Nurata Mountains and Aydarkul Lake Tour3 Days | Bukhara, Nurata, Kyzyl Kum desert, Nurata mountains, Samarkand

Nurata Mountains and Aydarkul Lake Tour

While so many of the best tours in Uzbekistan focus on the main cities, there’s plenty to explore in the villages and away from civilization. Get away from the bustle of cities with a stop in Nurata, a mid-sized village with a number of sights (also also close to a large collection of petroglyphs). You’ll get to spend the night in the broad desert, near Aydarkul Lake, ride a camel, and sleep as nomads have done for centuries. Spend the next day in the fresh air of a quaint village, getting to know the customs and traditions of Uzbek village life. The three days of this tour are a literal breath of fresh air - a change of pace from the demands of modern life and a chance to experience the Nurata Mountains and Aydarkul Lake for yourself.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Bukhara – Nurata – Safari Yurt Camp
 
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to yurt camp located in Kyzyl Kum desert (230 km, 4 h.*). On the way stop in Gijduvan pottery masters workshop and Nurata town to visit a local mosque with a holy spring water. In the afternoon continue driving to yurt camp in Kyzyl Kum desert. Stop on Nurata pass to see petroglyphs. Arrive in Safari Yurt Camp, accommodation in yurt. Camel riding and free time. In the evening dinner near the camp fire with Kazakh akin singing folk songs. Overnight in the yurt.
Meals: dinner**
*The drive on vans and buses is on average an hour longer.
**Though meals are included, based on the experience and tips of our guests, we advise to take some food in advance, as there are no shops around yurts.
Day 2: Yurt camp – Ashraf, Sentyab or Yangi Hayot village in Nurata Mountains
 
In the morning visit Aydarkul Lake. Free time on the lake.
Extras to do in the area:
Option 1. Camel ride to Aydarkul Lake through the desert (8.5 km, 3 h.). Enjoy your time on the lake and have lunch. 
Cost: $30 per person for a camel and cameleer service.
Option 2. Take a short camel ride to a nearby village Dungalak (1.5 km, 30 min). Participate in baking traditional bread “non”. Take a short walk in the village to see life of locals and return to the camp.
Cost: $20 per person for a camel and cameleer service.
In the afternoon depart the yurt camp and drive to Ashraf, Sentyab or Yangi Hayot village. All 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 guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 

Day 3: Village – Samarkand
 
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.
Extras to do in the area:
Option 1. Take a guided hike to surroundings. Have look at petroglyphs on the way. (6-7 km, 2-3 h one way). Return to the guesthouse.
Cost: $30 for the service of a guide.
Option 2. Take a ride on a donkey.
Cost: $30 for the service of a guide.
In the afternoon depart the village and drive to Samarkand (220 km, 4 h.). Arrival in Samarkand. End of services.
Meals: breakfast, lunch

 

  • All transfers: 1-3 travellers by sedan type car; 4-7 travellers by minivan type car;
  • Accommodation in the yurt camp and guesthouse;
  • Full board (dinner, breakfast, lunch/picnic).
  • Accommodation in Samarkand;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated;
  • Travel insurance.

Accommodation:

Aydarkul - 1 night
Safari Yurt Camp, Aidar Yurt Camp (in a shared yurt)
Nurata Mountains - 1 night
Yahshigul guesthouse at Ashraf, Khayot guesthouse at Yangi Hayot and Rahima Guesthouse at Sentyab

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