Uzbekistan: A long weekend

Code: LWEND/UZB/NOV/19
4 Days
Category:
Brand New Itinerary!
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  • Registan – Samarkand
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Fixed Departure: 8th October – 12th October 2019. See itinerary for details.

Forget a long-weekend in Paris or Amsterdam – instead why not hop on a plane for a culture-busting trip to Uzbekistan, the jewel at the heart of the Silk Road?

This fabulous whistle-stop tour of Uzbekistan will take you from the bustling streets of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, to the glittering Timurid dome of Samarkand and Bukhara. You’ll stroll beneath the golden arches of the world-famous Registan Square, see the tomb of the ‘conqueror of worlds’ Timur, learn to make the national dish, pilav, and visit a series of stunning mosques, madrassahs and minarets.

Uzbekistan has featured on many ‘Where to Visit in 2019’ lists – and for good reason. This beguiling land at the heart of the ancient Silk Road is a nation of sumptuous architecture, fascinating history, dazzling arts and welcoming people. Plus, as of 1 February 2019, UK nationals (and citizens of 44 other countries) don’t need a visa to go there.

What are you waiting for?

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION The trip will depart from and end at Tashkent’s Islam Karimov International Airport
DEPARTURE TIME Please ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Tashkent
INCLUDED
  • All accommodation (See single supplement details below)
  • All meals
  • Local airport transfers
  • All land travel costs (high-speed train and air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All museum entrance costs
  • A number of bespoke, exclusive experiences
  • A professional local guiding team with 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 and satellite communications (where necessary).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.
NOT INCLUDED
  • International Flights to and from Tashkent
  • Guide gratuities
  • Single Supplement £110
  • Personal spending money for alcohol or souvenirs
  • Your personal travel insurance including medi-evac
  • Your Uzbek visa (most nationalities no longer require a visa, but for those that do, see our visa information here)

This trip is designed to fit in with Uzbekistan Airways direct flights between London Heathrow and Tashkent and is a full-board, fully-escorted trip.

Uzbekistan: A Heavenly Long Weekend
8th November to 12th November 2019
Minimum number 4 guests. Maximum number 10 guests.
2020 dates to be announced soon.
Tailor made versions of this trip are available year-round.

1

Day 1: Friday 8th November 2019

Depart London for Tashkent. Today you’ll take the direct Uzbekistan Airways flight HY-202 from London Heathrow T4 to Tashkent. Between November and March this flight departs at 18.00, in April to October it departs at 21.35.

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Day 2: Saturday 9th November

Tashkent to Samarkand. You’ll touch down in Tashkent early in the morning and be met at arrivals by our airport agent who will then transfer you by road (25 minutes) to your lovely 4* hotel in the city centre. As you’ll probably be rather tired after the flight, you’ll have a chance to have an early breakfast, if you wish, and then rest for a few hours.

At midday you’ll check-out of your hotel and be whisked off for lunch and an afternoon tour of Tashkent by your local English-speaking guide. Tashkent, the largest city in Central Asia, has a lot to offer, and among the things you’ll see this afternoon are the Navoi theatre, the stunning Soviet-era Metro, the Barak-Khan madrassah complex and the Koran of Caliph Usman. You’ll also pay a visit to the famous Amir Timur statue in Amir Timur Square.

At 18.50 you’ll be taking the Golden Road to Samarkand aboard the Spanish-built, high-speed Afrasiab train. Two hours later you’ll arrive in Samarkand, where your local driver will collect you and take you to your charming city centre hotel. A light dinner is included tonight.

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Day 3: Sunday 10th November

Samarkand to Bukhara. After breakfast you’ll spend the day visiting some of the stunning sights of Samarkand, Timur’s former capital. You’ll soon see why it was feted by Marco Polo, Xuanzang, Ibn Battuta, Lord Curzon, Joanna Lumley and so many more. You’ll visit the famous 7th century Sogdian frescoes at the Afrosiab museum, the stunning Shakhi-Zinda necropolis, the Khudjum silk carpet workshop, the grandiose Bibi Khanum mosque and the bustling Siab market, where you’ll no doubt be tempted by halva, dried fruits and exotic teas.

After lunch (which will include having a go at making the national dish, plov) you’ll visit the incredible Registan Square, the poster boy of Samarkand, and then the magnificent Gur-Emir, where the mighty Timur lies interred beneath the largest slab of jade on earth.

After an early supper and a last, wistful look at Samarkand, you’ll have a late check-out of your hotel and catch the  21.08 high speed train to Bukhara, which gets in at 22.39. Tonight you’ll be in another delightful hotel in the heart of this beguiling city.

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Day 4: Monday 11th November

Bukhara. “Bukhara! For centuries it had glimmered remote in the Western consciousness: the most secretive and fanatical of the great caravan-cities, shored up in its desert fastness against time and change. To either side of it the Silk Road had withered away, so that by the 19th century the town had folded its battlements around its people in self-immolated barbarism, and receded into fable.” Colin Thubron, Shadow of the Silk Road

For many, this atmospheric city is the highlight of their Silk Road journey, a place where the walls seem to echo with whispers of Genghis Khan, the Sogdians, Timur, Chinese silk traders, The Great Game and more. Prepare yourself for a feast of mosques, minarets and madrassas.

After breakfast you’ll set off to explore Bukhara by foot and car. Among the wonders you will visit are the Magoki-Attori Mosque,  the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the Bolo Hauz Mosque, Ark Fortress of the last Emir, Poi Kalon complex and Trading Domes.

After lunch you’ll visit the Summer Residence of Bukhara Emir. Named after the Emirs’ favourite wife, who died in childbirth, the lavish summer palace was completed in 1917 and is a fusion of Oriental, Russian and European styles, set in lovely rose gardens.

Supper will be at one of Bukhara’s best restaurants.

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Day 5: Tuesday 12th November

Bukhara to Samarkand to Tashkent and Home. After an early breakfast we’ll take you to the airport in time for your Uzbek Airways flight to Tashkent. Between Nov-Mar this is flight HY24 and departs at 10.20. Between April to October this is flight HY52 and departs at 11.10.

You’ll then depart Tashkent on HY201 Uzbek Airways flight to London Heathrow, arriving in London at 16.25, in time for a refreshing welcome home cup of tea.

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be staying in a mix of places – from four star hotels in Tashkent to stylish, boutique hotels in Bukhara and Samarkand. You will always have en-suite bathrooms and, if you are a single traveller, your own room. However, if it’s a tailor-made tour then you can choose to upgrade your hotel choices to include, for example, the 5* Hyatt in Tashkent.

What does the price include?

The price includes all entrance fees to museums, an expert English-speaking local escort guide, accommodation in high-quality hotels, all meals, one internal flight, business class train tickets, travel in an air-conditioned minibus and all transfers. It does not include international flights, alcohol or your own personal travel insurance.

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 the local guides and drivers. We usually find groups are made of like-minded people, both male and female, from a wide age range.

I’m a solo traveller – is this for me?

Yes. More than 85% of our 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?

We try our best not to charge these, and don’t on many of our trips – but on this one I’m afraid we do charge a £110 single supplement.

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 well-maintained minibus.

How much are flights?

This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. If you take the recommended direct Uzbek Airways flights from London to Tashkent, it’s about £400 return.

What will the food be like?

Varied – the ‘stans are a region known for meaty delicacies so you can expect tasty shashlik and pilav 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, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and vodka all feature heavily!

Will I have to share a room?

No, not if you are a single traveller and request a room to yourself.

How fit do I need to be?

Not very – although there is some walking in each city we visit, how much you walk is largely up to you. There is always the option to do your own thing, or relax at the hotel for a few hours instead.

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. 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.  We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

I can’t do your dates but love the sound of your tour – can you be flexible?

Yes. We offer set group dates for many of our trips but we can organise and deliver bespoke holidays to groups and individuals to suit your itinerary and budget. More information is available on our Tailor Made tours page.

Who will be guiding this trip?

This trip will be guided by one of our excellent English-speaking Uzbek guides.

Is it a guaranteed departure?

No – we do need to reach a minimum number of guests to make this viable. For this trip, we need a minimum of 4 guests. When you express interest in this trip 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 this really for me?

If you love adventure, new places, friendly people, history and culture then yes!

Price:£950.00