Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights

Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights

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tourhub | Oasis Overland | Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights | 469
tourhub | Oasis Overland | Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights | 469 tourhub | Oasis Overland | Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights | 469
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20 Days
From

$2145

$2086

Ashgabat To Bishkek (20 Days) Silk Road Highlights

20 Days Starting in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and ending in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Visiting: Ashgabat, Köneürgench, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Dushanbe, Osh, Bishkek

Tour operator:

Oasis Overland

Tour code:

469

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 10

Physical rating:

All Ages / Not applicable

Age range:

18-80

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Active, Adventure Tours

Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Shopping, Sightseeing

From:
$2145
$2086 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$59
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Tour Overview

Follow one of the world's most well renowned highways; the Silk Road. This expedition will take you through some of the oldest cities in the world, discover the ancient trading routes through the 'Stan's' including a stop in the Turkmenistan capital, Ashgabat, which holds the Guinness world record for the most-white marble on Earth. We'll also stop off in splendored Old Registan in Uzbekistan. Once we reach Tajikistan there will be the chance to hike in the Fann Mountains and visit the tallest waterfall in the country. Our tour ends in the City of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

Highlights

  • Feel the intense heat coming from the Darwaza Gas Crater

  • Camp 'under the stars' in the barren Kara-Kum Desert

  • See ships marooned in the desert at the Aral Sea

  • Explore the ancient medressas, mausoleums and mosques in Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand

  • Soak in the atmosphere of colourful oriental bazaars and majestic fortresses in Dushanbe

  • Stunning journey through Tajikistan over it's High Peaks and Alpine Lakes

  • Driving over the scenic Fann Mountains

  • Visit the oldest bazaar in Central Asia in the city of Osh

  • Travel through the Fergana Valley - famous for the production of silk and where the great route started

  • Enjoy the stunning mountain scenery and alpine lakes throughout Kyrgyzstan

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Ashgabat
Location: Ashgabat
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Ak Altyn Hotel - Ashgabat

Welcome to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital. Founded in the 1880's by the Russian Tsarist government, sits between the foothills of the Koptedag mountains to the south, and the vast Karakum Desert to the north. The city was almost entirely destroyed following an earthquake in 1948 and rebuilt in the Soviet style. Following independence in 1991 the city has been transformed into a futuristic, and in many ways bizarre collection of unique structures and wide streets lined with marble. For many travellers, Ashgabat is one of the most mystifying and unusual cities they will ever experience.

We have some free time and enjoy a city tour of Ashgabat. On the city tour we visit Independence Park, the Ertogrul Gazi Mozque, the Arch of Neutrality, the Turkmenbashi Mosque Mauasoleum and many other sites throughout the city. There are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities, and we will have the chance to explore some of the markets and meet the locals.

Day 2 - 3 : Ashgabat To Kunye Urgench
Location: Ashgabat, Köneürgench
Accommodation: Camp

From Ashgabat there is a gruelling desert crossing as we drive north through the harsh Kara-Kum Desert, a sparsely-populated and remote expanse. We veer off the highway and do some serious off-roading as we cross the dunes to the Darwaza Gas Crater. Also known as the ‘Door to Hell’ or ‘Gates of Hell’, this remarkable sight is the result of a Soviet-era gas exploration accident, when the ground beneath a drilling rig gave way and to prevent poisonous gas leaking out it was decided to burn it off. Originally engineers believed it would all be burned in a few days, but that was in 1971 and the field is still burning to this day. The result is a sight quite like no other as we are able to peer down into the crater and see the fire, and feel the intense heat coming from the flames. Conditions permitting we will get to the crater in the truck and bush camp nearby in the remote desert.

Rising early the next morning we leave Darwaza and return to the highway as we continue north to Kunye Urgench, an ancient Silk Road town that was abandoned in the early 1700s and has been left largely untouched since. The old ruins of the town are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most striking sight is undoubtedly the 60-metre high minaret, that dates from the 11th Century. It is said that when Genghis Khan’s Mongol army invaded this area that the infamous warlord was so impressed by the minaret he ordered for it to not be destroyed!

Day 4 - 8 : Kunye Urgench To Bukhara
Location: Köneürgench, Khiva, Bukhara
Accommodation: Camp

We cross the border to Uzbekistan. Road conditions permitting, we will drive to the edge of where the Aral Sea used to lie. In the 1960s the Soviet Union began an intense irrigation project to boost cotton growth in the region using the then vast sea as its source. The project has led to the sea now shrinking to just 10% of its original size and today as we reach where its edge formerly was, we can see ships sitting incongruously in the middle of what is now a huge desert where we camp for the night.

Continuing further into Uzbekistan, we find well preserved relics from the time when Asia was a centre of empire, learning, and trade along the famous Silk Road. Some of its cities have abundant old architecture, mosques and minarets cloaked with the mystery of the orient dating back thousands of years.

Our first city stop is in Khiva, one of the most noteworthy of the cities and towns of Central Asia. It is a unique monument town, completely preserved in the cultural style of the region, and is a World Heritage Site for its historical significance. It has more minarets than any other place in Asia, and the Juma Mosque, which has an amazing 218 ornate carved wooden columns, is another of the main attractions. We will spend at least a couple of nights here to explore the ancient medressas, medinas, mausoleums and museums and soak up the unique atmosphere.

Continuing south, we bush camp out in the desert before reaching another town with much historical influence that was also on the great Silk Road.

Day 9 - 12 : Bukhara To Samarkand
Location: Bukhara, Samarkand

The name Bukhara is synonymous with the Silk Road, and its name conjures up images of Marco Polo, trading caravans and exploration. The British explorer Alexander Burnes, one of the iconic figures of the Victorian-era ‘Great Game’ was nicknamed ‘Burnes of Bukhara’.

The city is situated on a sacred hill and was founded in the 13th century BC; a centre of learning throughout much of its history, it is home to over 350 mosques and some 100 Islamic colleges. It is an attractive city with narrow streets, green parks and gardens that are a pleasure to wander around and there will be the opportunity for a bout of good-humoured haggling in the bazaar.

The Kyzylkum Desert is about 300,000 sq km and lies between the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers. This is a vast arid plain with a number of isolated bare mountains rising to 900 metres and we journey across it on our way to Samarkand. Scheduled permitting, we may opt to take the local train and rejoin the truck on arrival.

Samarkand itself is the second largest city in Uzbekistan. It dates back 2,500 years, making it as old as Babylon or Rome. Here we have a couple of days to explore the splendid architecture such as the 15th century Bibi-Khanum Mosque which when it was built was considered to have the largest dome in the Muslim world. Today it stands next a noisy and colourful Oriental market. No trip here is complete without a wander around the three edifices of the Registan, once Medieval Samarkand's commercial plaza and today quite possibly the most awesome sight in Central Asia.

Day 13 - 14 : Samarkand To Dushanbe
Location: Samarkand, Dushanbe

From here we drive southwards towards Tajikistan. Time allowing en-route we will make a short stop in the Unesco Town of Shahrisabz. Here still standing since 1380 are parts of the original 65mtr gate towers to Timur’s Summer (Ak Saray) Palace.

Dushanbe is Tajikistan’s largest city, and aptly its name means “Money” in Tajik language. It’s a big showy entry to the country, in stark contrast to the East. You’ll pass a lovely day strolling through parks, admiring the fountains and the wide boulevards punctuated with grand buildings. Visit “Flag Pole Park” or the bazaar, or make the most of being in a city with restaurants specialising in various different cuisines!

Day 15 - 19 : Dushanbe To Bishkek
Location: Dushanbe, Osh, Bishkek

We drive north in to the Fann Mountains, one of Tajikistan's great ranges (the other being the Pamirs). Peaks of over 5000 mtrs slip by as we head to Iskanderkul Lake at 2200 mtrs. It is said to be the resting place of Alexander the Greats horse, Bucephalus. The glacial lake is a stunning spot for a hike and we aim to visit Tajikistan's highest waterfall (40 mtrs).

Continuing north we arrive in to Khujand - although today the city is not one of the most picturesque, it has had an important role in the history of the Silk Road and was one of the furthest points reached by Alexander the Great. It is said in this area that he wept, saying he had no further territory to conquer. We have time to visit the Fortress and Panjshanbe Market (one of the largest covered markets in Central Asia).

We re-enter Uzbekistan and arrive in the Fergana Valley, known for its silk production and the area that gave the name to one of the greatest routes in history.

Crossing in to Kyrgyzstan our first stop is Osh, the second biggest and the country's oldest, city. Make sure you visit the bazaar, which has occupied the same spot for over 2000 years and used to be a major stop along the ancient Silk Road.

We drive north through stunning mountain views and past the turquoise waters of Toktogul Reservoir, before arriving in the capital city of Bishkek.

Day 20 : Bishkek
Location: Bishkek
Meals Included: Breakfast

Your trip ends after breakfast. Bishkek is a well-connected city, with the airport serving destinations throughout Asia with connections for onward travel further afield. For those with some time to spare it’s a pleasant city to spend a few days at the end of your trip, with some excellent bars, cafés and restaurants dotted around to relax and reflect on your trip through Central Asia.

What's Included

  • Accommodation - approx. 40% camping & 60% simple hostels/hotels

  • Arrival airport transfer in Ashgabat

  • Turkmenistan Letter of Invitation support and fees

  • Ashgabat city tour

  • Darvaza Gas Crater

  • Meals - approx. 50%

  • All Transport on Oasis Expedition Truck

  • Camping and Cooking equipment

  • Services of Oasis Crew

What's Not Included

  • Visas

  • Optional Excursions as listed in the Pre-Departure Information

  • Flights

  • Airport Taxes & Transfers

  • Travel Insurance

  • Meals - approx. 50%

  • Drinks

  • Tips

  • Local payment from US$650

    Local Payment (LP) is in the addition to the Trip Price and is paid to your Tour Leader at the start of your Trip.

    It covers some of the trip's day to day expenses such as food and accommodation which your tour leader pays direct to local people.

More Info

Follow one of the world's most well renowned highways; the Silk Road. This expedition will take you through some of the oldest cities in the world, discover the ancient trading routes through the 'Stan's' including a stop in the Turkmenistan capital, Ashgabat, which holds the Guinness world record for the most-white marble on Earth. We'll also stop off in splendored Old Registan in Uzbekistan. Once we reach Tajikistan there will be the chance to hike in the Fann Mountains and visit the tallest waterfall in the country. Our tour ends in the City of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

Mode of Transport

The Oasis expedition truck will be your new home giving you a comfortable & secure base with which to experience your trip. We use a purpose built truck which has been converted especially for this expedition, which passes through all types of terrains from soft sand, mud, rock and potholed roads to tarseal. It is reassuring to know that these vehicles can handle the tough conditions that they are put through. The truck is equipped with all of the equipment we may need en-route, including a professionally compiled expedition Medical Kit, large water & fuel carrying capacities, an extensive range of spare parts as well as the kitchen sink, (well almost!) so all you need is your sleeping bag, a roll mat and your own personal gear!

Seatbelts

All Oasis Overland trucks are fitted with seatbelts. For your own safety and security we recommend that travellers wear these at all times whilst the vehicle is moving. Most of our overland trucks also have a ‘beach area’ which is a chill out zone to be used when the truck is not moving.

Accommodation

Accommodation is split throughout this trip between simple hotels and hostels and camping. The variety of accommodation provided is great and often a totally unique experience, including bush camps with no facilities, yurts and simple village pensions. Some are well managed and some very basic. Oasis uses roomy three-person tents but only for two people. They are specially made for us to meet the tougher conditions of an expedition trip and have mosquito netting sewn into the door and windows. It would also be a good idea to bring your own freestanding mosquito net so as to give you the freedom of sleeping under the stars at night. At bush camps you will be living off the truck, so there will be no showers or en-suite facilities, so digging your own toilet pit with the shovels supplied is essential!

Check out our Q&As

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

    As detailed in the itinerary.

  • Where does the trip start?

    The trip starts from the Ak Altyn Hotel at approximately 8am on the morning of Day 1 of your trip. A breakfast buffet is included in the room price. There is a lobby bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and a currency exchange booth in the hotel, and opposite the hotel is the Circus. Behind the circus is a popular outdoor cafe, called Iceberg. Trip Joining Point: Ak Altyn Hotel - Ashgabat Start Time Day 1: 08:00 Address: Magtymguly Avenue No.140/1, Ashgabat, 744000 Telephone: +993-12 36 37 00 Website: www.akaltyn.com Email: info@akaltyn.com

  • What to expect at meal times?

    When 'on the road' with the expedition vehicle or camping, we usually cook using gas or over open fires in a rota system and you can expect to cook in a group of two or three people approximately once every ten days depending on the number of people on trip and whereabouts you are. Your cook group will have to decide on what to cook, utilise stocks from the truck stores and locally obtain ingredients from markets, shops etc and rustle up a meal. But don't worry if you're not a Gordon Ramsay as the rest of the group and the Tour Leader usually lend a helping hand. Here is an idea of what to expect at meal times: Breakfasts - Usually simple - we help ourselves to cereal, toast, hot drinks and on occasion we will splurge with a cooked breakfast. Lunch - Cold and usually quick. The cook group will put out bread, tinned supplies and maybe make a salad. Dinner - Cooks come into their own in the evening and will always attempt to cook up some delights. When the truck is parked up for a few days in a town or city most people usually like the option to eat out at local restaurants - so we often don't cook all meals when at these locations. Meals whilst staying in Hotels/Hostels/Pensions are not included in the local payment price.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    Maximum 10 people.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Starting in Istanbul - If you plan to collect your Iranian visa in Istanbul, we recommend that you arrive at least five working days before your trip departure date and take in to account any days the embassy/consulate may be closed (holidays, weekends etc). Starting in Tbilisi, Bishkek or Dushanbe - Please note that our trip leaves the city on Day 1 - we recommend arriving a day or two earlier if you wish to make the most of the sights and attractions of the relevant city and surrounding areas. Starting in Ashgabat - Because of restrictions on tourism in Turkmenistan, we advise arriving no earlier than the day before the trip begins. Please note that pre-trip accommodation in Ashgabat must be booked and paid to Oasis Overland before travelling. Return flights must be booked for at least the day AFTER the trip is due to end, but flexible tickets are best in case of unforeseen delays. You may wish to allow some extra time to explore your departure cities. One way ticket - If you intend to travel on a one way ticket to meet up with one of our trips, without possessing an onward flight ticket - we recommend that you have a copy of your payment confirmation/receipt (that you will be sent at time of your balance payment) available at immigration to assist easy entry. Departure Taxes - Please check with your Travel Agent or Airline if your flight ticket already includes a departure tax payment out of the country. If it does not - please budget for approx US$30 to $70 USD - to be paid in US$ only.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Airport Transfers are included in the cost of your adventure. On arrival into Ashgabat airport you will be met by a local representative who will take you to the group joining hotel, where you will need to present your passport and be registered with the Turkmenistan Tourism Authorities. The driver will have your name on a sign with Oasis Overland. The return airport transfer can be arranged through your hotel / hostel and is not included, it is at your own expense. We regret these services cannot be arranged via the Oasis office before departure.

  • Do I need pre-trip accommodation?

    Due to strict regulations concerning tourism in Turkmenistan, it is a requirement that all travellers use the designated hotel in Ashgabat before their trip starts, where we are registered with a local authorised tour operator, and hotel costs must be paid in full to Oasis Overland before departure. Just log in to My Oasis Account and select the accommodation / transfer required, or contact us direct. We will require your flight number, arrival time, and arrival date so please ensure this information is forwarded to us as soon as you have booked your flight. Please book this service as soon as you have booked your flight and no later than 10 weeks prior to departure, after which a late booking fee will apply. If you have booked through a travel agent you will not have an account allocated, so please contact your agent to request pre-trip accommodation and airport transfers. Double, twin, and triple rooms will be provided subject to availability, where requested. However when not available we may need to book other rooming arrangements, and will fit these as closely as possible to your request. Those travelling solo will be put in shared rooms to reduce the costs to them, which may be a twin/triple share with other Oasis Overland travellers. Single rooms may be available in some cities for solo travellers, and we will arrange this for you on request, subject to availability. If you are arriving early in the morning and you would like to check in immediately, you may have to reserve your room for the previous night to ensure direct check in, otherwise you may have to wait until normal check in times (usually 1pm to 2pm).

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

    Yes, if you are travelling solo. On our Overland Adventures and Ultimate Expeditions, we will pair you up with a tent buddy of the same sex when we camp and the same goes for twin & shared rooms in hostels, so there is no need to go it alone! If you specifically would like to request your own single room whilst on the trip, this may be requested subject to availability and additional fee.

  • How many people do you take on your Trips?

    On most of our Overland Adventures and Ultimate Expeditions our vehicles can carry a maximum of 24 travellers, the average however is around 16-20 on any one trip. Our Small Group Adventures have a maximum of 18 people per Tour Leader, although again the average is around 10-14 people.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Rachel  

ASHGABAT TO BISHKEK (20 DAYS) SILK ROAD HIGHLIGHTS

Aug 2019

The highlight of the trip is the group itself and the places we have visited.

Knut  

ASHGABAT TO BISHKEK (20 DAYS) SILK ROAD HIGHLIGHTS

Aug 2019

The people I met

Dates & Availability

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Wednesday - Monday

May 29, 2024 - Jun 17, 2024
$2272 $2209 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$62 (USD)

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Monday - Saturday

May 19, 2025 - Jun 07, 2025
$2145 $2086 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$59 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Oasis Overland requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of oasis overland charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 33% of booking price.

    At 45 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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