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The Five Stans of the Silk Road (from 2021)

The Five Stans of the Silk Road (from 2021)

From {{totalPrice}} EUR Extra expenses at the destination A Letter of Invitation may be required for your Uzbekistan Visa. www.gadventures.com/visa-forms/Uzbekistan/
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
What's included?
From 3699 EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
What's included?
Duration
26 days
Starts in
Bishkek
Ends in
Ashgabat
Group size
Max 16, avg 12
Travel type
Classic
See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Koel, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.
Itinerary

The Five Stans of the Silk Road (from 2021)

Day 1 - Bishkek

Arrive at any time. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan's artsy capital and cultural hub, situated at the base of the Tian Shan mountain range. There are no planned activities until the evening welcome meeting, so get out there and explore!

Day 2 - Bishkek/Chong-Kemin

After breakfast, embark on a city tour of Bishkek before travelling to the serenity of Chong-Kemin Valley. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Tonight, stay in a cozy guest house run by Ashuu villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village and savour a home-cooked traditional dinner.

Day 3 - Chong-Kemin/Song Kul

In the morning, opt for a hike to the nearby mountains or explore the famous gorges of Chong-Kemin. After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive along the Kalmak-Ashuu mountain pass to Song Kul Lake. Immerse yourself 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! Indulge in delicious home-cooked cuisine for dinner, then get cozy in the yurt around the stove.

Day 4 - Song Kul/Tamga

Spend the morning soaking in all the beauty of Song Kul Lake before departing for Kochkor to learn the importance of felt-making to Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn the craft during a hands-on workshop creating a small version of the traditional carpet known as ala-kiyiz, and enjoy lunch together. Afterward, head to Tamga village in the clutches of the Terskey Ala-Too and celestial Issyk-Kol' Lake, where you'll spend the night at a village guesthouse and get to know the local community members. Tamga village was once famous for its Soviet-era military sanatorium, where Soviet cosmonauts relaxed and recovered after space flights. The complex still exists in its original, untouched 1930's glory, with an atmosphere that would seem to bring you back in time.

Day 5 - Tamga/Jety-Oguz

Enjoy a free morning getting to know this isolated village. Around midday, transfer to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre to observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge and overnight in another one of those cozy yurts.

Day 6 - Jety-Oguz/Karakol

Say goodbye to the beautiful valley of Jety-Oguz and ride to Kyrgyzstan's 4th largest city - Karakol. Stop for a visit at the Prejevalskiy Museum, dedicated to the famous Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky, followed by a city tour. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century. Spend the afternoon as you wish, exploring Karakol.

Day 7 - Karakol/Saty Village

Cross the border into Kazakhstan on the journey to Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. On arrival, jump in a Russian 4x4 for the ride to Kaindy Lake, then embark on a trek to explore the sunken forest. Soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eerie sight of submerged trees. Spend the night in a homestay and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals for a true Kazakh experience.

Day 8 - Saty Village/Almaty

Depart early this morning for Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Boasting stunning shades of red, orange, and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. On arrive in Almaty, take a city tour visiting sights such as Independence Square, Zenkov Cathedral, Panfilov's Park, and the striking WWII memorial. Time permitting, opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafes.

Day 9 - Almaty/Dushanbe

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.

Day 10 - Dushanbe/Kuli Iskandarkul

Enjoy a morning tour of Dushanbe, visiting the main monuments, museum, and mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains to Kuli Iskandarkul 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.

Day 11 - Kuli Iskandarkul

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.

Day 12 - Kuli Iskandarkul/Khujand

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.

Day 13 - Khujand/Tashkent

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.

Day 14 - Tashkent

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.

Day 15 - Tashkent/Samarkand

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.

Day 16 - Samarkand

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.

Day 17 - Samarkand/Aydar Kul Camp

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.

Day 18 - Aydar Kul Camp/Bukhara

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.

Day 19 - Bukhara

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.

Day 20 - Bukhara/Khiva

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.

Day 21 - Khiva

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 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 of the sand-coloured mosques and homes.

Day 22 - Khiva/Dashoguz

Spend the morning in Khiva, enjoying your last moments here to experience anything you couldn't squeeze in yesterday, or do some last minute shopping. After lunch, drive to the Uzbek-Turkmen border and continue to Dashoguz. Take an orientation walk and opt for dinner in local cafe, or explore the city and it's Bai Market.

Day 23 - Dashoguz/Darvaza

Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kunya Urgench to visit the ancient capital of the Khorezmian Empire. After lunch, continue to the Kara-Kum desert and witness the fiery Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Gates of Hell." This evening, enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner and spend the night camping under the stars at a yurt camp.

Day 24 - Darvaza/Ashgabat

After breakfast, begin the journey to the capital of Turkmenistan - Ashgabat. On the way, stop near the community of Erbent and admire its golden sand dunes that stretch out to the horizon. On arrival in Ashgabat, spend the evening at leisure. Opt to visit the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, also known as Gypjak Mosque, and capture the sun setting on the symmetrical minarets and golden domes.

Day 25 - Ashgabat

Spend the day exploring bustling Ashgabat. Enjoy a tour of the city in the morning, visiting several city treasures such as the Monument of Independence and the National museum or Neutrality Arch. Afterward, opt to venture to the ancient ruins of Nisa, or continue exploring Ashgabat.

Day 26 - Ashgabat

Depart at any time.
Summary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
A Letter of Invitation may be required for your Uzbekistan Visa. www.gadventures.com/visa-forms/Uzbekistan/

Accommodation

Standard hotels/guesthouses (20 nts), yurts (4 nts), homestay (1 nt).

Local transport

Private vehicles, plane, walking.

Meals

Meals Included: 25 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 9 dinners
Meals Budget: Allow USD490-640 for meals not included.

Please be aware

Song-Köl
- Hiking in Song Kül (Free)

Kolsay Lakes National Park
- Hiking in Kolsay Lakes National Park (Free)

Almaty
- Zelyony Bazaar (Free)
- Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos

Samarkand
- Amir Timur Mausoleum Visit (3USD per person)
- Tomb of the Old Testament Prophet Daniel Visit (3USD per person)

Aydar Kŭl Camp
- Kazakh Singing (Free)

Bukhara
- Bukhara Hammam Visit (20USD per person)
- Carpet Museum (1USD per person)
- Jewish Area and Synagogue Visit (Free)
- Chor-Bakr Complex

Dashoguz
- Bai Bazaar (Free)
- Dashoguz Museum (10USD per person)

Ashgabat
- Ashgabat Hippodrome (Free)
- Ertugrul Gazi Mosque (Free)

The Five Stans of the Silk Road (from 2021)

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Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
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