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Central Asia & ChinaCentral Asia has acted as the crossroads for the movement of people and goods along the Great Silk Road for thousands of years. Vast deserts and rolling steppe, cut occasionally by verdant valleys, contain massive mountain ranges such as the Altai, the Kun Lun, and the Tien Shan; the latter often called the "Celestial Mountains".China is transforming itself from an ancient society into a modern day economic dynamo, and after many years of isolation, is opening its arms to visitors. This new found confidence, coupled with an abundance of cultural, historic and scenic sights makes China today's must-see destination.46Download holiday itineraries fromwww.mountainkingdoms.come: info@mountainkingdoms.comRegistan Square Samarkand, Malcolm Rutter

47telephone: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only)international telephone: +44 1453 844 400www.mountainkingdoms.comT his is the perfect trip for those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Eric Shipton, in this remote and fascinating part of China. Flying in to Kashgar we have time to experience the exotic mix of noise, colour and people, before driving on to reach the trail head. Our trek passes through soaring snow covered summits, towering limestone cliffs and into wide river valleys, where local nomads may well invite us into their yurts to sample freshly made goat's milk, yoghurt and bread. After trekking for six days and crossing the Aghil Pass (4,800m/15,748ft) we reach the Chinese base camp of K2, the world's second highest mountain, and have three days to explore and walk to view the K2 glacier. Camels carry all the equipment and occasionally us, if river levels are high. L eaving Almaty in Kazakhstan, our eight-day acclimatisation trek takes us into neighbouring Kyrgyzstan through a range of snow capped mountains, rich in botanical and cultural interest, to the vast Issyk-Kul Lake. We spend time here relaxing and swimming before continuing eastwards to a camp near Karkara River.A wildly exciting helicopter flight takes us to Base Camp at the South Inylchek Glacier, from where we trek beneath Peak Pobeda (7,439m/24,406ft). Further up the glacier we can view the striking pyramid of Khan Tengri 7,010m/22,998ft rated as one of the most beautiful peaks in the world.Extend your holiday - why not consider visiting the fabled city of Samarkand one of the most magnificent cities on the ancient Silk Road? Detailed information and prices available from our office: 0845 330 8579.T he story of the Silk Road is filled with fearless warriors, pioneering explorers and, of course, the enterprising traders who travelled in long caravans across deserts, mountains and steppe. This exciting tour focuses on three of the Silk Road's greatest cities, where trade in spices, gems and porcelain, gave rise to power and wealth. From Tashkent, we fly west and travel to Khiva, whose city walls hold a treasure trove of ancient buildings. Heading south across the Kyzyl Kum desert we spend three nights in Bukhara, where we'll walk in the covered bazaars and see the colossal Kalyan Minaret. Next we reach the fabled city of Samarkand, once a simple oasis but now filled with magnificent blue domed mosques, ornately decorated madrasas and fascinating collections of ancient treasures. Finally we travel to Tashkent by train, and return to the modern world.Kashgar to K2 Base Camp Trek An exciting trek through wild, dramatic and unspoilt scenery to the foot of the 'savage mountain'. The Celestial Mountains Trek Spectacular mountain and glacier trekking in the little-visited 'heavenly' Tien Shan mountains.Silk Road to Samarkand A kaleidoscope of cultures, landscapes and architecture in one superb tour.£1,325£1,795£1,995£2,545£2,450£3,350Land OnlyFlight IncludedLand OnlyFlight IncludedLand OnlyFlight IncludedTue 19 Jul - Sat 06 Aug 11?Sat 17 Sep - Sat 08 Oct 11Tue 02 Aug- Sat 20 Aug 11?Fri 27 May - Fri 10 Jun 11Fri 02 Sep - Fri 16 Sep 11On Trek: 13 days Appointed LeaderDavid BathgateAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 6 Camping: 14Optional: Single Room £170 Single Tent £tbcInsurance: £99On Trek: 11 days Appointed LeaderDavid Spear?Chris Brightman?Accommodation (nts): Hotels: 3 Camping: 14Optional: Single Room £225 Single Tent £165Insurance: £99Local leaderAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 12Optional: Single Room £140Insurance: £77Cultural Tour | Duration: 15 DaysTrek | Duration: 19 DaysTrek | Duration: 22 DaysGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 6 clientsGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 6 clientsGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clientsGrade: Moderate/VigorousGrade: Vigorous Looking down South Inylchek Glacier, The Celestial Mountains Trek, David SpearFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comOther Cultural tours - see pages 12, 13, 20, 26, 41, 42, 43, 50, 51, 53, 58Central Asia