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.
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.*
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.
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.
Please note that due to strict Turkmenistan Laws, foreigners are not permitted to travel outside of Ashgabat without being accompanied by an official guide from a registered company. If travelling on a Dragoman Trip and you wish to explore Turkmenistan further any additional time must be booked through our registered supplier as a private tour and we must be notified at the time of booking as it is not possible to travel with 2 different company s in the same visit. Any Additional nights in Turkmenistan must also be booked at a registered hotel in Ashgabat.
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Trip Name: Uzbekistan & Turkmen Explorer
Duration: 15 Days
From Price: $1,805
Supplier Tour ID: STT2/157982
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