Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Explore 5 Former Soviet Republics on this Hardcore 23-Day Adventure Tour

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.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
Copenhagen has a new program to encourage sustainable tourism with these perks
Copehagen rewards tourists who make sustainable decisions
Waterway in Copenhagen, Denmark

This summer, Copenhagen will reward tourists when they make sustainable decisions. With the CopenPay program, officials seek to reduce tourism’s environmental impact on the city of 600,000. There’s certainly a need for that — with historic attractions like Frederiksberg Palace and the Little Mermaid sculpture  — and more than 12 million booking overnight stays last year.

Throughout Europe, there has also been recent pushback against over-tourism, with Barcelona locals shooting water pistols at visitors, and protests taking place in the Canary Islands. The Copenhagen program — while not aimed at reducing tourism — could make locals rest easier. Here’s how Copenhagen will encourage environmentally friendly tourism.
Green choices for cultural experiences: How Copenhagen will reward sustainable tourism
Copenhagen, Denmark Johan Mouchet via Unsplas

Read more
Cross the San Francisco Bay in this zero-emissions ferry
This ferry produces zero emissions and is free to ride
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco


Beginning July 19, the MV Sea Change will navigate the San Francisco Bay, emitting only water vapor and costing nothing to ride. During the trip from Pier 41 to the Downtown San Francisco Bay Terminal, hydrogen fuel cells provide power, making the trip carbon-free. It’s a big moment for green-conscious transportation.

Read more
Next level travel memories: Seabourn introduces photography course
Seabourn offers new photography course
Photographers onboard a Seabourn expedition


A vacation or cruise only lasts so long. During that time, you focus on every moment, enjoying new places, natural wonders, and unique foods. After returning home, photographs are an ideal way to re-live those special days. Why not make them even better?

Read more