Covering four of Central Asia’s five “Stans”, this comprehensive tour takes in the iconic Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan before exploring the Islamic cities and former trading posts of southern Kazakhstan. In complete contrast to these historical delights, the journey finishes with time spent in the spectacular mountains of Kyrgyzstan, where you will discover a country steeped in ancient nomadic traditions.
Arrive Tashkent - City Tour
The flight arrives this morning and in the afternoon discover the city on a tour which takes in both old and new Tashkent. There may also be time to explore the ornate stations on the Soviet-era metro.
Tashkent Khiva - City Tour
This morning take an early flight to Khiva and spend the day exploring this remote and gloriously preserved city. Its ancient citadel of Ichan Kala was once home to the brutal Khans of Khiva and outside lies lively bazaar of Dishan Kala.
Khiva - Konye Urgench
Cross into Turkmenistan today and visit Konye Urgench whose lofty minarets and elaborate mausoleums hark back to the days when it was one of the greatest cities in the Islamic world.
Konye Urgench – Ashgabat - Nisa
After an early flight to the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat discover the so called ‘White City’. Afterwards travel out of Ashgabat to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa, where excavations have revealed shrines, a treasury and substantial buildings.
Ashgabat - Anew - Abiverd - Mary (Merv)
Today is a long drive east first of all stopping at Anew, one of the earliest places in the world to cultivate grain, before continuing to Abiverd, once one of the most important Sassanid cities of Norther Khorasm. Afterward arrive in Mary.
Gonur Depe Full Day Excursion
Travel 3 hours out into the Kara Kum desert and visit the Bronze Age site of Gonur Depe. Stunningly located on a plateau ongoing excavations have revealed the previously unknown Margiana Civilisation.
Mary - Merv - Bukhara
This morning visit the site of Merv, once of the most important places on the Silk Road and a major industrial and economic centre in the 12th century. In the afternoon cross into Uzbekistan and continue to the city of Bukhara.
Bukhara City Tour
A full day spent exploring the atmospheric city of Bukhara on foot. The meandering medieval streets are soaked in history, and the spirit of the past is brought to life in the city’s mosques, caravanserais and trading domes.
Bukhara – Shakhrisabz - Samarkand
On the way to Samarkand stop at Shakhrisabz, birthplace of Tamerlane, to visit Ak Serai, his immense palace. After some time to explore continue to perhaps the best-known Silk Road city of them all.
Samarkand City Tour
The most famous Silk Road city, Samarkand is replete with ancient monuments, and today’s full day tour discover the elaborate buildings surrounding Registan Square, the ornate mausoleums of Shah-i-Zinda and the gigantic mosque of Bibi Khanum.
Samarkand – Tashkent - Shymkent
From Samarkand, drive to the border with Kazakhstan, where you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Shymkent.
Shymkent - Turkistan – Shymkent
Enjoy a full day tour of Turkistan, last resting place of the Muslim poet and preacher Khodzha Akhmed Yassawi, whose tomb is the focus of pilgrimages. Afterwards continue to the ruined ghost town of Otrar, once a key Silk Road city.
Shymkent – Sairam village sightseeing - Taraz city
Today first of all stop at the village of Sairam to discover its ancient and modern tombs. Later visit Aisha Bibi mausoleum before continuing to the Taraz city tour the underground mosque and the archaeological complex on Tekturmas Hill.
Taraz - Talas – Bishkek
An early start takes you across the border into Kyrgyzstan and first of all stop at the site of the battle of Talas, where Umayyad caliphs fought the Chinese for control of Central Asia. Also visit the museum and monument to the Kyrgz hero Manas before continuing to Bishkek.
Bishkek - Burana Tower - Cholpon Ata
Travel to the Cholpon Alta, stopping along the way to explore the Turkic tombs and Burana Tower. After lunch in Cholpon Ata, take a walk through the ‘Stone Garden’, a collection of around 2000 petroglyphs dating back as far as 800 B.C.
Cholpon Ata - Karakol town
This morning continue along the shores of Lake Issy Kul to the picturesque town of Karakol with its many Russian buildings and a wooden church constructed without any nails. Dinner tonight is with a local family, so expect some real Krgyz hospitality!
Djety Oguz Gorge
Spend a full day in Djety Oguz Gorge. There is plenty of time to walk through the gorge then settle into a yurt camp for the night. This is a great opportunity to experience a little of the nomadic lifestyle which many Kyrgyz still follow to this day.
Djety Oguz gorge – Skazka gorge – Kochkor village
Continue around the shores of Lake Issy Kul spotting at the spectacular Skazka Canyons, where petrified clay walls contrast with the lake’s azure waters. In Kochkor, watch a felt-making demonstration before spending the night in a local home.
Kochkor - Son Kul Lake
From Kochkor, drive through green valleys and over a dramatic mountain pass to Son Kul, a high altitude lake which offers summer grazing for nomadic herdsmen. The afternoon is free for walks, horse riding or to simply pass the time at the yurt camp with your Kyrgyz hosts.
Son Kul - Bishkek
The morning affords further free time to enjoy Son Kul Lake. After lunch travel back to Bishkek via the Boom Gorge, where the Chu River cuts a dramatic swathe through the Tien Shan. In the evening there will be a traditional folklore.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
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