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Escorted Tours

Uzbekistan and the Silk Route


Route:
  • UK
  • Tashkent
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent
  • UK
Tour Pace:

12 DAYS from £1749pp

Tour Highlights
  • Explore cosmopolitan Tashkent
  • Visit the colossal Kalta Minor Minaret
  • Discover Bukhara, Central Asia's holiest city
  • Visit the ruins of Tamerlane's Ak Saray Palace
  • Gaze at Registan square
  • Wine Tasting at the Khovrenko Winery
  • Cookery class with a local family in Samarkand

or call us on 0800 781 4893

Uzbekistan and the Silk Route

Central Asia's cradle of culture for millennia, Uzbekistan's place at the heart of the ancient Silk Road has attracted architects, scientists and mathematicians for centuries, as well as marauding conquerors intent on plundering the riches within. Explore the rich and fascinating history of this welcoming country with tours of its stunning mosques, immense citadels and breath-taking mausoleums and discover the huge influence it has had on the world in everything from mathematics to military tactics.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Tashkent

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Tashkent

2
Tashkent

On arrival into Tashkent, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore the tree-lined streets and green spaces of Uzbekistan's cosmopolitan capital. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
3
Tashkent to Khiva

After breakfast, enjoy a cultural tour of Tashkent starting with Hast Imam Square. Built on the tomb of known scientist, scholar and craftsman Hazrati Imam, the square is the religious centre of Tashkent and home to a number of beautiful mosques, monuments and madrasas. A madrasa is a centre of Islamic learning and there are some excellent medieval examples here such as the elegant blue-domed Barak-Khan Madrasa with its imposing, but no less elegant gateway, as well as the Muyi Muborak Madrasa with its intricately carved ceilings and ancient manuscripts, including the Osman Koran, considered to be the oldest copy of the Koran in the world. As a contrast to these 16th Century sites, you'll then visit the Chorsu Bazaar and experience the hustle and bustle of everyday Central Asian life as everything from spices, grains and fruits are sold. This is followed by a visit to the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre built in neoclassical style by famous Russian architect Alexey Shchusey. Finally you'll pay a visit to Mustaqilik (Independence Square) home to the country's senate and government buildings, before catching a flight to Urgench for your transfer to Khiva.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Khiva

An important trading post on the Silk Road for centuries due to its position halfway between China and Rome, Khiva is a colourful treat for the eyes and a UNESCO-listed treasure that feels more like an open-air museum than a functioning city. Today, you'll get the chance to wander its ancient streets and discover a millennium of history on a fascinating guided tour. Gaze up at the imposing mud-brick walls of Ichan Kala, Khiva's inner city; explore the 12th century fortress of Kuhna Ark and wonder at the intricately tiled Pahlawan Mahmud Mausoleum, built in honour of the brave Uzbek hero Pahlavan Mahmoud.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
5
Khiva to Bukhara

After breakfast, you'll set out by road on an epic journey across the Kyzyl Kum desert following in the footsteps of trading caravans that have been traversing this Silk Road route for hundreds of years.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Bukhara

One of the most ancient cities in Uzbekistan, Bukhara is over 3000 years old and dates back to nearly a thousand years before Alexander the Great's conquest of Central Asia. Like most historic cities in Uzbekistan it was an important trading post along the Silk Road, but is probably better known throughout the Islamic world as a being a great centre of learning and has even been referred to as Central Asia's holiest city. Today, you will get the opportunity to explore some of its many architectural wonders on a guided tour of the city. The formidable Ark citadel was initially built in the 5th century and was the fortified residence of the rulers of Bukhara for centuries, containing palaces, temples barracks and even a prison. It has been destroyed and subsequently rebuilt many times, including by Genghis Khan who ransacked Bukhara in 1220 AD. Your tour guide will escort you around the various minarets, mosques, madrassas and mausoleums of the city before leaving you to explore this architectural wonder at your own pace.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
7
Bukhara

Today is at leisure to wander this fabulous city, exploring its bazaars, stone pools and ancient streets without a guide.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
8
Bukhara to Samarkand

After breakfast, depart for Samarkand stopping en route at the 'green city' of Shakhrisabz. With a well-groomed, green and modern appearance it's hard to believe the city is over 2700 years old. The centre of the city has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site and contains an exceptional collection of monuments, including the gleaming white Ak Saray Palace built for Amir Timur or Tamerlane, famous warrior Khan, military tactician and founder of the Timurid Empire. Born in a neighbouring village, Tamerlane turned Shakrisabz into his residence after assuming power and ordered his architects to build a series of intricate mausoleums and stunning mosques, the ruins of which can still be explored today. Leaving the Timurids 1st city behind you'll continue onwards to the 14th century capital of their empire, Samarkand.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Samarkand

Samarkand is the epitome of a journey along the Silk Road. The name alone conjures up romantic, almost mythical images of vast tiled squares; huge blue domes sparkling in the sun and patterned minarets reaching into the sky. A trip to Registan, the city's Timurid heart and Central Square proves this to be a reality and showcases the fine work of Tamerlane's master craftsmen and builders, acquired from throughout his sprawling empire. A wide mosaicked square is backed by three immense madrasas, beautifully adorned in intricate blues green and violet patterns, each one a monument to the city's place as the intellectual capital of the region. During the middle ages the city attracted the greatest scholars, architects and scientists around, which can be seen first hand on your visit to Ulugbek's Observatory. Grandson of Tamerlane, Ulugbek was a famous astronomer, scientist and architect whose observatory helped him to produce the most comprehensive catalogue of stars since the 2nd century and greatly advance the world's understanding of the solar system. You can pay your respects to both him and his famous conquering grandfather at the sumptuous Gur- Emir, the ornately decorated mausoleum of the royal family. Once a marvel of the east, its influence can be seen in the style of the great architectural tombs of the Mughal dynasty of North India such the Taj Mahal in Agra. Before dinner, visit the Khovrenko Winery and sample a range of Samarkand wines.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
10
Samarkand

This morning, you'll visit the Koni Ghil Paper Mill renowned for making paper of such exquisite quality that only sultans, emirs and viziers could afford it. This 'royal' paper has been exported along the Silk Road for centuries and many 9th and 10th century Arabic and Persian manuscripts were written on it. After this you'll explore one of the treasures of Samarkand, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque built in the late 14th century as a tribute to Tamerlane's wife as well as his victory in Delhi. It is one of the best-known architectural wonders of Central Asia. You'll have a chance to do some shopping at the local Siyab bazaar, before having the rest of the day at leisure to explore this UNESCO listed city at your own pace. This evening you will have the chance to experience a little modern Uzbek culture by enjoying dinner with a local family who will provide a master class in cooking Pilav, a famous rice based dish in Uzbekistan

  • Breakfast & Dinner
11
Samarkand to Tashkent

After breakfast, you'll start your journey back to Tashkent. Stopping along the way in Jizzakh to visit Sufi Centre 'Nursafardiyya'. Nursafardiyya comprises a fascinating blend of divine medicine, philosophy, meditation, calligraphy, martial arts and poetry, with the view that through these spiritual practices comes self-improvement and happiness. In the afternoon you will arrive back in Tashkent where your afternoon is at leisure. Tonight enjoy a festive farewell dinner to round off this unforgettable trip.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Tashkent to London

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, before transferring to the airport for your return flight to London or onto your chosen extension.

  • Breakfast

Important Information

Visas

As of the 05/01/19, UK and Ireland Citizens do not need a Visa for entry under 30 days in Uzbekistan. A visa is not required for your trip to Uzbekistan. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding passport validity. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote Mercury Holidays. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable

Tour Guide

This is an escorted tour, meaning the you will have the services of an English speaking guide during each excursion ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. On arrival in Uzbekistan, you should clear customs and immigration and go out of the airport through the Arrivals Hall. Directly outside you will be met by
the representative from our local agent, Sogda Tour (please note the rep. cannot enter the airport). This representative will be holding a sign displaying 'Mercury Holidays' and will then escort you to your transfer vehicle.

Currency Information

The currency in Uzbekistan is the (Uzbek Soum). We recommend that you take new US Dollar or new British Pound Sterling notes with you in small domination as change is hard to find especially for GBP.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any meals where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, drinks and snacks. Approximately (£400-500) per person should be sufficient for the duration of your tour. Please also bear in mind that there will be several shopping opportunities throughout your tour. ATMs are sparse in Uzbekistan. Tipping is at your discretion, however we would recommend approximately $4 per day for guide and $2 per day for each driver. Tips are accepted in the local currency, however it is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency that you only pay with notes, as coins cannot be exchanged.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPriceBook Now
2020 Dates
28 Feb 202010 Mar 2020£1819.00Book Now
06 Mar 202017 Mar 2020£1819.00Book Now
27 Mar 202007 Apr 2020£1859.00Book Now
24 Apr 202005 May 2020£1929.00Book Now
01 May 202012 May 2020£1929.00Book Now
15 May 202026 May 2020£1899.00Book Now
22 May 202002 Jun 2020£1939.00Book Now
05 Jun 202016 Jun 2020£1989.00Book Now
04 Sep 202015 Sep 2020£1919.00Book Now
11 Sep 202022 Sep 2020£1939.00Book Now
18 Sep 202029 Sep 2020£1939.00Book Now
02 Oct 202013 Oct 2020£1899.00Book Now
16 Oct 202027 Oct 2020£1879.00Book Now
30 Oct 202010 Nov 2020£1849.00Book Now
06 Nov 202017 Nov 2020£1749.00Book Now
2021 Dates

Included in the Price

  • Local English-speaking Guides
  • Scheduled Flights from the UK.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation.
  • Accommodation, meals as specified and entry fees to all sights.
  • All airport taxes and security charges.

Additional Expenses

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Any meals not specified in your itinerary
Important

Please note the hotels given are a guidelines only and may change. If the hotels detailed are not available, alternatives will be used of a similar standard. Please refer to your final documentation for confirmation of your hotels. You will receive this between 7-10 days before departure.

What to expect

Fact File
Currency

Uzbekistani Som

Average Flying time

10 hours

Min/Max temperature

6 °C / 36 °C

When to go

Please familiarise yourself with the below weather chart.

Tashkent

What to pack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Waterproof lightweight jacket
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Sweater
  • Swimwear
  • Warm clothing during the winter months
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera and charger
  • Small day pack for excursions
  • Personal first aid kit
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
B Jackson
5th Nov 2019

Some muddle up with hotels, asked for a double bed rather than twin beds.
A bit more free time would be good and the overall pace on the tour was good for an older group.
Excellent guide.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
P Kilvert
5th Nov 2019

Tour guide Davron was excellent, the best yet!
The hotel in Tashkent was way below not what i have come to expect from Mercury.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Peter Thorpe
23rd Jun 2019

adequate

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
Sarah Henderson
19th Jun 2019

Our guide was Lochin and he was terrific, always going "the extra mile". The driver Ismail was always very good and did a cracking bit of reversing of a huge bus to avoid us getting stuck in a traffic jam.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Nigel Tompkins
29th May 2019

Most hotels were very good with the exception of the Area Hotel in Samarkand which didn't meet the standards of the others.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
J Thomas
17th May 2019

The hotels were good especially Arkanchi Hotel and Malika Hotel.
This was a fantastic tour from start to finish. The excursions were brilliant and the tour rep Shirin was excellent. She was so knowledgeable about Uzbek history and the social changes in her country.
The Ubekistan Airways was also good.
I would recommend this tour to other people as a wonderful experience.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Liz Howe
11th May 2019

The hotels were on the whole good but the Asia group had extremely hard beds. The Asia Tashkent was also not so good with the breakfast. All the others were excellent.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
D Patterson
9th May 2019

The guide and driver were amazing they thought of everything.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
Helen Dixon
8th May 2019

The recommended $2 per driver per day per person was a lot, given that there were two of them, one of them hardly drove at all, and this totals a huge amount of money in Uzbekistan.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Rita Hawes
25th Apr 2019

Best hotel was where we could meet informally as at Bukhara but all hotels clean and service fine

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Adrienne Hards
26th Mar 2019

I honestly believe this tour would not have been as detailed and exciting and fun without our tour guide Lochin Juraev.
He deserves a special commendation.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Brian Sheffield
14th Nov 2018

City Palace was by far best standard and comfort.
All hotels were in great central locations

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
A Hewison
2nd Oct 2018

Excellent service from start to finish.
Outstanding guide and driver.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Anne Dunbar
7th Jun 2018

All the hotels were in good very central locations

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Jill Spencer
30th May 2018

Nice size rooms. Clean and comfortable. All very handy for sight seeing

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
E Manley
16th May 2018

Lochin our guide was exceptional, the Holiday was marvellous and a great pleasure. I look forward to my next trip with Mercury Holidays.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Philip Mansfield
21st Mar 2018

All hotels were well located and of the expected standard. The Tashkent hotel being particularly good.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
D Howe
23rd Nov 2017

We found this trip interesting and above our expectations plus the guide was excellent.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Heath Rees
5th Nov 2017

Standard hotels suitable for short stays on tour

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Huw Jones
20th Sep 2017

all good

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Tour Map
Uzbekistan and the Silk Route Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • Uzbekistan
    Fergana Valley

    3 nights from £519pp

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Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Fergana Valley
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Tashkent
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent
  • Fergana Valley
  • UK

Visit the fertile Fergana Valley, home to ancient civilisations, Mughal emperors and the third largest silk producer in the world. This three-night tour takes you past huge reservoirs and through high mountain passes to a lush area often referred to as the country's fruit and cotton basket. Here you'll find pottery and silk making techniques that haven't changed in hundreds of years, as well as the ancient ruins of Mingtepa, capital of the Davan state which enjoys breath-taking views over the valley.

3 nights
from £519pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension