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Uzbekistan: Luxury Golden Road to Samarkand Small Group Tour

UZBEKISTAN: Golden Road to Samarkand - 10 Days
Enquiries Welcome

Destinations: Tashkent, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Samarkand & Tashkent

Tour Grading MODERATE: Suitable for travellers with an above average level of fitness and mobility

Tour Commences In: Tashkent

Number of Days: 10 days / 9 nights

Accommodation: 5, 4 & 4/3 Star Modern & Boutique Hotels

Leaders: Profesional experienced expert guide

Tour Concludes In: Tashkent

Tour Style: Luxury Escorted Small Group Tours

Meals: Breakfasts; 9: Lunches; 8: Dinners; 9:

Transportation: Luxury chauffeur driven air-conditioned private vehicles

Tour Summary

NEW FOR 2013

If your time is limited then this is an ideal tour for you to experience this section of the Silk Road. This tour visits three of the most important glorious cites of the ancient Silk Road:

Bukhara, renowned for its 10th-century scholars and artists, is laden with 1,000 years of some of the most breathtaking and sublime buildings of central Asia. This city looks much as it did 1000 years ago. Gaze up at the Kalon Minaret, a 47 metre tower, so impressive that even Genghis Khan was moved to spare its destruction. It too will take your breath away.

Shakhrisabz, home of Amir Temur or Tamerlane and his magnificent Ak-Saray Palace (White Palace) with only some of the pillars and part of the arch of the main portal remain for the world to see.

Samarkand, the city of myth and fable, is synonymous with the exoticism of the Silk Road. Known as the city of Tamerlane, this noble city with its dazzling blue domes rising intricately in the city skyline and the splendid and majestic Registan that is the centre of all things in Samarkand.

Tashkent started as an oasis city and was a main link between East and West on the great Silk Road, becoming on of the richest cities in Central Asia. Tashkent is the largest metropolis in the region, the nation’s capital and home to some excellent museums, operas and fine dining.

Dream a moment as you travel part of the world's most infamous trading routes with its rich culture and mixed history its truly fascinating.

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the local artisan centres in Tashkent’s restored madrassah’s
  • Be overwhelmed when you visit Tashkent’s Applied Arts Museum
  • Explore the amazing Chorsu bazaar
  • Live and feel the life of a Bukharan in Bukhara
  • Immerse yourself in this ancient city
  • Be in awe of Samarkand’s Registan and its Madrassah’s
  • Enjoy wonderful cuisine and regional delicacies
  • and more

Tour Inclusions

  • Exclusive and private airport arrival and departure transfers for all guests
  • Domestic Economy Class Flight – Tashkent / Bukhara
  • 5 & 4/3 star Modern & Boutique hotel accommodation
  • Meals as indicated in Itinerary; B = B’fast:  L = Lunch:   D = Dinner:
  • Australian Tour Manager and professional tour guide
  • Luxury private chauffer driven air-conditioned vehicles for all our transportation
  • Entrance fees to all sights, monuments, shows and activities as per the itinerary
  • An exclusive BT&T travel information Booklet
  • Bottled water whilst touring in vehicle

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1:   Monday:   Arrive Tashkent
  • Day 2:   Tuesday:   Tashkent
  • Day 3:   Wednesday:   Tashkent – Bukhara
  • Day 4:   Thursday:   Bukhara
  • Day 5:   Friday:   Bukhara
  • Day 6:   Saturday:   Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand
  • Day 7:   Sunday:   Samarkand
  • Day 8:   Monday:   Samarkand
  • Day 9:   Tuesday:   Samarkand - Tashkent
  • Day 10:   Wednesday:   Depart Tashkent

Country Information

 
Accommodation:

We offer 5 and 4/3 star hotel accommodation for this Uzbekistan Tour. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double or two twin beds.

Climate & Clothing:

The best time to travel to Uzbekistan is in spring and autumn; March to May and mid August to November. The majority of rain falls in the summer months, whilst the coldest period is January to February.

The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons for the warmer months and warmer clothing for the cooler months. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.

Currency & Money Matters:

Uzbekistan currency is called Uzbek Sum. Currency code: UZS. One Uzbek Sum = 100 tiyn. Notes are in denominations of Sum 500, 200, 100, 50, 25, 5, 3 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 25, 10 and 5 sum. We recommend that you take a combination of cash, credit cards and travellers’ cheques. Major foreign credit cards are only acceptable in a few designated shops, hotels and large restaurants. We highly recommend US Dollars in small denominations

Electricity:

There are about four electric plug types with the most common plug being a two narrow pin "Type C" & "Type E/F".

Insurance:

You must be comprehensively insured as a condition of travelling with Boutique Travel & Tours. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking. Boutique Tours & Travel is able to assist you in arranging your Insurance.

Language:

The official language is Uzbek. There are also numerous dialects spoken throughout different parts of Uzbekistan.

Meals:

Our hotels offer a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts and we offer a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening meals.

Medical Services & Facilities:

All our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals throughout Uzbekistan are excellent and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.

Passports & Visas:

To enter Uzbekistan you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. A Visa is required for all guests and is to be organised prior to departure. Boutique Tours & Travel is able to arrange your Visa.

Special Requests:

Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs or any other arrangement should be advised at time of booking. Please note that every effort will be made to secure your special request; however, they cannot always be guaranteed.

Time Zone:

Despite the size of the country, Uzbekistan is standard time throughout. GMT +5.

Transport:

We use modern luxury and deluxe minibuses. These are spacious, comfortable, well maintained safe vehicles. We also walk where and when it’s suitable.

Water & Beverages:

Our hotels offer bottled water, and soft drinks. Bottled water is provided everyday on tour. Chinese tea is available with most meals. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour.

UNESCO

  • Historic Centre of Bukhara (1993)
  • Historic Centre of Shakhrisabz (2000)
  • Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures (2001)

VIP Moments

THE GOLDEN RAOD TO SAMARKAND

HASSAN:

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells,

When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,

And softly through the silence beat the bells

Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

ISHAK:

We travel not for trafficking alone;

By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:

For lust of knowing what should not be known

We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

MASTER OF THE CARAVAN:

Open the gate, O watchman of the night!

THE WATCHMAN:

Ho, travellers, I open. For what land

Leave you the dim-moon city of delight?

MERCHANTS (with a shout):

We take the Golden Road to Samarkand!

(The Caravan passes through the gate)

THE WATCHMAN (consoling the women):

What would ye, ladies? It was ever thus.

Men are unwise and curiously planned.

A WOMAN:

They have their dreams, and do not think of us.

VOICES OF THE CARAVAN (in the distance singing):

We take the Golden Road to Samarkand...

James Elroy Flecker

Full Itinerary

Day 1:  Monday:   Arrive Tashkent:  (D)

Welcome to Uzbekistan! You will be met by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you may have free time to explore Tashkent.  (Hotel Check-in is available after 14:00hr you may wish to book your room for the prior night)

This afternoon is at your leisure. This evening attend a welcome dinner and meet our guide and fellow travellers.

Tashkent is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. In the Middle Ages, Tashkent near the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains stood at the crossroads of the caravan routes from Europe to Asia, and from Siberia, China and India to the Middle East and Europe. Although it is more than 2,000 years old, many of Tashkent’s ancient monuments were destroyed by conquerors, time and by the earthquake of 1966. But today the city is lovelier than ever. Parks and gardens occupy almost one third of its area. It is the cosmopolitan town of free lined streets, shops, bridges and elegant parklands. Together with Tashkent’s architecture, which combines modern forms with traditional ornaments, Tashkent is a delightful city.

 

Day 2:   Tuesday:   Tashkent:   (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we visit the Khazret-Iman Complex, The Bara-Khon Madrassah is the headquarters of the Sunni Muslim religion in the region and has interesting mosaics and Arabic calligraphy that dates back to the late 16th century. Tellya Sheikh Madrassah and Archives (Osman Koran) Juma Mosque and next to the Old Town and under the green dome of Chorsu Bazaar lies a famous farmers market that is one of the largest and oldest in central Asia. On a hill behind the bazaar is the 16th century Kulkedash Madrassah – an Islamic school that sits beside the 15th century Juma (Friday) Mosque.  After lunch at a tradition Uzbek restaurant, we visit the amazing State Museum of Applied Art in the old quarter which has a fantastic collection of Uzbek workmanship and a gallery of the finest ceramics in the country. You may wish to visit to the State Museum of Fine Art where you can browse at a large collection of numerous art works. (Optional)  Amir Temur Square is the main square in town and use to contain a statue of Karl Marx, but he has been replaced by a statue of Uzbekistan’s 14th century national hero, Temur, on horse-back.

 

Day 3:   Wednesday:   Tashkent – Bukhara:   (B/L/D)

Later this morning we fly to Bukhara, A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, Bukhara is one of the most ancient and incredible cities in the world and is widely regarded as Central Asia’s holiest city. Bukhara preserved its treasures of architecture of the pre-Mongol period. Thus often the City of Bukhara is considered as an open air Museum. The majority of the sites lie scattered around the old city, ‘Shakhristanand’ and are most easily reached on foot. Bukhara is truly a magical place and it is sure to cast its spell on you too!  After lunch, we visit Labi Khaus Complex ("the complex around the pond"), Nadir Divan Begi Khanaka. (old hotel for merchants) Labi Khaus pond dates from the XVIIth century when it was the principal source of water for the town. Enjoy tea in an ancient Chaykhana (Tea house), near the sculpture of humorist Khodga Nasriddin. We visit Fayzullo Khodjaev's house Museum of National costumes where we can observe the daily life of a Bukhara merchant in the early 20th century. The sightseeing continues through the trade domes that still offer an intriguing and colourful array of goods including spices, embroideries, jewellery, handicrafts of silk carpets, hat sellers puppets and jewellery and all manner of Silk Road treasures. This is the place to test your haggling skills, as well as share a joke or two with friendly local merchants. We tour the Magoki Attari site which was originally a Zoroastrian temple, Abdulazizkhan Madreseh with its sandali (old version of house heating) and the Poi-Kalon Ensemble with the greatest minaret of Central Asia.

 

Day 4:   Thursday:   Bukhara:   (B/L/D)

This morning we drive to Chor Minor, a jewel of 16th-century architecture. It is a unique structure with four minarets – one on each corner. It was built in 1807 by Turkmen merchant, Khalif Niyazkul.  Continue down the narrow streets of old Bukhara to the old Jewish quarter. See one of the city’s hidden gems, the Jewish synagogue, which houses a collection of ancient Torahs dating back about 600 years. Discover ancient winter residence of local rulers from the first century which is located near Bolo Khaus Mosque. We visit the imposing Ark (fortress) of the Bukhara Emirs, and walk through this building full of  great history.  (Perhaps ask where Connolly & Stoddart famously met their fate in 1848.)  This afternoon is free for you to wander around and find your own treasures.  Dinner this evening includes a Folklore show featuring local dancers, singers and fashion stars.

 

Day 5:   Friday:   Bukhara:   (B/L/D)

Today you we visit an outstanding Persian Samanid brick mausoleum reputed to be the oldest mosque in central Asia. We then continue on to Bukhara's city limits to visit the magnificent ‘Sitorai Mohi-Khossa Palace’ (The Palace of Moon and Stars).the Summer Palace, residence of the last Emir of Bukhara. Its opulence is also reflected by its combination of local and European influences in its designs and furnishings. The halls are richly decorated with mirrors and an vase room is one of the many highlights,  and the exceptional ‘White Hall’  This evening we will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant with a wonderful panoramic view of the old city.

 

 Day 6:  Saturday:  Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand:   (B/L/D)

Following breakfast we check out of our hotel and drive the Golden Road to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Temur. (perhaps better known in the West as Tamerlane) Here, he built an enormous Ak-Saroy Palace, (the White Palace) of which only part of the beautifully ornamented building remains.  We continue on and tour the Khazrati Imom mosque, and the exquisite blue-tiled Kok Gumbaz mosque.  Wecontinue our drive alongside the Zerafshan mountains to Samarkand.  Samarkand is the city with more than 3000 years history. It was the site of the marriage of Alexander the Great to the local princess Roxana.  Dinner this evening is at a traditional Uzbek Restaurant.

 

Day 7:   Sunday:   Samarkand:   (B/L/D)

Perhaps the most well-known of Silk Road cities, we will enjoy a couple of days of sightseeing and exploring Samarkand, a city that evokes the romance of the Silk Road perhaps more than any other. From its foundation in the 5th century BC, this crossroads of cultures, religions, peoples and languages has been a centre of artisans and traders as well as the prize for many a conquering army. Alexander the Great stormed its walls in 329 BC and many other rulers chose to make it their capital in the centuries that followed including Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Even the Soviet occupiers declared it the original capital of the Uzbek SSR in 1924, although it only kept that honour for four years.  This morning we visit Bibi-Khanym Mosque built by Temur and often compared to the Taj Mahal, as it was also built as a grand and timeless symbol of a man's love for his wife. This mosque overlooks the busy and colourful Siob Bazaar, where there are many bustling stalls and huge array of produce, as well as encounter friendly greetings from the local traders.  Our next stop is the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis complex, an extraordinary collection of more than 20 mausoleums, which feature exquisitely decorated colourful tile work majolica facades. One of the many highlight of this tour is the iconic Registan Square with the three madrassah’s (Ulugbek, Sher Dor and Tilla-Kari) towering over us. The ensemble consists of three Madrassah: Ulugbek Madrassah (15th century), Sher – Dor Madrassah (17th century) and Tilla-Kari Madrassah (gold covered)(17th century).

 

Day 8:   Monday:   Samarkand:   (B/L/D)

Today we visit the Gur Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the mighty Temur and his sons and grandsons. For a man of his stature, it is quite a simple tomb.  We then drive to the Observatory of Ulug Beg, Tamerlane’s astronomer grandson. The discovery of the ruins of his observatory in the last century tells of an amazing story from a bygone era.  After lunch we tour the the nearby Afrosiyob Museum of History, Culture and Art. When the Muslims invaded this region they destroyed the earlier Sogdian city of Afrosiyab, which is now a huge mound on Samarkand's flank. The Sogdians had been renowned traders along the silk route.  This afternoon is at your leisure. Perhaps you may like to return to the many stalls nestled in the Registan Ensemble to find that perfect souvenir. (a vehicle will be available to you this afternoon to transfer you there and return you to the hotel)

 

Day 9: Tuesday:   Samarkand – Tashkent:   (B/L/D)

Drive to Tashkent. Stopping near the "gate" of Amur Temur where two mountain ranges meet. This offers an opportunity to photograph two great mountain ranges of Uzbekistan and see the ancient river stream. On arrival we will have lunch at a local restaurant.  After lunch we will visit the “The Monument of Courage” dedicated to the city of Tashkent which suffered an earthquake which took place on April 26, 1966. Mustakillik Square (Independence Square) is the main and most beautiful square of the Tashkent. The entrance to the square opens with Arch of ‘good and noble aspirations’.  We then drive to Bunyodkor Square (Friendship of Peoples Square) is one of the most modern in the city. We visit an art gallery that features hand-made crafts and clothing, ranging from full outfits to purses to beautiful hand-painted tea sets and ceramics and all made in original national style. It is also a great place to buy Uzbek souvenirs.

 

Day 10:   Wednesday:   Depart Tashkent:   (B)

Our small group tour concludes after breakfast and for most guests today it is time to say farewell to acquaintances, new-found friends and Uzbekistan. At your leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward or homebound journey.

Check-out hotel before 12:00.md. Depending on your departure itinerary, you may have time for some last-minute sightseeing and shopping. We are able to organize our private guide to accompany you.

Some guests may wish to stay another day or more in this amazing city; please don’t hesitate to contact Boutique Tours and Travel for further travel arrangements.

Tour Hotels

CITY LUXURY DELUXE BOUTIQUE
Tashkent: International Hotel Tashkent Palace Grand Orzu
Bukhara: (Asia Bukhara) Asia Bukhara Lyabi Khauz
Samarkand: (Asia Smarkand) Grand Samarkand Shakhzoda Luz
Tashkent: International Hotel Taskent Palace Grand Orzu

You may choose to mix your hotels; if so please contact us for a new quote.

 

Salary Packaging:

If you have Salary Packaging at your workplace, you may be entitled to claim for accommodation and or meals. Contact us to discuss this further.

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