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Trip Extensions

Turkmenistan Extension

Duration: 5 days

The sovereign state of Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries and was an important stop along the great Silk Road. Surprisingly, the country contains the world's sixth largest reserves of natural gas resources and is m... read more

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: almaty, kazakhstan

View of Almaty from Kok TobeView of Almaty from Kok Tobe

On arrival in Almaty, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Almaty is the largest as well as the most culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 2: almaty city tour

Ascension Cathedral in AlmatyAscension Cathedral in Almaty

Spend the day getting yourself acquainted with Almaty's history on a city tour beginning with the Ascension Cathedral, the second tallest wooden building in the world. This early 20th-century Russian Orthodox Church was built without the use of nails! Next, visit the Square of 28 Panfilov Heroes, commonly referred to as "Panfilov's Men." National myth surrounds these soldiers from the Red Army's 316th Rifle division who took part in defending Moscow during WWII, who were all said to be killed in action on November 16, 1941, after destroying 18 German tanks. After the collapse of the USSR, it turned out the story wasn't true and six of the soldiers were still alive. You'll also visit the Museum of Musical Instruments to learn about traditional Kazakhi instruments, including wooden harps, horns, bagpipes, dompra, and kobyz. Before returning to your hotel for the night, drive out to Kok Tobe (Green Hill), the highest point in Almaty (3600 ft), for a panoramic view of the city.

Meals
None
Lodging
Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 3: altyn emel national park

Stunningly striated mountainscape at Altyn Emel National ParkStunningly striated mountainscape at Altyn Emel National Park

Today will be a full day as you depart early on an estimated 2.5 hour journey to visit the impressive Tamgaly Tas ancient rock carvings. These petroglyphs are thought to have been carved more than 2,000 years ago. Among the images there are mysterious gods and Buddhist inscriptions that are widely known among experts of Indian culture. Archaeologists suggest that there used to be a sacred Buddhist temple used for prayer and meditation by the local people. Tamgaly Tas also has preserved ancient Turkic rune inscriptions that date back to the eighth century, possibly left by Kipchaks, a Turkic nomadic people that existed during the Middle Ages.

Continue on for another estimated five-hour drive to the spectacular Altyn Emel National Park, located between the Ili River and Ak-Tau Mountain range. The park, which consists mostly of desert, mountains, and rocky terrain, covers approximately 1,775 square miles, and is the largest reserve in Kazakhstan. The park was created in 1996 to preserve rare and endangered plant and animal species. The park's flora contains approximately 1800 plant species, including 69 rare species. There are 56 animal species within the park that are considered rare, including the Persian gazelle, Siberian toad, black stork, and imperial eagle. Other species include the otter, manul (wild cat), wild donkey, Bukhara deer, lynx, and Tien Shan brown bear. There are also Przewalski horses in the park.

At the park, you'll visit Besshatyr, the "Stonehedge of the Kazakh Steppes," built by the nomads of the Central Asia. These burial mounds date back to the Iron Age and, according to historians, the Saka (Scythian) rulers from the 6th-3rd century BCE are buried here. Objects found within the burial mounds include gold accessories and utensils, weapons, and armor.

Next, visit the Singing Dunes, which make a sound similar to that of an organ pipe when the wind is blowing from the West. Overnight at a hotel at Altyn Emel. Total driving distance: approximately 215 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Altyn Emel Hotel or similar

Day 4: drive to kolsay lakes

Marvel at the pristine waters of the Kolsay LakesMarvel at the pristine waters of the Kolsay Lakes

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive about 95 miles to the beautiful Kolsay Lakes National Park, located on the northern slopes of the Tian Shan Mountains. Some consider this to be one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan. Here you'll also visit Kaindy (Birch) Lake, which is surrounded by magnificent pine forest at an altitude of 6,560 feet. The lake was formed as a result of a major earthquake in 1911, which created a limestone landslide and formed a natural dam, blocking the gorge and filling it with mountain river water and forming a beautiful turquoise lake. There are spruce tree trunks rising above the surface of the lake, giving it the name "sunken forest."

Transfer to a Saty settlement and overnight in a basic guesthouse.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Basic Saty Guesthouse

Day 5: return to almaty via charyn

The Charyn Canyon is a delightful stop along your driveThe Charyn Canyon is a delightful stop along your drive

You'll depart for Almaty around 9 am, stopping to explore in and around Charyn Canyon along the way. This breathtaking canyon was formed around 3 million years ago as the land around the canyon started to rise. A lake located at the top of the canyon began to empty, slowing wearing a natural course for the water to flow, and over the next million years the canyon was formed by the Charyn River. 

Arrive in Almaty around 7 pm and have dinner in a local restaurant. Total driving distance: approximately 135 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 6: cross the border into kyrgyzstan & to bishkek

Snacks and spices abound in Bishkek's Osh Bazaar (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)Snacks and spices abound in Bishkek's Osh Bazaar (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)

In the morning, make the estimated 180-mile drive to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. This is a fairly new city with few historical sites, but worth checking out its interesting czar-influenced design featuring wide boulevards bordered by irrigation canals, large trees, Soviet-style apartments, and marble buildings.

Presuming your morning border crossing proceeds quickly, you will have time in the afternoon to for a city tour. Visit Ala-Too Square, the site of frequent political demonstrations and festivals. Also visit the State Historical Museum, which contains a large statue of Lenin and exhibits of stone petroglyphs and archeological excavations from early nomads dating back to the first century. Finally, wander Bishkek's Osh Bazaar, where you'll find local food stalls selling "shashlik," a type of Kyrgyz snack, dried fruits, fresh vegetables, locally fresh-baked bread, and other oddities. This is also a great place to do some souvenir shopping for local Kyrgyzstani products or musical instruments. Overnight at one of the best hotels in the city, located in a quiet section of Bishkek.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Smart Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 7: issyk-kul lake

Scenic Lake Issyk-Kul was historically considered sacred by locals (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)Scenic Lake Issyk-Kul was historically considered sacred by locals (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)

In the morning, head to Issyk-Kul, the world's second largest alpine lake in the world, only smaller than Lake Titicaca in South America. You'll drive along the entire north shore to Karakol town, stopping to visit an extensive field of glacial boulders that are full of petroglyphs, some that date back to the late Bronze Age. Saka priests used this sacred site for sacrifices and other rites to the sun god, while living in the settlements that are currently underwater in the Cholpon-Ata Bay. Overnight at a yurt camp. Facilities are very basic and do not have private toilet facilities. Total driving distance is about 200 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Yurt Camp

Day 8: karakol to kochkor village

A nomadic eagle hunter demonstrates his craftA nomadic eagle hunter demonstrates his craft

Today is another long driving day, but with spectacular scenery as you travel to Kochkor Village. Along the way, you'll stop at Bokonbaeva Village where you will meet a local eagle hunter and see traditional nomadic hunting. When you arrive at Kochkor, you will meet a family that will show you how to make woolen felt carpets. Dinner and overnight will be at a local homestay. Total driving distance is about 200 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Homestay

Day 9: flight to osh

Burana tower marked a resting spot for travelers on the Silk RoadBurana tower marked a resting spot for travelers on the Silk Road

After breakfast, return to Bishkek for the flight to Osh. Along the way, stop to visit Burana Tower, a minaret that dates back to the 11th century. Historically this tower was a signpost along the Great Silk Road marking a resting spot for travelers. Nearby is the open-air museum of Balbans (stone warriors). These grave stones, which look like warriors, were made in memory of the brave soldiers who died for their country.  After climbing to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the surrounding area, transfer to the airport for the flight to Osh City, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. Osh is the oldest city in the country, thought to be around 3,000 years old. 

A traditional dinner will be served this evening. Overnight at a hotel in Osh.

Meals
Breakfasat, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Classic Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 10: cross the border into tajikistan to murgab

Your drive takes you through the Pamir MountainsYour drive takes you through the Pamir Mountains

After breakfast, you'll make your way to the Tajikistan border at Kizil Art Pass and meet up with your Tajik guide. After border formalities (which make the timeline of your day hard to predict) drive to Murgab via the Ak Baital Pass, the highest pass on your trip at an altitude of 15,270 feet. Murgab city is the capital of the Murgab district, in the Pamir Mountains. This modern town was contructed during the Soviet period as a rest stop along the Pamir Highway and is expected to beome a major center for trade between Xinjiang, China, and other parts of Central Asia. You should have the chance to visit a yak house at the Murgab Handicraft Center today.

Overnight in Murgab at a guesthouse. Total driving distance: 125 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ibragim Guesthouse or similar

Day 11: overland to khorog

Khorog sits in the relatively fertile Gunt ValleyKhorog sits in the relatively fertile Gunt Valley

Due to the altitude at Murgab, the sunrise is particularly breath-taking, so consider waking early. After breakfast, set out for today's drive of an estimated 200 miles, taking you to Khorog, the capital of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). There will be photo stops along the way, including scenes of Pamir's picturesque high plateau lakes. After crossing the Koi-Tezek Pass, stop at Jelondi village, which is famous for its hot springs. People from all over the country come here because of the springs' healing properties. You will have the opportunity for a soak if you wish.

Continue driving along the Gunt Valley to Khorog, where you visit the local bazaar, Khorog Regional History Museum, city park, and handicraft center.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Lal Inn or similar

Day 12: drive khorog to kalai khumb

The Panj River runs along the Tajik-Afghan borderThe Panj River runs along the Tajik-Afghan border

In the morning, drive along the Panj River to Kalai-Khumb, enjoying the spectacular mountain views along the way. The river runs along the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, the closest you will get to this other Central Asian country. Across the water you will be able to glimpse the basic lifestyle of the Afghans. 

Overnight in Kalai Khumb. Total driving distance: approximately 155 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Pamir Express Hotel or similar

Day 13: drive to dushanbe

A Tajik grandfather and grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)A Tajik grandfather and grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)

From Kalai-Khumb, make the drive through Shurobad Pass via Kulob and Dangara cities to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The beautiful landscape and views of snowy peaks and passes are spectacular. Stop at Khulbuk Fort and Nurek Water Reservoir, as well as several villages to witness the traditional ways of life of the locals.

Overnight in Dushanbe. Estimated driving distance: 225 miles.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Vatan Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 14: hissar excursion & dushanbe exploration

The Hissar Fortress was once the palace of the GovernorThe Hissar Fortress was once the palace of the Governor

Today make a day trip to Hissar, site of settlements from several eras dating back to the Stone Age. Visit the Hissar Fortress, the remains of the Beck's (Governor's) palace from the 18th and 19th century Bukhara Emirate. The fortress is famous for its history as a center of commerce during the height of the Silk Road. Also visit the 17th century "Old" Madrassa, Madrasai Kuhna, which was one of the region's most active centers of learning and now contains a small museum. Also see the ruins of the 18th century "New" Madrassa that was destroyed in the Tajik Civil War. Finally, stop at Hissar's caravanserai, Khishtin, built in the early 17th century as a guesthouse for Silk Road traders.

Later, return to Dushanbe to visit the Tajik National Museum of Antiquities to see a statue of Buddha in a state of Nirvana. This statue was discovered during an archaeological dig of a Buddhist monastery dating back to the Middle Ages. Also visit the world's tallest flagpole, which, at 540 feet tall, was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011. From here, visit the Dushanbe Main Square and the Monument of Ismoili Somoni, founder of the Samanid dynasty during the 10th century.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Vatan Hotel (4*) or similar

Day 15: flight to tashkent, uzbekistan

Amir Timur Square is the center of New TashkentAmir Timur Square is the center of New Tashkent

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in the country. On arrival, meet your Uzbekistani guide and transfer to your hotel. While you're just making a quick transit in this bustling city, this afternoon you will have the chance to see Independence and Amir Timur Squares.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Shodlik Palace (4*) or similar

Day 16: flight to urgench & drive to khiva

Experience the Ichan-Kala fortressExperience the Ichan-Kala fortress

Another flight today. After breakfast, fly to Urgench, then continue the short drive on to Khiva for the night. Khiva is a sleepy town that was the last resting place of caravans before crossing the desert into Persia. It is said that Khiva was founded by Shem, son of Noah, around 2,500 years ago when he discovered a well in the middle of the desert and shouted, "Khi-wa!" which means, "sweet water." Your charming guesthouse is located within the walls of the Itchan-Kala, the walled inner city of Khiva. 

This afternoon, spend some time exploring the sights as time permits. The Itchan-Kala World Heritage Site contains many ancient monuments and houses that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This "city inside a city" contained the Khan's mosque, residence, harem, kitchens, stables, and a number of other structures. Also see Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, where many executions took place during the Khan's rule. Islam Khodja Complex, built in the early 20th century, is the most prominent of the Itchan-Kala sites. Though a more modern structure, it was built in the traditional style of the 14th century. Return to your guesthouse.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Meros Hotel or similar

Day 17: khiva city

Islam Khodja Minaret viewed from below (Photo from Journeys On Quest)Islam Khodja Minaret viewed from below (Photo from Journeys On Quest)

Today you continue your exploration of Khiva. Visit Pakhlayan Mahmoud Mausoleum and learn why it is the most popular pilgrimage site in Uzbekistan and the holiest place in Khiva. Also spend time exploring the palaces of governors that have ruled Khiva. Afterwards, you'll have some free time for shopping at the market or your own wandering.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Meros Hotel or similar

Day 18: drive to bukhara

You will see finely detailed mosaics distinguishing the Islamic architecture throughout your journeyYou will see finely detailed mosaics distinguishing the Islamic architecture throughout your journey

After breakfast, make the estimated seven to eight hour drive to Bukhara. It's a long drive, but with interesting sights along the way. The drive takes you through the Kyzl Kum Desert, which means "Red Sand" in Turkish. Covered mostly by sand dunes and clay, it is the 16th largest desert in the world and runs through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. There are some agricultural settlements along the rivers and oases. You'll stop for lunch in the desert. 

End the day in Bukhara. Now a location of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bukhara was once an important city on the Silk Route known for scholarship, trade, culture, and religion. It was considered the intellectual center of the Islamic world, and today many of its monuments, mosques and mausoleums dating back as far back as the ninth century still remain intact. Stay in a guesthouse restored in traditional Bukhara style and operated as a bed & breakfast.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Helene Oasis or similar

Day 19: bukhara

Turquoise-colored caps top minarets and domes on Islamic buildings throughout UzbekistanTurquoise-colored caps top minarets and domes on Islamic buildings throughout Uzbekistan

On your first full-day tour of Bukhara, you will find extraordinarily inspiring examples of ancient architecture and markets with the chance to talk, shop, and visit with local people whose small shops and enterprises are integrated in the historic areas. Visit Ismail Samanid and Chashma Ayub Mausoleums; the Kosh Madrassa, which includes the Modari-Khan and Abdullakhan Madrassas (Kosh means "double");  Bolo Khauz, an unusually designed mosque built in 1712 for the mother of Ashtarkhanid ruler, Abul Fayud Khan; the fifth century Ark Citadel and fortress that housed many of Bukhara's rulers; and Chor Minor, an Indian style Madrassa with four minarets. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Helene Oasis or similar

Day 20: bukhara

The trading center of silk road days still houses a colorful marketplace (Photo by Robert Wilson)The trading center of silk road days still houses a colorful marketplace (Photo by Robert Wilson)

Your second full day in Bukhara includes sights in the old section of Bukhara beginning with some shopping at the 16th century trading domes of Toki Telpak Frushon, Toki Sarrafon, and Toki Zargaron (tok means "arch"). This is a great place to bargain for local items such as skullcaps, ceramic dishes, jewelry, or carpets. Next, visit the Sitorai Mokhi Khosa Palace, the summer palace of Bukhara's Emirs. Today it houses the Arts and Crafts Museum and exhibits palace furniture, jewelry, and Russian porcelain. Continue on to the Naqshbandi complex, mausoleum of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, founder of one of the largest Sufi Muslim orders, the Naqshbandi. You'll also visit other various mosques, including Ulugbek, Abdulazizkhan, Mir Arab, Kalon, and Labi-havz before returning to your guesthouse in Bukhara.

 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Helene Oasis or similar

Day 21: bukhara to aydarkul

Aydarkul Lake is the largest in the countryAydarkul Lake is the largest in the country

Today you'll drive out of the city, making your first stop in Nurata. This town was founded as the town of Nur in 327 by Alexander the Great, and the water supply system Alexander installed is still used to this day. Visit Alexander's fortress, built to fortify this strategic site used as an army staging ground.

Continue to Aydarkul Lake, formed as a byproduct of dam flooding in 1969. The largest body of water wholly within Uzbekistan's borders, and located in a virtually unpopulated area, the lake now covers 1,200 square miles, and serves as a source of commercial fishing as well as a site for recreation. On arrival at your yurt camp in Aydarkul Lake, you'll have a chance to ride camels, then enjoy a traditional Kazakh concert around a bonfire. (Total driving today approx. 140 miles)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Yurt Camp

Day 22: samarkand

The ornate embroidery and ceramics are very impressiveThe ornate embroidery and ceramics are very impressive

After a leisurely breakfast, you'll be driven to Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Uzbekistan. It was the capital of the Tamerlane’s Empire (Timur) in the 14th century and many of the landmarks date back to this era.  This is best place on your journey to learn about traditional crafts, including embroidery, silk weaving, copper engraving, ceramics, carving and painting on wood, which all still flourish today. This afternoon, enjoy a city tour, including the 15th century Observatory, built by a Timurid astronomer and considered to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world. Also see the Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum, one of Samarkand's most sacred sites, and the St. Daniel Mausoleum, thought to be the burial site of the biblical prophet, Daniel. Legend has it that Tamerlane had Daniel's remains brought here from Iran. Spend some time at the local bazaar if you like.

Overnight at a charming B & B with modern comforts located in the heart of ancient Samarkand city.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Jahongir B & B or similar

Day 23: samarkand

The people-watching in Samarkand is excellent (Photo by Robert Wilson)The people-watching in Samarkand is excellent (Photo by Robert Wilson)

There's a lot more to see today in this historical city, where many ancient sites have been well-preserved or restored to their former glory. Imagine yourself in the days of Tamerlane as you visit sites significant during his rule. Continue your exploration with visits to the Gur-e Amir, mausoleum of the Asian conqueror, Tamerlane (Timur); Rukhabad Mausoleum, one of the earliest surviving buildings from Tamerlane's reign; Registan Square where people once gathered to hear royal proclamations and view public executions; and the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built in the early 15th century to commemorate Tamerlane's wife. Afterwards, you'll have some free time to do as you like. The lively, bustling city bazaar is a great place to bargain for the famous crafts of the region or to people-watch. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Jahongir B & B or similar

Day 24: return to tashkent

The Uzbek dish of Plov is eaten with your hands!The Uzbek dish of Plov is eaten with your hands!

Your trip starts to wind down today as you gradually begin your trip home. Return to Tashkent by train, a ride of about 2 hours. Make one more visit, to the Khast Imam, and see the 7th century Koran. Then take some time this afternoon to purchase handicrafts you'd like as souvenirs or to explore at your leisure. Enjoy a final farewell dinner with the group before embarking on your international travel tomorrow.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Shodlik Palace (4*) or similar

Day 25: depart central asia

Photo: Christopher MichelPhoto: Christopher Michel

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,300
- $6,500
Group size 2-3: $6500 Group size 4-5: $5700 Group size 6+: $5300 Includes Bishkek-Osh & Urgench to Tashkent flights
Single Supplement:
$700
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates
Aug 26-Sep 19, 2019

Need to Know

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that the tourism infrastructure is not up to Western standards. Therefore, most accommodations, even 4*, will not be the same as what we are used to here in the U.S.. Also, keep in mind that road conditions and travel can sometimes be rough, and vehicles are more prone to break-downs. We will do our best to ensure a pleasant experience, and you will have some of the best cultural encounters and scenery possible, but please try to have an open mind as you embark on this adventure.

The price includes Visa support in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan; Visas are not required in Kyrgyzstan for US citizens and no visa is required in Kazakhstan up to 15 days of travel.

Duration:
25 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized guesthouses, typically with private bath. Note that two nights will be spent in a basic yurt with separate toilet facilities.
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

Tracing History on Silk Road Tours

In September and October 2017, world history teacher and avid traveler Coco Rae led two Silk Road tours for Journeys International: Tracing the Ancient Silk Route (China) and …

Tamerlane's Tomb is just one example of Samarkand's stunning architecture (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
Tamerlane's Tomb is just one example of Samarkand's stunning architecture (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
Experience the Ichan kala fortress.
Experience the Ichan kala fortress.
This Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Karakol is made of wood (Photo by Dan Lundberg)
This Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Karakol is made of wood (Photo by Dan Lundberg)
The art of spinning silk starts with boiling silkworm cocoons to loosen the fibers (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
The art of spinning silk starts with boiling silkworm cocoons to loosen the fibers (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
A Tajik grandfather and his beloved grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
A Tajik grandfather and his beloved grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)
Sleep in yurts beneath the stars on the Silk Road
Sleep in yurts beneath the stars on the Silk Road
Friendly faces in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Friendly faces in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Silk Road through the Stans

Trace the paths of past and present through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan

overview

Discover the wonders, intrigue and cultures of the 3,000-year-old Silk Route linking Asia to Europe and Africa. Retrace historic caravan paths that will take you through stunning desert landscapes, into alpine mountains, past sparkling lakes, and into the midst of urban, village, and nomadic communities. Historically one of the world's most traveled regions, today few travelers venture here. If you can take the time to experience this full journey, you will gain a unique perspective on an important region with multi-layered beauty to uncover.  Knowledgeable local guides facilitate your border crossings, handle the details of accommodations, and lead in-depth sightseeing throughout the trip.

Note: On this adventure you should expect long drives, poor road conditions, border delays, and rustic accommodations in some places.

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
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overview

Discover the wonders, intrigue and cultures of the 3,000-year-old Silk Route linking Asia to Europe and Africa. Retrace historic caravan paths that will take you through stunning desert landscapes, into alpine mountains, past sparkling lakes, and into the midst of urban, village, and nomadic communities. Historically one of the world's most traveled regions, today few travelers venture here. If you can take the time to experience this full journey, you will gain a unique perspective on an important region with multi-layered beauty to uncover.  Knowledgeable local guides facilitate your border crossings, handle the details of accommodations, and lead in-depth sightseeing throughout the trip.

Note: On this adventure you should expect long drives, poor road conditions, border delays, and rustic accommodations in some places.

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: almaty, kazakhstan
    View of Almaty from Kok TobeView of Almaty from Kok Tobe

    On arrival in Almaty, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Almaty is the largest as well as the most culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: almaty city tour
    Ascension Cathedral in AlmatyAscension Cathedral in Almaty

    Spend the day getting yourself acquainted with Almaty's history on a city tour beginning with the Ascension Cathedral, the second tallest wooden building in the world. This early 20th-century Russian Orthodox Church was built without the use of nails! Next, visit the Square of 28 Panfilov Heroes, commonly referred to as "Panfilov's Men." National myth surrounds these soldiers from the Red Army's 316th Rifle division who took part in defending Moscow during WWII, who were all said to be killed in action on November 16, 1941, after destroying 18 German tanks. After the collapse of the USSR, it turned out the story wasn't true and six of the soldiers were still alive. You'll also visit the Museum of Musical Instruments to learn about traditional Kazakhi instruments, including wooden harps, horns, bagpipes, dompra, and kobyz. Before returning to your hotel for the night, drive out to Kok Tobe (Green Hill), the highest point in Almaty (3600 ft), for a panoramic view of the city.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: altyn emel national park
    Stunningly striated mountainscape at Altyn Emel National ParkStunningly striated mountainscape at Altyn Emel National Park

    Today will be a full day as you depart early on an estimated 2.5 hour journey to visit the impressive Tamgaly Tas ancient rock carvings. These petroglyphs are thought to have been carved more than 2,000 years ago. Among the images there are mysterious gods and Buddhist inscriptions that are widely known among experts of Indian culture. Archaeologists suggest that there used to be a sacred Buddhist temple used for prayer and meditation by the local people. Tamgaly Tas also has preserved ancient Turkic rune inscriptions that date back to the eighth century, possibly left by Kipchaks, a Turkic nomadic people that existed during the Middle Ages.

    Continue on for another estimated five-hour drive to the spectacular Altyn Emel National Park, located between the Ili River and Ak-Tau Mountain range. The park, which consists mostly of desert, mountains, and rocky terrain, covers approximately 1,775 square miles, and is the largest reserve in Kazakhstan. The park was created in 1996 to preserve rare and endangered plant and animal species. The park's flora contains approximately 1800 plant species, including 69 rare species. There are 56 animal species within the park that are considered rare, including the Persian gazelle, Siberian toad, black stork, and imperial eagle. Other species include the otter, manul (wild cat), wild donkey, Bukhara deer, lynx, and Tien Shan brown bear. There are also Przewalski horses in the park.

    At the park, you'll visit Besshatyr, the "Stonehedge of the Kazakh Steppes," built by the nomads of the Central Asia. These burial mounds date back to the Iron Age and, according to historians, the Saka (Scythian) rulers from the 6th-3rd century BCE are buried here. Objects found within the burial mounds include gold accessories and utensils, weapons, and armor.

    Next, visit the Singing Dunes, which make a sound similar to that of an organ pipe when the wind is blowing from the West. Overnight at a hotel at Altyn Emel. Total driving distance: approximately 215 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Altyn Emel Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: drive to kolsay lakes
    Marvel at the pristine waters of the Kolsay LakesMarvel at the pristine waters of the Kolsay Lakes

    After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive about 95 miles to the beautiful Kolsay Lakes National Park, located on the northern slopes of the Tian Shan Mountains. Some consider this to be one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan. Here you'll also visit Kaindy (Birch) Lake, which is surrounded by magnificent pine forest at an altitude of 6,560 feet. The lake was formed as a result of a major earthquake in 1911, which created a limestone landslide and formed a natural dam, blocking the gorge and filling it with mountain river water and forming a beautiful turquoise lake. There are spruce tree trunks rising above the surface of the lake, giving it the name "sunken forest."

    Transfer to a Saty settlement and overnight in a basic guesthouse.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Basic Saty Guesthouse
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: return to almaty via charyn
    The Charyn Canyon is a delightful stop along your driveThe Charyn Canyon is a delightful stop along your drive

    You'll depart for Almaty around 9 am, stopping to explore in and around Charyn Canyon along the way. This breathtaking canyon was formed around 3 million years ago as the land around the canyon started to rise. A lake located at the top of the canyon began to empty, slowing wearing a natural course for the water to flow, and over the next million years the canyon was formed by the Charyn River. 

    Arrive in Almaty around 7 pm and have dinner in a local restaurant. Total driving distance: approximately 135 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kazzhol Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: cross the border into kyrgyzstan & to bishkek
    Snacks and spices abound in Bishkek's Osh Bazaar (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)Snacks and spices abound in Bishkek's Osh Bazaar (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)

    In the morning, make the estimated 180-mile drive to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. This is a fairly new city with few historical sites, but worth checking out its interesting czar-influenced design featuring wide boulevards bordered by irrigation canals, large trees, Soviet-style apartments, and marble buildings.

    Presuming your morning border crossing proceeds quickly, you will have time in the afternoon to for a city tour. Visit Ala-Too Square, the site of frequent political demonstrations and festivals. Also visit the State Historical Museum, which contains a large statue of Lenin and exhibits of stone petroglyphs and archeological excavations from early nomads dating back to the first century. Finally, wander Bishkek's Osh Bazaar, where you'll find local food stalls selling "shashlik," a type of Kyrgyz snack, dried fruits, fresh vegetables, locally fresh-baked bread, and other oddities. This is also a great place to do some souvenir shopping for local Kyrgyzstani products or musical instruments. Overnight at one of the best hotels in the city, located in a quiet section of Bishkek.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Smart Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: issyk-kul lake
    Scenic Lake Issyk-Kul was historically considered sacred by locals (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)Scenic Lake Issyk-Kul was historically considered sacred by locals (Photo by Thomas Depenbusch)

    In the morning, head to Issyk-Kul, the world's second largest alpine lake in the world, only smaller than Lake Titicaca in South America. You'll drive along the entire north shore to Karakol town, stopping to visit an extensive field of glacial boulders that are full of petroglyphs, some that date back to the late Bronze Age. Saka priests used this sacred site for sacrifices and other rites to the sun god, while living in the settlements that are currently underwater in the Cholpon-Ata Bay. Overnight at a yurt camp. Facilities are very basic and do not have private toilet facilities. Total driving distance is about 200 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Yurt Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: karakol to kochkor village
    A nomadic eagle hunter demonstrates his craftA nomadic eagle hunter demonstrates his craft

    Today is another long driving day, but with spectacular scenery as you travel to Kochkor Village. Along the way, you'll stop at Bokonbaeva Village where you will meet a local eagle hunter and see traditional nomadic hunting. When you arrive at Kochkor, you will meet a family that will show you how to make woolen felt carpets. Dinner and overnight will be at a local homestay. Total driving distance is about 200 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homestay
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: flight to osh
    Burana tower marked a resting spot for travelers on the Silk RoadBurana tower marked a resting spot for travelers on the Silk Road

    After breakfast, return to Bishkek for the flight to Osh. Along the way, stop to visit Burana Tower, a minaret that dates back to the 11th century. Historically this tower was a signpost along the Great Silk Road marking a resting spot for travelers. Nearby is the open-air museum of Balbans (stone warriors). These grave stones, which look like warriors, were made in memory of the brave soldiers who died for their country.  After climbing to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the surrounding area, transfer to the airport for the flight to Osh City, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. Osh is the oldest city in the country, thought to be around 3,000 years old. 

    A traditional dinner will be served this evening. Overnight at a hotel in Osh.

    Meals
    Breakfasat, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Classic Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: cross the border into tajikistan to murgab
    Your drive takes you through the Pamir MountainsYour drive takes you through the Pamir Mountains

    After breakfast, you'll make your way to the Tajikistan border at Kizil Art Pass and meet up with your Tajik guide. After border formalities (which make the timeline of your day hard to predict) drive to Murgab via the Ak Baital Pass, the highest pass on your trip at an altitude of 15,270 feet. Murgab city is the capital of the Murgab district, in the Pamir Mountains. This modern town was contructed during the Soviet period as a rest stop along the Pamir Highway and is expected to beome a major center for trade between Xinjiang, China, and other parts of Central Asia. You should have the chance to visit a yak house at the Murgab Handicraft Center today.

    Overnight in Murgab at a guesthouse. Total driving distance: 125 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ibragim Guesthouse or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: overland to khorog
    Khorog sits in the relatively fertile Gunt ValleyKhorog sits in the relatively fertile Gunt Valley

    Due to the altitude at Murgab, the sunrise is particularly breath-taking, so consider waking early. After breakfast, set out for today's drive of an estimated 200 miles, taking you to Khorog, the capital of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). There will be photo stops along the way, including scenes of Pamir's picturesque high plateau lakes. After crossing the Koi-Tezek Pass, stop at Jelondi village, which is famous for its hot springs. People from all over the country come here because of the springs' healing properties. You will have the opportunity for a soak if you wish.

    Continue driving along the Gunt Valley to Khorog, where you visit the local bazaar, Khorog Regional History Museum, city park, and handicraft center.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Lal Inn or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: drive khorog to kalai khumb
    The Panj River runs along the Tajik-Afghan borderThe Panj River runs along the Tajik-Afghan border

    In the morning, drive along the Panj River to Kalai-Khumb, enjoying the spectacular mountain views along the way. The river runs along the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, the closest you will get to this other Central Asian country. Across the water you will be able to glimpse the basic lifestyle of the Afghans. 

    Overnight in Kalai Khumb. Total driving distance: approximately 155 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pamir Express Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: drive to dushanbe
    A Tajik grandfather and grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)A Tajik grandfather and grandson in the mountain village of Kirionte (Photo from Journeys On Quest)

    From Kalai-Khumb, make the drive through Shurobad Pass via Kulob and Dangara cities to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The beautiful landscape and views of snowy peaks and passes are spectacular. Stop at Khulbuk Fort and Nurek Water Reservoir, as well as several villages to witness the traditional ways of life of the locals.

    Overnight in Dushanbe. Estimated driving distance: 225 miles.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Vatan Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: hissar excursion & dushanbe exploration
    The Hissar Fortress was once the palace of the GovernorThe Hissar Fortress was once the palace of the Governor

    Today make a day trip to Hissar, site of settlements from several eras dating back to the Stone Age. Visit the Hissar Fortress, the remains of the Beck's (Governor's) palace from the 18th and 19th century Bukhara Emirate. The fortress is famous for its history as a center of commerce during the height of the Silk Road. Also visit the 17th century "Old" Madrassa, Madrasai Kuhna, which was one of the region's most active centers of learning and now contains a small museum. Also see the ruins of the 18th century "New" Madrassa that was destroyed in the Tajik Civil War. Finally, stop at Hissar's caravanserai, Khishtin, built in the early 17th century as a guesthouse for Silk Road traders.

    Later, return to Dushanbe to visit the Tajik National Museum of Antiquities to see a statue of Buddha in a state of Nirvana. This statue was discovered during an archaeological dig of a Buddhist monastery dating back to the Middle Ages. Also visit the world's tallest flagpole, which, at 540 feet tall, was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011. From here, visit the Dushanbe Main Square and the Monument of Ismoili Somoni, founder of the Samanid dynasty during the 10th century.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Vatan Hotel (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: flight to tashkent, uzbekistan
    Amir Timur Square is the center of New TashkentAmir Timur Square is the center of New Tashkent

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in the country. On arrival, meet your Uzbekistani guide and transfer to your hotel. While you're just making a quick transit in this bustling city, this afternoon you will have the chance to see Independence and Amir Timur Squares.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Shodlik Palace (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: flight to urgench & drive to khiva
    Experience the Ichan-Kala fortressExperience the Ichan-Kala fortress

    Another flight today. After breakfast, fly to Urgench, then continue the short drive on to Khiva for the night. Khiva is a sleepy town that was the last resting place of caravans before crossing the desert into Persia. It is said that Khiva was founded by Shem, son of Noah, around 2,500 years ago when he discovered a well in the middle of the desert and shouted, "Khi-wa!" which means, "sweet water." Your charming guesthouse is located within the walls of the Itchan-Kala, the walled inner city of Khiva. 

    This afternoon, spend some time exploring the sights as time permits. The Itchan-Kala World Heritage Site contains many ancient monuments and houses that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This "city inside a city" contained the Khan's mosque, residence, harem, kitchens, stables, and a number of other structures. Also see Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, where many executions took place during the Khan's rule. Islam Khodja Complex, built in the early 20th century, is the most prominent of the Itchan-Kala sites. Though a more modern structure, it was built in the traditional style of the 14th century. Return to your guesthouse.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Meros Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 17: khiva city
    Islam Khodja Minaret viewed from below (Photo from Journeys On Quest)Islam Khodja Minaret viewed from below (Photo from Journeys On Quest)

    Today you continue your exploration of Khiva. Visit Pakhlayan Mahmoud Mausoleum and learn why it is the most popular pilgrimage site in Uzbekistan and the holiest place in Khiva. Also spend time exploring the palaces of governors that have ruled Khiva. Afterwards, you'll have some free time for shopping at the market or your own wandering.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Meros Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 18: drive to bukhara
    You will see finely detailed mosaics distinguishing the Islamic architecture throughout your journeyYou will see finely detailed mosaics distinguishing the Islamic architecture throughout your journey

    After breakfast, make the estimated seven to eight hour drive to Bukhara. It's a long drive, but with interesting sights along the way. The drive takes you through the Kyzl Kum Desert, which means "Red Sand" in Turkish. Covered mostly by sand dunes and clay, it is the 16th largest desert in the world and runs through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. There are some agricultural settlements along the rivers and oases. You'll stop for lunch in the desert. 

    End the day in Bukhara. Now a location of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bukhara was once an important city on the Silk Route known for scholarship, trade, culture, and religion. It was considered the intellectual center of the Islamic world, and today many of its monuments, mosques and mausoleums dating back as far back as the ninth century still remain intact. Stay in a guesthouse restored in traditional Bukhara style and operated as a bed & breakfast.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Helene Oasis or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 19: bukhara
    Turquoise-colored caps top minarets and domes on Islamic buildings throughout UzbekistanTurquoise-colored caps top minarets and domes on Islamic buildings throughout Uzbekistan

    On your first full-day tour of Bukhara, you will find extraordinarily inspiring examples of ancient architecture and markets with the chance to talk, shop, and visit with local people whose small shops and enterprises are integrated in the historic areas. Visit Ismail Samanid and Chashma Ayub Mausoleums; the Kosh Madrassa, which includes the Modari-Khan and Abdullakhan Madrassas (Kosh means "double");  Bolo Khauz, an unusually designed mosque built in 1712 for the mother of Ashtarkhanid ruler, Abul Fayud Khan; the fifth century Ark Citadel and fortress that housed many of Bukhara's rulers; and Chor Minor, an Indian style Madrassa with four minarets. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Helene Oasis or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 20: bukhara
    The trading center of silk road days still houses a colorful marketplace (Photo by Robert Wilson)The trading center of silk road days still houses a colorful marketplace (Photo by Robert Wilson)

    Your second full day in Bukhara includes sights in the old section of Bukhara beginning with some shopping at the 16th century trading domes of Toki Telpak Frushon, Toki Sarrafon, and Toki Zargaron (tok means "arch"). This is a great place to bargain for local items such as skullcaps, ceramic dishes, jewelry, or carpets. Next, visit the Sitorai Mokhi Khosa Palace, the summer palace of Bukhara's Emirs. Today it houses the Arts and Crafts Museum and exhibits palace furniture, jewelry, and Russian porcelain. Continue on to the Naqshbandi complex, mausoleum of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, founder of one of the largest Sufi Muslim orders, the Naqshbandi. You'll also visit other various mosques, including Ulugbek, Abdulazizkhan, Mir Arab, Kalon, and Labi-havz before returning to your guesthouse in Bukhara.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Helene Oasis or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 21: bukhara to aydarkul
    Aydarkul Lake is the largest in the countryAydarkul Lake is the largest in the country

    Today you'll drive out of the city, making your first stop in Nurata. This town was founded as the town of Nur in 327 by Alexander the Great, and the water supply system Alexander installed is still used to this day. Visit Alexander's fortress, built to fortify this strategic site used as an army staging ground.

    Continue to Aydarkul Lake, formed as a byproduct of dam flooding in 1969. The largest body of water wholly within Uzbekistan's borders, and located in a virtually unpopulated area, the lake now covers 1,200 square miles, and serves as a source of commercial fishing as well as a site for recreation. On arrival at your yurt camp in Aydarkul Lake, you'll have a chance to ride camels, then enjoy a traditional Kazakh concert around a bonfire. (Total driving today approx. 140 miles)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Yurt Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 22: samarkand
    The ornate embroidery and ceramics are very impressiveThe ornate embroidery and ceramics are very impressive

    After a leisurely breakfast, you'll be driven to Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Uzbekistan. It was the capital of the Tamerlane’s Empire (Timur) in the 14th century and many of the landmarks date back to this era.  This is best place on your journey to learn about traditional crafts, including embroidery, silk weaving, copper engraving, ceramics, carving and painting on wood, which all still flourish today. This afternoon, enjoy a city tour, including the 15th century Observatory, built by a Timurid astronomer and considered to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world. Also see the Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum, one of Samarkand's most sacred sites, and the St. Daniel Mausoleum, thought to be the burial site of the biblical prophet, Daniel. Legend has it that Tamerlane had Daniel's remains brought here from Iran. Spend some time at the local bazaar if you like.

    Overnight at a charming B & B with modern comforts located in the heart of ancient Samarkand city.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Jahongir B & B or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 23: samarkand
    The people-watching in Samarkand is excellent (Photo by Robert Wilson)The people-watching in Samarkand is excellent (Photo by Robert Wilson)

    There's a lot more to see today in this historical city, where many ancient sites have been well-preserved or restored to their former glory. Imagine yourself in the days of Tamerlane as you visit sites significant during his rule. Continue your exploration with visits to the Gur-e Amir, mausoleum of the Asian conqueror, Tamerlane (Timur); Rukhabad Mausoleum, one of the earliest surviving buildings from Tamerlane's reign; Registan Square where people once gathered to hear royal proclamations and view public executions; and the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built in the early 15th century to commemorate Tamerlane's wife. Afterwards, you'll have some free time to do as you like. The lively, bustling city bazaar is a great place to bargain for the famous crafts of the region or to people-watch. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Jahongir B & B or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 24: return to tashkent
    The Uzbek dish of Plov is eaten with your hands!The Uzbek dish of Plov is eaten with your hands!

    Your trip starts to wind down today as you gradually begin your trip home. Return to Tashkent by train, a ride of about 2 hours. Make one more visit, to the Khast Imam, and see the 7th century Koran. Then take some time this afternoon to purchase handicrafts you'd like as souvenirs or to explore at your leisure. Enjoy a final farewell dinner with the group before embarking on your international travel tomorrow.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Shodlik Palace (4*) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 25: depart central asia
    Photo: Christopher MichelPhoto: Christopher Michel

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,300
- $6,500
Group size 2-3: $6500 Group size 4-5: $5700 Group size 6+: $5300 Includes Bishkek-Osh & Urgench to Tashkent flights
Single Supplement:
$700
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates
Aug 26-Sep 19, 2019

Need to Know

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that the tourism infrastructure is not up to Western standards. Therefore, most accommodations, even 4*, will not be the same as what we are used to here in the U.S.. Also, keep in mind that road conditions and travel can sometimes be rough, and vehicles are more prone to break-downs. We will do our best to ensure a pleasant experience, and you will have some of the best cultural encounters and scenery possible, but please try to have an open mind as you embark on this adventure.

The price includes Visa support in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan; Visas are not required in Kyrgyzstan for US citizens and no visa is required in Kazakhstan up to 15 days of travel.

Duration:
25 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized guesthouses, typically with private bath. Note that two nights will be spent in a basic yurt with separate toilet facilities.
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Turkmenistan Extension

Duration: 5 days

The sovereign state of Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries and was an important stop along the great Silk Road. Surprisingly, the country contains the world's sixth largest reserves of natural gas resources and is m... read more

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●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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