Day 1: Almaty Arrival (Kazakhstan)
On Arrival at Almaty airport you will be met by our guide and transferred to your hotel. Later city tour of Almaty, including the Zenkov Cathedral, one of the world’s tallest wood buildings and the Central State Museum. After lunch, ascend the Kok-Tube Mountain by railway. Return to Almaty to visit the unique National Museum of Kazak Musical Instruments. Overnight at hotel in Almaty. (LD).
Day 2: Almaty
After breakfast, we drive to Medeo. Medeo is a picturesque valley located 15 km above Almaty. Besides beautiful nature there are some other attractions to see, one of which is the world’s largest speed skating rink know as Medea. The other one is a dike; a fine piece of engineering created to protect the city from mud floods with an impressive capacity to hold of 6.000.000 m of water. Our last stop is the ski resort of Chimbulak at the end of the gorge, situated at an altitude of 2.200 m above sea level. It is one of Central Asia’s top skiing spots. The ski season lasts from November to April. Later return to your hotel for Overnight (BLD)
Day 3: Almaty-Charyn Canyon Karakul (Kyrgyzstan)
Drive to Karakul. En-route we visit Charyn canyon where you will have chance to explore the area after a picnic lunch. We cross the border to Karakul. Overnight at hotel in Karakul. (BLD)
Day 4: Karakol visit – Djety Oguz
Half day sightseeing of Karakul; visiting the Russian Church (1885), Dungan mosque (1910) and the Museum and grave of Prjevalskiy, the Great Russian explorer of Asia. After lunch, we drive to the impressive Djeti Oguz Gorge (the Gorge of 7 Red Rocks ), the most beautiful gorge in Kyrgyzstan. Here there is the opportunity to to hike around the canyon or take an optional horse ride. Overnight in Typical Kyrgyz Yurt (BLD)
Day 5: Djety Oguz –Cholpon-ata Issyk-Kul
In the morning, drive to Aksuu (Grigoryevka) Canyon for a hike around the canyon. Later, visit some rock petroglyphs dated to 3rd century AD to 14th century AD. Visit Cholpon-Ata in the afternoon. Overnight at hotel in Issyk Kul Lake. (BLD)
Day 6: Issyk Kul – Bishkek
In the morning drive to Bishkek. En-route we stop at the 11th century Burana Tower. During lunch, we watch the famous Buzkashi game. Continue driving to Bishkek. Afternoon city tour of Bishkek, including Victory square, Russian Orthodox Church, Osh market, Ala-Too Square and the History Museum. Overnight at hotel in Bishkek (BLD)
Day 07: Bishkek-Chychkan Gorge
Today we drive through Suusamyr valley over Ala-Bel pass (3200 m above sea level) to Chykan Gorge. Overnight at hotel in Chychkan Gorge. (BLD)
Day 8: Chychkan Gorge – Osh
In the morning, we leave Chychkan Natural Reserve for Osh. En-route we stop at Toktogul reservoirs, Uzgen tower and mausoleums from the Karakhanids’ period, and visit the Uzgen’s market. Continue driving to Osh. Later city tour in Osh including visiting the Suleiman Mountain – UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Little Mecca), Suleiman Too sacred mountain is a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage. On top of the mountain is a stone shelter known as Babur’s House, named after the 15-16th-century Muslim leader who founded the Mughal Dynasty in India.
Overnight at hotel in Osh. (BLD)
Day 9: Osh-Ferghana valley (Uzbekistan)
Breakfast at hotel, later transfer to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border Dostuck. After border formalities meet your Uzbek guide and driver and start the Uzbekistan tour in the Fergana valley. Surrounded by the Tien Shan mountain range and watered by tributaries of the Syr Darya River, this is the most fertile part of Central Asia. Since the time of Alexander the Great and throughout the time of the Great Silk Road it was a rich oasis. Our first stop is Andijan, the birthplace of Babur, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we drive further to the town of Fergana, a relatively young settlement, established as a Russian garrison town at the end of the 19th century. We have a short city tour, including a stroll in al Fergani Park. Overnight at hotel in Fergana. (BLD)
Day 10: Ferghana Valley-Tashkent
In the morning, explore the Ferghana valley and visit Rishtan, the town is famous for its ceramics. It is no coincidence that pottery became so prominent exactly at this place because the red clay and pigments available here are of excellent quality. We have the chance to visit the studio of a pottery master and learn more about his job and passion that has been passed down from generation to generation. Later drive to Tashkent via Kokand, visit includes; Museum in the Fort of the Last Ruler – Khudayor Khan and see a collection of exhibits related to the times of the Khan’s rule. Museum Norbuta – Bia madrassa and Modarikhon mausoleum. Overnight at hotel in Tashkent. (BD))
Day 11: Tashkent City Tour
City tour of Tashkent includes visting 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, nationalized after the Bolshevik Revolution. Today the Museum houses an excellent collection of Uzbek and Russian painting, and also a fine collection of textiles, jewellery, wood carvings and ceramics.
Later visit the Old part 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. It 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, handmade cheese and freshly-killed meat 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. (BD)
Day 12: Khujand-Istrafshan – Penjikent (Tajikistan)
In the morning transfer to the Uzbek Tajik border at Oybek to Khujand. You will be met by our Tajikistan guide and drive to Khujand city, City tour of Khujand includes a visit to the ancient part of Timurmalik fortress, museum and Panjshanbe market, after lunch drive to Istrafshan and visit the well preserved old town of Istarafshan, a maze of small alleys that wind through neighborhoods of shady, mud walled Central Asian homesteads. Sights include the fifteenth century Kuk Gumbaz Mosque, the Hafz-i-Sangin Mosque and the eighteenth century Hazrat-i-Shah Mosque and mausoleum complex. Continue driving to Penjikent. Overnight at hotel in Penjikent. (BD)
Day 13:Penjikent – Fann Mountain
In the morning we 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 Penjikent museum, local market. Overnight at hotel in Penjikent. (BD)
Day 14: Samarkand (Uzbekistan 2nd arrival)
In the morning transfer to Penjikent border crossing, after border formalities meet your Uzbekistan guide and drive to Samarkand for a half day city tour. For most people Samarkand is as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Timbouctou. 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 for. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BD)
Day 15: Samarkand sightseeing
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 and the 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 duplicated back home 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, located on the site of ancient and the Tomb of Saint Daniel. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand. (BD)
Day 16: Bukhara via Shakhrisabz
Travel to Bukhara via Shakrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane.We visit Tamerlane’s palace Ak Sarai,the Kok Gumbaz mosque, Mausoleum of Jehangir (Tamerlane’s grandson) and Tamerlane’s Mausoleum. Bukhara is one of the centere of the Russian/British Intelligence Services in the 19th Century. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BD)
Day 17: 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 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 also 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, later visit Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa. In the evening enjoy a Folklore show at Nodir Devon Begi Madrasasi. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BLD)
Day 18: Bukhara free day
Full free day at leisure in Bukhara or optional actities can be arranged on request.Overnight at hotel in Bukhara. (BD)
Day 19: Bukhara -Khiva
Transfer to the train station for train trip to Khiva. Depending on the train schedule probably half day city tour of Khiva. Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BD)
Day 20: Khiva: City Tour
Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, when he 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, even the boldest hearts feared encounters with these fierce tribesmen and their desert territory. Khiva is an ancient walled city and looks much like 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 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. Dinner will be served at Toza Bogh Palace (Summer residence of Muhammad Rahim Khan II). Overnight at hotel in Khiva. (BD)
Day 21: Dashoguz- Kunya Urgench (Turkmenistan)
Drive to Kunya Urgench through the Karakum Desert to the ruins of ancient capital. We cross the border at Dashoguz and continue driving to Kunya Urgench. Visit Portal of Caravansaray, Mamun Minaret, II Arslan Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Academy of Horezm, Kutlug Timur Minaret, Turabek Hanum Mausoleum. After lunch continue driving to Darwaza burning Gas Crater (268km) dubbed by locals as “The door to Hell”. The Darwaza area is rich in natural gas. 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. In the evening, watch the spectacular and fascinating view of the gas crater. BBQ dinner & overnight at Gas Crater in Camp. (BLD) We will be providing sleeping bags and mattresses.
Day 22: Gas Crater-Ashgabad
Picnic style breakfast in the camp. Morning drive to Ashgabat. En-route we cross Karakum desert, will make a stop in the small desert village of Erbent. Arrival in Ashgabat and 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 as a royal residence nor a mausoleum. The ruins of ancient settlement Nissa are located 18 km from Ashgabat at Bagyr village. Later in the afternoon drive to visit Gokdepe fortress that was attacked in December 1880 by Russian Empire army. The siege of Gokdepe lasted 23 days, after which the city was taken by storm. Visit Geokdepe Mosque (Saparmyrat Hajy) that was built in 1995 to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue colored roof and white marble structure. Also visit Gokdepe Historical Museum to learn the history of Gokdepe, understand the reason of Russian attacks, see the drawings of Russian-Turkmen battle, and see socio-historical development of Turkmen people. Overnight at hotel in Ashgabad. (BLD)
Day 23: Ashgabad Sightseeing
Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to visit “Altyn Asyr” Oriental Bazar– Jygyldyk located in 20km to the north of Ashgabat. It is one of the largest open bazaars in the world filled with colorful rugs, jewelry, carpets, silk and national Turkmen costumes and animals in other parts.
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. Drive to visit Turkmenbashy Ruhy Mosque in Kipchak (the largest mosque in Central Asia). Overnight at hotel in Ashgabad (BLD)
Day 24: Onward flight
Our service will end with airport transfer. (B)