The Silk Road Three magic words that represent a world of mystery and fascination. The Silk Road has been thought of through the years as an intriguing journey taken only by brave merchants and missionaries who dared to travel it. Many dangers stood in the paths of the caravans and great preparations were required before setting out. One had to be prepared to defend oneself from robbers and from severe weather conditions, to learn to deal with legends of monsters and ghosts, and to carry a large amount of equipment. This tour travels through Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and China- the most majestic and dramatic areas of the Silk Road.
Uzbekistan This colorful nation is located in central Asia and carries with it the mysterious aroma of bazaars and monasteries surrounded by deserts and mountains. The beautiful desert area became the meeting place of people with traditional cultures of the south and the nomads and the fighters of the north. You will visit impressive cities like Bukhara and Samarkand.
Kyrgyzstan is an amazing country filled with natural beauty that is also located in central Asia and is bordered on the east by China and on the north by Kazakhstan, on the west by Uzbekistan, and on the south by Tajikstan. It is a mountainous country that is mostly encircled by the Tian Shan Mountain Range. Known mostly for its beauty and termed “Switzerland of Central Asia.”
Western China, Xinjiang Autonomous Region One of the five autonomous regions of China, the area is located in northwestern China. In the past it was an important part of the Silk Road. The city Kashgar was best known in this regard and until now remains a meeting place for different cultures of the desert. In addition to its many cultures, the region enjoys very special landscapes of Alpine mountains and lakes on the one hand such as Lake Karakul- and Taklamakam Desert, one of the most arid in the world on the other hand.
Day 1, Monday: Urumqi
Arrival at Urumqi Airport by 12:00 P.M.
At 2:00 P.M. we shall drive to the Heavenly Lake, hidden in the mountains above Urumqi. The lake gets its name from the blue color of the water, which reflects the glaciers on the mountains which surround it. In our travels around the lake we will meet nomads who live near the lake and make their livelihood from it. Later we will return to Urumqi.
Day 2, Tuesday: Urumqi – Turpan
We leave Urumqi and travel to Turpan which is situated 155 meters below sea level, the lowest place in China and the second lowest in the world after the Dead Sea. The Turpan plain is the warmest place in all of China and maybe in the world. However an amazing engineering system transformed it into a desert paradise that gave rest and relaxation to travelers on the Silk Road and enabled it to become a center to raise grapes, watermelons, and melons. We will visit the Karez system that has brought water from snow capped mountains and we will visit the vineyards that are watered by it. We will also visit the Emin Minaret.
Day 3, Wednesday: Turpan- GaoChang
After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of GaoChang that was established by the Eastern Han Dynasty. Located in the Gobi Desert, in the 14th century wars broke out between the warriors of Geghis Khan and the local inhabitants and the city was destroyed. In the evening, we will visit the night market.
Day 4, Thursday: Turpan- Urumqi- Kashgar
Today we will make our way back to Urumqi and will fly from there to Kashgar. Kashgar, also known as Kashi, is the center of the Uyghur culture. At this famous crossroad, the merchant paths of Central Asia crossed those coming from China and with those traveling southward many through the Pamir Mountains- to the Indus Valley and the Indian sub-continent. The riches that flowed through the city enabled the city to become the center of Uyghur arts.
Day 5, Friday: Kashgar
Today we visit the city and the surrounding sites. We will wander in the alleys of the old city, with their colorful mix of homes, workshops, markets, and eateries. We will visit the impressive burial place of Abak Hoja and the Idaka Mosque, the largest in all of China. Afterwards we return to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
Day 6, Shabbat: Kashgar
In addition to tfillot and Shabbat meals we will take a walk in the vicinity of the hotel.
Day 7, Sunday: The Kashgar Market- Tashkent
This morning we will wander, take photos, and experience the Sunday market. The well-known market of Kashgar has been one of the largest and best known on the Silk Road for hundreds of years. People converge from the entire area to buy and sell sheep, donkeys, cows, rugs, cloth, knives, work implements, and more. Later we will fly to Tashkent.
Day 8, Monday: Tashkent
After breakfast, we shall go out for a tour of Tashkent, “City of Stone.” We will see the modern city that was built in Russian style after the large earthquake in 1966. We shall see the impressive statue of Amir Timur, the monument that commemorates the earthquake, the Parliament buildings, Independence Square, and the Opera House. We will visit the Museum and Library of the Quran and the Museum of Fine Arts. We will see some of the railroad stations that themselves are like art museums made of marble and granite.
Day 9, Tuesday: Samarkand
Today we will travel to Samarkand. When we arrive, we will see the city that is more than 2500 years old. Wide boulevards, but not too wide, blue domes on Madrassas and Mosques. More than anything, it is the city of Tamerlane or “Timur the Lame,” the king who established an empire that stretched as far as Delhi, Baghdad, Moscow, and Constantinople. We will visit “Guri Amir,” burial place of the ruler- the burial area of the Timurid Dynasty, and we will visit the well-known city market. At the end of the visit, we will travel to Samarkand. In the evening, we will go out to see the Samarkand Theater of Historical Costume.
Day 10, Wednesday: Samarkand
Today we continue our visit to Samarkand. We will visit the Ulugbek Observatory that was the most advanced in the middle ages and the nearby small museum. We will continue on to the Afrasiyab museum and to the complex of buildings of Shah-i-Zinda, which is an extensive mausoleum of historical figures of Samarkand. We shall end with a tour among the tombstones of the Jewish cemetery and with a visit to the home of the Jewish gentleman Abram Kalantarov that now serves as a museum.
Day 11, Thursday: Samarkand-Gijduvon-Bukhara
This morning we shall travel to Gijduvon which is about 50 kilometers from Bukhara, We will visit the Center for Ceramic Art of the Narzullayev family who are known worldwide. The center has become a point of interest where heads of state visit. We shall continue on to the city of Bukhara, built in a desert oasis and thought of as the most beautiful of the cities on the Silk Road. The sites of Bukhara attest to 1000 years of a rich history. We shall see the mausoleum of Ismail Samani one of the oldest Muslim buildings in the world and the Lyab-i Khauz which is the area around one of the last remaining ponds that was part of a many branched system of canals and reservoirs that have been central to the city of Bukhara.
Day 12, Friday: Bukhara
After breakfast we will go out to see beautiful Bukhara, one of the important stops on the Silk Road. We will visit the Ark Fortress that served as the winter palace of the Emir. We will continue on to visit the famous Poi Kalyan Minaret that was known in the past as the tallest structure in the world, and beside it, the Mira Raj Madrassa. We also will see the minaret from which Jews were thrown if they did not consent to convert to Islam. We will wander through the local markets and will visit the Jewish quarter: the synagogue and the school. We will view the city from the top of a fortress. We will return to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat. Davening, and our Shabbat dinner.
Day 13, Saturday: Bukhara
Tfilot, Shabbat meal, and a walking tour in the area around the hotel.
Day 14, Sunday: Bukhara-Khiva
Today we will travel to Khiva, the youngest of the cities that sprung up on the Silk Road in Uzbekistan. The city is located at an oasis in Khorezm. The city is divided into two parts, one part is within the city walls which were built in the 18th century and inside one finds the ancient city. The other, the new city, is located outside the walls. Today we will walk through the old city. We will enter through the main gate and we will see the Madrassah of Muhammad Rahim-khan that today is a hotel. We will proceed to the Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Mahmoud.
Day 15, Monday: Khiva- Tashkent
Today we will continue our tour in Khiva. We will go to the central square and see the large Khan Palace. Before sunset, we will arrange a walk on the city walls and enjoy the colors of the sunset on the city. After dinner, we will drive to the airport in Urgench and take off for Tashkent.
Day 16, Tuesday: Tashkent
Today we will complete our tour of Tashkent. We will visit the Navoi Theater Square, home of the theater, the opera, and the ballet that were built during the second world war by the Japanese prisoners.
Day 17, Wednesday: Tashkent-home
Our special adventure has ended and we return home with fond memories!
|Land Price per person||
- Domestic flights & local taxes as per the itinerary
- 4*-5* Hotels wherever available
- Entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Comfortable air conditioned touring coach
- Kosher half board & Kosher supplies for the confection of sandwiches for Lunch.
- Local English-speaking Guides as required
- Tips for local service providers
- International flights
- Chinese Visa
- Visa to Uzbekistan
- Travel & Health Insurance
- Personal expenses
- Shows and evening entertainment not mentioned in the itinerary
- Tips for Tour Guide (Recommended: $5 per person per day)
- Miscellaneous expenses such as departure fees, visas, security surcharges etc
Important to Know:
- There may be changes to the order of places visited. We will make every effort to visit every place mentioned in the itinerary.
- The tour organizers have no control over airline services such as seating, special meal requests, changes in departure times or delays. These remain the sole responsibility of the airline company.
Kashrut on Tours
Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.
We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.
On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.
It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.
Deposit, Cancellation Fees & Policy:
A $500 USD Deposit per person must be received at the time of booking in order to confirm your reservation. Payment in full is due 60 days before departure. A minimum number of participants are required to operate tour dates. If a minimum number has not been reached prior to tour departure and the tour is cancelled you will receive a FULL refund.
• 90 days before departure bookings are refundable less a $100 administration fee
• 60-90 days prior to departure: $300 + $100 per passenger
• 60-30 days prior to departure: $500 + $100 per passenger
• 30-14 days prior to departure: $1,000 + $100 per passenger
• Less than 30 working days prior to departure: 100% of total – no refund
We strongly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance.