Enjoy a unique exploration of Central Asia, across the vast nations of Kazakhstan, the mountainous Kyrgyzstan, along the rugged and winding roads of Tajikistan

Beginning in the futuristic cityscapes of Nur-Sultan (until recently, Astana), join us on this exploration through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. From the space port of Baikonur to the ancient city of Turkistan, the Silk Road portals of Sayram and Otrar, and the majestic, surreal landscapes of Altyn-Emel National Park and Charyon Canyon, the sights along the way are unlike anywhere else. Continue your journey to the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan, skirt Issyk Kul and end in the relaxed capital of Bishkek. Discover a true adventure on the roads of rugged and remote Tajikistan. Visit the unique cities of Khorog, Dushanbe and remote villages as you cross hundreds of kilometers of epic mountain passes and scenic landscapes.


Start
Astana (Nur-Sultan), Kazakhstan
Finish
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Destinations
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Style
Original
Code
KFSTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Kazakhstan is truly off the beaten track and sees few travellers, especially outside Astana and Almaty, and for much of this trip you will truly feel the remoteness of Central Asia.

  • Explore Baikonur, nick named 'Star City,' where the Russian Cosmodrome is located and unveil the mysteries of space explorations.

  • Discover the history and architecture of the Silk Road, visiting ancient mausoleums and mosques on guided tours in the cities of Turkistan, Sayram and Otrar.

  • Travel alongside locals and admire wild, sweeping vistas on epic train rides across the Kazakh steppe.

  • Surround yourself with the surreal landscapes of the Altyn-Emel National Park, including the mysterious singing sand dunes the visit Grand Canyon's little brother, Charyn Canyon.

  • Stroll through the peaceful Russian town of Karakol and hike in the picturesque Jety Oguz Valley.

  • Experience the legendary hospitality of Central Asia. With five nights spent across Tajikistan's excellent homestay network, you'll immerse yourself in local life

  • Skirting the border with Afghanistan, get glimpses of the other side, from the hair-raising Afghan-built footbridges (ovrings) to the exotic imports on display in Khorog's local bazaar

  • Enjoy a picnic lunch as you take in the splendour of Karakul, the largest lake of some 800 in the Pamirs

  • Soaring along the iconic Pamir Highway is an unforgettable experience, especially in fine weather when the mighty peak of Muztag Ata rears its head

  • Dushanbe is perfect final stop. With included visits to the Hissor Fort and National Museum of Antiquities, you can discover the nation's capital while learning more about the country's fascinating past

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip takes you way off the tourist trail to explore just some of the vastness that is Kazakhstan. If you want to be far, far away from everywhere – and from anything you've experienced before – this trip is for you.

  • Be prepared to experience the full legacy of the Soviet era – not just in the sights and history, but also in the standards of accommodation and service! In other words, while you’ll be comfortable, don’t expect luxury.

  • In true adventure style, the trip involves some long travel days by private vehicle and trains. Daily drives range from 3 to 10 hours in duration. Given the road condition, small villages are only accessible via vans. So don't expect travelling in a big bus or coach. While tiring, this is a great opportunity to sit back, unwind and let the sweeping views roll by and there will always be opportunities to stop on the way to rest and stretch.

  • We’ll experience varying temperatures in the desert and out on the steppe. The days can be very hot, while at night, the mercury plummets. Make sure you bring warm, comfortable layers, drink plenty of water and take care to protect yourself from the sun. For women, we recommend bringing a scarf to cover your head and shoulders while on visits to mosques and mausoleums.

  • This trip visits places as high as 5,000 metres above sea level, which can cause altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

  • The varied terrain of Tajikistan also makes for extremely varied weather. Temperatures can range from below freezing to over 40ºC so check the weather forecast online before you visit and pack accordingly.

  • Medical facilities can be as far away as 2-3 days' drive at times, as some locations are very remote. During this journey the group will spend time in remote areas without home comforts or easy access to medical facilities. You will need to have excellent physical health to join this trip.

  • In the Pamirs you'll stay in local homestays, with the whole group often sleeping in one large room on mattresses on the floor. Bathroom facilities are outdoors, and it won't be possible to take a shower every night of the trip.

Itinerary

Welcome to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. Please look for a note in the lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be checking your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details ready for your leader. Recently renamed Nur-Sultan in honour of the long serving first president, the city was purpose built to become th capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997. Similar to Washington D.C. in the US or Canberra in Australia, Nur-Sultan is a planned city with the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa as its master mind. Now, Nur-Sultan is one of the most vibrant cities in Central Asia. If you arrive early, take the time explore and admire the futuristic city skyline. Join your leader in the evening for an included local dinner tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
See our guide to Nur-Sultan (Astana) here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/astana-kazakhstan-travel-guide/
This morning, head off on a city tour with your leader and see some of the most impressive designs of this ambitious new city. Visit Nur-Astana Mosque, built in 2005 - with it's capacity of 5000 worshippers inside and an additional 2000 outside it is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Then you'll stop at Palace of Peace & Reconciliation, a pyramid shaped conference hall that's considered to be Astana's symbolic center. You'll also visit the President's Culture Center which houses an array of exhibits that tell of the past, present and future of Kazakhstan, and of course, as its name suggests, the many achievements of it's President. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Astana - City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, take an early morning flight from Nur-Sultan to Kyzyl Orda (approx. 1.5 hrs) and from here you'll head to one of the most unique destinations on this trip, Baikonur (approx. 3.5 hrs). Located on the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, Baikonur has been leased to the Russian Federation until 2050. The town was originally constructed to service a huge space base that dispatches astronauts and supplies (and during the Soviet Union, cosmonauts) to the International Space Station. Firstly named Zarya (Russian for sunrise) it was renamed Baikonur by Russian president Boris Yeltsin in 1995. We will have some free time this afternoon and evening before our in depth tour of the sights tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get ready for a full day of exploration today. Visit the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s first and largest operational spaceport. Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, was launched from here. Stop in at the nearby museum where you’ll see a range of space artifacts, and check out the cottage once occupied by Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to ever venture into outer space.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Baikonur - Yuri Gagarin Museum & House
  • Baikonur - Cosmodrome
  • Baikonur - Space Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is another travelling day, this time by train. Drive back to Kyzyl Orda and from there it's around 7 hours to the next destination: Turkistan. Grab some snacks, sit back and relax as the epic landscape rushes by. Located in southern Kazakhstan, the city of Turkistan contains more historical relics and cultural sites than any other place in the country. Your train will arrive in the late afternoon. We'll visit the main attraction of the Yasaui Mausoleum tomorrow morning, but you'll have the option to see it illuminated at night today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out on a city tour this morning, the highlight of which is a visit to the Kozha Akhmed Yasaui Mausoleum, Kazakhstan’s most iconic building. The blue and while-tiled Mausoleum is the final resting place of a great Turkic holy man and Sufi. Built by Tamerlane, it is said that three visits here are equal to one visit to Mecca. As it is a religious site, we recommend that women wear a headscarf when entering. In the surrounds you'll find a rose garden, other monuments, an archeological museum and a mosque, which are all included in the entry ticket. Continue the journey to Shymkent (approx. 4 hours) by private vehicle, stopping at the ancient settlement of Otrar on the way. It was first excavated in 1969 and has a history dating back to the first century AD. Remnants of palaces, mosques and bathhouses can still be seen today. It is also where Genghis Khan's army is said to have fought heroically (though unsuccessfully) when the Mongols first invaded Central Asia. There'll be some time to spend in Shymkent before boarding the overnight train (approx 11 hours) to Almaty.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Otrar - Ancient settlement
  • Turkistan - Yasui Mausoleum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
We travel in kupe class, which is 4 berths per compartment with a lockable door. There are toilets and hot water for drinks at the end of each carriage. While we aim to group our travellers together, please be aware that compartments are not segregated by gender and you may be sharing with other travellers.
Arrive in Almaty, grab some breakfast and drive the 240 km (approx 3.5 hours) out of town to the spectacular Altyn-Emel National Park, where you will spend the next two days exploring. This is the largest national reserve in the country and preserves many rare plants and animals, including zheyran (goitred gazelles), argali sheep and kulan (wild donkeys), which you may be lucky enough to spot during your time here. The program may vary depending on the weather and season. Taigak Gorge houses the Kyzyl Lauyz Petroglyphs where you can make out ancient Tibetan inscriptions of the words 'Om Mani Padme Om', as well as images of hunting, farming and celebrations.There are also the Besshatyr Burial Mounds, which date from the sixth century BC when this area was a shrine of the ancient Saks people. Tonight you'll stay in a simple guesthouse within the national park where lunch and dinner is included.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Explore the sights not visited yesterday, of which the best-known is the Singing Barkhan, a sand dune extending 3km and up to 120m high. It gets its name from the way the fine sand hums in windy weather and the view from the top gives a great panorama of the surrounding Djungarian Alatau, Sogety, Boguty and other mountains. In dry, windy weather, the sand dune's song can be heard up to a few kilometres away. These mountains have revealed preserved remains of prehistoric animals including giant rhinos, crocodiles and turtles, and many compare the huge, conical mountains to the man-made Egyptian pyramids. Return to Almaty tonight after a full day in the park.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today embark on a full-day guided city tour of Almaty. The development and wealth you’ll see on display as you walk the streets comes from the country's main export – oil. Kazakhstan is one of the world's top five oil-producing nations in the world. Visit Central Square and the colourful Zenkoff Cathedral in historic Panfilov Park, dedicated to the 28 guardsmen who died defending Moscow against German tanks in WWII. Check out the fascinating Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments and the State Historical Museum, which features a great collection of ancient relics. Finally, summit Kok Tobe Hill for great views over the city before returning to the hotel after a long but fulfilling day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Almaty - Central State Museum
  • Almaty - Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments
  • Almaty - Kok Tobe Hill
  • Almaty - Panfilov Park
  • Almaty - Medeu
  • Almaty - Zenkov Cathedral
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today before saying goodbye to Kazakhstan, stop at spectacular Charyn Canyon (approx 4 hours drive). The colorful formations of different shapes and sizes are no less impressive than the Grand Canyon in the US, (though it's much smaller!). Continue to the border and enter the mountainous nation of Kyrgyzstan. Tonight you'll stay in the peaceful town of Karakol.

Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Charyn Canyon- Charyn Canyon National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This mainly Russian town was officially founded on 1st of July in 1869 by the military. At this time the town already had a lage population of military officers, explorers from the Russian Geographical society, merchants and artisans. The town’s Soviet name was Przhevalsk after the Great Russian explorer of Central Asia and China, Nikolai Przhevalsky. His last expedition ended here and he is buried on the lakeshore near Karakol. Stroll along Karakol's streets spotting Russian-style "gingerbread" houses. Visit the Dungan Mosque, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, a local market and the Przhevalsky Museum. After lunch, drive for about 1 hour for a hike (approx. 2 hours) in the picturesque Jety Oguz Valley, aka Seven Bull Valley. Your leader will guide you through the forest to a waterfall (with jaw dropping panaromic views). Return to Karakol for the night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Karakol - Dungan Mosque
  • Karakol - Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral
  • Karakol - Przhevalskiy Museum
  • Karakol - Jeti Orghuz Canyon Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a full day's drive to Bishkek along the northern shore of Issyk Kul - the second largest alpine lake in the world after lake Titicaca in South America. The views are lovely along the way, especially seeing Issyk Kul surrounded by snow capped mountains. On the way, you'll stop at Cholpan Ata, visit a petroglyphs site and take a short boar ride onto the lake to enjoy its sheer size and scale. Arrive in Bishkek in the late afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cholpan Ata - Petroglyphs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a trip down memory lane today with a city tour showcasing the country's fascinating history. The centre of the city is Ala-too Square, which was known as Lenin Square in Soviet times. Lenin used to stand in his concrete overcoat in the middle of this square, proudly gesturing towards the mountains. A great place  for a wander is Dubovy (Oak) Park, where you'll find a few open-air cafes. The century-old oaks here and all along Freedom Avenue make Bishkek one of the greenest cities in Central Asia. In the afternoon, you'll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city center, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You'll find all kinds of things on sale here from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets. Get together with your travel mates and enjoy an optional final dinner together tonight to celebrate a great journey through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bishkek - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Bishkek - Osh Market - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Bishkek after a packed journey from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan. Since this is a combo trip, your group leader and group composition may change today. There will be a group meeting at 6pm and your leader will brief you on the 2nd part of this adventure. During the day, maybe visit some of the museums in town like the State Museum of Fine Arts or Frunze House Museum. Or maybe take a day trip out into the mountains and enjoy some fresh air and a good hike with great view. Ala Archa and Alamedin valley are the most popular and easiest to get too. A day tour with transfer, picnic lunch and guide would cost around 100 USD depending on how many people are doing the tour. Your tour leader will be able to help you organize it.
This is also a really good chance to get some laundry done, put your feet up and have some downtime before hitting the busy road again.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bishkek – State Historical Museum - USD2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart Bishkek and travel to Toktogul (approximately 6 hours) though spectacular mountain scenery today. This is an urban settlement in the Jalal-Abad province of Kyrgyzstan. You will arrive in the early evening, then enjoy a night of free time. Due to the limited options in this area, the accommodation tonight might be in Chychkan or Kok Bel rather than Toktogul. Your leader will advise you on Day 1 as to where you will stay for your departure.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Notes: Throughout the trip you will be travelling in 6- to 8-seat private vehicles, with some sightseeing or transport to dinners included, as well as optional activities by local transport or taxis. In the private vehicles, your leader will generally take the front seat in order to communicate with the driver, and in cases where the group is split across multiple vehicles, you will take turns travelling in each, to mix things up. Due to the dusty conditions of the roads, photography from within the vehicles will need to be done with the windows closed. Frequent stops will be made along the way for photos at the most scenic spots.
Travel onward from Toktogul to Kyrgyzstan's second city, Osh (approximately 8 hours). Located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, Osh is often referred to as the capital of the south. It has a mostly Uzbek population, which is evidence of its proximity to the border. While you are here, you'll visit Suleiman's (Solomon's) Mountain, a site of huge Islamic importance that dominates the centre of the city. While the walk is not strenuous for those with good fitness, you will need sturdy footwear as there are many slippery and steep steps and slopes. You will also visit the Osh Bazaar, one of the biggest markets in Central Asia. As well as browsing this intriguing bazaar, here you can change some money into Tajikistan Somani for the journey ahead. Depending on the arrival time, some activities in Osh will be scheduled for tomorrow instead of today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Osh - Suleiman's Mountain
  • Osh - Bazaar
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After a morning of exploring Osh, continue to Sary Tash (approximately 3 hours). On this journey you will cross the Taldyk Pass (3,615 m). Conveniently located in the Alai Valley, bordering Tajikistan, Sary Tash is a junction for explorers heading off in many directions on the road to Osh, Murgab (Tajikistan), and Kashgar (China). You will spend the night in a basic guesthouse or homestay in this small, remote village at the junction of the Silk Road.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
As with many of the homestays on this trip, accommodation is multi-share and, depending on space and the configuration of the group, may be mixed-gender. In some parts of the year there might be the option to stay in a yurt pitched in the yard of the homestay. The bedding consists of mattresses, pillows and blankets on the floor. As temperatures can often get close to or below freezing at night, and as homes are not centrally heated, it's best to bring warm clothes to sleep in. Your guesthouse/homestay in Sary Tash does not have running water or bathing facilities, and the toilet is a simple squat facility outside. Meals may be taken in a 'dining yurt' set up in the yard. As in many destinations on this trip, lighting is minimal at night, so a head torch is recommended for getting around after dark and for bathroom visits.
Today we drive to Murgab (approximately 6–7 hours). Firstly, after breakfast, drive the 50 kilometres from Sary Tash to the Kyzyl Art Pass (4,280 m). In this spectacularly remote spot, you will cross the border from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan. Remember to be patient as officials work through the various permits and procedures. Once inside Tajikistan, you'll make your way down the 95 km to Karakul Lake for lunch, with yet more dramatic scenery and photo opportunities along the way. Karakul Lake is too high to support aquatic life and is the largest out of 800 lakes in the Pamirs; these lakes were created by earthquakes, tectonic activity and glaciers. The final 135 km today takes you to Murgab via the Ak-Baital Pass (4,655 m), the highest pass on the Pamir Highway and in the former Soviet Union. Murgab is located in a valley at approximately 3,000 m above sea level, surrounded by high peaks. This region is inhabited mainly by Kyrgyz people. From here, on a clear day, you can see Muztag Ata (7,546 m), the highest mountain in the Pamirs. While here, your hosts will prepare you a simple dinner and breakfast – homemade bread, plov (rice pilaf) and fried eggs or porridge. Keen stargazers will be treated to a great display on a clear night, with very little light pollution affecting views of the night sky.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tajikistan - Karakul Lake
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
As tonight's homestay does not have a reliable electricity source, power cuts are frequent. This is another reason a head torch will come in handy. Your leader will allocate rooms for the night. Some have simple wire-frame beds and others have mattresses on the floor. Bathroom facilities are outside, with the possibility of a shared banya (simple sauna) if your hosts are able to source enough water to heat up. 
Today is another long day of breathtaking driving (approximately 10 hours). Drive through the picturesque Alichur valley, over the Khargush Pass (4,344 m), to the Wakhan Corridor. As you enter the Wakhan there are amazing views of the Pamirs to the right and of the Hindu Kush to the left. On the other side of the pass you will cross through another check point and travel along the Afghanistan border. In contrast to the previous village stays, the surroundings here are more fertile, with families growing tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages and flowers on their own garden plots. A stop will be made somewhere along the way for lunch in a local chaikana (teahouse/cafeteria). Tonight you will stay in a traditional Pamiri house, which consists of a large pillared central room where all home life takes place. Home cooking awaits – perhaps lagman (noodle soup) or shorpa (meat and vegetable soup). After dinner your hosts will roll the mattresses and you'll share a sleeping area with the rest of the group.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is one of the most active days of the trip so take advantage of the chance to stretch your legs! After breakfast there's the option of hiking to an interesting petroglyph site above the village. The images, carved into the rocks high above the village, depict goats, caravans, horses and Ismaili symbols. You'll hike up a gravelly slope for at least 30 minutes (depending on fitness) before the first carvings are visible. There is little shade and it's hard going, but it's well worth the exertion, especially after so long in a vehicle. Next you will drive to nearby Vrang, where on a cliff-side pitted with caves stands a Buddhist complex with 4th-century origins. It's another climb to get there, but the path is flatter in places and not as physically demanding as the hike to the petroglyphs. Continue to Ptup via the stunning valley that follows the winding river (approximately 3 hours). You'll stop en route for lunch. Ptup is the location of your next Pamiri homestay in the traditional Wakhan style. The multi-generation family who live here have a beautiful garden and house with a flush toilet and shower with solar-heated water. While you're in Ptup you'll visit the stunning Yamchun Fort, which some claim is the most spectacular sight in the country. To get to the fort you'll follow very windy, narrow mountain roads, so for safety reasons this journey will be made well before nightfall. Access to the fort itself is via a tricky scramble down and along the rocky valley. The views out over the valley are amazing. If time and road conditions permit, you might be able to visit Bibi Fatima hot springs too.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Langar - Petroglyphs
  • Vrang - Buddist Stupa
  • Ptup - Yamchun Fort
Optional Activities
  • Ptup - Bibi Fatima Hot Springs - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Depending on departure and arrival times, you'll visit the sights around Ptup either today or tomorrow.
From Ptup you will travel to Khorog (approximately 6 hours), which after our village experiences might seem like a bustling metropolis. You will pass through Ishkashim, perhaps stopping for lunch there, and continue along the Afghan border. Look out for the watchtowers and border crossings which, despite the proximity of the countries (sometimes only 100 m apart), are few and far between, with very little contact between people on each side of the divide. Also watch out for ovrings, the spectacularly scary footbridges that Afghans have built along the cliff faces in order to be able to commute from one village to another. The contrast across the river valley here can be quite stark in places. Tajikistan is undoubtedly a poor country; in general the roads are sealed and buildings are connected with electricity, but over the river you will see locals living in much simpler conditions. You'll often be able to get a wave from your neighbours across the river as you travel along. Once in Khorog you will be in the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Here you'll stay in a guesthouse or hotel with private bathrooms. Perhaps enjoy a dinner at an Indian restaurant in town – one of the city's best.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Time to explore Khorog's sights today, including the bazaar. As you wander throughout this intriguing marketplace, your leader will be able to point out to you which stalls are selling Afghan goods from our neighbours across the river. There will also be time to check out the lovely botanical gardens that are perched high above the town, which boast some great panoramic views, and the curiously quaint Regional Museum.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khorog - Regional Museum
  • Khorog - Pamir Botanical Gardens
  • Khorog – Bazaar
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Set off to Kala-i Khum (sometimes written Kalaikhum), a small town on the Pamir Highway (approximately 10 hours). Today is mostly a travel day, and since the town is so far away, most groups will arrive too late to be able to explore on arrival. Tonight's accommodation is a guesthouse or homestay which sometimes also accommodates other independent travellers. The guesthouse is multistory, so be prepared for some steep steps to get to and from the sleeping spaces, dining area and bathrooms. There is a simple shower, some running water and both a flush and pit toilet in the courtyard. Dinner is included again this evening, perhaps local style dumplings.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy some breakfast at the homestay before setting off for the nation's capital, Dushanbe (approximately 8 hours). In Dushanbe we stay for 2 nights in hotel with private bathrooms. For dinner tonight, the group might head out on the town to a Middle Eastern restaurant – one of the city's finest – or to a popular Chaikhana which has been in operation since Soviet times.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Check out the local central parks, fountains and monuments, with the option of visiting the main bazaar or Soviet-era Central Department Store for some souvenir shopping on our city tour toady. Just outside of Dushanbe (around 30 km) is the 18th-century Hissor Fort. Though this fort is being heavily restored, its colourful 20th-century history makes it quite an interesting visit. Back in Dushanbe, you'll check out the excellent Museum of National Antiquities. This relatively new museum reflects Tajikistan's diverse pre-Islamic cultural heritage, with exhibits from Bactrian, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Hindu eras. The giant sleeping Buddha on the second floor may well be the highlight here. Enjoy your last night with the group this evening.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dushanbe - City Tour
  • Dushanbe – Hissor Fort
  • Dushanbe – National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan
Optional Activities
  • Dushanbe – Haji Yakoub Mosque & Madressa - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
While we aim to include all of the above activities in your time in Dushanbe, there may not always be time to fit everything in, as travel times and weather conditions can vary. Sites of interest can also close unexpectedly. In these cases, your leader will talk to you about the options and any decisions that need to be made as a group.
This epic trip through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan comes to an end after breakfast. There are no activities today and you are free to depart at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

24 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Train, Overnight Sleeper Train

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights), Overnight Train (1 night), Homestay/Guesthouse (8 nights), Guesthouse/Homestay multishare (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Astana - City tour
  • Baikonur - Yuri Gagarin Museum & House
  • Baikonur - Cosmodrome
  • Baikonur - Space Museum
  • Otrar - Ancient settlement
  • Turkistan - Yasui Mausoleum
  • Almaty - Central State Museum
  • Almaty - Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments
  • Almaty - Kok Tobe Hill
  • Almaty - Panfilov Park
  • Almaty - Medeu
  • Almaty - Zenkov Cathedral
  • Charyn Canyon- Charyn Canyon National Park
  • Karakol - Dungan Mosque
  • Karakol - Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral
  • Karakol - Przhevalskiy Museum
  • Karakol - Jeti Orghuz Canyon Hike
  • Cholpan Ata - Petroglyphs
  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Osh - Suleiman's Mountain
  • Osh - Bazaar
  • Tajikistan - Karakul Lake
  • Langar - Petroglyphs
  • Vrang - Buddist Stupa
  • Ptup - Yamchun Fort
  • Khorog - Regional Museum
  • Khorog - Pamir Botanical Gardens
  • Khorog – Bazaar
  • Dushanbe - City Tour
  • Dushanbe – Hissor Fort
  • Dushanbe – National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip, excluding nights in yurts, homestays and overnight train.
2. As this is a multi-country trip and a combination of two of our most popular Central Asian trips, your leader may change at the KZK/KGZ/TJK borders. Your leader as well as the composition of your group may also change.
3.You will need to obtain your Tajikistan e-visa & GBAO permit before travelling on this trip.
4. Please note that you'll need to send us a colored copy of your passport info page for us to purchase the permit to Cosmodrome in Baikonur 60 days before departure. This permit is date specific and non refundable.
5. As the launch schedule is subject to changes and cancellations, this trip is not scheduled to coincide with any space launches in Baikonur.
6. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip.

Essential trip information

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