Central Asia 5 Stans escorted tour - FSB20
Number of Days: 27
From traditional villages, ancient towns and modern bazaars, experience a journey along the legendary Silk Road which ran from China through to Istanbul. Explore Ashgabat and Khiva. Delve into the history of Khujand. Discover the diverse Ala Archa National Park and be captivated by Almaty.
FROM TURKMENISTAN TO UZBEKISTAN
Our tour starts in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, visiting all the major sites, such as the Parthian Fortress of Nisa and Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque. We'll also see the Akhal-Teke horses at Arkadash Stud Farm, in the area surrounding Ashgabat. Then arrive in Bukhara in Uzbekistan, where we'll see some of the city’s monuments and mosques, including the Lyabi-Khauz ensemble, Khanaga Magoki Attori Mosque and the stunning Madrassah Aziz Khan. There's so much to see!
TAJIKISTAN TO KYRGYZSTAN
We travel to Khujand in Tajikistan, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Upon arrival, we’ll stroll through Kamoli Khujandi Square, see Timur Malik Fortress and learn about the history of Khujand at the Historical Sughd Museum. Delve further into the history and life of the Tajik people, with a visit to the monument of Ismoili Somoni, which is richly decorated in gold. We’ll also walk through Rudaki Park and explore the local bazaar. We'll see the sights of Kyrgyzstan from Bishkek to Karkol and Sonkul.
Discover Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis. Explore the Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen and ride the cable car to the top of Kok-Tobe Hill. Our final destination is Medeu, the highest mountainous ice-skating sports complex in the world!
DAY 1. DEPART AUCKLAND
DAY 2. IN TRANSIT
DAY 3. ARRIVE ASHGABAT
Welcome to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. We’ll begin exploring later today on a city tour. Highlights include the Parthian Fortress of Nisa, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and Independence Park with its towering monument. We’ll continue to Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque, the Carpet Museum and the Russian Bazaar. This evening we’ll enjoy a group welcome dinner at a local restaurant. B,L,D
DAY 4. ASHGABAT
Today we’ll explore the area surrounding Ashgabat, beginning with the Arkadash Stud Farm to see the Akhal-Teke horses. We’ll then visit Kipchak Mosque, which is believed to be the largest mosque in Central Asia. B,L
DAY 5. ASHGABAT - DAŞHOGUZ – KHIVA
We fly to Daşhoguz this morning and then cross the border into Uzbekistan. Travelling by road, our destination is Khiva. B,L,D
DAY 6. KHIVA
Discover more about Khiva on a half day walking tour, where we’ll see the truncated Kalta Minor Minaret, Kunya Ark and Madrassah Rakhimkhon. Other highlights include the Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud and Islam Khodja minaret. B,L
DAY 7. KHIVA - URGENCH – BUKHARA
We'll fly to the ancient city of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. On arrival, we’ll see famous monuments and mosques including Lyabi-Khauz ensemble, Khanaga Magoki Attori Mosque and stunning Madrassah Aziz Khan. This afternoon we’ll see local arts at the Hunarmand UNDP Assisted Workshop, including block printing and gold embroidery. B,L
DAY 8. BUKHARA
We’ll venture into the surrounding areas of Bukhara today to visit the summer residence of the last emir, the Sitorai Mokhi Khosa. We then travel to the Bahauddin Naqshband Mausoleum. B,L
DAY 9. BUKHARA
Today is at leisure for you to relax or explore more of this captivating city.B
DAY 10. BUKHARA - GIJDUVAN – SAMARKAND
After departing Bukhara, we’ll drive to Gijduvan and discover the process involved with handmade ceramics. We then continue to the city of Samarkand. B,L
DAY 11. SAMARKAND
Today is dedicated to discovering Samarkand. We start with Registan Square, a monument of medieval architecture located in the heart of the city. We’ll continue to one of the most significant mosques in Samarkand, Bibi-Khanym, followed by the Silk Road Bazaar and Shah-i-Zinda necropolis. B,L
DAY 12. SAMARKAND – TASHKENT
We’ll travel outside of Samarkand to visit the Ulugh Beg Observatory, built in 1420. Wethen travel to Konigil Village to participate in a hand-made paper workshop.B,L
DAY 13. TASHKENT
Today we’ll explore this city on a full day of sightseeing, commencing with a walking tour of the old town. We’ll visit the Barak Khana Seminary and Tillya Sheikh Mosque, known for its rare copies of the Koran. Our next stops are the Chorsu Bazaar, the Museum of Applied Arts, the famous Tashkent Metro and Amir Temur Square. B,L,D
DAY 14. TASHKENT - OYBEK BORDER – KHUJAND
We travel to Khujand in Tajikstan, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Upon arrival, we’ll stroll through Kamoli Khujandi Square, see Timur Malik Fortress and learn about the history of Khujand at the Historical Sughd Museum. Our last stop is Arbob Cultural Palace, the former headquarters of a Soviet collective farm built in the 1950s. B,L,D
DAY 15. KHUJAND - ISKANDERKUL LAKE – DUSHANBE
After breakfast we travel by road to the beautiful high mountain lake of Iskanderkul and learn about its glacial origin, before continuing to the city of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. B,L,D
DAY 16. DUSHANBE - BISHKEK
We’ll delve further into the history and life of the Tajik people today starting with a visit to the monument of Ismoili Somoni, which is richly decorated in gold. We’ll also walk through Rudaki Park and explore the local bazaar. After dinner this evening, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.B,L
DAY 17. BISHKEK
Today we’ll explore the capital of Kyrgyzstan on a sightseeing tour, starting with Pobeda Square, Duboviy Park, Central Ala-Too Square and the Asian Bazaar. We’ll then discover the incredibly diverse Ala Archa National Park. B,L,D
DAY 18. BISHKEK - CHOLPON ATA
This morning we’ll travel to Issyk-Kul Lake before visiting the Burana Tower.
Watch amazing horseman skills while attending the normadic horse games, a traditional sport in Kyrgyzstan B,L,D
DAY 19. CHOLPON ATA – KARAKOL
This morning we’ll see some incredible views on a boat cruise along Issyk-Kul Lake and at Semenovskoye Gorge. Our next stop is Karakol, the 4th largest city in Kyrgyzstan. En route, we’ll discover ancient stone inscriptions dating back to 800 BC. Upon arrival in Karakol, we’ll visit Dungan Mosque. B,L,D
DAY 20. KARAKOL – BOKONBAEVO
We’ll see the amazing landscapes of the Skazka Canyon and Barskaun Gorge, where we’ll hike to the waterfall, known as ‘Tears of Leopard’. This afternoon, we’ll travel to Bokonbaevo and attend an eagle hunting show. Participate in a flatbread making class at a traditional yurt (traditional rounded tent). Flaky flatbreads are very popular in Kyrgyzstan and are typically served alongside soup. B,L,D
DAY 21. BOKONBAEVO - SONKUL
Today we’ll travel to Sonkul via the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake. En route, we’ll stop at Kyzyl Tuu Village and assist in a yurt building workshop. B,L,D
DAY 22. SONKUL - BISHKEK - ALMATY
We'll depart for Bishkek city, where we'll meet with the locals and learn how felt carpets are made. We'll also have the opportunity to make our own carpet. Our next stop is a small handicraft museum, with displays of silver decorations, horse saddle decorations and carpets. This evening we’ll fly to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis. B,L
DAY 23. ALMATY
Discover Kazakhstan on a city sightseeing tour of Almaty including the Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen. We’ll also visit the Central State Historical Museum and take a cable car ride to the top of Kok-Tobe Hill for incredible views. B,L,D
DAY 24. ALMATY
We’ll immerse ourselves into the customs of the Kazakh people during a visit to the Ethnographic Recreation Centre. Then continue to Medeu, the highest mountainous ice-skating sports complex in the world, and stop at Medeu Dam for amazing panorama views. B,L
DAY 25. DEPART ALMATY
Today is free for you to enjoy at leisure. Explore Almaty some more, or simply relax at the hotel until our departure this evening. B
DAY 26. IN TRANSIT
DAY 27. ARRIVE AUCKLAND
N.B: Level of fitness: At times this tour features 2+ hours of walking, often across uneven ground and in areas of high altitude or heat and humidity on 1 or more days.
- Return economy class flights from Auckland.
- All touring in air-conditioned vehicles.
- Express train from Samarkand to Tashkent.
- 19 nights in 3-5 star hotels
- 1 night in a traditional yurt with shared bathroom facilities
- 2 nights in local guest houses with shared bathroom facilities
- 23 breakfasts, 21 lunches and 11 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners
- Price $13,975 per person based on twin share. Single supplement +$1,950