Central Asia’s Silk Road

Encounter a mélange of culture, religion, art and architecture. Tour Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek and learn about nomadic life in the village of Burana. ExploreRussian-accented Almaty in Kazakhstan. In Uzbekistan discover Khiva, a UNESCO site; watch silk weavers and visit an artisan studio in Bukhara; experience legendary Samarkand's treasures; and see the world's oldest Quaran in Tashkent.

Dates
May 4 - May 20, 2021  (17 Days)
Cost

$7,094 per person, double occupancy, including air from SFO

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

Tuesday, May 4
Depart U.S. for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Wednesday, May 5
Arrive Bishkek

Upon arrival in the Kyrgyz capital late tonight, we transfer directly to our hotel.
Hyatt Regency Bishkek

Thursday, May 6
Bishkek

After time to rest this morning and have lunch on our own, we meet our tour director and fellow travelers at a welcome briefing. Then we begin our journey along the Silk Road with a panoramic tour of this former Soviet republic's largest city. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.  
Hyatt Regency Bishkek (B,D)

Friday, May 7
Bishkek/Burana

Travel east this morning to the village of Burana, where the 11th-century tower is the sole remaining remnant of the ancient Silk Road city of Balasagun. Enjoy lunch in the home of Kyrgyz family, followed by a yurt-making demonstration in this country where the nomadic lifestyle is still practiced.
Hyatt Regency Bishkek (B,L,D)

Saturday, May 8
Bishkek/Almaty/Kazakhstan

En route to Almaty this morning, we stop at Tamgaly Gorge to see the Tamgaly Petroglyphs that date to the Bronze Age. We enjoy a picnic lunch in this archaeological landscape then continue on to Almaty.
InterContinental Almaty (B,L,D)

Sunday, May 9
Almaty

Almaty has a decided Russian flavor, as we see on this morning’s tour. We begin at Panfilov Park and the adjacent Holy Ascension Cathedral. Next, we visit the Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments, showcasing unique national instruments. Then we head outside the city to ascend Kok Tobe mountain by gondola to enjoy panoramic views of Almaty and the surrounding Tian Shan mountains. Late this afternoon, we attend a falconry demonstration.
InterContinental Almaty  (B,L)

Monday, May 10
Almaty/Tashkent, Uzbekistan

We fly this morning to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Visit the Museum of Applied Arts, housing fine examples of Uzbek crafts, including embroidery, jewelry, ceramics, and carpets. Emjoy free time this afternoon before dinner at a local restaurant.
Hyatt Regency Tashkent (B,L,D)

Tuesday, May 11
Tashkent

Our morning tour begins in the Old City at the Khazrati Imam Complex of mosques and madrassahs. Here we see the world’s oldest surviving Islamic holy book, the 8th-century Uthman Quran, brought to Tashkent by Tamerlane. Next: Chorsu Bazaar, under whose massive green dome locals purchase everything from produce to clothing. Tonight, we attend a performance of ballet, classical music, or opera at the national opera house.
Hyatt Regency Tashkent (B,L)

Wednesday, May 12
Tashkent/Urgench/ Khiva

Very early this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Urgench, then continue on to Khiva. We get a taste of Khiva’s storied past as a major trading post along the Silk Road as we begin exploring the Itchan Kala, the “inner city” whose entirety is a UNESCO site. We start at the double-domed Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum then visit the Islam Khoja minaret, followed by the Juma Mosque. Late afternoon we attend a performance of the Khiva Puppet Theatre.
Hotel Asia Khiva (B,L,D)

Thursday, May 13
Khiva

We begin today at the turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor minaret. We continue on to Kunya Ark citadel; the immense Madrassah of Muhammad Rahim Khan. Tonight, we enjoy a small group highlight as we travel through the desert to a lakeside yurt camp, where we have a sunset cocktail party followed by a traditional barbecue dinner and folkloric performance.
Hotel Asia Khiva (B,D)

Friday, May 14
Khiva/Bukhara

This morning we journey by train through the Kyzylkum Desert to Bukhara. Upon arrival, we visit the Chor Minor madrassah, with its four minarets. This evening we dine at Akbar House, the preserved home of a 19th-century Jewish merchant.
Hotel Minorai Kalon (B,L,D)

Saturday, May 15
Bukhara

Today begins with a walking tour of the 16th-century Lyab-i Hauz religious complex. We continue to the domed Taki-Telpak Furushon bazaar known for its headgear then on to a bazaar where we watch silk weavers at work. Next, we return to the Old Jewish Quarter to visit the home of a Sufi miniaturist, where we learn about his craft and enjoy a traditional lunch of plov – lamb and rice. Touring continues at the Poi Kalyan religious complex, the ChashmaAyub Mausoleum, and the massive 5th-century earthen Ark of Bukhara Fortress.
Hotel Minorai Kalon (B,L)

Sunday, May 16
Bukhara/Gijduvan/ Samarkand

This morning we visit the Memorial Complex of Naqshband, burial site of the founder of the world’s largest order of Sufi Muslims. Next: the Narzullaev Ceramics Workshop, where potters have used traditional methods for more than a century. We then board the train for Samarkand, a legendary stop on the Silk Road. Tonight, we get our first glimpse of Samarkand’s vast Registan.
Hotel Grand Samarkand Superior (B,L,D)

Monday, May 17
Samarkand

Our touring today begins at Registan Square, where we join in a calligraphy workshop. We continue to 15thcentury Bibi-Khanym mosque, and Siyob Bazaar, the city’s largest market. This afternoon we visit a historic winery for a tour and tasting.
Hotel Grand Samarkand Superior (B,L)

Tuesday, May 18
Samarkand

Our discovery of this crossroads of culture continues today at the Afrasiyab Museum, 15th-century Ulugh Beg Observatory, and the Meros Paper Mill. We join a local family in their home for lunch then explore the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis and temple complex. This evening, we visit the Gur Emir Mausoleum, Tamarlane’s resting place, before dinner at a local restaurant.
Hotel Grand Samarkand Superior (B,L,D)

Wednesday, May 19
Samarkand/ Tashkent

We return today to the Uzbek capital, passing through Jilanuti Pass, the “Gates of Tamerlane” passage between the Nuratin and Turkestan hills. After time for lunch on our own, we visit the studio of renowned ceramicist Akbar Rakhimov. Tonight, we toast our adventure along the Silk Road at a farewell dinner.
Hyatt Regency Tashkent (B,D)

Thursday, May 20
Depart for U.S.

Very early this morning we depart for the airport for our flights home.  

Map

Departing from:
San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle  $7,094
Boston, New York, Washington, DC  $6,794
Denver, Portland (OR), Seattle  $7,394

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $599, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Land Only: $5,695 (transfers not included)

Single Room Supplement: $1,195

Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class - $4,795 per person (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above. 

Included in Tour Price
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary; 14 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels; 36 meals: 15 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lectures; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Not Included in Tour Price
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only Tour package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities $10-$15 per traveler, per day); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

What to Expect

This is a moderately active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. There is a considerable amount of walking on uneven terrain and at sites of ancient ruins.  You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.  For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:

  • Walk on average 2-3 miles a day in cities and towns during full days of touring.
  • Walk on cobblestone, gravel and pavement.  Some walking excursions require good balance as you negotiate stairs and uneven pavement. 
  • Stand for up to approximately 2 hours at a time each day.
  • Walk up and down stairs without handrails, without the assistance of another person.
  • Get on and off motor coaches on your own.

 

Learn from our expert guide throughout the trip. Hear from guest speakers on a variety of topics along the way.

Reservations
To confirm your place, a deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of reservation and is payable by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or check. Deposits on this trip are fully refundable until 95 days prior to departure.

Final Payment
Due no later than 95 days prior to departure.

Cancellations, Refunds & Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:

  • Cancel 95 days or more before departure: full refund
  • Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
  • Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
    Cancel 11-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
  • Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund

If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation, you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Insurance
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed on the Travel Insurance Services website.

Eligibility
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.

Responsibility
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.

Health and Medical Issues 
We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motor coaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that many of our tour itineraries, for reasons beyond our control, do not accommodate wheelchairs.  Please call or e-mail us to inquire and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.  We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown, and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct con­nection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes to tour dates.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
The well-being of our guests and staff members on tour will continue to be our highest priorities. To maintain a healthy environment for travel, we will be establishing and adhering to a detailed set of health and safety protocols for all facets of your tour. We are committed to following the guidelines of the State Department, CDC, WHO, and authorities of respective countries regarding travel to a particular destination. Detailed protocols for this tour, based on conditions at the time, will be provided approximately 90 days prior to departure.

Registration
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. CST #2077973-40