Fables of the Silk Road

29 days | Auckland/Christchurch roundtrip

Deal Details

Travel Dates

17 September 2024

Priced From

$16,550 per person
NZ Map Fables of the Silk Road 2048x1536

Embark on a journey through the 'Five Stans' of Central Asia, where traditional villages, ancient towns, and glorious cities with time-worn trading routes reveal a rich history.

Uzbekistan boasts architecturally stunning cities like Bukhara, Khiva, and Samarkand. Kazakhstan's landscapes include the surreal Charyn Canyon and the tranquil Big Almaty Lake. Kyrgyzstan offers nomadic culture and mountainous terrains, while Tajikistan captivates with the Pamir Mountains and Wakhan Valley. Turkmenistan features the ancient desert city of Merv and the mesmerizing Darvaza Gas Crater. Each country weaves a tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.

WJ Traditional rugs Uzbekistan v2


Twin Share from
$16,550* per person

Single from
$19,450* per person


Your Journey at a Glance

  • Embark on a journey to experience the breathtaking and varied landscapes of Kazakhstan.
  • Explore ancient mosques and Orthodox churches amidst the scenic beauty of Kyrgyzstan.
  • Marvel at the intricate and captivating architecture of Uzbekistan.
  • Discover Central Asia's largest oriental bazaar at Payshanba in Khujand, Tajikistan.
  • Follow the historical trail of Tamerlane, traversing the grand cities of Samarkand, Bhukara, and Tashkent.
  • Immerse yourself in the opulence of Ashgabat and uncover the rich history of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan.

Scroll down for a more detailed itinerary.

Special Experiences

WJ Street Market Khiva Uzbekistan

See the extraordinary Dzhety-Oguz Gorge in Kyrgyzstan
This 37 km long ridge of bright red rocks dotted with waterfalls is a spectacular sight.

Experience traditional cuisine
Enjoy tasting regional specialties made by locals in a yurt.

Chat with exceptional artisans in Fergana
See how the magnificent Khan Atlas silk is produced.

Vibrant markets and bazaars
Spend time exploring the array of fresh food and exquisite handicrafts.

The beautifully preserved medieval town of Khiva
Explore this remarkable town, its magnificent Juma mosque and caravanserai.

What's Included

  • Small group tour (18 max)
  • Economy Class flights from New Zealand (ex Auckland or Christchurch)
  • Airline and airport taxes
  • A Travel host
  • Accommodation in 4 star hotels (or best available)
  • Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Transport by air, road and train as per itinerary
  • Meals as indicated (B-L-D)
  • Gratuities

Not Included

  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visas (we will supply documentation to support your visa applications)
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

Important Notes

  • A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person is required, with the balance due 17 May 2024
  • As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory
  • Please enquire about health and medical requirements
  • Travel by road involves long journeys on uneven roads with only limited opportunities for comfort breaks
  • Porters are unavailable at some hotels and during border crossings
  • The order of sightseeing may vary in accordance with local conditions
  • Food is plentiful and fresh, but can be repetitive – please advise us if you have special dietary requirements as this may be challenging
  • Hotels in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are well located with private facilities but can be considered somewhat rustic. There are some nights in simple guesthouses. There can be power cuts and intermittent water provision.
  • We reserve the right to change hotels to an alternative property
  • WiFi (free) is available but intermittent
  • In the countries we are visiting, tipping is customary. For a hassle-free journey, tipping is included and will be handled by  host.


Tuesday 17 September: Auckland/Christchurch to Dubai

Fly Auckland or Christchurch to Dubai. On arrival transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Wednesday 18 September: Dubai to Almaty (Kazakhstan)

Embark on a morning city tour of Dubai, exploring its iconic landmarks and vibrant atmosphere. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your flight to Almaty. (B)

Thursday 19 September: Almaty

Upon your early morning arrival, transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in. Later in the morning, embark on a sightseeing tour of Almaty, set against the backdrop of the snowcapped Zailiysky Alatau. Visit key landmarks such as Panfilovtzev Park, Zenkov Cathedral, the Monument of Independence, Republic Square, and the Central Mosque. Enjoy some leisure time, and in the late afternoon, partake in a traditional falconry experience, complete with dinner and music. (B,D)

Friday 20 September: Almaty to Charyn Canyon to Kolsai Lakes to Shatty 

Embark on a drive to Charyn Canyon, a distinctive natural marvel shaped around 12 million years ago. Enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing your journey to the Kolsai Lakes, where you'll check into a simple guest house. (B,L,D)

Saturday 21 September: Shatty to Kaindy Lake to Almaty

Arrive at stunningly beautiful Kaindy Lake. Explore and enjoy lunch before returning to Almaty. (B,L,D)

Sunday 22 September: Almaty to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)

Explore Kok-Tobe Hill on the outskirts of town, where panoramic views of Almaty await. In the evening, take a flight to Bishkek. (B,D)

Monday 23 September: Bishkek to Kajissay 

Embark on a drive to Kajissay on the southern shores of Issyk-Kul Lake, making a stop along the way at the Burana Tower. (B,D)

Tuesday 24 September: Kajissay to Dzhety Oguz to Karakol

Explore the Dzhety Oguz gorge, taking in a waterfall walk and enjoying lunch at a yurt camp. Continue your journey to Karakol, where you'll visit a mosque and a 19th-century wooden Orthodox church before checking into your hotel. (B,L,D)

Wednesday 25 September: Karakol to Altyn Arashan to Karakol

Embark on a thrilling adventure by climbing aboard a military 4WD vehicle for a journey to Altyn Arashan gorge. Explore the area and visit the thermal wells before returning to Karakol for an overnight stay. (B,D)

Thursday 26 September: Karakol to Cholpon-Ata to Bishkek

Embark on a scenic drive along the northern shores of Issyk-Kul, heading towards Bishkek. Make a stop en route to visit the Ruh-Ordo historic center in Cholpon-Ata. (B,D)

Friday 27 September: Bishkek to Osh to Fergana (Uzbekistan)

Take a morning flight to Osh for a brief visit. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the Fergana Valley. Wrap up the day with a dinner of local specialties in a chayhana (tea room). (B,D)

Saturday 28 September: Fergana to Margilan to Fergana

Embark on a morning of sightseeing in Fergana, often referred to as the garden city, celebrated for its outstanding crafts, skilled artisans, and vibrant bazaars. Proceed to Margilan to witness the intricate process of producing the magnificent Uzbek material Khan-Atlas in a silk weaving factory. Conclude the day with a dinner featuring traditional national cuisine. (B,D)

Sunday 29 September: Fergana to Rishtan to Tashkent

Embark on a scenic drive across the Kamchik Pass, with a stop at Rishtan, renowned for its exquisite blue glazed pottery. Continue your journey to Kokand, one of Uzbekistan's oldest towns and a significant trade center on the Silk Road. Enjoy a tour of the city before continuing to Tashkent. (B,D)

Monday 30 September: Tashkent to Khujand (Tajikistan)

Drive to the Uzbek-Tajik border and to Khujand. Visit the museum and the city’s 7th-century fortification, then explore Payshanba oriental bazaar, the largest in Central Asia. (B,D)

Tuesday 01 October: Khujand to Istaravsham to Iskanderkul

Drive to Iskanderkul via Istaravshan. Visit Mug Tepa in Ura-Tube, one of the ancient settlements of Tajikistan. Explore the Khazrati Shoh complex and continue to Iskanderkul Lake, named after Alexander the Great. Explore the five springs, Zmeinoe Lake (Snake Lake), and the Fan Niagara waterfalls. (B,D)

Wednesday 02 October: Iskanderkul to Penjikent to Samarkand (Uzbekistan)

Depart for Penjikent, the birthplace of Abu Abdallah Rudaki, the father of Persian poetry. Visit the Museum of Rudak and the excavated remains at Penjikent. Proceed to Samarkand. (B,D)

Thursday 03 October: Samarkand

Explore the glorious city of Samarkand; Ulugh Beg Observatory, Shah-i-Zinda necropolis and Bibi Khanym Mosque, one of the largest in Central Asia, built by Tamerlane. After a traditional Plov lunch, visit the famous mausoleum of Tamerlane and Registan Square, a most spectacular architectural ensemble. (B,L,D)

Friday 04 October: Samarkand to Bukhara

Visit the paper mill in Konigil and this afternoon transfer to the station for the high-speed train to Bukhara.

Saturday 05 October: Bukhara

A full day to explore this wonderful city, the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia. Explore the city, including Samonid’s Mausoleum, Ark Citadel, Minaret Kalan Complex, trading domes and the architectural ensemble of Lyabi-Hauz. (B,D)

Sunday 06 October: Bukhara to Mary (Turkmenistan)

Drive to the border at Farab and continue to Mary, an oasis city in the Karakum Desert. (B,D)

Monday 07 October: Mary to Merv to Ashgabat

Transfer to Merv, one of the main cities of the ancient Silk Road and, reputedly, once the largest city in the world. At this World Heritage site, the beautiful monuments bear witness to the city’s glorious days passed. Return to Mary, visiting the museum before an evening flight to Ashgabat. (B,D)

Tuesday 08 October: Ashgabat 

Visit the beautiful, World Heritage fortress of Old Nisa, at the foot of the Kopet Dag Mountains, the earliest of the Parthian Empire capitals. Visit Arkadash stud farm, home of the famous Akhal-Tekke horses, one of the oldest breeds in existence. Return to Ashgabat, visit the Russian market and see the rare collection of hand-made Turkmen carpets at the National Museum. (B,D)

Wednesday 09 October: Ashgabat to Dashoguz to Kunya Urgench to Khiva (Uzbekistan)

Morning flight to Dashoguz. Drive to Kunya Urgench, the ancient capital of Khorezm, which was part of the Achaemenid Empire. Visit the mosque, the gates of the caravanserai, the fortress, mausoleum and minaret. Lunch back in Dashoguz before we cross the Uzbek border for Khiva. (B,D)

Thursday 10 October: Khiva

Full day exploration of the beautifully preserved, medieval town of Khiva. Enter the city gates and wander the fabled Ichon-Qala (inner walled city). Explore Kunya Ark (old citadel), the Emir’s Palace, the magnificent Juma Mosque with its 200 individually carved wooden pillars, and the caravanserai. (B,D)

Friday 11 October: Khiva to Ayaz-Kala to Toprak-Kala to Kukus

Travel to the ancient fortress of Ayaz-Kala, one of the largest surviving castle fortresses of the Khorezm region. Visit Toprak-Kala before travelling to Nukus. Visit the Igor Savitsky Museum, with the world’s second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art. (B,D)

Saturday 12 October: Nukus to Tashkent

This morning is at leisure until our flight to Tashkent. (B,D)

Sunday 13 October: Tashkent

Explore Uzbekistan’s 2,000-year-old capital. A city of fascinating contradictions, with Soviet-style architecture and traditional mud-walled houses, and rich in museums, mosques and impressive monuments. Visit the Khast-Imam Islamic complex, the Museum of Applied Arts, the History Museum and Amir Timur Square. Later explore the Tashkent metro, where each station is uniquely decorated. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening before a very late transfer to the airport. (B,D)

Monday 14 October: Tashkent to Dubai to Auckland/Christchurch

An early departure to Dubai to connect with your onward flight to Auckland or Christchurch. Overnight on the flight.

Tuesday 15 October: Arrive New Zealand

Your flight arrives in Auckland or Christchurch mid-morning.


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