Explore the fabled Silk Road as you journey through Central Asia’s Five ’Stans: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

Starting at: $7,495 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Shah i Zinda, Samarkand, Uzbekistan  The Sher Dor Madrassah, Registan Square Ensemble, Samarkand, Uzbekistan  Cupola of Bibi Khanum Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan  Facade detail of the Sher Dor Madrassah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan  Dried fruit and spices at Siab Bazaar near Bibi-Khanum, Samarkand, Uzbekistan  Statue of Magtymguly, Independence Monument, Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan  The Mausoleum of Turkmenbashi, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan  Vendor selling traditional bread at Panjshanbe Bazaar, Khujand, Tajikistan  Zenkov Cathedral (detail), Almaty, Kazakhstan  Zenkov Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Cupola of the Sher Dor Madrassah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Silk Road: A Journey to Central Asia

Featuring the Five “Stans” of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan

16 days from $7,495

Explore the fabled Silk Road as you journey through Central Asia’s Five ’Stans: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Our trip to the Five Stans with Smithsonian Journeys was extraordinary. Exploring the Silk Road fulfilled a lifelong dream—particularly Samarkand with some of the most magnificent Islamic architecture on the planet.

- Laura, G.

Our trip to the Silk Road cities of days of yore was a fascinating journey into the past. Ancient cities like Bukhara and Samarkand took on a modern cast after our fabulous Smithsonian trip there.

- Adrienne D.

Central Asia with Smithsonian Journeys was an eye-opening experience to a little-known part of the world. One of the most memorable trips I have ever taken.

- Janice S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Hotel Oguzkent

Ashkabad, Turkmenistan

Elegant yet traditional, the Oguzkent Hotel is situated in Ashkabad's city center, across from Neutrality Park.  Designed for comfort and convenience, rooms come with a minibar, safe, air conditioning and WiFi.  Three restaurants, a spa and mall are also located within the hotel. 

Number of nights: 2

Asia Hotel Khiva

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Located just outside of Ichon Qala and a two-minute walk from the city wall, Hotel Asia Khiva offers a beautiful lobby, a restaurant with its own bakery, bar, conference hall, Internet, pool and sauna.  All rooms have air-conditioning, satellite TV, phone and minibar.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Modarixon (October 2018 Departure)

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Located in the Old Town, the modern Modarixon Hotel features a spacious reception hall and a restaurant serving a buffet breakfast. Rooms include air conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, complimentary WiFi and hairdryer.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Sasha & Son

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

This charming property is a boutique hotel decorated in the national style. Fashioned from several old Jewish merchant houses, it contains high ceilings, exposed beams, and beautifully decorated niches.  All rooms have private toilet and shower/bathing facilities, and are air-conditioned with satellite TV, WiFi and minibar.  The rooms surround a nice gardened courtyard.

Number of nights: 2

Emir Han

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Located only a mile from Samarkand's historic center, the Emir Han hotel features two restaurants, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a Finnish sauna and a Turkish bath. Rooms come furnished with a flat-screen satellite TV, minibar, in-room safe, air-conditioning, and complimentary WiFi.

Number of nights: 2

Hotel Sugd

Khujand, Tajikistan

The modern and comfortable Sugd Hotel is located about a 15-minute walk from the city center.  A lobby bar, shop and Internet access can be found in the public spaces, and rooms include TV, minifridge and hair dryer.

Number of nights: 1

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Located in the heart of the city, the updated Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace re-opened in 2013.  The elegant hotel features two restaurants, one of them on the rooftop, serving regional and international cuisine.  A piano bar, fitness center, outdoor pool, sauna and spa services round out the amenities.  Rooms include deluxe beds, air conditioning, WiFi, satellite TV, minibar and hairdryer.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Plaza Bishkek

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Located in the city center within walking distance of the main square, the four star Plaza Hotel features a gourmet restaurant and bar, as well as a fitness center with lap pool and sauna. Rooms include satellite TV, minifridge, in-room safe, WiFi and coffeemaker.

Number of nights: 2

InterContinental Almaty Hotel

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Located in downtown Almaty, the five-star Intercontinental is beautifully appointed with a grand atrium entryway.  Rooms have a minibar, air conditioning and satellite TV.  Multiple restaurants on the property serve everything from Chinese to Turkish cuisine and the French-inspired Belvedere Grill with its rooftop-dining terrace is known as one of the best restaurants in the city.  A Turkish bath is available at the onsite spa along with an indoor pool, tennis courts and golf courses.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Moderate / Active


Expectations: Longer trip featuring an exotic and sometimes challenging destination, with multiple hotel changes, two internal flights, and long coach rides (from three to eight hours). (Coaches are all modern and comfortable but do not provide a restroom.) This tour features a fast pace, long days of touring with daily activity of five to eight hours on most days, with extended walking of generally two to three miles. Walking entails sometimes difficult terrain (uneven surfaces, uneven steps in older buildings, city hills, steep staircases without handrails, little access to elevators even in some hotels), walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited, and navigating through crowds. Road conditions may vary from smooth highways to bumpy asphalt roads with potholes. Overland border crossings may require crossing up to half a mile on foot while carrying your own hand luggage. This tour entails altitudes up to 6,000 feet, which may cause some travelers additional effort. Every effort is made for comfort during this trip, however flexibility, a sense of humor, and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Our trip to the Five Stans with Smithsonian Journeys was extraordinary. Exploring the Silk Road fulfilled a lifelong dream—particularly Samarkand with some of the most magnificent Islamic architecture on the planet.

- Laura, G.

Our trip to the Silk Road cities of days of yore was a fascinating journey into the past. Ancient cities like Bukhara and Samarkand took on a modern cast after our fabulous Smithsonian trip there.

- Adrienne D.

Central Asia with Smithsonian Journeys was an eye-opening experience to a little-known part of the world. One of the most memorable trips I have ever taken.

- Janice S.
Reading List
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (Kodansha Globe)
By: Peter Hopkirk
THE GREATGAME: THE EPIC STORY BEHIND TODAY’S HEADLINESPeter Hopkirk’s spellbinding account of the great imperial struggle for supremacy in Central Asoa has been hailed as essential reading with that era’s legacy playing itself out today.The Great Game between Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia was fought across desolate terrain from the Caucasus to China, over the lonely passes of the Parmirs and Karakorams, in the blazing Kerman and Helmund deserts, and through the caravan towns of the old Silk Road—both powers scrambling to control access to the riches of India and the East. When play first began, the frontiers of Russia and British India lay 2000 miles apart; by the end, this distance had shrunk to twenty miles at some points. Now, in the vacuum left by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there is once again talk of Russian soldiers "dipping their toes in the Indian Ocean."The Washington Post has said that "every story Peter Hopkirk touches is totally engrossing." In this gripping narrative he recounts a breathtaking tale of espionage and treachery through the actual experiences of its colorful characters. Based on meticulous scholarship and on-the-spot research, this is the history at the core of today’s geopolitics.
The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron (2008-07-01)
By: Colin Thubron
The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia
By: Frances Wood
The Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes stretching across Central Asia to Europe, evokes exotic images of camel trains laden with bales of fine Chinese silk, spices, and perfume, of desert oases surrounded by snow-capped mountains, of bustling markets thronging with travellers buying and selling grapes, coriander, Baltic amber, and Mediterranean coral. Along this route, silks were sent from China to ancient Rome; princesses were dispatched in marriage alliances across the deserts; bandits and thieves launched attacks throughout history. Covering more than 5,000 years, this book, lavishly illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and paintings from the collections of the British Library and other museums worldwide, presents an overall picture of the history and cultures of the Silk Road. It also contains many previously unpublished photographs by the great explorers Stein, Hedin, and Mannerheim. More than just a trade route, the Silk Road witnessed the movement of cultural influences. Frances Wood traces the story of the civilizations and ideas that flourished and moved along its vast geographical expanse. Indian Buddhism was carried into China on the Silk Road, initiating a long history of pilgrimages along the lonely desert routes; Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, and Islam also made their way eastwards along its route. The nineteenth century saw a new interest in Central Asia and the Silk Road, as Russia and Britain vied for power on the frontiers of Afghanistan. A new breed of explorer, part archaeologist, part cartographer, part spy, was seen on the Silk Road, while some of the ancient cities, long buried in sand-blown dunes, began to give up their secrets. This book brings the history of the Silk Road alive--from its beginnings to the present day, revealing a rich history still in the making.
Lonely Planet Central Asia (Travel Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, Stephen Lioy, Anna Kaminski, Bradley Mayhew, Jenny Walker
Lonely Planet: The world’s number one travel guide publisher* Lonely Planet Central Asia is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Enjoy booming Almaty’s cafes, clubs and shops, wind through rugged mountains past ancient tombs, hot springs, and remote Kyrgyz yurt camps on Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway; and wonder at the architecture in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand – all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of central Asia and begin your journey now! Inside Lonely Planet’s Central Asia: Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights provide a richer, more rewarding travel experience - covering history, art, literature, music, architecture, landscapes, wildlife, Islam in Central Asia, the Silk Road, Central Asia today Covers Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and more The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Central Asia is our most comprehensive guide to the region, and is perfect for discovering both popular and offbeat sights. Travelling further afield? Check out Lonely Planet’s Mongolia, China and Iran guides for a comprehensive look at all those countries have to offer. About Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a leading travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand, providing both inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveller since 1973. Over the past four decades, we’ve printed over 145 million guidebooks and grown a dedicated, passionate global community of travellers. You’ll also find our content online, and in mobile apps, video, 14 languages, nine international magazines, armchair and lifestyle books, ebooks, and more. TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category ‘Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.’ – New York Times ‘Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.’ – Fairfax Media (Australia) *Source: Nielsen BookScan: Australia, UK, USA, 5/2016-4/2017
Central Asia Map (2016) (English, French and German Edition)
By: Nelles
Folded travel map for Central Asia, contained inside a hardbound paper, up to date with all roads and city informations available at the time of publication.
The Ancient Silk Road: An Illustrated Map Featuring the ancient network of routes between China and Europe
By: Jonathan Tucker, Antonia Tozer
Made famous in the West by the Venetian adventurer Marco Polo, the ancient Silk Road spanned one-quarter of the circumference of the Earth. The network developed over many centuries, and as trading patterns shifted, cities rose and fell in importance. In its heyday it stretched from Luoyang and Xi'an in China, through Central Asia to Istanbul and Rome. For this 2nd Edition, a number of important trade routes dating to more recent centuries are shown, with four detailed maps of the Silk Road’s arteries supplemented by 33 colour photographs and historical notes on key places and notable people.
Insight Guides Silk Road
By: Insight Guides
Insight Guide The Silk Road is the complete illustrated guide to one of the world's ultimate travel adventures. Passing right through the heart of Asia, this ancient trade route traverses a quarter of the globe from the heart of China to the Mediterranean via a vast, inhospitable expanse of mountains and desert. The guide covers all the sights along the way across 13 countries and 6 time zones, with authoritative chapters on the Silk Road's history and culture to put it all into context. Inside Insight Guide The Silk Road:A fully-overhauled major new edition by our expert Silk Road author.Stunning, specially-commissioned photography that brings the countries along this evocative route to life. Highlights of the Silk Road's top attractions, including the great city of Isfahan, the ancient splendor of Persepolis and China's Terracotta Army in our Best of the Silk Road.Descriptive country-by-country accounts cover the whole route from China to Turkey by way of the 'Stans of Central Asia and the geopolitical nerve centres of the Middle East.Features detail silk production, the ancient treasures that have been discovered along the route, and the colourful bazaars - a reminder of the Silk Road caravanserais of the distant past.Detailed, high-quality maps throughout will help you get around and travel tips give you all the essential information for planning the trip of a lifetime.About Insight Guides: Insight Guides has over 40 years' experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides. We produce around 400 full-colour print guide books and maps as well as picture-packed eBooks to meet different travellers' needs. Insight Guides' unique combination of beautiful travel photography and focus on history and culture together create a unique visual reference and planning tool to inspire your next adventure.'Insight Guides has spawned many imitators but is still the best of its type.' - Wanderlust Magazine
Central Asia: Lonely Planet Phrasebook
By: Justin Jon Rudelson, Lonely Planet Phrasebooks
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisherChit-chat your way along the famous Silk Road with this broad-ranging phrasebook. And once you've made an effort to speak any of the native Central Asian languages with the locals, you won't need to look up the translation for the word 'hospitality'. Covers Uyghur, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Pashto, Tajik and more. Covers Uyghur, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Pashto, Tajik and more Individual guides to pronunciation and basic phrases Fail-safe small talk Practicalities - how to book a room or find a doctor Lonely Planet gets you to the heart of a place. Our job is to make amazing travel experiences happen. We visit the places we write about each and every edition. We never take freebies for positive coverage, so you can always rely on us to tell it like it is.Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, and Justin Jon Rudelson.About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)
Tajikistan and the High Pamirs: A Companion and Guide (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)
By: Robert Middleton, Huw Thomas
Fringed by the two great rivers of Central Asia, the Oxus and the Jaxartes, Tajikistan can boast not only of breathtaking mountain scenery, but also of 3,000 years of history. The land where Alexander the Great fought desperately against the Scythian n
Kazakhstan: Nomadic Routes from Caspian to Altai (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)
By: Dagmar Schreiber
A country larger than Western Europe, Kazakhstan’s vast expanse encompasses the Great Steppe, across which Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes galloped; the heights of the Tien Shan in the south, through whose foothills Silk Road travelers journeyed; the exq
Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus
By: Caroline Eden, Eleanor Ford
Over hundreds of years, various ethnic groups have passed through this city, sharing and influencing each other's cuisine and leaving their culinary stamp. Samarkand is a love letter to Central Asia and the Caucasus, containing travel essays, beautiful photography and recipes that are little known in the West that have been expertly adapted for the home cook. There is an introduction to the region (explaining the ethnic groups – Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russian, Turkis, Koryo-Saram, Jewish, Caucasus, Afghan) with a useful pantry of essential ingredients, followed by an array of delicious dishes. These include Lamb Kebabs with Cinnamon, Cloves & Hot Hummus, Pumpkin Stuffed with Jeweled Rice, Pomegranate & Vodka Sorbet and the all-important breads of the region – non, flatbreads and pides.
Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present
By: Christopher I. Beckwith
The first complete history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to the present day, Empires of the Silk Road represents a fundamental rethinking of the origins, history, and significance of this major world region. Christopher Beckwith describes the rise and fall of the great Central Eurasian empires, including those of the Scythians, Attila the Hun, the Turks and Tibetans, and Genghis Khan and the Mongols. In addition, he explains why the heartland of Central Eurasia led the world economically, scientifically, and artistically for many centuries despite invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, and others. In retelling the story of the Old World from the perspective of Central Eurasia, Beckwith provides a new understanding of the internal and external dynamics of the Central Eurasian states and shows how their people repeatedly revolutionized Eurasian civilization. Beckwith recounts the Indo-Europeans' migration out of Central Eurasia, their mixture with local peoples, and the resulting development of the Graeco-Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations; he details the basis for the thriving economy of premodern Central Eurasia, the economy's disintegration following the region's partition by the Chinese and Russians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the damaging of Central Eurasian culture by Modernism; and he discusses the significance for world history of the partial reemergence of Central Eurasian nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Empires of the Silk Road places Central Eurasia within a world historical framework and demonstrates why the region is central to understanding the history of civilization.
Everyday Life in Central Asia: Past and Present
By: Jefferey Frank Sahadeo, Russell Zanca
For its citizens, contemporary Central Asia is a land of great promise and peril. While the end of Soviet rule has opened new opportunities for social mobility and cultural expression, political and economic dynamics have also imposed severe hardships. In this lively volume, contributors from a variety of disciplines examine how ordinary Central Asians lead their lives and navigate shifting historical and political trends. Provocative stories of Turkmen nomads, Afghan villagers, Kazakh scientists, Kyrgyz border guards, a Tajik strongman, guardians of religious shrines in Uzbekistan, and other narratives illuminate important issues of gender, religion, power, culture, and wealth. A vibrant and dynamic world of life in urban neighborhoods and small villages, at weddings and celebrations, at classroom tables, and around dinner tables emerges from this introduction to a geopolitically strategic and culturally fascinating region.
Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane
By: S. Frederick Starr
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia's medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds--remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia--drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China. Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth's diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world's greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America--five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia. Lost Enlightenment chronicles this forgotten age of achievement, seeks to explain its rise, and explores the competing theories about the cause of its eventual demise. Informed by the latest scholarship yet written in a lively and accessible style, this is a book that will surprise general readers and specialists alike.
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
By: Peter Frankopan
Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next. From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts.  Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century—this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.
The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
By: James A. Millward
The phrase "silk road" evokes vivid scenes of merchants leading camel caravans across vast stretches to trade exotic goods in glittering Oriental bazaars, of pilgrims braving bandits and frozen mountain passes to spread their faith across Asia. Looking at the reality behind these images, this Very Short Introduction illuminates the historical background against which the silk road flourished, shedding light on the importance of old-world cultural exchange to Eurasian and world history. On the one hand, historian James A. Millward treats the silk road broadly, to stand in for the cross-cultural communication between peoples across the Eurasian continent since at least the Neolithic era. On the other, he highlights specific examples of goods and ideas exchanged between the Mediterranean, Persia, India, and China, along with the significance of these exchanges. While including silks, spices, and travelers' tales of colorful locales, the book explains the dynamics of Central Eurasian history that promoted Silk Road interactions--especially the role of nomad empires--highlighting the importance of the biological, technological, artistic, intellectual, and religious interchanges across the continent. Millward shows that these exchanges had a profound effect on the old world that was akin to, if not on the scale of, modern globalization. He also disputes the idea that the silk road declined after the collapse of the Mongol empire or the opening of direct sea routes from Europe to Asia, showing how silk road phenomena continued through the early modern and modern expansion of the Russian and Chinese states across Central Asia.Millward concludes that the idea of the silk road has remained powerful, not only as a popular name for boutiques and restaurants, but also in modern politics and diplomacy, such as U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's "Silk Road Initiative" for India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane (Canto original series)
By: Beatrice Forbes Manz
This is the first serious study of Tamerlane, the great nomad conqueror who rose to power in 1370 on the ruins of the Mongol Empire and led his armies on campaigns of unprecedented scope, ranging from Moscow to Delhi. As the last nomad ruler to unite the steppe regions of Eurasia, Tamerlane marks the transition from the era of nomad conquest and rule to the modern ascendency of the settled world.
Traditional Textiles of Central Asia
By: Janet Harvey
“A valuable source of information and an inspiration for anyone interested in the decorative power of textiles.”―Antiques and the Arts Weekly No region has a textile tradition more vivid and romantic than that of Central Asia. This book provides an illustrated survey of these textiles, displaying in more than 200 color plates the opulent velvets, exquisite embroideries, magnificent felts, and fine cotton weaves produced throughout the area. Janet Harvey describes the decorative motifs, materials, dyes, and looms; the types of objects made and the diverse regional and tribal variations; clothes and costumes; and lavish embroideries and embellishments. A valuable source of information for designers and students, collectors and travelers, the book includes a glossary, a bibliography, and a list of collections. 212 color, 52 b&w illustrations
In Xanadu: A Quest
By: William Dalrymple
William Dalrymple’s award-winning first book: his classic, fiercely intelligent and wonderfully entertaining account of his journey across Marco Polo’s 700-year-old route from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the summer palace of Kubla Khan.   At the age of twenty-two, Dalrymple left his college in Cambridge to travel to the ruins of Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure dome in Xanadu. As he and his companions travel across the width of Asia—crossing through Acre, Aleppo, Tabriz, Tashkurgan, and other mysterious and sometimes hellish places—they encounter dusty, forgotten roads, unexpected hospitality, and difficult challenges. Stylish, witty, and knowledgeable about everything from the dreaded order of Assassins to the hidden origins of the Three Magi, this is travel writing at its best.
Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
By: Raffael Ayé, Manuel Schweizer, Tobias Roth
Central Asia--a vast and remote area of steppe, semi-desert, and mountains separating Europe from eastern Asia--is home to a diversity of birds. Birds of Central Asia is the first-ever field guide to the avian population of this fascinating part of the world. From ground jays, larks, and raptors to warblers, nuthatches, and snowfinches, this comprehensive guide covers 618 species--including all residents, migrants, and vagrants--and 143 superb plates depict every species and many distinct plumages and races. This portable book contains important introductory sections on the land and its birds, and up-to-date color maps. The concise, authoritative text on facing pages highlights key identification features, such as status, voice, and habitat. Birds of Central Asia is indispensable for anyone interested in the birds of this remarkable and little-known region.First-ever field guide to the birds of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan Covers 618 species, including all residents, migrants, and vagrants 143 superb plates depict every species and many distinct plumages and races Authoritative text on facing pages highlights key identification features, including status, voice, and habitat Up-to-date color maps for every species Important introductory sections introduce the land and its birds
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. (U.S. Residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all travelers whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s)
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • International airfare between the U.S. and the tour start and end cities; air taxes or fuel surcharges; pre- or post-tour services; visa or passport fees; medical and trip cancellation/ interruption insurance; evacuation costs; food or beverages not included in group meals; baggage handling at airports; items of personal nature such as laundry, alcohol, additional beverages with included meals, telephone expenses, excess baggage fees, baggage handling at airports and railway stations, photo/video expenses inside museums (where allowed); other items not expressly listed as included.  

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  
 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

Payments

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any traveler who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of travelers. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a traveler’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. 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 nonrefundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel 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 that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan, through Travel Guard, with the price of your tour. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Cultural Travel Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Accommodations

Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; however the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged. 

Children

All tours, except family programs, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel. Please note that the tour operator can assist you in making post-tour arrangements only. We regret that we are unable to help with pre-tour arrangements.

Photography
Participants on tour may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the tour manager at the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive Tour Bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list  

RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Read Carefully: Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer
Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time, when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. If your tour does not include airfare, your Tour Bulletins will provide information about when participants are recommended to purchase airline tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to/from the tour departure city if a tour is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour brochure(s). The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.

By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.