This is your chance to see the Five Stans Of Central Asia, which make up five of the least visited countries in the world. Sometimes known as the lost heart of Asia, this is a mysterious, exotic and frankly unusual part of the world. We’ll see the wonders of the great Khanates, Parthian ruins, ancient mausoleums and cities destroyed by Genghis Khan. This is not your average holiday, so if you’re looking for a week of sunshine rule Central Asia out. But if you’re looking for a wild adventure through a tense and unknown part of the world then this one’s for you.
Group Trip Breakdown
Days 1 And 2: Kazakhstan
On day one we arrive in Almaty. We’ll be staying in Kazakhstan’s first luxury hotel, the Ritz-Carlton. You can relax in the spa facilities and explore the city. Due to differing flight arrival times, an additional night at the hotel may be required at extra cost.
We will visit the Central State Museum, explore a wooden orthodox church and then travel to a falcon farm to see traditional Kazakh falconry. We’ll enjoy a classic Kazakh meal and get to know our fellow travellers.
Days 3, 4 And 5: Kyrgyzstan
After an early start our journey along the Stans of the old Silk Roads begins. We’ll drive to Kyrgyzstan, arriving at Lake Issyk-Kul by early evening. At an altitude of 5279 feet this is the second highest lake in the world. We’ll have dinner and spend the night in Raduga hotel.
It’ll then be time to explore Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. On our way we stop at Cholpon Ata, where we’ll see petroglyphs thought to date to the Neolithic Age. We’ll have dinner at a local restaurant and head to our hotel.
Day 6: Fergana Valley
In Osh, Kyrgystan’s second largest city, we’ll see Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Crossing the border to Uzbekistan we continue to the city of Fergana. Crossing the border can be slightly chaotic – but that’s to be expected in this part of the world.
Days 7 And 8: Fergana
In the agricultural hub of central Asia, Fergana Valley is a place of ethnic diversity, contested borders and great history. This area was claimed by Alexander The Great, as well as coming under the influence of Islam, the Mongols and the Russian Empire. A key route on the Silk Roads, we’ll learn about the silk trade and learn how to cook bread in the local style. In the evening we’ll return to Fergana to dine at our hotel.
We’ll cross the border into Tajikistan, exploring Khujand, a city Alexander The Great is said to have found.
Days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 And 14: Uzbekistan
We have more border crossing shenanigans as we head to Uzbekistan. In Tashkent we will see the Uthman Koran at the Tillya Sheikh Mosque, considered by some to be the world’s oldest Koran. We’ll see a performance at the Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre – which was built in 1947 by Japanese Prisoners of war.
In the morning we make for Samarkand, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll see the tomb of the legendary Tamerlane – immortalised in Marlowe’s play. We’ll have a traditional lunch with a local family and dine at a restaurant in the evening.
After exploring Samarkand we’ll head to Bukhara, crossing Aman-Kutan mountains to the birthplace of Tamerlane. Bukhara is an ancient city boasting many great monuments including Magokki Attori Mosque, Sitorai Mokhi Khossa – the Summer Palace of Bukhara Emir and the Trading Domes. We’ll explore the wonders around us on foot and by coach.
We’ll stay in one of the major hotels and try out the various restaurants.
Days 15, 16 And 17: Khiva And Nukus
On our way to Khiva we’ll have a barbeque at a desert tea-house. Exploring the Old Town of Khiva, we’ll see the city as it would have looked to the travellers of the Silk Roads. Spending the night in Khiva, we’ll have an early start and drive to Nukus in Turkmenistan. On our way we’ll see the great fortresses of Ayas-Kala and Torak-Kala. In Nukus we’ll visit the Igor Savitsky museum – boasting a great collection of avant-garde works. We’ll dine and spend the night in Nukus.
Days 18, 19, 20 And 21: Ashgabat And Merv
We’ll drive to Khunya-Urgench, capital of Khorezm – a city Gengis Khan once destroyed. We will admire the 11th-century Kutlug-Timur Minaret. Lunch will be in Dashoguz and then we’ll fly to Ashgabat. We’ll explore the remains of the Parthian kingdom of Nisa, and then return to Ashgabat for dinner.
In the morning we fly to Merv, a former hub of the Silk Roads. We’ll visit the Sultan Sanjar mausoleum; in the evening we return to Ashgabat.
On our final day we visit a Russian Bazaar and Kipchak Mosque. We’ll have a meal and reflect on our epic journey through Central Asia. Then it’ll be time to say our goodbyes.
Departures from Ashgabat are usually early morning.