Fixed Departure: 30th August – 14th September 2019. See itinerary for details.
Have you watched Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road series on ITV and fallen in love with Central Asia?
Are you itching to follow in her footsteps across these remote lands at the heart of the ancient Silk Road?
Then join us on this culture-laden adventure across the fabulous countries of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan!
In two epic weeks, we’ll take you from the breath-taking Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Bukhara to the snow-streaked peaks of Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Heavenly Mountains’. You’ll wander amongst the turquoise domes of legendary Silk Road cities, explore medieval Caravanserais, sleep in yurts under star-spangled skies and dip your toes (or more!) into azure mountain lakes. You’ll break bread with nomads, stand on mountaintops with Kyrgyz eagle hunters, watch master woodcarvers at work and experience the smells, sights and flavours of some of the world’s best bazaars. For those who feel a little more adventurous, horse-riding and trekking are also on the menu.
The trip will be led by one of our directors, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, an award-winning adventurer, travel writer and TV producer. Antonia produced the Central Asian leg of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road series, spending a year researching and designing Joanna’s journey and travelling across these countries with Joanna and the crew. Thanks to this, this journey gives you a completely unique opportunity to follow directly in Joanna’s footsteps: to travel to the places featured in the series, meet the people she met, stay in the same hotels and yurt camps and much more. No other company can give you this experience.
||The trip will depart from Tashkent’s Islam Karimov International Airport and end at Bishkek’s Manas International Airport
||Please ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Tashkent
- Accommodation on a twin-shared basis throughout
- All meals
- Local airport transfers
- All land travel costs
- Flight from Tashkent to Bishkek
- A professional guiding team including Silk Road Adventures’ Director Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent and 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 Tashkent and from Bishkek – 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 including medi-evac
- Your Uzbek visa
Immersive, personal and unique – this is a trip that will get you under the skin of these stunning post-Soviet nations 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 Tashkent and Bishkek, to stylish, boutique hotels in Bukhara and Samarkand and wonderful, family-run yurt camps in the wilds of Kyrgyzstan. You won’t always have access to hot showers, but the wilderness and views will more than make up for it.
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 Bolingbroke-Kent, was the producer on Joanna Lumley’s ITV Silk Road series. Antonia, who is an award-winning travel writer as well as a TV producer and expedition leader, spent a year researching and designing Joanna’s route – the people she’d meet, the stories she’d tell, the places she’d visit – and then travelling across these countries with Joanna and the crew. This expedition gives you a completely unique opportunity to follow in Joanna’s footsteps: to travel to the places you’ve seen in the series, meet the people she met, stay in the same yurt camps and much more. No other company can give you this experience.
What will the weather be like?
It’s early autumn, when Central Asia can still be very hot in places, but where the colder months ahead are beginning to cast their shadow. Expect up to 30 degrees in Uzbekistan, but down to around ten degrees at night in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. 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?
In Uzbekistan we will travel by foot, minibus and train. In Kyrgyzstan we will travel in sleek, comfortable Land Cruiser 4WDs with three guests per car.
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, it’s around £350 one way to Tashkent, and around £300 to Bishkek. We can offer flight inclusive packages also though. And the internal flight from Tashkent to Bishkek is included in the tour price. 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?
Varied – the ‘stans are a region known for meaty delicacies so you can expect tasty shashlik almost anywhere if this is your thing. But it’s not all bad news for veggies as the salads in Central Asia are fantastic. Bread, plov, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and vodka all feature heavily!
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 yurts when there is scant option but to share rooms. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here. It makes sense for light sleepers to bring earplugs, in case of snorers.
How fit do I need to be?
Not very – although there are options to horse-ride, swim and trek, you can also opt to simply relax or travel in one of the vehicles instead. There is some amount of walking in Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent and Bishkek, but again, how much you do or don’t do is up to you. This isn’t a boot camp, it’s your holiday.
Will I be affected by altitude?
Altitude can affect different people in different ways. It can also affect the same person in different ways from trip to trip. We will be spending a handful of days above 3000 metres in Kyrgyzstan. If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have history of it, you should consider discussing this with your doctor prior to booking and travel. Diamox and other similar prescription drugs are available to ease symptoms, but the key way to address any onset of altitude sickness is to descend. Luckily, from anywhere particularly high, descent is possible rapidly thanks to our vehicles. Simple precautions and awareness go a long way.
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.
Is it good value for money?
We are very proud of the routes we design and the way in which we travel them. We don’t cut corners and we plan meticulously. We are a small company that treats every guest as our friend and you won’t find that kind of service in many places. 85% of our customers have re-booked to travel again with us and some of them come on a trip every year. We also do annual expedition and remote medicine training and pay for 24/7 remote medical assistance cover. We employ professional military-grade risk assessments and plan for every possible negative scenario whilst hoping that none ever come to pass. We take our obligations to you and your safety very seriously and this all does cost money. We think the price offered is keen, but add the extra measures outlined above and we think the price represents great value for an experience you won’t find elsewhere. This trip is also being led by one of our directors, Antonia, an expert on the region.
Is this really 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 worried about the lack of flush loos in a mountain yurt camp, might complain that the road to Tash Rabat is too bumpy (it isn’t!) or frets about Wi-Fi availability, then this probably isn’t your bag.