Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

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Exploring Incredible Mountain Ranges & Ancient History, Travelling the Pamir Highway

From mountain ranges to the hustle and bustle of Bishkek. In this fascinating capital, we immerse ourselves in its serene parks and vibrant streets, where the fusion of Persian and nomadic cultures creates a unique and captivating atmosphere. Osh takes us along the route of the historical M41 Pamir Highway - an experience truly like no other. Think rugged terrain, where towering peaks and winding roads offer a glimpse into the untamed beauty of Central Asia.

It's also otherwise known as the roof of the world and the world's second-highest highway!

August 2024 — 1 tour

August 17 - August 30 2024

The Pamir Highway Mountain Crossroads Tour

Travel across the roof of the world!
A unique tour from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.

This 13-night tour traces the route of the ancient Silk Road and the adventures of Marco Polo. Starting in the
capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, we will follow the M41 Pamir Highway to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, while passing
the most amazing mountain scenery.

From 2900 USD per person

Please apply by 1st August, 2024.

The Pamir Highway Mountain Crossroads Tour

Travel across the roof of the world!
A unique tour from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.

This 13-night tour traces the route of the ancient Silk Road and the adventures
of Marco Polo. Starting in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, we will follow
the M41 Pamir Highway to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, while passing the most amazing
mountain scenery.

From 2900 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    On this Tajikistan tour, you will start in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In this fascinating capital, we'll immerse ourselves in its serene parks and vibrant streets, where the fusion of Persian and nomadic cultures creates a unique and captivating atmosphere, before flying to Osh. From here, we follow the route of the historical M41 Pamir Highway.

    Journeying along the Pamir Highway is truly an experience like no other. We'll drive through rugged terrain, where towering peaks and winding roads offer a glimpse into the untamed beauty of Central Asia. It's also otherwise known as the roof of the world and the world's second-highest highway

    We will 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.

    Our adventures lead us ultimately to Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s lovely, laid-back capital.

    Throughout your tour in Tajikistan, our knowledgeable guides will accompany you and be at hand to provide local insight and knowledge on the region, its history, and traditions, sharing insights into the ancient Silk Road routes and enduring customs of its people. From the hospitality of Tajikistan to the lush landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, and everything in between. 

    ✍️ For more information on this tour, our experience, and what you can expect from this Pamir Highway Tour, see our blogs below. 

    High Pamirs Reading

    What's a Trip to the Pamir's Really Like?
    High Pamirs & the Kuhistani-Badakhshan Autonomous Region
    Towns & Villages on the M41
    Travelling the Pamir Highway

    Note: Due to the adventurous nature of this tour, this itinerary is subject to change depending on adverse weather conditions or other factors that are out of our control. It's all part of the adventure! 

    Highlights

    • Explore the highlights of the capitals of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
    • Traverse the Wakhan Corridor & the Afghan Border
    • Stand a stone's throw away from Afghanistan
    • Stay in a traditional Kyrgyz Yurt
    • Drive through the mighty Pamir Mountains
    • Visit Karakol Lake created by an ancient meteor
    • Visit local people in small villages throughout the Pamiri region
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 14
    1. August 17 | Saturday

      • After arrival in Biskek, Kyrgyzstan all group members will be met at the airport and be taken to the tour hotel. We will gather at 13:00 in the hotel reception for our tour briefing and orientation.
         
      • Bishkek City Tour | We will start the city tour of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan.
         
      • Osh Bazaar | We begin our visit by stopping at the Osh Bazaar. This is an amazing produce market which gives us our first chance to take photos of local life.
         
      • National Philharmonic | After experiencing the shopping with the locals, we stop at the building of the National Philharmonic. This Soviet-style building is an imposing structure dominating the surrounding area.
         
      • Bishkek Attractions | To learn more about Kyrgyzstan a stop at the Central Square Ala Too and the State Historical Museum is a must. A short tour of Oak Park gives us the chance to view some local sculptures as well as the Open-air art gallery. Making our way to the final stop, we will make sure to call at Victory Square before reaching the state department store ZUM. Once located in most capital cities across the USSR!

      Accommodation | 3-4 star hotel

      Included Meals | Lunch, Dinner

    2. August 18 | Sunday

      Bishkek to Song Kul Lake

      • M41 Pamir Highway Begins! | This morning we'll begin our adventure along the M41 Pamir Highway, making our way out of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. We head south along this Soviet-era ribbon of tarmac.
         
      • Burana Tower | Making our way out of the city, we'll stop to visit the 12th-century Burana Tower. A fantastic example of classic architecture in Central Asia, and a handy detour on our way towards our next destination.
         
      • Song Kul Lake | Our next stop will be Song Kul Lake, a stunningly beautiful alpine lake nestled in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan. The lake is the second largest in the entire country. And the largest of Kyrgyzstan's freshwater lakes.

       

      Accommodation | Shoreside Yurt

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. August 19 | Monday

      Song Kul Lake to Tash Rabat Silk Road

      • Moldo Ashuu Pass | This morning we'll be up bright and early as we head out from Song Kul Lake to reach Moldo Ashuu Pass. This drive will give us the chance to enjoy a pleasant drive, admiring the colourful mountains passing by.
         
      • Naryn City | Finally, we'll arrive in Naryn City where we'll stop for a bite to eat. Naryn City was established as a fortress city along one of the region's major Silk Road caravan routes. It has since grown to encompass over 40,000 people deep in the heart of central Kyrgyzstan.
         
      • Tash Rabat Silk Road | Having enjoyed a heart Kyrgyz lunch, we're off again, heading towards the Tash Rabat Silk Road caravanserai. Once we arrive, we'll spend time touring this historical site, marvelling at the architecture and wonderous buildings which populated this centre for trading in everything from tea to silk.

       

      • Yurt Camp | Tonight we'll spend the night under canvas in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt, the famous design of Central Asian tent which serves as a semi-permanent home to the many nomads who live throughout the country.

      Accommodation | Kyrgyz Yurt

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. August 20 | Tuesday

      Tash Rabat Silk Road to Kazarman

      • Leave Yurt Camp | Today we'll leave our Yurt camp and make our way back up the road towards Naryn City. Just passing by today, we'll continue through Naryn, making our way deeper and deeper into the mountainous core of the country.
         
      • Kazarman Village & Homestay | Our destination today is Kazarman village. Although - it is a long drive away. Today will be filled with progress on our expedition along the M41 highway. Leaving the comfortable flats in exchange for more and more beautiful mountain passes. Passing local yurts, shepherds tending their flocks, and locals going about their daily business, we'll finally arrive at our homestay accommodation in Kazarman.

      Accommodation | Local Homestay

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. August 21 | Wednesday

      Kazarman to Osh

      • Kaldama Pass | Today, we will be traversing the incredible Kaldama Pass. Leaving our homestay, and saying a thankful goodbye to our hosts, we'll head out once again onto the road. Eventually, we will arrive at the Kaldama Pass, an incredible natural mountain pass which we'll have to drive through should we wish to arrive at our destination for today.
         
      • Osh | Finally, with a long drive under our belts, we'll pull in to Osh - the second city of Kyrgyzstan and our stop for tonight.

      Accommodation | 3-4 star hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    6. August 22 | Thursday

      Osh

      • Explore Osh | Today you will have a free morning to explore Osh. Discover its hidden secrets, tiny shops, and winding alleyways!
         
      • Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain (UNESCO)In the afternoon, we will tour the city and visit the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain and its various sites.
        This beautiful area has fantastic views over Osh and was once a place of worship for Muslims as well as earlier pre-Islamic people. It is also one of Kyrgyzstan's first UNESCO-listed sites.
         
      • Babur's House & Tahti Suleiman Mosque | At the top of the mountain, we will view 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 Suleiman.

      Accommodation | The Classic Hotel

      This aptly named hotel is conveniently located in the heart of this thriving city within walking distance of some of the central city sites.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. August 23 | Friday

      M41 Highway: Osh to Sary Tash

      • Jaima Bazaar | This morning we visit the Jaima Bazaar. A fantastic market that is one of the largest in Central Asia and sells everything you could 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.
         
      • Sary-Tash | 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.
         
      • Remote Village Stay | After our first day of driving, we stay in this remote village with a population of only 1500 hardy souls. High mountains surround this backwater settlement, seemingly cut off from the world outside.

      Accommodation | Sary Tash (village) Guest House

      Along the route, this accommodation is a real mix of local homestay and traditional-style guest houses.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    8. August 24 | Saturday

      M41 Highway: Entry into Tajikistan and Ak-Baital Pass

      • Kyzyl Art Border Point | After an early start, we leave heading out back onto the highway, driving up through the Kyzyl Art border point up to 4,280 m.
        We say goodbye to our Kyrgyz guides and drivers and greet our Tajik 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.
         
      • Entry into Tajikistan | We are now in the Republic of Tajikistan!
         
      • Karakul Lake | After lunch, we continue 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 it is considered one of the most accessible 7000m peaks in the world to climb) as its backdrop.
         
      • Highest Point on the Pamir Highway | We 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.
         
      • Murgab | We eventually arrive in Murgab. Formerly known as the Pamirsky Post, it was founded by the Russians in 1893 as their most advanced military outpost. It now remains the highest town in Tajikistan at 3,618 metres. This far-flung settlement is now home to around 4000 inhabitants. In Murgab, we will pay an afternoon visit to the local bazaar, the nearby Lenin statue and some Soviet reliefs.
         
      • Visit Local Herder's Home | Before dinner (time permitting), we will stop by a local herder's home to see what life is like in these remote regions.

      Accommodation | Hotel Pamir

      In this small town, the Hotel Pamir may be basic but offers us hot showers and relatively comfortable beds. Some facilities may be shared in this Soviet relic.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    9. August 25 | Sunday

      Murgab to Langar

      • Langar Village | 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 photographs as we go.
         
      • Wakhan Valley | The pass leads us out to the Wakhan Valley, which runs for about 350km sandwiched between the Pamir and the Karakorum mountain ranges. This valley supports around 12,000 inhabitants in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
         
      • Afghanistan Border | Along the route, we will follow 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 (rock carvings).
         
      • Village Stay | We will stay the night in Langar village. (Not to be confused with the town of the same name just across the border in Afghanistan).

      Accommodation | Local guesthouse

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    10. August 26 | Monday

      M41 Highway: Langar to Khorogh

      • Wakhan Corridor | After breakfast and a short walk through the village, we continue along the Panj River and the border with Afghanistan following the Wakhan corridor.
         
      • Osorkhonai Abdullo Ansori | 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 Buddhist monks who lived here in the past, at the fringes of Buddhist civilisation.
         
      • Kahkaha Fortress | As we continue onwards after lunch, we will tour the Kahkaha Fortress. To view the remains of this 4th century A.D castle. This once-great, clay-built fortification is said to be named after a legendary hero; known as a king of fire-worshippers. Its ruins now offer views of the surrounding countryside with stunning vistas into neighbouring Afghanistan.
         
      • Khorogh | 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. We will be able to squeeze in a chance to relax or soak in the outdoor Garm Chashma Hot Springs and the grave of Nosiri Khisrav Qabodieni.

      Accommodation | Hotel LA'L

      This newly built hotel offers us a welcome break on our journey, within a great setting and comfortable rooms.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    11. August 27 | Tuesday

      M41 Highway: Khorog to Kalaikhum, along the Afghan Border

      • Panj River Bordering Afghanistan | We continue our journey along the Panj River bordering Afghanistan. This follows the route of the old Silk Road and traces in the footsteps of explorers such as Marco Polo.
         
      • Small Towns, Villages, and Local Families | 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. Local people across this region are friendly and welcoming. We will not be there to exoticize them but to interact, hear what their lives are like, and to learn and experience, even in brief moments, a little bit of commonality. You’ll see when we are there what a treat this can be!

      Accommodation | Karon Palace Hotel

      A jewel in this delightful gateway town. This hotel looks out of place with its gold trim and blue-shaded windows. Although with its soft beds, warm showers, and clean rooms it offers a relaxing stay.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    12. August 28 | Wednesday

      M41 Highway: Khataon Province to Dushanbe

      • Khatlon Province | As we continue to trace the Panj River, we eventually bid farewell to the Pamir territory and enter Khatlon Province. Located in the Southeast of the country and is one of the least visited parts of Tajikistan.
         
      • Glimpse of Afghanistan | During the Soviet period, this was also one of the country's poorest regions. We will stop to catch some final glimpses of Afghanistan along the way as well as pass a couple more high passes. Impressive but not a reflection on our earlier adventures.
         
      • Kulyab | We stop at Kulyab, the centre of Khatlon province and the fourth-biggest town in Tajikistan. Kulyab has a history stretching back over 2500 years and borders Afghanistan. We will walk around the city, stop at the local museum, and visit the market. This is one of the best ways to mix with the locals and their culture. Kulyab is changing rapidly, but mosaics of Lenin remain along with some impressive Soviet architecture.
         
      • Norak Basin | Later, we will also stop to view Norak Basin. This is 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 right next to it, but we can view it from a distance.
         
      • Dushanbe | We make our final leg driving into Dushanbe city for a well-deserved rest! We'll have dinner and afterwards the opportunity to have a much-needed drink in one of Dushanbe's bars. The first one is on us!

      Accommodation | Hotel Vatan

      A new hotel located within a 5-minute walk of the central city. This comfortable hotel has beautiful rooms located on a designated floor with free laundry facilities, a kitchen area, and a reading room. A buffet-style breakfast is provided in the main restaurant area.

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    13. August 29 | Thursday

      Dushanbe City Tour

      • Victory Park | This memorial complex was constructed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945). It bestows its visitors with the best views over the capital. It is also a tranquil spot from where to enjoy a nice shaded walk.
         
      • Rudaki AvenueFormerly Lenin Street, this road runs north from Dushanbe Train Station, past many of the city sites and highlights. For many visitors, this is not only a walk through the capital but a walk back through the history of Dushanbe. The Avenue shaded by beautiful trees incorporates a central tree-lined boulevard perfect for cover on those hot summer days.
         
      • Park of the Flag of Tajikistan | The flag of Tajikistan weighs 700 kilograms and flies on a flagpole that once was the tallest in the world. With its 'mere' 165 meters, today it only ranks no. 4. The flagpole was erected for the anniversary of Tajik independence in 2011.
         
      • Monument of Ismaili Somoni | The statue of the former amir of the Sadamik Empire and Tajik national hero is situated on the site of the old Lenin statue.
         
      • Rudaki Park | A scenic, meticulously landscaped garden area featuring fountains, statues, manicured lawns, trees from across the globe, and a plethora of stunning flowers.
         
      • National Museum | Here we will learn a little more about the beautiful country we have been visiting.
         
      • Victory Tank Monument | After lunch, we will drive to this monument known by locals as Oslinie Ushi which translates to “The donkey ears" and visit the botanical gardens.
         
      • World’s Largest Tea House | We finish our day with a visit to the world’s largest tea house with its amazingly decadent interior.

      Accommodation | Hotel Vatan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    14. August 30 | Friday

      Departure day

      • Airport transfers are provided for everyone regardless of the time of their flight or where they are flying.
         
      • There is also the option of extending your room until a later date. Contact us to discuss this.

      Included Meals | Breakfast

      End of Tour

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Airport pick-up and drop at the start and end of the tour
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Tajiki tour guides
    • A driver per group
    • A member of Koryo Tours
    • All transportation in the country
    • All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Flights to Tajikistan
    • Single room supplement unless otherwise specified ($50 per night)
    • Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
    • Tajikistan visa fees this must include GBAO travel permit
    • Tip for the guides (approx. $10 per day)
    • Not all meals are covered, but we will make recommendations if needed
    • We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance; this may cost extra.
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates) 30 USD

Please apply by 1st August, 2024.

October 2024 — 1 tour

October 19 - November 8 2024

The Five Stans Tour

Discover the heart of the ancient Silk Road & Tour the
5 Stans! Kyrygztsan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan

A 21-Day Odyssey across Central Asia following the ancient
Silk Road; Exploring highlights & getting off the beaten
path!

From 5450 USD per person

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

The Five Stans Tour

Discover the heart of the ancient Silk Road & Tour the
5 Stans! Kyrygztsan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan

A 21-Day Odyssey across Central Asia
following the ancient Silk Road; Exploring
highlights & getting off the beaten
path!

From 5450 USD per person

  • Overall

    Spend 3 weeks ticking off all 5 of the 'Stan Countries'!

    This trip, curated and led by our expert tour leaders and in-country partners, is designed to show you the best of Central Asia in the limited time we have. All with a special Koryo-Twist that makes all of our tours so unique.

    It will take you from the mountainous republic of Kyrgyzstan on a 3-week adventure. You'll walk the path of the ancient Silk Road, as we wind between vast mountain ranges, cross stunning rivers, traverse great deserts, and rub shoulders with local people from across Central Asia.

    Having worked in Central Asia for over two decades, Koryo Tours are extremely happy to be able to announce this trip that has been years in the making. Truly the ultimate trip for those travellers wishing to get a thorough insight into Central Asia from those who know and love it best. Crossing multiple borders by land can be tricky... Sit back and let us do all the hard work and planning - leaving you more time for enjoying! 

    Let's take a look at an introduction to what you can expect from each of these unique countries. 

    Kyrgyzstan

    This journey begins in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, known for its incredible mountain ranges and ancient history.

    We’ll spend a couple of days in the country, both in the capital and in the surrounding region, exploring the beauty and history of this great country.

    Kazakhstan

    No true adventure to this region would be complete without a visit to Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    This ancient city is still a thriving hub in this intriguing and enigmatic country, and also the perfect gateway from which to fly into the heart of Central Asia.

    Tajikistan

    Another great mountainous republic, Tajikistan is home to a handful of incredible cities. We’ll begin in Dushanbe. Perhaps the most laid-back, and beautiful capital in the region.

    Home to ancient cultural traditions, and the more modern trappings of the Soviet Union.

    Uzbekistan

    Once home to ancient Persian capitals.

    Uzbekistan is where we transition from towering mountains to blistering deserts as we journey to explore what remains of Samarkand and Bukhara. Once a hub of Islamic culture and architecture, and still home to some of the most beautiful sites in Asia.

    Turkmenistan

    One of the strangest offerings from this adventure.

    Whether you’re looking to marvel at ancient cities in Merv & Mary, stare into the gateway to hell at the Darvaza Gas Crater, or wonder at the pure white marble capital, Turkmenistan has something for everyone!



    Looking for something shorter? We run individual and combo tours to all of the above countries, as well as private tours for those travellers looking for something more flexible. 

    Turkmenistan Tours | Uzbekistan Tours | Tajikistan Tours | Kyrgyzstan Tours | Kazakhstan Tours

    Highlights

    • The stunning natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan: The Mountain Republic.
    • Enjoy mountains and rivers, and mix with locals in beautiful, laid-back Dushanbe (Tajikistan)
    • Almaty & Little-Known Tashkent Solar Furnace (Kazakhstan)
    • The Ancient Cities of Samarkand & Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
    • The Gateway to Hell: Darvaza Gas Crater & Ashgabat. The Marble Capital! (Turkmenistan)
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 21
    1. October 19 | Saturday

      Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

      • Our adventure begins in the heart of Central Asia’s mountainous heart of the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek.
         
      • Airport Pick-Up | All travellers will be met at the airport and taken straight to the group hotel where we’ll meet for introductions and a pre-tour briefing.
      Bishkek City Tour
      • Osh Bazaar | Our first stop will be the Osh Bazaar. A bustling market at the heart of Bishkek. This gives us a chance to rub shoulders with the locals and pick up bits and bobs from the market traders.
         
      • National Philharmonic | From the market, we’ll make our way to the Soviet-era National Philharmonic building an austere, communist-era building. The hard edges of the concrete are softened somewhat by the bright flowers and magnificent bronze statue which graces the front of the building.
         
      • Next, we’ll stop off at the Ala-too Square and the nearby State Historical Museum. And we follow this with a walk through Oak Park. We can enjoy the local Open-air art gallery and the various sculptures contained within.
         
      • State Department Store | Finally, we’ll head to Victory Square and the nearby State Department Store, ZUM. These state-run department stores are a main-stay across former communist states, home to everything from traditional souvenirs to home appliances.
         
      • Return to Hotel | As the day draws to a close, we’ll head back to the hotel. This evening, we’ll prepare for the epic adventure ahead of us as we relax before we depart from Bishkek in the morning.

      Accommodation | Soviet-style Hotel

      Included Meals | Lunch

    2. October 20 | Sunday

      Bishkek - Chon Kemin

      • Kyrgyzstan Countryside | This morning it’s up and out as we depart the nation’s capital and make our way out into the countryside. 
      Burana Tower
      • Our first stop today is the Burana Tower. This is an 11th-century construction that marks the site of the once-great city of Balasagun. Once a major stopover along the Silk Road.
         
      • The city is nowhere to be seen today. The tower is the only remaining building at the site. Even the tower used to be taller than it is today!
      Tokmok Stadium
      • After marvelling at the ancient tower, we’ll continue our journey to Tokmok Stadium. This is the home of many horse sports, which remain popular across Central Asia to this day.
         
      • We’ll spend the afternoon enjoying some of these horse games. We will enjoy a Kyrgyz version of ‘tag'. Except on horses... and with grown men rather than primary school children!
      Chon Kemin
      • Finally, we’ll arrive in Chon Kemin, our rest stop for this evening. Chon Kemin is set deep in a valley, surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna.
         
      • There are also pine forests which coat the higher slopes above us. Here, we’ll rest for the night before carrying on our journey tomorrow towards Issyk Kul Lake.

      Accommodation | Local Guesthouse

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. October 21 | Monday

      Chon Kemin - Lake Issyk Kul

      Local Family Visit | This morning, we’ll visit a local family in Chon Kemin. Here, we can some time with the locals and learn about life in this strange, small town. Whilst we’re there, we may have a chance to try (or even make) some traditional Kyrgyz cuisine alongside our hosts.

      Local Co-Operative (Traditional Felt Carpets)
      • Shyrdaks and Ala-kiyiz | We’ll make our way to a local cooperative. They are responsible for the creation of traditional felt carpets, known locally as Shyrdaks and Ala-kiyiz.
         
      • This visit gives us a great chance to meet with local people keeping historical traditions alive in Kyrgyzstan. We can also learn about the arts and culture which has continued uninterrupted in Central Asia for hundreds of years.
      Eagle Hunters
      • Next, we’ll visit a local eagle hunter, another great example of Kyrgyz culture in action.
      Yurt Camp
      • Finally, we head to our overnight stop. A yurt camp on the banks of Lake Issyk Kul.
         
      • Here, we’ll enjoy a free evening of relaxing, swimming (for those who wish) and generally decompressing on the shores of the stunning lake, hidden deep amidst the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

      Accommodation | Yurt Camp

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. October 22 | Tuesday

      Lake Issk Kul - Tepke

      Skazka Canyon
      • Continuing our exploration of Kyrgyzstan's natural wonders, we'll depart Issyk Kul Lake and head towards Skazka Canyon, known locally as 'Fairytale Canyon'.
         
      • This natural wonder is a mixture of intriguing rock formations made of red sandstone. From a distance, it looks almost like flames rising from the valley floor and towering into the sky.
         
      • We'll spend some time admiring this Martian landscape before boarding our trusty vehicles once more and making our way to Karakol City.
      Karakol City
      • The city of Karakol sits at the northern tip of Issyk Kul Lake and is the country's fourth largest city.
         
      • Dungan Mosque | Our first stop will be the oddly charming Dungan Mosque. This mosque is famous for being built without a single nail back in 1904. It was built as a place for Muslims from China to worship in the country. Something noticeable in its design. Distinctly Chinese style of architecture.
         
      • Orthodox Church | Nearby sits the local Orthodox church, built at the end of 1860 entirely from wood. It's a marvel that the building continues to stand today. But it does!
         
      • Museum of Przkevalski | After visiting the church, we'll stop at the Museum of Przkevalski, a Russian Explorer who once gave his name to the town. Przkevalski is famous across Russia and Central Asia, and this museum allows us to learn a little more about this enigmatic adventurer!
      Tepke
      • Finally, we'll drive to our local guesthouse near the village of Tepke.

      Accommodation | TBC

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. October 23 | Wednesday

      Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan

      Tien Shen Mountain Range
      • Today, we'll make our final journey in Kyrgyzstan as we leave our guesthouse and make a beeline for the border with neighbouring Kazakhstan.
      Kazakhstan
      • Border Crossing | Our journey will take us to the eastern edge of the Tien Shen Mountain Range. Here, we'll make our border crossing, and head down into the steppe of southern Kazakhstan.
      Charyn Canyon
      • Before reaching our destination, Almaty, we'll stop at the Charyn Canyon.
         
      • Similar to the canyon in Kyrgyzstan, this rocky valley is filled with unusual and mesmerizing rock formations. We'll spend the afternoon here, enjoying the scenery, and the cool water of the river which runs through the bottom of the canyon.
      Almaty
      • After we've had a pleasant packed lunch, we'll finally make our way to the world-famous city of Almaty.
         
      • Once the capital of Kazakhstan, it now serves as the largest city. And the culture hub of the country.
         
      • A major stop on the ancient Silk Road, people of all different nationalities and ethnicities have been mixing and mingling in Almaty for centuries. Something which continues to this day.
         
      • The Soviet planning of the city will become evident as we drive through wide-open boulevards lined with trees. And low-rise Soviet-style apartment blocks lining the smaller backroads.
         
      • Almaty is a city of contrasts. The modern Soviet city making way for the traditional, ancient aspects of the city. All while being nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains.

      Accommodation | Hotel Kazakhstan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    6. October 24 | Thursday

      Almaty

      • This morning, we'll wake up in the beautiful city of Almaty. Nestled against the precipitous Tian Shan Mountain range and dotted with parks, theatres, boulevards, and much more.
      Panfilovets Park
      • We'll begin our walking tour of the city with a trip to Panfilovets Park. This is Almaty's main place of leisure.
         
      • It is very pleasant and marked with stunning and evocative monuments to the Kazakh soldiers who fell while fighting to defend Moscow from the Nazi invasion.
         
      • Zenkov Cathedral is also located in this park.
      Green Bazaar & Rakhat Chocolate Factory
      • These neighbouring sites are local institutions. You can smell the sweetness from the latter all across this part of the city.
         
      • Banter and barter with sellers in the market, pick up the apples that Almaty is known for as well as all manner of other delicious local delicacies.
         
      • Get your sweet tooth into action with the terrific and very affordable selection at the chocolate factory. (Ideal for gifts too!)
      Arbat Street
      • Every good former USSR town has one. A pedestrian area ideal for promenading, window shopping, cafe culture, public art sales, and so on.
         
      • This one is very modern and it is lined with some great examples of brutalist apartment buildings. We'll visit some local coffee shops, visit the site of the former GUM department store in the heart of the city, and enjoy some lunch in downtown Almaty.
      Almaty Metro
      • Following on from our relaxing city centre, we'll board the Almaty Metro. One of only two subway systems in the whole of Central Asia. (The other is Tashkent).
         
      • This system opened in 2012 and strikes a balance between Moscow's opulence and modern efficiency.
      Cable Car Ride
      • Finally, those who wish can take a trip on a cable car ride up to a mountain overlooking the city.
         
      • Amazing views, a statue of the Beatles, a Ferris Wheel and toboggan ride, a small zoo, bars, and entertainment in general. Simply put - this is the city's best spot and a very popular area for local families, youths, and everyone else.
      Evening Free Time
      • We'll wrap the day up with a free evening to explore the city. For those who prefer to stay in the hotel, you're welcome to eat at the restaurant. Otherwise, you're free to roam the streets to find some delicious local cuisine for dinner.

      Accommodation | Hotel Kazakhstan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    7. October 25 | Friday

      Kazakhstan - Tajikistan

      Flight to Tajikistan
      • This morning, we'll bid farewell to Kazakhstan as we board our flight. This flight takes us from Almaty to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
         
      • The flight is only around 2 hours, and we'll fly over the majestic Pamir Mountain Range which blankets this part of Central Asia.
      Dushanbe
      • Upon arrival in Dushanbe, we'll meet our local guides and head into the city.
         
      • Dushanbe is a relatively young capital. It was little more than a small town at the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, the influence of city planning by the ruling Soviet Union is stark in this city. Wide open boulevards, tree-lined streets, and a relaxed atmosphere make Dushanbe one of the greatest cities in the region for weary travellers.
         
      • Victory Park | Victory Park was built in 1975 to commemorate the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, this Soviet-built monument offers great views of the city.
         
      • Rudaki & Somoni Avenues | Two main streets in Dushanbe formally known as Lenin Street and Petoskey Street. Rudaki Avenue and Somoni Avenue were renamed in the early 1990s after the poet Rudaki and the ancient king Ismail Somoni. Lined with a mixture of past Soviet architecture and modern Tajik grand buildings.
         
      • Rudaki Park | We'll take our time meandering through the streets of Dushanbe, making sure to stop at Rudaki Park. A beautifully laid out park with a grand statue of the poet Rudaki, located opposite the brilliant national library building.
         
      • Ismaili Somoni Monument | This amazing statue of the ancient king stands on the former site of Lenin. It is said that Somoni's crown contains 10 kilograms of Tajik gold.
         
      • Mehrgon Market Building | As the afternoon approaches, we'll head to the Mehrgon Market Building. As with many of the cities, old marketplaces are now closed in Dushanbe's drive for modernization. We visit one of the new areas where local people travel to buy fruit and vegetables as well as other necessities.
         
      • National Museum of Antiquities | The National Museum of Antiquities is next on our list of must-see sites. This museum gives us a more in-depth look at the complicated history of Tajikistan and the surrounding countries.
         
      • Botanical Gardens | We will then enjoy a visit to the Botanical Gardens. Popular for wedding groups as well as housing a vast range of Central Asian flora.
         
      • Dushanbe Tea House | For a bit of end-of-day relaxation, we'll visit the Dushanbe Tea House. This was once the largest tea house in the world, but it has now been remodelled as an entertainment facility for local people. It has recently been renovated and holds a small cinema, bowling alleys and even various shops. We can still visit to view the amazingly intricate work carried out in its construction.

      Accommodation | Hotel Tajikistan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    8. October 26 | Saturday

      Khoja Obi Garm Health Spa

      Khoja Obi Garm Spa
      • Today we'll depart our hotel a little later, allowing you the chance to repack and prepare for the following day's journey.
         
      • Today, we leave Dushanbe and make our way into the mountains.
         
      • Our destination is the mammoth, brutalist Soviet health spa that is Khoja Obi Garm Health Spa. This ageing Soviet marvel sits perched against the mountains like a Bond villain's mountain fortress. The building is an impressive display of brutalist-style architecture looking out of place against the stunning mountain backdrop.
      Read all about the Khoja Obi Garm Health Spa here
      • Construction began on Khoja Obi Garm in 1935 inspired by Lenin's decree that more attention should be paid to workers' health within the Soviet Union. From 1922, two weeks' holiday were given to workers during this time. Often, they would visit one of the many spa resorts being constructed across the Soviet Union. Construction of Khoja Obi Garm continued right up until the collapse of the Union in 1991!
      • The spa will not fail to impress. Its gargantuan size from the outside fills the mountain slopes. However inside, its rooms and facilities have begun to decay.
         
      • We'll spend the afternoon with the feeling that we've travelled back to the 1960s. Whilst attendants poke, prod and recommend varying scary-sounding treatments. We'll be able to wander around this ageing building where time appears to have stood still.
         
      • If plunging into radioactive water, steam baths, and massages are not for you, then you're free to head out and about photographing this behemoth from the outside. Or view the surrounding stunning snow-capped mountains which cage this ageing monster.

      Accommodation | Khoja Obi Garm Health Spa

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    9. October 27 | Sunday

      Panjikent Ancient City

      • Our destination is the ancient city of Panjikent. The drive there is a worthy mention. We pass small Soviet-era villages, busy rural markets and farms dotted by blossoming apricot trees.
         
      • On our way, we'll make a few intriguing stops. A visit to the infamous 'Tunnel of Death', past the burning cliffs which have been emanating smoke for longer than anyone can remember, and a visit to the local cognac factory.
         
      • Tracing the Zeravshan, we'll drive through deep mountain gorges with cliffs that tower above us lined with waving sediment. A testament to the region's rich geological value.
      Zarafshan Valley
      • Eventually, the steep valley sides open out to the lush Zarafshan Valley, a welcome sight. This means Panjikent is close! As well as a well-deserved lunch.
      Panjikent City Tour
      • Once we have eaten and checked into our hotel, we will continue our exploration of the city, journeying to ancient Panjikent on the fringes of the town.
         
      • Walking around the foundations of ancient houses, Bazaars, temples and citadels, we will learn about the area's history from our excellent local guide. From the 5th-century Sogdian construction to the settlement's decline and abandonment at the hands of the invading Arabs in the 8th century (now a UNESCO-listed site).
         
      • Statue of Lenin | We'll also stop at a small statue of Lenin in a local park, outside a former Soviet ministerial building. A strange addition to this interesting little city.
      Sarazm
      • We drive to the bronze age settlement of Sarazm. 
         
      • This is another regional UNESCO-listed site. It is believed to have been founded in the 4th millennium BC. We walk around the heavily protected area learning about the rich finds and discoveries made within the covered pits.
      Pajikent Central Market
      • From the 4th millennium, BC, we're brought back to the present as we journey back to Panjikent and visit its colourful local bazaar.
         
      • Panjakent Central Market is an absolute delight to wander around and soak up the local atmosphere, helped by the smell of freshly cooked Tajik bread.
         
      • Before we retire to our local guesthouse, we will head to a real showcase of a family home for our evening meal and some local entertainment.

      Accommodation | Sugd Hotel or similar

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    10. October 28 | Monday

      Tajikistan - Uzbekistan

      • Today, we’ll load up our trusty vehicles and make our way towards the Uzbek border. Our destination for today is the ancient city of Samarkand.
         
      • Uzbekistan Border Crossing | After passing through the border formalities, we’ll enter our fourth country on this adventure. Uzbekistan is home to some of the most incredible ancient cities in the region, and our first stop is one of the jewels in the crown.
      Samarkand
      • Perhaps there is no city associated more with the ancient Silk Road than Samarkand. The muse of poets and playwrights throughout history, Samarkand has an aura like no other.
         
      • Today, the city is split into the ancient and the modern, with the ancient districts still reminiscent of the days of merchants and traders, and the new part, a much more Soviet, functional affair.
      Registan Square
      • The Registan is an ensemble of majestic and stunningly beautiful madrassahs. The most incredible example of Islamic architecture.
         
      • The plaza would once have been dominated by a great bazaar, allowing local people to go about their business. Meanwhile, the surrounding madrassahs allow scholars to work and create a centre for Islamic scholars across Central Asia. Today, the Registan is the number one, must-see sight in the country, an unmissable experience!
         
      • Gur Emir | We will also make a stop at the mausoleum of Tamerlane, known as the Gur Emir. A national icon in Uzbekistan.

      Accommodation | Local 3* Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    11. October 29 | Tuesday

      Samarkand - Tashkent

      Shah-i-Zinda
      • Our day will begin with a visit to a necropolis which graces the northern part of the city, Shah-i-Zinda. A fabulous example of traditional Islamic architecture in the region, comprising numerous buildings, towers and beautiful domed rooves.
         
      • The turquoise mosaic tiling contrasts against the arid sandy backdrop of Samarkand’s desert surroundings.
         
      • Bibi-Khanym Mosque | We’ll also visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Once the largest in Central Asia.
         
      • Siab Baazar | We then break away from the ancient history to explore the local market, known as the Siab Baazar.
         
      • Whether you’re searching for textiles and fabrics, exquisite and intriguing foodstuffs, or just looking for an opportunity to rub shoulders with Samarkand’s locals – Siab Baazar is the place to visit.
         
      • The market is a great place to pick up souvenirs, clothes, snacks, and all manner of things, but it’s also an oddly peaceful and fun place to spend some time. Wander the aisles, chat with shoppers and market vendors, and experience life as it’s truly lived in this city.
      Train to Tashkent
      • After lunch, we’ll bid farewell to Samarkand as we head to the train station to catch a high-speed train from the city and head north. This journey will take around 3 hours to our destination, Tashkent. The capital of Uzbekistan.
      Tashkent
      • Since its near destruction during an earthquake in 1966, the city has been redeveloped. Initially, this was by the Soviet Union. Leaving an obvious trace of the USSR in its city planning.
         
      • Following the communist theme, our accommodation tonight will be the Hotel Uzbekistan. Hotel Uzbekistan was once the premiere hotel in the country for visiting dignitaries, government officials, and rare foreign tourists.

      Accommodation | Hotel Uzbekistan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    12. October 30 | Wednesday

      Tashkent

      • This morning we’ll step out into the bustling city of Tashkent.
      Tashkent City Tour 
      • Amir Timur Square | Our day begins with a visit to Amir Timur Square at the heart of this vibrant capital. One of the main squares in Tashkent, Amir Timur is graced with a magnificent statue of Tamerlane, a medieval conqueror, on horseback.
         
      • Although Amir Timur is not the largest square in the city, the tree-lined pavements and bright green grass make it perfect for an evening stroll amidst the locals of Tashkent.
         
      • Bazaar | From here, we will spend some time in the beautifully domed chorus Bazaar. A great place to observe local life or buy those last-minute bargains. And another chance to chat with locals from the city, as well as support local independent businesses in Tashkent.
         
      • Tashkent Metro | No visit to Tashkent would be complete without first a ride on the Tashkent Metro. Built in the former USSR, it opened in 1977.
         
      • The metro network consists of three lines which crisscross beneath the streets of the city. This incredibly ornate metro system was opened in 1977 and has only grown in beauty since then. Not only is it an incredible tourist attraction in its own right, but you can use it to get between Tashkent’s other incredible above-ground sites!
         
      • Tashkent Metro is one of only two subway systems currently operating in Central Asia (the other one is the Almaty Metro).
         
      • Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan | Our last stop for the day will be the Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan. There are, of course, hundreds of museums across the Uzbek capital worth poking your head in. However, our favourite must be the State Fine Arts Museum. Home to thousands of artefacts from across Russia and Europe.
         
      • This Soviet-era museum holds many of the treasures confiscated from the Grand Duke Romanov, who himself likely stole them from St Petersburg. In addition, artwork from across Russia and the Soviet Union is displayed throughout this museum.
         
      • Finally, we’ll return to our Soviet hotel. From here, we’ll have a free evening. You’ll be able to wander the streets, find and try unusual delicacies, and meet local Tashkenters.

      Accommodation | Hotel Uzbekistan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    13. October 31 | Thursday

      Uzbekistan's Northern Countryside

      • Today, we’ll take a trip outside of the city to the Institute of Solar Physics. A huge series of mirrors that used to heat a large furnace.
      Institute of Solar Physics
      • The institute will open just for us, and run a test of the system to demonstrate the immense power of this Soviet-era megaproject.
         
      • Situated 45km outside the city, we’ll pass through some of Uzbekistan’s northern countryside. A far cry from the dry desert-like environment which dominates the rest of the country.
         
      • Upon arrival, we’ll witness the effect of these huge parabolic mirrors, heating the furnace to over 3000*C. We’ll also learn about the potential that exists for clean energy from this system, since the energy produced is completely clean, and could be put to work in the future for clean energy.
         
      • After our close call with the heat of the sun, we’ll head back into Tashkent for our final evening in the capital before returning to the heart of the country tomorrow.

      Accommodation | Hotel Uzbekistan

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    14. November 1 | Friday

      Tashkent - Bukhara

      • After breakfast, we’ll head back to Tashkent’s magnificent railway station. We’ll board the high-speed train back towards the desert. Today, our destination is Bukhara, another ancient city that was once the heart of empires in the region.
         
      • After our 4-and-a-half-hour train journey, we’ll arrive at Bukhara train station and begin our adventure through the bustling streets of Bukhara.
      Bukhara City Tour
      • The city of Bukhara, along with nearby Samarkand, served as the heart of the Persian world for centuries under numerous empires. It continues today as Uzbekistan’s seventh-largest city. And one of its most popular attractions for foreign travellers, owing to its rich history as a Persian capital, and an outpost on the renowned Silk Road.
         
      • The modern city is home to dozens of architectural sites, uncovering the legacy of Persia, and the many mosques, minarets, and madrassahs it left behind. Many of these sites are visitable and make for a wonderful experience for any adventurer looking for a glimpse back into this city’s majestic past.
         
      • Ark of Bukhara | This afternoon we begin our exploration with a visit to the fantastic Ark of Bukhara.  The Ark of Bukhara citadel has stood defending the city from the 5th century until its final stand against the Red Army in 1920.
         
      • Bolo-Hauz Mosque | We make a short walk from the Ark to the Bolo-Hauz Mosque famed for its elegant wooden carvings, Built in 1712, it served as a Friday mosque during the time of the emir of Bukhara and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Ismail Samani Mausoleum | A short drive will take us to the Ismail Samani Mausoleum. Built in the 9th century, this mausoleum is an example of the excellent artistry of architects at this time.
         
      • The tomb is the final resting place of Ismail Samani, founder of the Samanid dynasty and the last true Persian king of the region.
         
      • Local Family Visit | Tonight we will sample some traditional food at the residence of a local family.

      Accommodation | 3* Hotel or similar

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    15. November 2nd | Saturday

      Bukhara

      • Today we’ll enjoy another day in the picturesque surroundings of Bukhara, exploring the ancient legacy of this stunning city. Our first stop of the day will be the magnificent Kalyan Minaret.
      Kalyan Minaret
      • Built in 1127, the Kalyan Minaret is all that survives of a once grandiose Djuma Mosque, designed for crowds of people to worship at once.
         
      • Today, the site has been rebuilt around the footprint of this great tower, now at the centre of a courtyard surrounded by galleries and stunning architecture. It’s from here that the ancient call to prayer would have blasted across the city, and many locals would have descended on the site.
         
      • It was actually built twice. Evidence suggests the soft ground led it to collapse after being nearly completed the first time. However, after almost a millennium, it shouldn’t fall again!
      Khoja-Gaukushon
      • Next, we’ll make our way to Khoja-Gaukushon. A great ensemble at the heart of the city, home to a mosque, madrassah, and minaret.
         
      • The area once served as a kind of plaza for local people to meet, trade, set up market stalls, and (rather oddly) slaughter animals. Hence the name ‘Gaukushon’ which means ‘Slaughter of Bulls’.
         
      • Later, a large minaret, mosque, and madrassah were built on the site, adding to the great patchwork of beautiful buildings littered across the skyline of Bukhara.
      Mausoleum of Naqshbandi
      • Finally, we’ll wrap up with the Mausoleum of Naqshbandi and the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara which sits a few kilometres outside the city itself.
         
      • The mausoleum is a place of pilgrimage for many Sufis and a place of incredible beauty. And the summer palace is known as ‘the place where the moon meets the stars.
         
      • Free Time | Finally, we’ll return to the city for a free evening to explore, discover and marvel at this ancient city.

      Accommodation | 3* Hotel or similar

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    16. November 3 | Sunday

      Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan

      • This morning, we’ll depart Bukhara and make our way south towards the river that marks the border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
         
      • Turkmenistan Border Crossing | We’ll make our crossing into our fifth and final country, Turkmenistan. However, our adventure is far from over.
      Turkmenabat
      • We’ll head down to Turkmenabat, the border city on the Turkmen side of the river. Then, we continue our adventure south to Ancient Merv.
      Ancient Merv
      • Merv was once one of the most important cities in the world at certain times of its history.
         
      • This ancient site is now 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. Animals, travellers and archaeologists now roam the existing buildings, ruins, etc. All contribute to a sense of the dynamism of the ancient Silk Road.
      Mary
      • Finally, we’ll make our way to the nearby city of Mary. Here, we’ll bed down for the night and prepare for the Turkmen adventure which lies ahead!

      Accommodation | Mary Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    17. November 4 | Monday

      Ashgabat

      • Domestic Flight to Ashgabat | Departing Mary, we’ll board a flight from this relatively small city to the nation’s capital. A city coated entirely in white marble.
      Ashgabat City Tour
      • Independence Park and Independence Monument | Arriving in Ashgabat, our first stop is Independence Park and Independence Monument. These were constructed to celebrate the independence of Turkmenistan on the 27th of October 1991.
         
      • As well as the memorial, the park is home to an impressive array of statues of characters from Turkmen history.
         
      • Monument of Neutrality | From Independence to Neutrality, we go! Our next visit is the Monument of Neutrality built in 1998; a gold statue of Turkmenbashi tops this impressive structure.
         
      • Bake Turkmen Pies | For today's lunch, we’ll visit a local restaurant, which will give us a tutorial and the opportunity to bake some local Turkmen pies. If it's not for you, don't worry. You'll be able to relax while your meal is cooked for you.
         
      • Earthquake Monument and Museum | We hope you’re not too tired of statues just yet as we have a few more to go! Next up, is the Earthquake Monument and Museum.
         
      • A grim reminder of the terrible earthquake that struck Ashgabat in 1948, killing 110,00 people and levelling the city. Both are tastefully presented and very educational.
      Ashgabat Architecture
      • On our way back to the hotel, we will pass a few of Ashgabat’s more unusual buildings, The Ministry of Gas is shaped like a giant cigarette lighter, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is shaped like a globe, and our personal favourite, The Ashgabat Dental Hospital is shaped like a massive tooth!
         
      • Free Time | Once we have returned to the hotel, you are free to continue exploring Ashgabat or enjoy some well-deserved rest.

      Accommodation | Sport Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    18. November 5 | Tuesday

      Turkmen Desert & Darvaza Gas Crater

      • This morning there is a bit of free time for relaxing or shopping for supplies, which may be useful as later today we’re off into the desert.
      Bokhurdag
      • Our first stop is the small desert village of Bokhurdag. It is here that we stop to sample the local cuisine and learn a little more about living outside the bright lights of Turkmenistan’s flamboyant capital.
      Desert Trip (Mining History)
      • Once our journey resumes, we’ll continue stopping as we travel to see other examples of the desert’s mining history, visiting two other craters (one filled with water, the other with mud). A perfect pretext for the great Darvaza Gas Crater.
      The Darvaza Gas Crater
      • The incredible Darvaza Gas Crater, continuously burning since 1971, was created when Soviet engineers were drilling what they thought were vast oil fields. No oil was found, and the fields turned out to be rich in gas, evident when the drilling rig at Darvaza hit a void and collapsed in on itself.
         
      • Sometime later it’s believed that the escaping gas was set alight to prevent methane from polluting a nearby village.
         
      • Here we are all these years later, and the gas crater has now become one of the world’s most unusual tourist attractions.
         
      • We’ll arrive during daylight hours to observe the transition from light to dark as the night sky becomes illuminated by the flickering blaze of the crater.
      Darvaza Gas Crater Camping
      • Turkmen BBQ | Camping next to this burning void, we will enjoy a delicious Turkmen BBQ prepared by our local crew

      Accommodation | Camping

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    19. November 6 | Wednesday

      Ashgabat & Erbent

      • Today we’ll pack up and head back to Ashgabat.
         
      • After lunch, before heading back towards the capital, we will make a stop at the village of Erbent.
      Village of Erbent
      • Erbent is similar to most of the surrounding desert settlements. However, it is here that the Monument to the Basmachi Revolution is located.
         
      • The Basmachi Revolutionary Monument | The Basmachi Revolutionary Monument was built here as this area was a Basmachi stronghold during the 1920s. The Basmachi were an Islamic group fighting the occupying Soviet forces.
         
      • Upon arrival back in the capital city, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy. You’re welcome to spend this free day however you please – exploring, shopping, or even just resting before the adventure continues tomorrow!

      Accommodation | Sport Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    20. November 7 | Thursday

      Ashgabat

      • Our final day on tour begins with a relaxed walking tour of the city, a chance to unwind and catch a few of the things we didn’t get to during our last day in this odd marble city.
      Ashgabat City Tour
      • Tekke Bazaar | We’ll start with a walk through the Tekke Bazaar. A real, local slice of life, a true local market very popular amongst local people for shopping. On weekends, there are also local booksellers in the park opposite the market selling a selection of second-hand books.
         
      • If you're lucky, you may pick up a copy of the Ruhnama the book written by Saparmurat Niyazov, the Turkmenistan president. Niyazov famously said, "A person that reads Ruhnama three times becomes smart, and after it, he will go straight to heaven".
         
      • Inspiration Park | Next up, we’ll visit Inspiration Park. A public park at the centre of Ashgabat this narrow parkland is lined with sculptures of Persian poets, scholars and great thinkers. All surrounding an artificial river and impressive water fountains.
         
      • The Russian Bazaar | Following this, another market! The Russian Bazaar is located in the very centre of town. This covered bazaar is where you can buy almost everything you may need in daily life; fruit & nuts, cables & chargers, sweets, kimchi, baked goods, souvenirs, and so on.
         
      • Nearby is also the Alty Asyr Shopping Centre which is a good place to buy cotton goods (tracksuits, towels, bedsheets, etc. all made from local cotton, and all very cheap).
         
      • Lenin Statue | We’ll stop by the local Lenin statue, best described as a small Lenin on a giant plinth decorated in central Asian tile work, followed by a visit to the Pushkin Monument.
         
      • Pushkin Monument | This small bust erected for Russia's most famous poet Pushkin is easily visited only 5 minutes from Lenin. And, nearby our next stop - Pervyy Park.
         
      • Pevvy Park | This park is one of Ashgabat's oldest parks founded in 1890 named Officer Park, Lenin Park, First Park and Independence Park.
         
      • Ashgabat Train Station | Finally, we’ll visit Ashgabat Train Station. Originally built in 1888, the first railway station was destroyed in the earthquake of 1948 along with much of the city.
         
      • A new station was built shortly after in 1950. Although, this was remodelled in 2009 taking on its now grand form crowned by the eight-pointed star (Rub El Hizb).
      Free Time
      • As our walking tour draws to a close, you’ll have the rest of the day free to enjoy. This is our last day on our epic 3-week adventure, so perhaps explore the city some more, pick up souvenirs, try new foods, or just relax for the afternoon.
         
      • We’ll end the day with a group meal, a chance to say farewell and to reminisce about our adventures together.

      Accommodation | Sport Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    21. November 8 | Friday

      End of Tour

      Airport transfers are available to all travellers from our group hotel to Ashgabat International Airport, no matter your time of departure.

      For independent extensions, contact your tour leader.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED
    • Guides & Drivers
    • All Meals Where Listed
    • Regional Flights
    • Turkmenistan Visa (LOI)
    • All Vehicles & Transport
    • Entrance Fees
    NOT INCLUDED
    • Visas (other than Turkmenistan)
    • Pre/Post Tour International Flights
    • Snacks/Alcoholic Drinks
    • Tips
    • Travel Insurance

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

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[email protected] | + 86 10 6416 7544
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
邮编:100027
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