Essence of the Silk Road & Beyond by Private Train: Almaty to Tashkent in 15 Days

15 Days
From $8,095
Trip Type
Rail Journey
Group Size
Activity Level

From Almaty to Tashkent in 15 Days Aboard the Orient Silk Road Express


Traverse four of the five ‘Stans of Central Asia on this private rail journey along the Silk Road. Begin in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and continue into Kyrgyzstan to inspect the capital, Bishkek. Take a boat ride on the country’s most beautiful lake, Issyk-Kul. Dip into Dushanbe in Tajikistan to explore the leafy capital city and its interesting architecture. Stop in Tamerlane’s UNESCO-listed home town, Shahrisabz and visit the three famed Uzbek Silk Road oases – Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara. All of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tour concludes in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. Experience four UNESCO sites in 15 days, with seven hotel nights and seven nights onboard the comfortable Silk Road Orient Express private train.

Travels to: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan

Photos and details: Discover what life is like aboard the Orient Silk Road Express private train.



  • Days 1-3: Almaty (Kazakhstan)

    Start the tour in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and a thriving business center situated amid the majestic Tien Shan mountain range. Visit Panfilov Park, a hub of the city and home to Zenkov Cathedral and have lunch in a traditional Kazakh yurt. Then board the Orient Silk Road Express to begin the rail journey.


    • A cable car ride up into the Tien Shan mountains above Almaty
    • Panfilov Park, a green oasis in the middle of Almaty where locals meet to stroll and unwind
    • Colorful Zenkov Cathedral, one of the tallest wooden structures in the world and an impressive feat of engineering that survived a massive 1911 earthquake unscathed
    • Lunch in a traditional Kazakh yurt
  • Days 4-6: Issyk-Kul (Kyrgyzstan), Bishkek

    Your first stop after Kazakhstan is the neighboring, mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan. Here spend some time at Lake Issyk-Kul, a vast, high-altitude lake ringed by mountains. After learning about nomadic traditions in the countryside you’ll head to the capital Bishkek to explore there.


    • Vast Lake Issyk-Kul, ringed by mountains and one of Central Asia’s iconic sights
    • The Museum of Nomadic Civilizations, a center dedicated to Kyrgyzstan’s nomadic past
    • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s modern capital
    • Ala Archa National Park – beautiful, forested mountains located just outside of Bishkek
  • Days 7-8: Samarkand (Uzbekistan)

    Continue to blue-tiled Samarkand, Tamerlane’s legendary capital, hailed by UNESCO as “the crossroad of cultures.” Take in massive Bibi Khanum Mosque, Ulug Bek’s incredible observatory, and gracefully proportioned Registan Square. Tour of a silk carpet factory and visit a workshop where handcrafted paper is made using a method that dates from the 8th century.


    • UNESCO-listed Samarkand’s Registan Square, bordered by three beautiful madrassahs
    • The 14th century conqueror Tamerlane’s architectural legacy in Samarkand, including Bibi Khanum Mosque, the largest of its day
    • Shah-i-Zinda, a row of mausoleums and tombs that collectively span the history of Samarkand
    • Ulug Bek Observatory, where Tamerlane’s grandson made historic advances in astronomy
    • Seeing artisans make beautifully crafted carpets and paper using age-old techniques
  • Days 9-10: Shahrisabz, Dushanbe (Tajikistan)

    Back on board, continue to Shahrisabz, hometown of the 14th century conqueror Tamerlane, and visit the UNESCO-listed ruins of his Ak Saray (White Palace), one of Tamerlane’s most ambitious architectural undertakings. Continue to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajiksitan, Here you’ll explore the monumental architecture of this isolated, mountainous nation.


    • Shahrisabz’s Ak Saray, a monumental palace complex that includes the remains of a massive portal covered with brilliant blue, white, and gold tile mosaics
    • Rudaki Park and other architectural highlights in Dushanbe
  • Days 11-12: Bukhara (Uzbekistan)

    Disembark in beautiful Bukhara, Central Asia’s most ancient living city. Its UNESCO-listed Old Town encompasses more than 140 protected monuments, including the Labi-Hauz Plaza at the heart of the city and the Ark Citadel, Bukhara’s original fortress. Take in a traditional Uzbek performance along with dinner at a former madrassah.


    • Bukhara’s evocative Old Town, with its ageless domed bazaars and central Labi-Hauz Plaza, adorned with a reflecting pool
    • Ark Citadel, Bukhara’s giant ancient fortress
    • A performance and dinner at a local madrassah
    • The 10th-century Samani Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s oldest intact monuments
    • The spectacular Kalon Mosque and Minaret – a classic Central Asian scene
  • Days 13-15: Khiva, Tashkent

    Cross the Kyzyl Kum Desert to the city of Khiva, the last great oasis on the northern Silk Road caravan route. Wander through the winding alleys of the UNESCO-listed Old Town filled with minarets, cobbled alleys, mosques, and the beautifully preserved Kunya Ark, the original residence of the ruling khans. Then head to Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital and largest city. Tour some of its most noteworthy sights  including Amir Timur Square and Kukeldash Madrassah.


    • Khiva’s Old Town (Ichon-Qala in Uzbek), a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Tash-Hauli Palace, built in the 19th century for the khan and his four wives
    • Juma Mosque, famous for its carved wooden pillars
    • Kunya Ark, the original residence of Khiva’s khans
    • Tashkent’s Kukeldash Madrassah, one of the largest 16th century madrassahs remaining in Central Asia, constructed of baked brick with a classic glazed tile facade
    • Amir Timur Square, dominated by an equestrian statue of the conqueror Tamerlane

Dates & Prices

Minimum group size: Minimums vary – call for confirmation status

Land Tour Price, Per Person.

  • 2024 Dates
    Oct 15 - 29
    Ali Baba, double occupancy
    Ali Baba, single occupancy
    Aladdin, double occupancy
    Aladdin, single occupancy
    Sultan, double occupancy
    Sultan, single occupancy
    Kalif, double occupancy
    Kalif, single occupancy
  • 2025 Dates
    Apr 8 - 22
    Ali Baba, double occupancy
    Ali Baba, single occupancy
    Aladdin, double occupancy
    Aladdin, single occupancy
    Kalif, double occupancy
    Kalif, single occupancy
    Oct 14 - 28
    Ali Baba, double occupancy
    Ali Baba, single occupancy
    Aladdin, double occupancy
    Aladdin, single occupancy
    Kalif, double occupancy
    Kalif, single occupancy
  • 2026 Dates
    Apr 7 - 21
    Ali Baba, double occupancy
    Ali Baba, single occupancy
    Aladdin, double occupancy
    Aladdin, single occupancy
    Kalif, double occupancy
    Kalif, single occupancy

What's Included

  • Tour Includes
    • Accommodation aboard the Orient Silk Road Express private train.
    • Hotel accommodation per the itinerary (2 nights in Almaty, 1 night in Bishkek, 2 nights in Samarkand, 1 night in Bukhara, 1 night in Tashkent).
    • Water, coffee and tea with meals.
    • Meals per itinerary.
    • Arrival/departure airport 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.
    • Baggage handling.
    • Complete pre-departure electronic document that includes detailed packing suggestions, reading list links, country-specific information, maps, travel tips and more.
    • Customized visa instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
    • Electronic final update bulletin, with any late news, updates and important information.
  • Not Included
    • International airfare or surface transport to the point of joining/leaving the tour. MIR is able to arrange your air itinerary with special economy and business class rates available on several airlines. If you wish to obtain an air quote, please contact us for details.
    • Optional pre- or post-tour extensions.
    • Any drinks other than water, coffee and tea.
    • Any drinks outside of mealtimes.
    • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and other service personnel.
    • Visa fees.
    • Any excess baggage charges.
    • Visa/passport fees, airport departure fees.
    • Vaccination or medical costs.
    • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, email, laundry, alcohol, excess baggage, etc).
    • Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
    • Trip cancellation, medical and evacuation insurance.

Activity Level

Level 2: Moderate

This rail journey by private train features significant touring on foot, throughout which travelers are expected to keep up with other group members. Walking during touring days will be on a variety of surfaces, with many streets and sidewalks being uneven, and elevators generally not available during touring excursions, leading to some stair climbing. Challenges on board on board the train include long onboard distances with heavy doors, as well as steep steps and gaps to navigate while embarking and disembarking. Only those willing to accept local standards of amenities and services should consider joining this program.

Travelers must be able to walk a mile per day keeping up with other group members. Streets and sidewalks can be uneven or unexpected surfaces, and handrails are not always present. Steps, which may be required due to lack of elevators, may be steep and/or uneven, and may also lack handrails. The distance on board the train between sleeping and dining carriages may be significant, and there are many heavy doors to navigate when moving throughout the train. Getting on and off the train involves navigating steep steps, low platforms, and possible gaps between the train and the platform. Navigating rail stations may also involve traveling up and over steep steps/footbridges to cross tracks, or steep steps and dark tunnels to cross under to/from the train station. Although porterage is provided where possible, you may have to carry your baggage for short distances.

General shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure may include problems with bureaucratic service and availability and quality of public restrooms when not on board the train.


Traveler Reviews

  • "Every day was a surprise, it was nothing at all like I expected. The food, the people, the scenery, I was just constantly amazed by it all. We met the nicest people and learned so much. I really liked the extra things that enriched our experiences at each stop. I loved every minute!!"

    S. Hughes

    Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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