World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

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Countries visited: Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan
The Silk Road was probably the most important development in human history, which brought close trading and subsequently cultural contacts between the east and the west. The route from Hunza to Samarkand is a breathtaking route crossing both the Khunjerab and Torogart Pass, driving alongside the conglomerate of mountain ranges - Himalayas, Karakorums, Tien Shan, etc. It is also Shangri-la in its different facets with an interesting experience of cultures of the different small ethnic groups who take solace from the huge mountains that engulfs them. This tour is timed to experience the incredible Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar!

Tour Summary

Arrive Islamabad (PAKISTAN)
03 Islamabad / Chilas
Chilas / Gilgit
Gilgit / Hunza
Gumit / Khunjerab / Tashkurgaon (CHINA)
Tashkurgaon / Kashgar
Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
Kashgar / Torogart Pass/ Naryn (by road) (KYRGYZSTAN)
Naryn / Dolon Pass / Tamga
Tamaga / Barskoon / Karakol
Karakol / Cholpan Ata
14 Cholpan Ata/ Bishkek (by road) / Tashkent (by air) (UZBEKISTAN)
15 Tashkent / Samarkand
16 Samarkand
17 Samarkand
18 Samarkand / Shakre Sabz / Bukhara
19 Bukhara
20 Bukhara / Khiva
21 Khiva
22 Khiva / Urgench / Tashkent
23 Tashkent / departure

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited
This tour has been tailored to include the following World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites in Uzbekistan covered in this tour
Historic Centre of Khiva (1990) Along with Samarkand and Bukhara, Khiva is an important and often overlooked historical site on what was once the Great Silk Road (Uzbek: Buyuk Ipak Yol'i). Famous for it's long and brutal history as a slave trading post sandwiched in between the vast Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts, Khiva is now a quiet, sleepy oasis that awaits busloads of tourists instead of caravans of captives. It's difficult imagine what exactly ancient Khiva was like, considering the historical areas were restored to a scrubbed and squeaky-clean look by the Soviets in the 1970s. However, the clustered array of mosques, madrassahs and tiled minarets within a area of less than 3km give you a sense of how crowded and bustling this town must have been throughout it's history.
Historic Centre of Bukhara (1993) Situated on The Silk Road, Bukhara is more than two thousand years old. It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with an urban fabric that has remained largely intact. The monuments of interest include the Ismail Samani's famous tomb, a masterpiece of 10th-century Moslem architecture, and a number of 17th-century medersas.
Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (2000) The historic centre of Shakhrisyabz contains a collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters which bear witness to the centuries of its history, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the empire of Timur, in the 15th century.
Samarkand - Crossroads of Cultures (2001) The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century BC as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasahs, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg's Observatory.
World Heritage Sites in Pakistan covered in this tour
Taxila (1980) From the ancient Neolithic tumulus of Saraikala to the ramparts of Sirkap (2nd century B.C.) and the city of Sirsukh (1st century A.D.), Taxila illustrates the different stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia and which, from the 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D., was an important Buddhist centre of learning.
Detailed Itinerary
Day 01: SAT Arrive Islamabad (PAKISTAN)
Khush Amded. Welcome. Upon arrival at Islamabad, we are warmly received and transferred to our hotel located in the city centre of the capital city. Check in time starts from 1400 hrs.
Overnight: Islamabad Hotel (2 nights) (D)

Day 02: SUN Islamabad
Our Silk Road journey starts with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taxila located off the Grand Trunk Road. It dates back to the Gandhara period and contain ruins of the Gandha¯ran city of Taksasila - an important Hindu and Buddhist centre. When Alexander the Great visited Taxila, he found the Julian University functioning. Our tour includes the Taxila museum, Sirkap ruins, Julian monastery and Mohra Muradu. We then take a tour of the British garrison town of Rawalpindi and at Islamabad visit the folk heritage museum, Daman-e-Koh, Saidpur village and Shah Faisal Mosque – a majestic mosque designed in Turkish architecture. (B, D)

Day 03: MON Islamabad / Chilas (by road)
An early morning drive first to the scenic town of Abbotabad and from there we join the incredible Karakorum Highway with spectacular mountain scenery alongwith the mighty Indus. We make several photo stops including at Besham, Dassu and Shittal Rock Carvings before arriving at the small mountain town of Chilas located almost at the foot Nanga Parbat.
Overnight: Panorama Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 04: TUE Chilas / Gilgit (by road)
Another day of spectacular scenery as we cross the Himalayan mountain ranges over to the silk road town of Gilgit. Here we take a tour of Gilgit to include the suspension bridge, the Rock carving of Buddha at Kargah before retiring for the day at our cozy hotel. Evening we may be fortunate to witness a polo match – subject to availability.
Overnight: Rupal inn (1 night) (B, D)

Day 05: WED Gilgit / Hunza (by road)
Continuing on the KKH, we first visit Aliabad and continue further to have the most spectacular view of the majestic Rakaposhi Mountain before reaching the capital of Hunza, Karimabad. Hunza, John Hilton’s lost Shangri-la, has stood the test of time and offers the most incredible scenery one can imagine. Until recently, life span here used to run to over a hundred years. Hunza is the gateway not only to China but also to the many mountaineering expeditions from across the globe. Evening, a walking tour of Karimabad where we meet many of the very friendly Hunzakuts and get to know more of their life style.
Overnight: Hunza View Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 06: THU Hunza/Gumit (by road)
Hunza Valley - a mountainous valley with green terraced farming on the slopes of the Karakorums. Here one sees peaks like Ultar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Diran Peak and Bublimating (Ladyfinger Peak) - all 6000 metres (19,685 ft) or higher. Our morning tour starts with a visit to Duiker (Eagle’s nest) to see the spectacular sun rise along with breakfast. We then visit the Nagar Valley – another very spectacular valley and see the Hoppar glaciers in its many different forms.Afternoon take a 1 hour boat ride across Attaabad Lake and continue the drive to Gulmit.
Overnight: Ambassador Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 07: FRI Gulmit / Khunjerab / Tashkurgaon (CHINA) (by road)
This morning we visit the village of Gulmit – another spectacular town of Upper Hunza before making the border crossing at Sust into China. Getting into our Chinese vehicles we cross the mighty Khunjerab which at 15800 feet is the highest border crossing in the world. We arrive at the sleepy town of Tashkurgaon in the early evening and after the entry formalities are transferred top our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Crown Inn (1 night) (B, D)

Day 08: SAT Tashkurgaon / Kashgar (by road)
An interesting drive through the Taklamakan gets us to the Karukuli Lake where one can see the reflection of the enchanting Muztaghata Peak. We have free time at Karkuli to enjoy the serenity before continuing to Kashgar – a major Silk Road town in the Xinjiang province of modern day China.
Overnight: Hotel International, Kashgar (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 09: SUN Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
If one would like to see a place where time has stood still it is Kashghar (Kashi). Walking through the narrow lanes of this old town evokes a scene from the Arabian Nights. Kashgar has remained sheltered from outside influences with locals who are very friendly. Amongst the most popular professions are coppersmiths, carpenters, jewelers and cobblers, all using tools of bygone days. Our tour of Kashgar also includes the Abak Hoja Tomb, the Id Koh Mosque and the old town where we might even take a ride on the donkey cart taxi. One of the most popular events in the town is the weekly Sunday Bazaar that draws a variety of ethnic groups like the Uyghur, Tajik, Kyrgyz and Kazakh to the streets of Kashgar. They come on foot, bikes, horsebacks, modern motorcycles and donkey carts, all with the hope of selling merchandise that ranges form scissors to camels. (B, D)

DAY 10: MON Kashgar / Torogart Pass/ Naryn (by road) (KYRGYZSTAN)
We cross the majestic Torogoart Pass (3752 meters) from China into Krgyzstan. Border formalities completed we enter the Central Asian country of Kyrghyzstan. The 197 Kms drive to Naryn is a panorama of wide open valley surrounded by the Tien Shan ranges. The steppes are dotted with Kyrgyz nomadic huts (Yurts) with their cattle grazing in the nearby slopes with horses going wild during the season. We visit a yurt and meet the warm hearted Kyrgyz nomads with an offer of ‘koumis’ mare’s fermented milk. Late afternoon we arrive at the first settlement of Naryn!
Overnight: Celestial Mountain or Yurts (1 night) (B, Snack, D)

DAY 11: TUE Naryn / Dolon Pass / Tamga (by road)
After a visit of the one street town, we depart for Issikul region with various stops to get the enchanting scenery. This is a long and an interesting day. The Tienshan scenery becomes more verdant with small farmlands hamlets with immense poplar trees lining along the route near the villages. At Kochkorka village we see the felt makers house and their collections of nomadic embroidery is a good insight into the nomadic culture. Continue with lengthening shadows of the trees we arrive on the southern side of the great lake Issikul(warm waters) we shall transfer to a nice private Guest House of Lyuda & Sasha’s private home with a nice garden awaiting us for a BBQ dinner.
Overnight Lyuda & Sasha’s Guest House (1 night) (B, D)

DAY 12: WED Tamaga / Barskoon / Karakol (by road)

Our destination today is Karakol. An interesting and breathtaking scenery with several stops gets us to the Barskoon Valley – the gold mine of Kyrgyzstan. It is a scenic spot which was a popular resort site of the Soviet Cosmonauts who used to come here for rest and recreation. Yuri Gagarin is known to have spent his leisure hours walking the alpine valley and the valley still maintains his monument at his favorite spot. We then continue on the on the track to Karakol with a visit of Djeti Oghuz the Kyrgyz nomad’s meadows.
Overnight: Hotel Green Yard, Karakol (1 night) (B, D)

DAY 13: THU Karakol / Cholpan Ata (by road)

Morning we tour Karakol and visit the Russian Orthodox Church with its beautiful wooden structure and rare icons that survived the worst periods of communist purges. Visit Dungan mosque with chaste Chinese architecture – Dungans were a Han Muslim Chinese community who escaped the civil wars of 50’s now are an ethnically assimilated population. Next we visit the famous Preshevalsky Museum and monument before reaching Cholpan Ata and visit the mountain town including seeing the local museum and the rock drawings dating back to 1st BC.
Overnight: Three Corony Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

DAY 14: FRI Cholpan Ata/ Bishkek (by road) / Tashkent (by air) (UZBEKISTAN)
Early morning we visit the Silk Road Burana caravan town ruins dating 11th/12th AD including the tower, the ruins of the complex mosque, the Turkic tombstones and the small archaeological museum nearby. Later we continue to Bishkek with an orientation tour of the town before we drive to the airport for our flight to Tashkent. Upon arrival at Tashkent we are met and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Dedeman Silk Road (1 night) (B, D)

DAY 15: SAT Tashkent / Samarkand (by road)

Morning tour of the capital city famous for its gardens and fountains. We commence our sightseeing with a visit of the Old city, see the new Hast Imam complex that rises on the secular buildings 16th to 20th AD is the neo Islamic architecture reviving the old Central Asian styles. We visit Barak Khana seminary – the seat of the Grand Mufti of Tashkent and Tilla Shaikh archives to see the famous 7th AD copy of Othman Quran. We continue to explore the traditional part of Tashkent including the famous Chosu Bazar where people are always dressed in colorful attire. We visit Kukeldesh which in true Central Asian style used to offer solace to the caravans. We continue our drive to the most renowned city in Islamic architecture. Upon arrival at Samarkand we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Grand Samarkand (3 nights) (B, D)

DAY 16: SUN Samarkand

Sunday is the market day in the whole of Central Asia but we choose Urgut as one of the few Central Asian Sunday markets still retaining its olden spirit of bazaars. We shall see a culmination of countryside folks thronging into the market with their produce, selling and bargaining the Central Asia way! You may have a best buy of famous suzzanne embroidery from the village folks, wooden carved pieces or local rugs are all here. Afternoon we head for Shakre Sabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. We shall be traveling over the beautiful pass – the route always taken by Tamerlane for his travel between Shakre Sabz and Samarkand. Tamerlane started building his cities and Shakre Sabz being his native town never was forgotten where he built a grand palace, as was recorded by ‘Don Clavijo’ the Spanish minister at the court of Tamerlane. Ak-Saray – the white palace surpassed in Persian architecture, which Tamerlane was keen in employing in his favorite buildings. After seeing some interesting Timurid period monuments we shall return to Samarkand. (B, D)

DAY 17: MON Samarkand
The Jewel city of the Silk Road – Samarkand has always been praised for its beautiful gardens and richness. Samarkand was admired and prized by the invaders who always wanted this city as part of their empire. The important town of a once prosperous Sogdiana served as the major halting station for caravans of the Great Silk Road whose impacts could be seen in the great archaeological finds – the murals, the statues and other objects. Everyone who passed by the city talks of its greatness – Alexander the Great fought with the last of its ruler and the legend says that he got his beautiful wife ‘Roxane’ from Samarkand. Marco Polo talks of its booming trade and gardens, Tamerlane made Samarkand as his capital and called it as the “capital of the world”. The changed life of Tamerlane found solace in his beautiful gardens in the company of his favorite granddaughter and poetess - Zebunnisa Begum. Our tour of Samarkand ravels the beautiful monuments – The madrassah complex of Registan a fascinating square with three madrassahs. We continue visiting other monuments of Timurid period and should never miss the old site of Afrosiab, which goes back in our historic times. (B, D)

DAY 18: TUE Samarkand / Shakre Sabz / Bukhara (by road)

An interesting drive gets us to Kesh (Shakre Sabz) the birthplace of Tamerlane – a UNESCO World Heritage site. We visit Ak-Saray Palace ruins of Tamerlane’s lovely palace once described by Don Calvijo as the palace of grandest of architecture while in attendance at the court of Tamerlane. We shall then visit the secular buildings of Dorus Tilavat seminary, the Kok Gumbaz mosque, Dorus Saidat, the crypt of Tamerlane that was never used and The Friday mosque before continuinbg on for Bukhara – another World Heritage Site.
Overnight: Hotel Zargaron (2 nights) (B, D)

DAY 19: WED Bukhara

Today we shall be touring the powerful seat of Bukhara Khanate which swayed her control in all the neighboring states. Bukhara was the first oasis, which caught the eyes of invading Arab armies to explore and expand into the heartland of Central Asia. The ancient town of Bukhara goes back in the history to more than 2500 years and kept exchanging hands from one ruler to another. It was one of the important towns of the caravan countries and was the richest of the Transoxiana countries. It kept changing its seat from the early Persians down to the Turkic heathen tribes and remained as the master of the lands. The last of the powerful Turkic ruler, Bukhara Khudat was killed by the Arab invaders thereby replacing its rulers and converting the locals to Islamic faith. Bukhara continued to flourish as an important trading center before the caravans continued to the Persian empire’s mainland where the rich commodity was sold out. Bukhara remained in the hands of Sheybanid rulers and later into the hands of their splinter groups t ill the annexation of its territories by the expanding Russian rule. With changing of fortunes in the imperial Russia, Bukhara too was effected and the last ruler had to escape to Afghanistan leaving the state into the hands of Bolsheviks. The last Emir of Bukhara suffered humility at the hands of the Great Game players ho saw these enemies vying for power at his court till the imperial Russians succeeded in reducing the emir to a mere pawn in their hands. Buildings, madrassahs, the mosques and the covered bazaars keep Bukhara as an oldest living city of the caravan days. (B, D)

Day 20: THU Bukhara / Khiva (by road)
Today we shall leave for Khiva and this will be a long drive through the heart of Kizilkum desert (the red sands). This wasteland was the route of the invaders coming form the north as nomadic hordes or armies of the Persians or Alexander the Great marching his troops through the heart of desert to cities of his Persian enemy. Genghiz Khan’s devastating troops crossed these deserts to enter the mainland of his enemy. You will notice the expanse of Amudarya as it spreads its branches to a network of canals serving as a watering base for the huge cotton economy of the whole region our arrival will mark a quiet late afternoon entry into Khiva.
Overnight: Hotel Asia, Khiva (B, Snack, D)

DAY 21: FRI Khiva
A walk into the past – the walled city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) has not changed its character from the khanate days with its fortress walls still surviving – Khiva is described as the living museumof Central Asia with its still surviving living quarters. We visit the Ichan Kala – the inner city, Kalta Minor that was never finished, Kuya Arg – the ruling quarters, madrassah Rakhimkhon, the UNDP workshops forthe development of local handicrafts, the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud is a wonderful example of tile work which was though very little used but exquisite. The minaret of Islam Khodja and the Friday Mosque with its old pillars still surviving. Later we visit Tashauli harem and the Caravan Sarai. (B, D)

DAY 22: SAT Khiva / Urgench (by road) / Tashkent (by air)
Morning depart for Urgench airport for flight to Tashkent. Transfer to the hotel. Balance of the day is free for shopping. Evening an optional, subject to availability visit to the theatre for an opera. We visit the famous Tashkent underground station followed by a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Hotel Dedeman (1 night) (B, D)

DAY 23: SUN Tashkent / departure
After traveling on the Silk Road caravan route from China all the way to central Asia, we bid farewell as we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight. Check out time is 1100 hrs. (B)
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

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Departure Dates

This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details

Departures Tour Price US$ Single Sup US$

This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details

Tour Price Includes Tour Price Does Not Include:
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • Domestic air tickets
  • Invitation letters
  • Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, S=Snack, D=Dinner)
  • All transfers as mentioned as mentioned in the tour itinerary
  • Sightseeing with services of local English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • International Airfares
  • Insurance& Visa fees
  • Drinks/beverages with meals
  • Tips/gratitude to drivers & guides
  • Photo/video fees at sites

Estimated International Airfare (not included in tour price)
East Coast US $ 1650
West Coast US $ 1850
Please note: This tour operates with a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 12 participants.

Other Dates / Customized Itinerary / Languages
In addition to our set programs we are also pleased to offer customized tours.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your individual needs.

Customized tours can be conducted in English, French, German, Spanish or Italian. Each departure is conducted in the designated language only.

Contact Information
Bestway Tours & Safaris
Fax: +1-604-264-7774
206–8678 Greenall Ave Phone: +1-604-264-7378
Burnaby B.C., Canada Toll Free (US & Canada): 1-800-663-0844
V5J 3M6 Email:
33 years in small group journeys

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photographs © Peter Langer
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