Follow the central Silk Road through Turkmenistan’s harshly beautiful deserts, Kazakhstan's green forests, Uzbekistan’s soaring mountain ranges and Kyrgyzstan’s sublime lakes. Travel to a land once home to brutal yet sophisticated khans and sultans, as well as the furthest reaches of the USSR. Offering the bold traveller a startling vision of Central Asian culture - from the futuristic Ashgabat to the relaxed charm of Bishkek, the central Silk Road journey is an enlightening experience full of memories to last a lifetime.

Start
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Finish
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Countries
Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan,
Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan
Themes
Overland
Code
KDOXC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 21
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip

Travel the Central Silk Road from Turkmenistan to Kyrgyzstan.


Highlights

  • Walk the lively streets of Ashgabat
  • Be amazed by the ferocity of Darvaza Gas Crater
  • Uncover Soviet memorabilia in Chorsu Bazaar
  • Experience the romance of the central Silk Road in Samarkand
  • Take in the spectacular views of Aksu National Park
  • Enjoy warm Zhabagly village hospitality
  • Watch local shepherds playing goat polo
  • Practice your echoes in the canyons of Djety Oguz
  • Kick back on the inland beaches of Issyk-kul Lake
  • Visit the wilds of Chong Kemin Natrional Park
  • Eat mutton dressed up as itself in a Bishkek restaurant

Itinerary

Start your Samarkand and Tamerlane’s Testament adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat. Spy the world's largest hand-woven rug or learn about the city's traumatic history at the Earthquake Museum.
Sleep under the stars in the Karakum Desert. See the spectacular fires of the Darvaza Gas Crater.
Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva and imagine how they once provided sanctuary for weary Silk Road travellers. Explore the historic and perfectly preserved Old Town, beautifully decorated in classic turquoise tiles.
Get to know Central Asia's holiest city, where the combination of buildings spanning a thousand years and a thoroughly lived-in Old Town help create the awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
Travel to one of Central Asia's most magical cities, Uzbekistan’s Samarkand. Discover the romance of the Silk Road in this perfectly preserved city full of exotic architecture and majestic buildings.
End your Samarkand and Tamerlane’s Testament adventure in the most modern of Uzbekistan’s cities. Visit Tashkent’s thriving Chorsu Bazaar to pick up Soviet-style souvenirs and admire the ornately decorated Kukeldash Medressa.
Make tracks into Kazakhstan and enjoy a night with a local family in Zhabagly before exploring the grasslands of Asku National Park. Kazakhstan's oldest national park is a scenic wonderland full of mountain lakes, rivers and glaciers, plus all sorts of unusual flora and fauna.
Soak up the relaxed charm of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital. Wander through its wide streets and admire its wealth of handsome houses.
Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River - or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000m passes.
Head to Cholpon Ata, nestled on the shores of the vast and beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake.
Discover the remote, picturesque town of Karakol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
Admire the lofty sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
Mingle with friendly locals and relish Kyrgyz hospitality while enjoying a homestay in Kochkor.
Spend the night in a yurt near Song-Kol Lake and join in a game of ulak-tartysh.
Make tracks back to Bishkek, stopping to camp in the wilderness overnight.
Relax on the final days in Bishek. Why not stroll through the city's markets and haggle for bargains. Alternatively, relaxing in an Oak Park cafe and reflecting on the adventure is another good option!
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (5 nights), Camping (with facilities) (3 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (15 nights), Yurt (3 nights)
Included activites
  • Aksu-Zhabagly National Park
  • Ashgabat - Sunday Market
  • Bukhara - Guided walking tour
  • Jeti-Oghuz - Hiking
  • Kochkor - Regional Museum
  • Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op
  • Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins
  • Samarkand - Guided city tour

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Important notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trips notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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