Small Group Caucasus Tour 2019

Central Asia Group Tour 202014 Days | Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan

All reservations booked for the Central Asia Group Tour by 31 December 2019 will receive a 200 USD discount off of the total tour cost.

Central Asia is so jam-packed with historical and natural sights that it would literally take years to explore it all. We guess that you are rather short on time, but still want to see as much as possible. That’s why we’ve put together this 14-day trip across five countries to offer the most to travelers. The best Central Asia Group Tour 2020 with fixed dates is the best way to see the most interesting places in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. If you want to prolong your trip, we are happy to offer an extension with the Small Group Tour to the South Caucasus.

Explore glittering Nur-Sultan (Astana) or nature art at Charyn Canyon with pre-tours in Kazakhstan.

Participants need to be in good health, be able to walk for 4-6 hours every day at moderate speed, climb stairs and hills, and be able to carry their own luggage for up to 1 km across borders.

Tour map

Tour itinerary:

Day 1, Mo: Almaty – Arrival (Kazakhstan)
 
Arrive in Almaty. Our driver will meet you and take you to the hotel. Check in at 14:00. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2, Tu: Almaty (Kazakhstan)
 
Breakfast. At 09:00, your guide and driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to start a sightseeing tour of Almaty. Highlights of this morning will include Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, Republic Square, and the Almaty City Museum. After a welcome lunch, a short drive (25 km) will take you to Chimbulak. Here, visit the ski resort and ride the cable car to enjoy the amazing views of the snowy peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains. Our last stop of the day will be the Sunkar Falcon Farm, where you’ll enjoy a spectacular show with specially trained hawks – hunting with these magnificent birds is a distinguishing feature of the Kazakh way of life. Return to the hotel by 18:00. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3, We: Almaty – Bishkek (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan)
 
Breakfast. Transfer to Almaty Airport at 08:00 to take flight KC107 to Bishkek at 10:30. Upon arrival in Bishkek at 11:25, transfer to the hotel to leave your luggage. A 3-4 hour afternoon sightseeing tour will follow, featuring Oak Park, Ala Too Square, the Statue of Manas, the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Philharmonic Hall, and the Victory Monument – all impressive examples of Soviet urban design and architecture. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4, Th: Bishkek – Burana – Don Aryk – Bishkek – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast. Depart Bishkek at 09:00. The first stop will be Burana Tower, which was part of the ancient city of Balasagun (11th to 13th centuries) and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next on the agenda will be experiencing a Kyrgyz national horse game called “Ulak Tartysh” (goat pulling). Ulak Tartysh (also known as Kok Boru) is a fight between two teams of horse riders for a goat carcass. Transfer to Don Aryk village and have lunch at the home of a local Kyrgyz family. After lunch, watch a demonstration of yurt construction and even take part if you wish. Local Kyrgyz women will explain the meaning and use of each part of the yurt. Transfer to Bishkek airport (110 km, ~1h 30 min) to take flight HY780 to Tashkent, which departs at 18:10 and arrives at 18:30 (1h 20 min). Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 5, Fr: Tashkent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast. Start the Tashkent city tour at 10:00 by visiting the Old City of Tashkent. This area encompasses the Khast-Imam Complex (famous for displaying one of the earliest copies of the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam), and Chorsu Bazaar, where you can haggle for spices, dried fruit, and nuts. The tour will continue to the city center to see Amir Timur Square and Independence Square and to explore the Museum of Applied Art. The city tour will take 4-5 hours, after which you’ll have some free time. At 18:00, transfer to the railway station. The high-speed train Afrosiyob, departs at 18:50 and arrives in Samarkand at 21:00 (300 km, 2h 10 min). Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 6, Sa: Samarkand – Seven Lakes (Uzbekistan/Tajikistan)
 
Breakfast. At 09:00, transfer to the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border station, Jartepa (50 km, 1 h). Go through customs and passport control on both sides, and meet your local Tajik guide and driver to drive to the Seven Lakes (80 km, ~2 h). These lakes are located in the western part of the Fann Mountains. Each lake has its own color, varying from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. Have lunch at the guest house next to the 4th lake, where you’ll also stay overnight.
Day 7, Su: Seven Lakes – Penjikent – Samarkand (Tajikistan/Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast. Drive to ancient Penjikent (80 km, ~1 h 30 min), the ruins of a town founded by the Sogdians in the 5th century and abandoned by Arabs in the 8th century. The foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples, and the remains of the city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins. In the newer part of Penjikent, visit a local bazaar, a mosque, and the Rudaki Museum (Penjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdallah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian poetry). After a 3-hour sightseeing tour, drive to the Jartepa border crossing (30 km, 40 min) in the late-afternoon and complete the border formalities. On the Uzbek side, your driver will meet you and take you to the hotel in Samarkand. Free time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8, Mo: Samarkand – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast. At 09:00, the city tour will begin with a visit to the spectacular Registan Square, followed by the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turco-Mongol emperor, Timur. Explore the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque and Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, and then take a short drive to Konigil village to find out about the traditional techniques used to make the famous Samarkand paper from mulberry bark. Free time. At 20:00 transfer to the railway station. Take the high-speed Afrosiyob train departing at 21:00 and arriving in Bukhara at 22:35 (270 km, 1 h 35 min). Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 9, Tu: Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast. At 09:00, start exploring the Old City of Bukhara. Highlights of the walking tour will include: the Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chor-Minor Madrasa, Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque, Miri-Arab Madrasa, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan Madrasas, Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Ismail Samani and Chashma-Ayub Mausoleums, and various trading domes. Free time from 15:00 until the National Show at Nadir Divan-begi Madrasa, which starts at 18:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10, We: Bukhara – Mary – Merv – Ashgabat (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan)
 
Early breakfast. Depart at 06:30 for the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan border point, Farap-Alat (100 km, 1 h 30 min). After completing the border formalities at both checkpoints, cross the 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available) to meet your Turkmen guide. Continue to Merv (300 km, 5 h 30 min), an ancient city that was a major center of international trade and crafts on the Silk Road. Merv is also home to a historical park for you to discover, with sights including: the Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, Major and Minor Kyz-Kala, Erk-Kala, Gyaur-Kala, Keshk Fortress, and others. Lunch at a local restaurant. Transfer to Mary Airport (40 km, 30 min) to take the evening flight to Ashgabat at 18:10. Upon arrival in Ashgabat at 18:50, transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 11, Th: Ashgabat – Darvaza Gas Crater (Turkmenistan)
 
Breakfast, followed by a sightseeing tour of Ashgabat. Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, has recently been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble buildings than any other city in the world. During the city tour, explore the archaeological site of Old Nissa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, the Monument of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the recently-built Independence Park. The sightseeing tour will take about 6 hours and the afternoon will feature a drive through the Karakum Desert to the famous Darvaza Gas Crater (280 km, 4 h). After arriving at the crater, camp will be set up and you’ll enjoy a delicious, fire-cooked dinner near the “Gates of Hell”. Overnight in tents.
Day 12, Fr: Darvaza Gas Crater – Khiva (Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan)
 
Camp-style breakfast. Drive back through the Karakum Desert to the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border point, Dashoguz-Shavat (270 km, 4 h). Following border formalities at both checkpoints and crossing the 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available), your Uzbek driver will meet you to begin the trip to Khiva (60 km, 1 h). Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Free time.
Day 13, Sa: Khiva – Urgench – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
 
Breakfast and hotel check out (the hotel will store your luggage safely for the day). Spend the morning at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ichan-Kala Fortress. Highlights of the morning walking tour include the Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasa, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasa, Kalta Minor, Kunya-Ark, Juma Mosque, Tash-Khovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, and Minaret of Islom Khodja. In the evening, there will be a masterclass on cooking tukhumbarak (egg dumplings, characteristic of Khivan cuisine). Farewell dinner. Transfer to Urgench Airport at 20:30 (30 km, 35 min). Your flight to Tashkent departs at 22:05 and arrives at 23:25 (1,093 km, 1 h 40 min). Transfer to the hotel in Tashkent for overnight.
Day 14, Su: Tashkent – departure (UZB)
 
Check-out from the hotel at noon. Free time until transfer to Tashkent International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
  • All transfers: 3-7 pax on minivan/van, 8-16 pax by 20 seat bus;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program with English speaking guides in each country;
  • Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
  • Economy class tickets for flights: Almaty-Bishkek-Tashkent, Mary-Ashgabat, Urgench-Tashkent;
  • Economy-class tickets for trains: Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace this with the most-comfortable class of regular train);
  • Visa support for Uzbekistan triple entry visa;
  • Visa support for Turkmenistan tourist visa;
  • Tajikistan e-visa and Uzbekistan e-visa;
  • National folklore show in Bukhara on Day 9;
  • Meals: welcome lunch in Almaty on Day 2, lunch at home of a local family in Don-Aryk on Day 4, lunch and dinner at Seven Lakes on Day 7, lunch in Mary on Day 10, lunch in Ashgabat on Day11, camp style dinner at Darvaza on Day 11, dinner in Khiva on Day 13;
  • Tour leader(s) to accompany the group for the whole tour - only for groups of 6 or more travellers (please note: usually one tour leader will cover Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and another will cover Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan);
  • Tips to local drivers and guides.
  • Tour leader to accompany the group of 1-5 travelers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • A tax of 2 USD per night in Turkmenistan, paid to the hotel upon check out;
  • Consular fees for Turkmenistan tourist visas (80 USD) and migration tax (14 USD);
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa at Tashkent International Airport (60-80 USD);
  • Visa support for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan tourist visas (50 USD);
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Tips to the Tour Leader;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour.

 

Accommodation:

Almaty - 2 nights
Kazzhol or similar
Bishkek - 1 night
Plaza, Park, Ambassador or similar
Tashkent - 2 nights
Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace or similar
Samarkand - 2 nights
Sultan, Platan or similar
Seven Lakes - 1 night
Homestay
Bukhara - 2 nights
As-Salom, K.Komil, Volida or similar
Ashgabat - 1 night
Archabil
Darvaza - 1 night
Camping
Khiva - 1 night
Malika Kheivak, Orient Star or similar

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