including Topkapi Palace, the Haghia Sofia, the Cisterns and the Grand Bazaar. (B)

Accommodation in Istanbul: Deluxe Golden Horn Hotel (or similar)

Upgrade option: Four Seasons Sultanhamet Hotel (or similar)

Morning at leisure. In the afternoon you will be transferred back to Istanbul airport for your British Airways flight to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Train travel as specified
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

01892 515 966 Request a Quote

Head Office: 8-9 Orchard Business Centre, North Farm Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent. TN2 3XF

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