The Silk Road
Retrace one of the most important trading routes throughout ancient history, the Silk Road, on this spectacular luxury rail journey.
Retrace one of the most important trading routes throughout ancient history, the Silk Road, on this spectacular luxury rail journey. Travel aboard two legendary trains, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express and the Shangri-La Express as you make your way across 5 countries, 6 time zones, and more than 6,800 miles through many areas accessible only by train.
Scenic Highlights and Inclusions
- 10 nights onboard the Golden Eagle
- 5 nights onboard the Shangri-La Express
- Hotel accommodations for 2 nights in Moscow
- Hotel accommodations for 3 nights in Beijing
- Freedom of Choice off-train touring options
- Guided off-train excursions
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Meals daily
- Beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks, tea, and coffee) with all lunches and dinners
- 24-hour service attendant onboard the train
- Baggage handling between hotels and rail stations.
- All gratuities
- Red Square
- The Kremlin
- Palace of the Moon and Stars
- Registan Square
- Provincial Museum
- Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex
- Gobi Desert
- Terracotta Warriors
- Tiananmen Square
- Great Wall
Day 1 - Moscow, Russia
Arrive at Moscow airport, where you are met and transferred to your luxurious centrally-located hotel for a two-night stay. Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel this evening, where you will have the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers. Overnight Marriott Royal Aurora or similar. (D)
Day 2 - Moscow / Freedom of Choice Touring
Today's city tour of Moscow focuses principally on Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political might. Here you will see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St. Basil's Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the somber and evocative site of Lenin's tomb. Alternatively, with your Freedom of Choice touring options, you may wish to visit, for example, the Tretyakov Gallery or the Museum of the KGB. Overnight Marriott Royal Aurora or similar. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
In the morning, board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. After settling into your modern, stylish cabin, enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as your rail journey to Beijing begins. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Volgograd, Russia
Situated on the banks of the Volga, Stalingrad, as the city was known in Soviet times, was the dramatic scene of one of the most important Second World War battles. The Russians heroically turned back the Nazi advance here to alter the course of the war. Visit the poignantly sobering Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, followed by the informative diorama and absorbing museum visit. This evening enjoy a beautifully prepared dinner on board the train. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Kara Kum Desert, Turkmenistan
Today enjoy a relaxing day onboard the Golden Eagle as the train travels across the vast expanses of the Kara Kum desert. As well as experiencing the unique landscape, take the opportunity to chat with your fellow travelers and maybe take your first Russian language lesson. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Crossing into Uzbekistan, the train travels towards Urgench, where you'll transfer 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, bazaars and minarets within Khiva's ancient walls. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
In dramatic contrast to Khiva, you'll arrive in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan - the "Las Vegas of the Kara Kum." Situated between the Kara Kum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, its fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Merv, Turkmenistan
Early morning heralds your arrival in Mary, where we transfer to the ancient and mainly unrestored city 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 twelfth century. 1794 saw the demise of Merv, after the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the dam which the population depended on for its water. After this fascinating exploration, return to the train for dinner. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Bukhara is quite simply outstanding. Like Khiva, UNESCO backed 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. Next, travel out of the city to experience the Emir's enchantingly named Palace of the Moon and Stars. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Founded in the 6th Century B.C., Samarkand's stunning architecture hints at its former status as one of the most important cities in Asia. 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. After dinner, visit the illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square before returning to the train for a late evening departure. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Tashkent, Uzbekistan
You will arrive in the capital city of Uzbekistan today. Spend the morning touring this modern Soviet-style city, which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966. Re-board the train for lunch and head towards Kazakhstan and Almaty. This afternoon brings the opportunity to relax with friends or listen to one of the informative lectures designed to give travelers a greater insight into this fascinating region. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - Almaty, Kazakhstan
Just before lunch the train arrives in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. This beautifully verdant city derives its name from 'Alma' meaning "apple." Just a short distance from the city, apple orchards thrive in abundance. Surrounded by the majesty of the Tien Shen Mountains, you will enjoy a traditional lunch in a Kazak "yurt," a dwelling place of this region's nomadic people. Tonight is our final evening onboard the Golden Eagle and will be marked by a farewell banquet. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 13 - Crossing into China
As you arrive at the Kazakh border of Druzhba, bid the Golden Eagle a final farewell. The border crossing takes 5 hours but your patience is rewarded as the Shangri-La Express private train awaits the group in Alanshankou, the Chinese border station. Settle into your comfortable cabin as the train speeds further into the intriguing landscape of China. A welcome dinner is served in the restaurant cars, giving you your first taste of authentic Chinese cuisine. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 14 - Urumchi / Turpan
Urumchi is located in a verdant oasis between the lofty ice capped Bogda Peak, the vast Salt Lake, the pine covered Southern Hill and the alternating fields and sand dunes of the Zunggar Basin. Urumchi boasts an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for being the city furthest from any sea in the world - a staggering 1,400 miles from the nearest coastline. This morning visit the renowned mummy exhibition at the Provincial Museum. After lunch, travel to Turpan, where the Flaming Mountains create a magnificent backdrop. Take a fascinating tour to the ancient underground irrigation system that has successfully fed the rich orchards and vineyards for centuries. Your final destination is the elegantly decaying sand city of Jiaohe that was founded in 108 B.C. Overnight train. (B. L, D)
Day 15 - Dunhuang
Before lunch you'll arrive in the small oasis-city of Dunhuang, where you will visit the fascinating Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex. This impressive site contains almost 500 grottoes, carved between 700 and 1,700 years ago. Inside you will see an amazing collection of beautiful sculptures and murals depicting the evolution of Buddhist religious art over a 1,000 year period. This afternoon, explore the vast natural beauty of the Gobi Desert by camel. Here you'll discover Crescent Lake. Hidden amongst towering sand dunes, it has sustained life in this region for millennia. Tonight we experience dinner and a local folk performance in this magical setting. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 16 - Jiayuguan
This morning your private train arrives in Jiayuguan. Famous for being the first pass at the most westerly point of the Great Wall of China, it was given the rather poetic name: "The first and greatest pass under Heaven." Your excursion takes you to the perfectly restored fortress at the end of the Great Wall which dates back to 1372, considered one of the greatest sites in northwest China. This afternoon spend time in the Bar Car either attending a lecture on the Great Wall or simply relax as the landscape unfolds before you. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 17 - Xian: Freedom of Choice Touring
Your fascinating journey of discovery takes you to Xian. Your morning arrival gives you several hours to explore the world famous Terracotta Warriors, discovered by peasants only 30 years ago. The 6,000 terracotta figures and their horses are one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. Alternatively, you will have the chance to visit the Han Yangling Museum. This tomb dating back 2,000 years with its adjoining museum is one of China's finest undiscovered secrets. This evening enjoy the Tang Dynasty Dinner, Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of ancient entertainment. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 18 - Beijing
Spending your last day onboard the Shangri-La Express, the train winds its way northwards towards the capital of China, Beijing. Having traveled a mammoth 7,000 miles from Moscow, we bid farewell to our train crew and transfer to your luxurious hotel for a three-night stay. Overnight Regent Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Day 19 - Beijing: Freedom of Choice Touring
Today visit Tiananmen Square and then explore the magnificently restored Forbidden City. Your cultural exploration continues at the Temple of Heaven, the grandest of the four great temples situated in Beijing. Here you will experience enchanting displays of traditional dancing, singing and the delicately precise ancient art of calligraphy. Alternatively, take a tour looking at Beijing's modern architecture with visits to the Olympic Village including the Bird's Nest stadium, the National Centre for Performing Arts, colloquially known as The Egg, the CCTV Tower and the National Museum. Overnight Regent Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Day 20 - The Great Wall of China
Your final full day in Beijing is devoted to the most awe-inspiring site in the whole of China: The Great Wall. This amazing edifice is one of the few man-made structures visible from outer space and perhaps the most evocative symbol of Chinese skill and precision. At Badaling we have the privilege of walking along a portion of the wall - the perfect opportunity to take some memorable photographs with your fellow travelers. Your farewell banquet is hosted in an authentic Peking Duck restaurant, where you will have the chance to reminisce about your journey and bid farewell to your traveling companions. Overnight Regent Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Day 21 - Beijing
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Beijing airport for your international departure. (B)
Westbound itinerary available upon request.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|19th September 2014||$23,995||Book Now|
|19th September 2014||$29,995||Book Now|
|19th September 2014||$42,395||Book Now|
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Itinerary is available in reverse with a departure date of September 24, 2013 and September 23 and October 21, 2014, and March 31, September 23 and October 22, 2015.
Prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based on availability at time of booking.