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For well over a thousand years, merchants carried their wares over remote mountain passes in Kyrgyzstan, along verdant river valleys and through the great Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan.

These nomads, conquerors, and settlers left behind an architectural legacy that draws on forgotten empires and ancient religions. Uzbekistan has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its age-old cities: Bukhara, Khiva, and Samarkand, arguably the jewel in the country’s dazzling crown.

Central Asian mosques, madrassas, fortresses, and bazaars combine to create a timeless atmosphere, while out in the countryside, the country’s incredible landscapes will capture both your imagination and your heart.

Destinations
Central Asia
Activity
Culture, Cities, Museums & Galleries, History, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Small group tour, Private guided tour
Physical Level
Mild

Good to know

  • Explore the heart of the Silk Road
  • Fully escorted multi-lingual guide
  • Small groups (max 12)
  • Flexible rebookings: change dates at no cost

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

Arrive in Bishkek

Transfer to the hotel and early check-in at the hotel. You can have a rest after your long flight, take a shower, and have breakfast.

Transfer to Ala Archa National Park, in the mountains, just 30km outside of Bishkek. We will have a walk in the Park, enjoying the nice views and fresh air. Transfer back to Bishkek for lunch in the city centre. In the afternoon we will have a city tour in Bishkek. The tour includes Osh Bazaar, Panfilov Park, Ala-Too Square, and monuments to national heroes. Dinner in a nice local restaurant with a live folklore show.

Included meals: Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

Tamga Yurt Camp Stay

After breakfast, we depart from Bishkek. First stop is Burana Tower near the town of Tokmok, 60km east of Bishkek. The minaret from the 11th century is the only remaining building from the ancient town of Balasagun, once the capital of the mighty Karakhanid empire. You can walk up the winding staircase and enjoy a nice view of the Chuy valley. There is also a small open-air museum with “balbals”, carved stone figures used as monuments.

We then continue driving to lake Issyk Kul. Lake Issyk Kul is the second-largest mountain lake in the world, after Titicaca. Located at an altitude of 1600m, it is a slightly saline lake with no outlet, surrounded completely by the Tien Shan Mountains. At the beginning of the lake, on the southern shore, we visit the village of Kyzyl-Tuu. Most people in this village are engaged in the manufacturing of yurts and it is the perfect place to learn more about the Kyrgyz yurt and how they are made.

We then continue driving along the picturesque southern shore of the lake to our yurt camp near the village of Tamga. Upon arrival at the yurt camp there is some time to go swimming in the lake before dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Tamga Yurt Camp Stay

Tamga Yurt Camp Stay

Skazka Canyon

After breakfast, drive along the southern shore of the lake back westwards towards the village of Kochkor. On the way, we make the first stop at the canyon “Skazka” translated as “Fairytale” due to its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by wind into fabulous sculptures and formations. We go for a short walk at the canyon.

In the village of Bokonbaevo we will make the next stop to meet an Eagle hunter, who will make a demonstration for us. Finally, we arrive in Kochkor, where we visit a workshop where local women produce carpets from felt. You can even try to make your own. Dinner in a local family-run guesthouse and overnight in a small hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Song Kul Lake

After breakfast, we depart towards another mountain lake – Song Kul. The lake is not very far from Kochkor, but due to bad road conditions, it will still be a quite long and bumpy ascent to the lake. Lake Song Kul is a mountainous lake on the altitude of 3016 meters above the sea level. The nomads pass their summer on the “jailoo” (summer pasture) with their animals. If you like, you may go for a short horse ride. The yurt camp is located about 3 kilometres from the shore of the lake.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Song Kul Yurt Camp

Song Kul Yurt Camp

Fly to Osh

After breakfast, transfer to Bishkek. The way to Kochkor is the same as we came up. Lunch on the way in the restaurant “Hawaii”. We then drive directly to Bishkek airport to catch the evening flight to Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest city, Osh. Upon arrival in Osh late dinner and transfer to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Sunrise Osh

Sunrise Osh

Explore Fergana Valley

We have one more day to explore the Fergana valley. Nowadays the region is famous in Uzbekistan not only for agriculture but also for its artisans and markets. After visiting the local market in Fergana we will drive ca. one hour to Rishtan. The town is famous all over Uzbekistan for its ceramics. It is no coincidence that pottery became so prominent exactly at this place because the red clay and pigments available here are of excellent quality.

We have the chance to visit the studio of a pottery master and learn more about his job and passion that has been passed down from generation to generation. From Rishtan we then drive further to Kokand, another town with a rich history as a trading and religious centre. In the 19th century, it was the capital of the Kokand Khanate, that stretched all the way until the southern Kazakh steppe. We will have a short sightseeing tour, which includes the remains of Khudayar Khan’s Palace as well as the impressive Jami Mosque.

Finally, we catch the 5:30 pm train from Kokand to Tashkent. We arrive in the Uzbek capital at 9:20 pm. Transfer to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Wyndham Tashkent
Superior

Wyndham Tashkent

Tashkent City Tour

Tashkent is the biggest city in Central Asia and one of the oldest. Unfortunately, in an earthquake in 1966 most of its historic buildings were destroyed. Nevertheless, a few buildings notably at the Khast Imom Complex have survived and this is where we are heading first on today’s city tour of Tashkent. The complex contains ancient Quran book of Caliph Uthman and the mausoleum of the Islamic saint, Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi. We then join traders at Chorsu Bazaar before taking a ride on the Tashkent Metro and visiting the Amir Temur & Independence Squares.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Wyndham Tashkent
Superior

Wyndham Tashkent

Khiva City Tour

Today very early in the morning we will transfer to the domestic airport to catch the flight departing 7:25 am to Urgench. Upon arrival in Urgench at 8:55 am, 40 minutes transfer to Khiva.

We will visit the walled inner-city section of Khiva called Ichan-Kala. This old section of town preserves more than fifty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years. The entire citadel is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you are confronted by the glistening Islamic beacon, the Kalta-minor Minaret. Delve deep into the town on a guided tour that embraces all of the city sites, and includes an ascent of the Islam Khodja Minaret, the highest minaret in Khiva. Enjoy broad views of Old Khiva atop the Kunya-Ark Citadel. During dinner, we will get the chance to watch exotic folklore show of local musicians and dancers from the Khorezm region.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Asia
Classic

Hotel Asia

Day Trip to Ancient Khorezm

Today you are free to spend a day on your own in Khiva or you can decide to join the half-day trip to Ayaz Kala & Toprak Kala ruins in the desert (requires some steep ascents by foot). After breakfast, we depart towards Toprak & Ayaz Kala, clay ruins of ancient Khorezm in the desert. First, we drive 2 hours to Toprak Kala, the ancient capital city of Khorezm around 2nd century AD).

From there it is another shaky one hour drive to Ayaz Kala. According to archaeological excavations, the Ayaz Kala fortress dates from the 2nd century BC. It was part of a system of border fortresses that stretched as a chain from east to west and which defended the Khiva oasis from the desert side. Return back to Khiva where we will have lunch and free time in the afternoon. Late check-out from the hotel by 6:00 pm. After dinner we take flight to Bukhara, departing at 9:10 pm. Upon arrival at 10:05 pm at Bukhara airport, transfer to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Safiya
Classic

Hotel Safiya

Bukhara City Tour

The second of our UNESCO World Heritage stops – even the very name Bukhara conjures up images of the exotic Orient. For centuries, it was an important trading post and an academic centre. The Old Town has been well preserved and is crammed full of minarets, mosques, and madrassas. Its once-notorious canals and pools, the source of many an epidemic, have now been drained but the most famous, Lyabi-Hauz, is still there, an oasis shaded by mulberry trees at the heart of the city.

Your guide will show you the city’s unmissable sights and you can soak up the atmosphere wandering through Bukhara’s labyrinthine alleyways. Sights that you will see on today’s walking tour in the Old Town of Bukhara: Minorai Kalon complex, Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Chiobs Mausoleum, and spring, Mausoleum of the Samanids. The guided tour ends in the early afternoon and you have some free time before dinner. Dinner in the city.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Safiya
Classic

Hotel Safiya

Visit Sitorai Mokhi Hossa

Check out from the hotel and depart to visit the Mausoleum of Naqshbandiy, 15km outside of the city centre. There are many orders in Sufism and representatives of all the orders were present at different times in what is Uzbekistan today. The Sufi order Naqshbandiyya had the greatest and longest-lasting influence and the memorial place is still well visited by pilgrims. Next, we visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara – Sitorai Mokhi Hossa.

On the way back to Bukhara we see Chor Minor madrasa, whose four minarets and the style remind one of India’s building style. Lunch in the city. At 3:52 pm we take the high-speed train Afrosiob to Samarkand. Upon arrival in Samarkand at 5:20 pm transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner in the city.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Rabat
Classic

Hotel Rabat

Samarkand City Tour

Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue. This was the domain of Timur, one of history’s great conquerors. His vast empire rivalled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe, and much of his architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of his power.

We start the day with the visit of Gur-Emir mausoleum, where Timur is buried. We will hear the stories from his life and how did he start the construction of Samarkand. Then, we go to Registan Square – Samarkand’s and arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools) – Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya Kori. After lunch, we will have time to explore the Siab Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown from the rich soil of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colourful market. You may explore the city on your own during your free time this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Rabat
Classic

Hotel Rabat

Konigil Paper Mill Visit

After breakfast, we visit Konigil Paper Mill. At the paper mill, you may see the process of paper production from mulberry tree bark – just like in 8th century Samarkand. We then go to Shahi Zinda, to the tile-rich street of turquoise and blue domes.

After lunch, you can have free time or visit Ulugbek’s Observatory and Afrasiyab Museum. At the museum you can learn more about the ancient city of Samarkand – then known as Afrasiyab – that was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. We will catch our train to Tashkent later in the afternoon to go to Tashkent. Train leaves at 5:30 pm. Arrive in Tashkent at 7:40 pm and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before the hotel check-in.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Wyndham Tashkent
Superior

Wyndham Tashkent

Departure Day

Transfer to airport for departure. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Central Asia!

Included meals: Breakfast

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
12 Jun 2022 26 Jun 2022 Enquire
4 Sep 2022 18 Sep 2022 Enquire
More dates available   Enquire

Looking for a different date?

Not sure when you're travelling yet? Looking for a different date? Contact Kalpak Travel for more information.

Enquire

Good to know

  • Explore the heart of the Silk Road
  • Fully escorted multi-lingual guide
  • Small groups (max 12)
  • Flexible rebookings: change dates at no cost

Where to stay

Some of our sample accommodation.

Carefully-selected, quality assured hotels ranging from three or four stars and one night and two night in a yurt camp.

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Sunrise Osh

Sunrise Osh

Sunrise Osh is in the centre of Osh, within a 2-minute walk of the Osh Central Mosque...

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Song Kul Yurt Camp

Song Kul Yurt Camp

Two people per yurt with shared western toilets outside and a simple shower...

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Tamga Yurt Camp Stay

Tamga Yurt Camp Stay

Two people per yurt with a shared toilet and shower...

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The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

The Plaza Hotel Bishkek is the embodiment of aristocratic elegance and modern multi-functionality...

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Hotel Asia
Classic

Hotel Asia

A comfortable, if functional, hotel centrally located in Fergana...

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Hotel Safiya
Classic

Hotel Safiya

A modern hotel conveniently located in central Bukhara...

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Wyndham Tashkent
Superior

Wyndham Tashkent

A modern, 4* hotel with comfortable rooms, excellent service and convenient location...

Tour inclusions

Get in touch now for more details

Included Ground transfers

All road transport, rail tickets and airport/hotel transfers.

Included Internal flights

Internal/domestic flights are included in the price.

Included Some meals

Full board; fifteen breakfasts, fourteen lunches and fourteen dinners.

Included Accommodation

Thirteen nights in carefully-selected, quality assured hotels of at least three or four star equivalent and two nights in yurt camps.

Included Guided excursions
  • Bishkek – City Tour & Ala Archa National Park
  • Walk in Skazka Canyon
  • Swimming in Issyk Kul Lake
  • Observe nomadic life at Song Kul Lake
  • Sleeping in Yurts
  • Meeting eagle hunter & yurt maker
  • Climb sacred Suleiman Too mountain in Osh
  • Visit silk factory & pottery workshop in Fergana valley of Uzbekistan
  • Tashkent – city tour
  • Samarkand – city tour & Samarkand paper workshop
  • Uzbek bakery visit in Samarkand
  • Bukhara – walking tour
  • Watch traditional Khorezm folklore show in Khiva
  • Khiva – walking tour

Reviews

What people are saying about Kalpak Travel

S
Sten-Enok, Norway
01/11/2018

I got a tip to visit the webpage for Kalpak and have not regretted since. They arrange trips to Central Asia and do it really well. They are professional, respond to inquiries instantly, are very flexible and know the region well. I was in contact with Luca for a combination of mountain biking and trekking in the Fann mountains in Tajikistan. My experience is solely positive; truly professional and passionate about the region.

Mind you, Kalpak uses local resources and is responsible tourism. I really recommend Kalpak Travel! They make astonishing trips to Central Asia and are professional, serious and responsible.

S
Spencer, Australia
01/07/2018

We had a fabulous 13-day tour of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - in May/June. Luca, the owner of Kalpak Travel, has been very reliable and committed to giving excellent service. He was constantly keeping in touch during our trip to ensure that everything was running smoothly.

The guides in each city spoke excellent English and were extremely informative on all aspects of Central Asia. In Almaty, we were invited to have dinner at our tour guide's home. The food was fabulous and we had a wonderful evening….

We were very lucky to have Kalpak Travel as our tour company which exceeded our expectations with flying colours. We highly recommend Kalpak Travel if you are planning a hassle-free tour of Central Asia.

R
Rebecca, USA
01/07/2018

We had a wonderful 3.5 week trip through the 5 Stans. I feel like I've seen the highlights in case I don't get the opportunity to return, but I most certainly DO want to return and see more. These are the warmest and most welcoming people I have every encountered.

My regret is that Kalpak does not arrange trips for other parts of the world, as I truly enjoyed every minute of working with them, and would love to do so again. SUPERLATIVE service.

How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from €3,160pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

How to book

We aim to provide absolute peace of mind when booking with us. A €500 per person deposit is required at the time of booking, and you may cancel or re-book your dates up to 15 days prior to departure.

All group departures have a maximum group size of 12 guests. All departure dates are guaranteed.

You can also opt to book the whole itinerary as a private tour. We can arrange extra nights before or after the trip, and suggest private tour extensions.

We can advise and take care of any required visas. Citizens of most countries are eligible for an e-visa for Tajikistan, and a visa on arrival for Turkmenistan, with a letter of invitation pre-arranged by us. Other countries are visa-free for most nationalities. Contact us for advice.

We are happy to advise on your international flights, please contact us for more assistance.

Learn more

Contact us now for expert advice on how to tailor this tour to your requirements and budget.

  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
  • Issyk-Kul

    Issyk-Kul

    ...
  • Kochkor

    Kochkor

    ...
  • Song Kul

    Song Kul

    Located in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Song Kul is a high-altitude, alpine lake perfect for hiking and horseback riding, although the area is covered in snow for the majority of the year...
  • Osh

    Osh

    ...
  • Fergana

    Fergana

    ...
  • Fergana

    Fergana

    ...
  • Tashkent

    Tashkent

    ...
  • Khiva

    Khiva

    The walled city of Khiva is made up of mud-brick buildings and has over 50 historic monuments meaning you will need a few days to explore the city...
  • Khiva

    Khiva

    The walled city of Khiva is made up of mud-brick buildings and has over 50 historic monuments meaning you will need a few days to explore the city...
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara

    Bukhara is over 2,000 years old, built on the site of a former Buddhist monastery, it has hundreds of minarets, mosques and madrassas with key sites being the Kalyan minaret, that's tower is a prominent landmark of the city, the Ismail Samani mausoleum and Bolo Haouz Mosque, one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city...
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara

    Bukhara is over 2,000 years old, built on the site of a former Buddhist monastery, it has hundreds of minarets, mosques and madrassas with key sites being the Kalyan minaret, that's tower is a prominent landmark of the city, the Ismail Samani mausoleum and Bolo Haouz Mosque, one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city...
  • Samarkand

    Samarkand

    A rebuilt 14th-century city, Samarkand in Uzbekistan is a striking place to visit with mosques covered in ceramic tiles and sand coloured buildings...
  • Samarkand

    Samarkand

    A rebuilt 14th-century city, Samarkand in Uzbekistan is a striking place to visit with mosques covered in ceramic tiles and sand coloured buildings...
  • Tashkent

    Tashkent

    ...
Days

15

Starting from

€3,160 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Aijan for expert travel advice
Enquire now

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