Dive into the ancient history and gorgeous landscapes along a portion of the Silk Road on the Golden Eagle Luxury Train. Taking you through Russia and various countries in Central Asia, this twelve-night journey is sure to astound you. Along the way, you will see ornate Russian architecture mixed with Islamic mosques and crumbling ruins. Modern oasis cities rise out of the desert and stun you with their grandeur. The ancient city of Khiva, the ruins of Merv, and the modern city of Ashgabat are only some of the awe-inspiring destinations along this tour. All of this is framed by luxury rail, providing you with comfortable accommodations, fine dining, lounge areas, language lessons, guided tours, and superb service.
Starting in Russia, you spend a few days in Moscow touring the city. Then, board the Golden Eagle Luxury Train and embark on your journey to Almaty. Your first top is Volgograd where you will learn about the Battle of Stalingrad. Then, truly plunge into the history of the Silk Road as cities over two thousand years old dot the next leg of the journey. Explore the Kara Kum desert and cities like Khiva, Ashgabat, Tashkent, and Almaty, among many others. After twelve nights and thirteen days, your journey along the famed Silk Road comes to an end in Almaty.
If you like these unique tours, take a look at the similar single-departure journeys listed below:
Arctic Explorer, Caspian Odyssey, Heart of Persia, Land of the Midnight Sun, Persian Odyssey, Silk Road, Taste of the Silk Road, Trans-Mongolian Express, Winter Wonderland, Train Information
Arrive in Moscow where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Baltschug Kempinski hotel, located at the heart of Moscow. With magnificent views of the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral, and the indulgence of this outstanding accommodation, your adventure is steeped in extraordinary luxury from the beginning. On this first night, you will enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel and meet your fellow travelers. A whirlwind of indulgence, adventure, and unforgettable experiences lies in the days ahead of you.
In Moscow, you may choose to attend a performance at the renowned Bolshoi Theatre. (Tickets must be pre-booked and are subject to schedule and availability) If you would like to extend your stay in Moscow, contact Palace Tours for the chance to explore more of the city.
Spend the day touring Moscow and its best attractions. Visit the Kremlin, standing impressively along the Moscow River, and learn about its role as a spiritual, historical, and political heart of the city. Here, see treasures of Tsars past in the Armoury Chamber: the Imperial Crown of Russia, the Orloff Diamond, and the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible. You will also visit Red Square, which is framed by St Basil's Cathedral and its onion-domed spires, the elaborate façade of the GUM department store, and the poignancy of Lenin's tomb.
The Freedom of Choice touring option provides the opportunity to instead travel outside of Moscow to Sergiev Posad. Here, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia, dating back to the 14th century, draws admiration as the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is currently home to over 300 monks. In this town, you will also find the State Tretyakov Gallery, the National Museum of Fine Art.
Your anticipated journey on the Golden Eagle Luxury Train finally arrives when you board the train in the morning. You arrival, however, is not without fanfare. At the Moscow Kazansky Station, you are greeted in the Imperial Waiting Room with a glass of Russian Champagne and canapes as you mingle with the other passengers, anticipation and energy rising with every passing minute. 30 minutes before your departure, attendants escort you to Platform 1 where a military brass band announces your arrival to the Golden Eagle.
On selected departures, the Golden Eagle train will be hauled by a Russian steam locomotive for the first leg of the journey. There will be an opportunity to photograph the locomotive at the station.
Once on board, the luxury and style of the Golden Eagle will astound you. Settle into your private cabin, and dine in one of the beautiful restaurant cars to start this adventure.
Your first stop along your journey is Volgograd, located in the south of Russia and perched on the Volga River. You may better recognize this city as Stalingrad- its name in Soviet Times. It was the scene for the most important, as well as largest and bloodiest, battle in World War II. The Mamayev Kurgan war memorial and museum commemorate the heroic Russians who altered the course of the war when they halted the Nazi advance into Russia. Return to the train after a sobering and meaningful day.
The Kara-Kum Desert stretches out in all directions during this relaxing day on board the train. Spend time admiring the landscape from your cabin or the social heart of the Golden Eagle, the Bar Lounge Car. You may also choose to participate in Russian language lessons, becoming closer connected with the destinations along this journey.
Step out onto the streets of Khiva, one of the most important trading posts on the Silk Road. This city was founded 2,500 years ago and is now a World Heritage Site. An oasis of history and culture, this city is rich with impressive architecture dating back to ancient times. Mosques, madrassas, bazaars, and minarets prove its timelessness and position at the crossroads of Mongolia, Russia, China, and Persia. Take a moment to appreciate the uniqueness of this coveted experience as you stand in such a meaningful location.
Rising out of the sand, and sitting between the Kara Kum and Kopet Dag mountain range, is the modern city of Ashgabat, known as the "Las Vegas of the Kara Kum." This city is your next stop along the Silk Road, as it was built on the ruins of the ancient Silk Road city of Konjikala. Russians took over the surviving village in the 19th century, but an earthquake in 1948 devastated the city's rapid expansion. Now, however, Ashgabat is a bustling metropolis. The city does not seem to fit in with its barren desert surroundings, as it is characterized by elaborate fountains, golden domes, modern towers, and the world's highest concentration of white marble buildings. Highlights include visits to the National Museum and Kipchak Mosque.
Transfer to the ancient remains of Merv, which lie to the west of the city of Mary. Merv's ruins tell of its once important position as an oasis city along the Silk Road. In the 12th century it was briefly the largest city in the world and has a history stretching back to the 3rd millennium BC. In 1794, the city collapsed when the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the damn that its citizens relied on for water and life. Now a World Heritage Site and archeological park, you can wander its remains and contemplate its history.
Your first stop in Uzbekistan is the ancient city of Bukhara, renovated in 1999 during its 2,500th anniversary. These ancient cities have lined your trip thus far, but they are not any less impressive than the previous. Bukhara is known for The Ark, a great fortress that was once the residence of the despotic leaders who ruled until the Soviet era, starting in 1920. Now a tourist attraction, it houses museums detailing its extensive history.
Later, travel a few miles north of the city to the Palace of the Moon and Stars, the summer residence of Bukhara's emirs. You will see a conglomeration of Bukhara and Russian architecture and explore the museums, enchanted by divine pottery, needlework, and stained glass. In the evening, if time and weather permit, gather on the station platform for a barbecue before departing on the train.
Explore Samarkand's legacy potentially stretching back to the Paleolithic era. From being a famous stop on the Silk Road, containing architectural remains from the 14th to 17th century, and serving as the capital of the great Mongol empire of Timur and his successors, Samarkand's history as one of the greatest cities of Central Asia comes to life around you. Become entranced by the remarkable mixture of Isalmic and Turko-Mongol architecture, buildings dominated by rich blues and golds, and the detailed motifs of gardens throughout the city.
During your tour of the city, you will visit the heart of the city, the noble Registan Square, the elegant Bibi Khanum Mosque, and Ulag Beg observatory, built in 1428 as one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories. Return to the Registan Square before dinner, now illuminated as night falls.
Tour Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, an impressive city that has been reconstructed multiple times throughout history. The city was rebuilt in 1219 after Genghis Kahn left it destroyed, and developed as a stop on the Silk Road. Most recently, the city experienced a devastating earthquake in 1966 and has since been restored in Soviet styles.
Your day in Tashkent takes you through the streets of the Old Town, the Railway Museum, and the Museum of Applied Arts. Tucked in a small library, nestled within narrow streets lined by traditional homes and religious buildings, is one of the most sacred relics of Islam: the world's oldest Koran. This experience, along with each stop in Tashkent, will be fulfilling, intriguing, and thought-provoking.
Your destination in Kazakhstan is its largest city: Almaty, deriving its name from "alma" meaning "apple." Known for wide, tree-lined boulevards and thriving apple orchards, and cradled in the foothills of the breathtaking Tien Shan Mountains, Almaty offers a wide range of attractions. A city tour takes you through sights such as Panfilov Park and the Zenkhov Cathedral, built entirely of wood. Later, you will venture out of the city to the Chimbulak resort and take a cable car ride, giving you a picturesque view of Almaty and the surrounding mountains.
After breakfast, transfer to the Almaty International Airport for your flight home. If you would like to extend your journey, contact Palace Tours for more information.
The luxury Golden Eagle Train will be your hotel on wheels for the majority of your journey. The train includes a luxurious lounge car, a restaurant, and three types of cabins:
Imperial Suite Details
Gold Cabin Details
Silver Cabin Details
Do you have tour managers onboard the Golden Eagle?
We have experienced Tour Managers on-board and they are renowned for their travel knowledge and their organizational abilities which allow you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise. Also we receive exceptional passenger comments about our Tour Managers and they ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday. Usually there is one Tour Manager onboard a train, and also a number of assistants depending on the total number of passengers.
Do you provide arrival and departure airport transfers?
At the start of the tour, arrival transfers from the international airport to our tour hotel are covered. As the tour ends departure transfers from our tour hotel to the airport are included.
What is included in terms of hotel and train accommodation?
During the tour on the Golden Eagle you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas. However, you will find your hotel room or cabin on-board the train a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. All hotels that you stay in will be of five-star standard, or the best available. Room upgrades are available on request, subject to availability and at additional cost.
Is the price of meals included in the tour?
The price of all the meals is included in the tour cost. This starts with dinner on the first day and ends with breakfast on the last day, unless otherwise stated. The Golden Eagle features one or two Restaurant Cars where you can dine on excellent food.
What is the quality of service onboard the train?
On-board the Golden Eagle you can expect service which is attentive, friendly and yet un-intrusive. Attendants in your train car will provide housekeeping and bedding turndown services and they will also assist you to ensure that you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water will be served to you in your cabin.
What is included in guided off train excursions?
During the off train excursions, guides will bring alive the history and culture of each place you visit on our rail cruise. All our tours come with a packed sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train. These will bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. Also you will find special little touches included and these will help create magical memories.
Are there any doctors or medical facilities onboard the train?
All our tours have a doctor onboard and he will travel with the group during the entire journey. This means that medical assistance is always available. Importantly the doctor is on call 24 hours a day and can deliver primary care to you onboard the train. Usually the doctors will speak in English and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK. In the case of exceptional circumstances and the doctor does not speak English, translation will be provided.
Are there any Porterage facilities?
Once you are on-board the train, you will only have to unpack once. Then your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout the 14 day journey. However if necessary, Porterage will be provided between the hotels and stations.
Do I have to pay any tips/gratuities during the tour?
During the tour, you will not have to worry about tipping anyone on or off the train. On your rail journey with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains all gratuities are included in the tour price. We encourage passengers to refrain from offering gratuities to crew/hoteliers/drivers etc as we will tip on your behalf. In case of any exceptional service received please inform us and Golden Eagle Luxury Trains will reward people accordingly.
How many restaurant cars are included on the Golden Eagle?
On-board the Golden Eagle one or two restaurant cars will be available to guests. However, this depends on the number of guests that are booked for a particular tour. In each car you can enjoy meals prepared by our Executive Chef who is assisted by his onboard restaurant team. Meals are prepared using the very best ingredients and these are locally sourced wherever possible.
What is provided for breakfast onboard the train?
The breakfast on the train includes a wide selection of fruit, cereals, orange juice and cold plates and these are presented to you as a buffet. Alternatively you can enjoy a cooked breakfast delivered by waiters to you table along with tea and coffee.
What is provided as lunch and dinner onboard the train?
During lunch and dinner you will enjoy fine food created by the Executive Chef that is served along with great wines. Attentive service will ensure you experience a welcoming atmosphere within the restaurant car. We also ensure that your culinary experience reflects the very essence of the countries we travel through, as well as international cuisine.
What type of seating arrangement is followed in the restaurant car?
On-board the train the restaurant cars can accommodate all guests in a single sitting. Also you can make use of our open-seating policy to dine wherever, and with whomever you please.
Is there any dress code onboard the train or during tours?
Throughout the journey there is a casual dress code. In the evening we suggest smart casual.
What is included in the Bar Lounge Car?
The Bar Lounge Car is the social heart of the Golden Eagle Luxury Train. Here you can rest and relax in comfortable surroundings as you read or enjoy a game of cards with friends or fellow passengers.
What planning is included in daily tours?
In the Bar Lounge Car the Tour Manager will outline the activities included for the day. Passengers will be given printed daily itineraries throughout the tour detailing train arrival and departure timings. Up to date weather forecasts for the next destination and information on the following day’s excursions and activities will also be provided here.
What types of activities are provided to guests onboard the train?
In the Bar Lounge Car and Restaurant Cars you can partake in language lessons and engaging talks hosted by experts and you can learn more about the local history and culture of countries you are traveling through. In the evenings the resident pianist will entertain you in the Bar Lounge Car and you can make use of the bar which stays open until the last person leaves.
What is included in the Freedom of Choice touring options?
In specific cities you can customize your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice tours. In these cities off-train excursions will take in all the major attractions but in addition you can choose from a variety of activities and enjoy a tailor-made experience. All these optional activities are included in the tour cost and there are no extra charges which ensure that you get the ultimate in terms of flexibility. However, Freedom of Choice options may vary depending on train timings, minimum number of people and local weather conditions. Occasionally we may offer an optional excursion that requires extra payment. In case you do not wish to take an off-train excursion you can either stay onboard the train (Golden Eagle only) or make arrangements privately to go on your own tour. However, you will have to ensure that you are back by the departure time. In case you are not back in time, the train will not be able to wait and must leave as per the schedule.
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
When traveling on our tours you must be fully insured for any medical expenses that may be incurred. To buy travel insurance contact Palace Tours and we also recommend buying cancellation insurance in case you are unable to travel for any reason. Please contact us for more details.
What currency do I need to bring during a tour?
On-board the train US Dollars and Euros are used but guests will not need much currency. However, charges for laundry and bar bills have to be met so bring $500 in cash per person.
You can also run a 'tab' on-board and make a CASH payment at the end of the tour. We do not accept Credit cards on-board any of the trains. We also recommend passengers travel with small denominations and clean bills. Importantly, marked or torn US Dollar bills are not accepted in Russia. You will also need money to pay for souvenirs and any shopping done off the train. This can be paid for in local currency and in some instances in US Dollars. If you need to change money contact the Tour Manager and/or guides and they will provide you with more information.
Is there a safe onboard the train?
Each cabin has a safe in which you can store any cash or valuables.
Can passengers pay with credit cards and traveler’s checks in cities?
ATM machines are now available in all large towns and cities and all the hotels that we use accept major credit cards. Traveler’s checks however, are virtually impossible to exchange.
Will a representative meet me at the airport / train station?
When you arrive one of our representatives will be waiting with a Golden Eagle Luxury Trains sign. In case you are arriving by air, you will be met after immigration, and once you have collected your luggage and cleared customs. Our representative will then assist you to your transfer vehicle to the hotel.
Do any restrictions about luggage apply on the train?
Within the train there is very limited space inside the cabin for storing luggage therefore, we advise passengers to bring soft-topped luggage as it is easier to store. There is also no space to store luggage under beds. However, there is luggage storage area at the end of each carriage and we recommend that passengers unpack and store their empty luggage here. Our cabin attendants will assist with this process.
What footwear should I bring for this tour?
All our tours require some walking so we recommend that passengers bring comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles to avoid slipping.
Are toiletries provided onboard the train?
A range of L'Occitane toiletries are provided in each cabin and these include shower cream, shampoo and conditioner. Within the cabin you will also find a hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and towels.
Should I bring my prescription medication?
We advise guests to bring enough medication to last the duration of the tour. Also ensure that you have spoken to your primary care physician and received a medical clearance prior to traveling. Finally, our doctor onboard the train must be advised of prescription medication that you are traveling with.
Are vaccinations needed for the trip?
We advise guests to contact their GP or local travel clinic to get up to date information on what vaccinations are required. In case you are traveling from America you can check the CDC website if you need further information.We advise guests to contact their GP or local travel clinic to get up to date information on what vaccinations are required. In case you are traveling from America you can check the CDC website if you need further information.
What languages are tours conducted in?
The main language used for tours is English. However, guides speaking other languages are available on selected tours and these are often subject to minimum numbers of passengers requesting for a particular language, or on request at additional cost. Please contact us for more information.
Can specific dietary needs of passengers be accommodated on tours?
Most of the special dietary requirements that passengers have can be catered for. Please contact our office for further details.
Will I get access to beauty treatments onboard the train?
Beauty treatments are not available on board but are available in tour hotels.
Will I get access to internet onboard the train?
The train does not have Wi-Fi, however there are a number of internet USB adaptors, which you can use in the Golden Eagle Bar Lounge Car. These can only be used on personal laptops carried by passengers and are provided on a first come, first served basis. However, internet coverage is limited and is usually available when the train passes through larger cities and towns.
Can I use my mobile phone on the train?
When using your mobile phone on-board the train you will notice that coverage is limited. It may also be limited in rural areas. Please check with your service provider for more information on coverage.
What time should I arrive at the hotel on the first day of the tour?
We recommend that guests arrive between 11.00 and 16.00 hours, as this will give them time to join the Welcome Dinner. In most hotels check-in is at 12 noon. Early check-ins are dependent on hotel availability (charges may apply).
Are there any gym facilities onboard the train?
Gym facilities are only available in the tour hotels. There are no such facilities onboard the train; however, tours involve a moderate degree of walking.
What happens in case I require hospitalization?
We will ensure that you are escorted to a hospital and make every effort to ensure that you receive the highest possible level of care. If needed we will also get in touch with your relatives at home. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance as it will cover expenses associated with hospitalization and loss of luggage.
On average how many passengers do cabin attendants serve?
During a tour 2 cabin attendants look after 10 passengers.
Are porters available to help with baggage?
Porters are available at each of the hotels and at the station to help get luggage on and off the train.
Will I be informed about cities and places that we visit daily?
Upon boarding the train you will be given a brochure that is specific to the route and it will have details about the journey and the places covered. Additionally, passengers will receive daily updates throughout the tour with detailed timings, weather forecasts and excursion information.
What should I do if I require a foreign language interpreter?
If you require a foreign language interpreter please contact our Reservations Department, and they will do their best to accommodate all requests (charges may apply).
Who should I inform in case I go on a private off train excursion?
During the off-train excursion period, the train may be moved to another platform or depot so you should inform the Tour Manager if you intend to make you own tour plans during the day.
Can passengers in wheelchairs go on off train excursions?
Passengers in wheelchairs can go on off-train excursions but if they require a wheelchair this must be specified at the time of booking the tour. We will do our best to accommodate the request (charges will apply if assistance is required for maneuvering the wheelchair). However, please note it may not be possible to go on all of the excursions.
How many people can travel on off tour excursions?
Each bus can carry up to 35 passengers and tours may be divided into groups
Can Golden Eagle accommodate dietary restrictions?
Yes, Golden Eagle can make adjustments to your dietary restrictions, excluding Kosher needs due to the remote locations the train passes through. Just notify Palace Tours prior to booking your trip.
Where is my luggage stored, and how might I access it during a long journey?
Empty suitcases are stored at the end of each carriage. Ask your steward if you need to access your suitcase during the journey. Generally, the Golden Eagle follows an, “unpack once,” mentality whereby passengers unpack their items into their cabin at the beginning of the trip, and use a smaller carry on bag at excursions and hotel stops.
Are there safety measures or precautions in place?
There are certain safety measures already in place for passengers. Smaller numbers in group tours allow for more accountability and personal attention, and therefore a heightened sense of safety during excursions. While there has currently been no trouble in areas of Golden Eagle’s tours, if necessary, changes will be made to the itinerary. The safety of the passengers is Golden Eagle’s top priority.
Are there accommodations for families on board?
There are no interconnecting rooms on the Golden Eagle, but families spread across multiple cabins will be placed next to each other in the carriages. The Golden Eagle train is an adult-oriented train and there are no cots or changing facilities. It is up to parents if they choose to bring their children, but there is a wide range of ages aboard the train. Also, Golden Eagle adds and removes carriages depending on the size of the group on the train.
What are the main differences between the classes of cabins?
The Imperial, Gold, and Silver classes differ mainly in floorspace and the number of services provided. For instance, the Imperial Cabin is 120 square feet with a king sized bed. Private car and guide services are available, and a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon is included at the start of each journey. The Gold Cabin is 77 square feet and features a double, or bunk bed. The Silver Cabin is 60 square feet with a small bed on a lower and upper berth. Services such as laundry require an additional charge in this arrangement. All classes include Golden Eagle’s “signature touches” (such as a backpack, slippers, etc.), radio, and DVD screens. For the Gold and Imperial classes, all drinks are included. For the Silver Class, drinks are only included with meals in the Restaurant Car. Other drinks can be kept on a tab throughout the duration of the tour.
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