With their long and dramatic history, the Central Asian republics have a lot to offer to an adventurous traveler. This safari will give you a chance to enjoy extensive historical sightseeing, as well as all kinds of natural landscapes, from deserts and oases of Uzbekistan to beautiful mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan . Be prepared for long drives between towns, basic accommodations in yurts at some places, and walks in the mountains, but remember that these will be balanced by many exciting discoveries and wonderful memories that you will bring back home.
The program of tour day after day:
24 days and 23 nights
Day 1. Tashkent.
Arrive in Tashkent , meet and greet at the airort and private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel.
Day 2. Taskent – Urgench – Khiva
Breakfast. Will start the day with a tour of Uzbekistan’s capital – Tashkent . Visit the Museum of Applied Arts to see some beautiful embroideries, wall hangings, carved furniture, ceramics and more. Later in the day you visit the Museum of Antiquities, and the old city, which has mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops (XIV century). Next you explore the Kukeldash and Abul Khassim Medressa (XVI century Muslim temples) and the Chorsu Bazaar, a huge open market beside Kukeldash, which draws crowds of people from the countryside, many in traditional dress. Fly to Urgench in the afternoon. Arrive in Urgench, meeting in airport, transfer Khiva (25 km). Arrival in Khiva. Transfer to hotel, accommodation. Rest. Dinner and overnight in the hotel..
Day 3. Khiva.
Breakfast. Depart for a full-day tour of the town of Khiva , one of the most ancient settlements in the world. Your tour of this living museum includes the Ichan-Kala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Madrasas, Islom-Huja Madasa and Minaret, Tosh-Khovli Palace which has the most sumptuous interior decoration in Khiva, and walk the narrow streets meeting with local people. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 4. Khiva – Nukus.
Breakfast. Today you will go on a full-day trip to Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region within Uzbekistan spread around the dying sea of Aral . Here you take a tour of the remains, possibly the first city of ancient Khorezm, dating back to the V century. Transfer to Nukus (200 km, 3 hours). In a way visiting of ancient fortresses of times zaroostrizm Сhalpyk-Kala, Djanpyk-Kala, a necropolis on ridge Sultan Uvais. In Nukus visiting of the Museum of arts with a unique collection of products of Russian avant-guarde it. I.V.Savitsky. After excursion, transfer to hotel, accommodation. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 5. Nukus – Khodjeili – ancient fortress – Nukus.
Breakfast. After breakfast t ransfer to Khodjeily ( 30 km ), visiting archaeological complex of Mizdakhan (Medieval mausoleums Nazlumkhan Sulu, Shamun Nabi, Khakfa Erezhep, caravan-serai White Lhanaka and antique fortress Gyaur Kala). Back to Nukus. Accommodation in the hotel Zhipek Zholy. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6. Nukus – Muinak.
Breakfast. Check out at the hotel at 07.30. Transfer: Nukus – Kungrad – village Muynak (220 km). In Muynak visiting of a cemetery of the ships, at the former coast of Aral Sea, a museum of Aral Sea . In a museum there are fine masterpieces of painting of artists of Raphael Matevosjana and Faima Madgazina devoted to Aral sea and Priaralya. Lunch. After lunch transfer Nukus. Arrival in Nukus, transfer to hotel. Rest. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7. Nukus – Beruni town – Tortkul town – Bukhara.
Breakfast. Transfer: Nukus – Beruni town – Tirtkul town – Bukhara (700 km, 8 – 9 hours). Through the moonscape lands between the Kara-Kum (black sands) and Kyzyl-Kum (red sands) deserts to Bukhara- former capital of the once powerful Emirate of Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara, transfer to the hotel, accommodation at. Evening is free to relax. Dinner and overnight.
Day 8. Bukhara.
Breakfast. This day will be devoted to exploring the more than 2500-year old city of Bukhara . You will visit one of the most elegant structures in Central Asia – Ismail Samani Mausoleum (built in 905 AD, with a Zoroastrian symbol of eternity over its door). The tour will take you to the Ark (former residence of the Emirs), and the Kalyan Minaret (the tallest building in Central Asia at the time when it was erected, with the first glazed blue tiles used for its decoration). You will have a chance to walk the narrow streets of the Old Town and meet the locals who still wear traditional Uzbek clothes and jewelry. Tonight’s dinner at the local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Uzbekistan . Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 9. Bukhara – Nurata – Yurt camp in Kyzyl-Kum desert.
Breakfast. Enjoy a whole new scenery as you drive north through the Kyzyl-Kum Desert to the town of Nurata. Evoke the days of the Silk Road with a camel ride. Tonight you sleep in a traditional nomadic Central Asian home, a yurt. Dinner and overnight in the yurt.
Day 10. Kyzyl-Kum desert.
Breakfast. You will spend the day with the nomads learning about their lifestyles and following the camel Kyzyl-Kum Desert trails in the desert. In the evening experience the rich traditions of Uzbek folk song and dances as you enjoy. Dinner and overnight in the yurt.
Day 11. Kyzyl-Kum desert – Aidarkul Lake – Nurata – Navoi – Samarkand.
Breakfast. In the morning you depart by coach to picturesque lake Aidarkul. This 200-kilometers long lake provides a chance to enjoy a swim, or simply relax by the water’s edge. In the afternoon you continue your journey to the legendary city of Samarkand, the ancient capital of Tamerlane’s glorious empire. Arrive in Samarkand, transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend as you please. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 12. Samarkand.
Breakfast. Today you will have a full day tour of the “Rome of the Orient”, the city that is as old as Rome and Babylon – Samarkand. You will see the Registan Square surrounded by three splendorous madrasas; visit Tamerlane’s burial place in a mausoleum, the famous Ulugbek Astronomic Observatory built in 1420, and Shahi Zinda Necropolis – “Tomb of the Living King”, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine. You also visit a colorful local market where you can buy saffron at unbelievably low prices or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties.Dinner at the hotel tonight ends the day on a relaxing note. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 13. Samarkand – Shakhrizabs – Samarkand.
Breakfast. Your morning starts with a trip to Shakhrisabz (160 km), the birthplace of Tamerlane, where you tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque (a praying house built by another famous ruler – Ulugbek), House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur– a man who changed the course of history and made so much of a difference in Central Asia. Return to Samarkand for an overnight. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 14. Samarkand – Tashkent – Kokand – Fergana (650 km).
Breakfast. Will depart in the morning for an exciting coach ride across the Kamchik mountain pass to the beautiful green Fergana Valley. En route, visit the city of Kokand – Bukhara’s deadliest rival and the most tenacious Central Asian opponent of the Imperial Russia in the XIX century. In Kokand you will see the museum in the Fort of the Last Ruler – Khodayor Khan, and see a collection of exhibits related to the times of the khans’ rule. Arrive in Fergana and transfer to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel tonight ends the day on a relaxing note and overnight in the hotel.
Day 15. Fergana – Margilan.
Breakfast. Spend your day by taking a tour of the Edgorliq Khanatlas Silk Factory in Marghilan, Fergana where you will see beautiful hand-made and embroidered garments; visit the central mosque and the local bazaar. The afternoon is free to further explore the city on your own. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 16. Fergana – Andizhan – Osh (130 km).
Breakfast. Today you leave Fergana and travel by coach to the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan. On the way visit to Kuva village (45 km). Sightseeing tour: ancient town of Shahristan. It is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and it’s origin is associated with different people including King Solomon and Alexander the Great. En route you will visit Andijan – birthplace of Babur, ruler of the Moghul Dynasty in India and founder of the famous Taj Mahal and the Shalimar Gardens. Before arriving in Osh, you will also make a stop at the sacred Muslim mountain of Suleiman Gora, “the throne of Suleiman”. Arrive in Osh and transfer to the hotel. The evening is free. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 17. Osh – Karakul town
Breakfast. Depart in the morning for a scenic drive to Kara-Kul (“The Black Lake”) filling a crater in the Pamir Mountain Range. Enjoy a picturesque scenery of the lake that was formed by a meteor 10 million years ago, is 3915 m (12,844 ft) above sea level and hence too high for any aquatic life. The rest of the day is free to relax or to take some easy hikes around the mountain. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 18. Karakul town – Song-Kol Lake
Breakfast. This morning you go for another spectacular drive to Song-Kul (“The Last Lake”), which seems to be at the very end of the world in the Tian-Shan Mountain Range. The lake looks like a huge bowl of pure mountain air, and the scenery surrounding it is majestic. On your way there, you will observe peaceful country landscapes, shepherds watching their livestock and local people’s traditional dwellings dotting the slopes. Tonight you sleep in the yurts of local shepherds, who pass their summer on the jailoo (summer meadows) to graze their cattle. Dinner and overnight in the yurts.
Day 19. Song-Kol Lake – Karakol town
Breakfast. Today’s adventure takes you to the town of Karakol, administrative capital of Issyk-Kul province. With the lake, hot springs and other natural wonders nearby, Karakol is a fantastic base for trekking or more leisurely exploring. A sightseeing of this historical town will include a Tungan (Chinese Muslim) mosque and the central bazaar. Tonight’s dinner at the local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Kyrgyzstan. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 20. Karakol – Djety-Oguz gorge.
Breakfast. You start your day with a trip to Djeti Oghuz gorge, a range of odd red rock formations, also known as Seven Bulls, which local legend says were turned to stone by the gods to keep them from terrorizing nomads. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the surroundings of Karakol on your own. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 21. Karakol – Cholpon-Ata.
Breakfast. Today you continue your journey as you depart by coach to the town of Cholpan-Ata. Enjoy the fascinating views of the Issyk-Kul Lake “warm lake,” and the name fits: hot springs abound in and around the lake, which never freezes over. En rout you will visit the monument and the museum of the famous explorer of this region – Przhevalsky. Arrive in Cholpan-Ata and transfer to the hotel. Tonight enjoy a wonderful barbeque dinner of Kyrgyz traditional shish-kebabs. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 22. Cholpon-Ata – Almaty (500 km).
Breakfast. Your final border crossing from Cholpan-Ata, Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan takes you along the endless steppes of central Asia to Almaty (“Father Apple”), the former Kazakh capital beautifully tucked against the mountains of the Tien Shan. Arrive in Almaty and transfer to the hotel. The evening is free to begin to explore the city on your own. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 23. Almaty.
Breakfast. In the morning you’ll take a sightseeing tour of Almaty. Almaty is a pleasant city with wide tree-lined streets and a laid-back feel. Among major sites the tour will include a visit to the Central Museum, which covers the archeology, natural history and anthropology of Kazakhstan. Your next stop is the Panfilov Park dominated by one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings, the Zenkov Cathedral. It was built in 1904 without a single nail. You complete your tour with a visit to the Medeo, a nearby resort symbolizing the modernization of Kazakhstan, where the world’s largest speed skating rink is situated. Tonight, new friendships are recognized with heartfelt toasts during a farewell dinner with folk performance at the local cuisine restaurant. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 24. Almaty departure.
Breakfast. At the end of this long, exciting and educational journey you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.