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Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan - Mountains and Cities of the Silk Road

TOUR IN

ASIA

  • 06 Aug
  • -
  • 21 Aug 2022
  • |
  • 16 days

$4039

per person

Availability: 12 places

    Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan may be Central Asian neighbours, but they couldn’t be more different. For while Kyrgyzstan is a land of epic mountain scenery and semi-nomadic shepherds, Uzbekistan is home to the atmospheric towns of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, probably Central Asia’s most revered Silk Road trading centres.

    Starting in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, we’ll spend much of our time in traditional yurts and will be introduced to the ways of mountain life on the Old Silk Road, before driving on to the ancient city of Osh. From here, we will cross the border into Uzbekistan and travel on to see the fabled cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand where merchants still ply their wares in the shadow of some of the world’s greatest architectural achievements.

    If you wish to experience the contrasts and variety that this fascinating region has to offer, this is the trip for you.

    Day 1

    DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN BISHKEK (KYRGYZSTAN)

    The tour will begin this afternoon at our hotel in Bishkek, one of the world’s more relaxed capitals. We will head out this evening to enjoy a local dinner, soaking up the city's atmosphere.
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    Day 2

    DAY 2: BISHKEK - SON KUL

    This morning we will make a short walking tour to see the main sights, before heading out of Bishkek. We will also have a chance to visit the restored 11th century Burana Tower and we’ll stop in Kochkor village for lunch at a family-run handicraft centre. Our final destination of the day will be Son Kul, the spectacular 3000m mountain lake used as summer pastures for many local shepherds. There, we will be welcomed by our hosts and enjoy a traditional dinner, and maybe the odd vodka toast!
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    Day 3

    DAY 3: IN & AROUND SON KUL

    Today we will walk or ride (optional and payable locally) up into the hills looking for petroglyphs and enjoy the mind-blowing views over the lake. Those wishing to relax can hang out at the camp and enjoy some down time, with a chance to watch the plethora of bird life. Or you might like to visit the local shepherds and try a taste of kumis (fermented mare’s milk). We may also get the chance to see some traditional Kyrgyz horse games today.
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: SON KUL - TASH RABAT

    In the morning, we’ll take a beautiful drive on to Tash Rabat, where we will spend the next two nights. We’ll stop on the way in Naryn to visit the town and enjoy a local lunch. Having settled into our yurt camp later this afternoon, we’ll have a chance to look around the famous ancient Silk Road caravanserai.
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: IN & AROUND TASH RABAT

    Today is free to explore the stunning mountain surroundings. The walking in this area is wonderful and those wishing to ride (optional and payable locally) can also do so. We might head up towards the 3,500m Tash Rabat Pass or follow another beautiful circular route, or you could just do your own thing. This valley, just 35km as the crow flies from the Chinese border, is lush and green - home to horses, yaks, sheep and, of course, nomads. We will take a packed lunch with us, as the ride or walk can take most of the day. This evening we’ll have another traditional dinner at our camp.
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: TASH RABAT - KAZARMAN

    Today we have a long drive but through some really stunning mountain scenery. We’ll stop en route for a picnic lunch and the odd photo opportunity. Arriving in the small village of Kazarman this evening, we’ll stay with a local family and enjoy some of their home-cooking.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: KAZARMAN - OSH

    This morning we’ll drive over Kaldama Ashuu pass, which at 3062m offers some amazing views. We'll stop in Jalal-Abad for lunch with a local family and then continue on to the ancient city of Osh, where we’ll have a chance for some sightseeing this afternoon. We’ll visit Solomon’s Throne – Suleiman Too – the rock that looms over the city and is an important Muslim pilgrimage site protected by UNESCO. Tonight we’ll stay in the wonderful home of our friend Imanjan, enjoying traditional cuisine and hospitality.
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: OSH - KOKAND (UZBEKISTAN)

    Today we make the short drive to the Duslik border, say farewell to our Kyrgyz team and go through formalities to enter Uzbekistan. Here we will be met and driven through the Fergana Valley, an incredibly fertile region that was the breadbasket of the Central Asian USSR and is still one of the wealthiest parts of the whole region. Our first stop today will be in the town of Margilon, centre of the still thriving silk trade in the area, where we’ll see the entire silk-weaving process from cocoon to end product. We will also visit nearby Rishton, renowned for its blue and green ceramics, before reaching Kokand where we spend the night.
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: KOKAND - TASHKENT - KHIVA

    After a chance to visit the 19th century Palace of Khudayar Khan this morning, we will drive in cars through the mountains to reach Tashkent. From here, we’ll take a short flight to Khiva and check into our hotel for the next two nights, in the heart of this UNESCO protected old town.
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    Day 10

    DAY 10: IN KHIVA

    There’ll be ample time to soak up the atmosphere of Khiva today, wandering around the quiet streets of this wonderfully preserved Silk Road city. We’ll visit some of the most colourful and sumptuous sites, including the Kukhna Arc, Mohammed Khan Madrassa and Kalta Minor Minaret. In addition, there'll be opportunity to explore the Jama Majid Mosque with its amazing wooden pillars and the Alloquli Khan Madrassa, bazaar and caravanserai. There will be some free time later this afternoon and evening to be able to explore further at leisure.
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    Day 11

    DAY 11: KHIVA - BUKHARA

    Today, we will take a train to the wonderful city of Bukhara. This afternoon, there will be time to take a first wander around the old town before enjoying dinner by Labi Hauz, the 17th century pool and eating area.
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    Day 12

    DAY 12: IN BUKHARA

    Today we have all day for sightseeing. We will start at the Ismaili Samani Mausoleum, and continue via the Jama Majid (or the mosque of forty pillars) to the Arc where Connolly and Stoddard – two luckless British officers – met their deaths while playing the Great Game. From here, we will visit the historically important Zindan, followed by the Kolan Minaret and beautiful mosques and madrassas that lie beneath it. En route there is silk-weaving, knife-making and metal-engraving. Lunch will form part of a cooking demo with a local family. We will then have the remainder of the day free for shopping and generally relaxing in this most characterful of the old Silk Road towns.
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    Day 13

    DAY 13: BUKHARA - SAMARKAND

    After breakfast, we’ll drive along the Royal Road to the famous Silk Road city of Samarkand, stopping during the 4-hour journey to view the remains of an old caravanserai. After checking into our hotel, we will make our visit to the Registan, the public square that is the heart of historic Samarkand and a particularly beautiful sight at sunset. There will be plenty of time to explore the three madrassas that make up the ensemble and to take plenty of memorable photographs.
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    Day 14

    DAY 14: IN SAMARKAND

    We have all day in this amazing town, wandering through the gargantuan sights. In the morning, we will visit Tamerlane’s Tomb, followed by the Bibi Khanym Mosque and the town’s excellent bazaar. In the afternoon, we will visit the Shah-i-Zindar – the street of the dead, and then take some free time to explore this city at our leisure. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.
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    Day 15

    DAY 15: SAMARKAND - TASHKENT

    This morning we will drive back to Tashkent where there’ll be time for some sightseeing in this city that once played a pivotal role during the Great Game between the expanding 19th century British and Russian Empires. We plan to visit Kukeldash Madrassah, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum and Barak Khan Mosque on Khasty. Tonight we’ll have our final dinner together and reflect on our journey.
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    Day 16

    DAY 16: TOUR ENDS IN TASHKENT

    The tour ends after breakfast today, although those on the suggested group flights will depart in the early hours of the morning before breakfast.
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