Journey through Central Asia
|Resort:||Journey through Central Asia|
|Operator:||Wendy Wu Tours|
26 Day Journey through Central Asia Tour Itinerary
Days 1-2: Fly to Turkmenistan
Fly overnight to the city of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan. The rest of the morning is yours to relax. Later enjoy a welcome lunch before visiting a local stud farm to learn about winged Akhal Tekkes horses.
Day 3: The Ancient City of Merv
Today is an early start as you transfer to the airport for our flight to Mary. On arrival you will then head to the ancient and glorious city of Merv; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the major archaeological sites of Central Asia. After touring and time to explore here, you will return to Mary to visit the local History Museum and view the wide range of archaeological artefacts that are display here.
Day 4: Darvaza Gas Craters
Catch a domestic flight back to Ashgabat to continue exploring this fascinating city. In the afternoon, drive to the captivating Darvaza Gas Crater, taking a walk around the crater as the sun begins to set. Return to Ashgabat this evening.
Day 5: Ashgabat
Today will be your final day in Ashgabat. Visit the Old Nisa Fortress; the former residence of the Parthian Empire. After lunch you will continue the fun at the colourful Russian Bazaar. Later, continue to the National Carpet Museum.
Day 6: Khiva via Kunya-Urgench
Transfer to the airport for an early flight to Dashoguz. Once arrived, you will make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kunya-Urgench the once-glorious capital of the medieval Khorezmshah Empire. Having finished sightseeing, cross the border to Uzbekistan and proceed to Khiva where you will check into your hotel.
Day 7: Walled City of Itchan Kala
Explore the ancient city of Khiva today. Visit Kukhna Ark Fortress, the turquoise-tiled Islom-Khodja, and the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud. These are all located within the walled inner town called the Itchan Kala, which was the first site in Uzbekistan to achieve recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 8: Journey to Bukhara
Journey through the desert, viewing the changing scenery from saksaul trees to the Amudarya riverbank as you travel. Upon arrival yu will check into your hotel.
Day 9: Bukhara Sightseeing
Today you have a full day exploring fabulous Bukhara. This incredible city, one of the most famous names of medieval Islam, is home to hundreds of registered monuments. On today’s tour you will visit some of the main highlights as well some lesser known sights along the way. Bring a fully charged camera battery.
Day 10: Bukhara Sighteeeing
Continue your sightseeing of Bukhara with an out-of-town excursion to visit the Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer residence of the former Emir of Bukhara. Continue with an excursion to Bahauddin Naqshbandi Mausoleum before an afternoon at leisure.
Day 11: Bukhara – Samarkand
This morning you leave Bukhara and drive to one of the most evocative names along the Silk Road; the enchanting city of Samarkand. En route will drive to the pottery town Gijduvan, located approximately 60km from Bukhara. There will be time to explore the city and visit a local ceramic centre.
Day 12: Samarkand Sightseeing
You will have a full day tour of Samarkand to see the famous Registan Square which was for many centuries the heart of Samarkand. See the three beautiful madrassahs: the Ulug-Bek Madrasah built in the 15th century; the Tillya-Kori Madrasah built in the 17th century, and the Sher-Dor Madrasah, also built in the 17th century.
Day 13: Further Sighteeeing
In the morning, you will visit Ulugbeks observatory, constructed by Ulugbek (Grandson of the Great Amir Temur) in 1428-1429. Later you will take an excursion to the ancient settlement of Afrosiab before continuing to Konigil Village to visit a paper-making workshop. This is one of Samarkand’s most famous exports and you will observe a fascinating demonstration to learn how the locals make this from the rind of a mulberry tree.
Day 14: Visit Shakhrisabz
This morning you will travel the 2 hours to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the Great Amir Timur (Tamerlane), located approximately 90km south of Samarkand. Explore the city, visiting sites such as the remnants of Ak-Sarai Palace, Dorus Tilavat cemetery and Kok-Gumbas Mosque. Return to Samarkand this afternoon.
Day 15: Samarkand – Tashkent
In the morning, you will travel overland to Tashkent. Journey back in time exploring Tashkents town sights; Barak Khan Madrassah, Kukeldash Madrassah and Tila Shaikh mosque and their archives known for rare copies of the Koran. Stop at Chorsu Bazaar the oldest market in Tashkent. Finish at Tashkent Metro, with its opulently-decorated marble, granite and chandeliers.
Day 16: Into Tajikistan
Depart for Tajikistan and the city of Khujand. Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of Khujand taking in the city highlights. Start by exploring Pushkin Square with Kamoli Khudjandi Square, Timur Maliks Fortress and Sugd Museum, then continuing to the Muslihiddin Memorial Complex and Khujands central market – the Panjshanbe Bazaar – offering a wide range of goods and services.
Day 17: Dushanbe via Lake Iskanderkul
Travel to the breath-taking Lake Iskanderkul with its stunning mountain backdrop. Spend time here taking in the memorable views. Following your stop here, you will continue to Dushanbe.
Day 18: Explore Dushanbe
Today you will see the highlights of exciting Dushanbe, starting with the Musuem of National Antiquities; displaying countless artefacts from Tajikistans Islamic and preIslamic history. Also on today’s list are visits to the botanical gardens, Rudaki Park and the ancient fortress of Hissor, one of the most precious historical sites of Tajikistan.
Day 19: Into Kazakhstan
Fly to Almaty this morning, the capital of Kazakhstan. Transfer to the city and take part in an orientation walk visiting Republic Square, Abai Opera Theatre, the Central Mosque, the Green Market and Zenkov Cathedral.
Day 20: Almaty Lake
This morning visit the turquoise Big Almaty Lake nestled in the Tian Shan mountains. Relax in the scenic surroundings then return to Almaty where the rest of your day is free.
Day 21: Charyn Canyon
Drive through breath-taking scenery to, visit magnificent Charyn Canyon and its Valley of the Castles, named due to the pillars and rock formations forming imposing structures. Continue to the border and cross from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan before travelling to Karakol.
Day 22: Sunday Animal Market
Rise early and travel to the outskirts of town for the unforgettable Karakol Sunday Animal Market. Return to the city and visit the striking Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, which was completed in 1895 and tour a Chinese mosque. In the afternoon, travel to the Valley of the Flowers and Jety-Orguz where you can enjoy a light hike through the magnificent canyon of red sandstone.
Day 23: Kochkor
Visit Skazka Canyon followed by your journey to Bokonbayevo Village and watch a demonstration of eagle hunting. Transfer to Kochkor afterwards, where you eill visit a local workshop and see the manufacturing of the traditional Kyrgyz wool carpets, called shyrdak. Stay overnight in a Yurt Camp and try your hand at baking flatbread in a traditional oven.
Day 24: Ashu Village
Take in the daily life in Ashu Village in the peaceful Chon-Kemin Valley. Take a leisurely walk in the foothills of the surrounding by magnificent mountains and fir tree forests and interact with some of the locals. This afternoon, travel to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, seeing the 12th Century Burana Tower en route.
Day 25: Ala Archa National Park
This morning take a city tour and visit Ala Too Square, Oak Park and the newly-restored Museum of History. Later, drive south to Ala Archa National Park where you will take a leisurely hike whilst you take in the picturesque scenery of snow-capped mountains and freshwater rivers. Return to Bishkek for a farewell dinner.
Day 26: Fly Bishkek to UK
Fly to the UK, arriving home later the same day.