Make priceless memories in Vietnam, Morocco and India for great value prices per day. Learn More!

Bishkek to Ashgabat

26 Days | Journey from Bishkek to Ashgabat through Central Asia

4.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
GBP £4,750
View dates and book

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.

Trip overview

Map of Bishkek To Ashgabat including Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
Start
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Finish
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
KFSRC
We’re in the process of figuring out how much CO2-e this trip generates. In the meantime, find out more about our climate commitments and carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • 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

Is this trip right for you?
  • 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.

Itinerary

Map of Bishkek To Ashgabat including Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Inclusions

Meals

25 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Private Bus, Metro, High Speed Train, Overnight Train

Accommodation

Guesthouse/Homestay (2 night), Hotel (18 nights), Yurt/Camp (4 nights), Overnight train (1 night)

Activities
  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Shamsy Valley - Burana tower
  • Tokmak - Kyrgyz family visit and home-cooked lunch
  • Issyk-Kul Lake - Yurt workshop
  • Issyk-Kul Lake - Eagle Hunter Visit
  • Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex
  • Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain
  • Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex
  • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
  • Tashkent - Amir Timur Square
  • Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Samarkand - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Samarkand - Registan
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
  • Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Plov cooking demonstration & family visit
  • Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
  • Tashkent - City tour
  • Tashkent - Metro tour
  • Khiva - Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
  • Khiva - Juma Mosque
  • Khiva - Tosh-Hovli Palace
  • Khiva - Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
  • Khiva - Kuhna Ark
  • Darvaza - "Door to Hell" Crater
  • Yerbent - Village visit
  • Ashgabat - National Museum of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat - Nisa ruins
  • Ashgabat - Anau ruins
  • Ashgabat - Independence Monument
  • Ashgabat - Neutrality Arch
  • Ashgabat - Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque & Family Mausoleum of the First President of Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat - Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
  • Ashgabat - Akhal-Teke horse Hippodrome
  • Mary - Abiverd ruins
  • Merv - Big & Small Kizkala
  • Merv - Erk Kala & Gayur Kala
  • Merv - Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum
Add on activities
  • Bishkek - State Historical Museum - KGS150
  • Osh - Bazaar - Free
  • Samarkand - Afrosiab Museum - UZS30000
  • Samarkand - Ulugbek's Observatory - UZS30000
  • Tashkent - State Museum of History of Uzbekistan - UZS50000
  • Tashkent - Art Gallery of Uzbekistan - UZS20000
  • Tashkent - Museum of Applied Arts - UZS25000
  • Carpet Museum - USD5

Dates and availability

Loading trip dates and availabilities...

Important notes

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, Day 18 (overnight train) 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. 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.

Essential Trip Information

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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

Filter by rating

Kate · Traveled September 2023
Great trip I really enjoyed it & would do it again
Review submitted 18 Nov 2023

Kathryn · Traveled August 2023
More people need to come to this part of the World - come to Kyrgyzstan for the amazing scenery, Uzbekistan for the phenomenal architecture and Turkmenistan because it'll be like nowhere you've been before. And do it with Intrepid as if your trip was anthing like mine, it will have been the trip of a lifetime.
Review submitted 19 Sep 2023

Edward · Traveled June 2023
Three countries that are all starkly different and gob-smackingly amazing in different ways. A huge amount is crammed into the four weeks and you’ll come away with a feeling that you’ve done justice to each of them. The itinerary is excellent and the Intrepid guides were first class. It’s tough - you cover a lot of ground - but it’s worth it
Review submitted 29 Jul 2023
Bishkek to Ashgabat
From
GBP £4,750