JHCA THE ULTIMATE 'FIVE STANS' TOUR

SEARCH TOUR

With Jonathan Hodgson

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

All Five 'Stans' in depth; Astana - "new" capital of Kazakhstan; Journey to the heart of Tajikistan; Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley; Legendary Samarkand; Myriad cultures, languages, histories; Expert leadership

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 16 Apr 2017Sat 13 May 2017 $6993 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $985 USD (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Introduction by senior Tour Leader, Jonathan Hodgson, who designed and will lead this tour:

After many tours to the Central Asian region, I would like to offer a tour that will help expand our regular tour and offer it to those who really want to get the most out of this fascinating destination. I have expanded our standard itinerary to include the rarely visited "new" capital of Kazakhstan -- Astana -- to show the incredible architectural wonders of the Kazakh president's "vision". It also includes the much demanded extension into the heart of Tajikistan -- a journey from Dushanbe, the capital, via the magnificent Shahriston Pass and its dramatic mountains, to Khujand, formerly Leninabad. To top it off, we explore the heart of Uzbek traditional culture in the Fergana Valley. This is an adventure for those who don't just want to check off their country lists, but to get to the heart of the REAL Central Asia.

Regions visited: Central Asia And Far East
Countries visited: Kyrgyzstan; Kazakhstan; Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan and Tajikistan


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)
Welcome to the Kyrgyz Republic!

Originally, Bishkek was called Pishpek. In 1926 Pishpek became the capital of the Kyrgyz Autonomous Republic. In 1936, as the capital of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic, Pishpek was renamed Frunze in honour of a major political organizer of the Civil War who was born in Pishpek to a Moldavian family. Today Bishkek is a modern city with vast squares, crowded bazaars, impressive administrative centers, and educational institutions.

Overnight in Bishkek.

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2 Bishkek - Karakol
Today we travel by road to Karakol via the southern shore of Lake Lake Issyk-Kul (400 km / 7 hours). This less-travelled route features gorgeous landscapes, canyons and lagoons.

The atmosphere of Karakol is reminiscent of Tsarist Russia, with traditional Russian houses and one of the few remaining large Slavic communities in Central Asia. A Russian military outpost founded on July 1, 1869, Karakol grew in the 19th century after explorers came to map the peaks and valleys separating Kyrgyzstan from China. In the 1880s Karakol's population surged with an influx of Dungans, Chinese Muslims fleeing warfare in China.

Overnight in Karakol.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Karakol - Lake Issyk-Kul - Cholpon-Ata
This morning we have a sightseeing tour in Karakol, including the wooden Dungan Mosque, built entirely without metal nails by Chinese artisans for the local Dungans between 1907 and 1910, and the similarly appealing wooden Russian Orthodox church -- Holy Trinity Cathedral -- completed in 1895. Used as an officer's club during Soviet times, it is now restored and in use as a church again. The Regional Museum has exhibits on the Issyk Kul Lake petroglyphs, Scythian bronze artifacts, and a short history of the geology and mineral exploitation in the region.

Departing Karakol, we drive to the northern shore the lake and overnight near Cholpon-Ata, a resort popular with wealthy Kazakhs and Russians. Later In the afternoon we'll enjoy a cruise on Lake Issyk-Kul, the tenth largest lake in the world by volume and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes due to its depth and salinity (the lake has no outlet); hence its name, which means "warm lake" in the Kyrgyz language.

Overnight in the Cholpon-Ata area.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Cholpon-Ata Area - Bishkek
Today we travel the northern route back to Bishkek.

On the way we will have the opportunity to view the petroglyphs located above the town. Most of these etchings are from the time of the Saka-Usun peoples who lived in the area before the arrival of the Kyrgyz. These carvings are between 2,800 and 1,900 years old. Many of the carvings depict animals such as wolves and deer, and include the hunters that pursued them. We will also visit a small regional museum that feature many artifacts from the region and ethnological displays.

We'll also visit the Burana Tower and the nearby remnants of a castle and three mausolea. This is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. An external staircase and steep, winding stairway inside the tower enables visitors to climb to the top. The entire site now functions as museum and there is a small building on the site containing historical information as well as artifacts found at the site and in the surrounding region.

We continue to Bishkek.

Overnight in Bishkek.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Bishkek: City Tour, Kyrgyz Republic - Almaty, Kazakhstan
Today we tour Bishkek, including Oak Park, Central Square, Statue of Manas, and Victory Square. We will also visit the National Historical Museum, an enormous example of socialist realist architecture and once the Lenin Museum entirely devoted to the man himself. After independence, two of its three floors were cleared to make way for exhibits that reflected Kyrgyzstan's new status as an independent state. Luckily for visitors one floor has been preserved, along with a huge centrepiece statue of Lenin leading the revolutionary masses.

After our tour we travel by road to the Kazakh border, complete border formalities and continue to Almaty, a relatively young city by Central Asian standards. Founded by Russians in 1854, it was merely a fort named Zailisky, then Verny. In 1921 it became Alma-Ata and in 1929 it became the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1993 it became Almaty.

Overnight in Almaty.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Almaty: City Tour
Today we have a full day tour of Almaty.

Compared to other cities in Central Asia, Almaty is quite young. It was founded in 1854 by Russians in the valley of Almaty and was just a fort at first. Its name was Zailisky, then it was named Verny. In 1921it became Alma-Ata ("Father of Apples") and in 1929 it became the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. IN 1993 the name was changed to Almaty.

We begin our day with a drive (approximately 1 hour) to "Big Almaty Lake", up in the nearby mountains to the south of Almaty. The Kazakh name for the lake is "Zhasylkol" which translates as "Blue Lake" due to the mineral content of the water that provides a vibrant blue hue to the surface of the lake. The mountain scenery is dramatic at this altitude of 2500 metres (8200 feet), with the peaks of Sovetov, Ozernaya and Bolshoy Almatinskiy visible from this beautiful vantage point.

After visiting this picturesque location and enjoying the fresh air, we will drive back to Almaty in time for some lunch. After lunch, we will visit the Central State Museum with its excellent displays of Scythian art and some rock drawings depicting the ancient Nestorian pilgrim movement on the Great Silk Routes. A hall dedicated to the nomadic tribes of Kazakhstan is the highlight of the ethnic section of the museum. 

Our Almaty city tour will continue with a visit to Zhenkov's Cathedral, built in 1904, and an extraordinary example of a Russian Orthodox church built in wood. We will also take the opportunity to visit Panfilov Park, in which the Cathedral is located, a popular spot for local families to gather. Furthermore, we will have a chance to visit the recently reopened Museum of Musical Instruments, also located inside of the park.

Overnight in Almaty. 

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Almaty - Astana
This morning we head out of Almaty and visit the Turgen Gorge, located in the Ile-Alatau Natural Park, where trade caravans traveled eastward to China and India in ancient times. Turgen Gorge is rich in conifers and mixed forests, alpine and sub-alpine meadows, lakes and springs, as well as picturesque waterfalls. We will have an easy walk to the beautiful "Bear" Waterfall, surrounded by rocks with imprints of plants from pre-Ice Age. After some time to enjoy the scnerey and fresh air we return to Almaty in time for our flight to Astana.

Astana is the second largest city in the country. It took over the role of capital city from Almaty (the largest city) in December 1998. It is undergoing a massive transformation, whereby top international architects have been enlisted to make Astana a worthy capital, not only of Kazakhstan but of all Central Asia. The result is an interesting and intriguing blend of old Soviet architecture and space-age modern designs.

Overnight in Astana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Astana: City Tour
Today we tour this unique (some say bizarre) capital, the highlights of which fall mainly under the rubric of "architectural marvel." Our tour around the city includes Baiterek Tower, nicknamed "Chupa Chups" by the locals due to its similarity to a giant lollipop. This 97 meter high building offers a great view of the city as well as an art gallery, an aquarium and a restaurant. In the center of the top sphere, the ever-so-humble President Nazarbayev has made a golden palm print where visitors may put their own hands.

We also visit the Duman entertainment complex, President Cultural Center, Orthodox Church, Mosque of Astana, and the memorial complex Atameken, an outdoor museum giving you an overview of the entire country in a miniature version. This 1.7-hectare exhibit features more than 200 mock-up pieces, creating Kazakh cities and historical memorials.

Overnight in Astana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Astana, Kazakhstan - Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Today we fly to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the third largest of the former Soviet Republics. Depending on the timing of today's flight, we may be able to accomplish sightseeing either before or after our flight.

Overnight in Tashkent.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Tashkent: City Tour - Khiva
Uzbekistan is prospering under independence and this shows in the modern capitol building in the centre of town. We visit the Old City, which has mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops and dating from the 14th century. Chorsu Bazaar, a huge open market beside Kukeldash, draws crowds of people from the countryside, many in traditional dress.

We also include Kafelsashi Mausoleum, Barak Khana Medressah, Tila Sheikh Mosque and archives. Later we drive to the Friendship Square and the Navoi Theatre. 

This evening we fly to Urgench and transfer to the Khiva (approximately 45 minutes), once the most remote of the Silk Road's oasis cities.

Overnight in Khiva. 

Meal plan: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11 Khiva: City Tour
Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, discovered a well here. The town certainly existed by the 8th century, as a minor fort and trading post on a Silk Road branch to the Caspian Sea and the Volga. In the early 16th century, Khiva was made capital of the Timurid Empire, becoming a busy slave market and pivot of the khanate for the next three centuries.

Khiva is an ancient walled city and looks much like it did in centuries past. It is one of the few sites in Central Asia where one can easily imagine life during the time of the emirates. We will spend the morning wandering its maze of ruins and great mosques. Our tour includes Ichan Kala (walled city), Kalta Minor Minaret, Kunya Ark (inner citadel), and Madrassa Rakhimkhon. Later we walk to see Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud, Islam Khodja Minaret and Museum, the medieval Friday Mosque, and Tashauli Palace and Harem. Your afternoon is free to further explore the walled city.

Overnight in Khiva.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Khiva, Uzbekistan - Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan - Dashauz - Ashgabat
Today we travel by road to the Turkmenistan border (30 km). We meet our Turkmen vehicle and drive to nearby Kunya Urgench (Old Urgench). This was the capital of once powerful Khorezm Kingdom, which flourished in the 6th century BC only to be wrested away from the last of the Persian rulers, the Sasanids, by the invading armies of the Arabs. A powerful and merciless invasion of the Mongolian hordes put an end to the ruling dynasty.

Today we see pre/post Timurid period monuments spread over a large area, including the Turabeg Khanum Mausoleum, the burial place for the Sufi dynasty that ruled Khorezm between the Mongol and Timurid invasions.

Early this evening we fly from nearby Dashauz to Ashgabat (Ashkhabad).

Overnight in Ashgabat.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 13 Ashgabat: City Tour
Ashgabat is located in a spectacular natural setting, between the Kara-Kum Desert and the Kopek-Dag mountain range. A settlement on the site of the city was successively occupied by the Parthians, Seljuk Turks, and the Mongols. Under Russian control, it became the administrative capital of the Trans-Caspian oblast and was the centre of trade between the Russian empire and Persia; the Trans-Caspian railway reached here in 1885. The transliteration of the town's name was changed in 1992 to more accurately reflect the Turkmen original.

Today we have a full day tour of Ashgabat and area. We will begin with a drive to the outskirts of the city where we will visit the ancient Parthian capital of Nissa before continuing on to the massive Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan's first president. We will continue on our tour of the city with a stop at the Russian Bazaar, a guided tour of the incredible collection of the Carpet Museum, and an orientation tour of the capital's incredible marble and gold architecture. We hope to visit the hippodrome of Ashgabat toward the end of the day to see up close the famous horse's of Turkmenistan - the Akhal-Teke, one of the oldest horse breeds in the world and vitally important to the pride of the Turkmen people. 

Overnight in Ashgabat.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Ashgabat - Merv (Mary) - Turkmenabat
Early this morning we fly to the Silk Route city of Merv. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value. It is claimed that Merv was briefly the largest city in the world in the 12th century. The site of ancient Merv has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Upon arrival we have a comprehensive tour of Merv, visiting the ancient Hellenistic fortress of Gaiyur Kala, and the sites of Erk Kala and Sultan Kala. We shall also see the impressive mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, one of the most powerful Khorezmian rulers.

After our visit we continue by road to Turkmenabat for overnight.

Overnight in Turkmenabat.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan - Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Today we travel by road and cross the border back into Uzbekistan and Bukhara,* former capital of the once powerful Emirate of Bukhara. En route we stop at the Chor Bakr necropolis.

With buildings spanning 1,000 years of history and a thoroughly lived-in city centre that hasn't changed much in two centuries, Bukhara is one of the best places in Central Asia to catch a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. Most of the city centre is an architectural preserve and includes a massive royal fortress, plenty of former madrassas, a number of ancient public baths and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. You will have some free time this afternoon to wander and enjoy this atmospheric town.

* Please note: This tends to be a rather slow border crossing, and there is an awkwardly long stretch across "no-mans-land" between border posts. Sometimes we are able to arrange baggage handlers, or to send our Uzbek transport across to meet the group, but this permission is at the whim of the border guards and we cannot guarantee this.

Overnight in Bukhara.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Bukhara: City Tour
We spend today exploring the old quarter of Bukhara on foot. The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia and the city itself has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. The historic center of Bukhara has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The highlights of today tour include Labi-hauz, a 17th century plaza built around a pool; three domed bazaars; the 12th century Kalan Minaret, once the tallest building in Asia; and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, the town's oldest structure (completed around AD 905) and surely one of the most elegant in Central Asia.

Overnight in Bukhara.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Bukhara - Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa - Samarkand
This morning we depart Bukhara and travel via Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa, the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara. The first structures in this picturesque area were built in the mid-19th century during the rule of Emir Nasrullakhan. In the 1880s, his successor Muzaffarkhan built a palace for his beloved wife Sitora-bonu. The most skillful Bukhara craftsmen were sent to Russia to learn the best practices of country residence construction. Soon after that they constructed a sumptuous set of rooms, including throne room, which had a peculiar mixture of European and Asian architectural styles.

We continue on our way to Samarkand, stopping in the town of Gijduvon, location of one of the famed schools of Uzbek ceramics. We will have the opportunity to see how the ceramics are made at the workshop of one of the masters of the region. We continue on our journey after an early lunch to Samarkand, arriving in the late afternoon.

Our destination is Samarkand. No name is as evocative of the romance of the Silk Road as Samarkand. For most people it's as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Timbuktu. Most of Samarkand's high-profile attractions are the work of Timur, his grandson Ulughbek and the Uzbek Shaybanids, who between them made the city Central Asia's economic, cultural and intellectual epicentre in the 14th and 15th centuries. Almost everything of interest is in old town, whose layout has remained unchanged since this period.

Overnight in Samarkand.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 18 Samarkand: City Tour
Samarkand, sometimes called the 'Rome of the Orient', was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full day tour we visit the Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Observatory of Ulughbek, the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-i Zinda, site of Central Asia's most sacred Islamic shrine; the massive mosque of Bibi Khanym, and the adjacent colourful market where you can purchase Samarkand's famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicated back home in Greece, or try some of the region's local produce.

We also visit the museum on the site of the ancient Afrosiab archaeological site. The ancient core of Samarkand is located on the Afrasiab hill, named after the legendary Turanian king. The settlement arose in the 8th-early 7th centuries BC and occupied more than 200 hectares. River bluffs on the north and east and deep ravines in the south and west protected it. During the Achaemenids period, the city was encircled with a massive wall having an internal corridor and towers. Scholars identify Afrasiab with ancient Sogdian capital Marakanda, destroyed in the 4th century BC by Alexander the Great.

Overnight in Samarkand.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 19 Samarkand: Registan Square & Leisure Time
We keep our sightseeing program to a relaxing visit to the Registan Square this morning. The impressive Registan ("Sandy Place" in the Tajik language) has been compared favourably to the Wonders of the World. Here three Madrassahs stand solemnly: the Ulug Bek Madrassah (built 1417-1420) to the west, the Tilya-Kori Madrassah (built 1646-1660), and the Sher-Dor Madrassah (built 1619-1636). Our sightseeing will take us through a careful exploration of the Madrassahs, now filled with various arts and crafts demonstrations, old photos of the monuments taken before the reconstruction by the Soviets and many varied handicrafts for sale. After our formal sightseeing visit, you are free for the rest of the day to further explore the Registan and other lane ways and alleys of Samarkand, the second largest city in Uzbekistan.

Overnight in Samarkand.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 20 Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Termez
We depart early for Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. Our route is scenic and matches that taken by Tamerlane (due to the nature of the road, we may accomplish this journey in (a) smaller vehicle/s and meet our coach in Shakhrisabz).

At Shakhrisabz, we visit where we tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur, a man who changed the course of history and made so much of a difference to Central Asia.

This small town seems nothing special until you start seeing the ruins dotted around its backstreets. This is Timur's hometown, and once upon a time it probably eclipsed Samarkand. There's little left of Timur's Ak-Saray Palace except bits of the gigantic, 40 m (98 foot) high entrance covered with gorgeous filigree-like blue, white and gold mosaics, but it's staggering to try and imagine what the rest of this glorious summer palace must have looked like.

We depart Shakhrisabz and travel to Termez via Guzar-Sheerabad, where we see some beautiful geological formations amid some expansive views.

Overnight in Termez.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 21 Termez: City Tour
Today's tour includes the archaealogical museum and the monastery of Fayez Tepe and Kampir Tepe, the remains of a city captured by the Macedonia army of Alexander the Great. On our return to Termez we visit Al-Tirimizi's Mausoleum and Sultan Saodat complex.

The Sultan Saodat complex consists of 143 structures. The earliest mausoleum, built in the northern part of the complex, dates back to the 11th century. Hasan al Amir, the founder of Termez seyeeds clan, is buried here. The portal of this mausoleum with a square layout is topped with a huge dome. Soaring up at the height of 15 metres, the portal is the highest structure of the complex. In the past it was decorated with glazed tiles whose brightness and
fineness can be comparable to Samarkand prototypes.

Overnight in Termez.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 22 Termez, Uzbekistan - Dushanbe, Tajikistan
We have a morning departure for the Tajik border of Sarsiya. En route we stop at the Dalvarzin Tepe ruins. After completing border formalities, we travel to Dushanbe via the Hissar Fortress and Kohna Madrassah.

With a cool backdrop of mountains, lazy tree-lined avenues and pastel-hued neoclassical buildings, Dushanbe is Central Asia's best-looking capital. Although the name of the city is rather new, its historical past dated back as far as three thousand years. Archeologists have dug out the remains of Greek-Bactrian settlements, the site of ancient settlement from Kushan period (7th - 8th centuries), site of ancient Shishi Khon village and other medieval settlements. Since 1991 Dushanbe has been the capital of independent Tajikistan.

Overnight in Dushanbe.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 23 Dushanbe: City Tour
Today we include a tour of the Museum of Antiquities in Dushanbe. The huge reclining Buddha, the burial place of the Sarazm princess, Tajikistan antiques, ancient wall paintings from Penjikent, can all be found here. We will also visit the Museum of Applied Arts and the local bazaar. Dushanbe means "Monday" in Tajik, and the name reflects the fact that the city grew on the site of a village that originally was a popular Monday marketplace.

Our tour will also include visits to the Friday Mosque, the city's beautiful Botanical Gardens, and a walk through the Bag-i-Rudaki (Rudaki Gardens), featuring the towering statue to Tajik hero, Ismail Somoni.


Overnight in Dushanbe.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 24 Dushanbe - Istravshan - Khujand
After breakfast drive to Khujand via the Shahriston Pass. Enroute visit historical site of Istravshan, one of the oldest cities in Tajikistan, having existed for more than 2500 years. This small town has one of the best-preserved old towns in Tajikistan, punctuated with some lovely traditional architecture. The settlement was conquered by Alexander the Great; we visit Mug Teppe, the site of an ancient fort that Alexander stormed. The gate was reconstructed in 2002 and not much of the original site is visible, but the views of the city and the surrounding mountains are fantastic.

We continue to Khujand, the second-largest city of Tajikistan, situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley.

Overnight in Khujand.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 25 Khujand: City Tour, Tajikistan - Ferghana, Uzbekistan
Today we tour Khujand, one of Tajikistan's oldest towns, founded by Alexander the Great more than 2,300 years ago. Secure behind the Fan Mountains, Khujand has managed to escape the ravages of Tajikistan's civil war, and has always been safe for travel. It remains the wealthiest part of the country, producing two-thirds of the country's industrial output.

Khujand's Panchshanbe Bazaar is a typical Central Asian market full of sights, sounds and smells. Remains of city citadel from the 10th century on the left bank of the Sir-Darya river an architectural and artistic monument which was used as a fortification work up to the beginning of the 20th century. The citadel surrounded by thick clay walls with towers occupied the area of 64 thousand square metres. The remains of the walls date back to the 18-19th centuries. Unique burial-vault of Sheikh Muslihitdin was re-planned and rebuilt several times. The early structures are referred to the 12-13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries. Among the early constructions there were kept beautiful majolica incrustations, later on used by the builders of the mausoleum. Next to the Mausoleum there stands a 20th century mosque with a 20-column hall and painted ceiling and a 21-metre high minaret of the 19th century.

We drive to the border crossing between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, complete border formalities, and drive through to Ferghana.

Overnight in Ferghana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 26 Ferghana Valley
The Ferghana Valley’s scenery is spectacular. Views of its green fields, long poplar plantations, lines of mulberry trees (for silk) and many villages are always backed by the high, vast Tien Shan Range that runs from this part of the world right across Central Asia to the north of China. Villages are comprised of typically Central Asian courtyard houses surrounded by orchards and mulberry plantations. Everywhere you'll see small mosques and tea houses, a major node of social interaction for local men.

We begin our sightseeing with a visit of the Ferghana Bazaar, a sprawling, busy hive of shopping activity. We then continue with a drive to nearby Margilan where we will visit the Yodgorlik Silk Factory and see the whole iqat process of traditional silk weaving. We will also visit a 19th century madrassa where we will see a demonstration of block-printing on traditional fabrics.
We continue sighseeing with a visit of Rishton to see the famous Ferghana pottery at a local master's workshop where we will see how the ceramics are made and to visit his pottery museum.

We return to Ferghana in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Ferghana.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 27 Ferghana - Kokand - Tashkent
We depart for Tashkent via Kokand and the Fort/Palace Museum of Khodoyar Khan, the last Khan of Kokand. Upon arrival in Tashkent, time-permitting, we may finish any sightseeing deferred from earlier in our program.

Overnight in Tashkent.

Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 28 Departure from Tashkent
Departure from Tashkent

BON VOYAGE!

Meal plan: Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Silk Road Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bishkek
Country: Kyrgyzstan

The Silk Road Lodge was built in 2000 in the centre of the capital, next to the Central Park and
... a few minutes walk from the White house and Bishkek's popular restaurants. In-house bar-restaurant offers a wide range of international and local meals. Hotel also has facilities for a leisure: heated indoor pool with two saunas. All rooms have en suite bathrooms with bath and heated floors, tea/coffee making facilities and taps that are equipped with water filters.


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Hotel Otrar

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Almaty
Country: Kazakhstan

Well situated facing Panfilov Park, the Otrar dates from Soviet times but stands up very well. It has spick-and-span rooms
... air-con and satellite TV, a fitness room, sauna and a good help-yourself breakfast.
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Hotel Grand Park Esil

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Astana
Country: Kazakhstan

The Hotel has 132 room with air-conditioning system, separate water reservoir, diesel generator and boiler for uninterrupted cold and hot
... and electrical power supply.
It is located at the Central Square of the capital of Kazakhstan, nearby the governmental offices, museums, banks, shopping malls, and river promenade and park area.

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Hotel Dedeman

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Tashkent
Country: Uzbekistan

An exceptional relaxing atmosphere, luxurious rooms and elegant restaurants await you at the Best Hotel of the Year 2005 in
... Rooms feature: Direct telephone, minibar, electronic safe, Internet connection (free, broadband, wireless connections), TV,
air conditioning, hair dryer.

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Hotel Malika Khiva

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Khiva
Country: Uzbekistan

Malika Khiva, Malika Kheivak and Malika Khorezm are three modern hotels built in national style represent famous chain of Malika
... in Uzbekistan.

Malika Khiva Hotel opened in May, 2004. It is situated directly opposite the main Ata Darvaza gates of the Ichan Qala. It has the indisputably best view in all of Khiva!

Malika Kheivak is a new hotel, built in 2008. The hotel is located in the center of Ichan Qala, the historical fortress of Khiva, next to the Islam Khoja Minaret. The perfect location, rooms in national style and very great service from the hotel's staff makes it the perfect place to stay while visiting Khiva.

Malika Khorezm Hotel is located one block from the gates of the ancient old town of Khiva near the Art Museum. The decor of each hotel is classic Uzbek and cozy. The authentic Uzbek and European cuisine is unforgettable.

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Hotel Four-Points Sheraton Ak Altin Plaza

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Ashgabat
Country: Turkmenistan

Contemporary hotel located 5 minutes from city center & 3 km from Carpet Museum & Independence Monument

Hotel Malika

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Samarkand
Country: Uzbekistan

This newly built private hotel presents the finest Uzbek woodcraft. Hotel Malika features 26 guest rooms. There is a small
... in the hotel with Uzbek national sitting benches - "supa", where you can have breakfast or relax and have a cup of tea. Rooms: Air conditioning, telephone, satellite TV, mini bar, shower. Property amenities: Restaurant, internet, bar, laundry, souvenir shop.


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Dushanbe Serena Hotel

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Dushanbe
Country: Tajikistan

The Serena Hotel in Dushanbe Tajikistan sets the benchmark for a deluxe 5 star hotel in the capital city. Located
... the Rudaki Avenue, a central location on the main boulevard of the city, the spectacular facade with Tajik motifs adds to the one-of-a-kind landmark.
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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (at local restaurants and some hotels) are included daily. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees ($700-800), and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, and visas.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour will be offered only once, in spring of 2013. April sees an average low temperature of 57 F / 10 C and average highs of 71 F / 20 C. This said, conditions can vary widely over this region and one should be prepared for wide- ranging conditions, including some heat in some locations. Average number of rain days is 4, so this is a relatively dry region. Spring is one of the best times to visit this extreme climate where summers are unbearably hot and winters bitterly cold.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Road transport throughout via private bus. Domestic flights via scheduled local carriers. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage, especially at airports.

Accommodation

Most accommodation is of a 3 & 4-star standard, though accommodation may be simpler in remote locations (some hotels have been upgraded from our standard tour CA3). All are heated / air-conditioned as conditions warrant, and all feature private bath. Most passengers are pleasantly surprised at the overall comfort and level of service.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 plus Tour Leader

JHCA TRIP DETAILS

DURATION28 days

TOUR STARTBishkek

TOUR ENDTashkent