This is the tour that you’ve been dreaming of! An unforgettable journey awaits you as we cover 4 of the 5 ‘stans in 20 days. While these countries share many similar traits, you will learn the subtle differences between them. 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, O’sh, 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 through the Kamchik Pass to the fertile Ferghana Valley. Upon reaching the border with Kyrgyzstan, we will cross to the city of O’sh. After enjoying the wonders of this city and a restful night at the hotel, we will proceed to Bishkek traveling through the mountainous terrain that makes this one of the more enjoyable road trips of your life. On this leg of the trip, it is possible to experience 4 seasons in one day! Along the way we will stop at Toktogul to visit the city and view the Tokotogul reservoir and surrounding Tien Shan mountains. After a good night’s rest, we will depart for Bishkek, where we will explore this vibrant capital and its many sites. The next day, we will continue our trip and head for the Kazakh border and visit the ancient town of Shymkent. From this 800 year old city, we will take a memorable train ride to Almaty, where we will visit the financial capital of Kazakhstan. While in Almaty, we will visit the nearby, ancient cities of Turkestan, Arystan Bab, and Aksu Jabagli. Once we have concluded this portion of the trip, we will return to Tashkent via Shymkent, where you gather your souvenirs and memories for the trip home.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. The Monument 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 the National 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.
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, the Ruhiyet 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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
After breakfast, we will begin our journey to the Ferghana Valley. The 4-5 hour road-trip will take us through the majestic Kamchikmountain 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 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.
Today we are entering to our next stan by driving to the border (100 km). 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 comprising Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups. As soon as we arrive we will check into our guesthouse and go for lunch. This afternoon we have a city tour staring with a visit on foot to the Asian Bazaar. We continue by coach on to Suleiman Too (Suleiman’s Mountain or Soloman’s Mountain) which is situated in the city centre and considered to be a pilgrimage place for local Muslims as legend has it that Soloman (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 attractive medium sized provincial town renowned for its picturesque reservoir to the south.
In the morning we will drive to Toktogul Reservoir. The drive takes about six hours and we will drive along a mountain road offering great views of the wonderful snowcapped mountains. We will make many photo stops. We will really enjoy this part of our journey! 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 here mausoleums that were used as burial places for the 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 many photo stops on the way. This road is one of the most popular among travelers in Kyrgyzstan because it connects south and north of Kyrgyzstan and offers amazing mountain scenery. In the evening we 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 modernizing city, with many restaurants and cafes .
After breakfast at 8 a.m we will visit 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 on a spur of the Tien Shan Mountain Range, just 45 km from Bishkek. We have the opportunity for a short hiking tour to see a panoramic view of the gorge then afterwards we 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 others places of interest. Tonight we will have our farewell Kyrgyzstan dinner in a national restaurant.
In the morning we will drive to the Kazakhstan border, around 120 km. After border formalities we will be met by our guide and transferred to the hotel for a short rest.
Today you will get acquainted with Almaty's history and see the Ascension Cathedral – the second highest wooden building in the world! It was built according to the plan of a famous Russian architect A. Zenkov. The church was one of the few buildings that survived after earthquake in 1911 year. Next to the cathedral there is an alley of spruce trees that were planted by the presidents of different countries. Then you will visit the Square of 28 Panfilov Heroes. It is devoted to General Panfilov, a hero of the Second World War and to the members of his division. You will see there also the Glory Memorial dedicated to the victims of the Civil War and the Second World War!!!
Afterwards you will visit the Museum of Musical Instruments which has a big collection of Kazakh folk musical instruments and musical instruments of different nationalities of the world. After visiting the museum we will drive to the Public Market. It is named a Zelonniy Bazar – a Green Bazaar. It is a very good example of real oriental market. It still possible to bargain there!
Then you will have an excursion to the main square – the Republic Square. There you can see an Independence Monument and the Golden Man. It is the symbol of the city. Also there are monuments that depict the prominent events of the Kazakh history. After lunch you will have an excursion to Medeu – it is an ice stadium located in a mountain valley of Medeu on the south-eastern outskirts of Almaty. It is an outdoor speed skating rink and one of the most famous ice rinks in the world. Medeo skating-rink has seen over 150 world records on speed-skating contests. Many famous skaters were holding and breaking records here! Also you will see the Medeu Dam, built in the late 1960s, standing next to the skating rink, protecting the city of Almaty from potentially devastating mud flows. From the mud dam you will see the beauty of Medeo and surrounding mountains, panoramic sight of skating-rink.
Afterwards we will drive back to Almaty to have a dinner. On the way we will see Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Parliament House. At 10:10 p.m. you will have a night train to Shymkent (025T). You will sleep there (4 people in 1 room) and in the morning you will arrive to the ancient time of Kazakhstan!
You will arrive in Shymkentat 9:25 a.m. After breakfast we will visit a local bazaar to feel the spirit of Asian life! It is a real paradise for people that are fond of making colorful photos!
After bazaar we will drive 160 km to Turkestan. Turkistan City attracts people with its historical monuments in the open air and a rich history hidden in its heritage. Today you will have a full day excursion in Turkestan. We will visit Azret-Sultan historical-architectural complex and Khodja Akhmed Yassayu mausoleum. He is the first great Muslim holy man that brought religious glory to the town. The mausoleum in honor of Kozha Akhmed Yasaui, was built on a grand scale by Timur in the late 14th century (from 1389 to 1405). Today this is one of the largest, outstanding and best-preserved constructions of the Timurid period, considered to be Kazakhstan’s greatest building and the most important site of Muslim pilgrimage in Central Asia. Also we will visit Turkistan town necropolis, oriental baths and underground mosque. It is a small but very interesting town! Overnight is in a hotel.
In the morning we will drive to Shymkent. On the way we will visit our famous Arystan Bab mausoleum. The mausoleum was erected over the grave of a famous religious mystic Arystan Bab, who lived in XII century. The first building of the mausoleum belongs to the XIV-XV centuries. Only the carved wooden pillars are left from it. In the XVIII century on the site of an ancient tomb, which was destroyed by an earthquake, was built two domed building with aiwan, supported by two carved wooden columns. The building of XVIII century was destroyed and in 1909 was rebuilt again. It can be seen from the inscription on one of the cartridges frieze. In 1971, due to the high groundwater level, leading her to the emergency condition, the mosque was demolished and rebuilt. The building was built from baked bricks. In the afternoon is arrival in Shymkent. Overnight is in a guesthouse.
In the morning you will have a full day excursion in Aksu Jabagly Natural Park. This is a famous place of interest of the western Tien-Shan. The total area of it is 74,4 thousand hectares. Founded in 1926 it was the first natural reserve in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In the reserve there are main altitudinal belts of vegetation – from semi-deserts to glaciers zone. Several kinds of endemic species of plants grow on the territory of the reserve. You will be impressed with the mountain ridges, swift rivers and nature of the amazing beauty. There are several interesting destinations inside the park. The Aksu river canyon is one of the deepest canyons in Asia. You will get acquainted with fascinating wonders of Aksu Jabagly. You will have hiking in the canyon and a picnic in the open air. Dinner and overnight will be in a guesthouse.
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 dirve to our hotel and the rest of the day is free.
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 excluded 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).