Central Asia Adventure Tour

21
Days
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Central Asia Adventure Tour is the ultimate travel experience, a 3-week trek through the mountain passes, desert outposts, busy city centers and abandoned caravanserais of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. We invite you to be refreshed by remote and rugged nature along the Pamir Highway, explore the living annals of history at Kunya-Urgench, wrap yourself in the warm and welcoming culture of Samarkand and Bishkek and lose yourself in the wonder that is Central Asia.
Central Asia may be united by common threads of history and language, yet each country boasts of beautiful distinctions far too often overlooked by the novice traveler. The sweeping cavern of Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon and Turkmenistan’s extraordinary Darvaza Crater; Tajikistan’s mountain towns of Murghab and Khorog and Uzbekistan’s urban Tashkent; Kyrgyzstan’s alpine Song Kul Lake and ageless yurt camps – each tells a story that begs to be seen, heard and experienced by the world.

Arrive in Almaty and transfer to hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Your guide and driver will meet you to begin the Almaty city tour to Panfilov Park, World War II Memorial Complex, Zenkov Cathedral, Green Bazaar, Republic Square, Central State Museum and Almaty Metro. Overnight in Almaty.
Tour duration: 3-4 hours
Meals: none
Meet your guide and driver at hotel reception to drive to Charyn Canyon (220km, 3-4hrs), enjoying the view of the Altai Mountains and villages on the way. Upon arrival, hike to the bottom of the gorge to see the Charyn River. Have a rest and a picnic lunch. Hike through Charyn Canyon, where steep mountain slopes reach up to 300 meters and the stunning Castles Valley runs more than 2 kilometers in length. Overnight in Almaty.
Tour Duration: approximately 10 hours
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch
Catch a morning flight to Dushanbe* (880km, 1hr 45min). Arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, and transfer to the hotel, where your guide and driver will meet you for a tour of Hissar Historical and Cultural Reserve, including Hissar Fortress, Kukhna Madrasah and Khistin Caravanserai.
Continue the tour in Dushanbe to National Museum of Tajikistan, Haji Yaqub Mosque, Rudaki Park, Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre, Statue of Ismail Somoni and Mehrgon Market. Overnight in Dushanbe.
Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours
Meals: breakfast
*Recommended flight - KC131, departing Almaty at 10:15am and arriving to Dushanbe at 11am (one hour time difference).
After breakfast, depart Dushanbe for the Pamir Mountains. With a qualified driver in 4WD transport, drive to Kalaikhum (290km, 6-7hrs) via the Khaburabad Pass (3200m) and the M41 Highway, which winds through the Pamir Mountains.
Arrive in Kalaikhum, a small town founded at 1400 meters above sea level. Enjoy free time to walk about the town and interact with the people, most of whom still wear traditional clothes. Overnight at a hotel in Kalaikhum.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Depart Kalaikhum in the morning and drive along the Panj River to Khorog, the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) that lies in a valley over 2000 meters above sea level (250km, 6-7hrs). You’ll be able to see Afghanistan across the river on the right-hand side.
Upon arrival have a small tour of the Pamir Botanical Gardens and Khorog Regional Museum. Free time in evening. Overnight in a Khorog hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast, drive to Bulunkul (190km, 4hrs) along the banks of the Gunt and Toguzbulok Rivers and through the high-altitude Koy Tezek Pass (4270m), passing numerous mountain villages along the way.
Arrive to Bulunkul Lake (Blue Lake), where the scenery of the High Pamirs is absolutely spectacular. Free time to wander about the tiny town or sit on the quiet shores of the beautiful lake.
Overnight in Bulunkul guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
In the morning visit Yashikul Lake before continuing on to Murghab (160km, 4hrs) via the Nayzatash Pass (4300m).
Arrive in Murghab, the largest town for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. Free time in the evening to rest, see the large Lenin statue and explore the little town.
Overnight in Murghab guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Start your drive at 7am. Your first stop is Karakul Lake (130km, 2hrs) via the Ak Baytal Pass (White Horse Pass, 4655m), the highest point in the former Soviet Union. Stop to enjoy the indescribable view of Karakul Lake, which at an elevation of almost 4000 meters is one of the highest lakes in the world.
Continue driving to the Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan border crossing known as Kyzylart (50km, 1hr). Pass through border formalities and cross into Kyrgyzstan, where a new driver will complete the drive to Osh (250km, 4hrs). Overnight in Osh hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
In the morning your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel for the Osh City Tour to Sulaiman Too Mountain to see the shrines and a panoramic view of Osh. Continue to the Silk Road Museum, Osh City Square with the largest Lenin statue in Central Asia, Victory Monument and Cathedral of the Archangel Michael.
Drive to Kazarman (260km, 6hrs). On the way visit the Uzgen Archaeological-Architectural Museum Complex and the Jalal-abad Bazaar. Continue to Kazarman via the Kaldama Pass (3062m). Overnight in a homestay in Kazarman.
Tour Duration: approximately 3 hours
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast drive to Son Kul Lake (170km, 3hrs), which at 3000m above sea level is the highest lake in Kyrgyzstan. Spend the day living like a nomad and acquainting yourself with the culture of the mountain Kyrgyz people. Enjoy time with Kyrgyz families and taste their fresh ayran (yogurt) and kumis (horse milk). Go horseback riding, take photos with the camels or sit and reflect by the lake, relaxing in the fresh mountain air. After dinner, free time to go for a short hike or a walk about the yurt camp.
Overnight in yurts at Son Kul Lake.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Depart Son Kul Lake and drive to Bishkek (300km, 4hrs 30min). En route visit Kochkor, a town known for the creation of shyrdak felt rugs and embroideries. Attend the Altyn Kol Workshop to watch a demonstration on shyrdak felt carpet production, try your hand at the classical art and support village artisans by purchasing handmade souvenirs.
Continue to Burana Tower and Museum Complex (80km, 1hr 30min), enjoying the view of Chuy Valley and Tien Shan Mountains en route. Arrive to Bishkek. Overnight at Bishkek hotel.
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch
In the morning your guide and driver will meet you for a city tour of Bishkek to Ala Too Square, Old Square with Parliament House and Lenin Statue, Philharmonic Hall, Oak Park, Opera and Ballet House and Victory Square.
Free time for remainder of the day. Overnight in Bishkek.
Tour Duration: approximately 4 hours
Meals: breakfast
In the morning take a flight to Tashkent* (480km, 1hr,20min). Arrive in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. Transfer to the hotel and have a rest after your flight before your private tour of Tashkent to Khazret-Imam Architectural Complex in Old City, Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent Metro, Amir Temur Square, Independence Square, World War II Memorial, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Applied Arts Museum.
Free time for remainder of the day. Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour Duration: 4.5 - 5 hours
Meals: breakfast
*Recommended flight – HY778, departing Bishkek at 11:30am and arriving to Tashkent at 11:50am (one hour time difference).
In the morning take the train to Samarkand. (Journey on the high-speed Afrosiyob train is 2hrs,10min, and on the regular-speed Sharq train, 3hrs,10 min). Your private tour of Samarkand will include Gur Emir, Registan Square, Siab Bazaar, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Shakhi-Zinda and Ulugbek Observatory.
After the tour, take the train back to Tashkent. On arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Duration of Tour: approximately 6 hours
Meals: breakfast
Transfer to the domestic airport in the morning to catch a flight to Nukus* (810km, 1hr 40min). After landing in Nukus, leave luggage at the hotel before visiting the Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum (closed on Mondays). The museum hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and a large exposition of traditional Karakalpak objects and paintings. Overnight in Nukus hotel.
Meals: breakfast
*Recommended flight – HY011, departing Tashkent at 07:25am and arriving in Nukus at 09:05am.
In the morning, depart Nukus for Muynak (200km, 3hrs). Arrive in Muynak to see the Cemetery of Ships and Muynak History Museum. Have lunch at the Muynak guesthouse.
Continue driving across the Ustyurt Plateau, reaching the Aral Sea in late afternoon (200km, 3hrs 30min).
Arrive to the yurt camp. Camp-style dinner. Overnight in yurts at the Aral Sea.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise. After breakfast, visit Kurgancha Kala, a 13th century caravanserai. See the remains of a lighthouse and pass by the ruins of the abandoned settlement Urga. Arrive to Kungrad, a former trading center along the Silk Road. Stop at Lake Sudochie and have a picnic lunch before heading back to Nukus.
On the way to Nukus, stop at the Mizdakhan Necropolis and Gyaur-Kala Fortress, partially destroyed by Genghis Khan around 1220 and currently the site of archaeological excavations.
Arrive in Nukus. Overnight at Nukus hotel.
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch
In the morning your driver will take you to the Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan border crossing. While crossing the border you’ll be required to walk around 1.5km (app.1 mile) without assistance.
Meet your guide outside of Turkmenistan border control. Drive to Kunya-Urgench to tour the Tyurabek-Khanym Mausoleum, Kutlug Timur Minaret, Fakhreddin Razi Mausoleum, Mausoleum of Najmaddin Kubra and Sultan Ali Mausoleum.
Drive to Darvaza Gas Crater , located in the middle of the Karakum Desert (270km, 4hrs). Set up camp and enjoy a campfire dinner as you lounge near the burning crater.
Overnight in tents or a yurt at Darvaza Gas Crater.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Wake up early to watch the sun rise and enjoy a camp-style breakfast. Visit the nearby mud and water craters before continuing your journey.
Depart for Ashgabat (280km, 4hrs), stopping to take photos along the way. Visit Erbent Nomadic Village, one of the few nomadic villages still existing in the desert.
Arrive in Ashgabat. Free time. Overnight in Ashgabat hotel.
Meals: breakfast
Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to begin your tour of Ashgabat, the Marble City. The tour includes visits to Old Nisa, Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, Arch of Neutrality, Independence Park, Statue of Lenin, National Museum of History and Gulistan Bazaar (a.k.a Russian Bazaar). Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours Meals: breakfast
Check out by noon and transfer to the airport for departure to your next destination. End of the Central Asia Adventure Tour.

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