2025 Exotic Silk Road

A Once in a Lifetime in the Footsteps of Marco Polo

Exotic Silk Road

A Once in a Lifetime in the Footsteps of Marco Polo 19 day train tour - September 15, 2025

Jim and Carol Tyndall, along with Jamie, their daughter (owners of Fun For Less Tours), were able to experience this fantastic part of the world on a private train. At the time, the train was not visiting Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan. Knowing the train missed the countries of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, they went in early to explore the areas the train missed. Even though they had all traveled to over a hundred countries, they knew almost nothing about Central Asia and its history of the Silk Road. To say they were overwhelmed with the ancient beauty and the people – would be an understatement. To Jim, Carol and Jamie it shot right up near the top of all the places they have ever visited. After the trip, they agreed to charter the whole train for our groups – BUT, they needed to redesign the train’s itinerary and needed to add the countries of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. A train is not like a bus that you can just take a different road, pull over almost anywhere and stop or park. Getting permission to travel by rail, wanting to stop and park your train like a bus is not easy. It took close to a year of working with all of the governments and local train companies to get permission to change our itinerary and add the additional two Stans – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, The only reason this is possible, is because we are chartering the whole train, changing the itinerary, and adding additional nights on the train.

A few things to consider:

  • The huge price savings from our chartering the whole train. As far as we know, no one has ever chartered the entire private train through the Silk Road in Central Asia. Chartering the whole train created huge savings. Our price on the train is $1,300 per person less than what the train company charges when it is not a Charter AND they do not include all 4 countries and our improved itinerary! That is only reserved for our charters.
  • NO LONG DRIVES! On Jim and Carol’s trip they met many people traveling through the Silk Road by bus. When they asked how they liked their tour, everyone said they loved the sites, and the hotels, but the long drives were exhausting and grueling! They spent ½ of their time or more doing long drives. There were many days of driving that were 6 hours or more before they reached the next area to tour. Then when they arrived, they were given less time than they would have liked to see the sights. WE HAVE NO LONG DRIVES! We will travel by train at night and then tour during the day. Some of the bus travelers they met said they had looked at the train but it only visited 2 of the Stan countries. They wanted all 4, so they went by bus. You will get all 4 Stans without any long drives, plus you will have plenty of time to enjoy the many beautiful sites. Please, Please, Please listen to us. This is the BEST designed tour of the Silk Road, the BEST in hotels, the BEST deluxe train – All at the BEST price you will ever see!! We have chartered the whole train for this tour.

If you want to experience one of the most unique and exotic tours in the world, while traveling on a luxury train – this needs to jump to the top of your list. No other tour in the world can deliver what this tour does.

Important Information

Central Asia (The Heart of the Silk Road)
The Silk Road brought riches to Central Asia, which was used to create some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The best way to describe Central Asia’s Architecture is Unique, Majestic and Breathtakingly Beautiful.
In Samarkand alone, there were billions upon billions of tiles used to create some of the most beautiful structures in the world – found on the previous two pages is one example of work that dates back to the 1400’s. Central Asia’s Architecture is not only beautiful on the outside, it is also unique and beautiful on the inside!!

Package Price Includes:

Our Fantastic 19-day Silk Road Package Price Includes:

  • Private Chartered Silk Road Train with sleeping quarters, bathrooms and showers in every train car.
  • No long drives this is the best way to experience the Silk Road.
  • Deluxe Hotels: We have greatly improved the tour by periodically parking the train and overnighting in a deluxe hotel. Everything stays on the train, you just take an overnight bag to your hotel. The combination of train and hotels has been uniquely designed to give the best experience possible that others do not offer.
  • Luxury and Deluxe Hotels:
    • 3 nights in a 5-star Luxury Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.
    • 1 night 4-star Deluxe hotel in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
    • 1 night best possible hotel in the Ancient City of Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
    • 2 nights 4-star deluxe hotel in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
    • 2 night 5-star Luxury hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
  • Upgraded to the Aladdin Cabin. They have train cars with bunk beds AND train cars with two lower beds, no shower, and one bathroom. The Aladdin train cars we picked, have two lower beds, two bathrooms and a shower in each train car.
  • Most days, you will have Breakfast and Dinner, along with some Lunches.
  • Train taxes and fees.
  • All tours from the Private Train.
  • Special experienced train staff that will accompany us on the train and with us on all tours off the train.
  • All touring, guides, entrance fees in Central Asia.
  • Several shows and cultural performances along the way.
  • Special Guest Educator: Jeff Lawson.
  • Fun For Less Tour Staff throughout the whole trip.
  • All transfers, if you booked our group airfare or your flight arrives on or before and departs on or after our group flights.
  • Individual headset receivers.
  • NOT included in the 19-day package price:
    • Airfare into Istanbul and home from Tashkent.
    • Airfare from Istanbul to Almaty, Kazakhstan.
  • Visas, tips, and personal expenses are not included.

*Train Cabin Categories: The train offered us less expensive train cars that had two bunkbeds, one shared toilet per train car AND no shower facilities – we did not charter any of these train cars. We did charter train cars that included the Aladdin upgraded larger cabins with two lower beds. The Aladdin Train Cars also have two shared toilets per train car AND one large shower area that can be reserved by those staying in that train car. We have also arranged a couple of train cars that have large cabins with a private attached bathroom that includes a toilet, sink and shower with each cabin. They are available for an upgrade price.

Package Price: $9,795*

**Per person cash discount price, based on double occupancy. Does not include Domestic or International airfare, visas and tips.

Note: It is only a partial list as we are still working on making sure we will see what is most important. Like all of our tours, the itinerary is subject to change as we find ways of improving the itinerary!

Day 1: September 15: Fly to Istanbul
Fly from the U.S. to Istanbul, Turkey.

Day 2: September 16:  Istanbul
Upon arrival into Istanbul, transfer to your hotel.  (Transfers are included if you booked our group airfare or your flight arrives on or before and departs on or after our group flights.)

Day 3: September 17:  Istanbul  
Today’s tour will include the magnificent Hagia Sofia, Hippodrome, and the stadium of ancient Byzantium, where an Egyptian obelisk and bronze sculpture of the entwined serpents from Delphi still survive. We then continue on to the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. In the afternoon, we will visit the amazing Topkapi Palace, which, from the 15th to the 19th Century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Overnight Istanbul. (B)

Day 4: September 18: Istanbul
We will start the day with a boat ride on the Bosporus, the water that separates Asia from Europe. Istanbul is both in Asia and Europe. This afternoon we will spend time shopping and we do mean shopping.  The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest in the world, with 4,000 shops.  Overnight Istanbul. (B)

Day 5: September 19: Istanbul – Almaty, Kazakhstan  
This morning we will take the approximate 6 hour flight from Istanbul to Almaty.  With a 3 hour time change, we will be arriving late afternoon.  Transfer to your Almaty Hotel.  Overnight Almaty.  (B) (This flight is NOT included in the price of the trip.  We will know the cost around 5 months prior to departure.)  

Day 6: September 20: Almaty “Father of Apples”  
Mid-morning, we will start our tour with a trip to Medeo, where the highest ice-skating rink in the world is located. From here, you take the cable car to a ski resort at 7,300 feet and continue to the Talgar peak at over 10,000 feet. You enjoy the crisp air and the breathtaking view before ending the day with a welcome dinner.  Overnight Almaty. (BD)

Day 7: September 21: Almaty – Board Train
Your Almaty city tour will include the Russian Orthodox wooden cathedral, the wedding palace, the circus and the central mosque (from the outside) along with lunch at the local yurt restaurant. In the afternoon, your journey with the special train begins. A welcome drink and a short lecture await you on board. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 8: September 22:  Issyk Kul Lake (Kyrgyzstan)
This morning, you will reach the breathtaking Issyk Kul Lake. A visit to the Center of Nomadic Culture will bring you closer before you have time for a walk, or perhaps a small swim in the Issyk Kul. After a boat trip on the Issyk Kul, your train makes its way to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 9: September 23: Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
After breakfast on board, you will reach the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. On tour, you will discover their numerous sights. With about 100m² of green space per inhabitant, Bishkek is one of the greenest cities in the world! And, of course, the Ala-Archa National Park is also part of the program. You spend the night in a comfortable hotel in Bishkek. Overnight Bishkek. (BLD)

Day 10: September 24: Bishkek – Train Day   
Today will be a train day. After breakfast at your hotel, your train will spend the full day traveling through the countryside into the country of Uzbekistan.  Enjoy a relaxing day of lectures and enjoy the scenery as we travel to Samarkand.  Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 11: September 25:   Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
Today, you will experience the sights of this renowned and historic site, which was known under the rule of Timur as the most beautiful and important city in the world: the burial town of Shah-i-Zinda (“The Living King”), the excavation sites of Afrasiyab (with museum tour) and Registan Square were certainly the most impressive construction ensemble in Central Asia. Registan Square is surrounded by three mighty madrasas; it is estimated that there are over one billion tiles that make up the three mighty madrasas.  The huge and magnificent portals are impressive in terms of decoration and color. In the background, the domes of the mosques glitter like in the Middle Eastern fairy tale. In 1917, the women of Uzbekistan burned their face veils at this historic site and embarked on a new era. Here in Samarkand you will spend the next two nights in a mid-range hotel. Overnight in a Hotel in Samarkand. (BLD)

Day 12: September 26: Samarkand
Today, you will visit a silk carpet manufactory and an Uzbek artisan family that makes paper from mulberry tree bark, you will see the Ulugh Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque. The palace-like Gur-i-Amir mausoleum complex can be visited from the inside. It houses the tomb of Timur, who made his capital a paradise as a famous builder, but also went down in history as a feared conqueror. Overnight Samarkand.  (BLD)

Day 13: September 27:  Time Travel
After breakfast, your special train will continue on its way. Today, you will see a folklore show of the unique tradition of this region that seems to have fallen out of time. Afterwards you will go to Shahrisabz in the birthplace of Timur. In the evening, you travel with your special train to Dushanbe. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 14: September 28:  Dushanbe, Tajikistan
After arriving in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in the morning, you will discover numerous sights on a tour. Among the many parks in the city, a visit to Rudaki Park is a great way to relax in the countryside. In the late afternoon you will return to your special train and head towards Bukhara. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 15: September 29:  Noble Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara has about one thousand monuments that recall the glory days of the Great Silk Road. The whole area is a Unesco World Heritage site.  In the old town you can see the almost 50 m high Kalyan minaret and the Lab-i Hauz ensemble at the pond. In front of the Nasreddin monument listen to some of his stories and legends. In the courtyard of a madrasa, you will experience a folklore show with music, local dances and a presentation of colorful national costumes. Overnight at a mid-range hotel in Bukhara. (BLD)

Day 16: September 30: Bukhara
Today, you will explore Bukhara during a full-day tour. The entire city seems like a large, unique, and authentic architectural museum that has retained its old Middle Eastern countenance. In the morning we will take you to the magnificent Mir-i-Arab and the most valuable building in Central Asia, the Samanid Mausoleum. Then take a tour through the mighty fortress of Ark, a city in the city that was once the seat of government of the rulers of Bukhara. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 17: October 1: Khiva, Uzbekistan – Fairy Tale from 1001 Nights
Today, you will visit the Khiva Oasis, from one of the best-known fairy tales from 1001 Nights. You will stand in front of the mighty city wall of Khiva with its gates and bastions of clay bricks, you will think you’ve been transported to another world: Around the Kalta Minor Minaret, life still pulsates today just as it did in ancient times. During a walking tour you can enjoy all the sights: Palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and madrasas form one of the best-preserved ensembles of medieval Middle Eastern town planning. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 18: October 2:  Tashkent
Early afternoon your special train arrives in Tashkent. Your city tour will include Kukeldash Madrasah, the Kavoj and Amir-Timur monuments, and the typical clay houses. After the goodbye dinner, you will spend the night in a mid-range hotel. Overnight in a Hotel.  (BLD)

Day 19: October 3:  Fly Home
Today, you will fly back to the U.S and home. (Transfers are included if you booked our group airfare or your flight arrives on or before and departs on or after our group flights.)


Our Private Orient Silk Road Train Cabin Choices:

Aladdin Cabin

Aladdin Cabin
The price of the tour includes the Aladdin cabins. Aladdin cabins have two lower beds, plus a small table and storage space. The Aladdin’s do not have a toilet or shower connected to their room. There is a Large Shower compartment down the hall that can be scheduled for use by those in the Aladdin, there is also a western style toilet and sink located down the hall that is available to use when not in use by others.
* The price of the tour includes the Aladdin Cabin Category




Kalif CabinsKalif Cabin
The Kalif Cabin is approximately double the size of the Aladdin Cabins. A train Car holds 8 Aladdin Cabins, plus room for a shared Toilet and one shared Shower per train car – there are no bathrooms attached to the Aladdin Cabins. A train Car holds only 4 Kalif Cabins. Each Kalif Cabin has its own private bathroom, with shower, toilet, and sink. Simply put the Kalif’s are about double the size of the Aladdin, with each Kalif’ having their own private bathroom.
* The Sultan or Kalif Cabins are at an optional increased price