Even though these two countries are neighbors and have similar cultures, you will quickly notice the many differences in their lifestyle and people. First of all, the Kyrgyz are traditionally a nomadic people for generations, while the Uzbeks had a adopted a sedentary way of life. Both nations speak their own language, but are members of the Turkic family. Also, the two nationalities have differences in physical appearance. Both countries have a lot to offer for the visitors and, of course, the centerpiece of all 5 ‘stans is Uzbekistan. The reasons for that are Uzbekistan is world renowned for its role in Silk Road History with world famous cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. On the other hand, you will fall in love with Kyrgyzstan’s friendly people, its nomadic history, and towering mountains that form the 95% of the country.
This program will provide you with the opportunity to acquaint yourself with our most popular sites. Our recommendation is to begin in Tashkent and following the Great Silk Road to the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand. Upon returning to Tashkent, you will embark on your journey through the fertile Ferghana Valley and onward. From there, you will cross the border to Kyrgyzstan and enter the ancient city of O’sh. You will experience one of the most beautiful routes in Central Asia as you travel through mountains passes that eventually lead to the capital Bishkek. It is possible to experience 4 seasons in one day during this journey.
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 the border formalities, including 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 visits to sites of historical importance such 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 modern 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.
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.
Today, we’ll drive from Khiva eastward across the Kyzyl Kum desert to the great city of Bukhara. Kyzyl Kum (Red Sand) is the eleventh largest desert in the world. Our drive will follow along the banks of the Amu Darya River (Oxus). There will be an excellent opportunity to photograph this historic river, the largest in Central Asia (Oxus), and camels along the road. Your picnic/lunch will be at an oasis in the middle of Karakum desert. (The lunch boxes are prepared free of charge by Roxana Tour). Arrival in Bukhara and accommodation at your hotel.
Free time at leisure
Recommended place for dinner: Lyab-i-Hauz – a cozy pond in the center of the ancient part of the city where people come together to have a drink and dinner. Relax as you watch Uzbek life take place before your eyes.
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 the 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.), and theBukhara 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.); and a 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).
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. Also, we will stop at the 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.
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 are 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).
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.
Ferghana After breakfast, we will begin our journey to the Ferghana Valley. The 4-5 hour road-trip will take us through the majestic Kamchik mountain pass (elev. 2,267 m) that separates Tashkent from 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 pottery 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.
Today we are entering to our next “’stan” by driving to the border (100 km) to Kyrgyzstan. Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and is located in the Ferghana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of the Osh Province since 1939. The city has an ethnically mixed population of about 330,000 people comprising of Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups. As soon as we arrive we will check into our guesthouse and go for lunch. In the afternoon we will commence our city tour by starting with a visit to the Asian Bazaar. We continue by coach to Suleiman Too (Suleiman’s Mountain or Solomon’s Mountain) which is situated in the city center and considered to be a place of pilgrimage for local Muslims as legend has it that Solomon (Suleiman in the Koran) is buried at the foot of it. Stops at other interesting sites will be taken before we continue onto a local restaurant for dinner.
Toktogul is a quiet and attractive town renowned for its picturesque reservoir to the south.
In the morning we will drive to the Toktogul Reservoir. The drive takes about six hours and we will pass along a mountain road offering great views of the wonderful snowcapped mountains. Don’t worry! We will make many photo stops. We will really enjoy this part of our journey! On the way we will visit Jalalabad and its famous Uzgen Tower. This tower was built in 11th century by Karakhanids. There are also here mausoleums that were used as burial places for its leaders. Tonight we will accommodate in a guest house.
Today we will drive from Tokotgul to the capital, Bishkek. The road will go through huge mountains and we will have, of course, many photo stops on the way. This road is one of the most popular among travelers in Kyrgyzstan because it connects the southern and northern regions of Kyrgyzstan and offers amazing mountain scenery. In the evening we will arrive in Bishkek and go straight to our hotel to check-in and freshen up for dinner.
Originally a caravan rest stop on one of the branches of the Silk Road through the Tian Shan range, the location was fortified in 1825 by the Uzbek khan of Kokhand with a mud fort. In 1862, the fort was conquered and razed when Tsarist Russia annexed the area. The Russians rebuilt the town over the destroyed fort. The site became a Russian garrison and was redeveloped and named "Pishpek" from 1877 onward by the Russian government, which encouraged the settlement of Russian peasants by giving them fertile black soil farms to develop. In 1926, the city became the capital of the newly established Kirghiz ASSR and was renamed "Frunze" after Mikhail Frunze, Lenin's close associate who was born in Bishkek and played key roles during the 1905 and 1917 revolutions and during The city was renamed Bishkek on 5 February 1991 and Kyrgyzstan achieved independence later that year during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today, Bishkek is a modern city, with many restaurants and cafes .
After breakfast at 8 a.m. we will visit the Ala Archa gorge. It is a Natural Park. In the Soviet Times only VIP people had permission to walk here! The Ala Archa gorge is nestled on a spur of the Tien Shan Mountain Range, just 45 km from Bishkek. We will have the opportunity for a short hiking tour to see a panoramic view of the gorge, and then we will return to Bishkek for lunch. The second part of the day is dedicated to the city tour. It includes visiting the Pobeda Square (Victory Square), Duboviy Park (Oak Park), central Ala-Too Square, the History Museum, National Philharmonic and many other places of interest. Tonight we will have our farewell dinner in a restaurant that serves the best of Kyrgyzstan’s national cuisine.
Free day to explore on our own or to shop. Transfer to Manas Airport for flight to Tashkent. Upon your arrival you’ll be met by your Uzbek guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Day 14 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.
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:
- 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)
Services does not included in main tour price:
- Airfare due to the program (international and local)
- All optional deviations from the main itinerary
- 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:
1) 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
2) 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.
3) 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).