Uzbek & Turkmen: Cities of the Silk Road

Uzbek & Turkmen: Cities of the Silk Road

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14 Days From

$5369

$5127

Uzbek & Turkmen: Cities of the Silk Road

14 Days Starting in TASHKENT (UZBEKISTAN) and ending in TASHKENT

Visiting: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Mary, Margush Hotel, Ashgabat, Darvaza, Köneürgench, Nukus, Khiva

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Tour code:

CSR

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$5369
$5127 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$242

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

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

Tour Overview

This outstanding trip takes in four of the most important cities of the old Silk Road and is perfect if culture and history are your reasons for travel.Starting our trip in Uzbekistan, we will first visit the splendour of Samarkand and Bukhara before crossing the famous River Oxus and entering Turkmenistan. We then travel on to Merv, one of the great emporiums of the Silk Road (until a certain Genghis Khan flattened most of it) and Margush, where the bronze age archaeological site of Gonur Depe lies, believed by some to represent the capital of the fifth great civilisation of the ancient world. After this we will travel to the curiously named and totally weird modern capital of Ashgabat (the City of Love) before driving north through the Karakum Desert to see the amazing Darvaza gas crater. Continuing north to visit Konya Urgench, we then cross back into Uzbekistan and on to Khiva.The tour ends where it started amongst the leafy streets of Tashkent. This is an interesting and entirely original itinerary you will find nowhere else.

Highlights

  • Discover Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and try haggling at the bazaars

  • Wild camp at the sand dunes overlooking Darvaza gas crater, Turkmenistan

  • Explore the magnificent Uzbek UNESCO treasures of Samarkand and Bukhara

  • Admire the world’s finest collection of Soviet art in the heart of the Uzbek desert

  • Discover the ancient sites of Gonur Depe and Merv, hidden in the Turkmen desert

  • See the largest mosque in Central Asia in the bizarre city of Ashgabat

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1 : In Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

Location: Tashkent

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: City Palace or similar

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

The tour begins at our hotel late this morning. We will head into town to have lunch at an open-air restaurant, followed by a relaxed look around some of the main sights of this capital city including the Museum of Applied Arts to give an insight into the regional decorative styles and cultures. We’ll also visit a few of the Tashkent Metro Stations; these previous stunning house bunkers and military installations are similar to those found in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Day 2 : Tashkent - Samarkand

Location: Tashkent, Samarkand

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Malika Prime or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early morning we catch the high-speed train which travels through four provinces to Samarkand. Once we have checked in to our hotel in Samarkand, we take our first look at this amazing city with a short visit to the Registan at sunset. There may also be time to enjoy a quick drink before dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Day 3 : In Samarkand

Location: Samarkand

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Malika Prime or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll enjoy a full day wandering through this incredible city, taking in such sights as the Bibi Khanym mosque, Tamerlane’s tomb and, of course, a full guided visit to the magnificent Registan.

Day 4 : Samarkand - Bukhara

Location: Samarkand, Bukhara

Accommodation: Sasha & Sons Guesthouse or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we drive along the “Royal Road” to Bukhara. We aim to arrive early afternoon and check in to our guesthouse close to the famous Labi Hauz plaza and pool. This afternoon there will be free time to explore the streets and alleyways of this ancient town before meeting up for dinner.

Day 5 : In Bukhara

Location: Bukhara

Accommodation: Sasha & Sons Guesthouse or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we visit the famous Arc – or town citadel – in front of which the British officers Connelly and Stoddard lost their heads in what was one of the most infamous events of the Great Game. We’ll also visit the Kolan Minaret – or Tower of Death, from which Amir Nasirulla Khan threw his enemies – as well as the rest of the beautiful old town. The rest of the day is free to explore Bukhara at your leisure, with opportunities to wander through the bazaar and maybe do a little souvenir shopping, before enjoying dinner at your own expense.

Day 6 : Bukhara - Mary (Turkmenistan)

Location: Bukhara, Mary

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Mary or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

An early start today to drive to the Uzbek border and enter Turkmenistan. After customs formalities followed by the thrill of crossing the great Oxus – Amudarya River – we will have lunch in Turkmenabat before continuing on to Mary, our base for the next two nights. Arriving in Mary late afternoon will give us time to relax and prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s adventure, and our first familiarisation with the life and culture of the Land of Turkmen.

Day 7 : Mary - Margush - Mary

Location: Mary, Margush Hotel, Mary

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Mary or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast we drive northeast from Mary to ancient Margush and the archaeological site of Gonur Depe (40km off road). Fertile silt brought by waters of the Murgab River delta and a moderate climate created favourable conditions for Bronze Age settlements known as the Margiana Oasis deep in the desert. This is an amazing site said to be the fifth great civilisation of ancient times where, it is believed, the Zoroastrian culture was born.

Day 8 : Mary - Ashgabat

Location: Mary, Ashgabat

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Grand Turkmen or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we’ll drive to Ancient Merv to see remaining traces of the glorious “Maru Shahu Jahan” – “Queen of Cities”. Due to its size and historical importance, Merv is one of the most significant sites in Turkmenistan, indeed in all of Central Asia. It consists of a series of towns each succeeded by another throughout the course of history. We’ll see the remains of Erk Kala (6th C BC) with its citadel, Gayur Kala (3rd C BC), Sultan Kala (8-11th C AD), Abdullakhan Kala and Bairamalikhan Kala (15th C AD), Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar – the last ruler of a great Seljuk Empire (12th C AD), Great Kala and Little Kyz Kala (6-7th C AD), and the Mausoleum of Muhammed Ibn Zeid (12th C AD). We’ll return to Mary this afternoon to visit the local History Museum, presenting a wide array of archaeological finds (dating back to the 3rd millennium BC through to the late 19th century) from both Ancient Merv and the Bronze Age sites of Margush. Late this afternoon we’ll take a short flight to Ashgabat, checking in to our hotel for the next two nights.

Day 9 : In Ashgabat

Location: Ashgabat

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Grand Turkmen or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We start the day exploring Ashgabat, a wonderfully bizarre city of fountains and lavish white marble buildings, and its surrounds. We will travel out to Nissa, the 3rd Century BC capital of the Parthians, and visit the famous site of Geo Tepe where the Turkmens made their last stand against the Russians. There is an opportunity to swim in a vast underground lake, Kow-Ata, with water at a constant temperature of 36C. We’ll also visit a nearby stud farm to see some of the beautiful pure-bred Akhel Teke, or ‘heavenly’ horses. Finally ending a busy day with a visit to the largest mosque in Central Asia and the mausoleum of their first President “Turkmenbashy”. Dinner will be at a stunning rooftop restaurant back in the city.

Day 10 : Ashgabat - Darvaza

Location: Ashgabat, Darvaza

Accommodation: Camp

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we’ll visit the Carpet Museum, which exhibits the world’s biggest carpet, before making the journey to Darvaza. A 4-hour drive from Ashgabat by four wheel drives, it is one of the more bizarre "100 places to visit before you die". Set in an unforgiving and magically bleak desert environment, the Darvaza gas crater is like looking down into the bowels of hell. We camp in the shelter of the sand dunes by the edge of the crater and enjoy the experience not only at sunset and sunrise, but at night when the passing birdlife is attracted to its warmth and light and circles the crater. On the way, we also visit two smaller craters filled with boiling black water and mud geysers: all in all a pretty surreal experience.

Day 11 : Darvaza - Konya Urgench - Nukus (Uzbekistan)

Location: Darvaza, Köneürgench, Nukus

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Jipek Joli or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breaking camp, we’ll continue our journey north through the desert to Konya Urgench to explore the site of Khorezm. For thousands of years Khorezm was an important oasis of civilisation in the Central Asian deserts, said to be the true centre of the Islamic world. The fortunes of this city rose and fell; invaded by the Mongols in one of history’s bloodiest massacres, it later became one of the Silk Road’s most important trading cities, finally finished off by Timur in 1388. We will then continue to the border, saying goodbye to our Turkmen team, and cross back into Uzbekistan, where we drive on to Nukus to spend the night.

Day 12 : Nukus - Khiva

Location: Nukus, Khiva

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Khiva Madrasah or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we will have the chance to visit the Savietsky Museum with artefacts displaying the area’s Karakalpakstan culture, but mostly famous for its extraordinary collection of early 20th century avant-garde Russian artwork, rescued and brought here by the former Director of the museum. After lunch we will drive on to infamous Silk Road city of Khiva. Once redolent of slave caravans and barbaric cruelty, Khiva’s ancient romance and historic heart lives on, contained within its magnificent city walls.

Day 13 : Khiva - Tashkent

Location: Khiva, Tashkent

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: City Palace or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll spend the day exploring Khiva, with its bewildering choice of mosques and palaces at every turn. We have an expert local guide to take us to many of the city’s famous sights, but those that wish to go it alone will be free to do so. We plan to visit the Kukhna Arc, the Mohammed Khan Madrassa, the Jama Majid mosque with its amazing wooden pillars, and the Alloquli Khan Madrassa, bazaar and caravanserai. We also have a chance to climb the Kalta Minor Minaret. We plan to take a late flight from nearby Urgench back to the capital after dinner this evening.

Day 14 : Tour Ends In Tashkent

Location: Tashkent

Meals Included: Breakfast

Those on the suggested group flight will have an early morning transfer to the airport. For anyone not on the group flights, the tour will end this morning after breakfast.

Day 15: Tour Ends In Tashkent

Meals Included: Breakfast

Those on the suggested group flight will have an early morning transfer to the airport. For anyone not on the group flights, the tour will end this morning after breakfast.

What's Included

  • MEALS

    13 x Breakfasts, 13 x Lunches, 12 x Dinners

  • TRANSPORT

    On this tour we will use coaster buses, 4WD Jeeps and internal flights.

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to carbon offset & tree planting projects for all bookings

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • ACCOMMODATION

    4 nights x Premium8 nights x Superior1 night x Simple

  • FITNESS RATING

    Low

What's Not Included

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour
ationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational .Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UKAirport .Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights.Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 


Before departure UK passport holders do not currently require visas for Uzbekistan in advance; your passport is simply stamped on arrival at the airport. UK passport holders currently require a visa for Turkmenistan.

 

If you are travelling on a non-UK passport, please contact your nearest consulate/ embassy for up to date visa information.

 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Key Aspects to Consider

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for, but the selection and variety may be limited.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Visas will always be tour
    ationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights

  • What is the maximum group size?

    12

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

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

    Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

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

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

  • Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Rob Adams  

Rob Adams

This was my first experience of travelling in Cent

This was my first experience of travelling in Central Asia and with Wild Frontiers. Neither disappointed!

Stephen Morris  

Stephen Morris

This is a great tour that provides a combination o

This is a great tour that provides a combination of impressive cultural attractions and a set of unique experiences. I think I will always remember the first sight of the Registan in Samarkand. Camping by the gas crater was an unbelievable experience.

Ian Lorentzen  

Ian Lorentzen

Forget the White House....go to the White City aka

Forget the White House....go to the White City aka Ashgabat!

Jane Wills  

Jane Wills

I have always been an independent traveller and an

I have always been an independent traveller and and this was my first organised tour....

Katie Coates  

Katie Coates

The Cities of the Silk Road tour proved to be one

The Cities of the Silk Road tour proved to be one of the most fascinating trips I have ever had the pleasure of taking...

Katy Blunt - Cities Of The Silk Road  

Katy Blunt - Cities Of The Silk Road

The itinerary was fantastic, varied and really gav

The itinerary was fantastic, varied and really gave an insight into these incredible countries.

Chris Sherwood  

Chris Sherwood

I can wholeheartedly recommend Wild Frontiers. The

I can wholeheartedly recommend Wild Frontiers. The Cities of the Silk Road was my first organised group tour and I can certainly say that I am a convert to group travel. I can't wait until my next trip!

Gloria Percy  

Gloria Percy

I thoroughly recommend this trip – it was a true a

I thoroughly recommend this trip – it was a true adventure.

Charlotte Barnes  

Charlotte Barnes

I have travelled with Wild Frontiers for quite som

I have travelled with Wild Frontiers for quite some time now, to Ethiopia, Pakistan, Ladakh (India), Oman and now Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan and I have never had a single complaint.

John Broomfield  

John Broomfield

We had a great holiday experience, made all the mo

We had a great holiday experience, made all the more so, by an experienced Tour Leader, knowledgable local guides and of course a great group of individuals

Read all 15 reviews

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1 Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Saturday

Oct 05, 2025 - Oct 18, 2025
$5369 $5127

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person 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 wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

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