Aydarkul Lake 2-Day Tour

Aydarkul Lake, Nurata, Sarmish, Gijduvan
  • Aydarkul Lake
  • Aydarkul Lake
  • Camel Riding
  • Nurata

Aydarkul Lake is hailed by many to be one of the most gorgeous locales in all Uzbekistan, a glistening sheet of turquoise amidst the barren Kyzylkum Desert. Yet it’s not just Aydarkul’s pristine waters that beckon travelers to this distant destination, but the quaint town of Nurata that sprang up around the lake centuries ago, a town which now offers travelers a chance to step away from modern life into a land of yurts, camels and long-held folklore.
The Aydarkul Lake 2-Day Tour takes you off the beaten path into the Kyzylkum Desert where you’ll ride camels, swim in Aydarkul Lake, hear folk songs around a campfire and overnight in a traditional Central Asian yurt. Along the way you’ll stop to explore a remote collection of petroglyphs at Sarmish, see a little-visited mosque and fortress in Nurata and shop for Uzbekistan’s famed ceramics in Gijduvan as the masters themselves teach you about the craft.

Your driver will meet you at your Samarkand hotel in the morning to begin the drive to a yurt camp in the Kyzylkum Desert (Red Sand Desert).
Along the way, stop in Nurata village (200 km, 3 hrs) to visit a local mosque known for its holy spring waters and to explore the ruins of a fortress built by Alexander the Great.
Continue to the yurt camp (70 km, 1 hr). After arriving to the camp, you’ll have free time for camel rides, resting or walking among the dunes.
Enjoy dinner around a campfire in the evening while a Kazakh akin (skilled improvised singer) entertains with folk songs.
Overnight in the yurt after star gazing in the endless desert sky.
Meals provided: dinner*

Optional Activity:
From the yurt camp, take a short camel ride to the nearby village Dungalak (1.5 km, 30 min), where you’ll help to bake traditional naan bread. Walk around the village to get a glimpse of daily life before returning to the camp (Cost: app. 20 USD).

In the morning visit Aydarkul Lake (5 km). Walk along the shore or go for a swim in its clear waters.
Have lunch at the yurt camp before leaving for Bukhara via Sarmish and Gijduvan. In Sarmish (150 km, 2 hrs), visit an open-air museum of petroglyphs*. Gijduvan (100 km, 1 hr 30 min) is 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 museum and workshop before continuing to Bukhara (50 km, 50 min).
Arrive in Bukhara for drop-off at your hotel or the train station. End of Aydarkul Lake 2-Day Tour.
Meals provided: breakfast, picnic lunch
*Note: It is not possible to visit an open-air museum of petroglyphs Sarmish in the summer period as there is a Kid`s camp in the territory.
**Note: While filling meals are provided at the yurt camp, all snacks should be bought in advance and brought with you, as the yurt camp is in a remote area with no shops or vending machines available.

The reverse itinerary for this tour is also available. Please contact us for more details.

Video of Aydarkul Lake

Price includes:

  • Transportation throughout the tour (1-3 ppl in sedan; 4-8 in minivan);
  • Accommodation in a yurt camp, shared room (1 night);
  • Meals: dinner (Day 1), breakfast, picnic lunch (Day 2).

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