Fixed Departure: 3rd – 15th June 2019
Have you watched Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure on ITV and been inspired to follow in her footsteps?
Do you want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in two of the Silk Road’s most diverse and fascinating countries?
Then join us on this expertly crafted two-week journey across the enthralling nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Curated with a journalist’s eye for the interesting and unusual, this unique itinerary will take you away from the beaten trail and into the homes, villages, wineries and workshops of some truly wonderful people. You’ll meet the custodians of tiny 1000-year churches, visit cliff-top monasteries, learn the secrets of Azeri silk, stroll through flower-filled mountain meadows and feast on a mouth-watering array of local, seasonal foods. And you’ll have the rare chance to meet the real stars of the Silk Road, the silkworms themselves.
The trip will be led by one of our directors, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent – an award-winning travel writer and a producer of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure – and fantastic local guides. Thanks to months of specialist research, this is a completely unique opportunity to travel to the places featured you’ve seen on TV and have dreamed of visiting. No other company can give you this same experience.
This, though we say so ourselves, is a humdinger of a journey. Feasting, mountains, wilderness, wine, art, beauty, glamour and lashings of Silk Road history – it has it all!
||The trip will depart from Kutaisi International Airport and end at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport
||Please ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Kutaisi
- Accommodation on a twin-shared basis throughout
- All meals
- Local airport transfers
- All land travel costs
- A professional guiding team including Silk Road Adventures’ Director Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent plus English-speaking local guides.
- Fresh filtered water + a Water 2 Go water filtration bottle, in order to reduce plastic waste
- Professional route planning and logistics, backed by risk assessments, emergency procedures, satellite communications (where necessary) and medical support. We don’t take risks lightly and we plan for all eventualities, believing it is better to have prepared and not require a procedure than not to plan at all. We also carry a very well stocked First Aid and Trauma medical kit and have been First Aid and Trauma trained by the excellent team at Crux Medical.
- International Flights to Kutaisi and from Baku. We can organise these for you as part of the package – please advise us if you need this.
- Guide gratuities
- Personal spending money for alcohol or souvenirs
- Your personal travel insurance
- Your Azerbaijan visa
From the back-alleys of charming Tbilisi to the glitz of booming Baku, this culture-rich journey will fire your soul, mind and taste-buds and leave you wanting more.
Where will we be staying?
We’ll be staying in a mix of places – from four and five star hotels in Baku and Tbilisi to cosy, family-run guesthouses and hotels in the smaller towns and villages. There’ll always be hot showers, proper loos and delicious breakfasts!
What size of group will it be?
Our group sizes are always small, allowing for an intimate experience of the cultures we meet along our path. On this trip we won’t have more than ten guests, plus Antonia and the local guides and drivers. We usually find groups are made of like-minded people, both male and female, from a wide age range.
How is this different to other ‘Silk Road’ expeditions I’ve seen?
We have been living, breathing, reading, researching and travelling the Silk Road for the past five years and – with this trip – are in the unique position that one of our directors, Antonia, who is an award-winning travel writer as well as a TV producer and expedition leader, spent a year researching and designing this route. This expedition gives you a completely unique opportunity to travel to the places you’ve seen on TV. Antonia also produced the BBCs World’s Most Dangerous Roads in Georgia in 2012 (with Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes). No other company can give you this unique insight and experience.
What does the prince include?
Included: All your food and accommodation. All cars, petrol etc. The guiding services of Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, plus excellent local teams in both countries. A Water 2 Go filter bottle (to save on plastic pollution). All museum entrances and extras. Some wine and beer with dinners. All wine and food at private wine tastings.
Not included: International flights. Personal insurance. Tips. Visa for Azerbaijan (Georgia does not require a visa). Personal spending money for souvenirs and extra booze.
What will the weather be like?
It’s early summer, when the Caucasus region can be very hot in places. Expect up to 30 degrees in Baku and Tbilisi, but down to around ten degrees at night in the mountains of Svaneti. But have no fear, we will supply you with a detailed packing list after you’ve signed up.
I’m a solo traveller – is this for me?
Yes. More than 85% of our expedition clients travel alone as part of our group. We don’t charge single supplements to solo travellers – see below.
Do you charge single supplements – I can’t see them in your information?
No. We don’t believe that solo travellers should be penalised with extra charges. It goes against our ethos, so unless totally unavoidable or astronomically expensive, all costs are included in the expedition price. Please note that in most of the yurt camps we are staying in, single rooms are simply not available.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.
What vehicles will we be travelling in?
We will be travelling in a smart, new Mercedes Sprinter Minibus in both countries.
How much are flights?
This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London Luton it can be as little as £20 one way to Kutaisi with Wizz Air, while from Baku it’s nearer £250 one way back to the UK. We can offer flight inclusive packages also though. Again, we’ll send you an information pack containing all the information you need when you book your place.
What will the food be like?
Amazing! Georgian food is a feast for the palate; a tasty array of (largely home-produced) meat and vegetarian dishes infused with the tastes of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. And Azeri fayre is delicious too – if a little more on the meaty side. This is definitely one of our more gastronomic (and vegetarian friendly) trips.
Will I have to share a room?
Yes, at times. There will be hotels and guest houses where we will have separate rooms and wherever possible we will arrange this, but there will also be times where we are staying in small family-run guesthouses when there is scant option but to share rooms. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here.
Will I be affected by altitude?
No – we are only going up to 1600 metres above sea level on this trip, so you won’t notice a thing.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
I can’t do your dates but love the sound of your expedition – can you be flexible?
Yes. We offer set group dates for many of our expeditions, but we can organise and deliver bespoke expeditions to groups and individuals to suit your itinerary and budget. More information is available on our tailor made tours page.
Is it a guaranteed departure?
As with any new, pioneering itinerary we need to reach a minimum number of guests to make this viable. For this trip, we need a minimum of 6 guests. When you express interest in this expedition, we will send you a deposit invoice to hold your place. This is refundable according to our terms and conditions if we do not reach the minimum numbers. We recommend that you do not book your flights or other arrangements until we have communicated that the expedition is definitely departing as planned and will aim to do this in order to give you at least 3 months prior to the scheduled departure in which to make your travel arrangements.
How fit do I need to be?
You don’t need to be ready to run a marathon, but you do need to be able to walk a short distance. We’ll be walking around Baku and Tbilisi quite a bit, and also spending a morning and afternoon walking through the hills in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Of course, this isn’t a boot camp and there’s always the option not to walk, but it would be shame to miss out.
Is this trip for me?
If you love adventure, new places, friendly people, wild landscapes, history and culture then yes! However, if you’re the sort of person who is going to be moaning about the lack of 4G, complaining that the road to Svaneti is too bumpy (it isn’t!) or fretting about missing the football, then this probably isn’t your bag.