The Five Stans of the Silk Road

Classic, Bishkek to Ashgabat

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

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.

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Yurt Building Demonstration, Barskoon Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Ozero Sonkël’ Your Local Living Moment: Bokonbayevo Village Homestay, Bokonbayevo Your Local Living Moment: Community Homestay, Kŭli Iskandarkŭl Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Aydar Kŭl Camp
  • 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

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

Itinerary

Day 1 Bishkek Arrive at any time. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Bishkek/Chong-Kemin (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Burana Tower Visit City Tour CBT Homestay Transport: Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 160km)
Day 3 Chong-Kemin/Song Kul (1B, 1L, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Overnight in a Yurt Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 230km)
Day 4 Ozero Sonkël’/Bokonbayevo (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Bokonbayevo Village Homestay Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 130km) Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 5 Bokonbayevo/Jety-Oguz (1B, 1L) 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. Included Activities: Yurt Building Demonstration Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 60km) Private Vehicle (0.80 hour(s), 60km)
Day 6 Jety-Oguz/Karakol (1B) 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. Included Activities: Przhevalsky Museum Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (0.80 hour(s), 42km)
Day 7 Karakol/Saty Village (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Saty Village Stay Border Crossing (Kazakhstan - Kyrgyzstan) Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 230km)
Day 8 Saty Village/Almaty (1B) 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. Included Activities: Charyn Canyon Visit City Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 140km) Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 230km)
Day 9 Almaty/Dushanbe (1B) There may be more travellers joining the group here. Opt to attend an evening welcome meeting to get to know them. Transport: Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Day 10 Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Community Homestay City Tour Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 11 Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1L, 1D) Spend a full day exploring. Hike in the mountains to an impressive waterfall. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village. Included Activities: Waterfall Hike Community Homestay
Day 12 Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khŭjand (1B) 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. Included Activities: Mug Tepe Visit City Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.25 hour(s), 145km) Private Vehicle (1.25 hour(s), 80km)
Day 13 Khŭjand/Tashkent (1B) Some travellers will be joining the group here as they start their journey into Uzbekistan. Included Activities: Market Visit Border Crossing (Tajikistan - Uzbekistan) Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 178km)
Day 14 Tashkent (1B) Enjoy a free day to explore.
Day 15 Tashkent/Samarkand (1B) Travel on to Samarkand. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 310km)
Day 16 Samarkand (1B) With free time, enjoy the Samarkand sights, have a cup of tea in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar. Included Activities: Samarkand City Tour
Day 17 Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit Fortress of Alexander the Great Visit Overnight in a Yurt Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 280km)
Day 18 Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara (1B) 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). Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Day 19 Bukhara (1B) 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. Included Activities: Bukhara City Tour
Day 20 Bukhara/Khiva (1B) 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. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 450km)
Day 21 Khiva Enjoy a free day in Khiva to explore the city.
Day 22 Khiva/Dashoguz (1B) 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. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan) Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 60km) Private Vehicle (0.33 hour(s), 15km)
Day 23 Dashoguz/Darvaza (1B, 1D) 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. Included Activities: Kunya-Urgench City Visit Darvaza Gas Crater Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours) Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 300km)
Day 24 Darvaza/Ashgabat (1B, 1L) After breakfast transfer to Ashgabat. On the way, stop near the community of Erbent and admire its golden sand dunes that stretch out to the horizon. Included Activities: Erbent Sand Dunes Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours)
Day 25 Ashgabat (1B) Take the day to explore Ashgabat. Take a tour of the city in the morning and visit several city treasures such as the National museum or Neutrality Arch. Included Activities: Ashgabat city tour
Day 26 Ashgabat (1B) Depart at any time.
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