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Study Trip

A CULTURAL TRIP TO UZBEKISTAN

Sunday, 19 - Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Leader: Khun Eileen Deeley, Council Member

 

 

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 Council member Eileen Deeley, the Siam Society is pleased to organise a revisit 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. In Khiva we will join the locals in their Navruz (New Year) celebration, the most cherished festival of the year when everyone is decked in their best traditional costumes reveling in singing, dancing and friendly competition in the best dishes provided for all to enjoy.

 

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Sunday, 19 March 2017: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

11.30 p.m. Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Intl. Airport at Row W, check in counter for Uzbekistan Airways.

Day 2: Monday, 20 March 2017: Bangkok - Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva

02.10 a.m. Depart to Tashkent by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY534.
07.00 a.m. Arrive in Tashkent.
- Transfer to hotel for check in at Lotte and breakfast / at leisure till noon.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Sightseeing in Tashkent, a modern city and the capital of Uzbekistan. It is also the largest city in Central Asia.
Visit Khazrati Imam Square in the old city, an ancient square of 16th C where the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Barak Khan Madrasah, Naamazgokh Mosque and Tillya Sheikh Mosque are located. The library of Tillya Sheikh Mosque contains the immense Osman Koran, one of the world’s oldest copies (1200 years old).
  Light dinner before going to airport
07.30 p.m. Depart Tashkent for Urgench by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY 057.
09.10 p.m. Arrive in Urgench, transfer to Hotel Oriental Star in Khiva.
 

Day 3: Tuesday, 21 March 2017: Khiva

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
- Full day Sightseeing in Khiva, visit Ichan Kala (the heart of the city where most architectural and historical monuments are located. It is called the inner city surrounded by a wall 2.2 km long).
We will have the opportunity to participate in the Uzbek people’s most favorite holiday, Navruz (New Year) celebration, in the town square with the local residents reveling in music, dance, food and games.
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 Caravan Sarai Bazaar.
Noon: Lunch and dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at Hotel Oriental Star.

Day 4: Wednesday, 22 March 2017: Khiva - Bukhara

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 a.m. Depart to 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: Packed lunch at tea house on the way.
Evening: Arrive Bukhara, check-in and overnight at Hotel Malika Bukhara.
  Dinner at hotel.

Day 5: Thursday, 23 March 2017: Bukhara

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 a.m. Full day Bukhara sightseeing.
  Bukhara has been growing constantly at the same place beginning from the 4th century BC., preserving 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 Mausoleum (Spring of the Biblical Job) 12th C, and Bolo-Khauz Mosque (1712 AD) supported by 20 wooden columns.
  Short photo stop at Ark Fortress, the royal town-within-a-town.
  Continue to visit Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble which shows that the Bukaran architectural traditions remain alive such as Nadir Divan-Begi, Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Khonako and Kukeldash Madrasah.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
 
Afternoon: Visit Covered Bazaars, 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).
  Visit the architectural ensemble of Poi-Kalon (Pedestal of the Great), the religious heart of holy Bukhara, consisting 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 Madrassah, the only madrassah (Islamic school) in Central Asia functioning in Soviet times. Visit Mogaki Attari Mosque, Madrassah Aziz Khan and Ulugbek Madrassah.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Overnight at Hotel Malika in Bukhara.

Day 6: Friday, 24 March 2017: Bukhara – Shakhrisabz - Samarkand

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 a.m. Depart Bukhara to visit Shakhrisabz, home town of Amir Timur. In the early 7th century the Chinese Buddhist traveller Xuan Zang visited the Sogdian town of Kesh (Shakhrisabz) on his journey to Indian for Buddhist sutras.
  Visit Ak Saray Palace ruins, Dorut Tilovat – the 14th century complex of Kok Gumboz Mosque, Madrasah and Mausoleums of Shamsiddin Kulol, a Sufic master. (270 km).
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue to Samarkand (88 km.)
  Samarkand, the capital of ancient Sogdiana, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is twenty-five 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.
  On arrival, visit Registan Square to see the three beautiful madrassahs.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Check-in and overnight at Hotel Diyora in Samarkand.

Day 7: Saturday, 25 March 2017: Samarkand

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
08:30 a.m. Full day 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.
- Lunch and dinner at local restaurant.
Evening: Overnight at Hotel Diyora in Samarkand.
 

Day 8: Sunday, 26 March 2017: Samarkand – Tashkent

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Visit Afrosiab History Museum that  house  relics and archaeological finds dating as far back as the 6th century BC from the Afrosiab kingdom, the ancient core of Samarkand located on the nearby hill by the same name.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Take high speed train to Tashkent.
- Arrive in Tashkent, transfer to local restaurant for dinner.
Evening: Check-in and overnight at Hotel Lotte, Tashkent.

Day 9: Monday, 27 March 2017: Tashkent - Bangkok

- Breakfast at the hotel.
11:00 a.m. Visit State Museum of History of Uzbekistan and visit Saligokh street, known locally as “Broadway”, the modern walking street where shopping centers, fashion shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes are located.
Noon: Lunch by own arrangement.
Afternoon: Visit the Square of Opera and Ballet Theatre and Alisher Navoi Opera Theater.
07:00 p.m. Dinner at local restaurant.
08:00 p.m. Transfer to Tashkent Airport.
11:00 p.m. Depart Tashkent for Bangkok by Uzbekistan Airways flight HY 531.

Day 10: Tuesday, 28 March 2017: Bangkok

07:05 a.m. Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Intl. Airport.

 

Booking

Bt. 105,000 (or Bt. 108,000 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 9,000. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges.  A deposit of Baht 35,000 and a photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be not confirmed until deposit has been made. Payment in full is required one month before the start of the trip (i.e. by Tuesday 21 February 2017). 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.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes airfares, airport transfers, 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 8 dinners, accommodation for 2 persons per room, entrance fees, tips to local guide and driverand other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), personal expenses, etc.

Cancellation charge:

Cancellation after booking:                                          Deposit forfeited
14 days before the start of the trip:                              30% of the tour cost
13-10 days before 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 Pinthip.