Zoroastrianism and Buddhism Tour12 Days | Tashkent, Termez, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Nukus

Tour map

This complete 12-day tour will introduce you to the Zoroastrian and Buddhist cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has long been a diverse region, with many religions coexisting side by side. Some historians even think that Zoroastrianism originated in the oases of Khorezm, but no matter its origins, this religion has long been a spiritual center. Buddhism also played a vital role in the development no the Termez region, not far away. From the 1st through the 7th centuries AD, Termez was at the center of Buddhism in Central Asia, with a bustling monastery. This tour will take you to all of the major sights in Uzbekistan, including Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, plus some less-popular destinations, such as Nukus and Termez. The Zoroastrianism and Buddhism Tour is a great introduction to the spiritual history of Uzbekistan.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Tashkent
 
Arrive in Tashkent. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check in to the hotel at noon. Guided tour in Tashkent: visit History Museum to explore vast collection of artifacts related to Zoroastrian and Buddhist period in Uzbekistan. Continue to archaeological site of Ming Urik, visit Old City part of Tashkent with Chorsu Bazaar, Independence SquareAmir Timur Square in the center of Tashkent.
Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Day 2: Tashkent – Termez
 
Transfer to local airport for morning flight to Termez (661 km, 2 h.). Upon arrival you will be met by driver and guide. Start sightseeing in ancient Buddhist center and one of the oldest cities in Central Asia – Termez. Visit Kokildor-Ota Khanaka, Fortress Kyrk-Kyz – a summer residence of Samani rulers, Sultan Saodat Ensemble, and Zurmala Tower – Buddha''s stupa. Continue to Buddhist archaeological sites of Kara-Tepe, Fayaz-Tepe and Mausoleum of Al-Hakim at-Termezi.
Free time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 3: Termez
 
Continue guided tour in Termez. Drive north-east to see Kampyr-Tepe – Greco-Bactrian Kingdom fortress (35 km, 1 h.). Then visit Jarkurgan Minaret (30 km, 50 min.). Drive back to Termez, on the way enjoy views of Surkhan oasis and Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Visit Archaeology Museum to explore exhibits discovered on the territory of Termez and its surroundings. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 4: Termez – Samarkand
 
In the morning depart Termez for Samarkand (375 km, 5h. 26 min.). Arrive in Samarkand late in the afternoon. Check-in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Samarkand
 
Visit Gur-Emir Mausoleum, famous Registan Square, and Bibi Khanum Mosque. Continue to Afrasiab Museum & archaeological site – a hilly area of 212 hectares surrounded by a moat. Archaeologists presently conduct excavations on the site. The Afrasiab Museum displays the model of ancient city and fortress walls, pottery, weaponry, coinage, altars and most of all the mural painting of the 7th century. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 6: Samarkand – Bukhara
 
In the morning depart to Bukhara (280 km, 4 h.). Stop on the way at Caravanserai Rabat-i-Malik dating back to 11th century. Arrive in Bukhara late in the afternoon, drive to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir. Then head to the Mausoleum of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours
Day 7: Bukhara
 
Enjoy a walking sightseeing tour with a guide in Old City. Visit Lyabi-Khauz 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, Chor-Minor Madrasah, Ismail Samani and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 8: Bukhara – Khiva
 
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to Khiva (480 km, 7-8 h.*). The Great Silk Road once routed through Bukhara and Khiva ran through the Kyzylkum Desert, as the present road does nowadays**.
Stop en-route to enjoy views of Amudarya river and the desert. Arrive in Khiva late in the afternoon, check in to the hotel. Time for rest and overnight at the hotel.
*Since there is only one cafe on the way, you might want to consider preparing a packed lunch before this trip.
**Some parts of the road are not in the best condition.
Day 9: Khiva
 
Spend a day in Ichan-Kala Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Mukhammad Aminkhan Madrasah, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah, Kalta-Minor, Kunya-Ark, Juma Mosque, Tash-Khovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, Minaret of Islam-Khoja. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Day 10: Khiva – Toprak-Kala – Koykirilgan-Kala – Gaur-Kala – Ayaz-Kala
 
This day you’ll have the journey to the Ancient Khorezm. Visit the fortress of Toprak-Kala – residence of ancient Khorezm rulers, and Gyaur-Kala – meaning infidel fortress, Koykirilgan-Kala. Then continue to one of the largest fortresses of Ancient Khorezm – Ayaz-Kala, II century AD, relevant to the period of Kushan Empire prosperity. Ayaz-Kala was neither a city nor a settlement, it was a fortress complex where nearly 19 centuries ago boundary groups of Kushan dynasty settled down.
Meals: lunch, dinner
Day 11: Ayaz-Kala – Nukus – Tashkent
 
After breakfast drive to Nukus via Shylpyk-Kala – hill of silence or Zoroastrian dakhma. Arrive in Nukus. Transfer to the the Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum*. The museum hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and exposition of Karakalpak applied arts items. Have a short drive around center of Nukus: see statue of Karakalpak poet Berdakh, Nukus City Hall, and Drama Theatre.
In the evening transfer to the airport for flight to Tashkent (1255 km, 2 h. 45 min.). Arrive in Tashkent. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast
*Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum is closed on Mondays.
Day 12: Tashkent – departure
 
Check out from the hotel till noon. Transfer to the airport. End of the tour.
  • All transfers 1-2 pax by sedan type car; 3-7 pax by minivan type car; 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14 pax and more by 40-50 seat bus; 
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included; 
  • Sightseeing tour program in each city with local guides (except for city tour in Nukus and trip to fortresses of Ancient Khorezm); 
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Economy class tickets for flights Tashkent-Termez, Nukus-Tashkent;
  • Visa support letter for Uzbekistan visa.
  • 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 Uzbekistan tourist visa;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated;
  • Travel insurance.

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Tashkent - 2 nights
Navruz, Praga, Sharq, Grand Capital, BekWyndham Tashkent, Miran, Grand Mir, City Palace
Termez - 2 nights
MeridianMeridian
Samarkand - 2 nights
Platan, Meros, Orient Star, Malika Prime, Rabat, CityDilimah, Sultan, Grand Samarkand Superior A, Grand Samarkand Superior B, Platan, Alexander, Minor, Malika Prime, Asia Samarkand
Bukhara - 2 nights
Amulet, Minzifa, As-Salom, Shohrud, Fatima, Bibikhanum, Volida, Kukeldash, K.Komil, BasilicOmar Khayam, Minorai-Kalon , Devon-Begi, Zargaron Plaza, Asia Bukhara
Khiva - 2 nights
Malika Kheivak, Orient Star, Muso Tura, Malika Khiva, Polvon Qori, Qosha DarvozaErkin Palace, Asia Khiva, Bek Khiva, Lokomotiv
Ayaz-Kala - 1 night
Ayaz-Kala yurt campAyaz-Kala yurt camp

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