With their reputation for welcoming visitors and their unique cultural footprint, the countries of Central Asia will remind you why you travel. This comprehensive 23-day tour will take you through all the ’Stans we visit, offering a fascinating glimpse at a beautiful part of the world most travellers miss. Stay at unique homestays, sleep in traditional yurts, discover the breathtaking mountain and desert scenery, enjoy free time in the Uzbek city of Tashkent, and roam gorgeous buildings built centuries ago. See Central Asia with a group of like-minded adventurers and an expert Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and cross off an entire and unexpected region of the world from your must-see list.
City tour (Almaty). Charyn Canyon stop. Karakol city tour (half-day). Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu). Felt-making workshop visit. Yurt stay (Song Kul). Community-based tourism (CBT) stay. Burana Tower visit. Half-day city tour (Bishkek). Dushanbe city tour. Local home stay (Iskanderkul, 2 nts). Hikes and picnic lunch. Mug Teppe settlement visit (Ura-Tube). City tour (Khujand). Khujand market visit. City tour (Tashkent). Orientation walk (Samarkand). City tour including a Registan visit. Plov-making demonstration and dinner with a local family. Nurata Shrine visit. Alexander the Great fortress visit. Desert yurt stay (Aydar Kŭl). Guided walking tour (half-day, Bukhara). Walking tours (Khiva). Internal flight. Transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Learn about the diverse cultures of Central Asia, soak in scenic beauty of mountains and deserts, connect with the locals during community village and yurt stays, marvel at colourful mosaic buildings.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Day 1: Almaty
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2: Almaty (1B)
Take a city tour of Almaty including the the historical centre, the Zenkov Cathedral and the Monument of Independence. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Opt to climb green hill for a panoramic view or visit the local market.
Day 3: Almaty/Karakol (1B)
Drive via scenic Charyn Canyon to take in more of the Kazakh landscape. Reach the border and cross into Kyrgyzstan. Enjoy an evening in Karakol.
Charyn Canyon Visit
Border Crossing (Kazakhstan – Kyrgyzstan)
Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s), 420km)
Day 4: Karakol/Kochkor (1B, 1D)
Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum then drive to Kizil Tuu. Stop en route for a swim in the lake. In Kizil Tuu learn how to built a yurt before continuing on to Kochkor.
Yurt Building Demonstration
Przhevalsky Museum Visit
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 315km)
Day 5: Kochkor/Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit a felt-making workshop to learn more about this typical Kyrgyz craft. Opt to pick up a carpet or two. Continue on to the scenic Song Kul area and stay overnight in a traditional yurt for a true cultural experience.
Felt Workshop Visit
Overnight in a Yurt
Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 130km)
Day 6: Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)
Spend a full day soaking in this beautiful area. Opt to head out for some hiking or horseback riding. Enjoy another night in a yurt.
Overnight in a Yurt
Day 7: Ozero Sonkël’/Chong-Kemin (1B)
Continue on into the scenic valley of Chong-Kemin. Stay in the local CBT (community based tourism) houses and explore the village. Soak in the stunning scenery.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 230km)
Day 8: Chong-Kemin/Bishkek (1B)
Depart Chong-Kemin and stop at one of Kyrgyzstan’s oldest sights, the Burana Tower. Learn more about the ancient structure (rare in a nomadic culture) before continuing on to the capital city of Bishkek for an afternoon city tour.
Burana Tower Visit
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s), 160km)
Day 9: Bishkek/Dushanbe (1B)
There may be more travellers joining the group here. Opt to attend an evening welcome meeting to get to know them.
Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Day 10: Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1D)
Visit some sights in the capital city of Dushanbe, including museums, monuments and the main mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains of the area for an overnight in local homes in the stunningly beautiful Iskanderkul area. Meet the locals and explore this gorgeous landscape in the Fann Mountains.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 135km)
Day 11: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1L, 1D)
Spend a full day exploring. Opt to hike in the mountains to an impressive waterfall. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village.
Day 12: Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khŭjand (1B)
Continue on to Istaravshan and visit an ancient settlement in Ura-Tube. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before driving to Khujand. Explore the city in the afternoon, visiting the museum and a mausoleum.
Mug Tepe Visit
Private Vehicle (2.25 hour(s), 145km)
Private Vehicle (1.25 hour(s), 80km)
Day 13: Khŭjand/Tashkent (1B)
Some travellers will be joining the group here as they start their journey into Uzbekistan.
Border Crossing (Tajikistan – Uzbekistan)
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 178km)
Day 14: Tashkent (1B)
Enjoy a free day to explore.
Day 15: Tashkent/Samarkand (1B)
Travel on to Samarkand. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum.
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 310km)
Day 16: Samarkand (1B, 1D)
With free time, enjoy the Samarkand sights, have a cup of tea in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar.
Plov Cooking Demonstration and Dinner
Samarkand City Tour
Day 17: Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp (1B, 1D)
Travel out into the desert to visit the Nurata Shrine and remains of the Alexander the Great fortress. Continue on for an evening in a local yurt camp. Opt to ride a camel or enjoy an evening Kazakh singing show.
Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit
Fortress of Alexander the Great Visit
Overnight in a Yurt
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s), 280km)
Day 18: Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara (1B)
Travel to Bukhara, one of the most charming cities in the country. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, have dinner with a local family, or visit a traditional hammam (bathhouse).
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Day 19: Bukhara (1B)
There is plenty of time to explore the artisan shops and wander the narrow twisting streets and alleyways. A centre for pottery, cloth, and Turkmen carpets, the Old City is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees, where you can sit at café tables and let the evening drift by. There is also the option to take in a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai or indulge in a Turkish bath.
Bukhara City Tour
Day 20: Bukhara/Khiva (1B)
Enjoy a full day’s travel through the desert to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva. Get to know the place on a late afternoon walking tour.
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 450km)
Day 21: Khiva/Tashkent (1B)
Explore the old town surrounded by city walls, bargain with locals on the market, and wander through the madrassas, climb up minarets, and explore the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. Wander through the inner walls of the Ichon-Qala and enjoy spectacular sunset views of the sand-coloured mosques and madrassas.
Khiva Ancient City Tour
Overnight train (beds) (19.00 hour(s))
Day 22: Tashkent
Arrive back in Tashkent and enjoy a city tour or explore on your own with some free time.
Tashkent Guided City Tour
Day 23: Tashkent (1B)
Depart at any time.