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Ancient Wonders of Uzbekistan by Train

On this once-in-a-lifetime nine-day tour, you will discover the beauty and marvels of historic Uzbekistan, the jewel of Central Asia’s Silk Road. Explore capital city, Tashkent, the center of Islamic study and home to towering minarets and porticos and the grave of Tamarlane himself. From there, enjoy the stunning countryside sweeping past the window of your carriage en route to Samarkand with its fragrant bazaars, vast squares and labyrinthine necropolis. Marvel at the architecture of World Heritage sites, Bukhara and ancient Khiva and witness Uzbekistan’s natural wonders, the deserts of Kyzl Kum and the great Amy Darya River.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Discover the Uthman Quran, the oldest copy in the world, in Tashkent
  • Taste authentic local delicacies in the bazaars of Samarkand
  • Be awestruck by the architectural wonder of the Great Minaret of Bukhara
  • Experience a classic Uzbek meal in a traditional yurt on the banks of the ‘unrestrained river’
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Spend your first day acclimating to mesmerizing Uzbekistan in the nation’s capital, Tashkent. Check in to your comfortable hotel and take to the streets to explore the bustling Chorsu Market; in the ‘cultural capital of the Muslim world’, make like a pilgrim and visit the sacred Khast Imam Mosque Library to see the world’s oldest copy of the Quran and marvel at the countless minarets, mausoleums and madrassas.

Day 2

Travel aboard the Afrosiab rapid train from Tashkent to historic Samarkand, the cornerstone of Tamerlane's mighty empire. See the vast and intricately decorated, turquoise-domed Bibi-Khanym Mosque; experience local delicacies in the Sivab bazaar; wander among the fountains of Registan Square and marvel at the architecture of its three stunning madrassas, decorated with mosaics and minarets. Finally visit the final resting place of Tamerlane himself at the mausoleum where lies his entire dynasty.

Day 3

Continue your tour of the wonders of Samarkand with a visit to Shah-i-Zinda, a necropolis formed over nine centuries; the elaborate mausoleum complex is the burial site of Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed. Gaze at the sky from the the seat of Islamic astronomical discovery - the 15th-century Ulugbek Observatory and learn ancient paper-making methods at the old paper mill. Round off your day of culture at the theater with a traditional El-Merosi performance.

Day 4

Board the train destined for historic Bukhara and enjoy gliding through the majestic Uzbek scenery. After checking into your cosy accommodation, stroll to one of holy Bukhara’s most important sites, the Po-i-Kalyan complex. Its mosque and madrassa surround the skyscraping minaret, which has served as a lighthouse for travelers on the Silk Road and as the site of medieval executions.

Day 5

Continue your exploration of the city-museum with a peaceful stroll around the shady pond at Lab-i-Hauz, framed by three beautiful buildings and take in the intricate mosaic work that covers central Asia’s biggest mosque. Experience local craftsmanship at the Dome of Jewelers and the Dome of Hatters. In Samani Park, be amazed by the architecture of the Ismail Samani Mausoleum - the final resting place of the Samanid Dynasty.

Day 6

Before you leave the UNESCO World Heritage site, visit Buhkara’s opulent royal residences, the Baha-ud-Din Naqshband memorial - a sacred site for Sufi Muslims and wander through the winding alleys of Old Mahalla, the Jewish Quarter. The afternoon is yours to relax, we recommend browsing the domed bazaars of the old town to pick up some souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy dinner aboard the comfortable sleeper train as you travel through the night.

Day 7
Urguentch - Khiva

Disembark your train at Urgench and meet your driver who will whisk you to ancient Khiva. The inner-city, known as Itchan Kala, is the first part of Uzbekistan to be deemed a World Heritage Site; your tour inside the crenellated walls will take in the 10th-century Djuma Mosque, with its hall supported by 112 columns and the mausoleum of Sayid Alauddin. After a day of wonders, enjoy dinner at Toza Bog, the last Khan’s Summer palace.

Day 8
Ayaz Kala

Discover the three hidden fortresses of Ayaz Kala and the crumbling citadel of Toprak Kala, amidst the red sands of the Kyzl Kum Desert, Enjoy lunch in a traditional yurt on the banks of the Amu Darya. After crossing the great river, you will head for Urgench, ready for your relaxing overnight journey cross-country to Tashkent.

Day 9

Arrive at your hotel in Tashkent, refreshed from your journey and spend the morning relaxing and strolling around the city. We recommend a visit to the Palace of Prince Romanov with its distinct Russian architectural style. In the afternoon, witness exhibits of authentic Uzbek workmanship in the Museum of Applied Art and plunge into the Art Deco style of Tashkent’s stations.

Day 10

Enjoy a final breakfast in Tashkent ahead of check-out. Your driver will meet you at your hotel to take to you Tashkent international airport, ready for your flight home or to your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace , International Hotel Tashkent, Miran International Hotel

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Perfectly located for business, vacation and travel, the Tashkent palace is situated in the center of the Uzbek capital, just a ten minute drive from the international airport and within easy strolling distance of the fountains of the city park, the international ceramics garden, Amir Temur Square and the Alisher Navoi Opera. Built in traditional Uzbek style, the hotel features all the modern conveniences required by international travelers. All 232 rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, satellite television, mini bar and air conditioning as well as views of beautiful Tashkent. After a hard day’s sightseeing, enjoy Uzbek and international cuisine in the hotel restaurants, one of which is open air and offers views of the city and a fountain show. The hotel also has spa and fitness amenities including an outdoor pool, a gym and sauna and massage facilities to ensure guests are fully relaxed during their stay.


International Hotel Tashkent

This property lies in the heart of Tashkent with all the marvellous sights and sounds, museums, mosques and bazaars just minutes away. The International Hotel Tashkent is just 20 minutes’ drive from the airport and within walking distance of the beautiful and peaceful Japanese Garden. The elegantly appointed rooms range from standard to presidential and all are equipped with mini-bar, air conditioning, satellite television and WiFi. Enjoy fine dining and international cuisine in the Allegro Restaurant; relax with beautiful lake views and a barbecue at bright and fresh Brasserie on the Park or sip cocktails in one of the hotel bars. Aquarius Spa is fully-equipped to provide full relaxation and regain harmony of body and soul with massage, gym and sauna facilities, a gorgeous pool and even yoga classes are available. Whilst it wouldn't rank as an international 5-star standard hotel, it's the best hotel in the city. 


Miran International Hotel

The Miran International Hotel offers comfort and convenience for business and leisure travelers in the heart of Tashkent. Its 140 spacious rooms feature all mod cons including 42-inch flat-screen televisions and high-speed WiFi, while the en-suite bathrooms are equipped with toiletries and bathrobes. The hotel offers a range of cuisines in its restaurant as well as banqueting and conference facilities. What’s more, guests can spend their leisure time relaxing with a game of billiards or in the health club with its year-round indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and gym. Within walking distance to Amir Timur Square and its museum and just a short drive to the treasures of Chorsu Bazaar and the beautiful Khast Imam Mosque, this hotel surely offers something for all visitors to Tashkent.

Grand Samarkand Hotel, Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel, Samarkand Plaza

Grand Samarkand Hotel

This four-star hotel is located within a mile of the Old Town and Registan Square. It offers spacious, traditional-style rooms with free WiFi, TVs with international satellite channels, and ambient sitting area with open fireplace. The on-site restaurant offers local and international meals, with an emphasis on warm Uzbek hospitality and traditional breakfast served each morning. The streets surrounding the hotel also offer a range of restaurants for guests wanting to explore their surrounds. The centerpiece of the hotel is a picturesque garden courtyard with seating where travelers can enjoy breakfast or relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing. The Grand Samarkand Hotel is a favorite in the area for its quaintly decorated rooms and boutique feel. The architecture of the building and the detail in its stained glass and ironwork reflect the craftsmanship still evident in Samarkand’s old quarter. The hotel is located opposite its sister property - the Grand Samarkand Superior - which has a business center, fitness center and rooftop swimming pool.


Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel

This elegant hotel is located close to the heart of historic Samarkand, convenient for shopping and within a mile of the famous Registan Square and Old Town. Rooms at the Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel are decorated in a traditional manner, with Uzbek carpets and Silk Road textiles creating a cozy, comfortable ambience. Modern in-room technology includes a flat-screen TV with satellite and USB connectivity, air conditioning and free WiFi. Bathrooms amenities include robes, slippers and hairdryer. Aside from single and twin/double rooms, larger apartment-style rooms are also available for guests who require more living space. The hotel has a wide array of facilities, including a Finnish sauna, a rooftop pool with sun loungers, a fitness center with cardio machines and free weights, and a well-equipped business center offering a range of executive services. The onsite restaurant serves up Western and traditional Uzbek cuisine, with a fine collection of wines to match and a pianist providing live music every night. Just across the road is the hotel’s sister property, the Grand Samarkand Hotel. 


Samarkand Plaza

Undoubtedly the best hotel in the city, the Plaza offers international standard service and convenience. Rooms from twins to suites are all comfortably appointed and come well equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, high-speed internet and well stocked mini-bar. Thanks to its location right in the heart of ancient Samarkand, it is the ideal base from which to explore the treasures of the city. After a long day of sightseeing, relax in one of two hotel restaurants for a range of Uzbek and international dishes, lounge with a drink in the bar or take advantage of the pool with its sauna and fitness facilities. 

Asia Bukhara, Lyabi Khauz Hotel, Omar Khayyam Hotel

Asia Bukhara

Built in 2006, this 96-room hotel in central Bukhara allows guests easy access to the city’s main historic attractions. Part of a respected hotel chain within Uzbekistan, the Asia Bukhara Hotel is built in the style of a traditional madrasa and offers travelers welcoming three-star service, with facilities that include an outdoor swimming pool, business center with conference rooms and fitness center. The hotel also offers massage services to help travelers recuperate after a day exploring Bukhara’s ancient sites. Guest rooms include a modern bathroom with tub and shower, a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, and in the deluxe rooms, a safe. The on-site restaurant serves up national and international dishes and a bar and nightclub gives visitors the chance to socialize with fellow travelers and locals after hours. The Asia Bukhara Hotel is located in the heart of the ancient city, and guests will find many historic sites of note within walking distance.


Lyabi Khauz Hotel

Positioned in the heart of the Old City, Lyabi Khauz Hotel provides warm Uzbek hospitality in a beautifully restored 19th-century house. All 40 rooms have been refurbished in a comfortable, modern manner with traditional Uzbek accents and mod-cons such as satellite TV, air conditioning, fridge, work desk and full bathroom. Accommodation is available as single, twin or triple rooms with the option of a Junior Suite for travelers who require more space. Among the highlights of this beautiful hotel are its original facade and a central dining room and hall with ornate tiles and antique decorations. The place was designed and built by architect Usta Shirin Murad, whose other works include the Summer Palace of the Emir of Bukhara and the Ballet Theatre. Not only is the hotel a valuable part of Bukhara heritage itself, it’s located in the historic center of town, within steps of the 16th-century Silk Road marketplace where travelers can pick up souvenirs and handicrafts. The Lyabi Khauz Hotel is also equipped with a business center, bar, 24-hour room service and laundry service. The restaurant serves up more than 100 local Uzbek dishes, plus international favorites and vegetarian fare. 


Omar Khayyam Hotel

Named after the legendary philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and poet, the Omar Khayyam Hotel offers guests an authentic experience in the heart of ancient Bukhara. With 22 rooms, including one apartment-style studio and several deluxe suites, this property features ornate stucco arches and balconies that overlook a central courtyard. In-room amenities include satellite TV, air-conditioning, fridge, work desk and modern bathroom with hairdryer. The restaurant serves up traditional Uzbek meals as well as European dishes, vegetarian fare and Korean cuisine. In the summertime, the courtyard sets the scene for an open-air bar and cafe, providing a wide range of drinks and a taste of local sweets. For the executive traveler, there’s a business center with internet access and safety boxes. The hotel also provides laundry services and access to medical care, if required. Many of this UNESCO city’s major historic attractions - the Po-i-Kalyan complex and the 5th-century Ark-Citadel, for instance - are within walking distance of the hotel. 

Asia Khiva, Hotel Orient Star

Asia Khiva

This comfortable is perfectly situated in the city center, next to the southern entrance to Itchan Kala - the old town. Within walking distance are some of ancient Khiva’s  most famous sites, including the Stone Palace, Citadel Kunya-Ark and the Djuma mosque with its carved wooden columns. The hotel has 132 rooms, all of which feature air conditioning, refrigerators, wireless internet and satellite television as standard and though not necessarily modern and luxurious, the authentic charm of the decor is in keeping with the city surroundings. The hotel restaurant serves international cuisine and guests can dine inside or out on the terrace. After a hot and tiring day discovering Khiva’s historic sites, unwind by the outdoor pool or take advantage of the sauna facilities. 


Hotel Orient Star

This beautiful hotel located right in the heart of the architectural-urban museum reserve of Khiva’s old town, Itchan Kala, offers a unique accommodation experience. The Muhammad Amin Khan madrasah, built in 1855, was originally, like all Uzbek madrasahs, a school for students of Islam. Today these students’ cells have been renovated into beautiful hotel rooms which, although small, retain the charm and intricate detail of their previous purpose and feature all the mod-cons including mini bar, telephone and en-suite bathroom. Thanks to its unique and original architecture,  the hotel remains pleasantly cool with no need of air conditioning, and guests will be delighted by the beauty of the highly decorative arches and carved wooden doors throughout the reception and in the spacious restaurant. The hotel also features a souvenir shop, an outdoor cafe and a lounge bar and with its ideal location,  the wonders of ancient Khiva, including the towering Kuk Minor minaret, lie right on its doorstep.                                          

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Jay Tindall was amazed by Uzbekistan's cultural diversity, its 2700-year old history and its mosques, markets and friendly people.
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