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N O S T H 28 NIG E T U O R K THE SIL THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

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KAZAKHSTAN BISHKEK

TARAZ

UZBEKISTAN BUKHARA

SON KUL

TASHKENT

NURATA MOUNTAINS

KARAKOL

KYRGYZSTAN

SAMARKAND

SEE THE WORLD Y! DIFFERENTL

TAJIKISTAN

CHINA

PAKISTAN

We believe in the power of extraordinary experiences. They allow us to see ourselves, others and the world differently, and develop our confidence, independence and resilience.

28 NIGHT EXPEDITION THE SILK ROUTE SAMPLE ONLY Journey along the ancient Silk Route, lead your team across high-altitude terrain, and live with locals in a remote mountain village. With you and your team in charge of the budget and planning, this once-in-alifetime experience proves just how much you’re capable of. It could change the way you see yourself and the world, forever.

THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

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START HERE

DAYS 1-2 ARRIVE IN BISHKEK Sleep: Hostel/hotel

Touch down in Bishkek – the capital of Kyrgyzstan. A laid-back city with green parks and bustling bazaars, Bishkek is a great introduction to Kyrgyzstan. To the south, snowcapped peaks loom over the rooftops and hint at the adventures that await.

When you meet the ground team, it’s time to start planning your first trek. Head to the mall for food supplies, and visit the camping shops for any last-minute gear. Be prepared – hardly anyone speaks English here, so a few words of Russian, Kyrgyz or Uzbek will go a long way.

Jump straight into expedition life. Decide who’s in charge of the team budget, and head into town to exchange some local currency – the Kyrgyzstani som.

While you’re in Bishkek, it’s a good idea to find some internet access and do some planning for other parts of the trip. Confirm any bookings, and buy your train tickets for Tashkent and the Silk Road cities.

TRAVELLING RESPONSIBLY

IN THESE FIRST FEW DAYS, YOU’LL TAKE PART IN A RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL WORKSHOP THAT HELPS YOU TO TRAVEL AND INTERACT IN AN ETHICAL WAY. APPLY WHAT YOU LEARN AND YOU’LL DEVELOP A RESPONSIBLE MINDSET THAT YOU CAN CARRY THROUGH LIFE.

DAYS 3-7 TREK SON KUL Sleep: Camping, yurt, hostel/hotel Travel: Transfer 8hrs to Torpok Pass Trek: 4 days

THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

Journey to Son Kul and camp by the Torpok Pass. At over 3,000-metres above sea level, the views are incredible – you’ll be gazing at sawtoothed peaks and endless plains. The trekking here is tough, and the weather will get colder as you climb. Get ready to dig deep and pull together as a team. Your aim is to reach remote Son Kul lake, which sits in a treeless plain on the Great Silk Road. Take it in turns to lead the group as you trek through lush pastures and meet nomadic shepherds (chabans) who herd on horseback.

If you have any energy left when you reach the lake, set out to discover ancient petroglyphs (images) etched into the rock. Reward yourselves with a night in a traditional yurt. You’ve earned it. Soak up those widescreen views one last time, then take the transfer vehicle to the lakeside town of Karakol.

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DAYS 8-15 TERSKEY ALATAU TREK Sleep: Camping, hostels/ hotels Travel: Bus 1.5hrs to start point, transfer 6hrs to Karakol Trek: 7 days

DAYS 16-17 BISHKEK R&R Sleep: Hotel/hostel Travel: 7hrs to Bishkek

Time for the biggest challenge of the trip – the Terskey Alatau trek. You’ll be hiking at altitude and carrying your gear for seven days, so that preexpedition training will really pay off. Expect some exhausting days, with mind-blowing scenery all the way. As you trek through one of the most beautiful areas in Central Asia, you’ll pass alpine valleys and jagged snowcapped peaks. At night, your camping spots will range from grassy meadows to silent snowfields. This is an adventure like no other, so remember to stop, breathe, and take it all in.

One of the main aims of the trek is to descend to Karakol Gorge, then climb to Ala-Kol lake at the base of a glacier. This is probably the biggest challenge you’ve ever tackled, and the feeling of achievement is incredible. On your final day, you’ll return to Karakol, where you’ll need to arrange your accommodation and prepare for your journey back to Bishkek.

Get together as a team and arrange your transport from Karakol to Bishkek. If you leave early, you’ll have time for a celebratory meal in the city. Go local-style, and tuck into mutton, noodles and meat-filled dumplings. After a laidback morning, set out to explore more of Bishkek and its surroundings. If you didn’t visit Ala-Too Square, Osh bazaar and the Victory Monument last time, head out to find them on foot. Take some time out in Bishkek’s leafy parks, and sip local black tea in trendy cafes. You could also visit some of the city’s quirkier attractions, like the retro roller-skating rink.

BISHKEK’S BIZARRE BUILDINGS THE KYRGYZ CIRCUS BY VICTORY SQUARE LOOKS LIKE AN ENORMOUS UFO. BISHKEK ALSO HAS AN EERIE ABANDONED CASINO, AND ITS RETRO ROLLER-SKATING RINK IS LIKE A 1980S TIME WARP.

THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

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DAY 18-19 KAZAKHSTAN TRANSIT Sleep: Hotel/hostel/train Travel: Bus or train 22hr to Tashkent

Prepare for another big adventure as you journey 700km from Kyrgyzstan to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. You’ll pass through vast Central Asian steppes, and you’ll travel through Kazakhstan – the ninth largest country in the world. If you take the bus, stop overnight in Taraz, a Kazakhstani Silk Road town with colourful bazaars. Here, you’ll need to pay for your food and accommodation in Kazakhstani tenge. When you arrive in Tashkent, make your way to your hostel and change

some money into Uzbekistan som. Some of your expedition costs can also be paid in US dollars, so plan carefully and keep tabs on your budget sheet. You may need a Kazakhstan transit visa and Uzbekistan visa for this journey. Arrange these at home before you leave, filling out the dates carefully.

THE MANY SILK ROADS

RATHER THAN A SINGLE ROUTE, THE SILK ROUTE IS AN ANCIENT NETWORK OF MANY TRADE ROUTES THAT CONNECTED THE EAST TO THE WEST, FROM CHINA ALL THE WAY TO EUROPE.

DAY 20-24 ASRAF MOUNTAIN VILLAGE Sleep: Homestay/ guesthouse/yurt Travel: Bus 5hrs to Asraf

Travel to Asraf mountain village, a tiny settlement in a beautiful valley, surrounded by the dry desert peaks of the Nurata Mountains. Here, you’ll stay with a local family in a community guesthouse, right in the heart of the village. This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in community life as you help out with local projects and daily chores. These could include things like fetching water, making bread, churning butter, milking goats and helping with the summer fruit harvest. You’ll eat delicious home-cooked meals and experience traditional Central Asian hospitality. Village life also has its challenges, including cultural differences and a language barrier. Draw on your training, ask

THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

questions, and share stories with the locals. When you leave, you’ll have a rare insight into another way of life.

Say ‘salom’

THE PEOPLE OF ASRAF VILLAGE ARE ETHNIC TAJIKS WHO SPEAK VERY LITTLE ENGLISH, SO LEARN A FEW WORDS OF TAJIK TO GREET YOUR HOSTS. START BY SAYING ‘SALOM’ – HELLO!

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DAYS 25-27 SILK ROAD CITIES Sleep: Hotel/hostel Travel: 6hrs to Bukhara, plan your own Silk Road journeys

Wake early and travel to the beautiful Silk Route city of Bukhara. The historic centre is more than 2,000 years old, with ornate mosques, minarets and colourful bazaars. You’ve only got a day here, so make a plan and start exploring.

with its famous square and the Shah-I-Zinda pilgrimage place. The bazaars and craft shops are great for souvenirs, so practice your Uzbek, count your soms, and get haggling.

The ‘hammomi’ bath houses are great fun, or you could enjoy a traditional meal on ‘tapchan’ tea beds under the mulberry trees at Lyabi Hauz – a beautiful plaza with a tranquil pool. As a team, you’ll need to source your own transport and accommodation for some of the other Silk Route cities you’re about to experience. Samarkand is another highlight,

DAY 28 EXPLORE TASHKENT Sleep: Hotel/hostel Travel: Bus/train 2-5hrs to Tashkent

DAY 29 TRAVEL HOME FROM TASHKENT

THE SILK ROUTE 28 NIGHT ITINERARY

Back in Tashkent, take a free day to enjoy the city. There’s so much to experience, from Soviet architecture and shopping malls, to museums and mud-walled houses. Meet spice sellers at Chorsu Bazaar and take a selfie at the Amir Timur statue. If you visit the Hazrat Iman Complex, there’s a sacred hair from the Prophet Muhammed housed in the library here.

Enjoy a final group meal and celebrate everything you’ve achieved together – from camping on snow and journeying across three countries, to living with a remote mountain community. These experiences will shape who you are from now on.

All too soon, it’s time to head home. Make your way to the airport, check in for your flight, then sit back and reflect. You’ve just experienced something incredible. Prepare to return home with heaps of stories, hundreds of photos, and a whole new outlook on life.

It doesn’t stop here. Share your story with challengers from around the globe and continue the story at @weworldchallenge

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COMMITTED TO

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL. We base our responsible travel initiatives upon the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’re driven to create positive contributions in the world, but also humble enough to know the types of community initiatives our young travellers should and shouldn’t be involved with. We carefully select all community engagements to be appropriate for young people and after more than 30 years of overseas student travel we’ve established strong and long standing relationships

with our overseas community partners that are evaluated each year to ensure we’re truly serving both people and planet. This holistic approach means our young travellers work towards a community initiative while also coming home with greater humility and sense of place in their world. Below are a list of the UN Sustainable Development Goals we’re positively contributing towards.

THE RESULTS FROM CHALLENGERS KNOWLEDGE on issues around responsible travel

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CONFIDENCE talking about issues around responsible travel Before travel After travel

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Expedition - The Silk Route - Sample Itinerary  

Expedition - The Silk Route - Sample Itinerary