Five Golden Stans

Five Golden Stans

30 Days Starting in Almaty and ending in Tashkent

Visiting: Almaty, Karakol, Chon Kemin, Bishkek, Ala Archa National Park, Toktogul, Osh , Fergana, Khujand, Dushanbe, Penjikent, Fann Mountains, Samarkand , Bukhara , Mary, Ashgabat , Darvaza, Kunya Urgench, Am hona, Khiva, Train - Khiva to Tashkent, Tashkent , Tashkent

Tour operator:

Sundowners Overland

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

10 - 15

Physical rating:

Activity level 5

Age range:


Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
$9829 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $278
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Tour Overview

This incredible journey will take you through the five “Stans” of Central Asia, across mountains and steppes, treading in the footsteps of those who travelled the ancient Silk Road with their caravans winding trails through deserts, exchanging their wares, ideas and people which has led to the extraordinary melting pot of cultures that exists in the region today.


  • Tread in the footsteps of those who travelled the ancient Silk Road with their caravans

  • Experience an extraordinary melting pot of cultures

  • Travel with an experienced tour leader for the whole journey


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Day 1: Almaty
Location: Almaty

Our journey begins in Almaty. The city has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It has served as a trading center along the Silk Road and has been part of various empires, including the Mongol and Russian empires.
This evening you join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.

Day 2: Almaty
Location: Almaty

Thanks to an abundance of natural resources, Almaty is a sophisticated patchwork of leafy avenues, European cafes, refined restaurants and glitzy shopping malls. We visit the city and aclimatise to life in Central Asia. 

Day 3: Almaty And To Karakol Via Charyn Canyon
Location: Karakol

Our departure takes us to Charyn Canyon, a natural wonder said to rival the Grand Canyon. Then it's on to Kyrgyzstan. In a land of celestial mountains and rolling pastures, yurt-dwelling nomadic spirits roam free. Explore the awe-inspiring scenery and learn about Kyrgyz culture. Across the border we arrive in Karakol.

Day 4: Karakol And Djeti Oguz
Location: Karakol

Situated on the eastern shores of Lake Issyk-Kul as the gateway to the Tien Shan montains. Karakol's architecture reflects its rich and diverse history of influences from Dungan, Uighur, and Kyrgyz times.
Today we visit a Chinese mosque, which  was constructed in 1907, in the style of a Chinese temple for the local Dungans, yet was built in the Kyrgyz traditional wood feathering style instead of metal nail construction.
We will also visit the striking Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, which was completed in 1895.
In the afternoon we travel to the Valley of the Flowers and Djety-Oguz where we can enjoy a light hike through the magnificent canyon of red sandstone.

Day 5: To Ashu Via Cholpan Ata
Location: Chon Kemin

After breakfast we drive to Chon Kemin valley, a unique natural reserve where glaciers are bordered with coniferous forests and steppe. We see the contrast of green meadows in the valley permanent snow covering the ranges of Kungei-Ala-Too and Zailiyskiy-Ala-Too which tower above us.
We also have time to explore the petroglyphs at Lake Issyk Kul. Scattered across large flat stones these carvings, some dating back to the Bronze Age depict scenes of daily life, hunting, animals, and various symbols.
Tonight we'll experience Kyrgyz hospitality in a guesthouse in the quaint village Ashu. 

Day 6: To Bishkek
Location: Bishkek

After a walk in the foothills, we continue on to Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. Along the way we stop to wander around the Burana Tower, before spending the evening enjoying Bishkek’s many parks and intriguing soviet buildings.

Day 7: Bishkek - Ala Archa National Park
Location: Ala Archa National Park

We experience a Kyrgyz alpine adventure in Ala Archa National Park. Take a rewarding trek to rushing rivers, waterfalls and glaciers. The park is high altitude and much cooler than Bishkek – to enjoy it fully, bring proper footwear and clothing.

Day 8: To Toktogul
Location: Toktogul

Our final highlights in Kyrgyzstan are Toktogul Lake reached via mountain passes at 3000m. You will drive over the Too-Ashu Pass and through Suusamyr valley to see the sparkling waters.

Day 9: To Osh
Location: Osh

In Osh we visit the bazaar, still the largest market in Central Asia. You walk along the colorful rows of Golden market, watch black smiths working and smell aromas of spices, fruits and vegetables of Food market. Sulaiman Mount, towering above the city remains one of the main shrines of the Islamic world and we follow the way of all pilgrims up to the top of the hill to see the little mosque of Babur, The Great Moghul Dynasty founder and to take in a bird’s eye view of the city.

Day 10: To Fergana
Location: Fergana

Today we cross the border at Dustlik into Uzbekistan and head to the Fergana Valley. Long a centre for artisans we will see some of the potters and silk weavers at work.

Day 11: To Khujand
Location: Khujand

We cross another border to Tajikisan and journey to Khujand. The city was once a major city on the Silk Road and was captured by Alexander the Great. Today it remains a bustling city, known for having one of the largest covered markets in Central Asia. 

Day 12: To Dushanbe
Location: Dushanbe

Today we travel to Dushanbe. Located in the northern foothills of the Turkistan mountain range, Istaravshan is one of the oldest cities in Tajikistan and offers an opportunity to interact with local Tajiks and see local craftsmen at work. 

Day 13: Dushanbe
Location: Dushanbe

Dazzling Dunshanbe awaits where we explore the national history, including a visit to see ancient fortress of Hissor, one of the most precious historical sites of Tajikistan.

Day 14: To Penjikent
Location: Penjikent

Today we travel to the Zeravshan River valley and the town of Penjikent. The ruins of the ancient Sogdian city of Panjakent dates back to the 5th–8th and includes well-preserved ruinsi ncluding the citadel, and Zoroastrian fire temples.

Day 15: Fann Mountains And The Seven Lakes
Location: Fann Mountains

Today we have the opportunity to visit the pristine natural environment of the Seven Lakes in the Shing Valley nestled in the rugged peaks of the Fann Mountains. We enjoy exploring the turquoise lakes and lush landscapes. We spend the night in Penjikent. 

Day 16: To Samarkand
Location: Samarkand

After a morning city tour of Penjikent we depart Tajikistan bound for Golden Uzbekistan. 

Day 17: Samarkand
Location: Samarkand

Samarkand, often considered the jewel in the crown of Central Asia awaits. Registan Square is truly unrivalled in its magnificence, a far cry from the “sandy place” from which its name derives. Stand in wonderment at the glittering mosques and madrassahs, and awe inspiring monuments of Amir Timur’s time.

Day 18: To Bukhara
Location: Bukhara

Today we journey by rail to Bukhara, an incredible city,  home to hundreds of monuments, from the soaring Poi Kalon Minaret ensemble, to the Ark Fortress, architectural wonder of the Samanid Mausoleum and Chor Minor located close by the tranquil resting spot of Lyabi-hauz. Take some tea under the mulberry trees to reflect on all that you have seen so far. Don’t miss out on a visit to the bazaar to choose your silk carpet to provide a lasting memory of this journey.

Day 19: Bukhara
Location: Bukhara

Today we venture out of town to visit the Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer residence of the former emir of Bukhara where you can see unique mixture of traditional Russian style of architecture harmoniously mixed with local oriental traditions. 

Day 20: Depart To Mary
Location: Mary

Turkmenistan, our final country, awaits as we cross the border to Mary our gateway to the ancient city of Merv. 

Day 21: To Ashgabat Via Merv
Location: Ashgabat

One of the major archaeological sites of Central Asia, Merv played an important part in the development of the Silk Road for more than 2 000 years. Then it's on to the capital city of Ashgabat.

Day 22: Ashgabat
Location: Ashgabat

Ashgabat is a shimmering metropolis, its marble and gold mimicking the opulence of Dubai. Visit grandiose monuments then head to the old quarter where the city comes to life. This secretive fantasy land has its quirks, but you’ll find warm hospitality among its multicultural people.

Day 23: To Darvaza Crater
Location: Darvaza

A highlight of the journey awaits with a visit to the Darvaza flaming crater which, at daylight, seems a hole in the ground but by night transforms into the doors of hell, a fire temple, or any other mysteriously spectacular place. We spend the night in gers enjoying delicious nomadic food in the light of the flickering flames.

Day 24: To Kunya Urgench
Location: Kunya Urgench

Today we awake refreshed from our night under the stars and our journey continues. This morning we'll get the chance to explore Kunya-Urgench, once the glorious capital of the Khorezmshah Empire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Day 25: To Nukus And Muynak
Location: Am hona

To the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan and Nukus which provides a gateway to gateway to the Aral Sea and its related environmental challenges. We journey out to Muynak, famous for being one of the former ports on the Aral Sea that has now been left stranded due to the dramatic shrinking of the sea.

Day 26: To Khiva And Ayaz Qala
Location: Khiva

Our journey to Khiva is via the ancient forts of Ayaz Qala in the Kyzylkum Desert. One of the highlights of Ayaz Qala is the panoramic view of the surrounding desert landscape, the vastness unimaginable from the fortress.  We arrive in Khiva and settle into our hotel within the city walls. 

Day 27: Khiva
Location: Khiva

Today we find ourselves in the living museum of Khiva.  Made for walking, you will discover all the major sights of the Ichan Kala, the citadel, where we will see the truncated Kalta Minor minaret, the Kunya Arkand many more. We climb the city walls to look out across the town and the desert beyond. You can imagine the layers of history around. Who else has walked these walls?

Day 28: Khiva And Overnight Train To Tashkent
Location: Train - Khiva to Tashkent

In the late afternoon we leave behind the undulating walls of Khiva and board our overnight train to our final destination, Tashkent, who cleverly juggles its cultural and historical past, the Soviet era's impact and modern day lifestyles.

Day 29: Tashkent
Location: Tashkent

Tashkent is one of the oldest and largest cities in Central Asia, the Uzbek capital since 1930, and very much a showpiece of Soviet and post-soviet architecture. 
Although much of the Old City was lost to an earthquake, Tashkent still retains some of its ancient treasures. Visit the Madrasah Kukeldash - an Islamic School that sits beside the 15th century Jume Mosque, the Museum of Applied Arts where the colourful building is an attraction in itself, see the statue of the 14th century national hero, Amir Temur (Tamerlane) on horseback in Armir Temur Square,
Get amongst the hyper-activity of the Chorsu Baazar found in the unique complex of trade halls crowned with magnificent blue domes. This is one of the oldest and largest Bazaar's in central Asia. Gather around one of the steaming street kitchens and sample some Plov, the king of Uzbek cuisine.

Day 30: Tashkent
Location: Tashkent

Our journey ends in Tashkent and we reflect on this monumental journey through countries, broken by borders but united in history and peoples.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    27 hotel / guesthouse (twin share), 1 ger and 1 train

  • Additional Services

    Comprehensive schedule of sightseeing with certified Local Guides. You’ll have a generous sprinkling of free time to relax or explore on your own

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    All transfers including to and from the airport

  • Fully Guided

    An experienced Tour Leader accompanies the whole journey to keep your adventure on track. Local Guides are native to each destination and as certified professionals will share their immense knowledge with you. 24/7 support is available in the office and on the ground

  • Meals

    29 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 21 dinners

What's Not Included

  • Insurance

  • International Travel


27 hotel / guesthouse (twin share), 1 ger and 1 train

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    Like-minded, well travelled clients who you are sure to forge lasting friendships with as you unlock the wonders of the world together.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 1964

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

    You will

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Comprehensive tour documentation and visa guidelines

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please see full booking conditions for details.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Contact us to see if an alternative start point applies to your chosen journey.

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

    Yes, we ensure that all accommodation is of a suitable standard for our journeys.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    Please see full booking conditions for details

Dates & Availability

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Monday - Tuesday

May 20, 2024 - Jun 18, 2024
$10107 $9829 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $278 (USD)

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Monday - Tuesday

Aug 26, 2024 - Sep 24, 2024
$10410 $10124 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $286 (USD)

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Monday - Tuesday

Sep 09, 2024 - Oct 08, 2024
$10644 $10351 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $293 (USD)

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Monday - Tuesday

Sep 16, 2024 - Oct 15, 2024
$10783 $10486 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $297 (USD)

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Monday - Tuesday

May 19, 2025 - Jun 17, 2025
$10505 $10216 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $289 (USD)

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Monday - Tuesday

Aug 25, 2025 - Sep 23, 2025
$10827 $10529 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $298 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Monday - Tuesday

Sep 08, 2025 - Oct 07, 2025
$11105 $10799 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $305 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Monday - Tuesday

Sep 15, 2025 - Oct 14, 2025
$11212 $10904 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $308 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Sundowners Overland requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

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

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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