Explore the fabled Silk Road as you journey through Central Asia’s Five ’Stans: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
The Silk Road: A Journey to Central Asia
Featuring the Five “Stans” of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan
16 days from $7,895
Explore the fabled Silk Road as you journey through Central Asia’s Five ’Stans: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
- Bechir R.
A fascinating tour in a fascinating world. Don't miss it.
- Adrienne D.
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.
- Janice S.
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.
- Laura G.
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.
- A Q&A with Expert Ross King
- A Q&A with Expert Cassandra Potts Hannahs
- A Q&A with Expert Grant Nel
- A Q&A with Expert Michelle Thaller
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 Provided With Your Tour
- 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
- 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 Provided With Your Tour
- Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
- Optional travel 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys provides an on-tour insurance plan from Travel Guard. 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.(U.S. Residents only). It also includes
Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER
Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants 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 its designated 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 (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) 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.
Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in 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 materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. 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 including, but not limited to, weather, flooding, and high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, 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.
By Registering For A Smithsonian Journey, The Participant Agrees To The Responsibility Statement And Liability Disclaimer And The Terms And Conditions Herein. Updated April, 2019. ©2019, Smithsonian Institution