Day 01: Arrival in Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Upon arrival at Tashkent international airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel, the rest of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Tashkent. (D)
Day 02: Tashkent City Tour
City tour of Tashkent includes visiting Amir Timur Square, with its imposing statue of Uzbekistan’s post-Soviet hero, Tamerlane. Continue past Independence Square, the largest city square of the former Soviet Union. Visit the State Art Museum of Uzbekistan, largely formed from the collections of Prince Romanov and other private collectors, which was nationalized after the Bolshevik Revolution. Today the Museum houses an excellent collection of Uzbek and Russian paintings, and also a fine collection of textiles, jewellery, wood carvings and ceramics.
Later visit the old section of Tashkent. Drive to the restored Barak-Khan Complex, with striking blue-tiled domes and decorative Iwans (entrance portals), built during the 16th century when the Shaybanid Dynasty (the Uzbeks) replaced the Timurid Dynasty. Visit the Hast Imam library to see an 8th century manuscript Quran written in the territory of modern Iraq in Kufic script. The Quran is believed by local Uzbek Muslims to have belonged to the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, and is the oldest Quran in the world. Afternoon visiting to the Chorsu Bazaar, centre of daily life in the heart of old town. The Bazaar comprises a unique complex of trade halls crowned with interrelated domes. Everything from exotic dried fruits, fresh herbs and handmade cheese to colourful handicrafts is for sale.
Afterwards, explore the impressive Tashkent Metro, which opened in 1977 in honour of 60th anniversary of the USSR. Each station has its own unique architectural features made of semi-precious materials including marble, granite, glass, ceramics and carved alabaster.
You will also have a chance to visit to the Museum of Applied Arts, with its vast collection of Uzbek traditional crafts. The museum is housed in the former residence of Russian diplomat A. A. Polovtsev, which was built at the end of 19th century in the Uzbek national style. Overnight at hotel in Tashkent. (D)
Day 03: Tashkent – Urgench Khiva
Morning flight to Urgench and transfer to Khiva, Depending on the flight schedule, possibly half day sightseeing of Khiva city. Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BD)
Day 04: Khiva City Tour
Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, discovered a well here. The town certainly existed by the 8th Century, as a minor fort and trading post on a Silk Road branch to the Caspian Sea and the Volga. In the early 16th century, Khiva was made capital of the Timurid Empire, becoming a busy slave market and pivot of the khanate for the next three centuries until Russia finally wrested the region from Timurid grasp in the 19th century. Khiva is an ancient walled city preserved to look as it did in centuries past. It is one of the few sites in Central Asia where one can easily imagine life during the time of the emirates. We will spend the morning wandering its maze of ruins and great mosques. Later, a tour of this living museum including the Ichon-Qala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Medressas, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Islom-Huja Medressa and Minaret. Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BD)
Day 05: Dashoguz- Kunya Urgench – Gas Crater (Turkmenistan)
In the morning drive to Kunya Urgench through the Kara Kum Desert to the ruins of the ancient capital. We cross the border at Dashoguz and continue driving to Kunya Urgench. We visit the Kunya Urgench historical site, where the mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra and Sultan Ali are located. Discover the Kutlug Timur Minaret & Kyrk Molla. Later in the afternoon we drive to Darvaza flaming Gas Crater or the ‘mouth of hell’. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided the best solution was to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the as is still burning today. En-route we visit a Nomad village located in the Karakum desert. Enjoy the amazing views with picnic dinner. Overnight in a basic camp near the Darvaza crater. Sleeping bags and mattresses are provided. (BLD)
Day 06: Darvaza Flaming Crater-Ashgabad
In the morning drive to Ashgabad, check in to your hotel, later drive to visit Nissa fortress -the Sanctuary of Parthian Kings. UNESCO declared Nissa fortress a World Heritage Site in 2007. Nissa described as one of the first capitals of the Parthians was founded by Arsaces I (reigned c. 250 BC – 211BC). It is reputedly the royal necropolis of the Parthian Kings although it has not been established that it was a royal residence nor a mausoleum. The ruins of ancient settlement Nissa are located 18 km from Ashgabat at Bagyr village. Overnight at hotel in Ashgabad. (BLD)
Day 07: Ashgabad Sightseeing
In the morning visit Tolkuchka Bazaar visit the Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashi. Later drive to Gokdepe fortress and horse farm. Gokdepe fortress was attacked in December 1880 by 6,000 Russians under General Mikhail Skobelev against 25,000 defenders. Gokdepe Mosque was built to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue coloured roof and white marble structure.
Later drive to visit a horse farm to see the national pride of the Turkmen people – Akhal-Teke horses, the most purebred and oldest in the world. 5000 years ago, Turkmens began breeding Akhal-Teke horses. Such illustrious Emperors like Alexander the Great, Darius I desired to own Ahal-Teke horses. There are over 35 beautiful horses on the farm. Per superstition, every sick person who touches an Ahal-Teke horse will get well soon. Overnight at hotel in Ashgabad. (BLD)
Day 08: Mary
Morning flight to Mary. Sightseeing of Mary and the ancient ruins of Merv which came under Persian, Greek, Sassanian and Muslim rule. From the 11th century Merv was the capital of the Seljuk Turks, who controlled an empire stretching from Afghanistan to Egypt. In the 13th century Merv was destroyed by the Mongols leaving only the ruins of these numerous civilizations. Later visit the History Museum, Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum and Kys Kala. Overnight at hotel in Mary. (BD)
Day 09: Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
In the morning, drive to the Turkmen Uzbek border. After border formalities you will be met by our Uzbek guide and drive to Bukhara. Afternoon walking tour of Bukhara. Bukhara is one of the best places in Central Asia to catch a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. Most of the city centre is an architectural preserve and includes a massive royal fortress, plenty of former Madrassas, a number of ancient public baths and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. There are over 140 protected buildings in the city. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BD)
Day 10: Bukhara
Today we explore the old quarter on foot. Bukhara is an ancient city with its bustling “trade domes,” active mosques, and the Kalyan Minaret (“tower of death”), one of Central Asia’s tallest. We’ll stroll around the streets and visit the old town center where old men with long white beards gossip for hours while drinking tea. Bukhara has been designated a World Heritage Site resulting in the restoration of some of the mosques, constructed in the 11th to 15th centuries, to their former glory. There are even some structures still standing that date back to Zorastrian times 2,500 years ago.
We also visit The Ark, a large fortress with the Emir’s open-air throne room and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th century brick structure that is nicely preserved. We’ll venture to the outskirts of Bukhara and visit the summer palace of the last Emir, built by a Russian Czar with grand halls and a harem. We will also see Char Minar, a gate of an ancient madrassa long time gone. It was built in 1809 and has more in common with Indian art styles than local. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BD)
Day 11: Bukhara free day
Full free day at leisure in Bukhara. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BD)
Day 12: Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand
We depart early for Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, where we tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur, a man who changed the course of history and made a significant difference to Central Asia. There’s little left of Timur’s Ak-Saray Palace except bits of the gigantic, 40 m (98 foot) high entrance covered with gorgeous filigree like blue, white and gold mosaics, but it’s staggering to try and imagine what the rest of this glorious summer palace must have looked like. We continue later to Samarkand. For most people, Samarkand is as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Tombouctou. The sublime larger-than-life monuments of Timur, the technicolour bazaar and the city’s long, rich history work a special kind of magic. On arrival we’ll visit the old bazaars for which this exotic city is famous. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BD)
Day 13: Samarkand City Tour
Samarkand, sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Orient’ was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full day tour we visit the famous Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Observatory of Ulughbek, the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-I Zinda, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of Bibi Khanym, and the adjacent colourful market. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicate back in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties. Our afternoon tour covers the Afrosiab Museum. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BD)
Day 14: Samarkand- Penjikent Fann Mountain (Tajikistan)
In the morning we drive to Uzbek Tajik border crossing at Penjikent, after border formalities meet your Tajik guide and drive to visit the Seven Lakes (80 km) through the settlement of Sarazm the UNESCO World Heritage site. Seven lakes of Marguzor is located in the west of Fan Mountains; each of them has its own colour which varies from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. Today you will have a chance to hike around the mountain. After picnic lunch return to Penjikent. Afternoon visit the Penjikent museum and local market. Overnight at hotel in Penjikent. (BD)
Day 15: Penjikent – Iskandar Kul Lake – Dushanbe
In the morning drive to Dushanbe, en-route we stop at Iskandar Kul Lake, explore around the Lake after lunch continue driving to Dushanbe. Overnight at hotel in Dushanbe. (BLD)
Day 16: Dushanbe visit
In the morning we visit Hissar Fortress, houses which remains of the palace of the Bukhara Emirate Becks. Its thick walls once guarded a pool, garden, and palace, while the fortress itself opposed a noisy market and caravanserai. What remains today is a portion of the wall and the gate towers, representative of the 18th and 19th century style. The area has been inhabited since antiquity and features an 8th century mosque, but it was the emirs who inhabited the fortress and the Silk Route traders that made Gissar a center of commerce and learning .You will also have an opportunity today to visit Old Medressa (Madrasai Kuhna, 16th – 17th century) and its museum and Madrasai Nav (17th -18thcentury) and the Caravan Saray. Later city tour includes visit the Museum of National Antiquities with exhibits primarily from Tajikistan’s pre-Islamic civilizations: the Greek, Bactrian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Zoroastrian periods. The most notable piece in the museum is the largest, fifteen-hundred-year-old reclining Buddha statue. Later enjoy strolling around the big Ismoili Somoni Monument – the forefather of Tajik nation, erected in the Main Square and Rudaki Park in the center of city as well. Try the taste of Tajik tea and hot bread in public teahouses – called Choikhona – most of which are decorated in traditional, colourful Tajik style. Overnight at hotel in Dushanbe. (BLD)
Day 17: Kalaikum
Today we start our journey toward the Pamir over the mountain passes to Kalaikum which is halfway to Khorog. Overnight at hotel or home-stays in Kalaikum. (BLD)
Day 18: Khorog
Drive to Khorog, the capital of the Gorno- Badakhshan (GBAO) region, along the Panj River which forms the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Overnight at hotel in Khorog (BLD)
Day 19: Khorog
In the morning, visit Khorog’s bazaar, museum and botanical gardens. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Khorog (BLD)
Day 20: Ishkashim Wakhan Valley
Today we drive to Wakhan valley. En-route we stop at Garm Chashma (Hot spring). Garam Chasma is the Pamirs’ most popular open-air hot spring pool for the locals. We visit the ruins of Kah Kahah fortress dated back from Kushan period 4th Century AD and in the afternoon, drive to Bibi Fotima hot spring for a walk around the village. Overnight at home-stays in Ishkashim. (BLD)
Day 21: Langar
In the morning we visit a small museum of local astronomer and poet Sufi Muboraki Wakhoni. Afterwards, we travel to the village Vrang where a Buddhist complex dating from 4th-7 centuries is pitted on in a cliff-face. This complex is the reminder of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region. Continue driving to Langer, afternoon walk around the village and a chance to meet the locals, or if you are energetic, optional hike up the hill to see the petroglyph site above the village, which involves a fair physical effort to reach. These images carved into the rocks high above the village depict goats, caravans, horses. Overnight at Homestay in Langar. (BLD)
Day 22: Murghab
Today we visit local shrine Mazor-I Shoh Qambar-I Oftob (Master of Sun). Afterward we drive along the Pamir River via the Khargoshi pass (4344m) to Murghab.
Murgab is the highest village in Tajikistan, located at an altitude of 3600m. The town lies at the junction of the Pamir highway (that connects the region with Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan) and the main road linking Tajikistan with China through the Kulma pass. Overnight at Guest house in Murghab. (BLD)
Day 23: Kyzyl Art pass – Sary-Tash (Kyrgyzstan)
We drive along the Pamir Highway to Sary-Tash, en-route we stop at Karakul Lake with beautiful view of the lake and surrounding mountain peaks. Drive to Kyzyl-Art Pass (4,280 m) border crossing. After border formalities, meet your Kyrgyz guide and descend to Sary-Tash village. Overnight at Mirbek Guest House. (BLD)
Day 24: Sary Tash village – Osh
In the morning we drive to Osh to visit the Suleyman Mountain, Baburs house, History Museum, Rabat Abdullah Khan Mosque and Mausoleum and Osh Bazaar. Overnight at hotel in Osh. (BLD)
Day 25: Osh-Chyckan Gorge
Drive to Chychkan Gorge, stopping along the way at the Uzgen minaret and mausoleum. Our journey takes us through the hydro-power stations, Toktogul water reservoir, Marble Pyramid and the Chychkan Canyon. Overnight at l in Chyckan Gorge. (BLD)
Day 26: Chychkan Gorge – Bishkek
Today we drive the Ala-Bel pass (3200 m above sea level) and through the Suusamyr valley to Bishkek. Upon arrival in Bishkek, enjoy a city tour which includes Central Square Ala-Too, White House, Parliament House, Manas on Horse Statue, Lenin Statue, and Oak Park.
Overnight at hotel in Bishkek. (BLD)
Day 27: Bishkek – Sonkul Lake (370 kms)
Morning scenic drive to Song Kul Lake. En route you will visit the Burana Tower. The tower, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century.The next stop is in nearby Don-Aryk village where you will witness the famous horseback game called Buzkashi.
Later continue driving to Song Kol is a high alpine lake in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan It lies at an altitude of 3016 metre from sea level. It is an important migration point for birds, which flock here for the lake’s rich marshlands. The lake itself is an exquisite gem-coloured turquoise blue, reaching a depth of 14 meters. In the summer. Song-Kul Lake is surrounded by lush verdant grass, making it a hotspot for nomadic cattle and horse breeders. Overnight in Yurt. (BLD)
Day 28: Sonkul Lake – Issyk Kul Lake (300 kms)
Morning drive to Issyk-Kul. En route stop in Kochkor village where you will visit the Altyn Kol Women’s Handicraft Co-operative Centre.
Here, you will learn how nomadic Kyrgyz women made Shyrdak, and Ala-Kiyiz – a floor covering made by pressing felt of various naturally dyed colours. You will see the process of felt carpet-making and wool-dying. Kochkor is famous for farming and felt-makers.
Later, we continue driving to Cholpon-Ata, Issyk-Kul. Visit Cholpon-Ata petroglyphs Saimalu-Tash, which covers 42 hectares and contains prehistoric monumental structures (stone circles, tombs, the remains of a boundary stone wall) and petroglyphs dating from 500 BC up to 600 AD.
Upon arrival enjoy the stunning view of the Lake or take an optional boat ride. Overnight at hotel in Issuk Kul Lake. (BLD)
Day 29: Issyk-Kul Lake – Karakol – Djety Oguz Gorge (150 kms)
Drive to Karakol. Half day sightseeing of Karakol visiting the Russian Church (1885), Dungan mosque (1910) and the museum and grave of Prjevalskiy, a great Russian explorer of Central Asia and Mongolia. After lunch drive to Djety-Oguz Gorge, a lush valley with striking red sandstone rock formations – the ‘Seven Bulls’ from which the valley takes its name. Here you will watch an Eagle Hunting show. Walking around the Canyon later return back to Karakol. Overnight at hotel in Karakol. (BLD)
Day 30: Karakol – Charyn Canyons – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
After breakfast depart Karakol and drive to Charyn Canyons via Karkara valley, see the natural landscapes and hike the Charyn canyon which is also known as Valley of Castles for its unusual rock formations. The width of it ranges from 20-80 meters (66 – 262 ft) and the length is 2 km (1.24 mi) long. After picnic lunch continue driving to Almaty.
Overnight at hotel in Almaty. (BLD)
Day 31: Almaty visit
Almaty city tour: visit the Zenkov Cathedral, one of the worlds tallest all wood buildings and the unique national museum of Kazak musical instruments. Drive to Medeo. Take a funicular to lift to Chymbulak Mountain Ski Resort center. On the way back to Almaty take a cable car to climb to Kok-Tobe Green Hill. Enjoy panoramic view at Kok-Tobe Hill followed by a visit to the Central State Museum. Overnight at hotel in Almaty (BLD)
Day 32: Depart Almaty
Our service will end with airport transfer. (B)