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Journey back to the days of the Great Silk Road with the medieval cities, stunning architecture and turbulent history of Uzbekistan. Begin in modern, cosmopolitan Tashkent and voyage out into the deserts to uncover 2000-year-old fortress cities lost in the sands of time. Stand awestruck, as Genghis Khan once did, in front of Bukhara's Kalon Minaret, gaze upon Samarkand's mighty Registan Ensemble. Join a local family for dinner and learn a few things about making plov and raise a drink while you enjoy the colorful Khiva at sunset from a rooftop.
TashkentXush kelibsiz! Welcome to Uzbekistan. The largest city in Central Asia with a population of over 2 million, Tashkent is a mix of Russian and Uzbek style, an indication of the fact that for many years it was a key city of the USSR. Extravagant mosques, both ancient and new, sit alongside modern highways and Soviet monuments. On arrival at Tashkent Airport, meet your Peregrine representative and transfer to your hotel. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6pm today. If you have time beforehand, take a walk to see some of the contemporary architecture that sets this city apart from many other Silk Road destinations.
TashkentSpend a full day exploring Tashkent on a city tour. A highlight is the Chorsu Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in Central Asia. Wandering through this giant marketplace is a fantastic way to see locals going about their daily lives. Uzbeks are some of the friendliest people in the world and you will find yourself chatting to many locals who are keen to get to know you. Be sure to try some of the fresh produce on offer. After wandering through the bazaar, explore some of the rich cultural history of Uzbekistan, including the 16th-century Kulkedash Medressa – an Islamic school that sits beside the 15th-century Juma (Friday) Mosque. The History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan provides an introduction to the country and the region in general, from the Silk Road era to Soviet times. A brief tour of Tashkent’s metro system will reveal some beautiful stations (note that photography is not allowed in the subway). Also visited will be Amir Temur Square (the central park with the statue of Amir Temur on the horseback just outside the imposing Hotel Uzbekistan), the Khast Imom Complex including the Barak Khan Madrasa (a college for Islamic instruction), Kaffal Shashi mausoleum, Quran Library and Mosque, and the Roman Catholic Church of Tashkent. After a full day of sightseeing, perhaps go to the ballet or opera at the stunning National Theatre in the evening if there is a performance tonight. Your leader can assist you with what's on and buying tickets.
SamarkandTransfer to the station this morning and take the 8am high speed “Afrosiab” train to Samarkand (approximately 2 hours). This is a city that evokes the romance of the Silk Road perhaps more than any other. From its foundation in the 5th century BC, Samarkand has been a centre of artisans and traders as well as the prize for many a conquering army. From Alexander the Great who stormed its walls in 329 BC, to the Soviet occupiers who declared it the original capital of the Uzbek SSR in 1924, Samarkand’s history is as rich as it is complex. Keep your camera at the ready, as this destination is a photographer's dream, with colourful domes and minarets gracing the skyline. Begin your tour of the city’s sights on arrival. Make a visit to the Gur Amir Mausoleum – the final resting place of the mighty Timur and his sons and grandsons. The city flourished under his rule in the 14th century. For a man of his stature, it is quite a simple tomb. Continue to the Shah-i-Zinda complex, the so-called ‘Town of the Dead’ necropolis, with more than 20 beautifully decorated unique buildings. It’s a holy site for local Muslims and is where the Prophet Mohammed's cousin is buried. Nearby is the Ulugbek Observatory, built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer of the same name. It is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world, and the largest in Central Asia, before it was destroyed in 1449. Finish the day’s tour with a stop in the Afrosiab Museum, which houses a 7th century fresco of the Sogdian King Varkhouman.
SamarkandA highlight of this trip is standing on the iconic Registan Square with the three medressas (Ulugbek, Sher Dor and Tilla-Kari) towering over you. The Registan is probably the most recognisable of all Central Asia's monuments. The facades of the two medressas facing the central square are decorated in elaborate mosaic, tiles and intricate geometric brickwork, flanked by towering minarets and topped by azure-hued domes. The interiors of some of the buildings are just as impressive and there's so much to explore, including the many handicraft and souvenir stalls in the courtyards and rooms. While here you will visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built by Timur. It is often compared to the Taj Mahal as it was built as a grand and timeless symbol of a man's love for his wife. This mosque overlooks the busy and colourful Siob Bazaar, where photographers will delight in taking photos of the many bustling stalls and the huge array of produce, as well as encountering friendly greetings from the local traders. Next up is a classic Uzbek experience – join a local family for a cooking class on the traditional meal known as plov. Uzbek men pride themselves on their ability to prepare the most unique and scrumptious plov. This dish is cooked over an open flame in a traditional cauldron and is made up of fried and boiled meat, onions, carrots, rice, raisins, berries and chickpeas. Enjoy what you have cooked for dinner together.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Gijduvan - BukharaEnjoy some free time this morning to relax or have a leisurely walk around and take in the skyline one last time. Then, in the afternoon, drive west to Bukhara (approximately 4 hours). En route you will stop in Gijduvan, which is famous for its ceramic pottery. There are potteries here that date back six generations. Here you will have the unique and memorable experience of visiting a ceramic pottery workshop. Witness the full pottery process from throwing to firing to decoration, and visit a small museum to find out some history of ceramics in this area. Continue to Bukhara, a favourite Silk Road city for many travellers. Trading domes near here still offer an intriguing and colourful array of goods including embroideries, jewellery, spices, handicrafts and all manner of Silk Road treasures. This is the place to test your haggling skills and share a joke or two with local craftsman and merchants.
BukharaA UNESCO-listed site, Bukhara is widely regarded as Central Asia’s holiest city. With more than 100 officially preserved monuments, there is a lot to see. Your extensive sightseeing program here is spread over two days to make the most of your time. With many monuments dating from the 8th to the 18th century AD, there is a vast span of history and architecture to discover. The meticulous restoration of many of the mosaic and majolica decorations give you a true sense of how these buildings looked in their original glory. Start by visiting the ruins of the 5th-century Ark Fortress. This is the ancient heart of the city and the scene of several gruesome events. You'll also see the Bolo-Khauz Mosque, the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, the imposing Poikalon complex (comprising the Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir-i-Arab Medressa), and Ulugbek and Abdul Aziz Khan Medressa. The twilight hours lend themselves to wandering around the central Lyabi-Hauz and its surrounding areas. Enjoy dinner with a folklore & music performance.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
BukharaStart the second full day of sightseeing in Bukhara on a different note, visiting the city’s trading domes. In the 16th century, under the Shaybanides dynasty, Bukhara was a major trade, craft, and administration centre on the Great Silk Road. The city was famous for its bazaars, places of trade, meeting and entertainment. The dynasty built great covered bazaars, or trading domes, on major thoroughfares – a great dome over the main crossroads and smaller domes over the side streets. At its peak as one of the richest cities along the route, there are estimate to have been 50 bazaars and 75 caravanserais. Now there are only three of these domes left, but they still buzz with activity and give a glimpse of how commerce influenced urban development at the time of the Silk Road. All manner of things can be found on sale, and you will wander through in search of bargains. Experience the spirit of trade that has driven this region since the halcyon days of the Silk Road era. In the midst of these bazaars is the Maghoki-Attar, reputed to be the oldest mosque in Central Asia. Stop by the Lyabi Hauz – a pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees in the Old Town's centre – see the Nadir Devan-Begi, one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful medieval madrasas, and visit the unusual four minareted Chor Minor. Lastly, visit the Sitorai Mohi Hosa (‘Star and garnet garden), which was the summer palace of the last emir. Its opulence is also reflected in the combination of local and European influences in its designs and furnishings. The halls are richly decorated with carpets and paintings. This evening is again free to explore Bukhara by night.
KhivaSet off early today and drive 450 kilometres to Khiva (approximately 10 hours including photo stops and lunch). Along the way you’ll travel through the Kyzyl-Kum (Red Sands Desert), the largest desert area in Central Asia. It’s long been inhabited by various nomadic people and on the way you might pass cowboys on their camels. You will also encounter the Amu Darya River, which was once known as the Oxus. This river bubbles up far to the south-east in the Pamirs, then runs west through the area now bordering modern Afghanistan (once famous throughout the ancient world for its lapis-lazuli mines). With the impressive oasis of Khiva ahead of you, this long journey is an ideal opportunity to catch up on some reading, or simply sit back and imagine you are a trader – relieved to have made it safely through the desert! On the way, you will stop for lunch at a roadside cafe to break up the journey. Arrive in the fabled city of Khiva in the evening and check into the hotel. The town's colourful procession over the years (conquering khans, Silk Road traders, Great Game spies and Russian invaders) has long captured the imagination of writers and poets. Grab a drink, sit down and enjoy the colorful panoramic view of the city at sunset on the roof top of our hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
KhivaTake a full day to explore the city. Khiva is enchanting at dawn, with its empty streets and the palpable weight of thousands of years of history. Perhaps get up early before the day’s sightseeing begins, and enjoy the sunrise. Khiva is beautifully preserved and perfect for exploring on foot, with impressive walls that mark the boundaries of the old city. Upon entering its gates you will see towering minarets and numerous medressas. Your guide will take you through many of these monuments, including the turquiouse Kalta Minor Minaret, the Khan museum in the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa, the 17th-century Juma Mosque, the Islom-Hoja Minaret and Medressa (built in 1908 and the highest structure in Khiva), and the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum complex (the Persian-style resting place of Khiva’s patron saint). Visit the Kuhna Ark, which was the main fortress, and look over the city from the hill of the Ak-Sheikh Baba observation platform, once used as a patrol tower of the citadel. Finish with the 19th century summer palace of Mohammed Rakhim Khan II, the Tosh-Hovli Palace, set in orchards and surrounded by walled gardens, fountains and aywans.
TashkentTransfer to the airport in the morning for a flight to Tashkent, arriving in the Uzbekistan capital just after 11 am. Visit the Navoi Theatre, named for one of the nom de plume’s of Ali-Shir Nava’I, a 16th century writer and mystic. The multi-arched façade was partially constructed by Japanese prisoners of war. Next, spend some time pondering the works within the modern Art Gallery of Uzbekistan. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for a final optional dinner and say farewell to this spectacular Silk Road country.
TashkentYour trip comes to an end today in Tashkent.
- Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
- Tashkent - Kukeldash & Barak Khan Madressas
- Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
- Tashkent - Amir Timur Square
- Tashkent - Roman Catholic Church
- Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
- Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
- Samarkand - Ulugbek's Observatory
- Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
- Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
- Samarkand - Afrosiab Museum
- Samarkand - Plov cooking demonstration & family visit
- Samarkand - Registan
- Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
- Samarkand - Siob Bazaar
- Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop
- Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
- Bukhara - Ark Fortress
- Bukhara - Guided city tour
- Bukhara - Bolo Hauz Mosque
- Bukhara - Folklore & music performance
- Bukhara - Walking tour
- Bukhara - Kalon Minaret & Mosque
- Bukhara - Chor Minor
- Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
- Khiva - Sunset drinks
- Khiva - Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
- Khiva - Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
- Khiva - Juma Mosque
- Khiva - Tosh-Hovli Palace
- Khiva - Kunya Ark
- Khiva - Kuhna Ark
- Khiva - Kalta Minor Minaret
10 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
2 Dinner(s) Included
Health and Safety Protocols for Peregrine Tours
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. We will put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
Handwashing is one of the most important safety measures to prevent the spread of disease. Intrepid will actively reinforce its importance by:
- Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all staff, leaders and crew must wash their hands on-trip.
- Promote the importance of hand hygiene to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Contract suppliers that have hand hygiene protocols in place
- Contract suppliers that provide hand sanitizer in public places (where applicable)
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.
Practicing good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of disease by reducing the number of droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough. Intrepid will:
- Actively reinforce its importance to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of respiratory hygiene via training.
- Contract suppliers who have respiratory hygiene protocols in place.
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them. Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy and that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene must also form part of the strategy.
On our trips, regardless of destination, the following people must wear medical/surgical masks:
- Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have been tested yet.
- People caring for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases (outside of hospitals/clinics).
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them.
- People over 60
- People with underlying health conditions
- Provide medical/surgical masks as part of the First Aid Kits carried by leaders.
- Educate leaders, crew, staff and customers on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
- Require all customers, leaders and staff to comply with any local regulations or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places
Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is not necessary for the public to wear fabric masks generally.
However in certain circumstances, in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and/or physical distancing is not possible (e.g. on public transport, in shops or in other confined environments) then a fabric mask can be a useful barrier to prevent the spread of virus.
Fabric masks be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardised like medical masks. Fabric masks should:
- Cover the nose, mouth, and chin
- Be secured with elastic loops or ties
- Include multiple layers
- Be washable and reusable.
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced sanitation processes. Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Audit/monitor all suppliers on their cleanliness and sanitation.
- All cleaning and disinfecting products must be approved by health authorities (e.g. WHO).
- All rooms must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be available in public areas.
- There must be a process in place for customers to escalate any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.
- If staying at a campground, ensure all bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. If the area is remote, with limited facilities and/or minimal staffing, then customers should be informed to bring their own hygiene equipment.
- All mini buses, transfers, charters, overland trucks must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be made available
- Close top bins with bin liners should be available on board and disposed of at every stop
- Must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day
- Tables and chairs must be disinfected after each guest use
- Avoid buffets where possible. If buffets are used, prevent customers from handling food and operating machines (e.g. self-serve coffee stations)
- Either disinfect shared use objects (e.g. table salt) between guest use. Where possible, Intrepid will try to source safe alternatives to single serve packaging.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- Preferred: Provide hand sanitizer to guests at the door before entry
- All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guest us
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Limiting the number of surfaces touched by large numbers of people helps prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, it is important to proactively move towards contactless or low touch solutions for travel. Intrepid will:
- Prioritise contactless/low touch as a key feature when sourcing new tech or solutions.
- Remove any paperwork required on the ground (e.g. signing forms, feedback cards)
- If details must be entered using a shared device (e.g. insurance details), then it must be disinfected between each customer. Preference is to move entirely to digital solutions.
- Accommodation should provide online check in (no paperwork)
- Contactless keys (e.g. QR codes)
- Contactless tech (e.g. lights)
- Online ticketing for attractions and transport
- Online payment
Physical distancing is important in the preventing the spread of COVID-19 as it can be transmitted via droplets sprayed when coughing, sneezing, singing, yelling etc…
Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their physical distancing protocols
- Follow local regulation and advice on the need for physical distancing.
We will continue to offer this as an option. Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We will work closely with accommodation suppliers to ensure increased availability of single rooms.
- Consider whether it is appropriate to offer single tents for solo travellers as customers will be much closer together then in a traditional room.
- Consider whether staggering meal times may reduce the number of people sharing a dining tent.
Intrepid will consider the following factors when designing or amending transport options on trips.
- Local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport
- Hygiene protocols of the transport provider
- Level of active community transmission in the destination
- Using designated seating on transport. Customers have assigned seats throughout the trip.
- If trip is longer than 15 minutes and air conditioning is available, it must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.
- Designing or amending itineraries to reduce the duration of travel.
- Increasing the size of the vehicle, using multiple vehicles.
- Educate all leaders, crew, staff and customers to maintain a 1.5m distance wherever practical in public (e.g. queueing at a museum).
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds by visiting attractions at off-peak times.
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds on public transport or at airports where practical.
- Follow local regulations on table spacing and guest seating in restaurants. Wherever possible, try to ensure groups are sitting at their own table without strangers in restaurants.
- Proactively design product that focuses on experiences that assist with physical distancing (e.g. picnics over crowded marketplaces) if relevant for that destination.
Screening for COVID-19 helps isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and stops the spread of disease. It is likely to become more common for future travellers.
Pre-Departure (Brand Material)
Customers should be informed as part of ‘Essential Trip Information (ETIs) or other similar trip notes if their trip is likely to include any of the following:
- Testing for COVID-19 before being able to pass through immigration and/or board planes.
- Negative test results to be uploaded for visa purposes.
- Thermal temperature checks in airports, train or bus stations, major hotels or attractions.
Pre-departure, all customers are required to fill out an online questionnaire (“self- declaration/assessment” form) to identify any high-risk customers before travel.
Extra qualifiers will be included to address customers with symptoms that can be contributed to pre-existing conditions (e.g. breathlessness to asthma).
Customers answering YES to any question should be removed from the departure and appropriate arrangements made.
Intrepid will not require a negative COVID-19 test as proof of health from customers or leaders at this stage unless it is required by local law or regulations.
This is partially due to the lack of availability of testing for people with no symptoms in many parts of the world and may change in due course.
- Ask customers, leaders, crew and staff to monitor their own health
- Display appropriate signage on COVID-19 symptoms
- Educate leaders, crew and staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms
- Describe COVID-19 symptoms in group meetings
If customers, leaders or crew show symptoms of COVID-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Intrepid reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others.
Flexible Booking Conditions
Customers will be supported by flexible booking conditions to stay home if unwell or displaying symptoms
Flexible Work Conditions
Intrepid will support leaders and crew to stay home rather than lead a trip if they are unwell or displaying symptoms. Schedules will need to be created with back up availability of leaders/crew.
Data Collection & Health Tracking
Intrepid will assist government health departments in tracking and tracing any customers, staff, leaders, crew or suppliers at risk of contracting COVID-19 via exposure to a known case and/or outbreak by providing relevant details in line with privacy laws and regulations.
COVID Tracking apps
Intrepid strongly recommends that customers and staff download COVID tracking apps (e.g. COVIDSafe in Australia, StayHomeSafe in Hong Kong) to assist in reducing the spread of disease within their communities.
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