THE SILK ROUTE EXPEDITION
Embark on an incredible school trip that encompasses the ancient Silk Route through Central Asia. The Silk Route expedition features Uzbekistan’s exotic bazaars, spell-binding architecture, camel trekking in the desert, and friendly home-stays. Perfect for those seeking adventure. And that’s before we mention the world-class mountain treks in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan! Rewarding project opportunities and the chance to explore the stunning Silk Route cities of Samarkand and Bukhara will ensure a lifetime of memories.
THE SILK ROUTE EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Here are just some of the incredible experiences you can choose from for your Silk Route expedition:
Teams flying in to Uzbekistan will most likely head to the Western Tien-Shan range, just 60km east of Tashkent to acclimatise. For teams starting in Bishkek, in Kyrgyzstan, the Ala Archa Valley is just 30km away, and offers a variety of short and longer treks, depending on what your team is up for!
Making a difference
Projects are often an expedition highlight, offering an unique insight into local people’s way of life. Previous teams have been involved with community projects based in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and school-based projects focusing on cultural exchange. There are many orphanages and housing for disabled children needing renovation and teams can also organise sports and holiday activities for the children.
Silk Route Project Case Study –
Responsible Travel Projects
We have been working with Sherzod Norbekov, the Managing Director of ‘Responsible Travel’ since 2012. Its aim is to develop community-based local tourism in Uzbekistan by creating guesthouses at the homes of locals and offering different programmes such as folklore, culture, bird watching and project work.
This project is a unique experience in that each team has the opportunity to immerse themselves in a local community, learn about their lives, their hardships, how they eat, sleep and celebrate events.
Last year, 6 teams visited the Nuratau Mountain village project in Uzbekistan, staying in the village with local host families. Each team helped improve the village school and engaged students in activities and English lessons.
Experience the exhilaration of world-class trekking through snow-covered mountain ranges and alongside the beautiful clear lakes and rushing rivers of Central Asia.
You get to camp wild each night and trek four to eight hours each day. Treks take place in mountainous regions which rise to impressive peaks and glaciers, where you get to walk alongside river valleys, through gorges and over high passes.
Central Asia offers perfect weather conditions for mountain trekking from June to August, and teams can explore the magnificent Tien-Shan Mountains passing through meadows, orchards and pastures. This offers a great chance to meet nomadic families. Other options include the Kyrgyz and Chimgan mountain ranges, offering challenging treks of 4-7 days, with peaks and passes of over 4000m.
Rest & Relaxation
The fabulous Silk Route cities of Samarkand and Burkhara are unmissable, admiring the mosaic architecture of the mosques and medressas. However Uzbekistan also offers camel trekking and yurt homestays for a unique experience on the Central Asian steppe.
For a complete contrast, Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issy-Kul is a great place to spend a couple of days relaxing on the shores, swimming and sunbathing, or you could choose to go horse riding or visit ancient Petro glyph rock sites.
- Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan, Asia.
- Languages spoken: The languages of Uzbekistan are Uzbek, Russian and Tajik, whilst in Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Russian are spoken.
- Time zone: GMT +5 / +6.
- Terrain: Mountains and desert.
- When can I travel there?: Expeditions can take place from May-September.
- Climate: This regions climate is generally classified as continental, with hot summers and cool winters. Summer temperatures often surpass 40°C; winter temperatures average about -23°C. Significant parts of the area are also quite arid, with average annual rainfall amounting to between 100 and 200 millimeters and occurring mostly in winter and spring.
- Expedition Physical Rating: High.
- Expedition Duration: 28 days.
- Culture Shock: High.
- Typical accommodation: Hostels, tents and yurts.
- Ideal for: Teams who want to experience incredible mountain trekking combined with a unique cultural experience and project opportunities.
- Uzbekistan is home to one of the largest deserts in the world, known as Kyzylkum, which extends into Kazakhstan.
- Samarkand, the second-largest city in Uzbekistan, is over twenty five hundred years old. It also served as the capital city of Timur.
- For centuries, merchants journeyed to and from China and the Middle East on ancient routes. These stretch some 4000 miles and they’re collectively known as the ‘Silk Route’, after the lucrative Chinese silk trade for which they were originally travelled.
- The official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek, while Russian and Tajik are also spoken there.
Sherzod Norbekov – Uzbekistan
Sherzod Norbekov is the Managing Director of the tour company ‘Responsible Travel’. He has been working as a project host for World Challenge since 2012 and is based in between Tashkent and Yangishilok. This is the first year he will be our In-Country agent and he cannot wait to see teams in country!
Margarita Turova – Kyrgyzstan
Margarita Turova and our trekking provider, ITMC, are based in the capital, Bishkek. They have been working with World Challenge since 2005 and have an incredible knowledge of the Kyrgyzstan trekking areas and the fundamentals of World Challenge expeditions.
NEW TO WORLD CHALLENGE?
Every World Challenge starts long before your students step on a plane. With our support, develop life skills and take ownership of:
- Destination and itinerary planning
- Fundraising ideas and events
- Budgeting and money management
- Preparation, fitness and nutrition
Get in touch with one of our consultants to start planning your overseas school expedition today!