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The Five Stans of the Silk Road

26 days, Bishkek to Ashgabat

See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.

26 days

Bishkek to Ashgabat

From$26335HKD
was $32919
Valid on Jul 9 2022
Trip Code: AYBA

Need a flight? We can help.

Call us to book your flights! We'll find you the best option!

Special Offers

Expires on Jun 01, 2022 03:59 UTC
Promo Code G22GAV020ADV09

See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.

Is this tour for me?

Travel Style: Classic

All of the highlights, culture, access, and I-can’t-believe-we-did-that moments, all at a great price.

Service Level: Standard

Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character; mix of public and private transport.

Physical Rating: 3 - Average

Some tours may include light hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, avg 12

Age requirement: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visa Requirements

Countries visited during this trip have special visa requirements applicable to many nationalities.

View Visa & Entry Requirements

26 days

Bishkek to Ashgabat

From$26335HKD
was $32919
Valid on Jul 9 2022
Trip Code: AYBA

Need a flight? We can help.

Call us to book your flights! We'll find you the best option!

Special Offers

Expires on Jun 01, 2022 03:59 UTC
Promo Code G22GAV020ADV09

Creating ripples that change lives

The Ripple Score is an honest evaluation of how often we use local businesses and services to create each tour. With this score you can see the percentage of our local expenses that stay in the communities you visit. Learn more

Ripple Score

68

Map of the route for The Five Stans of the Silk Road

Places visited

Itinerary

Day 1Bishkek

Arrive at any time.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Welcome Moment Meet Your CEO and Group

Day 2Bishkek/Chong-Kemin

After breakfast, embark on a city tour of Bishkek before travelling to the serenity of Chong-Kemin Valley. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Tonight, stay in a cozy guest house run by Ashuu villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village and savour a home-cooked traditional dinner.

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 3Chong-Kemin/Song Kul

In the morning, opt for a hike to the nearby mountains or explore the famous gorges of Chong-Kemin. After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive along the Kalmak-Ashuu mountain pass to Song Kul Lake. Immerse yourself in Kyrgyz culture with an overnight stay in a traditional yurt. Experience daily nomadic life and wander the breathtaking landscape. With an altitude of 3,016 meters above sea level, it's possible to experience four seasons in one day! Indulge in delicious home-cooked cuisine for dinner, then get cozy in the yurt around the stove.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Local Living Moment Overnight in a Yurt

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 4Song Kul/Tamga

Spend the morning soaking in all the beauty of Song Kul Lake before departing for Kochkor to learn the importance of felt-making to Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn the craft during a hands-on workshop creating a small version of the traditional carpet known as ala-kiyiz, and enjoy lunch together. Afterward, head to Tamga village in the clutches of the Terskey Ala-Too and celestial Issyk-Kol’ Lake, where you'll spend the night at a village guesthouse and get to know the local community members.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Local Living Moment Tamga Village Stay

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5Tamga/Jety-Oguz

Enjoy a free morning getting to know this isolated village. Around midday, transfer to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre to observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge and overnight in another one of those cozy yurts.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your G for Good Moment Yurt Building Demonstration

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6Jety-Oguz/Karakol

Say goodbye to the beautiful valley of Jety-Oguz and ride to Kyrgyzstan's 4th largest city - Karakol. Stop for a visit at the Prejevalskiy Museum, dedicated to the famous Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky, followed by a city tour. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century. Spend the afternoon as you wish, exploring Karakol.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 7Karakol/Saty Village

Cross the border into Kazakhstan on the journey to Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. On arrival, jump in a Russian 4x4 for the ride to Kaindy Lake, then embark on a trek to explore the sunken forest. Soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eerie sight of submerged trees. Spend the night in a homestay and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals for a true Kazakh experience.

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 8Saty Village/Almaty

Depart early this morning for Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Boasting stunning shades of red, orange, and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. On arrive in Almaty, take a city tour visiting sights such as Independence Square, Zenkov Cathedral, Panfilov's Park, and the striking WWII memorial. Time permitting, opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafés.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 9Almaty/Dushanbe

In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on the Varzob River. Enjoy an evening in the city.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 10Dushanbe/Kuli Iskandarkul

Enjoy a morning tour of Dushanbe, visiting the main monuments, museum, and mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains to Kuli Iskandarkul for a short hike to Iskander Darya waterfall. Afterward, continue the drive—passing Alexander the Great's lake—to your overnight stay at a local home in the stunning mountain valley. Meet the local people and explore the gorgeous landscape of the Fann Mountains.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Local Living Moment Community Homestay

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11Kuli Iskandarkul

After breakfast, embark on a trek alongside Sarytag and the Karakul River. Return to the homestay for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure. Later, head to Sarytag Village to experience local living and get a better understanding of life in this remote region. After the village exploration, head back to the homestay for a delicious Tajikistan dinner.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Local Living Moment Community Homestay

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 12Kuli Iskandarkul/Khujand

Continue on to Khujand, stopping first in Istaravshan to explore a local mosque and Mug Teppe, an ancient citadel fortress stormed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before continuing the drive to Khujand. Wander the city in the afternoon, visiting the Historical Museum of Sughd, resembling a castle, and the Mausoleum of Sheik Muslekheddin.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 13Khujand/Tashkent

Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent, where modern skyscrapers mix with Soviet-era architecture and mosaic mausoleums. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 14Tashkent

Spend the day freely exploring this unique bustling city. Check out one of the many museums, wander the streets admiring the modern, Soviet-era architecture, venture up Tashkent Tower (which offers city views from its observation deck), or wander through the bazaar.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 15Tashkent/Samarkand

Travel on to Samarkand, known for intricately beautiful mosques and mausoleums, situated on the Silk Road. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum, dedicated to the famous conqueror who once hoped to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 16Samarkand

Embark on a city tour, visiting Ulugbek Observatory, Shaki Zinda complex, the bazaar, Bibi Khanum, and Registan Square. With a free afternoon, continue exploring the Samarkand sights, have a cuppa in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar. Opt to explore the Tomb of Prophet Daniel, famous for the Biblical story of Daniel and the lions.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 17Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp

Travel out into the desert to visit Chashma Complex, a pilgrimage site in the territory of Nurata, dominated by ruins of Alexander the Great's fortress, Juma mosque, a bath-house, and the ancient Panjvakta mosque. All of this, hiding a holy spring believed to heal diseases. After exploring the complex, head to Aidarkul Lake and opt for a swim before continuing on for an overnight stay in a local yurt camp. Enjoy an authentic Uzbekistan dinner and an evening Kazakh singing show.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Local Living Moment Overnight in a Yurt

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 18Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara

Travel to Bukhara, known as one of the most charming cities in the country, and get your bearings on an orientation walk. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, enjoy a traditional dinner cooked by a local family, visit a hammam (bathhouse), or just relax in the pleasant atmosphere of this Silk Road city.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 19Bukhara

Explore Bukhara on a half-day guided walking tour around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets, or trading domes, that make up the Old City. A centre for pottery, cloth, and carpets, Bukhara is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees. Wander the artisan shops and narrow twisting streets and alleyways, or sit at a café table and let the evening drift by. Opt to watch a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai, or indulge in a rejuvenating hammam bathhouse.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 20Bukhara/Khiva

Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert on a full day's journey to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva, well worth the arduous drive. Get to know this peaceful, picturesque city on a late afternoon orientation walk, and pick your favourite spots to explore more in-depth tomorrow.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 21Khiva

Before exploring this historic town on your own, enjoy a guided tour to learn about local life here. Wander through the narrow labyrinth mudbrick alleyways of old town, bargain with locals at the bazaar, admire the madrassas and blue mosaic domes, climb up towering minarets, and venture into the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. Explore the inner walls of Ichon-Qala, and enjoy spectacular sunset views of the sand-coloured mosques and homes.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 22Khiva/Dashoguz

Spend the morning in Khiva, enjoying your last moments here to experience anything you couldn't squeeze in yesterday, or do some last minute shopping. After lunch, drive to the Uzbek-Turkmen border and continue to Dashoguz. Take an orientation walk and opt for dinner in local café, or explore the city and it's Bai Market.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 23Dashoguz/Darvaza

Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kunya Urgench to visit the ancient capital of the Khorezmian Empire. After lunch, continue to the Kara-Kum desert and witness the fiery Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Gates of Hell." This evening, enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner and spend the night camping under the stars at a yurt camp.

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 24Darvaza/Ashgabat

After breakfast, begin the journey to the capital of Turkmenistan - Ashgabat. On the way, stop near the community of Erbent and admire its golden sand dunes that stretch out to the horizon. On arrival in Ashgabat, spend the evening at leisure. Opt to visit the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, also known as Gypjak Mosque, and capture the sun setting on the symmetrical minarets and golden domes.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 25Ashgabat

Spend the day exploring bustling Ashgabat. Enjoy a tour of the city in the morning, visiting several city treasures such as the Monument of Independence and the National museum or Neutrality Arch. Afterward, opt to venture to the ancient ruins of Nisa, or continue exploring Ashgabat.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 26Ashgabat

Depart at any time.

Meals included:

Breakfast
View full itinerary

What's Included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Yurt Building Demonstration, Barskoon
  • Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group, Bishkek
  • Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Song Köl
  • Your Local Living Moment: Tamga Village Stay, Tamga
  • Your Local Living Moment: Community Homestay, Kuli Iskandarkul
  • Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Aydar Kŭl Camp
  • Half-day city tour (Bishkek)
  • Burana Tower visit (Bishkek)
  • Przhevalsky Museum visit (Karakol)
  • Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu)
  • Saty village stay
  • City tour (Almaty)
  • Charyn Canyon Visit
  • City tour (Dushanbe)
  • Waterfall hike (Kŭli Iskandarkŭl)
  • City tour (Khujand)
  • Mug Yepe Visit (Istaravshan)
  • Market visit (Khujand)
  • City tour (Samarkand)
  • Walking tour (Bukhara)
  • Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit (Nurata)
  • Fortress of Alexander the Great visit (Nurata)
  • City tour (Bukhara)
  • Khiva Ancient City tour
  • City tour (Tashkent)
  • Felt-making workshop visit
  • Hikes and picnic lunch
  • Daravaz gas crater ("Door to Hell") visit
  • Erbent visit
  • City tour (Ashgabat)
  • Internal flight
  • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Standard hotels/guesthouses (20 nts), yurts (4 nts), homestay (1 nt).

Meals

25 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 9 dinners
Allow USD490-640 for meals not included.

Transportation

Private vehicles, plane, walking.

Staff & experts

CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.

Available extras (Add these to your tour when you book)

My Own Room - From $5029.00

If you're travelling solo and would prefer to have your own private room throughout your trip, select this option during the online booking process.

Make it a private tour

Book this tour as a private departure - with your own CEO and all the benefits of a G Adventures group tour - for any group, big or small (even just one traveller).

The Five Stans of the Silk Road

| 26 days - Bishkek to Ashgabat - from $26335 HKD