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The Golden Eagle - A Taste of the Silk Road

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Discover a land of fable and legend. Ancient Silk Road cities, bustling markets and stunning desert scenery await as we ply the Silk Road trading routes by private train on a 13-day adventure between Almaty and Moscow.

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
202120222023
13 days From $18,995 per person

2021 Tour code: GE-TSRN-21

About the tour

Retracing one of the most important trading routes of ancient civilisation, the Silk Road follows in the footsteps of such legendary figures as Alexander the Great and Marco Polo. For centuries, merchants and adventurers journeyed to and from China on ancient routes through some of the most testing landscapes in the world trading silk, spices and perfumes. These 'highways' - stretching some 4,000 miles (6,400 km) - collectively came to be called the 'Silk Road'.

Journey is also available from Moscow to Almaty based on your travel preference. 

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Almaty

Upon arrival at Almaty Airport, you are met and transferred to the Ritz-Carlton Almaty hotel, a luxury 5-star hotel located at the foot of Alatau Mountains for a one night stay. The hotel features spacious rooms, free WiFi, a Six Senses Spa and indoor pool.

Day 2 - Almaty

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 beautifully verdant city derives its name from 'alma' meaning 'apple'. Just a short distance from the city, apple orchards thrive in abundance. Our city tour includes a visit to Panfilov Park where we have the opportunity to visit the Zenkhov Cathedral which was built entirely of wood. We'll also go out of the city to the Chimbulak resort, where a cable car ride will give you spectacular views of Almaty and the mountains.

Day 3 - Tashkent

Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan and we spend time touring this modern Soviet-style city which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966. Our tour of the city includes the Old Town, where traditional homes and religious buildings line the narrow streets and here in a small library we'll 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 4 - Samarkand

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 we 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 we will return to the now illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square.

Day 5 - Bukhara

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. We then travel out of the city to experience the Emir's enchantingly named, Palace of the Moon and Stars. This evening, weather and time permitting, we will enjoy a barbecue on the station platform before our train departs.

Day 6 - Merv

From Mary we 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 7 - Ashgabat - Darvaza

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 and the Soviet city built 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 our visit include a visit to the National Museum and Kipchak Mosque. The Golden Eagle makes a brief scheduled stop at Ichoguz, where we have the option to leave the train and make a short journey to Darvaza's famous gas burning 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 8 - Khiva

From Urgench we 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, we discover its impressive mosques, madrassas, bazaars and minarets within Khiva's ancient walls.

Day 9 - Kara Kum

Today, we enjoy a relaxing day onboard as we travel across the vast expanses of the Kara Kum desert. As well as experiencing the unique landscape, we can take the opportunity to chat to fellow passengers and maybe take our first Russian language lesson.

Day 10 - Volgograd

Standing 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. We visit the poignantly sobering Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, followed by an informative museum visit.

Day 11 - Arrive Moscow

Having travelled from Almaty we arrive into Moscow, our final destination. Included in our time spent in Moscow is two nights at the five-star Ritz-Carlton. Located in Moscow city centre, and within walking distance of Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre, guests will discover a classic and sophisticated ambience within this luxury hotel.

Day 12 - Moscow

Our touring programme of Moscow principally takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin - the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow - and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. We also visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil's Cathedral's magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful facade of the world famous GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin's tomb. You may instead wish to travel out of the city centre to Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia and the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church or visit the famous State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art).

Day 13 - Moscow

After breakfast, transfer to Moscow Airport for your onward flight home.

Additional information

Pricing Plans

Golden Eagle

Silver Class
Silver Class cabins, which are compact at 60 sq ft feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window. The Silver Class cabins have private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.

Gold Class
Gold Class cabins, at 77 sq ft are extremely well-proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed. Guests in Gold Class benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.

Imperial Suite
Imperial Suite cabins, the most spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle measures 120 sq ft and benefits from a large and luxurious double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Imperial Suite facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked minibar; safe; small library and two large picture windows to watch the world go by. Guests will also benefit from the option of a private guide and car service along the route, the inclusion of drinks from the standard and premium bar list in the Bar Lounge Car, a laundry service and room upgrades to the next available category at the hotels which are featured in the itinerary.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty

The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty

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Ritz-Carlton

Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

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Train

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

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Reviews

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Carol S, Columbus, NJ

5 stars

Submitted 08 Aug 2017

Everyone was very helpful to us and the trip was all that we had hoped it would be.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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