I would to thank all my loyal travelers, new clients, travel agents, universities, alumni associations and museums across the world for their business and trust. 2018 was amazing year for us. Silk Road Treasure Tours’ family celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary in the American market!
Throughout 2018 we presented at travel agencies, clubs and shows - including the New York Times Travel Show, and at museums and libraries across the US, sharing our knowledge of the Silk Road, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Many new travelers joined us on our cultural, historical, adventure, educational and photography tours to the Central Asia ‘Stans and the Caucasus countries, as well as to China Silk Road destinations, Iran, Mongolia, Russia and Morocco. Loyal clients added new destinations to their 2018 must-see lists and returned from their Silk Road adventures with more memories to share. Some celebrated anniversaries and birthdays, one even chose the romantic city of Samarkand for a marriage proposal! It’s been a very celebratory year.
I personally escorted more than a half a dozen of our Silk Road Treasure Tours groups and met up with several of our tours while in Central Asia and the Caucasus this past year. What an amazing journey! In Uzbekistan we attended luxury culinary experiences and I hosted travelers at my family home. We enjoyed master classes and fabulous wine in Georgia, falconry demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan, adventure tours in Kazakhstan including horseback riding, trekking, and helicopter rides, and we visited extraordinary caravanserai, madrasahs, monuments, mosques and synagogues throughout Central Asia. There were archaeological explorations in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Armenia, shopping fun in China and of course in the bazaars of Uzbekistan. We participated in local weddings and festivals; Navruz – the New Year’s Festival, the Silk and Spice festival, equestrian games, a music in Kazakhstan, Nadaam in Mongolia, Lunar New Year in Vietnam, and national holidays in China. There was the Carpet Festival in Armenia, the Pomegranate and Folk festival in Azerbaijan, and the Bread and Flower festival in Tajikistan.
Travelers sang and danced, attended performances by the Bolshoi Theatre, tried new dishes, learned new skills, met new people, and attended places of prayer, culture and history in incredible sites. They enjoyed flexible travel planning, handcrafted Silk Road gifts and complimentary local lunches! Many clients have shared with us how they’ve developed a passion for making traditional foods they enjoyed like Uzbekistan plov, Georgian khachapuri and Kazakhstan beshbarmak.
We’re happy to cater to passions and niche interests, and to the rise in solo women travelers, and to more family and multigenerational tour requests where children, parents and grandparents on our tours made lifelong memories and friendships with local families.
More and more Millennials are interested in destinations like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan Azerbaijan and Georgia. Many took on the task to learn some of the language before travel and our team helped them practice their Russian and Uzbek, while adventuring to the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan, the Dervaza gas crater of Turkmenistan, and to yurt and village stays under the stars near Kyrgyzstan’s Tiyanshan mountains and in the Kyzyl-Kum desert and Nuratau mountain villages of Uzbekistan.
The Silk Road Treasure Tours team handcrafted more than 30 amazing Silk Road itineraries for travelers and travel agents based on our local knowledge and connections. Many who signed up for our tours were seasoned travelers, some having visited as many as 50-60 countries and looking forward to new experiences. Some were looking for luxury, and while many of the Silk Road Destinations of Central Asia and the Caucasus can boast 5-star accommodations, you’ll find a warm welcome everywhere from boutique hotels to yurts in even the most remote locations. It was my privilege to welcome VIP and business groups from the US and Belgium looking to meet with clients and colleagues and learn more about the region. Silk Road Treasure Tours arranged guest chefs, Kazakh musicians and local displays of horsemanship for top-notch culinary and adventure experiences at locations in the Kaskelen and Turgen Gorges and the Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan!
For visiting US professors and students during their Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan educational travel we organized meetings with peers at our in-country Silk Road Office and at local universities for culture and language exchanges. We are happy to accommodate local school visits requested by our regular travelers with an interest in education and culture whenever possible.
Recognized worldwide, Central Asian handicrafts are of enduring interest to our travelers who meet top artisans during their travels with us. They take master classes in suzani needlework, hand-loomed carpets, beautifully patterned ikat fabric, ceramics and wood carving. Clients have taken up these products for their interior design and fashion companies.
Uzbekistan is at the heart of the ancient Silk Road, and the center of new innovations to welcome tourists. In 2018 new high-speed trains and direct flights to Central Asia have been introduced. Border crossing procedures and visa laws have been simplified. The Uzbekistan visa fee is now only $20, and it can be done online within 5 minutes!
Once again Conde Nast Traveler Magazine and Wendy Perrin awarded us top experts for Central Asia and the Silk Road Tours. Magazines including National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post have featured our destinations: Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan as must-see destinations.
Our clients and partners have inspired us this year. Now we’d like to inspire you with custom itineraries to little known places in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the regions of the Silk Road. Now is the best time to consider your 2019 travel plans. We hope you’ll add the Silk Road to your must-see destinations this coming year and take advantage of early booking discounts. We wish you all Happy Holidays, the excitement of adventure and the anticipation of new destinations in the coming year. It’s going to be fabulous!