- Travel to Central Asia for 21 Days
Catch the morning flight from Beijing to Urumqi. Urumqi is the main city of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the heart of the Eurasian continent on the northern slopes of Tian Shan mountains. Urumchi in ancient Mongolian means 'the fine pasture'. Transfer to hotel. Visit the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum and Erdao Qiao Market.
Catch the morning flight to the oasis city of Kashgar. City tour visiting the Id Kah Mosque and the Tomb of Yusup Hazi Hajup. Overnight at a hotel.
Try to schedule your trip to be in Kashgar on Sunday -- its Sunday bazaar is believed to be the largest outdoor market in the world! As Marco Polo wrote about Kashgar: "It is an eastern Cairo, where there are mountains of goods, and people swarm like bees". There are also interesting historical monuments to visit.
Transfer early in the morning to Torugart Pass. This pass is only open Monday - Friday, from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Meeting with the Kyrgyz travel company at the Kyrgyz-Chinese border "Torugart". Transfer to Tash-Rabat (115 kms), an 11th century caravanserai that served as a fortress for travellers along the Great Silk Road. This is a carefully restored stone building. Overnight in yurts.
After breakfast transfer to Kochkor. Lunch in Naryn town on the way. On arrival in Kochkor you will visit a felt carpet workshop where you can see the process of making Kyrgyz national carpets. Dinner and overnight in a home stay.
En route to Tamga village visit Skazka valley where sandstone cliffs have been shaped by centuries of wind and melting snow into an ensemble of columns and canyons ranging from deep red to bright orange. Free time after arrival. Overnight in the guest house.
Option on the way: Eagle hunting show in Bokonbaevo – USD100 in total per show.
In the morning drive to Jety-Oguz gorge, which is a lush valley with striking red sandstone rock formations (the 'Seven Bulls' from which the valley takes its name). Picnic. Free time for hiking. Transfer to Karakol. Overnight in a guest house.
After breakfast, city tour in Karakol: visit the wooden Russian Orthodox church, Dungan Mosque and Prezhevalsky Museum. Transfer to Cholpon Ata. In Cholpon-Ata visit the open-air art gallery of petroglyphs, said to date from 500 BC – 100 AD. They depict wolves, long-horned ibex, goats, horses, snow leopards, sacrifices and hunting scenes. Overnight in a hotel on the northern shore of Issyk Kul lake.
Drive to Bishkek (250 km, 4 hours). Transfer to a guest house. Sightseeing tour: Oak Park, Ala -Too Square, Philarmonic hall, Statue of Manas, Victory Square.
After breakfast depart Bishkek and drive to Almaty (250 kms) via a newly built highway. Free time in Almaty after hotel check in.
Sightseeing in Almaty. Visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov wooden cathedral, St.Nicholas cathedral, National Musical Instruments museum, Central State museum, Almaty's Green bazaar, the Observatory.
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Tashkent. Arrival Tashkent, transfer to the hotel. Free time.
Morning sightseeing in Tashkent. You can see the contrast between the old and modern city. In the old town you will enjoy Chorsu bazaar, then later visit the Khasti Imam complex. It contains the 16th C Barakhan Madrasa, the Mui Muborak library where you can see a 7th-century Koran, and the new mosque Hazrati Imam built in 2007 when Tashkent was announced as a Centre of Islamic culture.You will also visit Amir Temur Square, Independence Square and the Applied Arts Museum in Tashkent. In the afternoon drive to Samarkand (297km, 4hrs).
Full day sightseeing in Samarkand, the capital of ancient Sogdiana and one of the oldest cities in the world. You will visit Registan square, Gur Emir mausoleum, Bibi Hanum mosque, Samarkand bazaar, Shahi Zinda complex, Afrosiab museum, Ulughbek observatory. Overnight Samarkand.
Drive to Bukhara (270 km, 4 hrs) and stop en route briefly at Rabbati Malik, the ruins of an 11th-century caravanserai. After checking into the hotel, begin a guided sightseeing program in Bukhara. Visit Chashma Ayub (Job’s well), the 10th century mausoleum of Ismail Samani, Bolo Hauz mosque, Ark Fortress, Kalon mosque and minaret and Miri-Arab madrassah.
A full day exploring Bukhara's marvellous sites such as the trade domes, now filled with wondrous goods, e.g. modern and antique jewellery, carpets, fabrics. Visit the Lyabi Hauz complex including Nadir Divan Begi madrassah, the Jewish synagogue and school, Chor Minor.
Drive to the border (120 km). Complete border formalities. Drive to Mary via Turkmenabat. En route visit the mausoleum of Talkhatan Baba, the 12th century masterpiece of Seljuk architecture. The old Silk Road, which connected Bukhara and Mary, ran through the Kyzylkum desert (red sand desert) and the Karakum desert (black sand). You can make a short stop at the bank of Amudarya river, named the Oxus river by the Greeks. Almost 300 kms of the road goes through the desert. Afternoon arrival in Mary, check into the hotel. Overnight.
Drive to Bairamaly (25 kms). Sightseeing in ancient Merv, founded in the 6th century BC and one of the most important cities along the Silk Road. Return to Mary and visit the museum. Afternoon drive to Ashgabat (optional flight). Overnight Ashgabat.
Sightseeing in Ashgabat including the National Museum of History and Ethnography of Turkmenistan, old Nisa, the ancient Parthian settlement, and the Anau ruins. Overnight Ashgabat.
Early morning 50-minute flight to Dashoguz. then drive to Kunya Urgench. Visit Kunya Urgench historical sites: mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. View the Kutlug Timur minaret and Kyrk Molla, Izmukhir. Return drive to Dashoguz. Cross the border to continue to Khiva, Uzbekistan, where your Uzbek driver will meet you and transfer you to Khiva. Overnight Khiva.
Full day visit of Khiva: Ark Fortress, Ichan kala, Madrasah Muhammad Aminkhan, Madrasa Muhammad Rahimkhan, Kalta Minor, wood workshop, carpet workshop, Pahlavan Mahmud mausoleum, Shergazikhan madrasa, Juma mosque and Minaret, Tash Hauli palace, caravanserai and bazaar. Evening transfer to Urgench airport (35 kms from Khiva) for flight to Tashkent. Meet and transfer to hotel in Tashkent. Overnight Tashkent. Arrival Tashkent, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Transfer from hotel to airport. End of services.
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Days : 22 | Nights : 21
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