The Silk Road — a vast and largely empty corridor of trade that connected the East and West. Running from the Mediterranean to China, this was the ancient world’s highway for luxury goods.
After the boom in overseas trade, this route became largely disused but it still hints at its illustrious past — with incredible museums and historical sites dotted through the region.
Today travellers can follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo and thousands of others as they explore the Silk Road in absolute luxury.
The first stop is Beijing where travellers will be met at the airport and whisked to the five-star Regent Hotel — located in the historic heart of the city. On the first night, travellers will feast on authentic Peking Duck while sipping international wines — mingling with their new travel companions.
On day 2, travellers will explore Beijing and all it has to offer — Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Finally, explore the city by a traditional rickshaw ride through town.
From here, travellers will take a high-speed train to Xian to spend a few days exploring Xian’s old city and Muslim Quarter — but first, guests will have an opportunity to walk upon one of the world’s most incredible monuments, the Great Wall of China.
After a few days in Xian, travellers will board the luxury Shangri-La Express where authentic Chinese cuisine will be served in the restaurant cars.
After arriving in Dunhuang, China in the Gobi Desert — a tour across the sands on camels is in order. It is a true call back to the days when the journey took months or even years as opposed to a few weeks by luxury.
After spending a day in the oasis town of Turpan, travellers will enjoy a final breakfast on the Shangri-La Express as they pass through dramatic mountains and cross the border into Kazakhstan.
Although the crossing can be tedious, passengers are rewarded by stepping onto the company’s private train — the Golden Eagle — before they are whisked to Almaty. Surrounded by the Tien Shan mountains, guests will explore Almaty’s modern but beautiful cityscape.
Next stop, Uzbekistan. Beginning in Tashkent, much of which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1966, travellers will explore the old city — viewing the world’s oldest Koran.
From here it’s off to Samarkand, an ancient trading hub on the silk road. The city is incredible. Founded in the 6th century BC, it is particularly noted as the Mongol capital under the empire of Timur.
From here the train will pass into Turkmenistan, exploring the cities of Merv, Darvaza and Ashgabat.
Merv is largely abandoned as an archaeological site but claims to have been the largest city in the world in the 12th century. Darvaza is where the famous burning gas pit, known as ‘the Door to Hell’ is located. This natural phenomenon is well worth the visit.
Heading back to Uzbekistan to the city of Khiva — where impressive architecture springs from the dessert as if from nowhere — and on to Kazakhstan aboard the Golden Eagle.
The train would then head to Volgograd and on to Moscow, in Russia — however, it is unclear whether the route will continue this way in the current geopolitical climate.
Even without this final leg, the tour offers an incredible opportunity to explore the heart of the Silk Road in style and luxury. Tickets start at around $28,000 and go up to $110,000 depending on your level of luxury.
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims, traders, explorers and adventurers as you journey down this modern-day silk road.