For better or worse, Instagram can make the world seem like a pretty small place. It’s easy to feel like you’ve already “seen” so much of the planet without ever leaving the comfort of your own bed. But, there are still far-flung destinations that most typical travelers rarely trek to. This year, Exodus Travels is looking to explore no less than five such destinations on one, all-new hardcore adventure and photography tour.
The aptly named Five Stans of the Silk Road Photography Adventure looks to be a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime trip. Over 23 days, travelers will walk in the footsteps of Genghis Khan across five countries along the Silk Road. It’s a vast landscape of inhospitable desert, lush valleys, pristine lakes, and rugged mountains spread across the five former Soviet Republics of Central Asia including Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.
Exodus confirms, “It’s a photographer’s dream trip – but make no mistake, it’s also pretty hardcore.”
This is an adventurous journey designed for amateur and expert photographers who appreciate the value in earning their shot. Along one of the world’s most historical routes — a route defined by centuries of conquering, trade, war, philosophy, and espionage — the 16-person group will have the opportunity to photograph grand palaces, Far East bazaars, Soviet monuments, and royal mausoleums. Specific highlights include a visit to Turkmenistan’s giant, 45-year-old ‘Gates of Hell’ burning gas pit, the city of Merv (a UNESCO World Heritage Site ravaged by Mongolian Hordes 800 years ago), the beautiful Arslanbob Nature Reserve (home to the world’s oldest and largest walnut forest), the lakes and villages of the Fann and Tien Shan Mountains, and the stunning architecture and ruins of some of the world’s most incredible mosques.
Not surprisingly, this isn’t your typical hop-on/hop-off bus tour complete with a bullhorn-toting guide reading placards at every stop. National Geographic Explorer George Kourounis will personally lead the trip. Not only is he a TV presenter, but also a well-traveled adventurer and world-class photographer. For travelers looking to up their camera game, Kourounis will share the shooting tips and tricks he’s learned from a lifetime on the road.
The intense Five Stans of the Silk Road Photography Adventure starts at USD $5,505 per person including accommodations, most meals, and ground transportation. But, for a 23-day adventure that tackles five of the world’s most off-the-beaten-path countries, that feels like a bargain.
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