Study Trip

A cultural trip to Uzbekistan

Wednesday, 3 – Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Leader: Khun Eileen Deeley, Head of Music and Special Events, The Siam Society



Bound by sand and snow, fed by meltwater from the Roof of the World, the fertile oases across Uzbekistan attracted the greatest travellers and conquerors in history along the fragile threads of the Silk Road.  From the West came Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan erupted from the East, while Tamerlane made his home the heartland of Central Asia, the remarkable historical and architectural legacy inherited by modern-day Uzbekistan.  She is a young nation who has outlived her Soviet sire, but her roots are ancient, steeped in the legends of the steppe.  These lands saw the wax and wane of countless empires, mounted nomad versus settled farmer.  Islam came this way to flower and outshine anywhere in the Muslim world.  The Uzbeks themselves emerged from Turco-Mongol tribes in the 14th century.  Polarized into the warring khanates of Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand, they provided the most exotic, perilous and coveted playing fields of the Great Game, the 19th century war of stealth between the tsarists and British empires.  At the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan attained her independence in 1991.

In ancient times, Uzbekistan (then known as Sogdiana) served as an ethnic and cultural melting pot, the barriers between khanates and nations broken by the greatest trade routes in history.  Wending their way over mountain and wasteland, myriad teams of merchants braved this key stretch of the long haul from China to Rome.  Camel caravans laden with silk, spices and news searched for the guiding minarets of oasis paradises, lighthouses for their ships of the desert.  Convening in bazaar and caravanserai, nomad met settler, Persian met Turk and Chinese met Sogdian in a fertile exchange of goods and ideas – religious, intellectual and artistic.

Under the leadership of Khun Eileen Deeley, Head of Music and Special Events of the Siam Society, the Siam Society is pleased to organise its first study trip to Uzbekistan as a continuation of the Silk Road journeys we have made in past years, taking us beyond Kashgar to the heart of Central Asia.  This 8-day trip will begin in Tashkent, the modern capital city, then to the desert-girdled khanate of Khiva, crossing the Kizilkum (Red Sand) Desert and the Oxus River for the holy city of Bukhara, which boasts a mosque for each day of the year and onto the turquoise domes of Tamerlane’s Samarkand – some of the world’s most evocative architectural symbols.    We will also have opportunities to visit the diverse ethnic groups that inhabit the land.  The ancient tribes of the Scythians, Sogdians, Khorezmians and myriad Turkic peoples formed the foundation for the later Uzbeks, Kazahs, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and even Tajiks.


The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Wednesday, 3 April 2013: Bangkok - Tashkent

08:00 p.m. Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumit Intl. Airport at Row W, check in Uzbekistan Airways.
10:30 p.m. Depart to Tashkent (Capital of Uzbekistan) by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY534.

Day 2: Thursday, 4 April 2013: Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva

03:05 a.m. Arrive Tashkent.
- Transfer to hotel, breakfast at hotel Dedeman Silk Road
10:00 a.m. Sightseeing in Tashkent, a modern city and the capital of Uzbekistan.  It is also the largest city in Central Asia, equipped with minarets, mausoleums, mosques and madrassahs (Islamic school) Visit Historical Musuem, Old City, Khazrati Imam Square, an ancient square of 16th C. where the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Barak Khan Madrasah, Naamazgokh Mosque and Tillya Sheikh Mosque are located.
12:30 p.m. Lunch at local restaurant.
01:30 p.m. Transfer to Tashkent Airport.
03:30 p.m. Depart Tashkent to Urgench by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY1059.
05:10 p.m. Arrive Urgench, transfer to Hotel Oriental Star in Khiva.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at hotel

Day 3: Friday, 5 April 2013: Khiva

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
All day: Full day sightseeing in Khiva: visit Ichan Kala(the heart of the city where most architectural and historical monuments are located. It is so-called the inner city surrounded by a wall 2.2 km in ciecumference).
We will see Kalta Minor, Kunya Ark, Madrassah Rakhomkhon, Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud, Islam Khodja Minaret and Museum, Friday Mosque, Tashauli Palace Harem and the Caravanserai Bazaar.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at hotel

Day 4: Saturday, 6 April 2013: Khiva - Bukhara

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
09.00 a.m. Depart Khiva for Bukhara by bus.
Today we will cross the Kizilkum (red sands) Desert by road (435 km).
The barren countryside is the home to ground squirrels and tortoises. Enroute we will stop to see the Amudarya River, known to explorers as the Oxus. Due to irrigation of the cotton fields started during the Soviet times, the river is rapidly drying. The journey takes 7-8 hours.
Noon: Picnic Lunch en route.
- Dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Check-in and overnight at HotelZargaron Plaza, Bukhara.

Day 5: Sunday, 7 April 2013: Bukhara

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 a.m. Full day Bukhara city tour.
Bukhara has been growing constantly at one and the same place beginning from the 4th century BC., preserves treasures of architecture of the pre-Mongol period. The total number of monuments is above 400, regarded as the largest open-air museum in Central Asia.
Visit Chor Minor(four minarets) built in 1807 by an Indian merchant;
Samanie’s Mausoleum; family tomb of the Samanid Dynasty 9th -10th c;
Chash Ayub (Spring of Biblical Job) Mausoleum 12th c;  and
Bolo-Khauz Mosque (1712 AD.) support by 20 wooden columns,
Short photo stop at Ark Fortress, the Royal town-within-a-town.
Continue to visit the architectural ensemble of Poi-Kalon (Pedestal of the Great), the religious heart of Holy Bukhara, consist of  Kalon mosque, the biggest Friday mosque in Bukhara built in 16th c. on the site of an earlier mosque destroyed by Genghis Khan;  Kalon Minaret (1127 AD.) and Mir-I-Arab Madreash, the only madrasah (Islamic school) in Central Asia that was allowed to function in Soviet times.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit Lyabi-Khauz Emsemble which exhibits the Bukaran architectural traditions that remain alive such as Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah,  Nadir Divan-Begi Khonako and Kukeldash Madrasah.
Visit the Covered Bazaars, which were among dozens of specialized bazaars in the town built at the junction of caravan routes.  Four major bazaars still survived in Bukhara, Toki-Sarafon (bazaar for moneychangers), Toki-Telpak Furushon (sellers of hats), Toki-Zargaron (jewellers) and Abdullakhan Tim (silk centre).
07:00 p.m. Dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Overnight at HotelZargaron Plaza, Bukhara.

Day 6: Monday, 8 April 2013 (Substitution for Chakri Memorial Day): Bukhara - Shakhrisabz – Samarkand

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
08:30 a.m. Depart Bukhara for Samarkand (268 km) by bus.
Samarkand, the capital of ancient Sogdiana, is one of the oldest cities in the world.  It is 25 centuries old.  During those centuries the city survived many great and dramatic events.  Samarkand saw Saka and Massagets, Greeks and Macedonians, Karakitais, Arab commanders and the hordes of Genghis Khan. Under Amir Timur's governing Samarkand became the capital of his huge empire. The Great Silk Road went through the city. Famous scientists and poets of the Medieval Orient lived and worked in Samarkand.
  En route we will visit Shakhrisabz, home town of Amir Timur.
In the early 7th century Chinese Buddhist traveller Xuan Zang visited the Sogdian town of Kesh (Shakhrisabz).
Visit Ak Saray Palace ruins, Dorus Tilavat Seminary, Kok Cumbas, Dorus Saidat, Friday Mosque, and Hazrati Imam.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
- Continue to Samarkand, on arrival visit Registan Square to see the three beautiful Madrassahs.
07:00 p.m. Dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Check-in and overnight at Hotel Regal Palace, Samarkand.

Day 7: Tuesday, 9 April 2013: Samarkand - Tashkent

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
08:30 a.m. Sightseeing in Samarkand.
Visit Bibi Khanum Mosque, Silk Road Bazaar and Shahi Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek’s observatory, the Gur Emir, the Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Imam Al-Bukhari Mausoleum.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Depart Samarkand for Tashkent (330 kms.) by bus via Djizzak with short stop at mountain pass, the shortest crossing known as ‘iron gates’.
07:00 p.m. Dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Check-in and overnight at Hotel Dedeman, Tashkent.

Day 8: Wednesday, 10 April 2013: Tashkent - Bangkok

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
07:00 a.m. Transfer to Tashkent Airport.
09:45 a.m. Depart Tashkent for Bangkok by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY 531.
06:00 p.m. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Intl. Airport.


Bt. 88,000 or Bt. 91,000 for non-members. Single room surcharge Bt. 9,500. A deposit of Bt. 22,000 and a photocopy of passport must accompany the booking.  There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges.  Payment in full is required one month before the start of the trip (i.e. by Monday, 4 March 2013).  Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7.  Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.


The contribution includes airfare, airport transfers, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, accommodation for two persons per room, sightseeing as mentioned in the programme, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee, personal expenses, etc.

Cancellation charge:

Cancellation after booking:                                          Deposit forfeited
29-15 days of the start of the trip:                                30% of the tour cost
14-10 days of the start of the trip:                                50% of the tour cost
Less than 10 days or cancellation without notice:           No refund

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Ekkarin.