Our own way

Silk Road Adventures is bonded by the Travel Vault and holds ATOL protection for clients who book flight-inclusive holidays.

History

We started our company back in 2015 under the name Edge Expeditions and ran our first expedition to the remote areas of Tajikistan. Since then we’ve devised itineraries in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia, India, Armenia, Palestine and Israel, Siberia, Jordan, Myanmar, Arunachal Paradesh, Bolivia and more.

In 2017 we decided to focus solely on the Silk Road region  and re-branded as Silk Road Adventures. We now specialize in this fascinating part of the world and are constantly striving to offer the most innovative, in depth, enthralling small-group and private tours to all the countries along the Great Silk Road.

Small and personal

We are a small, friendly company and we intend for it to stay that way. But don’t think that small doesn’t also mean highly professional and obsessively researched and organised. We will always go above and beyond to make your trip with us as fantastic as possible. We don’t see a large gaggle of staff as a measure of our success, rather believing that small is in some way more beautiful. Travel with us and you’ll get to know the whole team.

In line with this ethos, we generally only ever travel in groups of ten or less. This way you get properly looked after and there’s room for us all around the yurt fire. We will never be the sort of company that travels in big buses with flag-waving guides and microphones. That’s just not us.

Around 65 per cent of our guests travel on tailor-made trips designed exclusively to fit their every desire. We love devising these unique trips  – whether it’s snow-leopard spotting in the High Pamirs or a 5* trip to the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan.

Depth of Knowledge

We love the countries we travel through and go to great lengths to explore and understand them. We’ll tell you how Alexander the Great’s armies once fought by that river, ride to ruined Soviet observatories miles off the beaten track, tramp up hillsides to Zoroastrian ruins and stay with herders in tiny mountain villages.

Expertly-led trips

A handful of our expeditions each year are by led by one of our directors, Marley or Antonia. Others are either led by carefully-chosen experts  – authors, film-makers, well-known adventurers, conservationists, UN consultants – or by tried and trusted local guides; people who share our own passion about places, people and the environment.

We never underestimate the importance of having excellent guides, and we go to great lengths to find and train the very best people in each country. Our guides are hugely knowledgeable, brimming with energy and enthusiasm and care deeply about the welfare and enjoyment of our guests. Many of our local guides are stars in their own right – they’re artists, film-makers, wine-makers, musicians and conservationists.

We are always clear about who will be leading each trip. But whoever is at the helm, our high standards and duty of care always remain the same.

A taste for the Unusual

We love the quirky, the creative, the surprising and the unusual  – those hidden corners and untold stories in the wrinkles and creases at the edge of the map. And we want to show you these places too. You won’t find us at among the yapping, snapping hordes at tourist hot-spots, but you will find us nosing around those other ruins over the hill that no one else gets to. As a company with a strong background in journalism and TV production, we bring this same depth of research and desire for the unusual to each and every one of our trips.

Connecting People

There seems to be an increasing amount of fear and disconnection in the world, and we want your Silk Road experience to be the absolute antithesis of this. You’ll drink toasts with nomadic families in remote Kyrgyzstan, eat belt-breaking feasts in Georgian villages, stay in welcoming mountain home-stays, laugh around the camp fire with your fellow travellers  and return home with a real understanding of the peoples and cultures you’ve travelled through.  Again and again we hear our guests say how much they loved the personal, in-depth nature of their Silk Road tour, and that’s how we intend to keep it.

It’s meant to be fun, isn’t it?

This travel malarkey often seems to be taken awfully seriously. All those zip-off trousers and technical sandals seem to erode people’s sense of humour. Yes, travel is about exploring, experiencing and coming home recharged and inspired, but we also want to have FUN while we’re doing it – and lots of it!

The proof is in the pudding

Since we began running expeditions in 2016, over fifty per cent of our customers have already booked to travel with us again, with several people signed up for their third or even fourth trip with us. So we must be doing something right.

Core Team

Managing Director

Marley Burns

man crouching and posing for picture on the silk road

Kerry – known to most as Marley – is the MD of Silk Road Adventures, keeping the books balanced and the show on the road. We’re a small company so it’s likely you’ll hear from him when you make contact.

Marley has been researching and reading about the history of the greater Silk Road network for many years and has travelled along many of its strands. He’s also fascinated by the route’s many sub-plots, including the Great Game era and travellers such as Marco Polo, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Combined with a natural curiosity about language and a desire to explore anything quirky or off the map, the lands of the Silk Road are his idea of heaven.

Passionate about off-beat travel, Marley has travelled extensively in the Middle East, South East Asia and Central Asia.  In ‘Life Before Silk’ he lived and worked as a renewable energy consultant in Nepal, ran some large renewable energy companies, dragged two tonnes of mobile sauna around eastern Europe several times (in the name of fun) and circumnavigated the Black Sea on a 90-cc moped with Antonia after winning the 2010 Wilderness Awards.

Travel featured early in his career with a stint at well-respected publisher Sawdays, writing about special places to stay. Marley still delights in finding the most characterful, comfortable and welcoming accommodation in each country he visits.

Marley is an extremely experienced road and off-road motorcycle rider and has been leading our motorcycle expeditions for five years. If you book a motorcycle trip with us, odds are that he’ll be leading you on the paths less ridden.

As the principle Silk Road Adventures doctor, Marley has been trained in First Aid and Trauma Medicine by the excellent team at Crux Medical, and is exceptionally good at dealing with medical problems and crises. On an expedition he is rarely far from our satellite phone and medical kit.

Marley speaks once-fluent French and German and is in the process of learning Russian too.

An experienced public speaker, Marley has spoken at numerous travel and adventure shows, and is also a regular contributor to Overland magazine.

Director

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

smiling tourist with sunglasses on the silk road

Antonia – often known as Ants – is a record-breaking traveller, author, public speaker and TV producer, with a background in setting up extreme and complex expeditions all over the world. She has worked and travelled in over 50 countries.

Her penchant for extreme travel began in 2006, when she drove a pink tuk tuk 12,500-miles from Bangkok to Brighton with her friend Jo. They set the world record for the longest journey ever by auto rickshaw, wrote a best-selling travel book “Tuk Tuk to the Road” and won Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Fun, Fearless Female award.”

During four years at The Adventurists, Antonia was a founding director of the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest multi-horse race, organised the Africa Rally from London to Cameron and nearly froze to death attempting to drive a Ural to the Russian Arctic in mid Winter.

She’s written three books, including: A Short Ride in the Jungle, about her solo exploration of the remains of Indochina’s Ho Chi Minh Trail, and Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains, about her travels across the remote and little-known Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The latter was runner-up Adventure Travel Book of the Year in the 2018 Stanford’s Travel Writing Awards. 

Antonia was formerly a TV producer. Among her credits are BBC2’s Worlds’ Most Dangerous Roads, ITV’s Tom Hardy’s Poaching Wars, Joanna Lumley’s India and Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road.

She’s spoken at The Royal Geographical Society, the Adventure Travel Show and many more and writes for numerous publications, including The Telegraph, The Guardian, The i-Paper, Geographical and Wanderlust.

Antonia is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the recipient of the 2019 Neville Shulman Challenge Award.

To find out more about Antonia see her website The Itinerant or find her on Twitter and Instagram @AntsBK.

Adminstration and Customer Service

Tina Altwegg

Tina is in charge of our customer service and adminstration. Fluent in German, Swiss German, French and English, she also speaks excellent Italian and Spanish!

Also a talented illustrator, artist and animator, Tina brings lots of new skills to our team. Calm under pressure and always thinking of how best to hone our offerings to suit each individual guest, Tina is an indispensable part of the Silk Road Adventures team.

Content and Digital Media

Jamie Muddimer

Jamie is our content guru. He is responsible for creating immersive travel copy for our website and deep diving into destination research. With a background studying Ancient History at university, Jamie is fascinated with the Silk Road and the stories it tells.

He is also a talented linguist with a knack for transporting readers across the world. His keen eye for detail leaves no stone – or misplaced punctuation mark – unturned.

Bombyx Mori – the Silk Moth

This humble creature has for centuries been at the heart of sericulture, the industry of silk production.

The cocoons are the raw silk which is then washed and spun to make the threads that created the flow and flux of trades and people on what became the Silk Road, from China to Rome and beyond.

We have chosen the outline of the silk moth to be our logo and it reminds us of the roots of the roads we travel. To find our more about the Silk Road, have a look here.

red and gray silk moth logo