Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan – Architecture & Culture

Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan – Architecture & Culture

13 Days From



Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan – Architecture & Culture

13 Days Starting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and ending in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Visiting: Tashkent, Bukhara, Gijduvon, Rabat Malik Caravanserai, ASHRAF, Samarkand, Bishkek, Kemin, Tepke, Karakol, Jeti Oguz, Svetlaya Polyana, Tamga, Kochkor, Song-Kul

Tour operator:

Crooked Compass

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:


Trip Styles:




From: $5134 $4972 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$162

NB: Prices correct on 19-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Wander through ancient Silk Road citiesExplore alpine lakes, gorges and mountain villagesExperience a traditional stay in a yurtHiking through virgin landscapesEmbrace traditional cooking and handicraft experiences with localsWitness eagle huntingMingle with nomads and shepherdsAncient architecture, Silk Road fables, stories of merchants, traders and life on the road entwined with remote mountain lakes, valleys of wildflowers, hikes through remote cobbled villages dotted with shepherds and their flocks - a journey through Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan is the perfect introduction to Central Asia.

Dusted in eye-popping cobalts, cyans and sapphires, Uzbekistan has an incredible tangle of history to unravel and hidden sites to uncover. From its former Persian rule and key location along the famed Silk Road, to which is owes much of its grand architecture and culture, to a short period under Soviet rule, this jumble of traditions is a treasure trove waiting to be cracked open. We veer you through Uzbekistans great sites, mingle with their nomads and cross into Kyrgyzstan – a land defined by its natural beauty. Soak in joyously unspoilt mountainscapes, stark craggy ridges and rolling jailoos (summer pastures) which are brought to life by semi-nomadic, yurt-dwelling shepherds.


  • Wander through ancient Silk Road cities

  • Explore alpine lakes, gorges and mountain villages

  • Experience a traditional stay in a yurt

  • Hiking through virgin landscapes

  • Embrace traditional cooking and handicraft experiences with locals

  • Witness eagle hunting

  • Mingle with nomads and shepherds


Expand All

Day 1 : Arrival Tashkent

Location: Tashkent

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Inspira S or similar

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Welcome to Uzbekistan! Upon arrival in Tashkent airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Uzbekistan is the proud home to a spellbinding infusion of architecture and ancient cities, all deeply intertwined with the bloody, fascinating history of the Silk Road.

Leave your luggage at your hotel and set off on your city tour. Visit the wonderful complex Khast Imam, located in the old part of the city which has been the largest centre of Islamic culture in Uzbekistan for thousands of years. Continuing on, you will also visit Kukeldash madrasah, the largest madrasah and one of the most famous historical monuments of Tashkent. You will also have the opportunity to explore a local bazaar, Chorsu. This bazaar is one of the largest and most popular in the capital. Covered by seven domes tiled with coloured ceramic designs, mingle amongst the locals as they bargain and barter amongst themselves. Local farmers come from far and wide to sell products of their own production. Let your senses take over as you inhale the aromas of different eastern spices, vegetables and fruits. Enjoy a BBQ lunch here, hot off the open flames as you sit amongst the locals.

Enjoy meeting a ceramist from Rishtan. Become acquainted with the full cycle of ceramic production – from the preparation of the clay to the manufacture of finished products and take part in our master class and get your hands dirty, as you learn from the locals. This evening, enjoy a walking city tour as you visit Amir Temur Square, Sailgoh Street, Romanov’s Palace (outside), Navoi Theatre Square and Independence Square. Return to your hotel.

Day 2 : Tashkent - Bukhara

Location: Tashkent, Bukhara

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Paradise Plaza or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, transfer to the train station for your train to Bukhara. Travelling by train along the Silk Road is sure to be one of your highlights – not only from the scenery out your window, but from the local engagement you may experience. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will leave your luggage and set off on a city tour. Bukhara was a prominent stop on the Silk Road trade route between the East and the West, and a major medieval centre for Islamic theology and culture. It still contains hundreds of well-preserved mosques, madrassas bazaars and caravanserais, dating largely from the 9th to the 17th centuries.

Explore the Lyabi-Khauz complex, an architectural ensemble, formed with three large, monumental buildings: Kukeldash Madrasah, Khanaka and Nodir Divan-begi. The centre of old Bukhara’s large ensemble became a reservoir.

Visit the Jewish Synagogue which still functions today and was built in 16th century and is protected by the government, as well as the Trade Domes. Medieval Bukhara was a big business city receiving merchants from Central Asia and other parts of the world and this is where much of the merchant trading took place.

Marvel at the Bozori Kord Khammam (Sauna bathroom) dating back to XIV century and the Abdullakhan Tim, a huge, roofed shopping passage from XVI century.

The only surviving building in Bukhara of Timurid-era, is the Ulugbeg madrassahs which you will have the privilege to see. Abdulazizkhan madrassahs is a part of architectural ensemble of Ulugbek Madrasah.

Spend your afternoon in fascinating Old Bukhara which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Explore Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Magoki-Attori Mosque, madrasahs of Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan, trade domes, Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Chor-Minor Madrasah.

Venture into the Retro Saloon, Timur, where you will taste delicious herbal teas amongst the locals.

In the evening, visit a local family in their house where you will get hands on and assist in plov cooking. Plov is a very popular, historic Uzbek dish. Also referred to as “pilaf” or “palov”, it’s made up of long grain rice, tender chunks of lamb, onions, and carrots.

Day 3 : Bukhara To Gijduvan – Rabat Malik To Asraf

Location: Bukhara, Gijduvon, Rabat Malik Caravanserai, ASHRAF

Accommodation Name: Local Guesthouse

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you will depart and drive to Gijduvan (approx. 1 hr). On the way, stop in Vabkent to see the famed minaret, which is one of the most refined works of local architecture. The minarets construction dates back to 1196-1197. A Kufic inscription on the lower decorative belt is visible around the trunk of the minaret. Continue driving to Gijduvan.

The small town of Gijduvan is situated 46 km northeast of Bukhara. In Gijduvan, there are remnants of architectural monuments: the latest of three is Ulugbeg Mardassahs from the 15 century, of which only the front part has survived. You will also see Abd-al-Khalyk Gijduvani mazar. Gijduvan ceramics take a special place among the large number of crafts produced here. Gijduvan embroidery is the other distinctive craft in the region. The craftswomen of the Narzullaev family embroider silk on cotton fabric in the traditional style which is local to Gijduvan. Whilst here, visit the ceramic workshop and the Museum of Ceramics founded by Narzullaev family.

As you continue on, you will visit the ruins of Rabat Malika Caravan Saray, which served as a fortress for travellers along the Great Silk Road (approx. 1 hr). Make your way to the village of Asraf nestled in the Nurata Mountains (approx. 4 hrs), where you will become fully immersed in the life of the locals. Local people build themselves houses of small stones, rocks and clay. They plant and collect fruits and vegetables to cook for their meals, which are all cooked in the open-fire oven. Each family has a few head of livestock and poultry, which provide eggs, milk, meat and wool. Settle into your guesthouse where you will spend the night. Explore the village and see the local mosque, ruins of ancient forts.

Day 4 : Asraf Village To Samarkand

Location: ASHRAF, Samarkand

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Arka Boutique or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Awake to embrace the lifestyle of the local villagers and embrace the purity of the neighbourhood. After breakfast, you will transfer to Samarkand (approx. 4 hrs). Samarkand is a fascinating city in Uzbekistan known for its mosques and mausoleums. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. This afternoon, explore the main attractions in Samarkand, including the Registan, which is a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries. You also have the chance to explore Gur Emir, the towering tomb of Timur (Tamerlane), founder of the Timurid Empire. Other points of interest include visiting the Shakhizinda, which is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand and Bibikhanum Mosque which is one of the most important monuments of Samarkand. Visit a handicraft centre in Koni Ghil Village, where you will be acquainted with the production ancient paper, pottery, carpentry and oil following the processes of ancient tradition.

Day 5 : Samarkand – Tashkent - Bishkek

Location: Samarkand, Tashkent, Bishkek

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning you will transfer to the train station and take the Afrosiyob train (06:11-08:21) to Tashkent. On arrival, you will visit ceramist Akbar Rahimov’s workshop (the dynasty of potters), the house of a master potter who has given new impetus to local pottery by picking century old styles and combining this with new designs. Enjoy a tea break with oriental sweets. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bishkek this evening.

Day 6 : Bishkek To Kemin Valley

Location: Bishkek, Kemin

Accommodation: Homestay

Accommodation Name: Kemin Guesthouse or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy breakfast before setting off on your city tour of Bishkek. Visit the Osh Bazaar – a huge open-air market, where it’s possible to buy everything. From food products and spices to common household goods, clothes, souvenirs, and even musical instruments. Mingle with the locals as you practice your bantering and bartering. Enjoy lunch in Bishkek before continuing to the Chon-Kemin Valley (approx. 3-4hrs). Its eponymous river flows across the Kungei-Ala-Too and Iliysky Ala-Too mountain ranges, stretching over 110km, with seven lakes in its basin. Here, also lies a specially protected region, Chon-Kemin National Park, a lush natural area brimming with diverse flora and fauna. Forming the sides of the valley are conifer forests, which are home to many varieties of herbs, berries, and mushrooms.

The Chon-Kemin valley is a place for those who truly appreciate natural beauty, as it remains – many say – in its virgin state. This afternoon, you have the option to explore on foot and go hiking or jump on a horse and venture off with a local guide. Your accommodation is simple but comfortable, something that adds to the area’s back-to-basics charm.

Day 7 : Kemin Valley To Tepke

Location: Kemin, Tepke

Accommodation Name: Local farmstay or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning you will set off towards Karakol along the northern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake (approx 4-5hrs) . Lunch is enroute. On the way, you will visit the museum of Nomad’s Civilization and an open-air museum of ancient petroglyphs. This evening you will stay at a beautiful farm known for its horse breeding. Enjoy an orientation through this stunning property and learning about the importance of horses in this nomadic culture.

Day 8 : Tepke To Karakol

Location: Tepke, Karakol

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Green Yard Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early this morning, if it is a Sunday, you will have the opportunity to visit the animal markets. A visit to the Sunday-only animal market in the outskirts of Karakol is a bit like going back in time. It hasn’t changed much over the decades and it’s unlikely to change in the next ones, either. Wear sturdy footwear, because you’ll get up close and personal with horses, sheep, cattle, goats, and donkeys of every size and stripe. While you’re probably not planning to buy an animal, this is a great opportunity for truly one-of-a-kind encounters with locals, and of course, memorable photos.

Breakfast in ash-lyanfu place, a hidden local restaurant serving traditional Dungan food. Many Dungan people settled here in Karaol after fleeing from China. Their culture and stories are fascinating.

Continuing on, enjoy a city tour of Karakol where you will visit the Russian Orthodox Church, Muslim Mosque in Dungan Style and the Museum of Prjevalski, a famous traveller and Central Asia explorer. Lunch today is in a local restaurant and this evening you will enjoy a traditional dinner served by a local Dungan family.

Day 9 : Karakol - Jety Oguz - Svetlaya Polyana - Tamga

Location: Karakol, Jeti Oguz, Svetlaya Polyana, Tamga

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Yurt Camp or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast transfer to Jety-Oguz Gorge (around 2 hours). From here you have the option to do a hike into to Svetlaya Polyana gorge for about 3-4 hours. This is a scenic gorge with wild nature and perfect for exploring on foot. Enjoy a packed lunch on top of small pass before you transfer to the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake. Issyk-Kul Lake is one of the world’s few remaining ancient lakes, estimated to be an incredible 25 million years old, but also the second-largest alpine lake on the planet. Surrounding the lake are the snow-capped Tian Shan mountains, towering as high as 4000m in the sky. The lake itself reaches depths of over 610m. Boasting a long and storied history, the lake was once a stop along the ancient Silk Road. Issyk-Kul was also once used by the Soviet Navy as a torpedo testing site, during which time foreigners were not permitted to visit the area.

Day 10 : Tamga To Kochkor

Location: Tamga, Kochkor

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Nomad Lodge Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy breakfast this morning before you continue along the southern shoreline. Today’s driving time is approx 4-5 hrs. On the way, you will stop to witness the production of yurts in the village of Kyzyl-Tuu, before witnessing an eagle hunting show. Hunting has always been important in the nomadic lifestyle. Food gathering has generated many different customs and traditions. Since ancient times, it was believed that the hunting bird was the most loyal and reliable assistant. Eagles and falcons were used for a long time before the appearance of firearms and held the status of a family member. Kyrgyz tribes have used hunting birds to hunt since the 10th century AD. Today, they keep this incredible tradition from generation to generation. You will have the opportunity to meet with local eagle hunters and see how the birds are trained. Continuing on, explore Fairy Tale Canyon. This place is certainly a magical place, full of mystery and mysticism, sufficient to stimulate the imagination of those with the inclination to stand, and stare, and wonder. Whipped into unique shapes and rock formations from the wind and water, this landscape is simply spectacular. This evening, you will spend the night in a yurt camp. In Kochkor, you will visit a felt workshop which is run by the local women community called “Altyn Kol”.

Day 11 : Kochkor To Son Kul Lake

Location: Kochkor, Song-Kul

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Yurt Camp or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast transfer to Son-Kul Lake (approx 2-3hrs). Son-Kul is one of the highest lakes in Kyrgyzstan (2030m above sea level). It’s a place where you can experience true nomadic life. You may have a chance to ride a horse, see edelweiss flowers, camels, yaks, golden eagles, and to see how local women make the Kyrgyz national drink – Kymyz (mare’s milk). This is a remote mountain lake situated on a treeless, high mountain plateau, where shepherds bring their livestock in the summertime and establish a camp where they will live for the season and set up their yurts. In this area of beauty, you will see hundreds of herds of animals and their shepherds, as well as many different yurts. Enjoy hiking around the lakes edge and through the valley where you have the option to visit many nomadic families who have settled in the valley for the season.

Day 12 : Son Kul To Bishkek

Location: Song-Kul, Bishkek

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast transfer to Bishkek (approx 5-6hrs). Stop in Kochkor for lunch. Upon arrival into Bishkek, take some time for rest freshen up before your farewell dinner.

Day 13 : Departure From Bishkek

Location: Bishkek

Meals Included: Breakfast

Following breakfast, the day is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers

  • 11 nights accommodation

  • Meals as per the itinerary

  • Entrances fees as per the itinerary

  • Services of an English speaking local guide

  • Train tickets Tashkent-Bukhara and Samarkand-Tashkent in business class

  • Taste aromatic herbal teas in "Timur” Retro Saloon in Bukhara

  • Visit ceramist Rakhimov’s workshop with traditional tea tasting

  • Visit Koni Ghil Village in Samarkand

  • Visit to yurt production workshop in in Kyzyl-Tuu

show more

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Items of a personal nature

  • Visas

  • Tipping

  • Travel insurance

  • Meals and beverages not specified above

Check out our Q&As

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Yes, Single Supplement will be chargeable at AUD$ 1,684.00.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.

  • Are train tickets included in this tour?

    Train tickets Tashkent-Bukhara and Samarkand-Tashkent in business class are included.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in itinerary.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes, Entrances fees as per the itinerary are included.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International flights are not included.

  • What is the minimum group size?

    The min group size is 2 people.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, The local guides on the tour is English speaking.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, Return airport transfers are included.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes. Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages. Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard.

  • What sort of transportation is used for your tours?

    Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Crooked Compass is firmly committed to the principles of ethical travel. Our comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Practices policy summarises our commitments and actions. Although the very basis of our ground operations lends itself to the ethos of sustainable tourism, this policy re-iterates our commitment to: Use locally owned hotels Use locally owned ground agents Use local guides and drivers Promote community tourism projects from homestays to craft shops Support charities that work within the destinations that we travel to Carbon offset our travels

  • Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?

    Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.

  • What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?

    Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty. Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers. Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists. Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.

  • Who do your tours cater for?

    Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.

  • I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset?

    Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more. If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit

Reviews of this operator

Jeff Rehn  

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass


A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass. Considering the country is just opening up to tourism everything went very well - flights, trips, transfers, guides and accommodation - thank you CC - highly recommended

Pauline Mavis Rusby  

We were kept safe at all times.


We were kept safe at all times. When unexpected hurdles appeared they were handled without fuss. Our tour was informative, picturesque and comfortable.

Tina Watts-Seale  

Family holiday to Vietnam


We booked a family holiday to Vietnam with Crooked Compass and it was perfect. The booking process was easy and Lisa took all of our requests on board so that the trip was exactly what we wanted. All flights, transfers, accommodations, guides and activities were fantastic, with great communication throughout the whole trip. Would highly recommend, we will be booking again soon!


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Sep 01, 2024 - Sep 13, 2024
$5134 $4972

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$162

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May 25, 2025 - Jun 06, 2025
$5390 $5221

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$170

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Aug 31, 2025 - Sep 12, 2025
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Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$170

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May 06, 2026 - May 18, 2026
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Wednesday - Monday

Aug 26, 2026 - Sep 07, 2026
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Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$182

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Crooked Compass requires a minimum deposit of 20% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of crooked compass charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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