Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan - Heart of the Silk Road


Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Tajikistan - Heart of the Silk Road

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 – Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight at Shodlik Palace or similar.

Day 2 - Khiva (30 kms, approx. 1hour)

Fly to Urgench and transfer to Khiva, a stunning city with a wealth of ancient monuments. We spend the afternoon exploring its sites, including its many mosques, medressas and mausoleums of former rulers. Overnight at Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 3 – Khiva

Continue our exploration of this marvellous city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later there will be time for you to explore on your own. Overnight at Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 4 – Konye-Urgench (240 kms, approx. 4 hours) - Ashgabat

We cross the border into little known Turkmenistan and head for the site of Konye-Urgench, an ancient capital of the land of Khorezm with beautiful mausoleums. After visiting its key sites we fly to Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)

Please note that the procedure for crossing borders can be lengthy even at quieter times. The border guards (especially those on the Uzbekistan side) carry out thorough searches of luggage and will pay close attention to any medicines and reading materials.

Day 5 – Ashgabat - Mary

Spend the morning exploring the sites of Ashgabat, a modern city that has been the focus of extensive and some would say eccentric building projects. We then fly to Mary, an oasis town close to the ancient city of Merv. Overnight at Mary Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 6 – Merv - Bukhara (355 kms, approx. 5 hours)

This morning we visit the ancient site of Merv, the most important in Turkmenistan and dating back 2500 years with an array of old mosques, citadels and Buddhist stupas. After exploring Merv we cross the border back into Uzbekistan and head to Bukhara, Central Asia’s holiest city. Overnight at Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 7 – Bukhara

We spend today exploring Bukhara, one of the most spectacular cities in the region and with a superbly preserved old quarter. Overnight at Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 8 – Gijduvan – Samarkand (300 kms, approx. 5 hours)

Drive to the legendary city of Samarkand stopping en route at Gijduvan, locally renowned as a centre for ceramics. Upon arrival in Samarkand we begin to explore. Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 9 - Samarkand

A full day to discover glorious Samarkand with its spectacular collection of traditional buildings. The city is most famous for its Registan Square, which contains perhaps the most stunning and well preserved architecture in the whole region. Long held in awe by early western travellers, it is easy to lose yourself in wonder at the incredible mosques and medressas, elaborately decorated in blue tiles and traditional Islamic art. Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 10 – Penjikent (80 kms – 1-2 hours)

After breakfast we cross the border into Tajikistan and drive towards Penjikent, stopping on the way at the UNESCO World Heritage site of the ancient town of Sarazm which dates back to 3500 BC. We will continue on to Penjikent with its remarkably well preserved old town, which was once a Sogdian trading city on the Silk Road. On arrival we will spend some time exploring the city. Overnight at Sughd Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 11 – Dushanbe (270 kms, approx. 3.5 hours)

After breakfast we will drive from Penjikent to the capital Dushanbe over the Anzob pass (2900m) and on arrival we explore Dushanbe’s sites and soak up the atmosphere of this little visited Central Asian city. Overnight at Hotel Vatan or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 - Iskander Kul (150 kms, approx. 4 hours)

Drive through stunning scenery to Lake Iskander Kul in the Fann Mountains where we have opportunities to hike around the lake shore. We have the rest of the day to explore the area and can visit nearby waterfalls and springs as well as small settlements. Overnight at tourist cottages. (BLD) 

Day 13 – Istravshan- Khudjand (165 kms, approx. 3.5 hours)

After breakfast we drive over the Shahristan pass to the capital of northern Tajikistan, Khudjand. We will stop on the way in Istravshan where we will visit the Mugh Fortress, Kok-Gumbaz Medressa and Chor-Gumbaz mosque and local bazaar. We continue to Khudjand and on arrival we will take a city tour which includes Pushkin Square (named after the Russian writer), Kamoli Khudjandi Square (named after the Persian poet),  the fortress of Timur Malik and a visit to the central market which is one of the oldest in Tajikistan, Overnight at Khudjand Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 14 – Tashkent (265 kms, approx. 4 hours)

Cross the border back to Uzbekistan and head to Tashkent for our final night. Overnight at Shodlik Palace or similar. (B)

Day 15 – Tashkent

Tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

Fergana Valley Extension

Day 1- Tashkent- Fergana (300 kms, approx. 5 hours)

The morning is at leisure and we then begin the drive to Fergana stopping at the Kamchik Pass for photos, and any other places of interest along the way. On arrival in Fergana there may be time to look around. Overnight at Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

Day 2- Rishtan – Margilan

A full day excursion to Rishtan famous for its traditional cobalt pottery techniques and Margilon to witness traditional silk production and the local bazaar. Overnight at Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

Day 3- Kokand – Tashkent

After breakfast drive back to Tashkent via Kokand visiting Khudoyar Khan’s Palace, the Norbuta Museum- Bia Madrassah, and the Modarikhon Mausoleum. Overnight at Shodlik Palace Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 4- Tour ends.

Transfer to the airport for flight home. (B)