This outstanding trip combines four of the most important countries along the ancient Silk Road, not only to experience the history and culture but also to discover the landscape as well as the local people and their lifestyles. It is specially designed for Silk Road travelers.
Start your tour from Xi'an, the eastern end of the Silk Road, to the trading center of Kashgar in China, cross the Irkeshtam border to Kyrgyzstan and explore the handicrafts center, Osh, then continue to Uzbekistan and explore the splendor of Samarkand and Bukhara. Finally, travel to Turkmenistan and unveil the mysterious and historical Merv, one of the great emporiums of the Silk Road.
- Visit the Terracotta Army in Xi'an and make a terracotta warrior yourself.
- Discover the much-photographed Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye.
- Stay overnight in a local family's house in Osh and live like the locals.
- Immerse yourself in the historical mosques, mausoleums, and madrasahs, and find out about their diverse culture.
- Experience the unique atmosphere of the different local bazaars along the ancient Silk Road.
Seeing Bangkok with ease
In Bangkok, our tour guide, Ying, was wonderful. She navigated all the sights with ease, gave us interesting tidbits on Thai culture and history, helped us pick the right food at all the restaurants, and was just a pleasure to be around. We had a great time, and it was so nice to not have to worry about any of the details.More
Diane Elkins, Nov 2023
Thailand -insights, no stress and amazing team
My husband and my Thailand trip was fantastic, stress-free and educational thanks to the amazing team coordinated by Albee at Asia Highlights. The whole team was incredibly accessible, responsive, sensitive to our needs and lovely to work with. End-to-end, the trip was truly remarkable and the knowledgeable and dynamic tour guides and drivers made it especially memorable!More
AndrewsFamily, Oct 2023
Informative & Thorough / Thanks Sharon!
Sharon the advisor that helped me was so thorough & informative and explained the details of the tour including questions about visas and what is included vs what is not included in the tour packages. I would recommend them to explain tour packages that would fit the schedule of your pending travels.More
Chris, Sep 2023
Easy, fast responses
I worked directly with Monica in Asia Highlights. She was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions quickly. Working with her made the whole process easy and we are so excited for our trip!More
Diana B, Sep 2023
Stress free Thailand
Alisa has organised our 14 day Thailand holiday for 2024 for my family & I. She has been very accommodating & super quick with all of our requests & we cannot wait for a stress free holiday! Thank you Alisa!More
Alana Mitchell, Sep 2023
Family Trip to Thailand-Cambodia
All of our guides were very nice and knowledgeable, but we have a special mention to our guide in Cambodia, Chan, he was very kind with us and it was very amusing. He went the extra mile for us. We really enjoyed our holidays!More
José Antonio Carrillo de la Pl, Sep 2023
Asia Highlights and Sharon
Asia Highlights, specifically Sharon, has been wonderfully helpful as we get ready for a 2024 excursion to Thailand. We are beyond excited, and much of that has to do with the personalized attention that we have experienced with Sharon. She has been extremely responsive, obliging, and focused as she helped us design a tailor made itinerary. All of our questions have been addressed, our needs have been met, and the path has now been set for a very exciting trip.... thanks to Sharon.More
Marcy Hoenig, Sep 2023
I was planning a trip to Thailand to…
I was planning a trip to Thailand to especially see the Lantern Festival this year for our birthdays!! It’s been on our bucket list, but we were completely lost on how to go about planning for our trip. We’ve never really booked tours before but Alisa was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, flexible and efficient in providing all the information we needed to make our decision on the best tours and tickets to purchase. Thank you so much!!More
https://www.trustpilot.com/reviews/64d9a5a4657e4b39f768a21e, Aug 2023
I would definitely recommend Asia…
All of our guides were wonderful (Mr. Bank - Bangkok and Ms. Kai in Phuket & Khao Sok plus antoher guide who assisted in Koh Samui). Sharon took care of tours, private drivers, flights and hotels within Thailand and our trip went off without a hitch. The hotels were great and the transportation always arrived on time and with a clean,More
Guinevere Provance, Aug 2023
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
Itinerary in Detail
This sample itinerary is designed for reference. Follow our tailor-made guidelines to create your ideal Silk Road tour.
After arriving in Xi'an, you will be met by your local guide and driver, who will drive you to your hotel and help you to check in. If you would like to explore the city in the rest of the day, your travel advisor and guide are ready to help with ideas for things to do.
Xi'an, as the eastern end of the Silk Road, is known for its history. It was an ancient capital city during 13 dynasties and is considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization.
In the morning, you will visit the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. There, you will find an incredible army of over 7,000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array in several large pits. You may have a few questions about how the warriors were made, what the most difficult step was, etc. You will have the opportunity to visit a workshop in a cave dwelling and learn how to make a terracotta warrior. You may get the answers to your questions once you have finished making your warrior.
After lunch, you will return to the city and visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It is part of the Silk Road route and was built to preserve the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India.
The evening is free for you to explore as you please.
In the morning, you will visit Xi'an City Wall, which is one of the oldest and most complete city defenses in China. You can walk on the wall for a while or rent a bike to ride along it.
Continue to visit the Great Mosque, which lies in the heart of Xi'an's Muslim Quarter. This Islamic mosque is still an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travelers.
Spend some time in the Muslim Quarter - try some local food and buy some souvenirs before being driven to the airport for your flight to Zhangye.
On arrival in Zhangye, your guide and driver will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel. If you need help exploring the city, we're at your service.
Zhangye was a key town on the Silk Road and has a long history. You will visit the colorful hills - Qicai Danxia landforms - in Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. It is one of the best places for photographers and nature lovers to visit. Geologists call this area, which is very dry and has no vegetation, "window lattice and palace-shaped Danxia topography".
Before transferring to the train station, you will have lunch in a local restaurant and visit the Giant Buddha Temple where you will admire China's largest indoor reclining Buddha.
You will arrive in Dunhuang after experiencing a bullet train ride and then be driven to your hotel in Dunhuang.
The ancient Silk Road routes from China passed to the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert and Dunhuang is perfectly located at the junction. It became a crossroad of the two major trade routes. Being an important trading post, Dunhuang is rich in historical sites, cultural heritage, and natural scenery.
In the morning, you will visit the Mogao Caves and enjoy the beautiful murals in about 10 caves. There, you will find an abundant amount of Buddhist manuscripts, wall paintings, and statues.
Enjoy your lunch in a local restaurant before being driven to the Singing Sand Dunes and the Crescent Spring. Ride a camel to reach the top of the sand dunes and enjoy the beautiful wavy shapes of the smooth yellow dunes against the clear blue sky. Imagine you are an ancient merchant riding a camel along the Silk Road. You will reach the oasis in the desert, a crescent-shaped spring, and enjoy the stunning views of the sunset in the desert.
The morning is free for you to explore Dunhuang.
Later, you will be driven to Liuyuan Railway Station along the Gobi Desert where you will catch your bullet train to Turpan. On arrival, your Turpan guide and driver will take you to your hotel. Contact us or ask your guide for free time ideas.
Turpan was another important trading post along the Silk Road, and it is known as China's fruit basket.
You will visit the Emin Minaret, which stands by the Uyghur mosque. It is the tallest minaret in China and was built in honor of a general who served there, Emin Khoja. The minaret is especially beautiful in the morning with its shadow falling across the mosque.
Then, you will visit the Karez Well System and discover the ancient underground irrigation channels, which are still maintained and functioning today. It's also a great place to escape from the heat of the sun.
Turpan is famous for growing grapes. Instead of going to the touristy Grape Valley, you will visit a local family-run vineyard to get an authentic experience. There, you can walk around the farm and talk to the local people to learn about their daily lifestyle.
The last stop for the day is a visit to the ancient city of Jiaohe, the capital of the former Cheshi State with a history of over 2,300 years. You can walk between some ruins and listen to your local guide talking about its history and location along the ancient Silk Road.
You will be driven from Turpan to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. You will pass a big wind farm and enjoy seeing windmills in rows.
After lunch, you will visit Xinjiang Museum. You will enjoy a variety of artworks, crafts, and relics as well as the well-preserved collections of corpses, which have a history of over 4,000 years. Before being driven to the airport, stroll around and shop in Erdaoqiao Market, which is the biggest bazaar in Xinjiang selling various goods, such as folk costumes, ethnic caps, knives, jewelry, instruments, and carpets.
After arriving in Kashgar, your guide and driver will take you to your hotel so that you can check in.
Kashgar was the trading center and cultural exchange along the ancient Silk Road. Nowadays, Kashgar serves as a hub to Central and South Asia.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Abakh Khoja Tomb to visit the impressive buildings and gardens and learn about the Islamic Mazar (shrine) culture.
Then, you will visit the biggest mosque, the Id Kah Mosque, and walk along Handicrafts Street where you will find all types of handicrafts, including copper, metal, and porcelain.
The last stop for the day will be Kashgar Old City. Wander in the winding alleyways and discover the local people's way of life.
If you happen to visit Kashgar on a Sunday, you will have the chance to visit the Livestock Market (Sunday Market). It will be interesting to learn how the local people bargain and make deals. You will take a taxi there, accompanied by your guide.
You will depart early in the morning and drive along the main artery of the ancient Silk Road to the Irkeshtam Pass (233KM) where you will say goodbye to your guide. The boundary pass formalities will take about 1? hours.
Your guide and driver will meet you on the Kyrgyzstan side. You will be driven along the winding road of the high Pamirs and reach Sary-Tash (70KM). It is a small village but an important crossroads between Osh, Kashgar, Murghab, and Sary Mogol. From there, you can get a spectacular view of Lenin Peak.
You will stay in a local guesthouse overnight.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Osh (186KM) through the picturesque mountain route. You will stop at Taldyk Pass, the Kyzyl-Suu River, and Chyiyrchyk Pass to take pictures and enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains and rivers.
After arriving in Osh in the evening, you will be taken to your homestay where you will enjoy a local traditional dinner.
Osh is the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan and was an ancient trading town and handicraft center on the Silk Road.
After breakfast, you will visit Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain (Solomon's Throne), a site of huge Islamic importance and the only World Heritage Site in Kyrgyzstan. From there, you will find caves and petroglyphs and have a panoramic view of Osh. Then, you will visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman and enjoy collections of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, handicrafts, paintings, sculptures, and graphics. Afterward, you will visit Jayma Bazaar, the largest market in Central Asia, which has a history dating back to the ancient Silk Road period.
After lunch, you will be driven to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan border where the boundary formalities will take about 1? hours. Then, you will continue to Kokand (218KM) through the Fergana Valley. If you are interested in silk, you can ask your guide to take you to Yodgorlik Silk Factory, located in Margilan, a 2,000-year-old city located along the Silk Road route. There, you will discover how silk is produced. This factory has preserved a manual method of silk production that was once was used during the Silk Road times.
Kokand was known for its endless traders arriving from Russia, China, and India. The traders sold spices, textiles, teas, and silk. This made Kokand the most important trade center in Uzbekistan along the ancient Silk Road.
In the morning, you will visit the 19th-century Palace of Khudayar Khan and learn about the history of the Kokand Khanate. Then, you will visit the Jami Mosque, which has a single minaret in the middle and 98 columns that were brought back from India, and Norbut-Biya Madrasah.
In the afternoon, you will be driven to Tashkent (235KM) through the Kamchik Pass. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you please.
Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is a city mixed with modern and Soviet-era architecture.
You will start your Tashkent city tour by visiting the Old City of Tashkent. You will pass the Khast-Imam complex and Chorsu Bazaar with its blue dome. You will continue to the city center to visit Amir Timur Square and Independence Square.
In the late afternoon, you will be driven to the train station to take the high-speed train, Afrosiyob (18:50-21:00). When you arrive in Samarkand, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Samarkand is more like a cultural crossroad along the ancient Silk Road. The city is full of magnificent architectural monuments.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the city's cultural center, the Registan Square, and visit the three madrasahs surrounding it. Next, you will visit a masterpiece of architecture, the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum, which is the final resting place of the Turco-Mongol emperor, Timur. Continue to visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, which is the largest Islamic mosque in Central Asia, and Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, which is famous for its turquoise and blue mosaic-tiled mausoleums.
After an early breakfast, you will catch the high-speed Afrosiyob train (09:50-11:19) to Bukhara. Upon arrival at the train station in Bukhara, your guide and driver will transfer you to the old city area to start your visit.
First, you will visit a massive fortress, the Ark of Bukhara. You will enjoy a collection of museums and mosques there. Continue to visit Bolo Hauz Mosque, known for its skillful wood carvings and amazing ceiling paintings. You will visit a small brickwork building, the Samanid Mausoleum, and Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum to learn about the irrigation system used in ancient times.
You will take a walking tour to further explore Bukhara. Starting from the Lyabi Khauz square, you will visit the nearby Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Divan-Beghi Khanaka,and Kukeldash Madrasah.
Then, you will pass by the trade route and visit Magok-i-Attari Mosque, an Islamic mosque built on an ancient Zoroastrian temple and older Buddhist temple. It is now a museum of carpets. You will spend some time at the Trading Domes, a shopping area highlighting what trade was like during the ancient Silk Road period.
Afterward, you will walk to Poi Kalan. You will visit the Islamic and oriental architectural structure, Mir-i Arab Madrasah, and the landmark of Bukhara - the Kalon Minaret.
You will stop at Chor Minor to take some pictures on the way back to your hotel. Different from other mosques, which normally have one minaret, this is an oddity in Bukhara as it has four minarets of different shapes.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Farap border post (123KM) with a stop at the Chor-Bakr necropolis. It is a peaceful and sacred place with the necropolis of family tombs and courtyards enclosed within walls.
It might take about 2 hours to complete the boundary formalities and cross the 1.5-kilometer neutral zone (transportation is not available) to meet your Turkmen guide. Then, you will be taken to Turkmenabat for lunch. Afterward, you will be driven to Mary (270KM) for your overnight stay.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Merv (30KM) for sightseeing.
Merv is a World Heritage Site. It was a major center of international trade and crafts on the Silk Road and is home to numerous walled structures from various periods.
The ancient Merv is comprised of four sections: Erk Kala (6th century BC), Gyaur Kala (3rd century BC), Sultan Kala (8 - 11th century AD), and Abdullah Khan Kala (15th century AD). You will visit the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar who was the last ruler of the great Seljuk Empire, the Great Kyz Kala and Little Kyz Kala, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed ibn Zeid.
After the tour, you will take an evening flight (18:10 - 18:50) to Ashgabat and be transferred to your hotel for your overnight stay.
Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan, a city with white marble buildings and grandiose national monuments.
In the morning, you will visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (21KM). This archaeological site was one of the earliest and most important cities of the Parthian Empire. Use your imagination to see what the site would have looked like before Genghis Khan destroyed it. Learn about the history of Turkmenistan from your guide.
You will return to the city for lunch and then visit the Gypjak Mosque, the Ashgabat National Museum of History, the Arch of Neutrality, and Independence Park.
We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.
Our Service Includes:
- Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
- All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
- Governmental taxes
Tour code: ah-cn-6
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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