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+41 44 585 29 61

info@kalpak-travel.com

Kalpak Travel’s Central Asian Silk Road Tour will lead you through the remarkable cities of the Great Silk Road, many of which are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

You will discover the cultural treasures and traditions of both the nomadic people who have crossed the region for millennia, and of the settled population. Explore three of the sprawling, Soviet-era capitals of Central Asia.

Absorb the architectural legacies of flourishing Islamic cultures and the mighty Timurid Empire in Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. In your two-week stay, you will be immersed in centuries of history and the diverse cultures of the peoples who built the ‘Stans as you see them today.

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

Good to know

  • An in-depth tour of Central Asia's fabulous history
  • Fully escorted multi-lingual guide
  • Small groups (max 12)
  • Flexible rebookings: change dates at no cost

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

Tashkent City Tour

Welcome to Uzbekistan! 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 before meeting your group and guide in the late morning in the hotel lobby. Today, you will begin an authentic journey deep into the remarkable history of Uzbekistan.

The largest city in Central Asia exhibits a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences. We will visit the Old City to find the Khast Imom complex, which houses the historic holy Quran of Caliph Osman. At Chor-Su Bazaar, you will mingle with the bustling crowds of traders. You will visit Amir Timur Square to view the statue of the great conqueror and, nearby, grand Independence Square.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Wyndham Tashkent
Superior

Wyndham Tashkent

Khiva City Tour

Today we will need to get up very early to catch the domestic flight to Urgench, which departs from Tashkent at 7:15 AM. Arriving at Urgench Airport at 8:55 AM, we will then transfer to Khiva. We will have breakfast in Khiva before starting our walking tour of the city.

Khiva is bursting with historical sites, and today you will get a chance to see them all. We will visit the walled inner-city called the Ichan-Kala. There are more than 50 historic monuments, plus hundreds of old houses dating back centuries. The entire citadel is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you will be confronted by a glistening beacon of Islam, the Kalta Minor, a dazzlingly tiled minaret. This tour will enable you to delve deep into the past and discover all the city sites, including a bird’s eye view from the top of the Islam Khodja Minaret (the highest minaret in Khiva) and a panorama of the Ichan-Kala from atop the Kunya-Ark citadel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala Ruins

Today you are free to spend a day on your own in Khiva or to join the half-day trip to the Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala ruins in the Kyzylkum Desert. If you choose this option, it will require some steep ascents on foot.

First, we will drive two hours to Toprak Kala, which was the capital of Khorezm around the 2nd century AD. From there, it is another shaky one-hour drive to Ayaz Kala. According to archaeological excavations, the oldest parts of the Ayaz Kala fortress date from the 2nd century BC. It was one of a chain of border fortresses which stretched from east to west and defended the Khiva oasis from attack.

Return to Khiva where we will have lunch and free time in the afternoon. Late check-out from the hotel. After dinner, we take the flight to Bukhara, departing at 9:00 PM. Upon arrival at 10:00 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

Bukhara is the second of our UNESCO World Heritage Site stops. The city’s very name -Bukhara – conjures up images of the exotic Orient. For centuries, it was an important trading post and centre of scholarship. The Old City 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. Today it’s an oasis shaded by mulberry trees in the heart of the city.

Your guide will show you the Bukhara’s unmissable sights, and you can soak up the atmosphere wandering through the labyrinthine alleyways. Highlights of today’s walking tour in Bukhara include the Poi Kalon complex, the Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, the Ayub Mausoleum and spring, the bazaars inside Bukhara’s unique trading domes, and the Samanid Mausoleum.

The guided tour will end in the early afternoon and you will then have some free time before dinner, which will be in the city.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Safiya
Classic

Hotel Safiya

The Mausoleum of Naqshbandi and Chor Minor Madrassa

This morning you can choose to spend some free time in the city or to visit a couple more sights near Bukhara.

First, you may visit the Mausoleum of Naqshbandi, 15 km outside the city center. There are many orders in Sufism, all of which have been represented at different times in what is now Uzbekistan. The Naqshbandiyya order has a great and long-lasting influence, and the memorial place is still a popular place of pilgrimage for Sufis. From here, we will visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara. In Persian it is called Sitorai Mokhi Hossa, “the place where the moon meets the stars”. Return to Bukhara for lunch.

In the afternoon, on the way to the train station, we will stop to see the Chor Minor Madrassa. The style of the madrassa and its four minarets (chor means “four”) is reminiscent of the Char Minar in Hyderabad, India. Our high-speed train departs from Bukhara at 3:50 PM and we arrive in Samarkand at 5:20 PM. Transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner.

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 Emperor Timur, one of history’s greatest (and most ruthless) conquerors. His vast empire rivalled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe.

We will start the day with a visit to the Gur-e-Amir, the mausoleum where Timur is buried. Our guide will tell stories from Timur’s life and how and why he began to build in Samarkand. We will then go to the Registan, Samarkand’s central square, which is undeniably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark. This focal point of medieval Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools): Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya Kori. Next, we will stroll through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, an impressively tiled structure that is said to have been gifted to Timur by one of his wives.

After lunch, we will have time to explore Siyob Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown in the rich soils 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

Visit Ulgubek’s Observatory and the Konigil Paper Mill

After breakfast, we will check-out from the hotel and continue to explore the fairytale city of Samarkand. We go first to the Shah-i Zinda, a magnificent tiled necropolis; and then visit Ulgubek’s Observatory, which was once the biggest research centre in Central Asia. Ulugbek was decades ahead of the West with his observations of the solar system and the Earth, and we will learn more about his story in this prestigious setting. Our next stop will be the Konigil Paper Mill. Here you will see the process of making paper from mulberry tree bark, just as it was done in 8th century Samarkand.

We will enjoy lunch together, after which those who wish to do so can visit Afrasiyab Museum to learn about the ancient city of Samarkand – then known as Afrasiyab – which was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. Alternatively, you may choose to skip the museum and have some extra free time, which will stretch on into the evening.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Rabat
Classic

Hotel Rabat

Cross into Tajikistan

Today’s check-out will be at 8:30 AM as it is time to say goodbye to the marvelous cities of Uzbekistan and transfer to the border crossing with Tajikistan. We will pass through both border checkpoints on foot, completing all necessary formalities, and meet our Tajik guide and driver on the other side. On the way to Penjikent, just off the main road, we will stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm, the ruins of which date from the 4th to 2nd millennia BC. Upon arrival in Penjikent, we will then check-in at the hotel and have lunch in the city.

Penjikent translates as “the city of five villages” and is located in the verdant Zeravshan River valley. Established in the 5th century, Penjikent was a thriving regional hub on the Great Silk Road.

Together we will visit the local market, the mosque, and the local history museum, where our guide will tell us more about the region’s influential past.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Hotel Umarion Panjakent

Hotel Umarion Panjakent

Travel Through The Zarafshan Mountains

Today is a long but very scenic driving day through the Zarafshan Mountains to Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan.

On the way, we will visit Iskander Kul, an idyllic mountain lake 30km off the main road. The lake, named after Alexander the Great (“Iskander” is the Persian form of Alexander), is triangular in shape and considered one of the most exquisitely beautiful lakes in all of the former Soviet Union. It’s nestled in the Fann Mountains at an altitude of 2,200m. We will have lunch on the shore of the lake. Those who want to do so can then take a short hike to a nearby waterfall. Be prepared for colder weather in the mountains.
In the afternoon, we will depart from Iskander Kul and finish driving to Dushanbe. After an ascent to the Anzob Tunnel, our route is along the Vazob River down to the Varzob Gorge, a popular weekend getaway for locals from Dushanbe.

We will reach Dushanbe in the evening, check-in at the hotel, and have dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Dushanbe City Tour

As well as being the capital, Dushanbe is the largest city in Tajikistan. It was a small village with a market every Monday. The Persian word for Monday is Dushanbe, and that’s how the settlement got its name. It was not until the Soviet period that Dushanbe grew into the political and industrial centre of Tajikistan.

Our city tour will start with a visit to the National Museum of Antiquities with its famous Sleeping Buddha, excavated from the Buddhist monastery at Ajina Teppa. Our next stop is the Navruz Palace. Initially, this building was envisaged as the largest tea house in the world. However, during construction (which involved hundreds of artisans from all over Tajikistan), the interior became so impressive that it was decided to use it as a palace instead of a tea house. Most of the rooms are now used for official government meetings with guests from abroad, or for international conferences. Just one room is open to the public, and usually, weddings take place there. This is a unique opportunity to tour the interior of this ornate modern palace.

After lunch, we will visit the statue of Ismail Somoni whose mausoleum you saw in Bukhara. This large monument commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the Samanid State, a Golden Age of the Tajik nation when science and arts flourished. From there, we will walk up to Rudaki Park, dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki, who also lived during the Samanid period, in the 10th century AD.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Fly to Almaty

Today you can have some free time in the morning before we make our way to Dushanbe International Airport to catch the Air Astana flight to Almaty. It departs at 12:50 pm and arrives in Kazakhstan at 3:45 pm local time. We will meet our Kazakh guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel for check-in. We will then go to the city centre to have dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Novotel Almaty

Novotel Almaty

Almaty City Tour

Almaty is the largest city in Central Asia’s richest country, Kazakhstan. Until 1997, it was the capital, and it remains the country’s business and educational centre. Roads here are wide and tree-lined, and there are good views of the Zailisky Ala-Too Mountains which form the backdrop to the city. The name Almaty means “the place with apples” and it is believed that this is where apples originated from. Today, we will have a whole day to spend in the city.

We will start at Almaty Museum, which is a major scientific and cultural centre exploring the entire gamut of historical and cultural heritage of the Zhetysu Region. Next, we wink visit Panfilov Park to see Almaty’s most famous sigh, Zenkov Cathedral. It was built in 1904 and is one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. The last stop will be Green Bazaar, where you will get a chance to meet local Kazakhs as you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. From the second floor, you will also be able to observe the hustle of bustle inside the market.

There will be free time in the afternoon.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Novotel Almaty

Novotel Almaty

Fly to Bishkek

The flight to Bishkek is not until the evening, so there will be plenty more time to explore Almaty. In the morning, we will drive half an hour up to Medeo to see the world’s highest ice skating rink, and take a cable car to enjoy the panoramic view of the Shymbulak ski area. It will be cold and windy on top as the altitude is 3,200m, so make sure you bring a warm jacket.

Back in the city, we will have farewell lunch with our Kazakh guide before heading to the airport at 3:00 PM to catch the flight to Bishkek at 5:45 PM. The flight is just under an hour, so on arrival in Bishkek, we will head directly to the restaurant for the welcome dinner with our Kyrgyz guide, before checking in at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Orion Hotel Bishkek

Orion Hotel Bishkek

Bishkek City Tour and Burana Tower

We will begin the day with a two-hour drive to Burana Tower, 85km east of Bishkek. The minaret at Burana was built in the 11th century in the medieval city of Balasagun, the capital of the mighty Karakhanid Empire. You can climb up the winding staircase to enjoy extensive views of the Chuy Valley. There is also an open-air museum featuring a collection of ancient balbals, carved stone figures used as monuments. We will have lunch in a local family’s house in the nearby village and watch a performance of national horse games called Kok Boru or Ulak Tartysh. In the afternoon we return to Bishkek.

Bishkek, the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan, is relatively young. It started as a Russian garrison named “Pishpek” in the late 19th century, and it was only during the Soviet period that it grew into a city. It is a very green place, with tree-lined boulevards and many parks. Our sightseeing program in Bishkek includes Oak Park, the Ala Too Square, and Victory Square. Farewell dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Orion Hotel Bishkek

Orion Hotel Bishkek

Bishkek Departure

Sadly the time has come to transfer to the airport for your flight back home. We hope you will have enjoyed your trip to Central Asia and will return soon to discover more places in this beautiful part of the world!

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
10 Apr 2022 24 Apr 2022 Enquire
24 Apr 2022 8 May 2022 Enquire
8 May 2022 22 May 2022 Enquire
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10 Jul 2022 24 Jul 2022 Enquire
7 Aug 2022 21 Aug 2022 Enquire
11 Sep 2022 25 Sep 2022 Enquire
9 Oct 2022 23 Oct 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

  • An in-depth tour of Central Asia's fabulous history
  • 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.

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Orion Hotel Bishkek

Orion Hotel Bishkek

Orion Hotel Bishkek offers accommodation in Bishkek...

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Novotel Almaty

Novotel Almaty

Each room comes with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom...

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Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Offering an outdoor pool and a spa and wellness centre, Dushanbe Serena Hotel is located in Dushanbe, a 5-minute walk from Sadbarg Shopping Centre...

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Hotel Umarion Panjakent

Hotel Umarion Panjakent

Located in Panjakent, Umarion offers a shared lounge and free WiFi...

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Hotel Rabat
Classic

Hotel Rabat

A cosy, comfortable hotel close to central Samarkand...

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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; all lunches and dinners

Included Accommodation

Accommodation in carefully-selected, quality assured hotels of at least three or four star equivalent.

Included Guided excursions

Entrance to all sights and activities listed.

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 €4,060pp.

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.

  • 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...
  • Panjakent

    Panjakent

    ...
  • Dushanbe

    Dushanbe

    ...
  • Dushanbe

    Dushanbe

    ...
  • Almaty

    Almaty

    The most populated city in Kazakhstan and former capital, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, with streets lined by trees and parks scattered across the city...
  • Almaty

    Almaty

    The most populated city in Kazakhstan and former capital, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, with streets lined by trees and parks scattered across the city...
  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
Days

15

Starting from

€4,060 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
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