While your friends and neighbors are swapping stories from their great vacations at places like Cancun, the Dominican Republic, Florida and Alaska, how would you like to be able to drop this bombshell: “Well, this year we went to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.”
You can actually see all of these spots on a single tour, thanks to a new, 16-day journey on a luxurious private train planned to debut next year by the MIR Corporation. The trip gets underway in Yerevan (Armenia) on Oct. 15, 2014, and winds up in the Central Asian city of Almaty (Kazakhstan) on Oct. 30.
Your rail journey will be on “The Golden Eagle” known for its in-suite baths, posh amenities and gourmet-class meals.
Here are just a few of the thrills awaiting passengers on the trip, called The Caspian Odyssey:
In Armenia, among lots of local attractions you'll get a chance to explore a monastery carved into the side of a mountain and take pictures of the biblical Mt. Ararat from a huge white staircase in Yerevan called the “Cascade.”
From there you'll roll into Georgia, where Tbilisi's legendary “Old Town” section awaits your inspection along with the home of the famous dry white Tsinindali wine.
Then it's on to a jump back in time in medieval Azerbaijan, including the ancient city of Baku and the iconic petroglyphs of Gobustan.
Next up is Turkmenistan and the urban gilded architecture of Ashkabad's President Palace Square and the blazing "Door to Hell" Darvaza Natural Gas Crater.
After that you'll be on tracks winding through Uzbekistan and its classic “Silk Road” towns of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand.
Fittingly, your luxury train ride ends in Kazakhstan, Central Asia's wealthiest country. In Almaty, you'll have time for one last city tour and lunch in a hut-like yurt before checking in at a top hotel and a farewell dinner.
Prices for the trip range from $20,995 to $63,995 per person, depending on whether you bunk down in the train's Silver, Gold or Imperial Class. You'll have to get to Yerevan and back home from Almaty on your own.
More info: Based in Seattle, Wash., the MIR Corporation has specialized in tours across Europe and Asia since 1986. You'll find info on all of MIR's tours and instructions on how to get a free catalog on the company's website .