Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It is also colloquially referred to as “the -stans” as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix “-stan”, meaning “land of”.
Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road. It has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe, India, and China. This crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization.
Day 1. Almaty – arrival
Arrive in Almaty. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check in to the hotel at 14:00. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Almaty – Bishkek
Breakfast. At 09:00 your guide and driver will meet you at hotel lobby to start the sightseeing tour in Almaty: visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, Republic Square. Enjoy panoramic view at Kok-Tobe Hill, visit Medeo Gorge.
At 15:30 transfer to the Airport to get the flight to Bishkek. Arrival at Bishkek. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3. Bishkek – Burana – Bishkek
After breakfast transfer to Burana Tower dated to X-XII cc. Burana Tower is a historical complex, which marks the original site of the Karakhanid town, Balasagun.
In the afternoon return to Bishkek for city tour. Visit Oak Park, Ala-Too Square, Statue of Manas. See Philharmonic Hall and Victory Monument – bright examples of Soviet architecture. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4. Bishkek – Tashkent
At 04:00 transfer to Bishkek International Airport for flight to Tashkent (580 km, 1 h. 20 min.). Arrival at Tashkent. Transfer for breakfast and check in hotel. At 11:30 start sightseeing Tashkent. Visit Old City part of Tashkent with Khast-Imam Complex and Chorsu bazar, continue to center of Tashkent with Amir Timur Square, Independence Square and Applied Arts Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5. Tashkent – Samarkand
Early breakfast. At 07:00 transfer from your hotel to railway station. Fast-speed train “Afrosiyob” departs Tashkent at 08:00 and arrives in Samarkand at 10:10 (300 km). Your guide and driver will meet you at train station to begin the city tour in Samarkand. Visit spectacular Registan Square, remains of Bibi-Khahum mosque, Ulugbek observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, central Samarkand bazaar and Gur-Emir Mausoleum, authentic shrine of Tamerlane. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6. Samarkand
After breakfast continue sightseeing Samarkand: visit Afrosiyob Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel. Then drive to Koni Ghil village to explore traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7. Samarkand– Bukhara
In the morning depart Samarkand and drive to Bukhara (280 km, 4-5 h.). Stop on the way at Rabati-Malik Caravanserai. Continue driving to Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara, check in to the hotel.
Spend your afternoon in fascinating Old Bukhara which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Explore Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Magoki-Attori Mosque, madrasahs of Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan, trade domes, Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Chor-Minor Madrasah. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8. Bukhara
Start the second day in Bukhara discovering Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Samani dynasty and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. Then visit Sitorai-Mokhikhosa – summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir, unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. Continue to Mausoleum of Bakhoutdin Naqshbandi and Chor Bakr necropolis. Enjoy free time in the afternoon. In the evening enjoy dinner and folklore show program at Nodir Divan-begi Madrasah. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9. Bukhara – Khiva
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to Khiva (480 km, 7-8 h.). The Great Silk Road once routed through Bukhara and Khiva ran through the Kyzylkum Desert, as the present road does nowadays. Stop en-route to enjoy views of the desert and Amudarya River.
Arrive in Khiva late in the afternoon, check in to the hotel. Time for rest. Overnight at the hotel.
There is the only basic local café on the way, lunch-boxes are recommended.
Some parts of the road are not in a good condition
Day 10. Khiva
Today you will visit Ichan-Kala Fortress which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour features visits to Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah, Kalta Minor, Juma Mosque, Toshkhovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum. Try yourself at climbing Islom Khodja Minaret, the highest minaret in Uzbekistan. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Old Khiva in Kunya-Ark.
Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11. Khiva – Kunya-Urgench – Dashoguz – Ashgabat
In the morning drive to Turkmenistan border point Shavat-Dashoguz (60 km, 1 h.). Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Kunya Urgench (100 km, 1 h. 30 min.). Visit mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur Minaret and Kyrk Molla Hill.
In the afternoon drive to Dashoguz airport (120 km, 1 h. 30 min.), take an evening flight to Ashgabat (580 km, 50 min.). Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12. Ashgabat
Breakfast. Sightseeing tour in Ashgabat – capital of Turkmenistan, which has experienced boom of “Marble Architecture” for the past 15 years. Explore archeological site of Old Nissa (included in UNESCO World Heritage list) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, and continue to Arch of Neutrality. In the afternoon drive to “Bedev” hippodrome stables to see Akhalteke horses – pride of Turkmen nation. Continue the tour with visits to Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazy Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park. During the sightseeing you will have a chance to take a picture of the Monument of Lenin. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 13. Ashgabat – departure
Check out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Ashgabat International Airport. End of the tour.