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The Five Stans of the Silk Road

See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.

  • Duration: 26 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AYBA/242149
  • Starts: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Finishes: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Age requirement: 12 +
You will Visit
  • Bishkek
  • Chong-Kemin
  • Song Köl
  • Bokonbayevo
  • Jety-Oguz
  • Karakol
  • Saty Village
  • Almaty
  • Dushanbe
  • Kŭli Iskandarkŭl
  • Khujand
  • Tashkent
  • Samarkand
  • Aydar Kŭl Camp
  • Bukhara
  • Khiva
  • Dashoguz
  • Darvaza
  • Ashgabat

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Bishkek

Arrive at any time.

02

Day 2: Bishkek/Chong-Kemin

Enjoy a morning city tour of Bishkek before departing for Chong-Kemin. Stop at the Burana Tower before arriving at the community guest house. Explore the village and then eat a home cooked traditional dinner.
After breakfast, embark on a morning city tour of Bishkek. Later, depart Bishkek for Chong-Kemin. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Continue along the scenic valley before reaching Chong-Kemin. Stay in a unique guest house that employs the local villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village.

03

Day 3: Chong-Kemin/Song Kul

Continue on to Song Kul and spend the night in a traditional yurt. Opt to spend the day hiking or go for a horseback ride.
In the morning, embark on an optional hike to the nearby mountains with stunning views. After lunch, take a scenic drive to Song Kul and be immersed in Kyrgyz culture with an overnight stay in a traditional yurt. Experience daily nomadic life, opting to hike the landscape or explore the scenery via horseback. Enjoy delicious traditional cuisine for dinner. In the evening, get cozy in the yurt around the stove.

04

Day 4: Song Köl/Bokonbayevo

After breakfast, depart for Kochkor and stop at a Kyrgyz felt-making workshop. After lunch drive to Bokonbayevo Village and spend the night at a homestay, indulging in a traditional local meal.
Upon arrival in Kochkor, learn about the importance of felt-making to the Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn to craft with locals during an intimate workshop and then head to Bokonbayevo village. Experience a traditional Kyrgyz meal and then spend the night at a local homestay getting to know the local community members.

05

Day 5: Bokonbayevo/Jety-Oguz

Take a morning departure to Barskoon Village for a visit to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre. Observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge & and overnight in a traditional yurt.

06

Day 6: Jety-Oguz/Karakol

Say goodbye to the beautiful valley of Jeti-Oguz and transfer to Karakol. Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum and enjoy a walking tour of the city followed by free time to explore.
Continue to Karakol and stop at the Prejevalskiy Museum followed by a walking tour of the city. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century.

07

Day 7: Karakol/Saty Village

Drive to the border and cross into Kazakhstan. Continue driving until arriving in Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. Embark on a two hour hike exploring Kaindy Lake, known as the sunken forest. Spend the night in a guest house sampling traditional Kazakh meals.
Cross the border into Kazakhstan embarking for Saty Village. Begin by hiking Kolsay Lake National park. Known for Kaindy Lake, soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eery sight of submerged trees. Feel fully immersed in nature. Tonight, stay at a local guest house and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals - a truly Kazakh experience.

08

Day 8: Saty Village/Almaty

Depart for Almaty early this morning, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Arrive in Almaty, taking in a city tour highlighting sights like the historical centre and Zenkov Cathedral. Have a free afternoon to explore the capital city.
Boasting stunning shades of red, orange and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. Take in the stunning views before continuing on to the former Kazakh capital, Almaty. Take a city tour visiting sights such as the Monument of Independence, Zekoy Cathedral, and historical centre. In the afternoon, use free time to continue exploring this modern city. Opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafes.

09

Day 9: Almaty/Dushanbe

In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Enjoy an evening in the city.
There may be more travellers joining the group here. Opt to attend an evening welcome meeting to get to know them.

10

Day 10: Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl

Enjoy a free morning visiting some sights in the capital city of Dushanbe like monuments and the main mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains for an overnight at a local home in the stunning Iskandarkul area. Meet the locals and explore the gorgeous landscape of the Fann Mountains.

11

Day 11: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl

Spend a full day exploring. Hike in the mountains to an impressive waterfall. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village.

12

Day 12: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khujand

Continue on to Istaravshan and visit an ancient settlement in Ura-Tube. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before driving to Khujand. Explore the city in the afternoon, visiting the museum and a mausoleum.

13

Day 13: Khujand/Tashkent

Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.
Some travellers will be joining the group here as they start their journey into Uzbekistan.

14

Day 14: Tashkent

Enjoy a free day to explore.

15

Day 15: Tashkent/Samarkand

Travel on to Samarkand. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum.

16

Day 16: Samarkand

Enjoy a city tour and visit to the Registan. Opt to check out the Guri Amir Mausoleum, Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, and the Registan minarets. Use some free time to wander the bazaar or visit more sights.

With free time, enjoy the Samarkand sights, have a cup of tea in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar.

17

Day 17: Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp

Travel out into the desert to visit the Nurata Shrine and remains of the Alexander the Great fortress. Continue on for an evening in a local yurt camp. Opt to ride a camel or enjoy an evening Kazakh singing show.

18

Day 18: Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara

Travel to Bukhara, one of the most charming cities in the country. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, have dinner with a local family, or visit a traditional hammam (bathhouse).


19

Day 19: Bukhara

Take a half-day guided walk around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets that make up the Old City.
There is plenty of time to explore the artisan shops and wander the narrow twisting streets and alleyways. A centre for pottery, cloth, and Turkmen carpets, the Old City is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees, where you can sit at café tables and let the evening drift by. There is also the option to take in a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai or indulge in a Turkish bath.

20

Day 20: Bukhara/Khiva

Enjoy a full day's travel through the desert to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva. Get to know the place on a late afternoon walking tour.

21

Day 21: Khiva

Enjoy a free day in Khiva to explore the city.

22

Day 22: Khiva/Dashoguz

In the morning drive to the Uzbek-Turkmen border. After border procedures, drive to Dashoguz. Opt to explore the city and it's Bai Market with free time.

23

Day 23: Dashoguz/Darvaza

Drive to Kunya Urgench to visit the ancient capital of the Khorezmian Empire. Proceed to Darvaza, also known as the "Door to Hell". Enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner. Spend an evening camping under the stars.

24

Day 24: Darvaza/Ashgabat

After breakfast transfer to Ashgabat. On the way, stop at Erbent, a desert community, and observe the local way of living.

25

Day 25: Ashgabat

Take the day to explore Ashgabad. Take a tour of the city in the morning and visit several city treasures such as the National museum or Neutrality Arch.

26

Day 26: Ashgabat

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Local Living: CBT Homestay, Chong-Kemin Local Living: Overnight in a Yurt, Song Köl Local Living: Community Homestay, Kŭli Iskandarkŭl Local Living: Overnight in a Yurt, Aydar Kŭl Camp Local Living: Erbent Community Stop, Erbent
    • Half-day city tour (Bishkek)
    • Burana Tower visit (Bishkek)
    • Przhevalsky Museum visit (Karakol)
    • Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu)
    • Saty village stay
    • City tour (Almaty)
    • Charyn Canyon Visit
    • City tour (Dushanbe)
    • Waterfall hike (Kŭli Iskandarkŭl)
    • City tour (Khujand)
    • Mug Yepe Visit (Istaravshan)
    • Market visit (Khujand)
    • City tour (Samarkand)
    • Walking tour (Bukhara)
    • Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit (Nurata)
    • Fortress of Alexander the Great visit (Nurata)
    • City tour (Bukhara)
    • Khiva Ancient City tour
    • City tour (Tashkent)
    • Felt-making workshop visit
    • Hikes and picnic lunch
    • Derweze (Door to Hell)
    • Erbent visit
    • City tour (Ashgabat)
    • Internal flight
    • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Standard hotels/guesthouses (19 nts), yurts (3 nts), CBT homestays (3 nts), tented camp (1 nt)
    • 24 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners
    Transport
    • Private vehicles, plane, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout
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Tour Highlights:
  • Explore the Soviet-esque capital of Bishkek
  • Witness how Kyrgyz felt is made
  • Marvel at Charyn Canyon
  • Browse the stalls Khujand markets
  • Stay overnight in a local yurt
  • Camp under the stars near Derweze crater