We take joy and pride in creating thematically booming trips like this. (In fact, GeoEx pioneered the pivotal crossing of the Turugart Pass more than two decades ago.) The Silk Road: A Journey through Time ties together whole passels of civilizations, epochs, and sceneries. And it tells the grand tale of one of humankind’s most important arteries of trade and culture. Like other GeoEx classics, it’s the kind of journey generations of far-fetchers would have mortgaged their souls to make.
Anchored at its ends by Xian and Tashkent, capital of what used to the Soviet (and before that, Russian) Central Asia (at least three major themes right there, from the Mongols to the Great Game to Marx), this epic journey traversed the heart of Asia, following one of the Silk Road’s major branches. It skirts deserts (the Taklamakan is perhaps the world’s fiercest), lopes over great mountains (cutting the Pamir Knot’s northern strand, the Tien Shan Mountains), and crosses rare borders (the Sino-Kyrgyz frontier at 12,300-foot Turugart Pass).
The roster of cities and sights we visit is soul-mortgagingly enticing: Xian’s Terracotta Warriors, who look like they’re ready to shake off a little dust and get marching; Dunhuang’s Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, a bastion of Greco-Buddhist art; Urumchi, the most landlocked place on earth; magnificent Samarkand and Bukhara; the still-little-visited Kyrgyz Republic; and Kashgar, a place very dear to those lusty travelers who comprise the heart and soul of GeoEx. This journey links the most resonant and fantastic of the place names along the famed Silk Road.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1: arrive Xian, China
- Day 2: Terracotta Warriors, Shaanxi Museum
- Day 3: Xian explorations
- Day 4: fly to Dunhuang
- Day 5: Caves of a Thousand Buddhas and Singing Sands
- Day 6: Dunhuang Caves, fly to Urumchi
- Day 7: Xinjiang Museum
- Day 8: fly to Kashgar and roam the fabled oasis city
- Day 9: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar and livestock market
- Day 10: cross the Turugart Pass into Kyrgyzstan
- Day 11: drive to Bishkek via Issyk-Kul Lake
- Day 12: Ala Archa Gorge, explore Bishkek
- Day 13: fly to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, tour the capital
- Day 14: Tashkent, drive to Samarkand
- Day 15: Samarkand
- Day 16: Samarkand, drive to Bukhara
- Days 17 & 18: Bukhara
- Day 19: return to Tashkent for farewell dinner
- Day 20: depart for home.