After breakfast, embark on a morning city tour of Bishkek. Later, depart Bishkek for Chong-Kemin. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Continue along the scenic valley before reaching Chong-Kemin. Stay in a unique guest house that employs the local villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village and then eat a home cooked traditional dinner.
In the morning, embark on an optional hike to the nearby mountains for a stunning view. After lunch, take a scenic drive along the Kalmak-Ashuu mountain pass to Song Kul Lake and be immersed in Kyrgyz culture with an overnight stay in a traditional yurt. Experience daily nomadic life and wander the breathtaking landscape. With an altitude of 3,016 meters above sea level, it's possible to experience four seasons in one day! Enjoy delicious traditional cuisine for dinner. In the evening, get cozy in the yurt around the stove.
After breakfast, depart for Kochkor and stop at a Kyrgyz felt-making workshop. After lunch drive to Bokonbayevo Village and spend the night at a homestay, indulging in a traditional local meal. Upon arrival in Kochkor, learn about the importance of felt-making to the Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn to craft with locals during an intimate workshop and then head to Bokonbayevo village. Experience a traditional Kyrgyz meal and then spend the night at a local homestay getting to know the local community members.
Take a morning departure to Barskoon Village for a visit to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre. Observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge & and overnight in a traditional yurt.
Say goodbye to the beautiful valley of Jeti-Oguz and transfer to Karakol. Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum and enjoy a walking tour of the city followed by free time to explore. Continue to Karakol and stop at the Prejevalskiy Museum followed by a walking tour of the city. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century.
Drive to the border and cross into Kazakhstan. Continue driving until arriving in Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. Embark on a two hour hike exploring Kaindy Lake, known as the sunken forest. Spend the night in a guest house sampling traditional Kazakh meals. Cross the border into Kazakhstan embarking for Saty Village. Begin by hiking Kolsay Lake National Park. Known for Kaindy Lake, soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eerie sight of submerged trees. Feel fully immersed in nature. Tonight, stay at a local guest house and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals - a truly Kazakh experience.
Depart for Almaty early this morning, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Arrive in Almaty, taking in a city tour highlighting sights like the historical centre and Zenkov Cathedral. Have a free afternoon to explore the capital city. Boasting stunning shades of red, orange and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. Take in the stunning views before continuing on to the former Kazakh capital, Almaty. Take a city tour visiting sights such as the Monument of Independence, Zekoy Cathedral, and historical centre. In the afternoon, use free time to continue exploring this modern city. Opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafes.
In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on the Varzob River. Enjoy an evening in the city. There may be more travellers joining the group here. Opt to attend an evening welcome meeting to get to know them.
Enjoy a morning tour of Dushanbe, visiting the main monuments, museum, and mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains to Iskandar-Kuli for a short hike to Iskander Darya waterfall. Afterward, continue the drive??passing Alexander the Great's lake??to your overnight stay at a local home in the stunning mountain valley. Meet the local people and explore the gorgeous landscape of the Fann Mountains.
After breakfast, embark on a trek alongside Sarytag and the Karakul River. Return to the homestay for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure. Later, head to Sarytag Village to experience local living and get a better understanding of life in this remote region. After the village exploration, head back to the homestay for a delicious Tajikistan dinner.
Continue on to Khujand, stopping first in Istaravshan to explore a local mosque and Mug Teppe, an ancient citadel fortress stormed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before continuing the drive to Khujand. Wander the city in the afternoon, visiting the Historical Museum of Sughd, resembling a castle, and the Mausoleum of Sheik Muslekheddin.
Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent, where modern skyscrapers mix with Soviet-era architecture and mosaic mausoleums. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner. Some travellers will be joining the group here as they start their journey into Uzbekistan.
Spend the day freely exploring this unique bustling city. Check out one of the many museums, wander the streets admiring the modern, Soviet-era architecture, venture up Tashkent Tower (which offers city views from its observation deck), or wander through the bazaar.
Travel on to Samarkand, known for intricately beautiful mosques and mausoleums, situated on the Silk Road. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum, dedicated to the famous conqueror who once hoped to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan.
Embark on a city tour, visiting Ulugbek Observatory, Shaki Zinda complex, the bazaar, Bibi Khanum, and Registan Square. With a free afternoon, continue exploring the Samarkand sights, have a cuppa in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar. Opt to explore the Tomb of Prophet Daniel, famous for the Biblical story of Daniel and the lions.
Travel out into the desert to visit Chashma Complex, a pilgrimage site in the territory of Nurata, dominated by ruins of Alexander the Great's fortress, Juma mosque, a bath-house, and the ancient Panjvakta mosque. All of this, hiding a holy spring believed to heal diseases. After exploring the complex, head to Aidarkul Lake and opt for a swim before continuing on for an overnight stay in a local yurt camp. Enjoy an authentic Uzbekistan dinner and an evening Kazakh singing show.
Travel to Bukhara, known as one of the most charming cities in the country, and get your bearings on an orientation walk. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, enjoy a traditional dinner cooked by a local family, visit a hammam (bathhouse), or just relax in the pleasant atmosphere of this Silk Road city.
Explore Bukhara on a half-day guided walking tour around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets, or trading domes, that make up the Old City. A centre for pottery, cloth, and carpets, Bukhara is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees. Wander the artisan shops and narrow twisting streets and alleyways, or sit at a cafe table and let the evening drift by. Opt to watch a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai, or indulge in a rejuvenating hammam bathhouse.
Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert on a full day's journey to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva, well worth the arduous drive. Get to know this peaceful, picturesque city on a late afternoon orientation walk, and pick your favourite spots to explore more in-depth tomorrow.
Before exploring this historic town on your own, enjoy a guided tour to learn about local life here. Wander through the narrow labyrinth mudbrick alleyways of old town, bargain with locals at the bazaar, admire the madrassas, mosques, and blue mosaic domes, climb up towering minarets, and venture into the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. Explore the inner walls of Ichon-Qala, and enjoy spectacular sunset views on the sand-coloured buildings.
Take a short flight back to Tashkent and enjoy a city tour, then explore on your own with some free time.