A dazzling exploration of the lands where civilisation began, and the great religious and political ideologies were born. Journeying aboard the Golden Eagle, travel through the magnificent “Five Stans” – a fascinating patchwork of countries, stitched together by a shared history of Sovietisation, yet fiercely independent in identity.
From the magnificent mosques and bustling bazaars of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the breath-taking verdant expanse and ethereally tranquil landscapes of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, this incredible 14-day adventure is your invitation to one of the world’s greatest train journeys.
The Train: The Golden Eagle has been carefully designed with emphasis on your comfort, relaxation and enjoyment. Aboard your luxurious private train, you can expect well-appointed en suite cabins, fine dining and elegant surroundings. All cabins feature LCD TV, DVD player, wardrobe, air-conditioning, large window and en suite bathroom.
Silver Class Cabins: A compact cabin featuring a small double lower bed and single upper bed with private en suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
Gold Class Cabins: A well-proportioned cabin including a private bathroom with separate power shower and underfloor heating. Guests also benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.
Imperial Suite Cabins: The most spacious cabin which includes a large double bed, lounge area with dressing table and private en suite bathroom with power shower and underfloor heating. Guests can also enjoy drinks from the Standard and Premium Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car along with use of a private guide and chauffer service at many of the destinations.
Duration14 Days / 13 Nights from USD US$24,695*
CountriesThe Silk Road, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
Type of JourneyRail
Almaty • Tashkent • Khiva • Ashgabat • Merv • Dushanbe • Samarkand • Andizhan • Tashkent
• Five-star pre and post tour hotel accommodation
• Private ensuite accommodation on the Golden Eagle train
• Freshly prepared meals on board, using the finest local ingredients
• Authentic dining experiences in local restaurants
• Generous drinks allowance, including international wines with lunch and dinner
• Golden Eagle Gala Caviar dinner
• 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 16 dinners
• Expertly guided off-train excursions as detailed in the itinerary
• Freedom of Choice touring options
• 24-hour cabin attendant service
• Experienced Tour Management team
• Services of a UK-registered Doctor and medical facilities on board
• Arrival and departure transfers
• All gratuities – on and off the train
• Luggage porterage throughout the journey
103895Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Almaty, Kazakhstan
On your first evening in Almaty, you will be invited to a champagne drinks’ reception before our exclusive Welcome Dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.
Day 2: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and is notable for its wide tree-lined boulevards. Surrounded by the majesty of the Tien Shan Mountains, this beautiful city derives its name from ‘alma’ meaning ‘apple’. Just a short distance from the city, apple orchards thrive in abundance. The morning city tour includes a visit to Panfilov Park where you will visit the Zenkhov Cathedral which was built entirely of wood.
Day 3: Lake Issyk-Kul & Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
This morning, enjoy a guided tour of the open-air Museum of Petroglyphs at Lake Issyk-Kul, a sacred site used by the Saka priests for sacrifices and other rites to the sun god. Some of the petroglyphs date from the Bronze Age with later engravings dating to the 10th century. Following this, you will be treated to breathtaking flight demonstration of Eagle Hunting, a 4,000-year-old art. You will learn the story of eagle hunting, the characteristics of the Golden Eagle and the fascinating details of this Kyrgyz nomadic tradition.
Originally a caravan rest stop serving the travellers that came through the area along the Great Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek, is the location of your afternoon sightseeing. Here you will visit the Ala-Too Square, built 1984 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic in Kyrgyzstan and a city tour of the local parks, rich in Soviet history, including statutes of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and the Memorial for the Red Guards.
Day 4: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
This afternoon arrive in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. Spend time touring this modern Soviet-style city, which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966. Your tour of the city includes the Old Town, where traditional homes and religious buildings line the narrow streets. In a small library here you will be privileged to see one of Islam’s most sacred relics – the world’s oldest Koran. This is followed by a visit to the Railway Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts.
Day 5: Khiva, Uzbekistan
Today, travel to the ancient city of Khiva, founded 2,500 years ago. As one of the Silk Road’s most important trading posts and now a World Heritage Site, it lies at the crossroads of the routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia. A truly magnificent sight to behold, it rises out of the desert to reveal a wealth of impressive architecture. Stepping back in time, discover its impressive mosques, madrassas, bazaars and minarets within Khiva’s ancient walls.
Day 6: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan is known as the ‘Las Vegas of the Kara Kum’. Situated between the Kara Kum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat is a relatively modern city built upon the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala. The Soviet city was largely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1948. The city’s extravagant fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting. Highlights on your visit include a visit to the National Museum and Kipchak Mosque.
The Golden Eagle makes a brief scheduled stop at Ichoguz, where you will have the option to leave the train and make a short journey to Darvaza’s famous burning gas crater, a spectacular sight best seen at night. Located in the middle of the Kara Kum desert where the area is rich in natural gas, the 70-metre wide crater is known by the locals as the ‘Door to Hell’ and has been burning for over 40 years. A unique experience that is not to be missed.
Day 7: Merv, Turkmenistan
From Mary transfer to the ancient and mainly unrestored remains of Merv. Once an important stopping point on the Silk Road, it claims to have briefly been the largest city in the world during the 12th century. 1794 saw the demise of Merv, after the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the dam which the population depended on for its water.
Day 8: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Bukhara is quite simply outstanding. Like Khiva, UNESCO sponsored the renovation of much of the city for its 2,500th anniversary in 1999. The highlight of this wonderful tour is a visit to The Ark, a fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara – the despotic and ruthless leaders who ruled until Soviet times. Travel out of the city to experience the Emir’s enchantingly named ‘Palace of the Moon and Stars’. This evening, weather and time permitting, enjoy a barbecue on the station platform before our train departs.
Day 9: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
This morning, visit the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, situated on the Varzob River and its opulent Kohi Navruz Palace. Enjoy a guided tour with a local expert guide, who will tell the fascinating story of the teahouse-turned palace. You will explore each beautiful hall decorated with breathtaking chandeliers, while learning about each of the artists and designers that worked incredibly hard to build and decorate this majestic palace. After the tour, enjoy tea and local delicacies in the palace before returning to the Golden Eagle to continue your journey.
Day 10: Shahrizabz, Uzbekistan
Believed to be the birthplace of Amir Timur, the military prodigy who modelled himself on Genghis Khan and used similar violent methods to conquer and control his Empire, visit the UNESCO-honoured statue of Amir Timur and his Ak-Saray Palace. This majestic palace in Shahrizabz took over a quarter of a century to build, and was originally decorated with colourful, highly detailed mosaic but also included delicate calligraphic inscriptions from the Qur’an. Amid the decorative facing, there is an inscription showing the date 798 (1395 – 1396 AD) which was when the building was completed.
Day 11: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Just the mention of Samarkand instantly conjures up evocative images of the Silk Road, more so than any other town. Founded in the 6th century BC, Samarkand’s stunning architecture hints at its former status as one of the most important cities in Asia and is particularly noted for its architectural remains from the 14th to the 17th century, when it flourished as the fabled capital of the Mongol empire of Timur and his successors.
Today, you will visit some of its most significant sites including Registan Square, the refined elegance of the beautifully proportioned Bibi Khanum Mosque and the Ulag Beg observatory, one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories built in 1428. Before dinner return to the now illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square.
Day 12: Margillan, Andizhan & Osh, Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan
This morning, visit the ancient city of Margilan, famous for its production of silk, considered by many as the best in Central Asia. Here you will visit the Yodgorlik Margilan Factory which is considered the best and only one of its kind in Uzbekistan. Producing 6,000 metres of silk per month, the factory has preserved a manual and traditional method of silk production. Explore the whole process of making silk from the mulberry trees used to feed the silkworms to the hardworking staff hand weaving the colourful ikat fabric on traditional looms.
Next stop is the town of Andizhan, dating back to the 9th century. The city is renowned as the birthplace of Zahiruddin Babur in 1483. He was a descendant of Amir Timur, who was once the ruler of this area. During your short visit explore the Jami Madrasah and mosque, one of the biggest religious complexes in the region, decorated with beautiful geometric patterns of pandjara and Islamic inscriptions.
Late afternoon arrive in Osh, a popular destination for Muslim pilgrimages as it is home to the sacred Sulayman Mountain, visible from all areas of the city and named in honour of the Qur’anic Prophet Solomon. Your Freedom of Choice touring options include a walking tour of the city, taking in spectacular Soviet mosaics, murals, and public art, plus a visit to some of the major architectural sites and monuments honouring World War Two soldiers and Chernobyl victims. Alternatively, you can enjoy a traditional bread making class. Bread is an important part of the local diet and across Kyrgyzstan it not only varies by its shape, but also by its taste, and the unique way in which it is baked.
Day 13: Kokand, Uzbekistan
Kokand is the main transportation junction in the Fergana Valley and is located at the crossroads of the two main ancient trade routes. It is known that each of the Khanates of Turan had their own impressive palace. One of these architectural monuments is the citadel of the last Kokand Khan, Khudayar Khan.
Today, you will visit the Khudayar Khan Fortress and its remaining buildings and courtyards, the best way to understand not only the history of the buildings but also the lives and times of Khudyar Khan, his wives and his family. You will also have an opportunity to visit the museum displaying jewellery, clothing and metal-ware. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner on board the Golden Eagle as we return to Tashkent.
Day 14: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
After breakfast ion board the Golden Eagle, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
Please enquire for other Golden Eagle itineraries.