South Caucasus to Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Board the luxury Golden Eagle private train and explore the countries on both sides of the Caspian Sea – Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. At the crossroads of trade, religion and the arts, these countries host fascinating modern cultures, as well as some of the earth’s ageless architecture.

A shorter version of this trip, South Caucasus Explorer, is also available from Yerevan to Baku. Contact us for details.

16 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Contemplate the Azat River valley from the pagan Temple of Garni
    Contemplate the Azat River Valley from your perch in the mezzanine of the monumental pagan Temple of Garni, with walls of huge basalt blocks...
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  • Breathe in the fragrant air of Georgia’s wine country
    Breathe in the fragrant air of the Kakheti region, Georgia’s wine country, stopping in the hill-town of Signagi and...
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  • Roll through the Kara Kum Desert, home to wandering camel herds
    Roll through the Kara Kum (Black Sands) Desert, covering 70% of Turkmenistan, and home to wandering camel herds...
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  • Face the same sight that Silk Road caravans did – Khiva’s city walls
    Face the same sight as Silk Road caravans did – the undulating dun-colored city walls of Khiva, the main gate opening on a dusty stone thoroughfare, and merchants...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of travel experience in the South Caucasus and Central Asia
  • Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, recommends MIR as the company to talk to about a Trans-Siberian journey
  • Travel programs such as Vassar, Dartmouth and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Central Asia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth"
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Yerevan, Lake Sevan, Dilijan

Discover Armenia’s capital, older even than Rome. Visit the Cascade, a meeting place and icon of the city, and tour the exciting Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art. Admire UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery and the imposing pagan temple of Garni. Depart aboard the Golden Eagle, tracing the shore of Lake Sevan, one of the largest alpine lakes in the world, and enjoy an Armenian cognac reception in the mountain resort of Dilijan.


  • Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, older than Rome
  • Cathedral at Echmiadzin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the pagan Temple of Garni
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Days 4-6: Tbilisi, Telavi, Gori, Uplistsikhe, Mtskheta

Tour the red-roofed Old Town of Tbilisi and the former National Museum, with its 1.8-million-year-old hominid skulls unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia. Explore wine country, Kakheti, including the regional capital, Telavi, and the family estate of Alexander Chavchavadze in Tsinandali village. Make stops in Stalin’s hometown, Gori; the cave town of Uplistsikhe, with a private concert of Georgian songs; and UNESCO-listed Mtskheta, capital of the early Iberian kingdom.


  • Narikala Fortress, Mother Georgia Monument, Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi
  • 13th century Metekhi Church of the Virgin
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Days 7-8: Baku, Gobustan

Arrive in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital and oil boomtown. Flaming natural gas vents near here may have inspired Zarathustra, a local resident around 1000 BC, to include fire rituals in his Zoroastrian religion. Tour its UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town, as well as Gobustan, an important site of ancient petroglyphs. Disembark for two hotel nights in Baku before flying to Ashgabat on Day 9.


  • Baku, capital of Azerbaijan and oil boomtown, with its UNESCO-listed Old Town

Days 9-10: Ashgabat, Darvaza gas crater

On arrival, explore the flamboyant gilded architecture of Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, and the huge $100-million-dollar mosque and mausoleum in former Turkmen President Niyazov’s hometown of Kipchak, big enough to hold 10,000 people. Take a desert drive to the Darvaza gas crater, called locally the "Door to Hell." The crater was set alight during Soviet times and is still visible from miles away.


  • Capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, with marble and gold monuments
  • Flaming gas crater of Darvaza at night

Days 11-14: Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent

Visit three Uzbek UNESCO Sites: the Silk Road oases of Khiva, with its dun-colored city walls and Kunya Ark; Bukhara, with its 2,000-year-old Ark Citadel and the emir's Palace of the Moon and Stars; and Samarkand, Tamerlane's blue-tiled capital, admiring gracious Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque and Ulug Bek's observatory. Survey the Uzbek capital, modern Tashkent, with its wide, tree-lined boulevards.


  • Ichon-Qala, or Khiva’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Original residence of the khans, the Kunya Ark
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Days 15-16: Almaty

Explore the “City of Apples,” Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, set in the green foothills of the majestic Tien Shan Mountains. Almaty may be the most rapidly growing and modernizing city in the region. Enjoy lunch in a traditional yurt, then gather for a farewell dinner.


  • Almaty, Kazakhstan’s business capital and largest city
  • Meal in a traditional Kazakh yurt

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 16 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Silver Class, twin share
  • Silver Class, single
  • Gold Class, twin share
  • Gold Class, single
  • Imperial Suite Class, twin share
  • Imperial Suite Class, single

2020 Dates

  • September 24-October 9
  • FROM
  • $22,995
What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle private train.
  • Per the itinerary, 5 nights of shared accommodation in well-located hotels.

  • All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on final tour day, including a generous, though not unlimited, allowance of wine or local beer, soft drinks and water with all lunches and dinners.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water round the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
  • All gratuities.
  • Baggage handling.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information, visa kit.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

More Info


Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Mongolia, or China before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers. Flexibility, a sense of humor and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip. A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journeys by private train open a world of discovery to travelers who enjoy comfort and leisure time as well as exciting new vistas.

The exclusive Golden Eagle private train furnishes the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destination. The luxurious Golden Eagle is a fully en suite train and a restful and satisfying way to experience legendary rail routes.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way.

Each sleeping carriage on the Golden Eagle has its own attendants who provide bed turndown service, plus tea, coffee and mineral water 24 hours a day. Attendants keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train. L’Occitane body products, as well as premium bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer, are provided in all cabin categories.

  • Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suites are the most beautiful and spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle. Measuring a surprising 120 sq ft (11.1 sq meters), they are furnished with a luxurious king size bed, dedicated seating area, dressing table and private en suite facilities with large power shower and under floor heating. Individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, DVD/CD player with LCD screen and two large picture windows make the cabin a pleasant retreat.

    Additional Information

    Imperial Suite dimensions – 2 suites per departure / 1 suite per carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 120 sq ft (11.1 sq m)
    Cabin length – 17′ 4″ (5.3 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Bed width – 5′ (1.5 m)

    (click on photo to see larger version)

  • Gold Class

    Gold Class

    Gold Class cabins are well-proportioned and feature modern en suite amenities including power showers, under floor heating, a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, remote-controlled air-conditioning/heating, recessed lighting and wardrobe and a personal safe. Each cabin is configured with upper and lower berths, and can accommodate double, twin or single occupancy.

    Additional Information

    Gold Class cabin dimensions – 5 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 77 sq ft (7 sq m)
    Cabin length – 11′ 8″ (3.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 6′ 6″ x 4′  (2.4 sq m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Lower bed width – 4′ 5″ (1.35 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)

    Lower bed converts to a sofa for daytime use.

    Note: The 5th compartment is of a slightly different layout (68 sq ft), and will normally be allocated to single guests.

    (click on photo to see larger version)

  • Silver Class

    Silver Class

    Silver Class cabins are more compact than Gold Class cabins with similar facilities. Silver Class cabins feature the same amenities as Gold Class cabins but in a smaller space and with a smaller, wet room-style shower area.

    Additional Information

    Silver Class cabin dimensions – 6 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 60 sq ft (5.5 sq m)
    Cabin length – 8′ 8″ (2.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 4′ 6″ x 3′ (1.25 sq m)
    Bed length (upper & lower) – 6′ 2″ (190 cm)
    Lower bed width – 3′ 6″ (1.1 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)

    (click on photo to see larger version)

  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    The first and last nights of most tours are spent in well-appointed four and five star hotels. Some tours feature additional hotel nights. Please review the detailed itinerary for specifics pertaining to each tour and departure. Additional nights before and after any tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train
Dining Car Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining.

Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. Group sizes on winter trips are generally more intimate than spring, summer or fall departures. The exact configuration of the train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure. 

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the train. Decor, layout, type and number of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Bar/Lounge Car

    Bar/Lounge Car

    A Bar/Lounge Car is a favorite destination in the train formation and is typically included on most departures. The lounge offers a relaxing and comfortable area where you can enjoy a drink, take language lessons, and gather around the piano with other passengers.

    Additional Information

    (click on photo to see larger version)

  • Dining Cars

    Dining Cars

    Dining Cars feature local and European cuisine complemented by a selection of local and European wines. Dining cars are multi-purpose, used for on-board lectures and viewing documentaries. One or more dining cars may be included in the train formation of any given departure depending on the number of passengers.

    Additional Information

    (click on photo to see larger version)

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive selection of educational city tours in the various stops on our routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).