The Five Stans of Central Asia

The Five Stans of Central Asia

From $ 14,889 AUD

Description

Join us as we make our way through ‘The Five Stans’ – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Turkmenistan – on an incredible 30-day, escorted journey! Each of the ‘Stans’ are unique and as you re-trace the footsteps of generations of nomads and traders along part of the silk route, you’ll be left in awe by the diverse landscapes, differing architecture and varied scenery of each country.

30 days departing Adelaide – escorted by Cathy Elliott

13 August – 11 September 2020

$14,889* per person twin share departing Adelaide (includes return international flights and travel insurance) – Single Supplement of $1,900pp* compulsory.

Maximum group size 13

Download the tour brochure

Trip Name
The Five Stans of Central Asia
Days
30
Capacity
13
Overview
Join us as we make our way through ‘The Five Stans’ – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Turkmenistan – on an incredible 30-day, escorted journey!
Our team member Cathy has put together this immersive itinerary, taking in historical sites, breathtaking scenery and cultural aspects, that this magical part of the world has to offer.

Each of the ‘Stans’ are unique and as you re-trace the footsteps of generations of nomads and traders along part of the silk route, you’ll be left in awe by the cultural diversity, differing architecture and varied scenery of each country.From Tashkent, the bustling capital city of Uzbekistan, to the grandiose city of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan – you’ll get the perfect mix of busy cities and off the beaten track sites, as you take in the wonder that is Central Asia!

Itinerary

Day 1—Thursday 13th August
Fly to Kuala Lumpur
Depart Adelaide. Arrive and Overnight in Kuala Lumpur.

Day 2—Friday 14th August
Arrival in Tashkent 

Transfer from the airport to your hotel. Upon arrival in Tashkent, you will be transferred to your hotel where welcome drinks await, followed by free time in the afternoon.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 3 – Saturday 15th August
Tashkent

After breakfast, you’ll have a guided sightseeing tour in the capital of Uzbekistan, the biggest city in Central Asia.  Explore the Old City, visiting the Khast-Imam Complex, famous for keeping the holy book Quran of Caliph Uthman. In Khast-Imam visit Madrasah of Barak-Khan, Tillya Sheykh Mosque, Mausoleum of the Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari. Explore Chorsu Bazaar, then take a ride on the Tashkent Metro to the city centre, touring around Amir Timur Square, Independence Square and the Applied Arts
Museum. Enjoy free time in the late afternoon.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 4 – Sunday 16th August
Tashkent – Kokand – Rishtan – Fergana

Today you will drive 320km to Fergana City. The steep valley road (some parts are still under construction), connects the Fergana Valley with the rest of Uzbekistan. It runs via the picturesque Kamchik mountain pass (2267m above sea level). The first stop will be in the city of Kokand where you will visit the Khudayar Khan Palace, Jami Mosque, Kamol-Kazy Madrasah and Norbut-biy Madrasah. Head to Rishtan town to visit a pottery workshop, before driving on to Fergana.  Once there, you will visit Akhmad Al-Fergani Park.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 5 – Monday 17th August
Fergana – border point – Osh – Bishkek

This morning, you will transfer to the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan border where you will go through border formalities for both countries. In Kyrgyzstan, meet your local guide and driver and continue on to Osh. Your guide will take you on a short city tour in Osh where legend tells of the city being founded by King Solomon around 3000 years ago. Visit Suleiman-Too (Solomon’s Mountain), the National Museum of History and Archaeology, and Osh bazaar, still located in the same area when Osh was an important trading centre on the Great Silk Road. Taste Osh Samsa (dough pockets stuffed with meat, onions and spices) for lunch. In the afternoon there will be a transfer to the airport for your flight to Bishkek. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 – Tuesday 18th August
Bishkek – Ala-Archa – Bishkek

After breakfast, transfer to the Ala-Archa National Park. There are 20 glaciers in the park, which is popular with locals due to its beautiful mountain scenery and hiking trails. The fast flowing Ala-Archa River runs through the    alpine gorge surrounded by snowy peaks and steep forested slopes. Enjoy some free time or a hike in the park. In the afternoon return to Bishkek for a city tour. Visit Oak Park, Ala-Too Square and the Statue of Manas. See the Philharmonic Hall and Victory Monument – classic examples of Soviet architecture.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 7 – Wednesday 19th August
Bishkek – Burana – Don Aryk – Bishkek
Depart Bishkek in the morning, with your first stop at Burana Tower, which was part of the ancient city of Balasagun (11th to 13th century) and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then proceed to Don Aryk village and have lunch at the home of a local Kyrgyz family. After lunch, watch a demonstration of yurt construction and even take part if you wish. Local Kyrgyz women will explain the meaning and use of each part of the yurt. In the afternoon you will be  transferred to your Bishkek hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 8 – Thursday 20th August
Bishkek – Issyk-Kul

In the morning transfer to Issyk-Kul Lake (4 hours drive), the second largest mountain lake in the world (1600m above sea level). You will have free time to  explore in the afternoon before you take a cruise on the lake in the evening.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 – Friday 21st August
Issyk-Kul –Karakol

After breakfast transfer to Karakol. On the way, visit the Saimaluu-Tash Reserve Museum to wander around the petroglyphs (V BC – VIII AD). On arrival you will have a sightseeing tour at Karakol: visit a Russian Orthodox Church, the Dungan mosque which is built without using a single metal nail, and the museum of M.V. Prejvalsky. Dinner will be with an Uighur family. Kyrgyzstan is a multiethnic country and today you will have a chance to taste Uighur food and get acquainted with their culture and traditions.
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 10 – Saturday 22nd August
Karakol – Jety-Oguz Gorge – Bokonbaevo   

Transfer to Jety-Oguz Gorge (40km). The picturesque gorge is famous not only for its coniferous forest, flower clearings and interesting tracks for hiking, but also for red and sandy rock formations which are called ‘Seven Bulls’ and ‘Broken Heart’. Transfer to Bokonbaevo Village to watch an eagle hunting demonstration followed by dinner and an overnight at a home stay.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 11 – Sunday 23rd August
Bokonbaevo – Bishkek – Almaty
In the morning, transfer to Bishkek airport (300km) and check in for your flight to Almaty. On arrival, you will be met by your Almaty driver to be transferred to your hotel.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 12 – Monday 24th August
Almaty
This morning, your guide and driver will take you on a  sightseeing tour of Almaty: visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, Central State Museum and Republic Square. In the afternoon a short drive (25km) will take you to Chimbulak. Here, visit the ski resort and ride the cable car to enjoy the amazing views of the snowy peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains. Enjoy some free time before returning to the hotel.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 13 – Tuesday 25th August
Almaty – Charyn Canyon – Almaty
After breakfast leave Almaty and drive to Charyn Canyon (220 km). This 154m long canyon is in eastern Kazakhstan, part of the Charyn National Park. In addition to unforgettable views of the enormous canyon with its multi-coloured tower formations, the National Park offers the opportunity to see Castle Valley, an area known for its unusual rock formations. The canyon’s beauty will make you forget the long drive from Almaty, and will remain a highlight of your time in Kazakhstan. After arriving at the canyon, enjoy a picnic and perhaps take a rest before a walking alongside the canyon to take in the views. Late in the afternoon return to Almaty.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14 – Wednesday 26th August
Almaty-Dushanbe
Check out from the hotel, for your flight to Dushanbe. Upon arrival in Dushanbe, you will be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon the group will be shown around Dushanbe. The tree lined streets with the mountains makes for one of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia. Sightseeing will include the Mosque of Hoji Yakub, National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan and Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 15 – Thursday 27th August
Dushanbe-Penjikent
Continue with sightseeing in Dushanbe. Visit Ismail Somoni Monument, Rudaki Park, and a trip to visit Hissar Fortress where you will see Madrasah Kuhna. In the afternoon depart Dushanbe and drive to Penjikent (270km), a major Sogdian city built in the 5th century and destroyed by Arab conquerors in the 8th century. The mountain road goes via the picturesque Anzob pass (3300m above sea level). Arrive in Penjikent and check in to your hotel.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 16 – Friday 28th August
Penjikent – Seven Lakes – Samarkand
Transfer to Seven Lakes (80km). The Seven Lakes are located in the west of the Fann mountains; each of them has its own colour which varies from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. At the last lake of Khoazorchashma you will enjoy a picnic. After lunch drive back to Penjikent. Sightseeing in Penjikent includes Rudaki Museum, a local Bazaar and mosque. Visit an ancient Penjikent archeological site located nearby. Late in the afternoon you return to the Jartepa border  crossing for customs and passport control. On the Uzbekistan side, you meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Samarkand.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 17 – Saturday 29th August
Samarkand

Today you will meet your guide and driver for a city tour. This city once was the crossroads of East and West and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of Central Asia. Divided into new and old, your sightseeing will visit spectacular Registan Square, remains of Bibi Khanum Mosque, Siyob Bazaar, Ulugbek Observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis and Gur Emir Mausoleum – the authentic shrine of Tamerlane.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 18 – Sunday 30th August
Samarkand

Continue the sightseeing tour today, visiting Afrasiab Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel. Then drive to Konigil village to learn how Samarkand paper from mulberry is made in a traditional way. Enjoy free time in the afternoon.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 19 – Monday 31st August
Samarkand – Yurt camp
In the morning, depart to the yurt camp in Kyzylkum desert (270km). Visit Aidarkul Lake and enjoy free time on the lake before arriving at the Yurt Camp, your accommodation for the night. In the evening, you will have dinner near the camp fire singing Kazakh Akyn folk songs.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 20 – Tuesday 1st September
Yurt Camp – Nurata – Gijduvan – Bukhara

In the morning depart the Yurt Camp and drive to Bukhara (230km). On the way visit Nurata town to see a local mosque with holy spring water and stop on Nurata pass to see petroglyphs. Continue to Gijduvan, where you will have a pottery master class. Upon arrival at Bukhara you will be transferred to your hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 21 – Wednesday 2nd September
Bukhara

After breakfast enjoy a guided walking tour of the Old City. Bukhara has been described as a fairy tale city with narrow streets surrounded by ancient walls. You will visit Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chor-Minor Madrasah, trade domes of the bazaar, Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madraah, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan madrasahs, Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Ismail Samni and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 22 – Thursday 3rd September
Bukhara

Start the second day in this holy city with a visit to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of Bukhara’s last Emir, a unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. Continue to Bakhouddin Naqshbandi Mausoleum and Chor-Bakr Necropolis. Enjoy free time in the afternoon.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 23 – Friday 4th September
Bukhara – Nayman village – Bukhara
This morning, leave for Nayman village (45 min), situated in Babkent. Meet with a local family and visit their house and orchard. Here you have an opportunity to have a master class on cooking national meals and baking local bread. Enjoy some free time at the village, followed by lunch. Transfer back to Bukhara.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 24 – Saturday 5th September
Bukhara – Khiva

Transfer to Bukhara train station and depart to Khiva. This ancient desert city was a vital stop on the silk road.  Upon arrival in Khiva, check-in at your hotel and enjoy a free evening.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 25 – Sunday 6th September
Khiva

Today you will visit Ichan-Kala Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour features visits to Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah, Kalta Minor, Juma Mosque, Toshkhovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum. Try climbing Islom the Khodja Minaret, which is the highest minaret in Uzbekistan. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Old Khiva in Kunya-Ark. You will have free time in the afternoon to explore some more of the 50 historic monuments or perhaps stop in for tea at an authentic tea house.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 26 – Monday 7th September
Khiva – Darvaza

Enjoy free time this morning. Check out from your hotel at noon and drive to the Turkmenistan border point Shavat-Dashoguz (60km), where you will go through border formalities for both countries. Cross the 1.5km neutral zone before meeting your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Darvaza gas crater, also known as the “door to hell”.  This natural gas fire is located in the middle of Karakym desert (270km) and was deliberately set on fire after a Soviet oil exploration went horribly wrong. Set up camp and then enjoy a delicious fire-cooked meal for dinner near the burning gas crater. Overnight stay is in a tent.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 27 – Tuesday 8th September
Darvaza-Ashgabat

After breakfast, depart the camp site and drive to Ashgabat. Upon arrival in Ashgabat, check into your hotel then embark on a sightseeing city tour in the afternoon. During the city tour you will explore an archaeological site of Old Nisa (included on the UNESCO World Heritage list) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. You will visit the Carpet Museum, the Monument of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and newly built Independence Park.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 28 – Wednesday 9th September
Ashgabat – Mary – Merv – Mary – Ashgabat

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to take a morning flight to Mary. Upon arrival drive to Merv (40km), an ancient city that was a major centre of international trade and crafts located on the Silk Road. Discover a historical park that includes Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, Large and Small Gyz Gala, Erk Gala, Gyaur Gala, Keshk Fortress, and others. Return to Mary Airport to catch your flight back to Ashgabat. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 29 – Thursday 10th September
Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to Adelaide.

Meals: breakfast

Day 30 – Friday 11th September
Arrive Home.



Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-08-202011-09-2020AUD $ 14,889-

Inclusions

    Inclusions:

    • Return economy class International airfares;
    • All transfers;
    • Accommodation (mostly 4 star) based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts daily, 8 lunches and 22 dinners;
    • Sightseeing tour program in each country with local English speaking guides;
    • Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
    • Economy class tickets for flights Osh-Bishkek, Bishkek-Almaty-Dushanbe, Ashgabat-Mary-Ashgabat;
    • Business-class ticket for train Samarkand-Bukhara-Khiva;
    • Tajikistan E-visa;
    • Visa support for Turkmenistan tourist visa;
    • Tour leader for the entire tour;
    • Travel Insurance (does not include medical surcharge for a pre-existing medical condition or age surcharge.

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