Budget Central Asia Group Tour 2022-2023

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan

Central Asia is a land so vast and varied that words fail to do it justice – while a mutual, vibrant Turkic culture weaves them all together, the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan each hold history, landscapes and experiences distinctly their own. Luckily for visitors, visa regulations and travel between these former Soviet nations has become much easier than in decades past.
The Central Asia Group Tour is one of our most unique tours, a 2-week trip that takes you to each of the 5 Central Asian ‘Stan’ countries to see, taste and experience the best that each country has to offer. Through our small group tours, Central Asia can be explored in a well-planned, hassle free trip. From yurt building in Kyrgyzstan to the marbled capital of Turkmenistan, from the mountains and canyons of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to the blue-tiled madrassahs and lively bazaars of Uzbekistan, this all-encompassing tour is simply unforgettable.

Arrive in Almaty (optional airport pick-up). Check in at the hotel at 14:00. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Optional Activity: Visit the Abay Opera and Ballet Theater. Tickets can be purchased directly from the theater or on their website, gatob.kz. Ticket prices start around 10USD.
Meals: none
Your guide and driver will meet you at 09:00 at your hotel in Almaty. Depart Almaty and drive to Charyn Canyon, enjoying the view of the Altai Mountains and villages along the way (220 km, 3-4 h). Arrive to Charyn Canyon in time for a picnic lunch. Hike through Charyn Canyon, where steep mountainsides reach up to 300 m and the stunning "Castles Valley" runs more than 2 km in length.
Return to Almaty late afternoon. Overnight in the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, picnic, lunch
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will meet you in the lobby around 10:30 for a sightseeing tour of Almaty. A short drive (25 km) will take you to Chimbulak, where you can ride the cable cars to a plateau to enjoy the amazing view of the Tian Shan Mountains. Return to the heart of Almaty to ride the metro to Panfilov Park, where you’ll learn more about the city’s history and see one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, Zenkov Cathedral. Visit the Memorial of Glory and the Eternal Flame, dedicated to the soldiers who died for the country’s independence. Continue to Republic Square and Almaty City Museum. Shop for sweets, souvenirs and freshly cooked meals at the famed Green Bazaar. Drop-off at the airport for your evening flight to Bishkek. Arrive in Bishkek and transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast
Your guide will meet you after breakfast and drive you to Burana Tower, part of the ancient city of Balasagun (11-13th centuries) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch the Kyrgyz national sport, “Ulak Tartysh” (Goat Pulling), as two teams on horseback battle for possession of a goat carcass.
Transfer to Don Aryk village for lunch at the home of a local Kyrgyz family. After lunch, watch a demonstration and explanation of a yurt construction by local women. You can even take part in the demonstration if you wish! Return to Bishkek. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Begin your day with a city tour of Bishkek’s impressive examples of Soviet urban planning and architecture: Oak Park, Ala Too Square, Manas Statue, the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Philharmonic Hall, and Victory Monument.
Travel to Ala-Archa National Park (40 km). Hike this alpine gorge, flanked by snow-covered peaks, to Ak-Sai waterfall and the banks of the Ala-Archa River.
Drive back to Bishkek for your evening flight to Tashkent. Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to your hotel for the night.
Meals: breakfast, picnic, lunch
Your guide will pick you up from the hotel to begin your introduction to Tashkent city: Excursion to the Old City, including the architectural complex Khazret-Imam (15th century), which holds the oldest known Quran in the world. Visit to Chorsu Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in Central Asia, where you can sample or buy sweets, fruits and souvenirs. Ride on the Tashkent Metro, where ceramic tiles and murals depict a unique theme at each station. Walk through Amir Timur Square and Independence Square, admiring the paintings for sale on ‘Broadway’ Drive. Drive to Sacred Heart Cathedral. Tour of the State Museum of the History of Uzbekistan. Overnight at the hotel.
Optional Activity: Visit Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater. Tickets are around 10 USD and should be purchased directly at the theater (website: gabt.uz).
Meals: breakfast
Your driver will help you transfer to the railway station for your train to Samarkand (310 km, 3 h). Upon arrival to Samarkand, a guide and driver will meet you at the railway station to begin your city tour of Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane’s magnificent empire:
  • Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane and Mirzo Ulugbek.
  • Spectacular Registan Square with its three Madrasahs (15th -17th centuries). This was the center of Samarkand for centuries.
  • Bibi Khanum Mosque
  • Shakhi-Zinda, a 15th century burial complex. Climb the imposing walkway and explore its blue-domed tombs.
  • End your day with a drive to Konigil Village to learn firsthand how Samarkand’s famous mulberry bark paper is produced.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer around 9am to the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border crossing at Jartepa (50 km, 1 h).
After passing through customs and passport control, your local Tajik guide and driver will meet you on the Tajikistan side to drive you to Seven Lakes (90 km, app 2 h), located in the Fann Mountains. Each lake has its own color, varying from turquoise to purple. Have lunch at the guest house next to the fourth lake, where you’ll also stay overnight.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Have breakfast at the lake before driving to ancient Penjikent (Panjakent) (80 km, 1 h 30 min), the ruins of a town founded by the Sogdians in the 5th century and abandoned by Arabs in the 8th century.
In old Penjikent you’ll get to see the foundations of houses, a citadel with Zoroastrian fire temples, the remains of the city bazaar and other excavated ruins in the old city.
In the newer part of Penjikent, visit a local bazaar, mosque, and the Rudaki Museum.
Drive to the Jartepa border crossing (30 km, 40 min) via Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in the 4th century BC. After crossing the border, you’ll continue your group tour in Uzbekistan, with your driver meeting you at the border to take you to your hotel in Samarkand. Overnight at the hotel.
Optional Activity: Visit the Samarkand Khovrenko Winery, which is over 150 years old and today continues to produce a range of wines, brandy and vodka. The tour includes a wine museum and a special wine tasting room. Approximate price: 15 USD.
Meals: breakfast
Group tour of Central Asia continues with drive from Samarkand to Bukhara via Gijduvon. Stop on the way at the Rabati Malik Caravanserai (11th century). Visit Gijduvan, a small town whose traditional crafts and ceramics have been sought after in Central Asia for centuries due to their quality and colorful, decorative style. Visit the ceramic center and museum before having lunch.
Visit the Emir's Summer Residence at Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century) near Bukhara. This is a unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. (No English-speaking guide provided here). Check-in to the hotel in Bukhara.
Optional Activity: Immerse yourself, literally, in centuries-old traditions at the Bozori Kord Hammam, a traditional Turkic bathhouse. Opened in the 14th century, it’s been in operation ever since. Price: 25 USD.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Begin the morning with a city walking tour led by your local guide. Your private tour will include the Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque and the Trade Domes (15-16th centuries) that serve today as a tourist bazaar. Continue your excursion outside of the old city center to see the following: Free time in the evening. Overnight in the Bukhara hotel.
Optional Activity: The National Show at the Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah, which starts at 18:00. Price for show and dinner is 15 USD per person.
Meals: breakfast
Breakfast. Free time for leisure and shopping. Transfer to train station for train to Khiva via the Kizil-Kum Desert (470 km, 5 h 25 min). Arrival in Khiva, the "museum under the open sky". Free time in the evening. Overnight in a hotel located inside or near "Ichan Kala", the historical center of Khiva and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Optional Activity: In the evening, take a masterclass on cooking tukhumbarak (egg dumplings) a classic Khivan cuisine. Dinner is included. Price is 20 USD per person, with a minimum of 4 persons required.
Meals: breakfast
Take a walking tour around Ichan Kala with a local guide to see Kunya-Ark Khan's castle and the inner citadel of Ichan Kala, before continuing to the following sites:
  • Kalta Minor Tower, the tallest minaret in Central Asia;
  • Muhammad Amin-Khan, the biggest medieval madrasah in Khiva;
  • Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah;
  • Juma Mosque, with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 m high;
  • Tash-Hauli Palace (Stone Courtyard Palace) with its high battlements, towers and fortified gates;
  • Necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud, the cultic center of Ichan Kala;
  • Residence of Islam Khodja, vizier of the last khan. Ensemble consists of minaret with the highest observation point in town.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast
Travel with your driver in the morning to the Turkmenistan border point to pass through customs (transportation may not be available). Your Turkmenistan guide will meet you after you’ve passed through border control and together you’ll drive to Kunya-Urgench. In Kunya-Urgench visit the Tyurabek-Khanym and Sayit Ahmed Mausoleums, Kutlug Timur Minaret, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum of Khorezmshakh and Kyrk Molla Hill.
In the afternoon drive to Darvaza Gas Crater, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert (270 km, 4 h). Set up camp and enjoy the enormous ring of fire by night, (app. 80 m in diameter and 30 m in depth). Enjoy a fire-cooked meal for dinner near the burning gas crater. Overnight in tents.
Meals: breakfast, picnic, lunch, camp style BBQ dinner
Watch the desert sunrise before eating a camp-style breakfast. Visit the mud crater and water craters before driving to Ashgabat (280 km, 4 h). Enjoy the desert drive and photo ops of sand dunes and camels.
Arrive to Ashgabat for a sightseeing tour of the capital, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble buildings than any other city in the world. Explore the archaeological site of Old Nissa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, the Monument of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the recently built Independence Park. Farewell dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, farewell dinner
Check-out from the hotel at noon. Free time until transfer to Ashgabat International Airport. Departure. End of group tour in Central Asia.
Meals: breakfast

Dates & prices

Departure End Deadline Status Price
Apr 10, Sun Apr 25, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
May 8, Sun May 23, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
Jun 5, Sun Jun 20, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
Aug 21, Sun Sep 5, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
Sep 18, Sun Oct 3, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
Oct 9, Sun Oct 24, Mon Completed US$ 3,190
Departure End Deadline Status Price
  • Accommodation in bed and breakfast or budget-option hotels, based on double/twin room sharing, with all breakfasts included (14 nights);
  • Trekking tent in Darvaza (includes sleeping mat, sleeping bag and pillow, 1 night);
  • Transfers except day 1: 1-2 persons in sedan, 3-8 persons in minivan, 4WD in Darvaza;
  • Local English-speaking escort guide on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 14, 15;
  • Local English-speaking guide for the city tours in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva;
  • Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
  • Yurt construction show in village and Ulak Tartysh game on day 4;
  • Visa support letter for Turkmenistan tourist visa, Registration and Travel Pass;
  • Economy-class tickets for flights from Almaty to Bishkek and Bishkek to Tashkent;
  • Economy-class tickets for trains from Tashkent-Samarkand and Bukhara-Khiva;
  • Meals as designated in the program;
  • 1L bottle of water per person per day.
  • Tour leader to accompany the group for the whole duration of the tour;
  • Lunches and dinners not indicated in the program;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Turkmenistan tourist visas and migration tax;
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa at Tashkent International Airport;
  • Visa support for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan tourist visas;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Tajikistan tourist e-visa;
  • Visa support letter for Uzbekistan tourist double-entry visa or Uzbekistan tourist e-visa;
  • All services not indicated in the list above.


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