Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Fri May 29 2015

Celebrate 25 Years of Independence with Family in the Stan Countries

Tour Operator | David Cogswell | May 29, 2015

Celebrate 25 Years of Independence with Family in the Stan Countries

PHOTO: American children hanging out with Uzbek children in Uzbekistan. (Photo courtesy of Silk Road Treasure Tours)

Though the Stan countries of Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, may seem out of the way to modern Americans, they were at the center of civilization for thousands of years.

The Silk Road, or Silk Route, is a network of trade routes and arteries of culture that wound through the Central Asia region connecting Persian, Turkish, Russian, Mongolian and Chinese cultures.

In 2016 the Stan countries will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence from the Soviet Union. Silk Road Treasure Tours is celebrating the anniversary with the unveiling of a new family tour called Family Adventure to the Stans of Central Asia.

The Stan countries were absorbed into the belly of the Soviet Union and were virtually nameless to most Americans until recent years, when the rich culture of Central Asia came back into the light.

That culture, which goes back for millennia, is still vibrant in the region and especially in the cities that the Silk Road passed through, such as Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Konya-Urgench, and Khodjand.

Silk Road Treasure Tours was founded by Zulya Rajabova, a native of Uzbekistan, who takes a special interest in showing the region to Americans.  

“We created this itinerary in response to the tremendous increase we've seen in family travel, especially milestone vacations,” said Rajabova. “We take special care to ensure that family celebrations are memorable for everyone. Recently, we welcomed a multi-generational family — the grandfather was celebrating his 80th birthday and brought along his adult children and grandchildren. We arranged for local craftspeople to create a gold embroidered rope that we presented to the 80-year-old grandfather to wear on his actual birthday.”

The trip is designed with a people-to-people approach, with the objective of bringing different age groups of the traveling family together, as well as to bring American visitors and locals together.

The trip is appropriate for people aged 7 and above. It offers hands-on experiences, interactions with locals of the same age groups as the visitors and participation in festivals. The tour was created in response to a robust demand for milestone trips: family celebrations of milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries.

The package offers many opportunities for family members of different age groups to share experiences that appeal to young as well as older travelers, such as shopping in bazaars, trekking through the mountains on horseback, riding camels with nomadic families and their herds, sleeping in yurts under the stars in the Kyzyl Kum and Karakum deserts, and eating breakfast by a campfire near a fiery gas crater. Workshops will be offered for learning traditional crafts.

Prices for the 15-day itinerary start at $6,140 per person double occupancy, land-only. The price includes four-star and boutique hotels, domestic flights from Ashgabad to Dashoguz and Tashkent to Almaty, ground transportation including comfortable road vehicles and the train from Samarkand to Tashkent, visa support, most meals, entrance fees, performances and folklore shows.

There is a 30 percent discount for travelers age 12 and under. Custom-designed shorter programs cost less.

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