Clients can travel in the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Silk Road with Silk Road Treasure Tours. The 18-day journey, In the Footsteps of Marco Polo, visits a variety of destinations throughout Central Asia in a small group setting, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In The Footsteps of Marco Polo’ has nine departure dates from May 9, 2012 to Sept. 12, 2013 and starts at $5,999 per person.
The trip begins in Uzbekistan, the crossroads of civilization and the heart of Central Asia. Guests will arrive in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to explore ancient mausoleums, mosques and the lively Chor-Su Bazaar. While in Uzbekistan, guests will visit some of the best-preserved cities of the Silk Road including: Khujand, located not far from the border of Uzbekistan, for a day trip to one of the most ancient cities of Tajikistan; Samarkand, a city more than 2,750 years old to visit several sites including the incredible Registan Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is now the main location for Uzbek’s international music festivals; and Bukhara, another World Heritage Site, to experience local hospitality with an Uzbek family and a folk-show in Medreseh Nodir Divan Begi.
From Bukhara guests will drive to Turkmenistan and through the Kara Kum desert from Mary to Merv. Once a part of the Achaemenian Empire in 6th century B.C. until the invasion by Alexander the Great, Merv is the oldest well-preserved heritage city of the Silk Road and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will then head to the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, a haven of museums and bazaars. Here guests will visit the ruins of the ancient Parthian state capital, which is currently being restored by UNESCO, along with unique fortresses, the National Museum of History and Ethnography and the Carpet Museum. Guests will enjoy a sightseeing drive to Khiva, one of the three historical cities on the ancient trade route, to explore Uzbekistan’s open-air museum.
Continuing onto Kazakhstan guests will arrive in Almaty, the former capital which is situated at the foot of the Zaili Alatau Mountain Range. Guests will visit the gardens, parks and promenades at Alatau Park and enjoy views of the Chimbulak mountainous area. Across the famous Kazakh Steppe, guests will drive to one of the greenest cities in Central Asia, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. Originally a caravan rest stop from China to Europe, Bishkek is now a bustling shopper’s delight with bazaars offering exotic foods, colorful clothes, woodcarvings and more. The last full days will be spent enjoying the beaches of Issyk Kul (Warm Lake), one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in the world which, although surrounded by the snowy Ala-Tau mountains, never freezes.
The price of the tour includes all costs aside from consular fees at the embassies, gratuity for the guides and international airline flight.