FIVE STANS ADVENTURE
The easiest way to explore Central Asia


UZBEKISTAN TURKMENISTAN TAJIKSTAN KYRGYZSTAN KAZAKHSTAN

21 DAYS

Five Stans – The Hidden Heart of Asia, OPTION B

In Brief:
This is the tour that will set you separate you from the average traveler! An unforgettable journey awaits you as we cover all of the ‘stans in 21 days. While these countries share many similar traits, you will learn the subtle differences between them – and not from a book. You will visit most of the iconic images that the Great Silk Road in Central Asia has to offer. Among the many highlights of this tour you will see the wonders of Konyegench, Ashgabat, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Ferghana, Istaravshan, Seven Lakes, Penjikent, Khujand, Bishkek, Shymkent, and Almaty – and everything between them! Once your tour is finished, you will have accomplished what few others have done! Your journey begins at your point of arrival, Tashkent. After your tour of the “Stone City”, you will fly to Khiva and explore the wonders one of the world’s most famous open-air museums. From Khiva, you will cross the border to Turkmenistan to see the ancient cities of Konyegench, Ashgabat, and Mary. From Mary, you will re-cross the border and continue your journey to Uzbekistan to gaze at the architectural wonders of Bukhara and Samarkand. From here, we will drive to Tashkent where you will rest and relax at your hotel. The next day, we will continue our trip to Tajikistan and the ancient city of Khojand, Istaravshan, Seven Lakes, Penjikent. Then we continue to Ferghana valley in Uzbekistan and the next day cross border to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. Through beautiful Uzgen, Djalal Abad and amazing Arslanbob we drive to Bishkek. After a good breakfast, we will explore this vibrant capital and its many sites. The same day, we will continue our trip to Almaty, where we will visit the financial capital of Kazakhstan. After breakfast we’ll have Almaty city tour. Once we have concluded this portion of the trip, we will return to Tashkent by flight, where you gather your souvenirs and memories for the trip home.

Program summary

Day 1

UZBEKISTAN
Arrival to Tashkent

Day 2

Flight to Khiva and Sightseeing

Day 3

TURKMENISTAN
Cross the Border to Turkmenistan

Day 4

Konye-Urgench Sightseeing, evening flight to Ashgabat

Day 5

Ashgabat Sightseeing, Flight to Mary

Day 6

UZBEKISTAN
Mary, Sightseeing, Cross to Uzbekistan, Drive to Bukhara

Day 7

Bukhara Highlights

Day 8

Drive to Samarkand

Day 9

Samarkand city tour

Day 10

Samarkand – Tashkent

Day 11

TAJIKISTAN
Drive to Khojand

Day 12

Khujand - Istaravshan - Penjikent

Day 13

Penjikent - Seven lakes

Day 14

Seven lakes - Khujand

Day 15

Khujand - Ferghana Valley

Day 16

KIRGIZSTAN
Crossing border to Osh, sightseeing

Day 17

Drive to Uzgen – Djalal Abad – Arslanbob

Day 18

Drive to Bishkek

Day 19

KAZAKHSTAN
Bishkek - Almaty

Day 20

Almaty Highlights and Tashkent evening flight

Day 21

Home, End of the tour

TURKMENISTAN UZBEKISTAN TAJIKISTAN KAZAKHSTAN KYRGYZSTAN 21 DAYS

Five Stans – The Hidden Heart of Asia, Option B

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Tashkent

UZBEKISTAN


As soon as you arrive at the Tashkent International Airport, our outstanding support staff will meet you and whose duty is to help you with all border formalities, assistance in collecting your baggage, and filling out the proper declaration forms. They are very helpful, especially if you are traveling with your family or with a big group since airports and formalities can be a challenge.
Once you have cleared customs, you will be met by a representative of our company who will welcome you to Uzbekistan and escort you to your hotel. Of course, they are there to assist you with your hotel accommodations and answer any questions you have.
After you have rested from your long journey, we will start your tour in the capital of Uzbekistan – the biggest city in Central Asia. While many parts of the old city were destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1966, it was rebuilt in a very short period through the help of people throughout the former Soviet Union.
However, some parts of the old city survived the earthquake and were able to flourish as before. This part of the city is called Chorsu (i.e. 4 Corners) and will include visiting such sites of historic importance as the Barak Khan Madrasa with its gorgeous turquoise domes and intricate tile work; Jami Mosque (Friday Mosque); the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum ― the poet and scholar; the library of the Institute Al Bukhari, which houses a sacred Koran dating from the seventh century, the only 4th preserved Koran of Osman.
Afterwards, you will enjoy your time in the newer part of the city with its wide boulevards, green, spacious parks; Independence Square, Alisher Navoi Theater, Amir Temur Square, and the Monument of Courage, which is dedicated to the victims of the earthquake in 1966.

Day 2 Tashkent-Khiva

After breakfast, we will take you to the airport for your flight to Khiva. Total flight time is about 1.5 hours.
Your driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel, which is located in the center of the ancient city.
After a short rest, you can start your Itchan Kala (internal city wall) tour with our local guide. Your visit to oldest part of the city will include: Kunya-Ark Fortress and the Kurinish Khana (17 c.); Mohammed-Amin-Khan Madrassah (19 c.), Islam Khodja Minaret; Palvan-Kari complex; Abd Al Bobo complex (18 c.); Rafanek Madrassah; Mohammed Rakim Khan (19 c.); Amir-Tur Madrassah; Sho-I-Kalandar Bobo Mausoleum.
Lunch time - we recommend having your lunch at the national house. Get acquainted with an Uzbek family, sample delicious Uzbek dishes, and experience their world-famous hospitality!
Continuing city tour:
Mazari Sharif Madrassah; Kheivak Well (10 c.); Uch Avlioli (Three Saints) Mausoleum; Jami Mosque (18 c.); Kutluq-Murad Inaq Madrassah (19 c.); Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum.
Free time at your leisure.

Day 3 Khiva-Koneurgench

TURKMENISTAN


You have a free morning in Khiva before we depart to Turkmenistan. After lunch, we will drive to Turkmenistan border. After finishing with border formalities we will be driven to the hotel.

Day 4 Koneurgench-Ashgabat

We have a full-day of sightseeing ahead of us in Koneurgench.Visitng Koneurgench - the capital of Khorezmshahs (3rd – 16th centuries). Our tour of this ancient city includes: Portal of Caravansaray (11th-14th centuries), Mamun Minaret (10th-11th centuries),Il Arslan Mausoleum (12th century), Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum (13th century), Academy of Khorezm (3rd-13th centuries), Kutlug Timur Minaret (14th century) - one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia, Turabek Hanum Mausoleum (14th century), Najm Ed Din Kubra (13th century), and the Soltan Ali (15th century) mausoleums which are located near Dash Metjit/Medrese (19th century). Later in the day we will continue our journey with our flight to Ashgabat


Day 5 Ashgabat-Mary

In the morning, we will commence our tour of Ashgabat. Our first stop will be the Turkmenbashynyn Ruhy Metjidi, which is biggest in Central Asia. The Mausoleum Complex of the Tombs of Turkmenbashy includes his parents with his brothers. We will tour Old Nissawhich was once the sanctuary of Parhian Kings. Nissa is situated 15 km to the west of Ashgabat and was founded in the 3rd century B.C. Centuries ago, Nissa was the capital of Parthian Empire which lasted for about 600 years and was the Roman Empire’s biggest competitor. Located here there were the palace and temple buildings, and the depositories and treasury of the Parthian Kings. Recent archaeological excavations of Old Nissa revealed 2 temples - the round & tower. Taking into consideration the great scientific-cultural meaning, the site of the ancient town was declared a historical-cultural preserve by UNESCO. We will proceed to the Monuments of Archabil Shayoly (Berzengi) and observe the modern section of Ashgabat with its modern buildings, monuments, and parks. Health Path of Turkmenbashy built into the mountains is a very popular place among the locals, especially its park for picnicking and relaxation. TheMonument of Constitution opened on 2011 and is the tallest building in Turkmenistan (185 meters). The newly opened Alem Culture Center is the home of the world’s biggest indoor Ferris wheel. The Museum of Turkmen Carpets is believed to be one of three indoor carpet museums in the world; here is kept the largest hand-made carpet in the world. After lunch, we will proceed with a visit to theNational Museum of History & Ethnography. It is highly recommended to visit the Arch of Neutrality, where we will find the rotating statue of the first president of Turkmenistan. Our walking tour will proceed with a visit to Independence Park to see the hundreds of fountains and statues. In the early evening will another short walking tour in Inspiration Park (Ylham Seyilgahi). Here you will find statues of famous Turkmen scientists, poets, and other notable people. At night, we will depart for Mary by airplane.

Day 6 Mary

Today we are going to tour the ancient city of Merv. Upon our arrival with will go to your hotel to get settled and relax for a bit. While here we will see the Gyz Gala & Oglan Gala (6th – 7th centuries), Complex of Askhabs (8th – 9th centuries), Gyaur Gala (4th century B.C.), Erk Gala (6th century B.C.), Soltan Gala (11th century), Soltan Sanjar Mausoleum (12th century), and Ibn Zeid Mausoleum(12th century). If time permits, we will tour Mary and the Regional Mosque of Mary Province, The Central Theater of Mary, theRuhiyet Koshgi Convention & Conference Center, the Central Park and Mollanepes Monument.This monument commemorates the classical poet who lived in Mary in 18th -19th centuries. Upon completion of this part of the tour, we will begin our drive to the Uzbek border. However, during our trip we will stop in Turkmenabad to observe the 900 meter long Floating Bridge over the Amu Darya River. From this vantage point we can see the oldest railroad bridge in Central Asia (19th century) that was once the only connection between the north and south. Once we pass through the border checkpoint, we will proceed to Bukhara, Uzbekistan..

Day7 Bukhara

UZBEKISTAN

Your personal guide will come to pick you up at the hotel and you can start exploring the fabulous caravan city of Bukhara. UNESCO, in naming Bukhara a World Heritage site, states: “It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with an urban fabric that has remained largely intact.” You will have an active day by visiting: Lyab-i-Hauz – a cozy pond where local people get together for a cup of tea; Madrassahs – to learn about ancient Islamic schools: Nadir Divanbegi – Madrassah (17 c.); Magoki Attari (16 c.), Ulug Beg (15 c.), Abdul Aziz (17 c.).
Registan Ensemble, Ark Fortress (16 c.) and Bolo-Hauz complex (18 c.). There is plenty to see after lunch: Visit to Ismael Samani Mausoleum (9-10 c.) – the vault of the Bukhara rulers' dynasty; Chor-Minor, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleums (14 c.); Bukhara local bazaar.
Visit to Old Bukhara: Poli-Kalon ensemble including Minaret (12 c.); Mosque (15 c.); functioning Madrassah Miri-Arab (16 c.); Amir Alim-Khan Madrassah (14 c.); Taqi (trading domes); Kukeldash Madrassah (16 c.); short drive outside of the city to visit theSitorai Makhi Khosa, popularly known as the last Emir’s Summer Palace.
In the evening you can enjoy a national concert of Central Asian music, dancing, and a demonstration of our national clothes.
After the show you will visit a local family to experience Uzbek lifestyle and hospitality; and participate in a master class of making plov – our national dish from rice. (Should be re-confirmed by your local guide).

Day 8 Bukhara – (Shahrisabz)* - Samarkand

Enjoy your morning at leisure in Bukhara. This is an excellent opportunity to shop, photograph, or just take a relaxing stroll among the ancient monuments and the old narrow streets.
After lunch, we will drive to our next destination, the beautiful city of Samarkand. On the road, we will have several stops: Gijduvan, a village famous for traditional pottery crafts. You will see a demonstration of the making of traditional bowls, dishes, handicrafts, and handmade textiles (suzanes). This is the perfect place to find souvenirs. Rabat Mallik Caravan Sarai, a motel for traders along the Silk Road (10 c.).
*Another option is to drive to Samarkand through the small town of Shahrisabz. We always leave this decision to be made by the traveler, as it is a 3-hour road trip. Shahrisabz is the birth place of Tamerlane, and possesses 3 popular attractions: Ak – Saray; the ruins of Timur’s Palace; and Kuk Gumbaz – the Friday mosque and Mausoleum of Jahangir, the son of Amir Temur.
Arriving late Samarkand, you will be driven directly to your hotel for rest and relaxation.

Day 9 Samarkand

We head out to explore this remarkable city, one of the most romantic in the world. This was the center of Tamerlane’s empire, immortalized in the words of Edgar Allen Poe: “Look ‘round thee now on Samarkand! Is not she queen of Earth?” Tamerlane (Timur, 1336-1405) was a descendent of Genghis Khan, but Turkic-speaking and steeped in Persian and Islamic culture. He is credited with dismantling the Mongolian Empire and establishing the great Mughal Empire that eventually stretched all the way to India, where it would last for centuries.Visiting: Guri Emir – Legendary mausoleum where Amir Temur and all his family buried.
Registan Square – World famous complex of 3 madrasahs and the golden domed mosque.
Mosque Bibi Khanum – The biggest mosque ever built in Central Asia as gift to Tamerlane from his wife.
Siyab local bazaar – unique place where you can get acquainted with the life of Samarkand’s people; Shahi - Zinda necropolises, a holy place and cemetery with graves of Temured’s dynasty, and the grave of the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed.
Observatory of Ulugbek – incredible, ancient construction from the 15th century for studying astronomy.
If you are interested in visiting the winery and carpet factory, please do not hesitate to ask your guide/driver.
Your dinner can be organized at Nigina’s family house, a national treasure recognized by UNESCO. (Re-confirm with your guide or driver).

Day 10 Samarkand-Tashkent

You are free this morning to stroll the streets of Samarkand. Your driver is always at your disposal and can take you anywhere you wish during your spare time. We recommend going to the Registan Square or a local bazaar.
Transfer to Tashkent
Have your cameras handy! While on road, enjoy a small picnic to view the mountain pass near the legendary gate of Tamerlane’s ancient state. Other stops include the second largest river in Central Asia, the Sirdarya, a local fish market, and road side bazaars where the best melons in the region are sold. Depending on the season, there will be another stop at one of the many cotton fields.
Arrival in Tashkent.
Accommodation at hotel.

Day 11 Tashkent –Oybek border – Khujand

TAJIKISTAN


Breakfast at hotel.
Early in the morning drive to Uzbekistan/Tajikistan border “Oybek”. Meeting at the border, transfer to Khujand for lunch. Check in Hujand Deluxe hotel. Next, Visits to museum which is located next to the famous fortress of the city. Visit the National Home 19veka in historic downtown. You will see the architecture and layout of the national house of Tajiks in the 19th century. Today, we are also waiting for the collectors of the atlas (skullcap, knives) collections are the envy of many museums and collectors in the world! We left you a little bit of time to make you feel the spirit of the East, the most wonderful place this market Panjshanbe! One of the biggest indoor markets in Central Asia! In addition to market to our gaze at mavzaley Shaikh Maslehatoddina 14th century.

Day 12 Khujand - Istaravshan - Penjikent

AM Early breakfast. After breakfast drive to Penjikent city. Before we stop in Istaravshan where we’ll visit local bazaar - great place to interact with local Tajiks and see local craftsmen at work, fortress Mugtepa and Kuk-Gumbaz mosque. Lunch upon arrival. Later we continue driving to Penjikent city. Check in the guesthouse. Later today, a visit and view Ancient City of Penjikent where the Zorastrian fire-worshippers lived. Ancient Penjikent museum visit. Visit to Zerafshan Handicraft Store to buy Zeravshan handicrafts.
Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse.

Day 13 Penjikent - Seven lakes

After breakfast we drive to Seven Lakes territory in the Fan Mountains, meeting with shepherds, watching carpet makers and stopping at the Sixth Lake with the option to walk to the Seventh Lake. Enjoy a Moomiya presentation at Nofin, where treatment by the ancient method of using mountain rock plants can be viewed. Homestay at Fourth Lake farmhouse with tapchan supper, suzanni wallhangings and warm hospitality. Dinner and overnight in the homestay.

Day 14 Seven lakes - Khujand

Breakfast. Drive through tunnel and along the beautiful Shakhristan Pass (3378m), (385км, 6hrs). Lunch on the way, in Hujand. Upon arrival Dinner in Khujand and rest.

UZBEKISTAN

Day 15 Khujand- Kokand-Margilan-Fergana

Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast drive to Patar border(125km, 2hrs). We will begin our journey to the Ferghana Valley. On the road we make several stops, first in city of Kokand, which was once the most powerful khanate in Central Asia. While we’re there, we’ll visit the ancient Palace of Hudoyor Khan, next stop will be Rishtan to visit the house of the famous ceramic master, Mr. Rustam. He is always ready to demonstrate to his guests how he creates the best ceramic dishes and handicrafts in the world. We will continue to the city Margilan, which is famous for its silk knitting factories and handicrafts. You can witness the silk production process that has been there for centuries. The markets in Margilan present a great opportunity to purchase textiles and other handicraft souvenirs. More importantly, as you are shopping you will get the chance to experience the friendliness and hospitality of Uzbeks as they go about their everyday business. Arrival and accommodation at the hotel.


Day 16 Ferghana – Osh

KYRGIZSTAN

Breakfast.
Transfer to Kyrgyz border.
Your guide will pick you up at Uzbek – Kyrgyz border and accompany you to Osh city (40 min. drive). As soon as you are in Osh city you will go for a walk there and visit the most famous place - Suleiman Mountain. Suleiman Too (Solomon’s Mountain) is situated in the city center and it is considered to be a pilgrimage place for local Muslims, because according to the legend, biblical prophet Solomon (Suleiman in the Koran) was buried at the foot of it. After an excursion we will drive to have a Dinner. Night is in a home stay.

Day 17 Osh – Uzgen – Djalal Abad – Arslanbob

Breakfast
In the morning we will drive to Arslanbob. The road takes about six hours and again you will drive along a mountain road. On the way we will visit Djalal Abad town and its famous Uzgen Tower. This tower was built in 11th century by Karakhanids. There are also there mausoleums that were used as burial places for the leaders. The whole road will surprise you by its celestial mountains and excellent panorama views. We will make many photo stops to remember this tour in for a long time. You will really enjoy it! This night you will spend in a local home stay. Dinner

Day 18 Arslanbob – Bishkek

Breakfast
Today we will have to start early in the morning. We will start our tour at 6 a.m. to drive from Arslanbob to our capital Bishkek. The road will go along huge mountains and you will have many photo stops on the way. This road is one of the most popular among travelers. On the way we will stop at yurts to try Kyrgyz drink Kumyz – fermented mare’s milk. During transfer you will have a lot of photo stop to memorize these amazing views of incredible Kyrgyz Mountains! In the evening you will come to Bishkek. Night is in a hotel. Dinner


Day 19 Bishkek-Almaty

KAZAKHSTAN

Breakfast will be ready at 8 a.m. This first half of the day is dedicated to a guided City Tour. The tour includes visiting of the central Ala-Too Square, Duboviy Park (Oak Park), Pobeda Square (Victory Square), the History Museum, National philharmonic and many others places of interest. During this day we will show you our main squares and buildings that were made at Soviet time. After lunch you will drive to Almaty. Almaty is the largest, most developed, and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan.
Dinner
Night is in a hotel.

Day 20 Almaty –Tashkent

Breakfast
Your guide will pick you up at International Airport and accompany you to Almaty City. Today we will have a city tour. You will get acquainted with Almaty's history and see the Ascension Cathedral – the second highest wooden building in the world. Then you will visit the Square of 28 Panfilov Heroes. Afterwards you will visit the Museum of Musical Instruments. After lunch we will drive to the “Hawks nursery”. There you will see many birds of prey. At this place people train hawks, eagles, golden eagles to hunt together with them. In the evening drive to Kok Tebe to see the panorama view of Almaty.
Dinner
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Tashkent HY 766 at 22:40. Arrival at 23:30.
Accommodation at Hotel.

UZBEKISTAN

In the morning we will drive to Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border. That border can be crowded and challenging, lucky we will have our special guide who will take care a part of formalities before our arrival in Uzbekistan side. After crossing the border we will drive to our hotel and the rest of the day is free.

Day 21 Home
Transfer to the airport to begin your journey home. If you would prefer to extend your stay, we can arrange an additional itinerary based upon your interests. 

Services included in main tour price:

Services excluded in main tour price:

  • Double / Single accommodation with breakfast
  • English speaking guide in each city
  • Transport service all over tour by luxury air conditioned car
  • Portages charge at airports and hotels Tips at the airports and hotels
  • Picnic and coffee stops
  • Unlimited supply of mineral water
  • Unlimited entrance fees to all sightseeing
  • Folklore shows in Bukhara city
  • Visa support documents
  • Farewell dinner with all beverages (Only for groups starting from 6 people)
  • Airfare due to the program (international and local)
  • All optional deviations from the main itinerary
  • Lunches/Dinners
  • Photo-and video charges
  • All personal expenses (extra luggage fee, room service, Medical expenses/insurance, etc.)

We work hard to prepare an itinerary that highlights the most interesting and fascinating sites in Uzbekistan. However, if you are interested to visit a certain place or places which you find on any of our other tours, let us know and we will make sure you visit it at no extra charge.

Moreover, you can also choose one of our free-of-charge activities:

Tashkent: Tickets to see performances at the Alisher Navoi Theatre,
Visiting Christian churches,
Cup of tea at Tashkent TV tower restaurant
Subway – you will be amazed by the architecture and artwork in the stations
Tashkent zoo and botanical garden.
Any of the numerous museums in Tashkent
Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Ferghana: Decussating of local wines of local factories, all museums, and theatres. Taking part in national holidays, parties, customs, and traditions. Visiting Uzbek families, schools, medical institutions, bazaars, archives of ancient books, and libraries.

Lunches/Dinners. We usually do not include meals on our tours as you might want to have flexibility on your evenings. Just tell your driver the time and your preferences and he will find you a great place. You can have a really good meal between $5 - $10 (USD).

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