Small Group Tour in Central Asia 2018-2019

Central Asia Ethno-cultural Tour14 Days | Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Tour map

Discover the unique culture and traditions of four countries of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan with the Central Asia Ethno-Cultural tour. You will explore the history of the Kazakh steppe, its wealth, culture and culinary art and take part in a Kyrgyz wedding party in the Ethno Complex Supara. In Tajikistan, you will visit historical places and ancient settlements and relax in a chayhana (tea house). Create your own masterpiece at the Gijduvan pottery workshop and enjoy architectural beauties of Uzbekistan. This travel will make one of the magic corners of the world closer and bring you the best of Central Asia on tour.

We recommend arriving in Astana on TUESDAY in order to match regional flights in the itinerary.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1, Tu: Astana – arrival
 
Arrive in Astana. Transfer to the hotel (check in at noon). Meet your guide at the hotel lobby to start sightseeing in the capital of Kazakhstan. Visit “Old center”, town of merchants in the past. Visit Millennium Axis line named by Kisho Kurokawa, chief architect and creator of Astana general layout. Visit Astana Opera building, the Round Square with numerous fountains. Continue to Nurzhol and Green Water boulevards with skyscrapers of exceptional architectural forms. You will go up the Bayterek monument and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view at the top of the monument and observation tower. The city tour will be rounded up with a visit to Khan-Shatyr, shopping and entertainment center. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 2, We: Astana – Almaty
 
Today you will explore the history of the Kazakh steppe, its culture and art. Your experience will start with cooking traditional dishes yourself, where you learn the secrets of traditional culinary arts. You can also participate in the process of manufacturing of ‘sazsyrnay’, a very ancient Kazakh musical instrument.
The next highlight of the day is yurt constructing workshop. Neither of stories about the Great Kazakh steppe and nomadic people do without the yurt - a traditional dwelling of the nomads. The workshop will give comprehensive insight into the construction process of erecting wooden walls – ‘kerege’, raising the dome – ‘Shanyrak’, as well as strengthening of wooden poles – ‘uyk’.
Finally, at the end of the program you will be offered to try on the Kazakh national clothes and dance the national dance "Kara zhorga".
In the evening transfer to the train station, take an evening train to Almaty (965 km). Overnight in the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 3, Th: Almaty
 
Early morning arrival in Almaty. Your guide and driver will meet you at the train station to start sightseeing tour in Almaty. Visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, Central State Museum and Republic Square. Enjoy panoramic view at Kok-Tobe Hill, visit Medeo Gorge. Check in to the hotel. Free time.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 4, Fr: Almaty – Bishkek
 
After breakfast depart Almaty and drive to Bishkek via a newly built highway, enjoy nature landscapes on the way (250 km, 4 h). Cross Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border. Arrive in Bishkek, check in to the hotel. In the afternoon start sightseeing tour: visit Oak Park, Ala Too square, Statue of Manas. See Philharmonic Hall and Victory Monument – bright examples of Soviet architecture.
In the evening, transfer to the Ethno Complex Supara for a Kyrgyz wedding party. You will be dressed in Kyrgyz national costumes and have a small, improvised Kyrgyz wedding in the yurt. During the feast an old Kyrgyz woman will tell you about culture and traditions, you will taste Kyrgyz national dishes, listen to the folk music and songs, watch national dances and take part in games. After dinner transfer to the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours
Day 5, Sa: Bishkek – Ala-Archa – Burana Tower – Bishkek
 
After breakfast transfer to the Ala-Archa National Park (40 km). You will enjoy an alpine gorge through which the fast flowing Ala-Archa River runs. The gorge is flanked by tall, snow-covered peaks with steep-sided, forested, mountain slopes. Easy hike in the gorge. After, trip to Burana tower, 11th century minaret located in 85 km from Bishkek. Visit the tower and nearby field of balbals, stone figures.
Day 6, Su: Bishkek – Dushanbe
 
Transfer to Manas International Airport for morning flight to Dushanbe. Our guide and driver will meet you at Dushanbe airport upon arrival. Start guided city tour with the visit to the Tajikistan National Museum of Antiquities that includes the exhibits on history, natural history and art; Buddha in Nirvana is one of the valuable exhibits of the museum. Continue to Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, Ismail Somoni Monument and Rudaki Park. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 7, Mo: Dushanbe – Penjikent
 
In the morning depart Dushanbe and drive to Penjikent (270 km, 4-5 h.). The mountain road goes via picturesque Anzob pass (3300 m above sea level). Arrive in Penjikent, check in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8, Tu: Penjikent – Samarkand
 
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel lobby. Transfer to Seven Lakes (80 km, 1.5-2 h). The Seven Lakes are located in the west of Fann mountains; each of them has its own colour which varies from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. At the last lake of Khoazorchashma you will enjoy a picnic. After lunch drive to Penjikent, a major Sogdian city in the 5th century destroyed by Arab conquerors in the 8th century. Sightseeing in Penjikent: Rudaki Museum, local Bazaar and mosque. Visit ancient Penjikent located a 5-minute drive away from modern Penjikent.
Late in the afternoon return to the Jartepa border crossing, customs and passport control. On Uzbekistan side meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Samarkand.
Day 9, We: Samarkand
 
Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel lobby to begin sightseeing in Samarkand. Visit spectacular Registan Square, remains of Bibi Khahum mosque, Siab Bazaar, Ulugbek observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis Necropolis and Gur Emir Mausoleum, authentic shrine of Tamerlane. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 10, Th: Samarkand – Ashraf, Sentob or Yangi Hayot village in Nurata Mountains
 
In the morning depart Samarkand and drive to a village located in Nurata Mountains (330 km, 5-6 h*). Arrive in Ashraf or Yangi Hayot village, accommodation in the guesthouse.
Both villages are located far away from roads and cities in a picturesque mountain area with fresh air, green orchards, singing birds, sky full of stars, and friendly people.
Have a tour around the village and explore life of locals. Overnight in the guest house.
Meals: dinner
*The drive on vans and buses is on average an hour longer.
Day 11, Fr: Village – Bukhara
 
People have been living in Nurata Mountains since the times of Alexander the Great. Villagers keep house and farm as it was done centuries ago. Women cook on the open fire, weave, spin yarn, bake their own bread, milk the cows. Men farm, shepherd, built houses of stone, rocks and clay.
Stay in a village, watching birds, hiking, riding donkey, and participating in cooking traditional food gives an excellent opportunity to witness life of local peasants.
In the afternoon depart to Bukhara. On the way stop in Nurata pass to see petroglyphs, Nurata town to visit a local mosque with a holy spring water. Continue to Gijduvan pottery masters workshop. Arrival in Bukhara. Overnight at the hotel.

Extras to do in the area:
Option 1. Take a guided hike to a waterfall. Have look at petroglyphs on the way. (6-7 km, 2-3 h one way). Return to the guesthouse.
Cost: $15 for the service of a guide. (Available from Sentob village only).
Option 2. Take a ride on a donkey.
Cost: $15 for the service of a guide.

Meals: breakfast, lunch
Day 12, Sa: Bukhara – Tashkent
 
Enjoy a walking sightseeing tour with a guide in Old City. Visit Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chor-Minor Madrasah, trade domes, Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan madrasahs, Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Ismail Samani and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. In the evening take a flight to Tashkent. Arrival in Tashkent, transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 13, Su: Tashkent
 
In the morning you will explore Tashkent, the biggest city in Central Asia. Old City part of Tashkent with Khast-Imam Complex where the world famous holy book Quran of Caliph Uthman has been preserved. In Khast-Imam visit Barak-Khan Madrasah, Tillya Sheykh Mosque, Mausoleum of the Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari. Explore Chorsu Bazaar. Then take a ride on Tashkent Metro to city center to explore Amir Timur Square, Independence Square and Applied Arts Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 14, Mo: Tashkent – departure
 
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Transfer to Tashkent International Airport. End of the tour.

Accommodation:

City

Comfort Option

Economy Option

Nights

Astana 

Kazzhol 

Ibis

1

Almaty 

Atakent Park

Iris

2

Bishkek 

Park Hotel, Ambassador, Smart or similar

Asia Mountains 2, Garden, Futuro or similar

2

Dushanbe 

Sheraton

Atlas B&B

1

Penjikent

Sugd or Umariyon

Sugd or Umariyon

1

Samarkand 

Sultan, Grand Samarkand Superior, Grand Samarkand, Platan, Malika Prime, Asia Samarkand

City, Platan, Billuri Sitora, Jahongir, Caravan Serail, Malika Classic

2

Village in Nurata Mountains

Yahshigul (Ashraf), Shiringul (Yangi Hayot) or Rahima (Sentob) guesthouses

Yahshigul (Ashraf), Shiringul (Yangi Hayot) or Rahima (Sentob) guesthouses

1

Bukhara 

Omar Khayam, Devon-Begi, Zargaron Plaza, Asia Bukhara, Minorai-Kalon

Amulet, Minzifa, As-Salom, K.Komil, Kukeldash, Zargaron, Kavsar, Fatima, Siyavush

1

Tashkent

Miran, Wyndham Tashkent, City Palace

Ichan Qala, Bek, Sharq, Shodlik, Samir, Gloria

2

 

  • All transfers: 1-2 pax on sedan type car, 3-8 pax on minivan/van;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each country with local guides;
  • Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
  • Economy class tickets for flights: Bishkek-Dushanbe, Bukhara-Tashkent;
  • Ticket for sleeping compartment for two on overnight train Astana-Almaty;
  • Business/Economy class ticket for train Tashkent-Samarkand as per option;
  • Visa support letter for Uzbekistan visa;
  • Visit to Supara Ethno Complex.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for tourist visas;
  • Visa support for Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan tourist visas;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Personal travel insurance.

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