Clients whose idea of luxury travel is being ahead of the curve on new destinations, and bringing home souvenirs to prove it, might want to set their sights on Uzbekistan.
Silk Road Treasure Tours, which specializes in custom private and group tours to Central Asia's "Stan" countries, has created a 10-night, small-group Uzbekistan Shopper’s Paradise tour designed to coax even nonshoppers to open their wallets.
The destination is known for its ikat silks, some of which have been incorporated into designs by Gucci and Oscar de la Renta, as well as jewelry, embroidery and, of course, hand-woven rugs.
To get a firsthand look at these local crafts, the tour takes the group to bazaars and markets in Tashkent on the Great Silk Road as well as in Khiva, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz and Samarkand.
The tour is not for shoppers only, however. The itinerary includes museums and art galleries; folklore shows with dancing and music; a demonstration of hand-weaving at the Khiva Silk Carpet Workshop and ceramic-making at the Gizhduvan School of Ceramics; a visit to the Unesco World Heritage Site at Bukhara; and wine tasting in the centuries-old Nugai Karavansarai.
Eight guaranteed departure dates are set from July 21 to May 1, starting at $3,359 per person, double. The rate includes four-star and boutique hotel accommodations, domestic airfares, visa support, most meals, a wine tasting, silk- and carpet-making workshops and even Uzbek language classes.
Rates are discounted by $500 for bookings made before June 30 for Aug. 17, Sept. 11 and Oct. 5 departures. A 13-night version of the tour timed to coincide with the International Textile Expo in September is priced from $3,699. For more, visit www.silkroadtreasuretours.com.