silk cacoon hero
silk cacoon hero
silk cacoon hero

Unravelling The Silk Road
Thursday 18 April – Friday 03 May 2024

A Small Group Tour with Chris Aslan exploring the Textiles, Arts & Crafts of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

Unravelling The Silk Road 18 April - 03 May 2024

Join Chris Aslan and a select group of like-minded people who love the arts and have a passion for textiles, exlpore Uzbekistan & Tajikistan. As well as the stunning architecture of the Silk Road cities, Chris will take you off the beaten track and introduce you to artisans, craftsmen, and help bring the Silk Road alive in fresh ways.

Trip Scholar: Chris Aslan

Chris was born in Turkey (hence the name Aslan) and spent his childhood there and in war-torn Beirut. After school, Chris spent two years at sea before studying Media and journalism at Leicester University. He then moved to Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan, establishing a UNESCO workshop reviving fifteenth century carpet designs and embroideries, and becoming the largest non-government employer in town. After a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, he moved to the Pamirs in Tajikistan, training yak herders to comb their yaks for their cashmere-like down, spending three years there. Next came two years in Kyrgyzstan living in the world’s largest natural walnut forest and establishing a wood-carving workshop. Since then, Chris has studied and rowed at Oxford, and is now based in Cambridge and focussed on writing fiction, including Alabaster, Manacle and Mosaic, and currently completing The Broken Hexapus. He also lectures for the Art Society and leads tours to Central Asia whenever he can because he’s missing a large chunk of his heart, which will forever remain in the -stans.


16 days
London - Tashkent - Fergana - Khujand - Penjikent - Samarkand - Bukhara - Khiva - Nukus - Tashkent - London
  • Have your breath stolen as you marvel at the Registan, easily rivalling the city squares of Europe.
  • Explore the Silk production process in Margilan
  • Travel into Tajikistan - ancient Sogdian Civilisation
  • Wander through the ancient streets of Bukhara’s old quarter, haggling for unique, locally-produced handicrafts.
  • Get off the beaten track exploring Urgut’s famous Sunday bazaar.
  • A moonlit stroll through the walled inner city of Khiva.
  • Visit the UNESCO silk carpet workshop which Chris Aslan founded and enjoy supper with his Uzbek host family.
  • Stay in converted madrassahs and 19th century Jewish merchant’s houses.
  • Travel on Uzbekistan’s fastest and smartest train.

Contact a
specialist consultant

020 8901 7320 Enquiry
The Spirit of Uzbekistan SGT Day 3
Itinerary View Map

Day 1 : To Tashkent

Depart London by Turkish Airlines flight TK1986 at 16:30, arrive in Istanbul at 22:20


Day 2 : Tashkent

Connect Turkish Airlines TK0368 at 01:05, arrive in Tashkent at 07:25, transfer to the hotel. Check in at Marriot Courtyard Hotel. Morning at leisure. After lunch visit the Museum of Fine Arts, followed by a visit to Independent Square and Amir Timur Square. B, L, D


Day 3 : To Fergana

Take the morning train to Kokand 07:55-12:06. Arrival in Kokand, lunch, Afternoon sightseeing: visit Khan’s palace, then transfer to Rishton to visit ceramics workshops and ceramics galleries. Late afternoon transfer to Fergana, overnight at Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. B, L, D

silk cacoon hero

Day 4 : To Khujand (Tajikistan)

In the morning visit Kumtepa market in Margilan, followed by Aziz’s silk dyeing workshop, Yodkorlik factory, and the new handicrafts centre. Lunch. In the afternoon depart Margilan drive to Konibodom border point. Customs and passport control on both sides, continue driving to Khujand. Arrival in Khujand, check at Hotel Khujand Deluxe or Grand Hotel. Supper with Resident expert Anna – who will give us an introduction to Khujand. B, L, D

Tajikistan man

Day 5 : To Penjikent (Tajiskistan)

In the morning sightseeing in Khujand: Republican Historical-Ethnographic Museum, Timur Malik Fortress, Archaeological Museum, Mosque and Madrasah of Sheikh Muslehiddin, Panjshanbe Bazaar. Lunch. In the afternoon drive to Penjikent (260 km, 5-6 h). Arrival and check in to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel Panjakent Plaza or at Rudaki Hotel. B, L, D


Day 6 : To Samarkand

Sightseeing Penjikent: Rudaki Museum, dedicated to the poet considered as the father of Persian Poetry; ancient Penjikent - ruins of old Sogdian town founded in the 5th century. Lunch. In the afternoon transfer to border post Jartepo, cross the border. Drive to Samarkand, check in to the hotel. Late afternoon visit Afrosiyob museum and Ulugbeg’s Observatory, one of the beacons of scientific discovery during the Middle Ages. Overnight at Sultan Hotel. B, L, D


Day 7 : Samarkand

Walking tour of Samarkand including Gur Emir, Registan and Bibi Khanum mosque and Shah-i-Zinda complex, with wine-tasting late afternoon. Overnight at the hotel. B, L, D

Ulugbeg Madrassa, Samarkand. Maximum Exposure 2017

Day 8 : To Bukhara

Morning visit to Urgut market, famous for its handicrafts, in particular suzani, followed by a visit to Chinar Shrine and Shah-i-Zindah complex time permitting.
We will have lunch at the Urgut Village House and then visit the holy spring and ancient plane trees before driving back to Samarkand.

Supper will be served in a local restaurant before boarding the evening train for Bukahra.
Check in at the Merchant House of Minzifa or Komil's for 3 nights. B, L, D

Bukhara Monument

Day 9 : Bukhara

Morning: Walking tour of the old city, starting with the Ismail Samanid Mausoleum, and then the tomb of Job, known as Chashma Ayub. This is followed by a visit to the Ark, the Emir’s fortress complex, and then a grisly detour to take in the bug-pit where British spies languished before their execution. The walk finishes at the pool of Labi Hauz in the Jewish quarter, with a visit to a unique synagogue.

Afternoon at leisure or an optional visit to hammam. B, L, D


Day 10 : To Bukhara

Afternoon visit to the Naqshbandi Mausoleum complex, where the Sufi founder of the whirling dervishes is entombed, and locals come to seek blessings on their marriages. This is followed by a visit to the Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa – the Emir’s Summer palace, a fusion of Eastern and Western influence. B, L, D


Day 11 : To Khiva

Morning departure for Khiva by road (a long drive between 8 hours) . Enroute see the largest Central Asian river Amudarya. Arrive Khiva and check in at the hotel and rest. Moonlight tour of the Ichan Kala. Stay at Hotel Orient Star. B, D


Day 12 : Khiva

Tour of Khiva’s Ichan Kala, according to UNESCO, the most homogenous example of Islamic architecture in the world, including the Friday Mosque with its forest of carved wooden pillars, several museums, and the silk carpet workshop Chris founded, with an opportunity to meet the weavers, dyers and embroiderers. B, L, D

Nurullaboy Palace

Day 13 : Khiva

In the morning visit German Mennonite museum. Continue to Toza Bog summer residence of late Khiva Khans. After Toza Bog visit continue to Isfandiyarkhan's courtroom also known as Nurullaboy Palace. Free time in the afternoon. Dinner with Chris’s Uzbek host family at Meros. Stay at Hotel Orient Star.

Overnight at Hotel Orient Star. B, L, D


Day 14 : To Nukus

Morning drive to Nukus, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Karakalpakstan, visiting the ancient desert Kalas, or fortresses, along the way, and learning more about the nomadic way of life. Afternoon visit the Savitsky Museums. Far from the watchful eye of Moscow, Igor Savitsky amassed one of the largest collections of Russian Avante Garde art in the world at a time when these paintings were banned, including artists who were sent to gulags for their work. Also visit to Hojaili and the impressive necropolis there. Overnight at Hotel Jipek Joli or similar. B, D

Souvenirs at Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent. Maximum Exposure 2017

Day 15 : To Tashkent

Morning flight to Tashkent. Arrival in Tashkent, visit Fine Arts museum, lunch. Afternoon visit Chor-Su bazar. Free time late afternoon. Overnight at the Marriot Courtyard hotel. B, L, D

Turkish Airlines inbound

Day 16 : To London

After breakfast Transfer to the airport. Board Turkish Airlines flight TK0369 at 09:05, arrive Istanbul at 12:15, connect TK 1971 at 14:45, arrive Heathrow at 16:45.

Itinerary map


Price per person
(Double/Twin share)
Single room supplement
£4,538.00 £740.00
Cost includes:
  • International flights in economy class with Turkish Airlines.
  • Regional & Domestic flighs in economy class with Uzbekistan Airlines
  • Accommodation with en-suite facilities.
  • Daily breakfast and dinner throughout.
  • Services of Trip Scholar Chris Aslan Alexander.
  • Services of English-speaking guide during sightseeing.
  • Transfers as per the itinerary by air-conditioned coach and trains.
  • Excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary.
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
  • Tips & Gratuities
Cost does not include:
  • Visa Fee (although most European countries are visa-free).
  • Any optional Excursions.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature.
  • Travel Insurance*

Sightseeing arrangements, visits to monuments may vary according to local circumstances at each place on a day-to-day basis. Chris Aslan may decide to alter the programme where he feel it is necessary and it is in the interest of the group.

*Travel Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.

If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit

020 8901 7320

What our clients say

I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of Gujarat and congratulate you on the itinerary and organisation. My driver Babu and guide Bheru were both outstanding, I learned a great deal about Gujarat which I had always imagined was mainly desert. The hotel/palace accommodation was superb, once of twice the suites were the size of a footprint of a house! The food was excellent throughout, I had…

G Ashby - India Holiday