The Silk Road rail adventure is one of the most exotic, storied, and best-loved by Society of IRT members, taking travelers to places few Westerners have ventured. It's no wonder IRT co-owners Owen & Eleanor Hardy chose this epic adventure to celebrate IRT's 30th anniversary in 2013! This two-train tour follows in the footsteps of Marco Polo along one of the world’s oldest and most historic trade routes. The luxurious Golden Eagle and the first-class Shangri-La Express train will transport you back in time through five countries. This great caravan road linked the kings of Europe with the luxuries of Asia—most significantly, its silks and spices. It is preserved to a remarkable degree. Tour the Gobi Desert on camel, and see the Terracotta Warriors of Xian. Marvel at the architecture and artistry on display in the mosques and buildings of Central Asia's most important medieval cities. Wander through local markets offering Uzbek textiles and ceramics. Explore the history-rich cities of Beijing and Moscow. And do it all from the comfort of your "hotel-on-wheels!" This is truly a "trip of a lifetime."
Journeys on Shangri-La Express
This intriguing rail journey through China ends in one of the world’s most fascinating places: Lhasa, the mystical capital city of Tibet. In the shadow of the Himalayas and known as the ‘Roof of the World’ due to its breathtaking average height of 13,200ft (4,060m) above sea level, Tibet is home to more Himalayan peaks than anywhere else in the world. And Lhasa is home to an amazing collection of UNESCO palaces and temples. Tibet has historically been virtually inaccessible by land. That changed with the opening of the Golmud to Lhasa railway in 2006. More than 600 miles (965kms) of the line is at an altitude of over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) and much of it runs over permafrost. With the summit, the Tangula Pass, at 16,640ft (5,072m) it is also the world’s highest railway. To travel on this line is a true pioneering adventure, an experience as unique as the destination itself. The Shangri-La Express, the best passenger rail experience in China, has been newly outfitted in 2017 with en-suite cabins. Read more about the Shangri-La Express here.