Bishkek to Ashgabat

Bishkek to Ashgabat

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26 Days
From

$6505

$5061

Bishkek to Ashgabat

26 Days Starting in Bishkek and ending in Ashgabat

Visiting: Bishkek, Issyk-Kul Lake, Song-Kol Lake (3016 metres), Kyzyl-Oi, Suusamyr Valley/Chychkan River/Karakul, Osh, Border Crossing/Andijan/Tashkent, Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent/Overnight Train, Khiva, Darvaza, Yerbent – Ashgabat, Ashgabat, Mary, Merv – Mary

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

KFSRC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

Medium, Medium

Age range:

1-12

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Active

From:
$6505
$5061 (USD) Operator discount: -$1301 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$143 -22%
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Tour Overview

Be entranced by the beauty and the wonder of Central Asia on this overland journey from the capital of Kyrgyzstan through the heartland of Uzbekistan to the forgotten yet futuristic Ashgabat. Take in the tranquil landscape of Son-Kol Lake, watch for wild boar and deer around Chychkan Gorge, hike up the sacred Sulumain-too Mountain in historic Osh, and get your fill of mosques and museums in Samarkand. Venture into the mysterious Turkmenistan, camp out by the 'gate of hell', and explore Ashgabat with architectures from a scifi movie. Abounding with ancient culture, divine natural beauty, intriguing relics, and welcoming people, this is a journey that will leave you eager to discover more of Central Asia.

Highlights

  • Central Asia is a fascinating and unique mix of ancient Silk Road culture, post-soviet culture and striving to redefine nations post independence. Geographically and for a time historically, it is the real centre of Asia

  • The much-photographed Registan in Samarkand is one of the true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. You'll be wowed by the scale, grandeur and beauty of the monuments to iconic figures such as Tamerlane and the Persian influenced madressas, mosques and mausoleums

  • Experience for yourself the legend that is Central Asian hospitality - there's really nothing like being welcomed into a local home or yurt for a meal, chatting with stall holders at bazaars or simply marvelling at the sights alongside locals

  • Kyrgyzstans mountains are its monuments and its majesty. The landscapes here will stay with you long after the journey is over

  • Marvel at the beautiful Son-Kol Lake, where in mid-summer you may see flocks of sheep, goats and herds of horses watched over by nomadic herdsmen and their families

  • Stay overnight in a yurt lakeside and live like the locals have for centuries in these portable, felt lined traditional tents

  • Reflect on the important role horses have played in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic life style while witnessing horseback sports like odarysh (wrestling on horseback), tiyin-enish (where riders try to pick up coins at full gallop) or kok-baru (goat polo)

  • Explore sprawling ruins of Mary, Merv and others with a local guide and contemplate these remnants of empires that once ruled this vast land

  • Witness the eternal flames of the Darvaza Crater, aka the 'Door to Hell' as you camp nearby – one of the strangest, most mesmerising geological oddities on earth

  • Ashgabat rose from the devastation of an earthquake in 1948 and has enjoyed a surreal and futuristic makeover

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Bishkek
Location: Bishkek
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: dinner

Welcome to Bishkek! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Tomorrow you’ll take a tour of the city, so don’t stress too much if you don’t have time to see much today. Bishkek is tree-lined town of parks and gardens, handsome houses and wide streets perfect for strolling. If you arrive with time to spare, maybe head out in search of some samsa (pastry pockets filled with meat and vegetables).

Day 2: Bishkek
Location: Bishkek
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Embark on city tour that showcases the various stages of Bishkek’s history. Visit the severe Ala-Too Square, once known as Lenin Square, and learn about the towering statue depicting folkloric hero Manas. Continue to Dubovy Park, and wander among the open-air cafes before strolling between the century-old oaks along Freedom Avenue. In the afternoon, you'll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city centre, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You'll find all kinds of things on sale here, from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets.

Included Activities:
-Bishkek - City Tour

Optional Activities:
-Bishkek - State Historical Museum

Day 3: Issyk-Kul Lake
Location: Issyk-Kul Lake
Accommodation: Tourist yurt camp
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, up and on the road through the beautiful landscaps of Kyrgyzstan. You'll be travelling with our vehicle for the next few days so get ready for a road trip through some pretty stunning mountains and lakes. Firstly stop at Burana Tower, a minaret that is the most visible
remnant of the ancient city Balasagun. Then continue to Tokmak and meet a local Dungan family and enjoy a home-cooked lunch. Then onto the destination of today - Issyk-Kul Lake, the second-largest alpine lake in the world. At 170 - kilometres-long and 70-kilometres-wide, her beauty is a real sight to behold. Your yurt camp for tonight is set up along the south shore of the lake where you'll get a fantastic view of the snow-capped mountains setting behind the lake. Made of felt and tarpaulins on a round frame, yurts are the traditional dwellings of the Kyrgyz people and this will be your 'settlement' for today and tomorrow.

Included Activities:
-Shamsy Valley - Burana tower
-Tokmak - Kyrgyz family visit and home-cooked lunch

Day 4: Issyk-Kul Lake
Location: Issyk-Kul Lake
Accommodation: Tourist yurt camp
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

With relaxed plans for today, we’ll wander the beautiful alpine area and head out to meet a local eagle trainer (or Berkutchi) and discover the ancient principles of training these beautiful creatures to follow commands, catch prey and return back to their masters and then visit a few local families who’ll teach you more about their traditional yurts. With a special workshop, you’ll learn the basics of how these nomadic dwellings have been manufactured and how they play an important role in the community here. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening, relax in your authentic yurt camp, jump into the lake, ride a bike or sit back with a cold homemade vodka – created by your yurt camp owners, just for you.

Included Activities:
-Issyk-Kul Lake - Yurt workshop
-Issyk-Kul Lake - Eagle Hunter Visit

Day 5: Song-Kol Lake (3016 Metres)
Location: Song-Kol Lake (3016 metres)
Accommodation: Tourist yurt camp
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

Back on the road and travel to Song-Kol Lake, another alpine stunner that is considered a sacred place to many Kyrgyz people, as well as one of the best summer pastures for nomadic herders. The landscape will change depending on the season but is sure to be beautiful no matter when you travel. In the summer you might see nomadic herdsmen and their families watching over goats, sheep, and horses. Enjoy exploring your surroundings for the rest of the day, maybe hiking one of the many trails. Tonight, fall asleep in yurts set up along the shore. Tomorrow, those daring enough for an invigorating morning splash can use the lake to wash off the sleep.

Day 6: Kyzyl-Oi
Location: Kyzyl-Oi
Accommodation: Guesthouse/Homestay
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

Travel along gravel roads to the tiny village of Kyzyl-Oi, which is squeezed between mountains. On the way, pass large coal deposits and travel along the Kokomeren River, which feeds into the Syr Darya. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river in the shade of the trees and use your free time to explore the village on arrival.

Day 7: Suusamyr Valley/Chychkan River/Karakul
Location: Suusamyr Valley/Chychkan River/Karakul
Accommodation: Guesthouse/Homestay
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

Get ready for a full-day of driving though big, beautiful landscapes. As the roads in Kyrgyzstan see little regular maintenance, even short distances on a map can take hours. The road crosses the Suusamyr Valley – a high steppe plateau situated at around 2200 metres above sea level. The mountainous surroundings are often dotted with yurts. Continue along the Chychkan River that cuts through the Tien Shan mountain range. Stop here for a while and soak up the amazing scenery. Arrive at tonight's accommodation in Karakul sometime in the early evening.

Day 8: Osh
Location: Osh
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

After breakfast, get ready for another all-day journey to Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgystan. Stop en route at Uzgen, an ancient trading town and handicrafts centre along the Silk Road. Although much of the ancient city has been destroyed, a minaret and three mosques that have survived remain important examples of medieval Central Asian architecture. Continue to Osh. Located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, Osh is often referred to as the 'Capital of the South' and is the oldest city in the country.

Included Activities:
-Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex

Day 9: Osh
Location: Osh
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Rise and shine for a visit to the only World Heritage site in Kyrgystan, the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, also known as Solomon's Throne. For centuries Silk Road travellers have sought out the mountain's caves and their petroglyphs in the belief that they would be blessed with longevity or healthy children. Visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time in Osh. Perhaps visit the Jayma Bazaar, where you might pick up an interesting souvenir or two. Or maybe take a self-guided tour of the remnants of Osh's soviet past with a walk to the giant Lenin statue in the city square.

Included Activities:
-Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain
-Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex

Optional Activities:
-Osh - Bazaar - Free

Day 10: Border Crossing/Andijan/Tashkent
Location: Border Crossing/Andijan/Tashkent
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, drive to Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, which is just outside of the city. Transfer to Andijan and board a local train to Tashkent (approximately 5.5 hours). The train is a great place to meet locals, so don’t be surprised if people want to chat to the chet ellik (foreigner). Arrive in the evening and check into the hotel.

Day 11: Tashkent
Location: Tashkent
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Begin your introduction to Uzbekistan by exploring the capital today. Follow your leader on a city walking tour - explore Amir Timur square at the city center, then hop on the metro and lose yourself in the exciting Chorsu Bazaar, browsing traditional wooden cradles, handmade musical instruments, and the extensive vegetable and spice markets. Enjoy a free afternoon and maybe go and visit the Khast Imom complex, a restored series of religious buildings (including a mosque) and a library containing an ancient Qur’an, parts of which have been dated to the ninth century, or simply relax and enjoy some well deserved downtime after a busy journey in Kyrgyzstan.

Included Activities:
-Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
-Tashkent - Amir Timur Square

Day 12: Bukhara
Location: Bukhara
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Travel to Bukhara by train this morning. Located on the ancient Silk Road, Bukhara was an important regional and world hub for many, many years and has a long, fascinating history featuring invasions by both Genghis Khan and the Soviet Red Army. Explore this fascinating city with your tour leader on an orientation walk after arrival and head to the Lyabi-Haus area, a busy 17th-century plaza with hundreds-years-old trees and there is time to wander the small craft studios tucked into the nearby madrasas and trading domes.

Day 13: Bukhara
Location: Bukhara
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Enjoy a day of sightseeing in beautiful Bukhara. First visit the Sitorai Mohi Khosa, once the summer residence of the last Emir. Designed by Russian architects, it has interiors decorated with traditional filigree plaster, mirrored surfaces and delicate floral wall paintings by local artisans. Continue to the 16th-century Chor-Bakr necropolis, where not many tourists venture. Walk through the madrasa and mosque complex. In the afternoon, visit the Ark Fortress and Kalon Mosque, the symbol of Bukhara. Continue to one of Central Asia's oldest and most exquisite structures, the tenth-century Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the superb decorative brickwork of which has survived 1000 years of rugged history.

Included Activities:
-Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
-Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
-Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
-Bukhara - Ark Fortress

Day 14: Samarkand
Location: Samarkand
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

Transfer to the station for the high-speed train to fabled Samarkand (approximately 2 hours). This city is located at the very centre of the ancient Silk Road. Arrival around midday and follow your leader on a short city orientation walk. Then enjoy some free time in the city, saving some of the key sights for the tour tomorrow. Maybe inspect the remains of the remarkable medieval observatory developed by Ulug Beg, an astronomer and grandson of nomadic conqueror and Timurid emperor Tamerlane (Amir Timur). Today, only half of the below-ground semicircle track can be seen, but there is a small museum close by that gives some context. Or perhaps visit the Afrosiab Museum of Samarkand, the main attraction of which is a tenth-century mural. After the day at your leisure, you’ll visit a local family to learn the secrets of plov cuisine during a cooking demonstration in the evening.

Included Activities:
-Samarkand - Leader-led orientation walk

Day 15: Samarkand
Location: Samarkand
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Enjoy a tour of Samarkand. First up is the central square called the Registan, which features mosques and mausoleums that are true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. Continue to Guri-Amir, where Tamerlane is buried, and then the enormous Bibi-Khanum Mosque. Visit Shak-i-Zinda, a necropolis that features a series of gleaming blue-tiled mausoleums. This sacred site has monuments from the 14th–19th century, reflecting the development of the monumental art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty onwards. It is photo worthy at every turn, just remember to be respectful as pilgrims visit the complex.

Included Activities:
-Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
-Samarkand - Registan
-Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
-Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
-Samarkand - Plov cooking demonstration & family visit

Optional Activities:
-Samarkand - Afrosiab Museum
-Samarkand - Ulugbek's Observatory

Day 16: Tashkent
Location: Tashkent
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, take the train back to Tashkent. Enjoy a free afternoon and why not celebrate this great adventure with an optional farewell dinner tonight?

Day 17: Tashkent
Location: Tashkent
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Today is a free day for you to explore Tashkent until 6pm group meeting to meet your new travel buddies.

Optional Activities:
-Tashkent - State Museum of History of Uzbekistan
-Tashkent - Art Gallery of Uzbekistan
-Tashkent - Museum of Applied Arts

Day 18: Tashkent/Overnight Train
Location: Tashkent/Overnight Train
Accommodation: Overnight Train
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, embark on a city tour to explore the city of Tashkent. Visit the Amir Timur Square in the center of the city, spend time wandering Chorsu Bazaar. The main building is topped by an impressive dome, and the market sells pretty much everything you could imagine, and plenty of things you couldn't. Explore the fantastically decorated metro stations which were only allowed to be photographed from 2018 and visit Khast Imom Complex which houses one of the oldest copy of Qur'an, a UNESCO heritage itself. Have some free time in the afternoon and maybe stock some snacks for your overnight train, departing around 4:30pm. Pick up a good book, put on some music, and watch the world goes by and the scenery changes.

Included Activities:
-Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
-Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
-Tashkent - Amir Timur Square
-Tashkent - City tour
-Tashkent - Metro tour

Day 19: Khiva
Location: Khiva
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Arrive at Urgench around 7:30am and transfer to colourful Khiva (45 minutes). Many global powers have laid claim to this city over the centuries, from khans to Silk Road traders and the Soviet Union. Get acquainted with Khiva on a tour of this walled-city after breakfast. See the incredible blue-tiled Kalta Minor Minaret and the Mohammed Amin Khan Madressa. Explore the Kuhna Ark, the 'citadel within a citadel' which once housed the Khan and his family in the 17th century, then get a good look at this attractive city from the Ak-sheikh Baba Observatory. Finally, visit the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum, a complex constructed in honour of the famous 13th-century poet, craftsman and fighter. A popular pilgrimage site, the mint-coloured dome that tops the main mausoleum is stunning. Visit the towering Islom Hoja Minaret, the tallest building in Khiva. Explore Juma Mosque, the roof of which is propped up by 212 wooden columns and designed to let in sunlight. If you want a peek at Uzbek luxury, look no further than the Tosh-Hovli Palace, which was built in the first half of the 19th century. Wander through elaborately decorated courtyards connected by labyrinthian corridors. Don't miss out on the magic hour when the sun's setting and find a good spot for the sunset over this ancient city. The evening is yours to spend.

Included Activities:
-Khiva - Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
-Khiva - Juma Mosque
-Khiva - Tosh-Hovli Palace
-Khiva - Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
-Khiva - Kuhna Ark

Day 20: Darvaza
Location: Darvaza
Accommodation: Camping
Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

Say goodbye to Uzbekistan and cross the border into Turkmenistan at Khodjeyli (Xo‘jayli). Meet the new leader who will be your key to local secrets, food and highlights for the rest of your journey. Continue your journey to Darvaza Crater with a change to 4WD for the rough road conditions. This astounding 70-metre-wide hole in the Karakum Desert is permanently aflame. Soviet oil prospectors started drilling in 1971 expecting to find oil, and the ground collapsed to form the crater. Worried about the gas released into the air, they deliberately set the crater on fire to burn off the excess, expecting it to last a few weeks. As you’ll see today, they were wrong, and the crater has been burning ever since. Watch the sunset over the 'Door to Hell' from your nearby camp, and enjoy a Turkmenistan-style barbecue for dinner. 

Included Activities:
-Darvaza - "Door to Hell" Crater

Day 21: Yerbent – Ashgabat
Location: Yerbent – Ashgabat
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Hit the sand again in the 4WD, making the 4-hour drive to Ashgabat with a stop along the way at the tiny settlement of Yerbent. The community here live primarily in yurts that are tucked between the sand dunes. Check out the local monument that pays tribute to the group of socialists that died in the Basmachi Revolt in 1931, then continue to Ashgabat. Little is left of the original Russian Imperial city as most of it was destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1948, and today the city centre is a bizarre mix of futuristic and outrageous public buildings. Get a sense of Ashgabat old and new with a tour that takes in both the ancient settlement of Nisa and the National Museum of Turkmenistan. Enjoy a free afternoon in this mind-bending city. Look out for the ornate, golden telephone booths, screens broadcasting official ceremonies on a loop and imposing statues of the president.

Included Activities:
-Yerbent - Village visit
-Ashgabat - National Museum of Turkmenistan
-Ashgabat - Nisa ruins

Day 22: Ashgabat
Location: Ashgabat
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Take a full day to wrap your head around this desert city on an immersive guided tour taking in the four pointed minarets atop the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the the extravagant Independence Monument. This sculpted park is filled with statues of Turkmen heroes (and controversial politicians) that line paths that lead to a golden dome and a (surprise!) massive minaret. From this lavish ode to Turkmen identity, continue to the Neutrality Arch, which despite its name has a provocative history. Then travel outside of the city to the Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque, the mausoleum of former Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov. Next stops is to the the Horse Breeding Complex and Hippodrome of Ashgabat for the world famous Akhal-Teke horses. You'll visit the horse concur here where you'll see this precious species of horse and learn fro a local staff member of the work they do to breed and train the horses here. Then heading further out of town to the ruins of Anau. The crumbling remains of the medieval mosque still attract the devout, who come to pray and make offerings. After a day full of sightseeing, maybe spend the evening relaxing at your hotel.

Included Activities:
-Ashgabat - Anau ruins
-Ashgabat - Independence Monument
-Ashgabat - Neutrality Arch
-Ashgabat - Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque & Family Mausoleum of the First President of Turkmenistan
-Ashgabat - Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
-Ashgabat - Akhal-Teke horse Hippodrome

Day 23: Mary
Location: Mary
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

Rise and shine for the 5-hour drive to Mary (pronounced ‘Mah-rih’). The somewhat ostentatious displays of wealth in the city can be traced to the long-running gas and cotton industries. Stop en route for lunch and to roam through the ruins of Abiverd. This fascinating archaeological site was an important trading town from 652 AD until the 12th century, and you can still see ancient shards of pottery scattered on the ground. Arrive in Mary in the afternoon and settle into your hotel.

Included Activities:
-Mary - Abiverd ruins

Day 24: Merv – Mary
Location: Merv – Mary
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Take a 40-minute drive to Merv, also known as Margiana or Margush, and enjoy some time to explore Turkmenistan's most recognised site. This sprawling World Heritage site is home to numerous walled structures from various periods spread across a 1200-hectare area. See impressive columns smoothed by wind and time at the Greater Kizkala and walk hills that were once the fortress walls of Erk Kala. While not the most impressive visually, Gyaur Kala dates to 400 BC and has a fascinating history. Spend some time exploring these relics of grand empires and then return to Mary for a free afternoon. Maybe visit the Mary Regional Museum. Housed in a palace of white marble, the museum features archaeological displays and exhibitions on traditional Turkmen life and culture.

Included Activities:
-Merv - Big & Small Kizkala
-Merv - Erk Kala & Gayur Kala
-Merv - Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

Day 25: Ashgabat
Location: Ashgabat
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Glittering Ashgabat awaits your return today, so make the 5-hour return drive to the City of White Marble. Enjoy a free afternoon to spend as you wish before an optional dinner with your travel group.

Optional Activities:
-Carpet Museum

Day 26: Ashgabat
Location: Ashgabat
Meals Included: breaksfast

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the hotel at any time.

What's Included

  • Merv - Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

  • Don Aryk - Local home visit & horsemanship demonstration

  • Bishkek - City Tour

  • Shamsy Valley - Burana tower

  • Kochkor - Market

  • Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op

  • Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex

  • Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex

  • Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain

  • Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan

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What's Not Included

  • International Travel

  • Tipping and Gratuities

Transport

  • Private Bus , Metro , High Speed Train , Overnight Train

Included Activities

  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Shamsy Valley - Burana tower
  • Don Aryk - Local home visit & horsemanship demonstration
  • Kochkor - Market
  • Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op
  • Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex
  • Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain
  • Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex
  • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
  • Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
  • Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
  • Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
  • Samarkand - Registan
  • Samarkand - Paper making workshop & home cooked lunch
  • Shakhrisabz - Ak Saray Palace
  • Shakhrisabz - Kok-Gumbaz Mosque
  • Shakhrisabz - Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex
  • Shakhrisabz - Dorus Saodat Complex
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
  • Bukhara - Chor-Bakr Necropolis
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
  • Vobkent - Minaret
  • Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop
  • Khiva - Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
  • Khiva - Kuhna Ark
  • Khiva - Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
  • Khiva - Juma Mosque
  • Khiva - Tosh-Hovli Palace
  • Darvaza - "Door to Hell" Crater
  • Konye-Urgench - City tour
  • Yerbent - Village visit
  • Ashgabat - National Museum of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat - Nisa ruins
  • Ashgabat - Anau ruins
  • Ashgabat - Independence Monument
  • Ashgabat - Neutrality Arch
  • Ashgabat - Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque & Family Mausoleum of the First President of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat - Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
  • Merv - Big & Small Kizkala
  • Merv - Erk Kala & Gayur Kala
  • Merv - Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

Accommodation

  • Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
  • HOMESTAYS:
  • Please note that at our homestays you might be required to share a room with people of other genders, or with your leader. Because we stay at real people's homes, beds might be pull-out couches or mattresses on the floor, or even a yurt in their backyard. Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses, yurts and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only or no bathroom facilities.

Important Information

  • 1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 3 to Day 7, Day 18 (overnight train) and Day 20 (camping) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
  • 2. This trip is a combination of KFSR and KFSM our most popular itineraries. Your tour leader and group composition may change on Day 17.
  • 3. This is a multi-country trip. Please read the visa section of the Essential Trip Information carefully for the visa requirement. Visa for Turkmenistan requires a Letter of Invitation in advance which needs to be requested with your booking agent no later than 60 days before the trip.
  • 4. Independent travel is not allowed in Turkmenistan. If you have pre trip accommodation booked with us, you won't be allowed to leave your hotel without a guide in Ashgabat. Please consult with your booking agent if you need to book post-trip accommodation in Ashgabat.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No

  • Is this trip right for you

    Central Asia is a remote destination, perfect for intrepid travellers in the true sense of the word! You will venture well away from cities, right off the beaten track and be able to immerse yourself in local food, life and culture.

    There is one night of camping on this trip. This is, of course, all part of your adventure in the Karakum Desert. Sleeping bags, mattresses and tents are provided, but there are no facilities at the campsite.

    Accommodation may on occassion be more basic than what you are used to in homestays, guesthouses and yurt stay. Shower and toilet facilities will be limited in some places and nonexistent in others. While the comfort level won't always be high, the rewards of living in true local style in this far-out part of the world are immeasurable.

    This is an overland journey, so there will be some very long days of travelling and driving, often over rough terrain. This can be tiring at times and will require a great deal of patience at others, especially at border crossings.

    What Kyrgyzstan lacks in 'sights' compared to the Silk Road monuments and old towns of Uzbekistan, it makes up for in alpine landscapes, opportunities for interaction with local families and plenty of time spent on the road or outdoors exploring natural surroundings.

    Tourism is strictly controlled in Turkmenistan, with Letters of Invitation needed in advance in order to apply for your visa (which you can then get on arrival) and guides tending to be protective of what tourists see and fiercely proud of their nation and its leaders. Those used to more freedom of exploration and tour guides with a more global perspective may find their experience here different from in other destinations. Please see the ‘Passport and visas’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    No

  • Are internal flights included in this tour?

    Yes,

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes if aged 15+ and accompanied by an adult

  • Are internal flights included in this tour?

    Yes, Tashkent to Khiva

  • Are internal flights included in this tour?

    Yes, Tashkent to

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

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

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

Reviews of this Operator

Nicole  

North American Adventure

12-Oct-2021

This was my first international solo trip, but I never felt “alone” - there was always someone to go shopping, hike, or grab a quick bite with. The itinerary was a great balance between organized activities, while still allowing free time for exploring. Each location was unique and charming in its own way. Spending the night in the holy city of Moulay Idriss and wandering the winding streets of Chefchaouen were especially memorable. Thank you Mustapha and Intrepid for an incredible adventure!

Henry Guy Robinson   United Kingdom

Cambodia Discovery

22-Jan-2024

The overall experience was fantastic. V good tour leader. All places visited had something special to do or see. I would book a tour with this company again. Only one negative tour hub is not I repeat not available to contact direct by phone.

Ann  

Amazing Guatemala and beyond tour with Intrepid

13-Dec-2022

Did Guatemala and beyond trip in November 22. It was amazing, we were so well looked after by our guide Aura. She was very knowledgeable and during our bus trips she gave us the history of the 4 countries. The border crossings can be tricky but handled very well by our guide. We saw all the most interesting and beautiful places. The hotels were lovely comfortable colonial style. I will travel with intrepid again

Trustpilot
RICHARD ALAN RODDY   England

Central American Journey

08-Feb-2024

Very enjoyable, good paced Tour. Tour Leader, Choko was helpful, knowledgeable and extremely informative.

Joanne W  

Wonderful Croatian tour

02-Dec-2022

Our tour guide,Tamara, was the highlight of our Explore Croatia tour. She was knowledgeable, organized, and so kind and fun. Croatia is a beautiful country. I loved the people, the scenery, the food, the history. I hope to go back one day. Intrepid was perfect for me. There was group time and there was plenty of free time. It wasn’t a luxury tour but all of our accommodations were clean and safe. The dinner in Hvar was SO special!

Trustpilot
Kelly  

North Morocco Adventure

25-Oct-2021

Touring the beautiful North of Morocco I learned far more than I’d anticipated in this 9 day tour. Interesting sights to see, with knowledgeable local guides, this tour provides a great balance of exposure to a different culture with ample time for relaxation. Chefchaouen is an absolute highlight, & not a place many Morocco trips of this kind go to. Loved it!

Sharik  

Essential Morocca

21-Oct-2021

Essential Morocco was an absolute dream. Every single day had such informative walking tours and tours of local facilities. Whether it was dinner with a local family or visiting a pottery factory, I learned so much about Moroccan culture. The accommodations were safe and I felt secure the entire 11 days. This trip wouldn’t have been the same without one person. That person is Youssef. If you are coming to Morocco with Intrepid and you don’t request Youssef, you’re doing it wrong. Words cannot describe how incredible of a guide he is. There were 3 of us on our trip of 18-29 year olds and he made us all feel so welcome and safe all the time. Whether that is cracking jokes on long drives or giving us the itinerary for the next day, Youssef ensured we felt respected and seen.

Barbara Ruth Roback   Canada

Cambodia Adventure

15-Jan-2024

Absolutely superb leader - knowledgeable. fun, safety conscious. Group of 15 travellers from 5 countries who bonded into a solid team. In addition to a fantastic itinerary, our leader’s love of karaoke made the trip unforgettable. It even inspired a song written as a tribute to him.

Dates & Availability

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Friday - Tuesday

Apr 05, 2024 - Apr 30, 2024
$6880 $5353 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1376 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$151 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Apr 19, 2024 - May 14, 2024
$6880 $5353 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1376 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$151 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

May 14, 2024 - Jun 08, 2024
$6830 $5314 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1366 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$150 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Jun 11, 2024 - Jul 06, 2024
$6955 $5411 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1391 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$153 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Jul 30, 2024 - Aug 24, 2024
$6505 $5061 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1301 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$143 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Aug 13, 2024 - Sep 07, 2024
$6945 $5403 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1389 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$153 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Aug 23, 2024 - Sep 17, 2024
$6945 $5403 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1389 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$153 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Aug 30, 2024 - Sep 24, 2024
$6895 $5364 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1379 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$152 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Sep 10, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
$6820 $5306 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1364 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$150 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Sep 17, 2024 - Oct 12, 2024
$6955 $5411 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1391 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$153 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Saturday

Sep 24, 2024 - Oct 19, 2024
$6820 $5306 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1364 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$150 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Oct 11, 2024 - Nov 05, 2024
$6700 $5213 (USD)

Operator discount: -$1340 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$147 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • COVID Protection

    Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
    From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

    However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

    This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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