Enormous Variety in Central Asia

Enormous Variety in Central Asia

A 25-day tour program in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan. Varied and intensive. The journey takes you along the historic highlights of particularly Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the overwhelming nature and nomadic people in Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan.
You travel by 4WD, car or minibus, on foot or possibly by horse, with twice a journey by train. Three times you will be staying two nights in the same place, the other days just one night.

The start is in Turkmenistan, with a special focus on the archaeological sites of Nisa, Merv and Konye Urgench, as well as the intriguing capital Ashgabat and some bizarre places in the Kopet Dag Mountains. You cross the Karalkum desert by car to Konye Urgench, but halfway stop for a night of camping atb the notorious, burning gas crater of Darzawa.
From Konye Urgench, the next day, and one night in the city of Dashoguz, you cross into nearby Uzbekistan on day 6.
First destination is the ancient city of Khiva. Additionally you visit in Uzbekistan of course also include Bukhara (two nights) and Samarkand, pearls of the Silk Road. Via a short visit in Tashkent you'll cross the mountains into the Fergana Valley. Apart from its history, including the cities of Kokand and Fergana, you will have the chance to witness some handycraft workshops, in which the Uzbeks are very talented.
On day 13 it's a small drive through from Fergana across the border to the city of Osh in Kyrgystan. The next days you trip will get more adventurous and rougher, travelling in the mountains and staying with nomads on a journey through the heart of the country via the Son Kul Lake to the south side of the Issyk Kul Lake (please have a swim). The provincial town of Karakol will provide some much-needed comfort, before heading into Kazakhstan by a picturesque border crossing in the Karkara valley, populated in summer by nomads with their herds and living in their yurts. Since 2013 this border crossing is open again (if only in summer) and we thankfully make use of that possibility.
In Kazakhstan our first destination is the village of Saty, providing a good starting point for our hike - you may also ride a horse - to the second Kolsai Lake. We stay two nights in the friendly homestay in Saty.
Onwards we go, via Charyn Canyon and the Altyn Emel national reserve to the city of Almaty, finally staying once more in a real hotel! After an excursion in the city we join the nighttrain to Astana, the new and extravagant capital of Kazakhstan 1,300 more kms to the north, where our journey ends.

This program visits the highlights and the absolute highlights of the four countries, and makes good sense logistically. The heart of the four countries is felt; the historical treasures in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the variety of landscapes and nomadic culture of Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan. We believe the variety of the program is what makes it stand out.
The number of kilometers, or the number of hours, spent  in a car or minibus is thereby minimized. The pace is high, but there are several moments included when you take an easy day. Finally, in case of an individual trip, of course adapting the program is possible.

In 2018 having a visa is necessary in two of the four countries,  Kyrgystan has abolished this obligation (in 2012), Kazakhstan in 2017 up to 30 days for many countries.
As for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, you definitely need a visa as well as an invitation, in order to apply for the visa. We can issue this invitation for you (included in the offer). The Turkmen visa can be obtained upon arrival at Ashgabat airport. The Uzbek visa must be collected in advance. It is wise to start the visa procedures at least one month before departure.


Photos of this trip

Program Summary

Days Day description Distance
Day 1 Arrival in Ashgabat 50 kms
Day 2 Secrets of the Kopetdag Mountains 150 kms
Day 3 Day tour to Mary and Merw 75 kms
Day 4 Camping at the Darzawa gascrater 200 kms
Day 5 The ruins of Konye Urgench 400 kms
Day 6 Border crossing and arrival in Khiva 100 kms
Day 7 Transfer to Bukhara and first acquaintance 500 kms
Day 8 Bukhara Bukhara 5 kms
Day 9 Transfer to Samarkand and plenty to see en route 270 kms
Day 10 Samarkand and the train to Tashkent 320 kms
Day 11 Tashkent and the palace of Kokand 225 kms
Day 12 Handycrafts in the Fergana Valley 110 kms
Day 13 Border crossing and excursions in Osh 150 kms
Day 14 ToToktogul 280 kms
Day 15 Straight through Kyrgystan 250 kms
Day 16 Arrival in Son Kul 170 kms
Day 17 The Son Kul lake 20 kms
Day 18 To the south bank of Issyk Kul 250 kms
Day 19 Jeti Oguz and Karakol 120 kms
Day 20 Karakol and via Karkara to Kazachstan 200 kms
Day 21 The Kolsai mountain lakes 30 kms
Day 22 Charyn Canyon and the Kazakh countryside 200 kms
Day 23 The Altyn Emel natural reserve 250 kms
Day 24 The city of Almaty 40 kms
Day 25 Finish in Astana 1300 kms in a nighttrain

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Additional travel information

Tour title: Enormous Variety in Central Asia
Length of tour: 25 days
Number of persons: 1-6
Group or indiv. tour: Individual travel
Departure dates: n.a.
Total distance of tour: approx. 4,400 kms plus a 1,300 kms in the nighttrain from Almaty to Astana
Accommodation: hotel (13x), tent or yurt (4x), homestay (7x) and nighttrain (1x)
Transportation: car or minibus, train
Included: – 24 nights of accommodation (plus one night in a train) in simple but good hotels and guesthouses, on the basis of bed & breakfast and in double rooms – all transfers in by car/minibus and train – services of English speaking guides during all excursions in Uzbekistan and in Almaty & Astana – entrance tickets for all nature parks, museums and sites according to the program in Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan – four lunches and three dinners - transfers airport-hotel-airport at the start and finish of the program - visa support for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan and visa-free for most countries)
Not included: the international flight tickets, visa for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (cost resp. USD 100 and USD 40 approx.), the remaining lunches and dinners, English guidance in Turkmenistan, in Kyrgystan and in Kazakhstan outside Astana & Almaty (optional), and all not mentioned services. Finally we withhold €15 per booking for the Dutch GGTO Travel Guarantee Fund.
Price: from €2,550 p.p. at six persons. More prices below.
Physical effort:
Remarks: Price at four persons €2,925 p.p., at two persons €3,850 p.p. and for solo travellers €6,175.
Seasons: Summer
Themes: Combination trips