Join AdventureWomen in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to deeply explore the Silk Road. Evocative and timeless, the fabled Silk Road cities weave together a tapestry of cultures and civilizations. Answer the call of your inner adventure woman explorer and wander in awe among architectural marvels that speak of conquest and untold prosperity. Thread together the details of daily life in fragrant bakeries and high-energy bazaars, in folk art workshops and village teahouses. Forge special connections with the local people – embroidery artists, fashion designers, archaeologists, and chefs- each offering a silken strand tied to millennia of precious traditions.
Set out for an immersive two-week adventure through the fascinating collage of Central Asia. From legendary Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan to historic Bishkek and the spectacular Chon-Kemin Valley in Kyrgyzstan, journey to the fabled cities that once bustled with caravans seeking respite along the world’s most famous trade route, the Silk Road. Throughout your Central Asia journey, your expert guide offers in-depth insight into its rich history and unique cultural lore. You are also accompanied by an AdventureWomen Ambassador, committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your own unique way!
Fly into the legendary city of Tashkent and celebrate the beginning of a remarkable journey with your AdventureWomen travel companions at the welcome dinner. Explore the labyrinthine streets of the Old City and Khast Imam Square, where elegant, majolica-studded mosques and madrasas echo a legacy of conquests from Alexander the Great to Tamerlane. In a moment of awe, stand before what may be the oldest Koran in the world.
Follow fragrant wafts through the bustling chaos of Chorsu Bazaar to its numerous bread bakeries, then bring your primed appetite to a hands-on culinary master class in Uzbek cuisine. The former director of the famed Savitsky Museum joins you for dinner to share her astounding story of safeguarding some 90,000 pieces of dissident Soviet artworks.
Delve into Tashkent’s multi-media world of art and design, first heading underground to explore its elaborately decorated, themed subway stations. Admire the fashion-forward designs of an Uzbek clothing entrepreneur who reinterprets colorful, centuries-old ikat motifs. Visit a private family pottery studio where ancient ceramics designs are given new life.
Follow the Silk Road to Khiva, once a bustling trader of camels and coffee. Your walking tour of the old walled city is a visual feast of soaring minarets, dun-colored architecture punctuated with turquoise tiles, and forests of filigreed columns adorning the palaces, mosques, and fortresses that reflect its 12th-century heritage. A delightful afternoon visit with Uzbek women offers the chance to explore a truly traditional neighborhood, mahalla.
Travel by train to the tranquil desert oasis of Bukhara, once a Silk Road center of Sephardic Jewry. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens of the Palace of the and Stars and visit the elaborate mausoleum complex of a 14th-century Sufi mystic. A picture-perfect pool in the center of Old Town reflects the surrounding monuments and domed bazaar. Join an archaeologist to explore the city’s original fortress, the massive 2,000-year-old Ark Citadel. Two memorable dinner events – a colorful, contemporary fashion show presented by whirling dancers and an enlightening evening with an architect specializing in historical renovations – showcase the seamless weave of old with new.
Among Central Asia’s extraordinary crafts are the gorgeous textiles called suzani. Visit a silk embroidery co-op and witness the arduous process of creating them, from harvesting the silk cocoons and thread dyeing to the complex design motifs that are an integral part of this ancient art.
Continue your train travels to Samarkand, UNESCO’s “crossroads of cultures” city and the chosen capital of Tamerlane’s empire. Take in the sweeping panorama of scale-defying mosques and madrasas from the city’s elegant Registan Square, and pay homage to Tamerlane himself in his fittingly gold-gilded final resting place. A performance of Uzbek folkloric songs and dances by young schoolchildren is endearing.
Take a beautiful mountain hike, following well-worn shepherd trails to the village of Ohalik where a cheerful cup of tea with local women offers the chance to hear about a time-honored way of life. Back in Samarkand, release your senses (and your camera shutter!) in the animated Siab Bazaar, where traditionally dressed vendors proudly preside over their home-cooked specialties.
Travel next to Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, a friendly post-Soviet center with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Learn about the country’s long road to freedom across a tumultuous 20th century and share a delicious regionally-flavored lunch in the convivial company of local women. Colorful, noisy Osh Bazaar is the perfect place to help each other bargain for a special craft, textile, or traditional goodies.
From Bishkek drive through the lovely Chong Kemin Valley, surrounded by soaring mountains that were once the domain of nomadic tribes, and arrive to warm welcomes in the village of Tarsuu. Gather with local village women for an unforgettable DIY life skills lesson, Kyrgyz style: assemble a birch-lattice yurt; create thick felt, the oldest fabric known to humankind; and help cook favorite specialties for your lunch. This perfect prologue sets the scene for Kyrgyzstan’s joyous and most traditional occasion: a wedding! Keep cameras at the ready for the bedecked bride and groom and all the colorful details that make this a truly unique cultural ritual.
Return to Bishkek for your final evening and farewell dinner in Central Asia. Celebrate your new friendships, the memorable hospitality of the Kazakhstani and Kyrgyz people, and the astonishing breadth of experiences on your very own Silk Road odyssey.
- Follow the Silk Road to legendary cities, oases, and caravan stops in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
- Explore colorful bazaars, architectural monuments, palaces, fortresses, mosques, and madrasas, many of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Enjoy highly personal encounters in local studios with entrepreneurs, artisans, chefs, museum directors, local village women, archaeologists, and the folk artists of suzani embroidery
- Participate in hands-on cooking classes; and learn how to assemble a nomadic yurt
- Attend performances by musicians and dancers, fashion design shows, a children’s folklore ensemble, and witness a traditional Kyrgyz wedding ceremony
What You'll See and Do
- Cooking Class
- Cultural Exploration
- Historical Sites
- UNESCO Site
- Women-To-Women Exchanges