4 Stans and Iran - 22 Days
Day 1 – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Welcome to Central Asia Tour, the crossroad of the Silk Road! First stop of our 5 Central Asia Tour, is Kazakhstan! We will transport you from the Almaty airport to a hotel about twenty minutes away, where after checking in you will have time for a short rest before dinner. We will have dinner at a local restaurant.
During dinner we will give a brief presentation about Kazakhstan, the largest country on Central Asia Tour. Kazakhstan is rich in both natural beauty and ancient history, and is home to stunning landscapes and ancient shrines and monuments from here we will start the travel of 4 Stans. We will spend the night at the Almaty hotel.
Day 2 – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Enjoy a good breakfast at the hotel today, because we have an exciting, full day of sightseeing planned! We will visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov Wooden Cathedral, St. Nicholas Cathedral, the National Musical Instruments Museum, the Central State Museum, Almaty’s Green Bazaar, and an observatory with a fantastic panoramic view. We will be able to admire ancient archeological artifacts, beautiful cathedrals and experience the excitement, color and energy of a true Asian Bazaar. We finish the day with dinner at a local restaurant, and will spend the night at the hotel in Almaty.
Day 3 - Almaty – Bishkek – 170 mi. (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan)
Today we’ll continue Central Asia Tour info Kyrgyzstan. We will leave Almaty after breakfast at the hotel, driving to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the newly built highway. During the four-hour drive we will enjoy gorgeous scenery, and we’ll tell you some interesting facts about this republic, a land of majestic mountains. At 350 meters above sea level, 93 % of Kyrgyzstan is covered by mountains! We will check into a hotel in the capital city of Bishkek for a short rest before having lunch at a local restaurant. Then we’ll do some more sightseeing, have dinner at a local restaurant, and spend the night in Bishkek.
Day 4 - Bishkek – Issyk Kul – 165 mi. (Kyrgyzstan)
After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the lovely Issyk Kul Lake, one of the largest mountain lakes in the world. Issyk Kul Lake is so beautiful that it is known as the pearl of Kyrgyzstan. This lake is well over 1600 miles above sea level.
On the way there we will first stop to visit Burana Tower, located in the city of Tokmok, where we will enjoy lunch with a local Kyrgyz family. Among other things, sightseeing today will also include ancient exhibits at a museum. We will check into a local hotel and then dine at one of the local restaurants. We will spend the night in a hotel at Issyk Kul Lake.
Day 5 – Issyk Kul Chopon Ata - Grigorevka Gorge – Bishkek - 160 mi. (Kyrgyzstan)
We will have breakfast at the hotel, and then go to Grigorevka Gorge, located 45 miles from the city of Cholpon-Ata. This is a land of gently sloping valleys and dense fir forests. We will spend the day relaxing among the picturesque scenery enjoying the beauty of nature. We’ll lunch at a local restaurant, then return to Bishkek where you will have some free time before dinner. We’ll spend the night in Bishkek.
Day 6 – Bishkek – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan)
We will have breakfast at the hotel, and then go to the airport to take a flight to Tashkent…Welcome to Uzbekistan! The heart of this Central Asia Tour - this is a fascinating country full of contrasts and surprises so have your cameras ready and prepare to be amazed.
You will be transferred from the airport in Tashkent to a hotel, and on the way to the hotel you will be given a short summary describing Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is a major part of Central Asia Tour. Once we have checked into the hotel, we will have a full day of sightseeing in the historical city of Tashkent. First we will explore the oldest part of the city, where you will see vividly colorful and eclectic bazaars, as well as spectacular architectural wonders. After lunch we will continue on to the modern part of the city, where you will see beautiful contemporary buildings flanked by walls of fountains. We will visit the Amir Timur museum and a museum of Handcrafted Art, and then have dinner at a local restaurant before spending the night in Tashkent.
Day 7 – Tashkent – Samarkand - 190 mi. (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we will take a train to world famous Samarkand located 190 mi from Tashkent. The road to Samarkand is via Syrdarya and Jizzakh provinces and takes approximately 3 hours. We will arrive to Samarkand in the afternoon, check in to hotel and have lunch. After short rest we’ll start our excursion of Samarkand by visiting Paper Mills Factory where we’ll have a presentation of paper production from mulberry tree, Afrasiyob Museum, Ulugbek’s observatory – dated to 1428 - 1429 – known as biggest observatory of the East with best equipment to the time. After dinner at one of the local restaurants we’ll transfer to hotel for overnight in Samarkand.
Day 8 – Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing of Samarkand. Visit heart of the city – Registan Square which played great role in commercial and scientific life of the time. Gur Emir Mausoleum - mausoleum for the males of Temurid’s dynasty, real masterpiece of Central Asian architecture. Shaki Zinda Necropolis in the northern outskirts of Samarkand. Bibi – Khanum Mosque construction of which started in 1399 after Victorian campaign of Temur to India. Central bazaar of Samarkand- Siyobian where we’ll taste famous round bread (non) made only in Samarkand. After this long day, we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight in Samarkand.
Day 9 – Samarkand – Bukhara – 172 mi. (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart Samarkand for Bukhara. Stop on the way at the ruins of medieval monument Caravanserai Rabat-i-Malik. Continue driving to Bukhara via Gijduvan where we’ll visit Abdulla’s pottery house where we’ll be offered short presentation and a cup of tea. Upon arrival to Bukhara, we’ll accommodate at the hotel. Visit Chor Minor memorial. Today we’ll dinner in one of the local restaurants and will overnight in Bukhara.
Day 10 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll have a full day of sightseeing of this ancient city. Bukhara is one of most historically rich cities on the Great Silk Road attracting attention of thousands of people with its unique heritage. Today we’ll visit: Samanid’s dynasty mausoleum known to be one of the best architectural samples of the Samanids period (875 - 999). Chashma Ayub Mausoleum – legend say is it of Prophet Jove. Bolo – Khauz Mosque. The Ark Forteress – Citadel is the most ancient memorial of Bukhara, on archeological matter dated to the 3rd century B.C. Kalon Complex – consists of minaret, Mosque and Madrasah both of which are still active. Magoki Attori Mosque. Ulugbek and Abdulazizi Khan madrasahs. Next we’ll visit most popular place of Bukhara – reservoir Lyabi Khauz complex built in 1620 by khans’ dignitary Nodir Devan Begi. We’ll end the day with a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Today we’ll overnight in Bukhara.
Day 11 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll continue second full day of sightseeing in Bukhara: former summer palace of Bukhara Emir Said Olimkhan – last Emir of Bukhara, Sitora – iMokhi – Khosa, Museum of Decorative Applied Art. We’ll be back to Bukhara in time for dinner and have another overnight in Bukhara.
Day 12 Bukhara – Khiva -350mi. (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, today we’ll have a long day ahead making our way through Kyzyl Kum desert going from Bukhara to Khiva. We’ll cover over 350 mi and spend most part of the day on the road. While it is a rather hard day, it is the only way to get from Bukhara to Khiva and we’ll try to make it as pleasant as possible. On the way we’ll make stops to visit ancient ruins Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala. We’ll have a picnic lunch and upon arrival accommodate in hotel in Khiva for rest and relaxation. Khiva is a fascinating place, walk through Ichan Kala – old walled city of Khiva, will give you an insight into the life led there from ancient days up to the present time. We’ll have a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Overnight is at the hotel in Khiva.
Day 13 – Khiva (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing in Khiva: visit Ichan Kala – a UNESCO World Heritage Site including madrasah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kelta Minar, Kunya Ark, madrasah Muhammad Rakhimkhan. We’ll have lunch at local restaurant and continue sightseeing program: visit Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khodja Minaret and Madrasah, Djuma Mosque and Minaret, Tash Hovli Palace. After dinner at the local restaurant we’ll transfer to hotel for overnight and rest in Khiva.
Day 14 - Khiva – Dashoguz - Kunya - Urgench - Ashgabat – 200 mi. (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today in the morning we transfer to border Shavat – Dashoguz –40mi. Upon arrival proceed the way through passport control and customs procedures and enter in Turkmenistan. After border formalities on both sides we’ll continue our way to Dashoguz where we’ll have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we’ll drive another 75 mi to Koneurgench – the capital of Khorezmshahs, have sightseeing of Old City which will include: Portal of Caravansaray, Mamun Minaret, Il Arslan Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Academy of Horezm, Kutlug Timur Minaret – one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia and Turabek Hanum Mausoleum. After half day excursion of Koneurgench we’ll drive back to Dashoguz where we’ll stop for a dinner at one of the local restaurants. After dinner we’ll transfer to the airport for a flight from Dashoguz to Ashgabat. Upon arrival we’ll accommodate in hotel in Ashgabat for rest and relaxation. We’ll have a dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight is at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 15 – Ashgabat –Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
Right after breakfast we will go to the Ashgabat airport for our flight to Mary. There we will visit “Old Merv”, which was located at the road crossing of the Great Silk Road, and was one of the largest and most important cities of the ancient world. There are many wonderful historic sights to see before returning to Ashgabat in the evening for dinner at a local restaurant. We will spend the night at the hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 16 – Ashgabat – Nissa - Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
After we have breakfast we will be sightseeing in one of the most beautiful cities on earth-recently added to the Guinness Book as “the Most-White Marble City in the World”! We’ll visit the Complex of Monuments of Oguz Han and Sons, a magnificent structure that is surrounded by fountains. We’ll explore Old Nissa-the capital of the Parthian Empire for 600 years and the greatest enemy of the Roman Empire.
Next we’ll visit the newer part of Ashgabat, viewing beautiful modern buildings, monuments and parks. We will see the Monument of Constitution, which at 600 feet is the tallest building in Turkmenistan.
In the afternoon we will check in to our hotel, and then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we will continue our sightseeing in Ashgabat, viewing several mosques and monuments. We’ll also visit the gorgeous Museum of Turkmen Carpets, as well as a lovely park dedicated to the pride of the Turkmen, their beautiful horses.
After dinner at a local restaurant we will go for a night tour, driving along the main streets of Ashgabat and stopping to see the incredible Palace of Happiness. At the end of the night we will return to our hotel for the evening.
Day 17 – Ashgabat –Mashhad – 170 mi. (Turkmenistan/Iran)
After our breakfast we will do a bit more sightseeing in Ashgabat by going to the National Museum of History. This site is highly recommended as one of the biggest museums in Central Asia. Our next stop will be the exciting Arch of Neutrality, a very famous rocket and tripod style building symbolizing the neutral status of Turkmenistan. This building is over 300 feet tall with a 40-foot rotating statue of the first President of Turkmenistan, Saparmyrat Nyyazow (Turkmen -ashy). We will enjoy a short walking tour in the Park of Independency, viewing hundreds of fountains and statues.
Today we’ll leave Central Asia and continue to travel to Iran. After lunch we will have a 3-hour drive going from Ashgabat to Mashhad, where we will catch a flight to Tehran. We will check in to a hotel in Tehran and have time to rest before dinner. After dinner we’ll spend the night in Tehran.
Day 18 – Tehran (Iran)
After breakfast at the hotel we will spend the day sightseeing in Tehran. We will visit the Museum of the Islamic Period, Golestan Palace, and Old Bazaar before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we’ll visit the Saad Abad Complex, Niavaran Museum and the Darake Rural Area. We will wind up the day with dinner at a local restaurant and a late driving tour of the city. Tonight we will stay at the hotel in Tehran.
Day 19 - Tehran – Shiraz (Iran)
This morning after breakfast we will go to the airport in Tehran for a short flight to Shiraz. After we check in at the hotel we will have a morning excursion to Persepolis, once the capital of the Achaemenes Empire. We will visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sights, Naghesh-e-Rajab and Naghesh-e-Rostam. After breaking for lunch we will continue sightseeing at the Eram Garden, also called the Garden of Paradise. We will also see a palace and the tombs of famous Persian poets of the medieval period. We’ll have dinner at a local restaurant and spend the night in Shiraz.
Day 20 - Shiraz – Isfahan – 300 mi. (Iran)
After breakfast today we will spend about six hours driving the 300 miles to the fascinating city of Isfahan. Along the way we will stop in the ancient Persian city of Pasargadae and see the tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire. This is an archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will also stop for lunch before going on to Isfahan, where we check in to a hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant. We will stay in Isfahan overnight.
Day 21 – Isfahan – Tehran (Iran)
We will have breakfast at the hotel before beginning our sightseeing in Isfahan. Today we will visit the Imam, Sheikh and Lotfollah Mosques, as well as the Aliqapou Palace, Vanack Church, Shaking Minarets and the Fire Temple. We will break for lunch before continuing our sightseeing, visiting the Friday Mosque and several palaces. In the evening we will fly back to Tehran for a farewell dinner, and we will spend the night in Tehran.
Day 22 – Tehran (Iran)
All that has a beginning comes to an end. Today is the end of our tour. After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll take you to for airport of Tehran for a departure home. Thank you for being with us!