Silk Road, Yurts, Camels and Horses
Highlights of this tour Uzbekistan off the beaten track:
– stay in an attractive guest house in the ancient and walled ancient city of Khiva
– excursions in Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand to all classical highlights
– experience the Uzbek desert including a Kazakh yurt camp
– stay in an Uzbek homestay in a mountain village
– opportunities for hiking, horse riding and swimming along the way
What makes this itinerary stand out is the inclusion of a tour across deserts and mountains in Central Uzbekistan, where you can hike, ride a horse and even a camel, and swim in AydarKul lake.
In addition you of course also visit the legendary Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, plus the modern capital Tashkent. The trip into the Uzbek countryside not only serves as a break from the city visits but also provides an opportunity to enjoy Uzbek and Kazakh countryside life.
Our customers have appreciated and written about this program (and other programs) under Testimonials on this website.
You can read more about travelling in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia here. Including much practical advise.
Flight to Tashkent
Arrival in Tashkent and start of your tour Uzbekistan off the beaten track!
You will be met by a driver with your name card and then taken to your hotel in the city. Most international flights arrive in the night or early morning.
That is why you will have time to rest after breakfast. Then your journey in Uzbekistan starts with an excursion in Tashkent, the fourth largest city in the former Soviet Union.
You will visit ancient sites as well as the new part of the city, with Independence square, the Navoi theater square and more.
Your guide can advise you about restaurants, just ask him or her! Exchanging money is no problem anymore from 2018, including Euro & USD cash and all kind of Cards.
Day distance: 700 kms
You get up early, have breakfast and will be taken to Tashkent airport for the early flight to Urgench in north-western Uzbekistan. Upon arrival you will be met by a driver and taken to nearby Khiva, a half-hour drive away.
After you have checked in at yourr hotel you will have all day to enjoy the old city of Khiva, a kind of open-air museum. Because the distances between the sights are small, it is easy to walk.
These days Khiva is like an open air museum. Today you have a guided excursion, on foot and visit the oldest part of the city. This includes the Kunya-Ark fortress, Mazary Sharif Madrassah, Islam Khodja Madrassah and Minaretand much more.\
Afterwards, leisure time. Accommodation in the same hotel or guesthouse.
A long drive through the Kyzyl Kum desert takes you from Khiva to Bukhara. Along the way you make a photo stop at the Amu Darya, the lifeblood of the area, and have lunch in an oasis. In this part of Uzbekistan, especially near Khiva, the effects of the drying up of the Aral Sea cannot be ignored; the landscape is covered with a thin layer of salt blown away from the bottom of the lake.
In Bukhara you will be accommodated in a guesthouse in the old town and have free time to het acquainted with it.
While Khiva is basically a (marvellous) open air museum, the old city of Bukhara is bustling and will give you a flavour of what life during the Silk Road times must have looked like.
You have the whole day for exploring Bukhara. The program today includes visits to all famous tites, such as the Chor-Minor, Lyab-i-Hauz (17th century), Nadir Divanbegi (17th century), Registan Ensemble, Ark Fortress (16th century), Bolo-Hauz complex (18th century) and much more.
Accommodation once more in a cosy guesthouse in Bukhara.
day distance: 200 kms
Today and tomorrow are all about a completely different side of Uzbekistan, namely nature & adventure. You will end today in a yurt camp near Yangikazgan, or in a mountain village in the Nurata Mountains if the yurt camp is closed (before 1 April and after 31 October).
From Bukhara to the yurt camp more than 200 kms away there are a number of interesting places that you will visit. First of all, they are the Summer Palace of the last Emir and an authentic small ceramics factory. Then, depending on the season, you can stop at one of the countless cotton fields and, if possible, also visit the cotton factory (mid-July/August to October).
A visit of a completely different nature is the old Karavanserai Rabat Malik, a stopping point of the Silk Road.
You will have lunch in the legendary Nur Ata, where in addition to an old, holy mosque you can also find remains of a fortress built by Alexander the Great.
Desert Yurt Camp
You will spend the night today in a Kazakh yurts in the middle of the Kyzil-Kum desert. (Uzbeks are and were not nomads and did not live in yurts). This yurt camp dates back to Soviet times and used to be called “Sputnik”. Malik is still in charge here and he likes to drink a glass of vodka with you, but keep to your own pace! You can also ride a camel for a short trip. And you have an option, as successfully done by our customers in summer 2018: a camel ride in the desert with overnight stay in tents, returning the next morning.
In the evening you can explore the flora and fauna around the yurt camp and get cozy at the campfire with a musical show from local musicians, who will play famous Kazakh and Kyrgyz songs. Kitchen, meals, plumbing and also the yurts are all of very nice quality as, we found out during a visit in 2018.
day distance: 120 kms
After breakfast you move to a small Uzbek village in the Nurata Mountains, a 2.5 hours drive. On te way you maye have a swim in the vast Aydarkul Lake, where you probably won’t meet anyone.
Upon arrival in the homestay you will enjoy lunch. In the afternoon you can opt for a hike or even ride a horse, provided it is not too hot. Overnight in the homestay, with traditional Uzbek food.
In the morning transfer by car to Samarkand, which takes some 2,5 hours. The desert and mountains will be traded again for a city – and what a city!
Arrival in Samarkand around 14:00, accommodation and time for lunch. Leisure time in the afternoon. Samarkand has much to show for and you will definitely enjoy your first experience with this ancient city.
A day in Samarkand, with lots of blue after the brown of Bukhara. Samarkand is not only a legendary Silk Road city, is also a city with more Soviet influences, and much bigger than Bukhara. Also, unlike Bukhara’s relatively small old town, in Samarkand the distances between the great buildings are significant.
During a visit in May 2018 we found out ourselves how much the buildings in Samarkand are being renovated beautifully and facilities are improving. Also the number of tourists is increasing quickly, better visit sooner than later!
You will visit today, if you keep up with it:
– Guri-Emir mausoleum where legendary Amir Temur and his family are buried.
– Registan Square-famous complex of three Madrasahs and the golden dome mosque.
– Bibi Khanum Mosque – the largest mosque ever building over in Central Asia, as a gift from Tamerlame’s wife to her husband!
– Siyab local bazaar – a unique chance to experience present life in Samarkand
– Shahi – Zinda necropolis, a sacred place and cemetery with the graves of Temured’s dynasty and the grave of a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad.
– The Observatory of Ulugbek – an incredible (really!) structure from the 15th century to study astronomy.
In the early evening transfer by a modern and fast train (3 hours) to the capital Tashkent. Transfer to a hotel and accommodation.
In the night or early morning, when most international flights depart, transfer to Tashkent Airport for your flight back home.
The costs of this program Uzbekistan off the beaten track are €1,095 per person for four people and €1,210 per person at two people. Prices are indications.
Included in the full offer are:
– all overnight stays in 3 * hotels and guest houses, i.e. stay in double rooms incl. breakfast (upgrading to 4-5 * for an additional charge is possible)
– all transfers by car / minibus, incl. airport-hotel and hotel-airport
– tickets for domestic flights
– services from a driver & English-speaking guide during the excursions
– entrance tickets for museums and monuments according to the program
– unlimited mineral water on the way
Single supplement is €115.
Not included are international flight tickets, lunches and dinners and all other services not mentioned. Finally, we withhold € 15 per booking for the Dutch GGTO Guarantee Fund.