«Five Stan» 1: Revival of the Silk Road

Category:Tours of Central Asia
22 Days / 21 Nights
Cities:Ashgabat – Nisa – Darwaza – Kunya-Urgench – Khiva – Bukhara – Gijduvan – Samarkand – Penjikent – Istaravshan – Khujand – Tashkent – Kokand – Fergana – Margilan – Osh – Kazarman – Son-Kul – Issyk-Kul Lake – Karakol – Kolsay Lakes – Charyn canyon – Almaty.
Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn,
Description
Tour structure
Price

Tour description

Ancient Silk Road went through the territory of five modern republics of Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Interest in the Silk Road is growing rapidly, especially in its less explored central part. It is not easy to decide which country to visit first and which next, that is why we created for you the tour that covers all five republics and main highlights of the region. Among other things, you will visit UNESCO World Heritage objects in Ashgabat, Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand.  The tour considers avoiding domestic flights.  

Tour structure

Day 1 | Flight to Ashgabat
Flight to Ashgabat

 

  • Flight to Ashgabat. 
  • For European countries, best way is to fly via Istanbul.
  • Hotel booking for early check-in.

Meals: - / - / -
 

 

Day 2 | Ashgabat
Ashgabat
  • Early arrival to Ashgabat.
  • Meeting with driver and transfer to hotel, early check-in. 
  • After late breakfast city tour with visits Independence Park, Rukhnama monument, Neutrality Arch, Earthquake monument, Soviet War memorial complex and Ertogrul Ghazi mosque.
  • Transfer to hotel, overnight.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 3 | Ashgabat - Nissa - Darwaza
Ashgabat - Nissa - Darwaza
  • After breakfast half day tour with visits Sunday bazaar, Nissa (UNESCO) and Turkmenbashi mosque-mausoleum.
  • Afternoon drive to Darvaza gas crater located in the middle of Karakum desert Empire.
  • Arrival in Darwaza before the sunset.
  • Dinner near the burning gas crater (BBQ dinner); discover the crater by day and nighttime.
  • Overnight in yurts (4-5 pax in each) or tents (1-2 pax in each). 

Meals: B / - / D

Day 4 | Darwaza - Kunya Urgench - Khiva
Darwaza - Kunya Urgench - Khiva
  • After camp style breakfast drive to historical site Kunya Urgench (UNESCO), explore historical park with Kutlug Timur minaret, Mausoleum Turabek Khanum, Mausoleum Tekesh, Mausoleum Il Arslan Caravan-saray gateway, Kyrk Molla hill and etc. 
  • Transfer to the Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan border post “Shavat”. Crossing the border before lunch break. Meeting from Uzbek side.
  • Transfer to Khiva. Free time.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 5 | Khiva
Khiva
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Start of walking city tour in Khiva.

Khiva is called Eighth World Wonder because of its oriental spirit. The city resembles an open air museum. The basis of this museum is a fortress Ichan-Kala. The fortress surrounded by mighty walls with four gates that open up every part of the world. Inside the fortress concentrated all the architectural masterpieces of Khiva. Before the eyes of the one who is inside the fortress, appear amazing minarets, madrasahs other buildings of Islamic architecture.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 6 | Khiva - Bukhara
Khiva - Bukhara
  • Road to Bukhara via Kyzyl Kum desert.
  • Photo stop near Amudarya River. 
  • Lunch at the local cafe-choyhona.
  • Arrive to Bukhara.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 7 | Bukhara
Bukhara
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Start excursion in Bukhara

One of the oldest cities in the world - fabulous Bukhara. Bring the picture is drawn in being acquainted with its architectural masterpieces, which were created over the centuries-old history. In Bukhara many names. The word "Bukhara" in tune with the Sanskrit word "vihara" - "Monastery" and the Chinese "Bihar" - a place of idols. It is said that the founder of Bukhara was the son of Iranian king Siyavush. He married the daughter of the king Afrasiab, he built the Ark Fortress.

  • Visit ensemble Lyabi Hauz, Nodir Divan Begi (1622), a fantastic bird in the portal madrasa - symbol of Bukhara. Kukeldash - the biggest madrassah in Bukhara, Ulugbek Madrasah - the only building left over from the famous "scientist on the throne" Ulugbek. 
  • Kalyan Minaret (47 meters), without which it is impossible to imagine the silhouette of Bukhara. It was built of brick exquisite workmanship in 1127 during the reign of Arslankhan. Next to the mosque Kalyan minaret is located and acting from the 16th century to the present day, the Muslim religious school - madrasah Mir-i-Arab.
  • Citadel Ark, Bolo Hauz Mosque (1712), the dome of the building trade - and still Tim.
  • Mausoleum of Ismail Samani (10th century) - the oldest surviving buildings in Central Asia. 
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 8 | Suburb sightseeing in Bukhara
Suburb sightseeing in Bukhara

Once it housed the village Kasri Arifon, famous for its pagan customs and holidays. Now, on the site of the rites of Zoroastrians is the mausoleum of the famous Sufi philosopher of the East.

  • Four kilometers north of Bukhara there is a summer residence of the last Bukhara emirs - Palace Sitorai Mohi Hosa. This is the only survivor of a country palace, which survived the October Revolution and fall of the Bukhara Emirate.
  • The ensemble of Chor Bakr – complex of ancient mausoleums in Sumitan village, 5 km west from Bukhara. In these mausoleums sheikhs of different epochs are buried.  
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 9 | Bukhara – Gijduvan – Samarkand
Bukhara – Gijduvan – Samarkand
  • Breakfast at the hotel. Road to Samarkand.
  • By the way excursion in Gijduvan town, to the workshop of famous ceramists dynasty.
  • Arrive to Samarkand. Free time.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 10 | Samarkand
Samarkand
  • Breakfast at the hotel. 
  • Start excursion in Samarkand

Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in the world; its age is 2750 years. Samarkand is situated in the picturesque valley of the Zarafshan River, surrounded by the Pamir-Alai Mountains. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), who made Samarkand the capital of his vast empire, wrote their names in the history of this famous city. Samarkand became a scientific and cultural center of the Middle East during the reign of the grandson of Timur - "scientist on the throne" Ulugbek.

  • Registan square with three sides surrounded by beautiful buildings: Ulugbek (1417 - 1420), Sher-Dor (1619 - 1636) and Tilla-Kari (1647 - 1660). 
  • Bibi Khanum mosque. According to the legend, Timur built a huge mosque for his beloved wife Bibi Khanum. 
  • Guri-Emir Mausoleum (14th century), where lie the ashes of the great Timur, his sons Shahrukh and Miranshah, and his grandson Ulugbek.
  • Ensemble Shahi-i-Zinda. It consists of eleven mausoleums, who joined up in succession to each other for 14-15 centuries. This unique and mysterious ensemble located near the settlement of Afrasiab. 
  • Mausoleum of St. Daniel (Daniyar) - a unique place of pilgrimage - the mausoleum of the spiritual guardian of Samarkand and prophet of three world religions - Hodge Daniyor (the biblical prophet Daniel).
  • Ulugbek Observatory. A striking confirmation of a significant development in the XIV-XV centuries in Central Asia, architecture, science and culture.
  • Paper factory. Visit to the village of Koni Gil, a workshop on the production of tissue paper from the bark of the mulberry tree.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 11 | Samarkand – Penjikent – Istaravshan - Khujand
Samarkand – Penjikent – Istaravshan - Khujand
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Transfer to the Tajikistan border, transfer to Penjikent, brief sightseeing. Ancient Penjikent - ruins of old Sogdian town founded in 5th century BC and destroyed in the 8th Century AD by Arab army. Foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples and city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins. Visit other objects of Penjikent:
    •    Museum of Rudaki
    •    Penjikent Bazaar
  • Continue of drive along picturesque Zerafshan valley, crossing Turkestan ridge by new tunnel built by Chinese engineers under the mountain massive. 
  • One the way visiting Istaravshan town (former Kiropolis, town of Kir), ancient center of trade and handicrafts.
  • Visiting museum on the hill Mug (where the town was creaded by Kir, ancient Persian king). 
  • Late afternoon arrival to Khujand. 
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 12 | Khujand - Tashkent
Khujand - Tashkent
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • City tour in Khujand. Khujand is second biggest city of Tajikistan, its northern capital. Visiting museum of archeology, mosque of Sheikh Muslekhiddin (XVII c), medieval Khujand fortress and traditional bazaar Panshanbe with Soviet-time portal. 
  • Transfer to Uzbekistan border, crossing the border. Meeting be the guide from Uzbek side.
  • Transfer to Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan. 
  • Evening walk along Tashkent city center: Tamerlane square, Navoi Theatre, Monument of Courage, etc. 
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 13 | Tashkent – Kokand – Rishtan – Fergana
Tashkent – Kokand – Rishtan – Fergana
  • Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to the railway station.
  • Departure to Kokand by the train. Start excursion of Kokand, inspection of 5 architectural monuments of the city of Kokand: Khudoyar-khan Palace, Jami Mosque and the Minaret, Necropolises of Dahmai Shahon and Modarikhan.
  • Transfer to Rishtan, center of ceramic production of the Fergana Valley. 
  • Visiting ceramic workshop. Further drive to Fergana. 
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 14 | Fergana – Margilan - Osh
Fergana – Margilan - Osh
  • Breakfast at the hotel. Start excursion of Margilan, located in the southeast of the Fergana Valley; it is ancient center for the production of silk fabrics in Central Asia.
  • Transfer to the suburbs of Margilan, a walk along the largest bazaar in the Fergana Valley - Kumtepa. Inspection of craft rows. After the bazaar visiting famous silk-making factory “Yodgorlik” in Margilan. This factory still makes silk of ancient technologies, without using any machines. 
  • Transfer to the border with Kyrgyzstan, crossing the border. Kyrgyz guide will meet you on the other side.
  • Transfer to Osh, short city tour: Central Square of Osh, city with Town Hall and the biggest statue of Lenin, St. Michael Cathedral, “Tears of Mother” monument dedicated to the victims of June 2010, Eternal fire and victims of WW2 monument.
  • Transfer to Suleiman mountain. There you will live your minibus on the parking place and go up to get to Museum in the cave. You will have an excursion in Museum, go out on the other side of the mountain and walk up by stair to the top of Suleiman mountain. You will see on the top Ancient Mosque of Babur.

From the top of the mountain you will see a panoramic view of Osh city.

  • Go down by the stairs, your minibus will pick you up from the other side of the mountain and drive to Alymbek Datka Museum. 
  • Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / D
 

Day 15 | Osh – Kazarman village
Osh – Kazarman village
  • Breakfast in the hotel. 
  • After breakfast, you will start your long way to Kazarman village. On the way you will visit Uzgen town famous for Uzgen tower, an ancient minaret built in 12th century by Karakhanids. 
  • Upon arrival in the village, you will be accommodated in the local family, homestay.
  • Dinner at the family.

Overnight.

Meals: B / - / D

Day 16 | Kazarman Village – Son-Kul Lake
Kazarman Village – Son-Kul Lake
  • Breakfast at a local family. 
  • After breakfast, you will have a drive towards a famous Son-Kul Lake. 

Son-Kul from Kyrgyz translates as Last Lake. The lake is located at the elevation of 3016 m above sea level.
It is rural area; there are no hotels, restaurants, shops or museums. This place is unique with its silence, peace and virgin nature. In summer period, you can meet many nomads here. They collect their stocks of animals and drive up to Son-Kul Lake to graze.
Upon arrival lunch at the yurt camp.

  • After lunch, you will walk down to the lakeshore. Your guide can show you petroglyphs site left in Bronze period.

You will visit local nomads, see their way of life. They will welcome you and give to try ‘kymyz’ - traditional Kyrgyz drink made of mare’s milk.

  • Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.

Meals: B / L / D

Day 17 | Son-Kul Lake – Issyk Kul Lake – Karakol
Son-Kul Lake – Issyk Kul Lake – Karakol
  • Breakfast in the yurt camp.
  • After the breakfast, you will start a long drive to Karakol town. On the way, you will visit many interesting places. The first stop will be in Kochkor village at Museum of Handicraft of Women Cooperative.
  • Continue our way, and the next place of interest will be in Choplon Ata town the Open Air Museum of Petroglyphs. 
  • Continue your drive along the Northern Shore of Issyk Kul lake. You will make a stop in Jarkynbaevo village to visit an Interactive Shepherd’s Museum.
  • After excursion, you will have a transfer to Karakol town. 
  • Upon arrival you will visit a Dungan Mosque built in traditional Chinese Pagoda style, Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral built without a single nail used.
  • Overnight in the hotel. 

Meals: B / - / -
 

Day 18 | Karakol - Kolsay lake
Karakol - Kolsay lake
  • Morning drive to Kyrgyz-Kazakh border.
  • Upon arrival, you will say to Kyrgyzstan good-bye and cross the border to Kazakhstan. 
  • Meeting from Kazakh side.  
  • Transfer to Satty village near Kolsay Lake.
  • For dinner, we will taste the national homemade meals. 
  • Overnight at the guesthouse.

Meals: B / L / D

Day 19 | Kolsay lake
Kolsay lake

Today we go to one of the most beautiful places of Almaty region – Kolsay lakes, often called “the pearl of Kazakhstan”. 

  • Hiking to the upper lake. The unknown beauty of the mighty spruces and crystal-clear mountain river surrounds hikers.

The nature of Kolsay lakes is unique and has no analogues.

  • Overnight at the guesthouse.

Meals: B / L / D

Day 20 | Kolsay lake - Charyn canyon – Almaty
Kolsay lake - Charyn canyon – Almaty
  • Transfer to Almaty via wonderful Charyn Canyon.

Charyn is located in the National Park and protected by the state. In fact, the length of the entire canyon is about 155 km so you can imagine how large this unique place is. Naturally, there are about a thousand of various species of trees and plants growing in such a huge area, some of them are red-listed as rare.
The most attractive place for tourists is the Valley of Castles. Tourists go down the stairs and then dive into the atmosphere of complete silence. You can take a walk of about two kilometers along the canyon and will be able to see all the greatness of these mountains. In addition, later you can have a picnic sitting by the river. 

  • After hearing all the legends about this mystical place and having enjoyed the views, we drive further to Almaty and accommodate in a hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 21 | Almaty
Almaty
  • Breakfast at the hotel. 
  • Sightseeing in Almaty:
    •    Park of 28 Panfilovtsev, named in honor of the heroes of World War II, who stopped Nazi army not far from Moscow;
    •    Cathedral - a wooden structure built without a nail; 
    •    Museum of National Music Instruments;
    •    State Museum;
    •    Green Bazaar - the old central market called "green" bazaar, because here the first green traded from time immemorial, the rich gifts of nature the Trans. 
    •    Square of Republic - the main square in Almaty with monuments;
    •    Kok-Tobe - On a hilltop-viewing platform is located, which is visible from the beautiful panorama of the city of Almaty, as well as the endless horizon of the steppe area.
    •    Medeo, huge high-mountain ice-rink, known around the world.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B / - / -

Day 22 | Departure from Almaty
Departure from Almaty
  • Transfer to the airport. Flight home.

Meals: B / - / -

Price

Group Standard Comfort
20 $1840 $2110
19 $1870 $2130
18 $1885 $2140
17 $1890 $2150
16 $1900 $2160
15 $1930 $2185
14 $1960 $2190
13 $1975 $2235
12 $2050 $2340
11 $2090 $2355
10 $2110 $2360
9 $2175 $2410
8 $2185 $2450
7 $2300 $2570
6 $2440 $2705
5 $2720 $2990
4 $2840 $3080
3 $3265 $3475
2 $3870 $4140
1 $6705 $6990
Single supplement $390 $520

Included

  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms in mentioned hotels (or similar), with breakfast
  • Shared accommodation in yurts and homestay
  • All land transportation
  • English-speaking escorting guide in each country
  • Visa invitation to Turkmenistan
  • Meals according to the program
  • Entrance fees by the program
  • In Almaty: Cable car + shuttle to Kok-Tobe
  • Mineral water for transfers

Not included

  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Turkmenistan: visa 85+4 USD per person, when obtained at Ashgabat Airport (subject to change)
  • Turkmenistan: migration tax 10+4 USD per person, to be paid at Ashgabat Airport (subject to change)
  • Turkmenistan: tourist fee per night, charged in the hotels at departure 2 USD per person per night (obligatory)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Photo/video fees at historical parks and in museums
  • Tips for local guide(s) and/or driver(s)
  • Porters fee
  • Souvenirs and other personal items
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under “Included”

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