The Silk Roads

This is an educator idea for teaching the significance of the Silk Roads to cultural development. The idea involves linking a map of the Silk Roads during China's Han Dynasty to Italian explorer Marco Polo’s descriptions of the area and to current-day photographs.

Geography, Social Studies, World History

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Ideas for Use in the Classroom Marco Polo was an Italian explorer who traveled with his family across Asia. The family left home in 1271 C.E. and arrived at Xanadu, the summer palace of the Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan, in 1275. Marco’s father Nicolo was a merchant from Venice, Italy, and he had established a profitable trading relationship with China. To make trading with China easier, the Polos embarked on their journey from Venice to establish a home in what is now Uzbekistan. They traveled by sea to the Persian Gulf, and then they took a caravan route across the Gobi Desert. Their journey took them through cities that were centers of trade in the ancient world. Because silk was a highly coveted trade good, the route the Polos took to China became known as the Silk Road. As the map shows, however, the term “Silk Road” is not limited to the one route the Polos followed, but rather, it is a network of routes that were established during the Han Dynasty, centuries before the Polos traveled, when China opened up trade with other countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and East Africa. The map shows the Silk Roads during the Han Dynasty. Use the map’s legend to discuss the goods traded and mercantilism in the ancient world. To explain the significance of the Silk Roads, show how they promoted cultural development. Explain that after the Polos arrived in China, Marco spent many years exploring Asia, and he wrote a report to Kublai Khan on the riches of the area. Read excerpts from The Travels of Marco Polo. Then show pictures of the major cities that lie along the Silk Roads today. As an extension activity, have students research the culture of one these cities. Then have them write an essay or create a presentation on the significance of the Silk Roads, using the city they selected as an example.

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Unveiling Silk Road Tours: National Geographic Adventures with Minzifa Travel

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Embarking on Silk Road Tours: National Geographic Insights by Minzifa Travel

Discovering silk road tours inspired by national geographic.

Experience the Silk Road like never before with the captivating insights of National Geographic and the expertise of Minzifa Travel. In this article, we unravel the tapestry of Silk Road tours that combine the exceptional knowledge of National Geographic with the personalized touch of Minzifa Travel. Join us on an adventure that brings history, culture, and exploration to life.

Enriching Cultural Experiences: Silk Road Tours

1. cultural immersion: tracing the historic route.

The collaboration between National Geographic and Minzifa Travel introduces a new dimension to Silk Road tours. Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures and historical wonders of this legendary trade route, guided by the expertise of two renowned names.

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2. expert insights: unveiling silk road’s secrets.

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3. personalized journeys: crafting unforgettable memories.

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Why Choose Minzifa Travel’s National Geographic Silk Road Tours?

Unmatched expertise and knowledge, 1. two decades of silk road exploration.

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Personalized Attention

2. crafting your journey with care.

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Lasting Impressions

3.creating memories to treasure.

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Embark on a National Geographic Silk Road Journey

Minzifa Travel invites you to embark on a journey that blends the wisdom of National Geographic with our decades of Silk Road expertise. Explore the Silk Road in a way that’s both educational and deeply immersive. Discover the cultural heritage, historical significance, and hidden gems of this legendary route with the insights of National Geographic and the personalized touch of Minzifa Travel. Begin your Silk Road adventure today and let us guide you through a transformative exploration.

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The Five Stans of the Silk Road

26 days, bishkek to ashgabat.

national geographic silk road tour

For the foreseeable future, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Uzbekistan online E-Visa website is not accepting any applications for travellers from a number of countries worldwide. Please ensure you check visa information specific to your destination and nationality found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page using this link As of May 12th, 2023, Turkmenistan border officials have introduced new entry requirements. Please check the ‘Visa and Entry Requirements’ section under Tour Details for more information.

  • Full itinerary
  • Tour details

See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.

Bishkek to Ashgabat

Is this tour for me, travel style: classic.

All of the highlights, culture, access, and I-can’t-believe-we-did-that moments, all at a great price.

Service Level: Standard

Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character; mix of public and private transport.

Physical Rating: 3 - Average

Some tours may include light hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, avg 14

Age requirement: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Check Your Visa Requirements

Before booking, use our handy entry requirements tool so you know which documents you need to enter and travel through the countries on your trip.

Creating ripples that change lives

The Ripple Score is an honest evaluation of how often we use local businesses and services to create each tour. With this score you can see the percentage of our local expenses that stay in the communities you visit. Learn more

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Highlights from The Five Stans of the Silk Road

More from the five stans of the silk road.

Map of the route for The Five Stans of the Silk Road

Places visited

  • Turkmenistan

Day 1 Bishkek

Arrive at any time.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Day 2 bishkek/chong-kemin.

After breakfast, embark on a city tour of Bishkek before travelling to the serenity of Chong-Kemin Valley. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Tonight, stay in a cozy guest house run by Ashuu villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village and savour a home-cooked traditional dinner.

Meals included:

Day 3 chong-kemin/song kul.

In the morning, opt for a hike to the nearby mountains or explore the famous gorges of Chong-Kemin. After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive along the Kalmak-Ashuu mountain pass to Song Kul Lake. Immerse yourself in Kyrgyz culture with an overnight stay in a traditional yurt. Experience daily nomadic life and wander the breathtaking landscape. With an altitude of 3,016 meters above sea level, it's possible to experience four seasons in one day! Indulge in delicious home-cooked cuisine for dinner, then get cozy in the yurt around the stove.

Day 4 Song Kul/Tamga

Spend the morning soaking in all the beauty of Song Kul Lake before departing for Kochkor to learn the importance of felt-making to Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn the craft during a hands-on workshop creating a small version of the traditional carpet known as ala-kiyiz, and enjoy lunch together. Afterward, head to Tamga village in the clutches of the Terskey Ala-Too and celestial Issyk-Kol’ Lake, where you'll spend the night at a village guesthouse and get to know the local community members.

Day 5 Tamga/Karakol

Enjoy a free morning getting to know this isolated village. Transfer to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre to observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. After Lunch at Ak Orgoo, drive to Kyrgyzstan's 4th largest city - Karakol. Stop for a visit at the Prejevalskiy Museum, dedicated to the famous Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky, followed by a city tour. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century.

Day 6 Karakol

After breakfast take a short drive to Jety-Oguz Gorge, located in the footsteps of Terskey Ala-Too Mountains, and visit famous unique red rock formations called “Broken Heart and “Seven Bulls”. Then, hike to the valley of wildflowers and waterfall called “Girl’s Braids”. Return to Karakol and have a free afternoon to explore. In the evening enjoy dinner with local family

Day 7 Karakol/Saty Village

Cross the border into Kazakhstan on the journey to Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. On arrival, jump in a Russian 4x4 for the ride to Kaindy Lake, then embark on a trek to explore the sunken forest. Soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eerie sight of submerged trees. Spend the night in a homestay and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals for a true Kazakh experience.

Day 8 Saty Village/Almaty

Depart early this morning for Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Boasting stunning shades of red, orange, and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. On arrive in Almaty, take a city tour visiting sights such as Independence Square, Zenkov Cathedral, Panfilov's Park, and the striking WWII memorial. Time permitting, opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafés.

Day 9 Almaty/Dushanbe

In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on the Varzob River. Upon arrival enjoy a tour of Dushanbe, visiting the main monuments, museum, and mosque.

Day 10 Dushanbe/Kuli Iskandarkul/ Gazza Village

Enjoy a morning drive through the valleys and mountains to Kuli Iskandarkul. Pass along Alexander the Great's lake and go on a short hike to Iskander Darya waterfall. After lunch continue the drive to our overnight stay at a Community Guest house in Gazza Village. Meet the local people and explore the gorgeous landscape of the Fann Mountains. Upon arrival to Gazza village the group will set out on a walk followed by dinner at local family's home.

Day 11 Gazza Village

After breakfast, embark on a hike alongside Voru River to visit Voru village (one of the old Villages of Fan Mountains). After the village exploration, head back to to Community guest house. Spend the afternoon at leisure. Opt to join a hike to picturesque Khushtarita valley. Have dinner in a community guest house with the group.

Day 12 Gazza Village to Khujand

Continue on to Khujand, stopping first in Istaravshan to explore a local mosque and Mug Teppe, an ancient citadel fortress stormed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before continuing the drive to Khujand. Wander the city in the afternoon, visiting the Historical Museum of Sughd, resembling a castle, and the Mausoleum of Sheik Muslekheddin.

Day 13 Khujand/Tashkent

Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent, where modern skyscrapers mix with Soviet-era architecture and mosaic mausoleums. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.

Day 14 Tashkent

Spend the day freely exploring this unique bustling city. Check out one of the many museums, wander the streets admiring the modern, Soviet-era architecture, venture up Tashkent Tower (which offers city views from its observation deck), or wander through the bazaar.

Day 15 Tashkent/Samarkand

Travel on to Samarkand, known for intricately beautiful mosques and mausoleums, situated on the Silk Road. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum, dedicated to the famous conqueror who once hoped to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan.

Day 16 Samarkand

Embark on a city tour, visiting Ulugbek Observatory, Shaki Zinda complex, the bazaar, Bibi Khanum, and Registan Square. With a free afternoon, continue exploring the Samarkand sights, have a cuppa in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar. Opt to explore the Tomb of Prophet Daniel, famous for the Biblical story of Daniel and the lions.

Day 17 Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp

Travel out into the desert to visit Chashma Complex, a pilgrimage site in the territory of Nurata, dominated by ruins of Alexander the Great's fortress, Juma mosque, a bath-house, and the ancient Panjvakta mosque. All of this, hiding a holy spring believed to heal diseases. After exploring the complex, head to Aidarkul Lake and opt for a swim before continuing on for an overnight stay in a local yurt camp. Enjoy an authentic Uzbekistan dinner and an evening Kazakh singing show.

Day 18 Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara

Travel to Bukhara, known as one of the most charming cities in the country, and get your bearings on an orientation walk. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, enjoy a traditional dinner cooked by a local family, visit a hammam (bathhouse), or just relax in the pleasant atmosphere of this Silk Road city.

Day 19 Bukhara

Explore Bukhara on a half-day guided walking tour around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets, or trading domes, that make up the Old City. A centre for pottery, cloth, and carpets, Bukhara is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees. Wander the artisan shops and narrow twisting streets and alleyways, or sit at a café table and let the evening drift by. Opt to watch a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai, or indulge in a rejuvenating hammam bathhouse.

Day 20 Bukhara/Khiva

Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert on a full day's journey to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva, well worth the arduous drive. Get to know this peaceful, picturesque city on a late afternoon orientation walk, and pick your favourite spots to explore more in-depth tomorrow.

Day 21 Khiva

Before exploring this historic town on your own, enjoy a guided tour to learn about local life here. Wander through the narrow labyrinth mudbrick alleyways of old town, bargain with locals at the bazaar, admire the madrassas and blue mosaic domes, climb up towering minarets, and venture into the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. Explore the inner walls of Ichon-Qala, and enjoy spectacular sunset views of the sand-coloured mosques and homes.

Day 22 Khiva/Dashoguz

Spend the morning in Khiva, enjoying your last moments here to experience anything you couldn't squeeze in yesterday, or do some last minute shopping. After lunch, drive to the Uzbek-Turkmen border and continue to Dashoguz. Take an orientation walk and opt for dinner in local café, or explore the city and it's Bai Market.

Day 23 Dashoguz/Darvaza

Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kunya Urgench to visit the ancient capital of the Khorezmian Empire. After lunch, continue to the Kara-Kum desert and witness the fiery Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Gates of Hell." This evening, enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner and spend the night camping under the stars at a yurt camp.

Day 24 Darvaza/Ashgabat

After breakfast, begin the journey to the capital of Turkmenistan - Ashgabat. On the way, stop near the community of Erbent and admire its golden sand dunes that stretch out to the horizon. On arrival in Ashgabat, spend the evening at leisure. Opt to visit the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, also known as Gypjak Mosque, and capture the sun setting on the symmetrical minarets and golden domes.

Day 25 Ashgabat

Spend the day exploring bustling Ashgabat. Enjoy a tour of the city in the morning, visiting several city treasures such as the Monument of Independence and the National museum or Neutrality Arch. Afterward, opt to venture to the ancient ruins of Nisa, or continue exploring Ashgabat.

Day 26 Ashgabat

Depart at any time.

What's Included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Yurt Building Demonstration, Barskoon
  • Your Welcome Moment: Welcome Moment - Meet Your CEO and Group, Bishkek
  • Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Song Köl
  • Your Local Living Moment: Tamga Village Stay, Tamga
  • Your Local Living Moment: Community Homestay, Kuli Iskandarkul
  • Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Aydar Kŭl Camp
  • Half-day city tour (Bishkek)
  • Burana Tower visit (Bishkek)
  • Przhevalsky Museum visit (Karakol)
  • Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu)
  • Saty village stay
  • City tour (Almaty)
  • Charyn Canyon Visit
  • City tour (Dushanbe)
  • Waterfall hike (Kŭli Iskandarkŭl)
  • City tour (Khujand)
  • Mug Yepe Visit (Istaravshan)
  • Market visit (Khujand)
  • City tour (Samarkand)
  • Walking tour (Bukhara)
  • Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit (Nurata)
  • Fortress of Alexander the Great visit (Nurata)
  • City tour (Bukhara)
  • Khiva Ancient City tour
  • City tour (Tashkent)
  • Felt-making workshop visit
  • Hikes and picnic lunch
  • Daravaz gas crater ("Door to Hell") visit
  • Erbent visit
  • City tour (Ashgabat)
  • Internal flight
  • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Standard hotels/guesthouses (21 nts), yurts (3 nts), homestay (1 nt).

25 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 9 dinners Allow USD490-640 for meals not included.

Transportation

Private vehicles, plane, walking.

Staff & experts

CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.

Available extras  (Add these to your tour when you book)

My own room - from $979.00.

If you're travelling solo and would prefer to have your own private room throughout your trip, select this option during the online booking process.

Make it a private tour

Book this tour as a private departure, with your own CEO and all the benefits of a G Adventures group tour.

Exploring with GIS: A StoryMap of the Silk Road

Join journalist and National Geographic Fellow, Paul Salopek, as he follows in our ancestors' footsteps—literally! Paul’s 10-year trek on foot follows the path of human migration and aims to tell local stories about our changing world. Story maps from Paul's photos, videos, and writing dispatches help share these stories with the world, like his modern take on the ancient Silk Road. This "road" was a network for goods, people, information, and culture to travel between distant parts of Asia and other parts of the world. Paul's journey takes him along part of this influential route and shows him how important the area still is for many of the same reasons. Telling stories like these through maps brings us from a global level to the local level and can inspire us all to be more global citizens.

Geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Human Geography, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations

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IMAGES

  1. The Silk Road in Afghanistan

    national geographic silk road tour

  2. Silk Road Express 8 Day Package Tour from Kashgar to Dunhuang

    national geographic silk road tour

  3. Connecting the Globe Along the Silk Road

    national geographic silk road tour

  4. Silk Road Virtual Tour

    national geographic silk road tour

  5. Highlights Along The Silk Road, Journey Of A Lifetime

    national geographic silk road tour

  6. Silk Road Threads through History

    national geographic silk road tour

VIDEO

  1. The Origins of Silk Road

  2. The Silk Road

  3. silk road tour part 1

  4. Silk Road Tour 11

  5. Travelling on the Silk Road

  6. National Geographic Treasure Seekers The Silk Road

COMMENTS

  1. Silk Road Travel Tours

    Silk Road Travel Tours | National Geographic Expeditions Follow in the footsteps of merchants, Mongols, and princes as we embark on a travel tour along the ancient and legendary...

  2. The Silk Road

    Kharanaq, Iran A tourist looks around the ancient city of Kharanaq, Iran. Towns such as these played a crucial role in the operation and success of the Silk Road. Photograph by Mekdet Article Vocabulary The Silk Road is neither an actual road nor a single route.

  3. The Silk Road

    Overview Full Screen Central Asia is the heart of the Silk Road, ancient caravan routes used for the silk and spice trade between East and West. Experience the past and present of five Central Asian countries as you explore legendary cities, visit religious sites and museums, attend cultural programs, and meet local experts. Highlights Include

  4. The Silk Roads

    Photograph The Silk Road Map The Silk Road was a collection of routes that sent goods throughout Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and Europe. Map by National Geographic Background Info Ideas for Use in the Classroom Marco Polo was an Italian explorer who traveled with his family across Asia.

  5. Central Asia: On the trail of the Silk Road

    A five-minute drive away is the shiny, restored Shah-i-Zinda (Tomb of the Living King) necropolis, one of Uzbekistan's most poignant sights. A place of pilgrimage, it's here that the grave of Qusam ibn-Abbas — a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed — lies, beneath a simple stone marker.

  6. The Silk Road: The world on a string

    Published 11 Oct 2016, 18:00 BST, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 16:44 BST Silk factory, Yodgorlik, Uzbekistan. Photograph by Emma Thomson The man places the oval white bud in the centre of my palm. I can barely feel it's there, it's so light. It rolls over and the light shafting through the door illuminates the finest of fibres fraying from its edges.

  7. 10 Best Silk Road Tours & Trips 2024

    4.3 (21 reviews) "One of the great tour, we enjoyed most. Nice places, nice food. Great tour organizer...." Destinations Tashkent, Samarkand +2 more Age Range 5 to 90 year olds Country Region Silk Road Operated in English +3 more Operator Steppe Journeys Duration 8 days Price per day $123 From US$980 View tour Download Brochure View Map Historical

  8. Video of the week: The Silk Road

    This week, we follow Nicolas Bori as he traverses the astonishing Silk Road By National Geographic Traveller (UK) Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:01 BST , Updated 7 Jul 2021, 13:37 BST

  9. National Geographic Out of Eden Walk

    Mapping Police Stops on a Global Walk. To date, the Out of Eden Walk has logged 84 encounters—friendly, and not so much—with security officers in 14 countries. Editor's Pick. Jan 1, 2018 Dispatch. Near Khurramabad, Pakistan.

  10. The Silk Road: An adventure concludes

    Published 4 Nov 2016, 15:16 GMT, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 17:27 BST Istanbul, Turkey. Photograph by Emma Thomson "Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." - Miriam Beard

  11. Explore Silk Road Tours with National Geographic & Minzifa Travel

    1. Two Decades of Silk Road Exploration With a legacy of over 20 years in Silk Road travel, Minzifa Travel's expertise perfectly complements National Geographic's insights, offering you a comprehensive and enriching experience. Personalized Attention 2. Crafting Your Journey with Care

  12. Samarkand: The romanticism of the Silk Road

    Of all the Silk Road cities, none rings with as much romanticism as 2,500-year-old Samarkand. Seated at the heart of Central Asia, it was the cultural crossroads through which all traders and travellers passed. Alexander the Great visited in 329BC, when it was known as Marakanda, and declared: "Everything I have heard about Samarkand is true ...

  13. National Geographic Out of Eden Walk

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is retracing on foot the global migration of our ancestors in a 21,000-mile, seven-year odyssey that begins in Ethiopia and ends in Tierra del Fuego. ... Walking Tours; Maps; Oldest First; Newest First; Editor's Picks. The Journey ... Archer carved into Silk Road-era ...

  14. Silk Road Virtual Tour

    Paul de Tilly 10 months ago A virtual tour of the Silk Road, from Rome to China, with visits to significant sites along the way.

  15. The Five Stans of the Silk Road

    See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to ...

  16. Exploring with GIS: A StoryMap of the Silk Road

    Join journalist and National Geographic Fellow, Paul Salopek, as he follows in our ancestors' footsteps—literally! Paul's 10-year trek on foot follows the path of human migration and aims to tell local stories about our changing world. Story maps from Paul's photos, videos, and writing dispatches help share these stories with the world, like his modern take on the ancient Silk Road.

  17. Silk Road

    Travel History Azerbaijan Cities More The Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Ani was built in 1215 alongside the Akhuryan River, the modern border between Turkey and Armenia.

  18. national geographic silk road tour

    Silk Road. The silk road was a network of paths connecting civilizations in the East and West that was well traveled for approximately 1,400 years. Merchants on... A National Geographic Expert, Expedition Leader, and local guides will accompany this trip.... Australian Cycle Tours Great Walks of New Zealand North America Active... Overland Silk ...