Unspool history on the Silk Road, from mountain yurts to minarets
Be entranced by the beauty of Kyrgyzstan and historical wonders of Uzbekistan on this 17-day tour. Traverse landscapes of alpine lakes and mountains interrupted only by dots of yurts, feel the divine artistic power of the detailed mosaics and towering minarets of ancient cities, and be welcomed into homes and family-run businesses by locals. A mix of ancient nomadic cultures, various iterations of both conservative and progressive Islam, Soviet influence and post-independence nationalism mean Central Asia is home to unique traditions. Travels here will leave you raving about the region for years to come and planning your next trip back as soon as you get home.
Wander through the grand square Registan in Samarkand, admiring the imposing architecture from afar and the detailed craftmanship on the tiling up close.
Walk under pointed arches and between dome-topped mausoleums the size of apartments in the Shak-i-Zinda necropolis, which has pieces from the 14th–19th century.
Travel along the Chychkan River beneath the towering peaks of Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan range, mountains even more spectacular for emptiness of the valleys below them.
Stay in a classic felt-lined yurt on the shore of alpine Song-Kol Lake, where you can watch the sunset behind craggy mountains before warming yourself by the stove.
Visit a Kyrgyz village and watch locals play a traditional horseback sport like odarysh (wrestling on horseback) or kok-baru (goat polo).
Central Asia is a remote destination, perfect for Intrepid travellers! You will venture well away from cities, right off the beaten track and be able to immerse yourself in local food, life and culture. Accommodation may on occasion be more basic than what you are used to, especially in local homes, guesthouses and at the yurt. Shower and toilet facilities will be limited in some places and non-existent 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 and require patience. The vehicle we use is small enough to access places where the general road condition doesn't allow for buses, but this means it can be a cosy journey when the group is almost full. We find this is a great way for the group to bond and share an amazing journey together and there will be stops along the way to take photos and stretch your legs.
What Kyrgyzstan lacks in historical sights (compared to the Silk Road monuments and Old Towns of Uzbekistan) it makes up for in incredible natural landscapes and plenty of opportunities for interaction with local families in small villages.
1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip, excluding nights in yurts, homestays and guesthouses.
2. Your leader may change at the KGZ/UZB border.
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