Journey from Bishkek to Ashgabat through Central Asia
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.
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
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.
Trip departures are unavailable.
There are currently no scheduled departures on our Bishkek to Ashgabat trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
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, 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. 5. 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.
Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.View Essential Trip Information