Other Countries

We have carefully selected these destinations as they are places we love to travel to ourselves. Many are so remote that the cost and travel arrangements would just not make it practical to arrange yourself so we make sure we arrange all of this for you- you just need to sit back and enjoy the journey. A thread of common history and culture connects them but above all all else we love to take people to meet our friends, family and just share our enthusiasm for these amazing places. Have a look below and explore where your next journey will be. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all.

September 30 - October 7/8 2017

Turkmenistan - October Tour

Our most ambitious Turkmenistan
adventure yet!

7 nights in Turkmenistan
with an optional tour extension

From 1,700 EUR per person

Please apply by 2nd September, 2017.

Turkmenistan - October Tour

Our most ambitious Turkmenistan
adventure yet!

7 nights in Turkmenistan
with an optional
tour extension

From 1,700 EUR per person

  • Overall

    See Ashgabat in all its marble-clad glory, a night at the unique and bizarre Darvaza Gas Crater, the 'Turkmen Grand Canyon' area of Yangykala, the frankly weird Caspian Sea resort at Awaza, the cities of Turkmenbashi and Balkanabad, and much more besides. an epic trip through a remarkable country - extend the tour to visit the Silk Road Oasis of ancient Merv too if you like!

    Highlights

    • Ashgabat - All the highlights and local colour
    • Darvaza Gas Crater - The ‘Mouth of Hell’
    • Kow Ata Underground Lake - Natural hot spring 80m under the ground
    • Nisa Fortess – UNESCO listed archaeological site
    • The stunning Yangykala Canyon, known as the ‘Grand Canyon of central Asia’
    • Caspian seaside city of Turkmenbashi & the unique Awaza
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 10
    1. Saturday 30th September

      Arrival

      • Assemble in Ashgabat, airport pickups will be arranged wherever you fly in from and we will have a group dinner to get introduced and start the adventure!

    2. Sunday 1st October

      Ashgabat

      • Tolkuchka Bazaar – the nation’s largest market, built outside the city and home to various sctions selling household goods, clothes, the famous Turkmen carpets, camels & other animals, and much more!
      • Ashgabat Hippodrome – Sunday is a day at the races, with the sacred Ahal-Teke horses in full display
      • Afternoon city tour – including city monuments and a good look at the marble wonderland of Ashgabat
      • Including Independence Park and Monument, Arch of Neutrality topped by the gold statue of Turkmenbashi, Ahal-Teke horses monument, Earthquake Monument and Museum
      • Free evening for a night out in the city
    3. Monday 2nd October

      Darvaza Gas Crater & Bokhurdag

      • Desert adventure! We head off in a fleet of 4x4s into the deep desert today
      • Bokhurdag semi-nomadic village for a look at what desert life is like today and lunch at a local family home
      • Onwards to the bizarre mud and water craters, scenes of accidents that opened sinkholes in the desert
      • Finally we arrive at the stunning and unforgettable Darvaza Gas Crater, in the centre of the country and the scene of a 40 year old industrial accident than ended with a giant pit burning to this day. A hypnotic sight and one of the strangest and most spectacular things you can possibly see
      • We camp tonight besides the crater, it is best seen at night, dinner cooked on the spot

    4. Tuesday 3rd October

      Ashgabat

      • We return to Ashgabat, driving through the morning with a stop at a monument to the suppression of the Basmachi rebellion
      • Once back in the capital the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please; explore, relax, shop, take a side-trip (drivers are available for hire), we and our local guides can give advice on the spot
    5. Wednesday 4th October

      Nisa Fortess & Kow Ata Underground Lake
      • Nisa Fortress - a UNESCO site and former capital of the mighty Parthian state in ancient times
      • Ahal-Teke horses are considered as heavenly and sacred beasts in Turkmenistan, this stud farm visit will show you why. Have a ride on one of the horses if you like
      • We then drive on to the bizarre Kow-Ata underground lake. A Sulphur-heated lake 100m deep underground. Take a swim, explore the cave, and then have lunch at a shashlik restaurant on the spot
      • We will drive in our 4x4 fleet on to the remote city of Balkanabad, this sleepy town is a easily explored on foot in a couple of hours of free time before dinner and overnight in a hotel shaped like a giant yurt
    6. Thursday 5th October

      Yangykala Canyon & Turkmenbashi

      • We drive to the stunning Yangykala Canyon, known as the ‘Turkmen Grand Canyon’ little-known but an absolutely beautiful area with shifting colours in the rocks, amazing formations, and some wonderful photos to be taken
      • Through the afternoon we make our way across country, stopping at scenic areas, pilgrimage sites and so on until we reach our destination; the Caspian sea city of Turkmenbashi and the bizarre ‘touristic zone’ of Awaza. This place has to be seen to be believed and we will have a look around the hotel-covered peninsular before checking in for a relaxing evening at the coast
    7. Friday 6th October

      Awaza

      • A free morning to relax at the coastal resort, try swimming (although the Caspian is a cold sea) or some watersports, wandering around, or even sleeping in!
      • Late morning we will take a boat ride down a canal stretching the length of the Awaza area, see the different architectural styles of the buildings here, all of which have sprung up in the last few years
      • We will drive to Turkmenbashi city for lunch, the oldest city in the country and one settled by Russians during their invasion from across the sea during the late Great Game
      • A city tour of Turkmenbashi – the local bazaar, railway station, Oil Workers’ Square, various monuments, and even a cemetery for Japanese POW’s who were brought here to labour after their capture at the end of WWII, and never got home again
      • Flight back to Ashgabat for a final meal, and fond farewells 
      • Final dinner of the tour, time for goodbyes and a last night out if you’ve got the energy!

    8. Saturday 7th October

      Departure

      • Departure day – airport transfers provided for everyone regardless of the time of flight or where you are going 
      End of tour, OR;

      OPTIONAL EXTENSION (+450 EUR)

      Extension Day 1: Mary & Margush
      • Flight from Ashgabat to Mary, in the centre of the country and the nearest city to the ancient silk road metropolis of Merv
      • Visit Gonur-Deppe (Margush); another ancient city in this area, with some lovely extent architectural features 
      • Back to Mary City and explore this modern town, mix with the locals, go to parks, bars, etc as you like, a sleepy area with welcoming and friendly locals
    9. Sunday 8th October

      Extension Day 2: Ancient Merv
      • Excursion to ancient Merv, probably the most important city in the world at certain times of its history and a place where you will learn a great deal about the history of Central Asia, the rise and fall of dynasties and cities, the silk road, and human civilisation in this part of the world in general. This vast area is roamed by animals, explorers, extant buildings, ruins, etc. All contributing to a sense of the dynamism of the ancient silk road
      • In the afternoon you fly back to Ashgabat for a final rest/night out before departure the following day
    10. Monday 9th October

      Extension Day 3: Departure

      • Departure day – airport transfers provided for everyone regardless of the time of flight or where you are going
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      English speaking guide
      Western tour leader
      Meals
      Accommodation
      Internal flights
      All included sight seeing
      All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas
    • Not included
      Optional extension is EUR 450
      Optional single supplement: EUR 40 per night
      Visa issuing fee - USD $80 to USD $140 depending on nationality
      International fights to/from Turkmenistan not included;
      Return flights from Beijing to Ashgabat cost approximately EUR 660*
      Return flights from London to Ashgabat cost approximately EUR 850*
      *Estimates only, we can get these tickets for you or you can buy them yourself
  • Notes

    HOW TO APPLY

    Please email Simon Cockerell at simon@koryogroup.com the following information a minimum of one month in advance of the tour, ideally six weeks or more if possible:

    Full Name
    Gender
    Date of Birth
    Passport Number
    Address
    Job Title
    Company
    Details of any previous visits to Turkmenistan
    Please also indicate where you plan to join the tour from (London, Beijing, Istanbul etc).

    We also require a deposit to be paid at this time as we start taking on administrative costs as well as an obligation to pay for the visa invitation as soon as we send off an application. We ask for a deposit of 50% of the tour fee.

    You must apply at least 4 weeks before the tour departure date as the Letter of Invitation that we need to obtain in order to facilitate the visa can take several days to be issued by the Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We can arrange to have the visas issued on arrival at Ashgabat airport or any other point of entry to the country, but if you would prefer to have it issued at the Turkmenistan Embassy in your home country or have any questions at all about the visa process (it is rather complicated!) please contact us early!

    If you are joining the tour from somewhere other than Beijing and buying a ticket via our offices we email the e-ticket voucher to you and also inform you if anyone else is joining the tour from your place of departure so that you can meet up on the way to join the tour.

    It is entirely possible to join the tour by flying in from other destinations also. We can also accommodate people joining the tour after entering by land or sea, and a range of exit methods are available to those joining this tour. Single supplement is available on this tour at 40 Euros per night, if you are travelling alone and wish to share a room to avoid this fee we will attempt to match you up with another traveller. You will also have to pay the visa issuing fee, at Ashgabat airport this ranges from US$80 to $130 (depending on nationality) payable in cash only.

    CANCELLATION & REFUNDS

    Please note that for this tour you are required to pay the fee for the issuance of the visa yourself. Due to the extended amount of time that it takes to have a visa authorised and sent to an Embassy of Turkmenistan it is much simpler to collect the visa on arrival at Ashgabat Airport, the fee payable here varies according to your nationality, its usually around US$100. The visa is stamped in your passport and is the same as it would be if issued at a Turkmen Embassy. If you insist on having your visa issued at an Embassy then please be sure to apply for the tour as early as possible.

    The deposit is non-refundable if the tourist cancels himself. If however we cannot arrange visas or for whatever reason it is not possible to travel at the specified time (or you cannot make rescheduled dates) a full refund will be made. Should the client wish to cancel after visa application has been made, charges imposed on us will be paid out of the 50% deposit with the balance being returned to the client. If you have paid in full we will return 50% plus the balance of what is left after the cancellation fee we pay to our partners in Turkmenistan. If you book and cancel a plane ticket through us we charge only the airline’s cancellation fee.

    In all cases we return as much as we can and we do not take a fee for client's cancellation. Please be sure that you will definitely be joining the tour when you send all application details.

Please apply by 2nd September, 2017.

February 19 - February 23 2018

Mongolia - Land of the Winter Horse

5 night winter tour
including 3 in a Ger!

Join us as we uncover the stories surrounding this
enigmatic country, through city tour and grassland
adventure!

From 1,150 USD per person

Please apply by 1st March, 1918.

Mongolia - Land of the Winter Horse

5 night winter tour
including 3 in a Ger!

Join us as we uncover the stories
surrounding this enigmatic country,
through city tour and grassland adventure!

From 1,150 USD per person

  • Overall

    This tour will be accompanied by Koryo Tours’ expert staff, as well as local guides who will act as translators, and give us an insider’s view into this remarkable country, thereby offering an unparalleled engagement opportunity. Starting in the historical capital of Ulan Bator, this short winter break will give you an introduction to the history of this former Communist state before allowing you the chance to ride, photograph or relax on the Mongolian steppes. You will be able to visit museums, drop in to local markets, travel across picturesque countryside, sleep in a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt), and watch the stars from your bed.

    Highlights

    • Historical capitol of Ulan-Bator
    • Sleep in a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt)
    • Mongolian countryside and local town
    • Erdenesant Sum, and the Tov and Khentii Provinces
    • A deep insight into Mongolia’s fascinating nomadic culture
    • See and ride among 1500 wild horses
    • Horse Riding and Optional Dogsledding
    • Untouched woodland, frozen rivers, and granite mounts
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 6
    1. Sunday 19th February

      Arrive in Ulan Bator


      When arriving into Ulan Bator, we meet early evening for a Pre-Tour Briefing followed by a group meal; those not feeling too jet-lagged can join us in one of UB’s famous bars.

      Meals: Dinner

      Overnight: standard hotel; single room available






    2. Monday 19th February

      Out to the Grasslands


      After an early start, we begin our city tour visiting UB’s largest Buddhist monastery, “Gandan”, where we learn more about Buddhism within Mongolia, and watch the monks go about their morning prayers. We leave after a blessing for our journey and drive from the city out into the countryside, east towards Erdenesant Sum, and Khentii Provinces.This 4-5 hr drive will take us into the stunning Mongolian countryside where rolling hills blanketed in snow offer vistas of unparalleled natural beauty.

      We will arrive at a local ger camp for lunch, which will be prepared for us by our local family. Here we will begin to gain a deeper insight into the country’s fascinating nomadic culture. Then it’s back on with those warm jackets and off outside to see the herd, of around 1,500 horses. A horseman will demonstrate to us how to rope and tame a horse. Later, if you’re feeling confident enough, you can have a chance to try your hand. This is an amazing experience, and one not to be missed. Never again will you have the chance to see and ride amongst so many semi-wild horses. This is Mongolia at its best. Riding alongside Mongolians in traditional dress while a herd of horses thunder along is a truly special scene that’ll make you feel like you’re in the movies. Just don’t try and outdo the Mongolians as they show off for you with their urga (lassoes). We’ll ride until the sun sets on what will be the most beautiful of poetic days.

      Dinner will be prepared by the family, during which time we’ll be able to ask questions about life out here in the wilderness and away from the city. After dinner, we can play some traditional Mongolian games, enjoy a few drinks, or take some time to study the stars in the clear night sky.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Overnight: Basic Ger (yurt).

    3. Tuesday 20th February

      National Parkland, Temple Visit, Horse Riding and Optional Dogsledding


      After breakfast we drive from our ger camp to the famous Turtle Rock in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and its picturesque scenery. Next up is Erdene Sum temple. Upon arrival, we’ll hike up the steep hillside entrance before spending some time with the resident monk. Before breaking for lunch, we’ll take the opportunity to stop at a small local town, which is known, amongst other things, for its dogsledding. If we’re lucky, and the weather is with us, there is the chance to ride.

      After lunch, it’s back on the horses, and an enjoyable ride out to Mt Shargalt, which is said to have been used by Chinggis Khan’s military committee, and is still honored by local people to this day. During and after the ride, we’ll be able to take in amazing views of the surrounding countryside, with its untouched woodland, frozen rivers, and granite mounts.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Overnight: basic Ger (yurt).


    4. Wednesday 21st February

      Drive to Hustai national park


      After breakfast we depart our gers and drive for around 4 hours to Hustai National Park on the way will see Mongolia’s biggest statue of Chinggis Khaan atop his Horse we will climb to the top for amazing views over the winter landscape.

      Hustai National Park is a Specially Protected Area earning this designation in 1993 shortly after Mongolia’s independence. Later in 2002 it earned its UNESCO certificate as a member of the world biosphere, due to its diverse wild life. Upon arriving we will visit a small biodiversity museum.

      Eventually we will head out and track Mongolia’s wild Takhi (Przewalski) horses although cold the winter months give us the best opportunity to view these amazing animals as they herd together. It is now estimated that there are 170 living in this area after being brought back from the brink of extinction.

      Later we will also watch the parks native red deer before returning to our gers for a nice evening meal and relax.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Overnight: Ger (yurt).

    5. Thursday 22nd February

      Return to Ulan Bator


      After breakfast, we spend the morning enjoying the our final views of the wildlife and walking before its back into our vehicles for our return to Ulan Bator.

      In Ulan Bator itself we will be able to have a look around the city, as well as visit the National History Museum, thereby walking back through the ages of Mongolian History. You may also want to stretch your legs walking though the famous Sukhbaatar Square and on to the State Department Store for some souvenir shopping.

      On this final evening our dinner will be followed by live Mongolian music.

      Meals: breakfast and lunch.

      Overnight: Standard hotel; single room available.

    6. Friday 23rd February

      Departure day


      The tour finishes in UB. Time to follow your own adventures!

      Please note that those who have taken the option to return to Beijing by plane will arrive the same day; those who have taken the option to return to Beijing by train will arrive on the morning of 25th February.

  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      English speaking guide
      Western tour leader
      All meals outside Ulaanbaatar
      Camels for luggage
      Internal flights
      Horse riding
      All included sight seeing
      All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas
      All camping equipment (not sleeping bags.)
    • Not included
      Optional extra 1: + $550 Flight from Beijing to Ulan Bator, and return by train
      Optional extra 2: + $650 Return flights Beijing–Ulan Bator and Ulan Bator–Beijing
      Sleeping bags
      International flights
      Any alcoholic beverages
      Meals where specified
      Medical insurance (can be arranged.)
      Visas if needed
      Items of personal nature
  • Notes

    We meet and say goodbye in Mongolia. You will need to make your own way to and from Ulan Bator.

    Please note!

    This tour has been specifically arranged to visit these areas it may have elements of an expedition about it due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. As such any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible, although please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions. Along the way all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

Please apply by 1st March, 1918.

March 22 - March 31 2018

Tajikistan - Persian New Year Tour

Nowruz and Buzkashi + Sogdia
and the Fergana Valley

9-night fully guided tour through
this fascinating country

From 2,200 USD per person

Please apply by 1st March, 2018.

Tajikistan - Persian New Year Tour

Nowruz and Buzkashi + Sogdia
and the Fergana Valley

9-night fully guided
tour through this
fascinating country

From 2,200 USD per person

  • Overall

    Dushanbe - Hissar Fortress - Varzob Valley - Buzkashi Event - Khoja Ob Garm Spa - Khujand - Zarafshan Valley and Panjikent - Dushanbe

    Highlights

    • Travel north across the stunning landscape of the Fann Mountains.
    • Drive through the infamous 5-km Anzob Tunnel.
    • Experience the ancient Sogdian culture and the history of the Fergana Valley, crossroads of the world and once the farthest outpost in Alexander the Great’s empire.
    • A taste of Czarist Russia at the Arbob Palace, a recreation of St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace in the heart of Central Asia.
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 10
    1. Thursday 22nd March

      AM

      • Free morning for settling in/exploring/acclimatizing
      PM
      • Hissar Fortress – a stunning UNESCO site at a strategic point on the ancient silk road, destroyed 21 times during its long history
      • Local village to see a school and a Lenin statue
      • Welcome group dinner in Dushanbe

    2. Friday 23rd March

      AM

      • Morning walking tour of Dushanbe, including Victory Park, Rudaki & Somoni Avenues (the main streets in the city), Central and Rudaki Parks, Ismaili Somoni Monument, and much more
      PM
      • National Museum of Antiquities – a deep look at the complicated history of Tajikistan
      • Botanical Gardens – popular for wedding groups and housing a vast range of Central Asian flora
      • National Opera Theatre & Dushanbe Puppet Theatre
      • National Teahouse for end-of-day relaxation – this is the largest teahouse in the world!

    3. Saturday 24th March

      AM

      • Drive north to the stunning Varzob Valley, past scenic lakes and in to the mountains for a light hike
      • See a holiday wrestling match and have lunch at a local family home
      PM
      • Free afternoon to explore Dushanbe - holiday decoration will be up by now and a lively atmosphere on the weekend can be expected

    4. Sunday 25th March

      • Today we go to see the most remarkable sporting event imaginable – Buzkashi!
      • This is a flamboyantly violent and aggressive game played by hundreds of men on horseback, wrestling over a goat carcass to try to score ‘goals’ with it. It simply has to be seen to be believed, the photos you will get will blow the mind of anyone you show them to!
      • The day will be spent at the sports fields, in addition to Buzkashi there is wrestling, people-watching, mingling with the friendliest people in all of Central Asia, and snacks and drinks available for sale. An incredible day is assured!

    5. Monday 26th March

      • Today we head into the mountains, for some stunning views on a long drive that brings us through tunnels and valleys, over peaks and ridges of the amazing mountains of Tajikistan!
      • The destination in the end is Khoja Obi Garm Spa, a vast sanatorium built into the side of a mountain above natural hot springs – like a James Bond villain’s lair meets the hotel from The Shining!
      • A full range of ‘treatments’ can be enjoyed here, from radon baths to massages, leeches to swimming, or simply explore and relax. This is one of those great Soviet-era buildings that are hard to find these days, you will love this experience!

    6. Tuesday 27th March

      AM

      • Drive onwards to the northern city of Khujand
      • Driving through the Hissar mountains the route itself is part of the adventure including a pass through a 5km long Iranian-built Anzob Tunnel
      PM
      • Lunch at Iskander Kul – Alexander Lake –where Alexander the Great himself stopped for lunch during his advance through Central Asia
      • Cross into the Fergana Valley – the ancient crossroads of cross-continental trade and home to some of the great cities of the silk road
      • Arriving in Khujand (previously known as Leninabad) we’ll stop at a giant Lenin statue at a hydro-electric dam. Communism personified!

    7. Wednesday 28th March

      AM

      • Khujand Market and the sights, sounds, smells of this fascinating city which once market the eastern edge of Alexander’s Empire
      • Local Museum to learn the history of the area
      • Local Mosque, lined with stunning wood panels on the inside
      PM
      • See more of the city – local parks, statues, and mix with the locals too, one of the highlights of any trip to Tajikistan
      • The bizarre Arbob Cultural Palace - a recreation of the St. Petersburg Winter Palace built during the Soviet 1950s, a fantastic local curiosity!

    8. Thursday 29th March

      AM

      • Departing Khujand we drive through the Zarafshan Valley, all the way to Panjikent to have lunch
      PM
      • Panjikent is the centre of Sogdian Culture in Tajikistan. Sogdians were an ancient power in this region, active until the Arab invasion of the 7th Century.
      • See the remains of a Sogdian city – foundations, royal palace, Zoroastrian Temple, and the city bazaar
      • Rudaki Museum – dedicated to the hometown hero and founder of Persian Poetry, the great Central Asian polymath Rudaki

    9. Friday 30th March

      • We’ll spend the day driving back to Dushanbe, stopping at scenic and historic sites & towns along the way
      • We will get back to the city for a last bit of free time and a final group farewell dinner






    10. Saturday 31st April

      • Tour ends and all group members will be taken to the airport for their individual flights.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop off to and from Hotel Lotus, Dushanbe.
      Hotel accommodation
      Tajiki tour guides
      A driver per group
      A member or Koryo Tours
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement unless otherwise specified (US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa fees at other embassies vary
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Not all meals are covered but we will make recommendations if needed
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance which is extra
  • Notes

    VISA APPLICATION & ARRIVAL TO TAJIKISTAN

    Koryo Tours will send you a Visa Application Form so that we can issue you a Letter of Invitation (LOI). Please bring with you to Tajikistan:
    1.) Visa Application Form
    2.) Letter of Invitation
    3.) two passport photographs
    4.) USD $35 cash (2015 price so might increase!)

    As you arrive in Dushanbe Airport immigration hall you will find a paper form entitled 'CARD OF IMMIGRATION CONTROL’ which you have to complete in duplicate. Pick one up and fill it in as you join the queue at the VISA APPLICATION windows.

    At the VISA APPLICATION WINDOW present your passport, your original Visa Application and Letter of Invitation. Your visa will be placed in your passport and you will need to pay the US $35 fee.

    You then proceed to the IMMIGRATION BOOTHS where you present your ‘CARD OF IMMIGRATION CONTROL’ one half is kept and the other half stamped and returned to you. KEEP THIS SAFE as you will need it at the hotel and exiting the country.

    There will be a driver with the sign KORYO GROUP waiting for you in the arrival lobby and you will be taken to HOTEL LOTUS.

    IMPORTANT NOTE TO TOURISTS

    This tour is a group trip but designed to have a good amount of free-time. We will give you ideas if you want to go out exploring or just take it easy at a café.Please be on time and return to that the hotel in the evening.

    Please note we will be driving relatively long distances and seats can be hard so we suggest bringing a travel pillow/neck support – the view and experience more than make up for a little discomfort though.

    Khoja Obi Gharm Spa - please note this is a Radon spa which has radioactive properties. There are various thoughts on whether this is good for you or not! - please read up beforehand and make your own decision. The various types of treatment with steam sauna and water jets, massage etc. It is in a beautiful mountain area and worthwhile even for those not taking the spa treatments. The spa was built by the Russians over a religious shrine – for those of you not taking a sauna go pop out and try and find it in this beautiful mountain scape. Massage is 60 somoni head body arms, just need to wear pants or towel provided (radon shower included if you want! )

    Carry a colour photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

    USEFUL TIPS

    Taxis – In 2015 most journeys cost around 20-30 somoni, but make sure you agree a price beforehand.

    Segafroid Café in Dushanbe is a good place for internet and Western food- open for billiards and ten pin bowling cost 120 somoni per hour. The Segafroid Café is about a 20 somoni taxi ride from the Hotel Lotus.

    Dushanbe has the the world’s largest tea house is open for billiards and ten-pin bowling cost 120 per hour.

    Bring sun protection cream.

    Bring hand sanitiser and toilet paper.

    WEATHER

    Early Spring weather so bring a light jumper and jacket, however, we will be heading into the mountains so have some warm clothing also as there will be snow.

Please apply by 1st March, 2018.

April 19 - April 26/27 2018

Run Dushanbe

Tajikistan Half Marathon
Tour - NEW FOR 2018!

7-night tour exploring unknown Tajikistan and run in the AIMS certified Dushanbe
Half Marathon. Marvel at its scenery, discover its history and meet the friendliest
people we know!

From 1,250 USD per person

Please apply by 1st April, 2018.

Run Dushanbe

Tajikistan Half Marathon
Tour - NEW FOR 2018!

7-night tour exploring unknown Tajikistan and run in
the AIMS certified Dushanbe Half Marathon. Marvel at
its scenery, discover its history and meet the friendliest
people we know!

From 1,250 USD per person

  • Overall

    Incredible, yet relatively unknown, Tajikistan is one of the most unique countries in the world. Sitting in Central Asia, it not only has fascinating history as a former Soviet bloc country, but the friendliest people you will ever meet and the most incredible breath taking scenery. This tour will not only get you there to experience all of this, but to also join in the local Tajik celebrations for their 'Day of the City' running in the 2018 Dushanbe International Half Marathon - an AIMS certified race.

    Highlights

    • Participate in the little known Dushanbe half marathon, as the streets are lined with locals cheering you on
    • Explore the UNESCO-listed ruins of ancient Panjikent
    • Journey across the beautiful snow-capped Fan mountains
    • Camp on the shores of stunning glacial Lake Alexander
    • Get a massage at the surreal Soviet health spa of Khoja Obi Garm, which looks like something straight from a movie
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 8
    1. Thursday April 19th

      AM

      • The tour group meets at 13.30 in the hotel reception for an orientation meeting.
      PM
      • Afternoon drive to the Hissar fortress. This large fort is said to date back to Cyrus the Great (600BC) and to have been captured 21 times by invading forces. Much of this area has been restored, but it has a lovely museum that is a nice introduction to this fascinating country - a great chance to learn about the country's history and catch up with local people.
      • Upon our return to Dushanbe we will stop by a local school to photograph an interesting statue of Lenin.  


      **Lunch and Dinner included**
    2. Friday April 20th

      AM

      • We begin our day with a half day walking tour of the sleepy capital of Dushanbe, including Victory Park, Rudaki street, Central park, Monument of Ismaili Somoni. We will also follow the route of the Dushanbe Marathon.

      PM

      • This afternoon is free for further exploration or for training for tomorrows big event, we have secured the use of Dushanbe premier gym should you wish to work out. 


      **Breakfast and Lunch included**

    3. Saturday April 21st

      AM
      • Today we start early for the unique opportunity to run the streets of Dushanbe in Tajikistan's half Marathon event.
      PM
      • The afternoon will be free for relaxation, or for further exploration with tour leader visiting the nearby local market.
      • There may also be celebrations in the near by park commemorating city day.

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**

    4. Sunday April 22nd

      • The tour continues as we depart Dushanbe and follow the Varzob river into the mountains, driving up through the Varzob valley where we will stop on the way for photos of this scenic area. Our goal for this morning is the small village of Takob. Upon arrival we will hike for 30 minutes through this hamlet where we will be rewarded by a visit to a local family whose home has amazing views of the surrounding area
      • We will have lunch given to us in the local Tajik way sitting on the floor, and we will lose count of the number of courses!
    5. Monday April 23rd

      AM
      • We begin with as long drive from the health resort over mountain roads out across the fan mountains working our way up through the tunnel of death. We stop along the way from breathtaking shots of this beautiful mountain range. Our destination is Panjikent. We will make a detour en route to visit the tomb and Museum of Rudaki - as Panjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdullah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian poetry.
      PM
      • This afternoon we have a historical tour of ancient Panjikent, viewing ruins of Sogdian town founded in the 5th century and abandoned in the 8th century by Arabs. Foundations of houses, a citadel city bazaar and Zoroastrian fire temples are all visible as we walk around this UNESCO listed site. Dinner tonight will be a tradition style in a beautiful local home. 

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    6. Tuesday April 24th

      AM
      • This morning we bid farewell to Panjikent but not before we visit its interesting local market, driving out back to the Fan mountains we will stop at an old Soviet Cognac factory we have the opportunity to sample its produce and photograph this large partially abandoned site.
      PM
      • We work along small mountain roads past small villages, abandoned factories eventually arriving at the remote and secluded Alexander Lake. We have the option of hiking or relaxing by its beautiful shores. 
       
      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    7. Wednesday April 25th
      • After a relaxing morning for photos, further hiking or sleeping, we return over the mountain pass to Dushanbe. We should arrive into the capital mid afternoon. You can make the use of your free afternoon for some last minute sight seeing into one of the history museums, local shopping or browsing one of the unique Soviet era antique shops.

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    8. Thursday April 26th

      • Tour ends and all group members will be taken to the airport for their individual flights.

      Extensions are possible.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop off to and from Vatan, Dushanbe.
      Hotel accommodation
      A Koryo Tours leader, Tajiki tour guides and a driver per group
      Warm up in Dushanbe's no 1 Gym pre-marathon
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement (unless otherwise specified, US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa (visa fees vary at different embassies)
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Almost all but a few meals are covered
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance - this is to be paid on the spot

Please apply by 1st April, 2018.

July 1 - July 13 2018

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppes

12 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Ulaanbaatar - Hovd - Altai Tavan
Bogd and many adventures in between!

From 2,900 USD per person

Please apply by 23rd June, 2018.

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppes

12 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Ulaanbaatar - Hovd -
Altai Tavan Bogd and
many adventures in between!

From 2,900 USD per person

  • Overall

    Highlights

    • Experience Nadaam -- the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians
    • Visit Mongolian Kazak and Tuva nomadic families
    • Enjoy camel trekking and horseback riding
    • Hike the great mountains (with views across to Russia and China)
    • Swim in mountain lakes and rivers
    • Explore the Altai and Bayan Ulgii region of Mongolia
    • Construct and sleep in a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt)
    • Marvel at the skill of local eagle hunters
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 13
    1. Sunday 1st July

      Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

      Upon landing in Mongolia’s capital, we make our way to our centrally located hotel to recharge before our adventure begins. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take our optional walking tour to get your first taste of this fascinating city, before returning for our 4pm hotel briefing.

      Here we’ll give you an overview of the country and culture, along with some etiquette tips for visiting the homes of the shamans, Kazakhs, and Tuvan people we’ll meet along the way. Then join us for another city walk, this time by night. Get a glimpse of Sükhbaatar Square, named for revolutionary hero Damdinii Sükhbaatar; its perfect geometric angles make this – technically – the world’s largest square. The statues of Genghis Khan and other Mongolian generals are even more impressive when all lit up.

      Meals: dinner

      Overnight:
      hotel


    2. Monday 2nd July

      Tour of the city, and then fly to Hovd Province

      We start our day at Gandantegchinlen, Ulaanbaatar’s largest Buddhist monastery, where we can see practicing monks and learn about the role of Mongolia’s largest religion. Then it’s back to the city centre, where we’ll stop off for supplies at the State Department Store. Today privately owned, this is a throwback to the old Soviet sales system, where everything is under one roof, and you pay with multiple receipts before returning for your purchases. This is an ideal time to stock up on trip supplies, even outdoor gear, so if you’ve discovered your sleeping bag has a hole, now’s the time to upgrade. We’ll see Sükhbaatar Square by day, and then head to the National Historical Museum, which takes us through Mongolian history from the Stone Age right through to the collapse of Communism. We’ll also see the Natural History Museum, filled with those dinosaur artifacts the country is known for.

      After lunch, we’ll take a two-hour flight to Hovd province, and pile into Russian jeeps to visit a local Uriankhai shaman and his family. Here we can witness some of the ancient and mysterious rituals the community still holds dear, such as mirrors that repel evil spirits, or sacred fire and water. His son is trained in the incredible art of Mongolian throat singing – he’s a bit modest, but can usually be talked into an impromptu performance. After dinner with the family, we’ll drive to our camp, and spend our first night in a ger, or traditional Mongolian tent – the way most locals still do.

      Meals: breakfast, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    3. Tuesday 3rd July

      Drive to Tolbo Lake

      After a hearty breakfast, we’ll stop at Hovd (also Khovd) and check out the local market, formerly the Soviet-era black market, where you can buy traditional fabrics, textiles, Mongolian buttons, and other souvenirs, all sold out of shipping containers. There are few Westerners in this area, so be prepared for curious locals. We’ll also take in the local Hovd museum to get a sense of the area, and then drive to Tolbo Lake. With an altitude of 2,080 meters, Tolbo is famous not only for its remote beauty, but as the site of a crucial 1921 battle between the Bolshevik and White Russian forces – the locals still find belt buckles and buttons in the field. We will stop for photographs along the way, as nomads lead their herds across the vast lands, or make their way to the Naadam festival, then we’ll spend the night in a lakeside tourist camp where you can swim or bathe in the clear waters, or just unwind and take in the mountain views.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight:
      ger (yurt)

    4. Wednesday 4th July

      Khar Us (Little Black Lake) and Khar Nuur (Black Lake)

      After breakfast, we head towards Sagasi village, near Khar Us Lake and the magnificent Altai Mountains. Bayan-Olgii (or Uglii) province, known locally as the ‘Roof of Mongolia’, is a remote land of glaciers and mountain peaks; travellers can go for days without seeing a soul. This area is home to the Kazakh people, practicing Muslims and Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority; here we’ll learn about how nomadic life in the mountains differs from life in the steppes.

      We’ll stop by mud brick winter houses Kazakhs use when the temperature drops below minus-30 when even their felt-lined gers can’t keep out the cold. We can also ride horses and learn about eagle hunting – not what you think! Up here, food is scarce, and the locals need a little help. Most families keep their own golden eagles that hunt for rabbit, hare, and even small deer, and they’re happy to show us how it’s done. Then we’ll pitch our tents next to the local families and share a traditional dinner.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent


    5. Thursday 5th July

      Khurgan and Khoton Lakes

      Today’s journey takes us through wild lands, over moraines (glacial debris) and past ancient burial sites, with stone-age rock carvings of animals and hunting scenes covering the mountainside. The spectacular Khurgan and Khoton Lakes lie at an altitude of 2,073 metres, and are surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

      We set up camp on the shores of Khoton Lake, and spend the afternoon relaxing, exploring, or swimming in crystalline waters. After dinner, we meet the local Kazakh people and see the comparative affluence (by Mongolian standards) of lakeside Kazakhs, with their multiple gers and fertile land.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    6. Friday 6th July

      Tsagaan Gol and Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain

      After breakfast we work our way through the mountains to reach the mouth of Tsagaan Gol (White River), a mighty water source with enough limestone deposits to give the milky river its name. We’ll stop for pictures at the stunning Shiveet Khairkhan, with more rock carvings and an unforgettable view of Tavan Bogd (Five Saints), a mountain massif on the border of Mongolia, China and Russia. To the indigenous minority Tuvan, Shiveet is sacred – as are the 400 mountain ibex, which are never hunted. Each year the Tuvan climb Shiveet’s summit and perform shamanistic rituals, making offerings to the local ghosts and paying ancestral respects. The Tuvan are herders, and known for their archery skills; tonight, they’ll teach us to cook some of their favourite dishes. And after days of having the locals watch us pitch our tents – and comment on how long it takes us, how thin the material is, and how we’ll never survive the night – today we’ll build our own felt-lined ger (with a little help), to see how the nomads do it.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent



    7. Saturday 7th July

      Hike to base camp of Altai Tavan Bogd

      Today we leave our vehicles and heaviest luggage behind, load everything else onto camels, and then trek up Tavan Bogd with a local Tuvan guide. It’s about 15 kilometres to our base camp (camels can also carry tired trekkers), which is located at the edge of Potanin Glacier, the longest in Mongolia – listen carefully, you might hear it cracking. Potanin is at the foot of Malchin Peak, one of Tavan Bogd’s five sacred mountains. This hike will take us through lush alpine tundra, and past herds of camels, providing fantastic views across the glacier to the peaks. Our camp is a great starting point to other area hikes in one of the world’s best trekking areas. We’ll also meet another Tuvan family, who can teach us more about raising and training golden eagles.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    8. Sunday 8th July

      Soak up the scenery

      Today we absorb the natural wonder that is Tavan Bogd, either by hiking with local guides to neighbouring mountains, glacier fields, or Potanin Glacier River, or by just relaxing and soaking up the scenery.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    9. Monday 9th July

      Return trek to Tsagaan Gol (White River)

      Today we follow the camels back down to our camp in Tsagaan Gol. Passing through Tavan Bogd’s numerous valleys, we can see how the melting glacier transforms into the roaring White River. Upon arrival, we celebrate our adventure with a traditional feast – a reward for all our hard trekking work. Here we’ll try a Kazakh delicacy called beshbarmak, or “five fingers”, a delicious assortment of stewed meat, vegetables and flour we eat with our hands.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    10. Tuesday 10th July

      Drive through Bayan Olgii

      Today we bid farewell to our Tuvan friends and take a relaxing drive back to Olgii, where we’ll spend the night in a Kazakh tourist camp, stopping for pictures and greeting nomad families along the way.We may also catch a local festival nestled in this mountainous region.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    11. Wednesday 11th July

      Experience the Kazak Naadam

      We end our adventure with one of the world’s most fascinating festivals, an annual event that draws tribes from all over Mongolia to compete in traditional skills and feats of strength – especially wrestling, horseracing and archery. Here, families reconnect, share their news and favourite foods, have parties, and compete in games together. Naadam has become a world-famous tourist draw, but while Ulaanbataar is filled with tour busses and day visitors, Bayan Olgii’s event is still a local affair, virtually unchanged over generations.

      Here we’ll learn the secrets of Naadam, such as the unusual wrestling costume of undershorts and an open waistcoat. Legend has it that a woman in disguise once outwrestled all the men, and to prevent future humiliation, outfits were altered – these tops have no secrets. Also, if you see a sumo-sized wrestler defeated by a delicate youth, don’t be surprised; the loser is probably from another area, and it’s disrespectful to beat others at their own Naadam.

      Tonight we sleep in Kazakh gers but you can enjoy cold beers and hot showers, easing you back into civilisation.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)


    12. Thursday 12th July

      Fly to Ulaanbataar

      Leaving our horses, camels and Russian jeeps behind for good, we board a plane and return to Ulaanbaatar. This is a free day where you can shop ‘til you drop at the city market – you’ll never find cheaper cashmere, and you might pick up a shamanistic or Buddhist artifact or a relic from Soviet times. History lovers can stop by the winter palace of the Bogd Khan (1869-1922), who became Khagan (theocratic ruler) when the country split from China in 1911. Or you can simply relax with a coffee or cocktail at an outdoor café and watch this fascinating city unfold before you. Then we’ll meet up for dinner at a local family’s home, so we can see Mongolian homelife away from the steppes.

      Meals: breakfast, dinner with city family

      Overnight: hotel





    13. Friday 13th July

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!



  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      English speaking guide
      Western tour leader
      All meals outside Ulaanbaatar
      Camels for luggage
      Internal flights
      Horse riding
      All included sight seeing
      All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas All camping equipment (not sleeping bags.)
    • Not included
      Sleeping bags
      International flights
      Any alcoholic beverages
      Meals where specified
      Medical insurance (can be arranged.)
      Visas (if needed)
      Airport pick up 25 USD one way
      Helmet rental 30 USD
      Sleeping bag hire (incl cleaning 30 USD for tour)
      Items of personal nature
  • Notes

    Please note!

    This tour has been specifically arranged to visit these areas it may have elements of an expedition about it due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. As such any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible, although please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions. Along the way all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

Please apply by 23rd June, 2018.

July 11 - July 21 2018

Abandoned Russia tour
2018

Abandoned
Russia

Epic trip at the edge of the world. Magadan
- Yakutia and all kinds of madness in
between !

From 7,300 USD per person

Please apply by 31st May, 2018.

Abandoned Russia tour 2018

Abandoned
Russia

Epic trip at the edge of the
world. Magadan - Yakutia and
all kinds of madness in between
!

From 7,300 USD per person

  • Overall

    For fans of adventure, history, the obscure, and the evocative - this is the experience of a lifetime! - see remote settlements, people living all kinds of lives across the region, abandoned gulags, abandoned towns and cities, stunning landscapes, enormous diamond pits, and so much more - see the unexpected and the unbelievable

    Highlights

    • Magadan City - evocative settlement at the edge of Russia - famous for being a transit point for prisoner transfers
    • Dneprovsky Gulag - once a tin ore mine and home to thousands of 'zeks'. closed in 1953 and left for the tundra to reclaim. See what is left and camp in this saddest of places. Hear tales of how this dreadful system came to be
    • Kadykchan - once-thriving pioneer city from the early 1960s. home to thousands of optimistic young adventuring families. Not an abandoned ruin and testament to Russia of the 1990s. not a soul remains, but the city's structure is all there to see and explore
    • Ust-Nera - remote settlement halfway along the 'road of bones' (the Kolyma Highway). surrounded by stark mountains and stunning views. see life in this unexpected place
    • Yakutsk - the largest city in the world built on permafrost, capital of the vast Sakha Republic and home to native people as well as descendants of European settlers. a cosmopolitan city in the middle of nowhere
    • Mirny - home to the second largest hole ever dug by man, and key to the diamond-drive wealth of the region. deep in the forests. see this once-closed city and learn how it came to be that people could live here from settlement to this day
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. Wednesday July 11th. The tour begins in Magadan – it’s up to you to get here but we offer as much support as possible. There are flights from various places in Russia such as Moscow and Khabarovsk, easy connections from Vladivostok, from Harbin and Beijing in China, and we can help with those coming in from elsewhere. Regardless of your arrival time we provide a transfer from Magadan airport to the city centre for check-in so please look into flights and contact us for advice. It is not a problem to arrive a day early if this suits you better, we can arrange extra nights at the hotel for anyone who needs them.

      On arrival in the city the group will meet our lovely local partners Vika, and Volodya. They will explain some basics about the history and geography of the region – we’ll learn more in detail later on. We’ll check in to the VM-Tsentr Hotel. The location is terrific and it’s a very comfortable place (the voucher the staff gives you when you check in is for one free drink in the hotel bar – it's only written in Russian). We’ll have a group dinner and then you’re free to wander the city. Our local friends can recommend places to go, things to see and do. Remember that it stays light late into the night here so you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the dark. The city isn’t huge and can easily be wandered around on foot without too much difficulty; you’ll find it a very interesting place indeed!

    2.  Thursday July 12th. Today we take a tour of the highlights of Magadan City; we’ll visit the Mask of Sorrow (Gulag monument dedicated to the victims of the Dalstroy forced labour system, a deeply moving monument on a hill overlooking the city), the local museum (which has a terrific display about the gulags as well as the local wildlife, both extinct and extant – the mammoth exhibit is particularly good), the workshop of a local bone carver (one of the quirkier businesses in this area is mining for mammoth ivory! This gentleman has a stock of the tusks as well as the bones of other extinct creatures in his basement workshop, he carves them into trinkets and works of art, it’s quite unique!), an observation point over the main bay of Magadan City (great for photos, also this is where the ships docked that brought prisoners to this place at the edge of the world, a chilling location), we’ll also go to a local beach (in true Magadan style there is an abandoned factory on the beach!) – where in the brief flowering of summer the locals like to sunbathe (the water is very cold, swim if you dare!).

      Along the way we will stop for a group lunch and finally at the end of the day we’ll go to the local souvenir shop for all our Magadan-themed goodies and then you’re free for the evening. A big day tomorrow!

    3. Friday July 13th. We head off along the Kolyma Highway (known in the west as the ‘road of bones’) – the longest road in the world and one built by prisoners to ease the passage of many more unfortunate souls into the inner-depths of the Kolyma area, from where many would never return. We’re heading for the Dneprovsky Gulag Camp – one of the most complete remaining camps in the area (note that these camps are not preserved as museums, they are left to crumble and decay, in a few years almost nothing will be left to see of this dark place). The drive will be done in a Kamaz truck – a large multi-axle Russian vehicle that can traverse the 20km of deep forest we need to drive through to make it to the Gulag site. Along the way we’ll make some stops for rest and refreshment including at the abandoned town of Atka, which we will have time to explore.

      We should arrive at the Gulag in early afternoon and then we’ll set off on a hike around the area; we’ll be guided by a local gulag historian and expert, he’ll give us a fascinating insight into what went on here and has many a heart-breaking story to tell, and some amazing statistics, feel free to ask anything you like about the Gulag, he knows a great deal indeed! Bears do pass through this area but fear not! We also take a couple of local hunters and drivers with us who know the Russian outdoors very well, they will ensure our safety and security on this part of the trip, and also pitch camp for us to rest and eat a terrific meal of local specialties after we have finished exploring the Gulag site. Some of the highlights of this exploration include guard towers, the mine entrance (it was a tin mine), the cemetery, bread making buildings, officers houses. It’s a chilling and fascinating place to visit, let alone spend the night. The sun will be up until about 2AM here but get some sleep if you can we surge onwards the next day!
    4. Saturday July 14th. We’ll break camp and head for a few more Gulag sites here, including a demolished factory site. Then we’ll make our way back to the highway and switch from the Kamaz truck to some comfortable mini-buses that we will now use along the Road of Bones. In the buses we’ll drive onwards enjoying some amazing scenery and surroundings for most of the rest of the day, stopping at a truck-stop for lunch and finally arriving in the remote and unusual city of Susuman in the late afternoon.

      Susuman is very run down and some parts even seem abandoned, but thousands of people live here, there are shops, a restaurant (where we will have dinner), and a guesthouse run by a local factory (where we will spend the night), it also has some interesting things to see on a wander around the town such as a young scientists institute which for some reason has an airplane sticking out of an apartment building, some soviet-era apartment building murals and signs, a church, and often curious locals who are happy to chat and interact with the rare visitors to their city. If you want a night out in Susuman then go right ahead but it’s definitely a good idea to get some rest, something truly amazing awaits us the next day!

    5. Sunday July 15th. Up early, first we hit the shops for supplies, then we drive on a further 90 mins to the largest abandoned city in this region; Kadykchan. This truly is the ideal abandoned town (if such a concept even exists!) – it’s the right size to spend a whole day wandering around without going through the same buildings twice, but small enough to know where you are all the time, the buildings haven’t been inhabited in two decades but most of the apartment blocks have held up very well. We can explore apartments, the city government building, schools (the highlight we believe, just for the murals alone), hospitals, restaurants, shops, etc. all left to the ravages of nature. It’s spooky and mind-blowing and we can guarantee that you’ll never forget this day! On previous visits some amazing souvenirs such as old school books, license plates, signs, etc. have been found too, so you’ll definitely be able to get yourself some amazingly unique mementoes of this fascinating day. Trust us when we say this will be among the most memorable days of your life – it has to be experienced to be believed!

      We’ll eat a picnic lunch on the spot and then in the evening you have a choice of accommodation; either return to Susuman for another night in the hotel there, or occupy an abandoned apartment and become one of the very few Kadykchan residents of the 21st Century. If taking the second option then expect no electricity, no running water, no furniture (we will have camping equipment) and a general sense of post-apocalyptic living. It’ll be a night like no other; you’ll almost not want to sleep at all! 

    6. Monday July 16th. Those who stayed overnight in Susuman will head back to Kadykchan to collect those who camped out with the ghosts and memories, for the latter group if you get up in good time you can squeeze in a couple more hours of Kadykchan exploration (after comparing notes with what everyone else discovered this is a very good idea), otherwise have a lie-in until pick-up and we’ll head off along the highway mid morning, stopping for lunch at a rest-stop along the way.

      Our destination today is Ust-Nera, a riverside settlement on the northern edge of the Road of Bones. We’ll arrive here late afternoon and we’ll try out a Central Asian cafe very far from the 'Stans! There will be free time to relax or to explore the city today as well (remember it gets dark very very late!) and we’ll stay overnight in a local hotel.

    7. Tuesday July 17th. A free morning in Ust-Nera! Our local partners can show us around or you can go off on your own to see what there is to see in the town. We’ll have lunch at leisure and then assemble again to go to the small local airport. Here we will board one of the few flights that leaves Ust-Nera and take the 2 hour flight out of Magadan province and to the city at the other end of the Road of Bones, the capital of the vast Sakha Republic; Yakutsk! 

      On arrival in this city we’ll get picked up and head for the city centre, our hotel awaits so we will check in and then have a brief orientation with a local expert about what Yakutsk is all about; its history, ethnography, geography, and more. Look for Yakutsk on a map – it’s nowhere near anything else so the very fact of its existence is an oddity, one that we will learn all about! Also (for trivial fans) it’s the largest city in the world built on permafrost – see the stilts that hold up all of the buildings around the city for a quirky architectural feature here. Tonight have a free evening to do whatever you like (our local friends will advise if you need some help, it’s a safe town with plenty of nightlife options for drinks, wandering around, restaurants, and so on).

    8. Wednesday July 18th. After a leisurely morning (a rare thing on this fast-paced and action-packed tour!), we will have a tour of the highlights of Yakutsk in the afternoon, including old and new buildings so we can see the evolution of the architectural style, a truly remarkable church, a massive war memorial along the mighty Lena River, and much much more – including the Kingdom of Permafrost – a subterranean look at frozen ground, much more interesting than it sounds, as well as the mammoth museum where you can see how specimens of this extinct beast are recovered from the area, and meet a local expert who travels around digging them up from the ice. The evening will be free for us to have a night out in the quasi-European local bars and restaurants and to wander the city, interacting as much as possible with the very diverse local population, a highlight in and of itself!

    9. Thursday July 19th. We’ll take a flight from Yakutsk to a place even more remote and obscure; a town called Mirny, about 2.5 hours deep into the heart of Siberian Russia, a place remote even by the standards of Russians. A place that exists for one reason only; Diamonds! In the heart of the town is the second deepest pit ever dug by man, a giant hole from whence untold tons of diamonds have been hauled from deep within the earth. The raw statistics tell one story (you can read all about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir_mine) but getting to visit the site is something else entirely. The exact level of access we can gain is not finalised yet but we’ll have gone somewhere very unusual and somewhere to shame the holiday destinations of your friends! We’ll spend as much time here as possible and stay the night in Mirny too. It will be a long, expensive, and arduous journey, but one that will provide an unbeatable experience in deepest Russia, something that will stick in the mind forever!

    10. Friday July 20th. The morning is spent exploring the town of Mirny, even though the mine may not operate any more there is still a population of people living in this seemingly unlivable remote place, we’ll see what life here is all about and see what local businesses and people are up to. Human interaction is important on any holiday and we’ll get as much as we can at this point. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant before taking the flight back to Yakutsk, on arrival in the city everyone is set loose for the last bit of freedom of the tour, so explore with great gusto, or settle down in a café to think about all that we have experienced in the last days, there will be much to think about, and you’ll have taken more photos that you would think, that’s for sure! We’ll find a good spot for a final dinner of the trip.

    11. Saturday July 21st. Departure Day – There are flights this day to Moscow (from where almost anywhere in Europe can be reached, as well as North America), and to Harbin (in Northern China, from where you can easily move on to anywhere in China or East Asia and down to Australasia), and other destinations too. So head home, continue to explore Russia, or embark on even more adventures! The end of the trip but the start of remembering the trip for many years to come!

  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Accommodation throughout the trip - in hotels, camping at the gulag, and sleeping rough in Kadykchan! (tents and sleeping bags where needed)
      Meals apart from during free time
      Transportation by various means - mini-bus, Kamaz truck, etc
      Internal flights on the tour; Ust-Nera - Yakutsk, Yakutsk - Mirny - Yakutsk
      Entry fees at attractions visited
      Airport transfers
      Russian visa support (LOI)
      Guide and translation services throughout
      The most amazing travel experience of your life - hard roads, tough travel, invaluable memories and experiences!
    • Not included
      Flights to start and finish the tour (start in Magadan, end in Yakutsk)
      Meal expenses during free time (approx 3 evenings)
      Russian visa fee (varies according to nationality and place of issue)
      Single room accommodation (it is optional. $40 supplemental per person per night)
      Tips for the local guides, drivers
      Camera fees where charged (usually around $1 in museums)
      Incidentals such as souvenirs, laundry, alcoholic drinks, phone calls, etc

Please apply by 31st May, 2018.

August 18 - August 27/28 2018

The Mountain Crossroads

Travel across the roof
of the world - NEW FOR 2018!

10-night tour following the route of the ancient Silk Road and the adventures
of Marco Polo starting in Kyrgyzstan before heading into Tajikistan - a
Koryo Tours first!

From 2,300 USD per person

Please apply by 1st August, 2018.

The Mountain Crossroads

Travel across the roof
of the world - NEW FOR 2018!

10-night tour following the route of the ancient
Silk Road and the adventures of Marco Polo starting
in Kyrgyzstan before heading into Tajikistan - a
Koryo Tours first!

From 2,300 USD per person

  • Overall

    This tour starts in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Following the route of the historical M41 Pamir Highway, we cross into Tajikistan over high passes and past beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains. Staying in small towns and villages along the way, this journey will take you to some of this region’s most remote but rewarding destinations, to ultimately arrive in Dushanbe — Tajikistan’s lovely, laid back capital.

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 10
    1. Saturday August 18th

      After your arrival in Osh (Kyrgyzstan), all group members will be meet at the airport and taken to the hotel. We will gather at 13:00 in the hotel reception for our tour briefing and orientation.

      In the afternoon, we will tour the city and visit the Sulaiman-Too sacred mountain and its various sites. This beautiful area has amazing views over Osh and was once a place of worship for Muslims and pre-Islamic people. It is also one of Kyrgyzstan's first UNESCO listed sites.

      At the top of the mountain we will view the Babur's house, which is now a mosque. The history of this small building is fascinating, and we'll learn about the stories surrounding it. Other sites that we will visit on the mountain are the Tahti Suleiman mosque, a cave complex and the Museum of Sulaiman.

      Meals: Lunch and dinner.

      Accommodation: 3-4* hotel in Osh.


    2. Sunday August 19th

      This morning we visit the Jaima Bazaar, an amazing market that is one of the largest in Central Asia and sells everything you could possibly need and a lot you wouldn't! Locals say Jaima Bazaar has been in existence for over 2000 years. We will have some time to explore the stalls and see trade being conducted from the backs of old shipping containers and the remains of Soviet-era trucks. Practice your haggling skills before lunch.

      This afternoon we begin our adventure with a drive to the village of Sary-Tash through the high Taldyk pass. This road was constructed between 1930 and 1932, and offers some grand views as we snake up over 3615 meters.

      After our first day of driving we stay in this remote village with a population of only 1500. This backwater is surrounded by high mountains, seemingly cut off from the world outside.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local homestay.




    3. Monday August 20th

      After an early start we leave heading out back onto the highway, driving up through the Kyzyl Art border point, to 4,280 m. We say goodbye to our Kyrgyz guides and drivers and greet our Tadjik hosts at the Kizil Art border point. The stark landscape on our route will make for some great photography as we make stops along the way.

      After lunch we continue on to Karakul lake. This high altitude lake was formed millions of years ago after a meteorite impact. We will stop here to enjoy the stunning views of the lake with the snow-capped Lenin peak (which reaches 7134m, but is considered one of the easiest 7000m peaks in the world to climb) as its backdrop.

      We then continue to drive upwards over the 4650m Ak-Baital pass, the highest point on the M41 (Pamir) highway. In Tajikistan it is said that you are closest to the moon here, not only for the height of the place but also due to the scenery looking like a lunar landscape. We eventually arrive in Murgab — formerly known as the Pamirsky Post, which was founded by the Russians in 1893 as their furthest military outpost. The town is now home to around 4000 inhabitants. In Murgab, we will pay an afternoon visit to the local bazar, the nearby Lenin statue, and some Soviet reliefs.

      Before dinner we will stop by a local yak herder's house to see what life is like in these remote regions of the country.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.







    4. Tuesday August 21st

      Today we drive to Langar village, continuing along the Pamir highway over the Khargush pass at 4344 meters, driving past mountain lakes and arid lunar landscapes. We will stop for photos as we go.

      The pass leads us out to the Wakhan Valley, which runs for about 350km sandwiched between the Pamir's and the Karakorum mountain range. The valley supports around 12,000 inhabitants in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Along the route we will drive following the Panj River as it flows along the border with Afghanistan. We will regularly stop to take photos of the beautiful landscapes; time permitting we will also view some ancient petroglyphs.

      We will stay the night in Langar village, which is not to be confused with the village of the same name just across the border.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local guesthouse.


    5. Wednesday August 22nd

      After breakfast and a short walk though the village, we continue along the Panj river and the border with Afghanistan following the Wakhan corridor.

      We will stop at Vrang village to see Osorkhonai Abdullo Ansori and its museum. This once important site is well worth the visit to view the ancient cave dwellings of the Buddhist monks as they lived on the fringes of the late Buddhist empire.

      As we continue onwards after lunch, we will also stop at the Kahkaha fortress — one of the oldest fortresses in central Asia. This once great, clay built fortification is said to be named after a legendary epic hero, a king of fire worshippers. Its ruins now offer views of the surrounding countryside.

      Our aim today is to make it to the town of Khorogh, the regional capital of the GBO area (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region) with a population of 28,000. If we make it there in time, we will be able to squeeze in a few more stops at Garm Chashma hot springs and the grave of Nosiri Khisrav Qabodieni.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.




    6. Thursday August 23rd

      We continue our journey along the Panj river bordering Afghanistan, following the route of the old Silk Road and tracing in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

      On our drive today we will visit the many small towns and villages that line this well trodden path. In Rushan, Dekh, Amun, and Kevran we will visit local family homes and catch a glimpse of life in this remote corner of the world.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Accommodation: Local hotel.  

    7. Friday August 24th

      As we trace the Panj river, we eventually bid farewell to the Pamir territory and enter Khatlon province.

      Khatlon province is located in the Southeast of the country and is one of the least visited parts of Tajikistan. During the country's Soviet period, it was also one of the country's poorest regions. Along the route, we'll stop to view towns and cities along the way where we can still find fantastic Soviet architecture. One of these towns is Shurobod, where very few changes have taken place since Soviet times. We will stop here to see impressive mosaics of Lenin that remain on the side of the buildings.

      We will also stop at Kulyab, the center of Khatlon province and fourth biggest town in Tajikistan. Kulyab has a history stretching back over 2500 years and borders Afghanistan. We will tour the city and view the local museum and market, again immersing ourselves in the local culture.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.




    8. Saturday August 25th

      Today is our last drive on the M41 highway as we drive to towards the capital, Dushanbe. On our way there, we will stop to see the amazing Khulbuk fortress, which was built in the 9th - 12th centuries AD and once a governor's palace. The fortress has been shortlisted at UNESCO as a place of "outstanding universal value to the world".

      Later, we will also stop to view Norak Basin, a large reservoir that was created in 1961 when the 300 meter Nurek Dam was constructed. The dam is currently the second highest in the world. Unfortunately, we cannot get close, but can view it from a distance.

      We make our final leg driving into the capital Dushanbe for a much earned rest! We'll have dinner, and afterwards will have the opportunity to have a much needed drink in one of Dushanbe's bars!

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.



    9. Sunday August 26th

      This morning we begin our day with a city tour of of Dushanbe. We will visit Victory Park on the hills above Dushanbe, where we'll have great views of the city. We will then stop on Rudaki Street to walk to Dushanbe's Central Park, stopping for photos at the the Monument of Ismaili Somoni that is situated on the site of the old Lenin statue. Passing Rudaki Park, we will then walk on to the entrance of the National Museum where we will learn a little more about the beautiful country we have been visiting.

      After lunch we will drive to the Victory tank monument (“Oslinie Ushi” — “The donkey ears", the local name for this monument), and visit the botanical gardens, before finishing our day with a visit to the world’s largest tea house with its amazingly decadent interior.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.



    10. Monday August 27th

      Departure day! Airport transfers are provided for everyone regardless of the time of flight or where you are going.

      There is also the option of extending your room until a later date.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop at the start and end of tour.
      Hotel accommodation
      Tajiki tour guides
      A driver per group
      A member or Koryo Tours
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement unless otherwise specified (US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa fees this must include GBAO travel permit
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Not all meals are covered but we will make recommendations if needed
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance which is extra

Please apply by 1st August, 2018.

info@koryogroup.com | + 86 10 6416 7544
27 Bei Sanlitun Nan (East Courtyard).
Chaoyang District. Beijing 100027. P.R China

中国北京市朝阳区北三里屯南 27 号 (东侧院),
邮编:100027
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