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Uzbekistan & Turkmen Explorer

This journey takes us deep into heartlands of the ancient Silk Route. Starting in the bizarre city of Ashgabat, we overland across the remote and inhospitable deserts of Turkmenistan to the incredible burning gas crater of Darvaza and the crumbling ancient ruins of Konye Urgench, before crossing into the fascinating country of Uzbekistan.

It is in Uzbekistan that we'll discover the jewels in the crown of the fabled journey of the Silk Road, at the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. History and stunning architecture vie for prominence in each city, and the wealth of culture and local heritage is breathtaking; the bazaars and souks are fascinating.

North of the Oxus River lies the Kyzylkhum Desert, where we will overnight in a yurt stay before heading to the great city of Tashkent for a bit of R&R and old fashioned night clubs.

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Supplier Tour ID: STT2/157982
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Finishes: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Tashkent
  • Samarkand
  • Nurata
  • Bukhara
  • Khiva
  • Kunye Urgench
  • Darvaza
  • Ashgabat

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Tashkent

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

02

Day 2: Samarkand

Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3-4: Samarkand

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

On our second day, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.

04

Day 5: Nurata

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a swim in Lake Ajdar Kul and head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

05

Day 6: Bukhara

Today we will drive to the beautiful city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights. Our drive will take us via the desert town of Nurata, which we will have a brief stop.

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

06

Day 7-8: Bukhara

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.

07

Day 9-10: Khiva

Today we have a full day drive to the incredible historic town of Khiva.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

On the next day, we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

08

Day 11: Kunye Urgench

Border Information: Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot.

This morning we will drive across the border into Turkmenistan, visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, and explore the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

09

Day 12: Darvaza

Today we continue south through the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

10

Day 13: Ashgabat

Today we will complete our drive to the interesting capital of Ashgabat, usually arriving mid-afternoon.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

11

Day 14: Ashgabat

Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.

12

Day 15: Ashgabat

Border Information: if finishing in Ashgabat, you wil most likely exit Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ashgabat. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world
    • Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur
    • Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia
    • Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire
    • See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda
    • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
    • Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty
    • Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark
    • Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared
    • Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water
    • See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
    • Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
    • Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
    • Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
    • Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
    • Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva
    • Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench
    • See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'
    • Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
    Accomodation
    • 15% Camping - 85% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • History & Culture
  • Overland Journey
  • R & R