Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan in 16 days

Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan in 16 days

At the Son Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Flock of sheep at Lake Son Kul in Kyrgyzstan

Highlights of this 16-day trip in Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan:
– excursions in the classic historical Uzbek cities Bukhara & Samarkand plus the capital Tashkent
– a visit to handycraft workshops in the Fergana valley in Uzbekistan
– an adventurous journey through the heart of Kyrgyzstan
– visits to different gorges and canyons in Kyrgyzstan
– stay in Kyrgyzstan at Lake Son Kul at an altitude of 3,000 meters in a yurt

Without a doubt, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are the two most popular tourist destinations in Central Asia. This is an ideal combination of countries for people interested in nature as well as the history and culture of the region. In addition, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have completely different cultures. The Kyrgyz are traditionally nomads and in the summer you will find hundreds of yurts scattered throughout the country. A country dominated by high mountains and beautiful mountain lakes.

Uzbeks have never been nomads, but builders (of cities and monuments) and growers (of agricultural crops). There are also mountainous areas, but Uzbekistan is largely flat, partly fertile and largely desert-like. The country is popular for its beautiful and well-preserved Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, as well as its delicious cuisine and handcrafted souvenirs.

Finally, a visit to Kyrgyzstan is optimal in the summer months when all roads are accessible. Uzbekistan is very hot and not attractive to everyone at that time. Optimal periods for a visit are the beginning and end of summer (May-June and September-October). In the spring, a reverse order, i.e. with the start in Uzbekistan, is therefore preferable (and possible).

You can read more about travelling in Central Asia here. Including much practical advise.

Day 1: Departure from home to Manas Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Day 2: Airport “Manas”  – Bishkek town (40 km, 1 hour drive)

Guide will meet guests at the airport. Transfer to Bishkek town. Bishkek City tour. Dinner at the local restaurant.
Check in the hotel. Overnight in Bishkek.

Day 3: Bishkek — Burana Tower – Chon Kemin (200 km, 4 hours drive)

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Burana. Excursion upon arrival.
Burana Tower
The Burana Tower is a large minaret in the Chuy Valley  in northern Kyrgyzstan. It is located about 80 km east of the country’s capital Bishkek, near the town of Tokmok.

The tower, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. The tower was built in the 11th century and was used as a template for other minarets. An external staircase and steep, winding stairway inside the tower enables visitors to climb to the top. It is one of the oldest architectural construction in Central Asia.

Continue to drive to Chon Kemin. Lunch upon arrival to the Guest House. Free time. Enjoy your time at swimming pool or short horse ride. Dinner and overnight in a Guest House.

Day 4: Chon Kemin — Chon Ak Suu (Grigoriev) gorge – Kyrchyn (Semenov) gorge — Karakol town (Northen shore of Issyk Kul lake) (350 km, 6 hours drive)

Breakfast at the Guest House. Transfer to Karakol town through Chon Ak Suu (Grigoriev) gorge and Kyrchyn (Semenov) gorge.
Issyk-Kul lake
Issyk-Kul is a lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the seventh deepest lake in the world, the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Issyk-Kul means “warm lake” in the Kyrgyz language ; although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes.

Excursion to open space Petroglyph museum.
Lunch at the local café in Cholpon Ata town.
Next stop for sightseeing in Grigoriev and Semenov gorge.
City tour upon arrival to Karakol: Dungan Mosque – Central Mosque of the City built by Chinese architect, Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Historical museum.
Dinner and overnight in Karakol town.

Day 5: Karakol – Jety-Oguz gorge – Kok Jayik valley (40 km, 2 hours drive).

Breakfast at the hotel. After transfer to Jety-Oguz gorge. Sightseeing. Short trek to Panoramic view.
Jeti Oguz is a sandstone formation about 25 km southwest of Karakol. The name means “seven bulls”, which comes from the fact that the rocks look like seven bulls. Jeti-Oguz Rocks are a protected Nature Monument.

The Kok – Jaiyk valley is one of the main Jailoo (summer pastures) in South of Issyk Kul lake. In spring the valley is covered with flowers and dandelions. In summer, yurts are set up here and cattle graze.

Lunch, dinner and overnight in Kok Jayik at yurts.

Day 6: Kok Jayik — Barskoon gorge – Fairytale canyon — Kochkor village — Son Kul lake (450 km, 8 hours to drive)

Breakfast at the yurt camp. Transfer to Son Kul lake.
First stop in Barskoon gorge.
Barskoon gorge
Barskoon Gorge is one of the most beautiful gorges on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul, famous for high waterfalls and dense spruce forests. The length of the Barskoon Gorge is about 30 kilometers. It stretches deep into the mountains of Terskey Ala-Too, reaching the high plateau Arabel, which is separated from the gorge by a cascade of passes. The height of the passes in the Barskoon Gorge are very high and reach 4000 meters. Barskoon is very attractive for tourists both for its natural beauty and cultural attractions including the following: Cascade of Barskoon waterfalls: Tears of the Leopard, Bowl of Manas, Sparkling Champagne and Beard Ak-Sakal.

Short trek to waterfall. Sightseeing.
Afterwards you will continue the trip along the south shore of the Issyk-Kul lake.

Fairytale canyons
Moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes. Turning after Tosor village towards Terskey Ala-Too mountains and after passing about 4 km, we will notice how mountains part, and immediately, as if by the wave of a magic stick we will find ourselves in this valley of fairytales. In Russian, the word Skazka means “Fairy Tale” and the place is certainly a magical place, full of mystery and mysticism, sufficient to stimulate the imagination of those with the inclination to stand, and stare, and wonder.

Lunch in Kochkor village. Transfer to Son Kul lake.

Son Kul lake
Son-Kul, high-mountain lake. Son-Kul Lake is located in the heart of the Inner Tien-Shan, 90 km north-west of the city of Naryn. The hollow with a length of 57 km and a width of 29 km is located inside powerful mountain heaps. In the center of this basin lies the second largest lake of Kyrgyzstan – Son-Kul. It has a length of 29 km and a width of 17 km. Its surface is located at an altitude of 3016 meters above sea level, maximum depth is 13.2 m. The lake is of tectonic origin, filled with fresh water.

Dinner and overnight in yurts by the lake.

Day 7: Son Kul lake — Kazarman village (220 km, 5 hours drive) 

Breakfast. Free time. Short trek (optional). After lunch transfer to Kazarman village through Moldo Ashuu pass.

Kazarman village is located on east part of Jalal Abad region near the biggest river in Kyrgyzstan, Naryn River. The village is situated at an altitude of 1310 meters and a popular destination for travelers who want to visit Saimaluu Tash (a museum of petroglyphs).

Dinner and overnight upon arrival at the homestay. 

Day 8: Kazarman — Djalal – Abad — Uzgen town — Osh town (260 km, 5-6 hours drive).

Breakfast. Transfer to Osh town.
Lunch on the way at the local café in Jalal Abad town.
Excursion in Uzgen town.

Uzgen is a city in the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan, one of the oldest cities in the Ferghana Valley, part of the Great Silk Road and the ancient capital of the Karakhanid state. Uzgen is interesting primarily for its rich history. The first settlements on the site of modern Uzgen were formed in the 1st-2nd centuries BC. The city is located on the banks of the large river Kara-Darya, in the eastern part of the Ferghana Valley. Such a favorable location made this city a very significant center of trade and culture in ancient times.

For a long time, the city played an important role, being the most significant settlement of trade between China and Central Asia. In the XII century AD, the city became the capital of the Karakhanid Khaganate, which was transferred here from Balasagun, captured by the Mongol tribes, located in the Chui valley and now known for the Burana tower. During this period, the main attractions of Uzgen were built – three Uzgen mausoleums and the Uzgen minaret.Then the city was part of the Kokand Khanate, until the arrival of the Russian Empire in this region, and later the Soviet Union.

Dinner at the local café upon arrival to Osh town. Overnight in hotel. 

Day 9: Osh & border crossing into Uzbekistan

Breakfast at the hotel.
City tour: Sulaiman Too Mountain, Dom Babura, Sulaiman Too National Historical and Archaeological Museum, Silk Road Museum, Jayma Bazaar, Cathedral of Archangel Michael.

For centuries Sulaiman Too Mountain (literally Solomon’s Throne) near Osh, Kyrgyzstan was a welcoming sight for weary Silk Road travelers, as it marked the halfway point along the seemingly endless road. Today this five-peaked splendor, dotted with caves, crevices and holy sites, is one of the main shrines in Islamic Central Asia, locally considered a sacred mountain and internationally recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the pride and joy of Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest city.

Lunch at the local café.
Transfer to Dustlik Kyrgyz – Uzbek border control post.

Transfer to the hotel in the Uzbek city of Fergana.

Day 10: Fergana Valley and train to Tashkent (350 kms, 7 hours drive)

After breakfast, visiting Museum of History of Ferghana Valley
Depart to Margilan.
Visiting Yodgorlik Silk Factory to see the process of hand made textiles, Friday mosque and famous Kumtepa bazaar with local textiles etc. Lunch at local restaurant.
Transfer to Tashkent  by car.

Enroute stop in Kokand city to visit Hudayarhan Palace with Regional Museum and Rishtan city to see the ceramic workshops of Rishtan masters.
Arrive in Tashkent and accommodation at a hotel. 

Day 11: transfer to Bukhara and city excursion (557 kms, 3 hours 30 by train)

Speed train to Bukhara from 08:00-11:30 AM.
Arriving, transfer to hotel

Half day city tour.
Visit to Ismael Samani mausoleum (9-10c)-vault of Bukhara rulers’ dynasty, Chor-Minor, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleums (14 c), Bukhara local bazaar.
Visit to Old Bukhara: Poli-Kalon ensemble including Minaret (12c) , Mosque (15c), functioning Madrassah Miri-Arab (16 c), Amir- Alim-Khan Madrassah (14c), Taqi (trading domes), Kukeldash Madrassah (16c), Lyab-i-Hauz (17c), Nadir Divanbegi (17c), Magoki Attari (16c), Ulug Beg (15c), Abdul Aziz (17c) Madrassahs.

Visit to Registan Ensemble, Ark Fortress (16c) and Bolo-Hauz complex (18 c).
And leisure time….

Day 12: excursions outside Bukhara and fast train to Samarkand (268 kms, 1 hour 50 by train)

After breakfast sightseeing tour outside the city. Today you will visit:
The last Emir’s Summer Palace Sitora-i-Mohi-Hosa (The Palace of the Moon and Stars); The Memorial complex of Bahauddin Naqshbandi, the founder of the sufi order which later was named in his honor

Then, the necropolis Chor-Bakr, which in the West is better known as “the city of the dead”, and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Chor Minor madrassah.

AFROSIAB speed train:  Departure 15:50. Arrival in Samarkand at 17:30 hours.
Transfer to Hotel.

Day 13: excursions in Samarkand

Full day sightseeing tour of Samarkand:
Guri Emir- Legendary mausoleum where Amir Temur and all his family buried.
Registan square- World famous complex of 3 Madrasahs and golden dome mosque.
Mosque Bibi Khanum – The biggest Mosque ever built in Central Asia as gift from wife of Temerlame to her husband.
Siyab local bazzar-unique place where you can get acquainted with the life of Samarkand people.

Lunch time
Shahi – Zinda necropolises, a holy place and cemetery with graves of Temured’s dynasty and a grave of cousin of Prophet Muhamed.
Observatory of Ulugbek – incredible construction of 15 century for studying astronomy.

Free time at Registan square and at the local bazar

Day 14: another day of excursions in Samarkand and transfer to Tashkent (308 kms, 2 hours 10 by train)
(please note that you can opt for half-day excursions as well)

Full day city tour in Samarkand:
Afrosiab museum. The ancient core of Samarkand is located on the Afrasiab (Afrosiab) hill, named after the legendary Turanian king. The museum displays exhibits illustrating the various periods of thecity’s ancient history.

The mausoleum of Khodja-Daniyar is located on the northern slope of Afrasiab hill, by the healing spring. According to legend, Khodja Daniyar was a companion of Kusam ibn Abbas, who was believed to be a relative of the Prophet and one of the first Islamic preachers in Central Asia. Other legends associate Khodja Daniyar with the Koranic and Biblical prophet Daniyar (Daniel) whose remains were brought here by Amir Temur.

Old Samarkand Paper Mill “Konigil Meros” where you can observe the traditional way of making silk paper at a specially built traditional paper mill with a working water-wheel on the banks of the river Siab.

AFROSIAB speed train:  Departure 17:00. Arrival in Tashkent at 19:10 hours.
Transfer to the hotel.

Day 15: Tashkent and city tour

City tour in Tashkent:
Khastimam Complex, Kukeldash Madrasah, Chorsu bazar.

New Part of the city; Independence square, Alisher Navoi theatre, Amir Temur square.

Free time.

Day 16: transfer to the airport and end of the tour in Kyrgyzstand & Uzbekistan!

The cost of this 16-day tour in Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan is €1,960 per person at a group of six people, at €2,180 p.p. at four people and at €2,790 per person at two people. You can write to us for other group sizes. Prices are indications.

Included in the offer are:
– accommodations based on double rooms incl. breakfast, in hotels, guteshouses and a (private) yurt
– all transfers in both countries by car, minibus and train (Uzbekistan). In Kyrgyzstan during all tour you will have an English speaking driver
– transfer airport-hotel in Bishkek and hotel-airport in Tashkent
– English guided excursions in the cities and  accordng to program
– entrance tickets for museums and monuments according to the program
– lunch and dinner in the yurtcamp in Kyrgyzstan
– unlimited mineral water on the way during transfers by car

Not included are the international flights, meals, a €9 fee per person for the Dutch GGTO Guarantee Fund and services not mentioned.



    Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan


    end of April – mid October


    Indications €1,960-2,180-2,790 per person at resp. six, four and two persons


    16 days