Days 1-2: Delhi
We begin our journey in Delhi and explore Old and New to discover its place in history and contemporary India. Old Delhi was built in the 17th century by the Moghul rulers and is home of the Red Fort and Jami Masjid Mosque. The bazaars of Chandi Chowk still offer up exotic treats before turning into tree lined avenues and the grand government buildings of New Delhi.
Day 3: Shekawati
No visit to India is complete without a visit to Rajasthan and we travel to Shekawati, known for its beautifully painted havelis which date back to the 18th century. After breakfast, we drive to an open gallery of India, Mandawa, a town situated in the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.
Days 4-5: Jaipur
We continue to Jaipur, the 'Pink City' where we venture to the Amber Fort, positioned imposingly above the city and offering up a myriad of intricately decorated rooms and a stunning view out over Moatha Lake. We also visit the City Palace and Jai Singh's observatory purported to be based on the one designed by Ulug Bek in Samarkand 100 years before.
Day 6: Agra
Our journey through India continues to the centrepiece of the nation, and the capital in the time of the Moghuls, Agra. The Taj Mahal, a striking monument to love by Shah Jahan is not to be missed.
Day 7: Agra and to Delhi
This morning, witness the surreal views of the Taj Mahal at sunrise, sparkling in the glittering rays of the Indian sun. Taj Mahal is an extravagant display of love, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Day 8: Depart to Amritsar
This morning we head to New Delhi railway station to board the train north to Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs and we are dazzled by the Golden Temple.
Days 9-10 : to Lahore
After a visit to the Golden Temple we cross the border and journey on to Lahore. Once the capital of the Moghul empire Lahore today boasts some remarkable architecture of this period, most notably the Lahore Fort, the Shalimar Gardens and the impressive Badshahi Mosque. We go to watch the infamous sunset flag lowering ceremony at Wagha, a display of cooperation or rivalry between the two nations. You can decide.
Days 11-12: Islamabad
We journey to Islamabad, with the opportunity to visit the ancient archaeological site of Taxila, now recognised by UNESCO and situated on the Grand Trunk Road. En-route we will visit Khewra Salt mine, the second largest mine in the world discovered by Alexander's troop in 320 BC
Days 13-14: Skardu
Travelling north we fly to Skardu, the gateway to the Karakoram mountains. Located on the Indus River, we explore the surrounding picturesque valleys.
Day 15: to Gilgit
This morning we head to the bustling Gilgit, an important trading centre on the Silk Road and today the custom of exchange continues at the bazaar.
Day 32: Khiva
Our journey draws to a close with a memorable visit to Khiva, a living museum of beauty where we stay within the city walls and imagine the inhabitants of times gone by.
Days 29-31: Bukhara via Shakhrisabz
A spectacular drive through the Zerafshan Mountains takes us to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. Beside the ruined entrance towers of his Ak-Serai Palace, the pretty market town offers a relaxed atmosphere with traditional homes, teahouses and mosques.
Continuing across the Kyzyl Kum Desert we find the mud-brick monuments of Bukhara, arriving late afternoon. Once known as 'holy' Bukhara, it was historically home to more than 2000 mosques. Today Bukhara's monuments are some of the oldest on the Silk Road; the Ark Fortress, Samanid Mausoleum and the Kaylan Minaret one of Central Asia's tallest and so impressive that even Genghis Khan ordered it be spared from destruction during the Mongol invasions.
Take your time here to explore the Old Town and enjoy some of the many chaikhanas (tea-houses) in Lyabi-Hauz, one of the most peaceful and interesting people-watching places in town.
Days 27-28: Tashkent and Samarkand
This morning we board the Afrosiab train to 'Golden' Samarkand. All the splendours gone before are outdone by the turquoise sparkling domes of Samarkand, the fabled city built by Tamerlane and his grandson Ulug Bek. We have two days to explore this remarkable city of which much has been said and written about. The Registan ensemble is one of the most spectacular architectural delights of Central Asia and we explore the madrassahs and minarets of the city at leisure.
Days 25-26: Depart to Tashkent
Continuing our journey we make our way on to the Uzbek Capital of Tashkent stopping en route at one of the country's most ancient cities, Kokand before continuing on to Tashkent.
Tashkent is one of the oldest and largest cities in Central Asia, the Uzbek capital since 1930, and very much a showpiece of Soviet and post-soviet architecture.
Day 23-24: Osh to the Fergana Valley
Leaving Kyrgyzstan at Dostuk we travel into Uzbekistan and to the rarely visited oasis of Fergana Valley where we visit the silk weaving town of Margilan with its large bazaar.
Days 16-17: Hunza Valley
We move on to the spectacular Hunza Valley and witness the most dramatic views from the Karakoram Highway with many snow-capped mountains including the imposing Rakaposhi at a massive 7788m.
Day 21: Over the Irkeshtam Pass to Sary Tash
Beyond Kashgar lie the high passes of the Tien Shan Mountains, gateway to Kyrgyzstan and the fabled cities of Central Asia. We follow the Silk Road over the Irkeshtam Pass to Sary Tash where we will spend the night getting to know some of the locals in a homestay.
Days 19- 20: Tashkurgan and to Kashgar
To the legendary Silk Road town of Kashgar, nestled between the Tien Shan to the north, the Parmir to the west and the Karakorum to the south and the largest desert in Asia, the Taklamakan to the east. We visit the ancient mosques and markets, stepping back into forgotten times.
Day 18: Cross the Khunjerab Pass into China
We pass huge glaciers before crossing the Khunjerab pass into China, the highest point of our journey. Before crossing the border we pause in Sost, our last stop in Pakistan to stock up on snacks for the road. The locals will tell you that dried apricots, which the area is famous for, are great for helping with the elevation gain we'll be experiencing.
Day 33 - Khiva and to Tashkent
Khiva is made for walking. It is compact, well looked after, lived in and basks in a beautiful desert light. Today we embark on a walking tour that takes us to all of the major sights. This evening we board an overnight train to Tashkent.
Day 22: Sary Tash to Osh
This morning we travel further into Krygyzstan. Strategically located at the western gateway of the Fergana, Osh prospered during the time of the Silk Road until destroyed by Mongol armies in the 13th century.
Days 34-35: Tashkent
A last chance to explore Tashkent brings this incredible adventure to an.