China and 5 Stans - 24 Days
Day 1 – Urumqi (China)
This is the starting point of your Silk Road Journey! We will tour China, Central Asia, Iran and Caucasus. A truly fascinating discovery which many memorable and happy days ahead, we’ll start this travel. Upon arrival in Urumqi we’ll be transported to our hotel accommodation to rest after the flight. We will begin with a welcome dinner at one of the local restaurants. We will stay overnight in the hotel in Urumqi.
Day 2 – Urumqi (China)
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll start with an excursion to the Xingjian Regional Museum to see archeological treasures from the famous Silk Road and the minority cultures of Xingjian. Part of the exhibit is well-preserved 3000 year- old mummies excavated from the Loulan-a Takla Maka desert. We will have lunch and dinner at local restaurants and stay overnight in Urumqi.
Day 3 – Urumqi - Turpan -125 mi. (China)
Today after breakfast at the hotel we’ll be transported to Turpan for a full day of sightseeing. In the picturesque ancient village of Tuyoq we will visit the oldest Buddhist caves in the area, dating back to the fourth century. We will visit some local Uygur families while enjoying the lovely grapes and mountain scenery. After taking a lunch break, we will continue with a visit to the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves on the flanks of the Flaming Mountains and Grape Valley. We will dine at a local restaurant for dinner, and stay overnight in Turpan at a hotel.
Day 4 – Turpan – Urumqi -125 mi. (China)
After having breakfast at the hotel, we will start sightseeing with a visit to the Karez system, a remarkable ancient engineering system designed to carry water to the dry desert town. This system is 2000 years old! Afterwards we will have lunch, followed by visiting the Emin Minaret and Mosque, a 145- foot high spectacle built in 1778. We will wind up our sightseeing for the day with an excursion to the ancient city of Jiao- he to see the ruins. We will return to Urumqi in time for a short rest before having dinner at one of the local restaurants. We will spend the night in the hotel in Urumqi.
Day 5 –Urumqi - Kashgar – 1200 mi. (China)
After breakfast at the hotel we will be transported to the airport for a morning flight to Kashgar. There we will start our sightseeing with a visit to the colorful and delightfully chaotic Great Sunday Bazaar, where we can view a dazzling array of merchandise such as silk, cotton, carpets, jewelry, hats, knives, pots and pans, and fresh local vegetables and fruit. After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the largest Mosque in China, the Idkah Mosque built in 1442. We will also see Apak Khoja’s tomb, the holiest place in Xingjian for Sufis, built in 1640. After dining at a local restaurant we will stay overnight in Kashgar.
Day 6 – Kashgar – Urumqi – Almaty – 2000 mi. (China/Kazakhstan)
Today we will have breakfast at the hotel, and then begin our day with an excursion to the remains of a grand Buddhist temple, Mor Stupa. After viewing the temple we will visit the nearby village of Atush, where we will have lunch. From there we will be transported to the airport to catch a flight to Urumqi, where we will take a connecting flight to Almaty… Welcome to Central Asia travel, the crossroad of the Silk Road Tours! First stop of our 5 Stans 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 in Central Asia. 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 5 Stans. We will spend the night at the Almaty hotel.
Day 7 - 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 8 - Almaty – Bishkek – 170 mi. (Kazakhstan/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 9 - 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 10 – 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 11 – 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! 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 12 – 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 13 – 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 14 – 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 15 – 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 16 – Bukhara – Farab – Turkmenabat – Mary –290 mi (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan)
After breakfast we’ll continue with half a day of sightseeing in Bukhara, visiting: former summer palace of Bukhara Emir Said Olimkhan – last Emir of Bukhara Sitora – iMokhi – Khosa, Museum of Decorative Applied Art. After Lunch we say good bye to Uzbekistan as we make our way to Turkmenistan border which is almost 1.5 hours of driving away. Upon arrival to the border point we’ll go through custom procedures and continue on to drive directly to Mary via Turkmenabat which will take another 4.5 hours. On the way we’ll cross the Floating Bridge (almost .5mi. long). We will proceed our way to Mary crossing one of the biggest deserts in the world known as Kara Kum Desert which means “black sand”. Upon arrival in Mary we will accommodate in hotel and have dinner in one of the local restaurants. Overnight at hotel in Mary.
Day 17 – Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll make our way through sand dunes and bush forests of the desert, to an important excursion of Old Merv – Merv located at the road crossing of Great Silk Road quickly became one of most important and biggest cities of the ancient World. Sightseeing will include: Gyz Gala and Oglan Gala, Complex of Askhabs, Gyaur Gala, Erk Gala, Soltan Gala, Soltan Sanjar Mausoleum, Ibn Zeid Mausoleum. After lunch we’ll take a walking tour within the central part of Mary City. Sightseeing Local United Museum of History, Ethnography, Flora and Fauna of Mary and Orthodox Church built by Russians at the end of XIX century, the Regional Mosque of Mary Province, The Central Theater of Mary, The Convention and Conference Center “Ruhiyet Koshgi”, Central Park and Monument of Mollanepes. Late afternoon transfer to the airport of Mary for flight to Ashgabat by flight T5-132 at 19:00. Upon arrival transfer to have dinner at local restaurant. Accommodate and overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 18 – Ashgabat - Nissa - Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
Today after breakfast we’ll proceed with sightseeing one of the most beautiful cities of the world which was recently included into the Book of Guinness as the Most-White Marble City. Today’s sightseeing includes: Complex of Monuments of Oguz Han and Sons surrounded with fountains. Tombs of Turkmenbashy (first President of Turkmenistan S. Nyyazow) and his parents and brothers, Old Nissa - The Sanctuary of Parhian Kings, Nissa was the capital of Parthian Empire which lasted 600 years and was greatest enemy of Rome Empire. After excursions of Old Nissa we’ll proceed to Monuments of Archabil Shayoly and discover new part of Ashgabat with its’ modern buildings, monuments and parks which includes: Health Path of Turkmenbashy built on mountains which became very popular place among locals, Monument of Constitution and tallest building in Turkmenistan (600 feet), “Alem” Culture and Recreation Center. In the afternoon we’ll transfer to hotel and check in. We’ll have lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we will continue with sightseeing of Ashgabat, visiting: Museum of Turkmen Carpets, Park dedicated to Turkmen horses-the pride of Turkmen, Gulistan Bazar, Monument for the Victims of the Earthquake of 1948, Monument of Lenin, Ertogrul Gazy Mosque. We’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants. After dinner we’ll go for a night tour, driving along the main streets of Ashgabat making stop near Palace of Happiness. Dinner followed by a folk show program. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 19 – Ashgabat – Dashoguz (Turkmenistan)
Today after breakfast we’ll have another full day of sightseeing in Ashgabat which will include: Ashgabat’s famous “Altyn Asyr” Oriental Bazar, Jygyldyk bazaar – one of the biggest bazaar in Central Asia. After bazaar we’ll visit Hippodrome of Ashgabat where we’ll see famous horses of Turkmenistan: Turkmen Horses – Akhalteke. We’ll have lunch at one of the local restaurants in Ashgabat. After lunch we’ll continue sightseeing of National Museum of History highly recommendable: one of the biggest museums in Central Asia. After Museum we’ll be visiting Arch of Neutrality – famous rocket and tripod style built building symbolizing neutral status of Turkmenistan. Its’ height is over 300 feet including 40 feet rotating statue of first President of Turkmenistan: Saparmyrat Nyyazow (Turkmenbashy). Enjoy short walking tour within the Park of Independency along the hundreds of fountains and statutes with stops to visit Monuments of Independency and Ruhnama. Late afternoon transfer to the airport of Ashgabat for flight to Dashoguz by T%-109 at 19:20. Upon arrival transfer to have dinner at local restaurant. After dinner accommodation and rest. Today overnight is at hotel in Dashoguz.
Day 20 – Dashoguz – Kunya – Urgench – Khiva – 190 mi. (Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll proceed with drive of 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 lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we’ll transfer to the border pass Dashoguz – Shavat which is located 10 mi from Dashoguz. Upon arrival proceed the way through passport control and customs procedures and return to Uzbekistan. After border formalities on both sides we’ll continue our way to Khiva. Upon arrival we’ll 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 21 – Khiva – Urgench – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
We will have our breakfast at hotel afterwards we will spend full day sightseeing Khiva. We will visit Ichan Kala – a UNESCO World Heritage Site including madrasah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kelta Minar, Kunya Ark, madrasah Muhammad Rakhimkhan. Our lunch break will be held at one of the local restaurant and we will continue our sightseeing program. We will visit sights such are: Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khodja Minaret and Madrasah, Djuma Mosque and Minaret, Tash Hovli Palace. Our dinner event also will be held at the local restaurant we will proceed to airport for a flight back to Tashkent leaving at 08:40 p.m and arriving at 10:10 p.m. (subject to change). Upon arrival to Tashkent, we’ll accommodate in hotel for overnight and rest.
Day 22 – Tashkent – Khujand – 150 mi. (Uzbekistan/Tajikistan)
After our early breakfast at the hotel in Tashkent we will leave the city towards Tajikistan for our 2 day excursion of Tajikistan. We will head to the border check point called Oybek and after border crossing formalities we’ll continue on to city Khujand. Once we arrive to the one of the ancient cities of Tajikistan Khujand first thing we will chek in to our hotel. Khujand is the second largest city of Tajikistan located in the north part of the country. Khujand was founded about 2,300 years ago during the time of Alexander the Great. City is located in a very favorable location of the Ferghana valley, Khujand prospered for a long time, becoming rich and building palaces, mosques, and citadels. City experienced several devastations during its history. In the 13th century it was conquered and destroyed by the Genghis Khan's army. During the second part of the day we will have a close city tour. Our first night in Tajikistan will be completed by dinner at a local restaurant followed by a show program. We’ll overnight in Khujend.
Day 23 – Khujand – Oybek – Tashkent – 135 mi. (Tajikistan/Uzbekistan)
We will have our breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast we will proceed with our tour and we will visit sights such are: ancient part of Khujand: Timurmalik fortress, Archeology and History museums, Orient bazaar Panjshanbe – famous Panjshanbe city market is one of the most interesting sights of Khujand. Sheikh Muslihiddin Masque located close by the market. We will have stop there and Mausoleum, Museum of Archaeology and Resporation. Our lunch break will be at the local restaurant and in the afternoon we will drive back towards Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Once we are back to Uzbekistan, we will have a rest at the hotel before making a long way back home. We will have a Farewell dinner followed by a show program and return to hotel for overnight in Tashkent.
Day 24 – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
As everything that has is a beginning, today our tour of Central Asia comes to an end. We’ll take you to the airport in accordance to your flight schedule and wish a safe flight home.