Central Asia Tour of 5 Stans - 19 Days Tour
5 Stans Tour was everything we expected and more. So many years we had plans to go, and at last, we did. East Site made it easy. They obtained our visas, all we had to do is mail our passports and one photo. It was one of the mail reasons we originally selected East Site, and we glad we did. Every guide who worked with us was master of their job. We had a lot of laughs and fun while learning a lot of new. From the moment tour started and until the very end, every day was special. Registan square took our breath away with it is size and beauty. Local people were friendly and hospitable, we didn't feel like visitors, we left like friends. If we knew how good this tour was going to be, it would have been on top of our list. East Site's 5 Stans tour is was least expensive with most inclusions, will go to the Caucasus next year. Thank you, Julia!
Well put together 5 Stans tour. We liked how there was no waste of time, all of the logistics went smoothly. We had flights wherever possible to substitute for long driving, aircrafts were modern and on schedule. Itinerary was followed religiously. Our favorite part was in Bukhara, architectural ensembles of various times were standing next to each other, creating incredible atmosphere of fairytale. We met a lot of people and interested with them in markets and in craft shops. Top notch guides, hotels, drivers, meals... we have no complains but gratitude for this experience.
Words escape me trying to describe our experience, can't say enough but to highly recommend to anyone interested in visiting Central Asia. If you like to travel - 5 Stans is a must see for you, you will never regret going there and East Site is your choice.
Day 1 – Arrive Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Welcome to Central Asia! Upon arrival to Almaty airport, we will meet you and transfer to hotel for rest after flight. It takes about 20 min. of driving to the hotel. After we check in to hotel and have a short rest, we will have a Welcome dinner at one of local restaurants where we’ll provide a short introduction about Kazakhstan – the largest country of Central Asia with majestic mountains and plains, glaciers, and deep rivers, lakes and deserts, boundless steppes and the woods adjoin. Such variety of landscapes causes existence of rich natural world. Besides natural sights the country has a lot of rich history which is imprinted in numerous monuments: the remains of ancient settlements, barrows, petroglyphs, mausoleums and mosques being important shrines of Muslim culture. Kazakhstan – is a country of most ancient civilization of Euroasian continent, homeland of nomad tribes, a significant part of Great Silk Road - 1400 km. The republic contains 27 thousand monuments of antiquity. Leading industries of Kazakhstan are: metallurgy, chemical and mechanical engineering. Oil processing and production of building materials are also developed industries of Kazakhstan. After dinner today we’ll overnight at hotel in Almaty.
Day 2 – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
After breakfast at hotel, we have a full day of sightseeing ahead. Today we visit: Panfilov Park, Zenkov Wooden Cathedral, St.Nicholas Cathedral, National Musical Instruments Museum, Central State Museum, Almaty's Green Bazaar and have a Panoramic view at observatory. Alma-Ata is a name of "the southern capital" of Kazakhstan. It is the largest city of country which was state capital during period from 1927 to 1997. Alma-Ata is located in southeast part of Kazakhstan near border with Kyrgyzstan at heights from 670 to 1100 m. The main sight of Alma-Ata are Panfilov Park named in honor of 28 heroes of the panfilovets, stretched in northeast part of the city covering near 18 hectares. Located in center of park is majestic Sacred Voznesensky cathedral. Behind Panfilov park, we come visit to one of biggest market places of Almaty – the Green Bazzar. It is a fine example of a true Asian bazzar. Next we will visit the Museum of national musical instruments named after Ykylas, it was opened in 1980’s and contains many types of Kazakh national musical instruments most ancient of which are dated to 17th century. In the southern part of the city we visit Central State Museum – place to see unique archeological finds telling history of Kazakhstan since the most ancient times to present. Museum displays over 120 thousand exhibits. After dinner at one of the local restaurants we overnight at hotel in Almaty.
Day 3- Almaty – Bishkek -170 mi (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan)
Today after breakfast at the hotel we depart Almaty and drive to Bishkek via newly built highway. En route which will take approximately 4 hours we will enjoy beautiful landscape. Soon we will welcome you to Kyrgyzstan. On the way we will provide short information about Kyrgyzstan. Republic located in northeast of Central Asia, crossed by two world great mountain systems, Tien Shan and Pamir. 93% of Kyrgyzstan is covered by mountains, with strong continental climate the country of located 350 meters above sea level. In the afternoon we will arrive to the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek. Check in to the hotel for a short rest and have lunch at local restaurant. For the second part of the day we will have a sightseeing of Bishkek visit Central Museum, Panfilov park, the local bazaar. After dinner at one of the local restaurants, today we will overnight in Bishkek.
Day 4 – Bishkek – Issyk Kul – 165 mi (Kyrgyzstan)
After breakfast at hotel we’ll transfer to the Issyk Kul Lake, the pearl of Kyrgyzstan. In route we’ll visit Burana Tower located in the city of Tokmok in 50 mi from Bishkek. Today we’ll have lunch in Kyrgyz family in Tokmon city. After lunch break continue on driving to Issyk Kul Lake through Boom Canyon. Issyk Kul is one of the largest mountain lakes of the world and most beautiful lake in Kyrgyzstan located in northeast part of the republic between ridges of Northern Tien Shan: Kungey Ala and Terskey Ala at the height of 1609 m above sea level. Excursions will also include visiting petroglyphs of Paleolithic era and local museum in Cholpon Ata. Upon arrival we’ll check into hotel and have dinner at one of the local restaurants. Overnight at hotel in Issyk Kul Lake.
Day 5 – Issyk Kul Chopon Ata – Grigorevka Gorge – Bishkek – 160 mi. (Kyrgyzstan)
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll transfer to Grigorevka Gorge, Grigorevka Gorge located in 45 mi from the city of Cholpon-Ata. Gentle slopes of a valley are covered with a dense fir forest. Length of a valley is 25 mi. The Grigorevka Gorge, is considered one of the most picturesque in Issyk Kul area. Today we’ll have a relaxing day in the nature. After lunch at local restaurant we’ll return to Bishkek and have some free time until dinner, overnight in Bishkek.
Day 6 – Bishkek – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll be transferred to the airport for a flight to Tashkent at 11:20/11:40 AM by HY778. Welcome to Uzbekistan! Upon your arrival to Tashkent airport, you’ll be met and transferred to hotel to check. In route short introduction about Uzbekistan – one of the economically developed states of the Central Asian region, occupying a bit more than 11% of the territory of Central Asia. Main branches of industry of the republic are linked with the cotton growing, silk production, fruit and vegetable production and irrigation construction. After we’ll accommodate at hotel we’ll have a full day of sightseeing in Tashkent. While for many travelers full day of sightseeing in Tashkent seem as a necessary stopover en route to the dream destinations, this historical city holds many unexpected surprises. First half of the day we’ll visit old part of the city: Khast Imam Complex which displays unique Osman Koran thought to be the world’s oldest Koran. Chorsu bazaar- is one of the oldest, biggest bazaars of Tashkent. Madrasah Kukeldash – is a significant architectural sightvof the 16 century. After lunch we will continue on to modern part of the city: Independent square (Mustakillik) the main square of Tashkent, flanked by largest public buildings and walls of fountains. A. Navoi theatre square built in 1947 by Japanese prisoners in World War 2. Visits to museum of Amir Temur and museum of Handcraft Art will end our excursion of Tashkent, and we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight at hotel in Tashkent.
Day 7 – Tashkent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan) – 190 mi
After breakfast we will drive to world famous Samarkand located 190 mi from Tashkent. The road to Samarkand is via Syrdarya and Jizzakh provinces and takes approximately 4 hours. We will arrive to Samarkand in the afternoon, check in to hotel and have lunch at Paper Mills Factory where we’ll have a presentation of paper production from mulberry tree. After short rest we’ll start our excursion of Samarkand by visiting: Afrasiyob Museum, Central bazaar of Samarkand- Siyobian where we’ll taste famous round bread (non) made only in Samarkand. After dinner at one of the local restaurants we’ll transfer to hotel for overnight in Samarkand.
Day 8 – Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing of Samarkand. Visit heart of the city – Registan Square which played great role in commercial and scientific life of the time. Gur Emir Mausoleum - mausoleum for the males of Temurid’s dynasty, real masterpiece of Central Asian architecture. Ulugbek’s observatory – dated to 1428 - 1429 – known as biggest observatory of the East with best equipment to the time. Shaki Zinda Necropolis in the northern outskirts of Samarkand. Bibi – Khanum Mosque construction of which started in 1399 after Victorian campaign of Temur to India. After this long day, we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight in Samarkand.
Day 9 – Samarkand – Shakhrisabz – Bukhara – 240 mi (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart Samarkand for Bukhara with stop at a birthplace of Temurlane – city Shakhrisabz. Once an important stop on Great Silk Road, Shakhrisabz takes us back to over one thousand years of history. The road from Samarkand to Shakhrissabz is 90 mi, through the mountains ranges Aman Kutan, through a range of orchards, fertile fields and vineyards. Upon arrival to Shakhrissabz, we visit the imposing Ak – Saray, the white palace which was Temurlane’s favorite and most ambitious undertaking in his home town. Next highlight of Shakhrisabz is Kok Gimbaz Mosque – built by Ulugbek, near the original mausoleums of Sheikh Shamsuddin Kulal, teacher and spiritual mentor of Temur’s father Amir Taragay. After lunch in Shakhrisabz we continue on our way to Bukhara which will take almost 4 hours. Upon arrival to Bukhara, we’ll accommodate at the hotel and head for dinner in one of the local restaurants. Today we’ll overnight in Bukhara.
Day 10 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll have a full day of sightseeing of this ancient city. Bukhara is one of most historically rich cities on the Great Silk Road attracting attention of thousands of people with its unique heritage. Today we’ll visit: Samanid’s dynasty mausoleum known to be one of the best architectural samples of the Samanids period (875 - 999). Chashma Ayub Mausoleum – legend say is it of Prophet Jove. Bolo – Khauz Mosque. The Ark Forteress – Citadel is the most ancient memorial of Bukhara, on archeological matter dated to the 3rd century B.C. Kalon Complex – consists of minaret, Mosque and Madrasah both of which are still active. Magoki Attori Mosque. Ulugbek and Abdulazizi Khan madrasahs. Next we’ll visit most popular place of Bukhara – reservoir Lyabi Khauz complex built in 1620 by khans’ dignitary Nodir Devan Begi. We’ll end the day with a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Today we’ll overnight in Bukhara.
Day 11 – Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast we’ll continue second full day of sightseeing in Bukhara: visiting Chor Minor memorial, former summer palace of Bukhara Emir Said Olimkhan – last Emir of Bukhara, Sitora – iMokhi – Khosa, Museum of Decorative Applied Art. After lunch we’ll take a 30 mi drive to Gijduvan, where we’ll visit Abdulla’s pottery house where we’ll be offered short presentation and a cup of tea. We’ll be back to Bukhara in time for dinner and have another overnight in Bukhara.
Day 12 – Bukhara – Farab – Turkmenabat – Mary – 290 mi (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan)
Today right after breakfast we say good bye to Uzbekistan as we make our way to Turkmenistan border which is almost 1.5 hours of driving away. Upon arrival to the border point we’ll go through custom procedures and continue on to drive directly to Mary via Turkmenabat which will take another 4.5 hours. On the way we’ll cross the Floating Bridge (almost .5mi. long). Lunch will be on the way in one of the local restaurants of Turkmenabat. After lunch break we will proceed our way to Mary crossing one of the biggest deserts in the world known as Kara Kum Desert which means “black sand”. After few stops to visit the amazing sand dunes and bush forests of the desert, there will be one more important en route stop to visit Old Merv – Merv was located at the road crossing of Great Silk Road and quickly became one of most important and biggest cities of the ancient World. Sightseeing will include: Gyz Gala and Oglan Gala, Complex of Askhabs, Gyaur Gala, Erk Gala, Soltan Gala, Soltan Sanjar Mausoleum, Ibn Zeid Mausoleum. Upon arrival to Mary we’ll accommodate in the hotel and take a walking tour within the central part of Mary City. We’ll have dinner at local restaurant and overnight at hotel in Mary.
Day 13 – Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport of Mary for a flight to Ashgabat. Departure is at 8.20AM and arrival at 9AM (subject to change). Upon arrival to Ashgabat we’ll proceed with sightseeing: one of the most beautiful cities of the world which was recently included into the Book of Guinness as the Most-White Marble City in the World. Today’s sightseeing includes: Complex of Monuments of Oguz Han and Sons surrounded with fountains. Tombs of Turkmenbashy (first President of Turkmenistan S. Nyyazow) and his parents and brothers, Old Nissa-The Sanctuary of Parhian Kings, Nissa was the capital of Parthian Empire which lasted 600 years and was greatest enemy of Rome Empire. After excursions of Old Nissa we’ll proceed to Monuments of Archabil Shayoly and discover new part of Ashgabat with its’ modern buildings, monuments and parks which includes: Health Path of Turkmenbashy built on mountains which became very popular place among locals, Monument of Constitution and tallest building in Turkmenistan (600 feet), “Alem” Culture and Recreation Center. In the afternoon we’ll transfer to hotel and check in. We’ll have lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we will continue with sightseeing of Ashgabat, visiting: Museum of Turkmen Carpets, Park dedicated to Turkmen horses-the pride of Turkmen, Gulistan Bazar, Monument for the Victims of the Earthquake of 1948, Monument of Lenin, Ertogrul Gazy Mosque. We’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants. After dinner we’ll go for a night tour, driving along the main streets of Ashgabat making stop near Palace of Happiness. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 14 – Ashgabat – Nissa – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
Today after breakfast we’ll will have another full day of sightseeing in Ashgabat which will include: Ashgabat’s famous “Altyn Asyr” Oriental Bazar, Jygyldyk bazaar – one of the biggest bazaar in Central Asia. After bazaar we’ll visit Hippodrome of Ashgabat where we’ll see famous horses of Turkmenistan: Turkmen Horses – Akhalteke. We’ll have lunch at one of the local restaurants in Ashgabat. After lunch we’ll continue sightseeing: National Museum of History highly recommendable: one of the biggest museums in Central Asia. After Museum we’ll be visiting Arch of Neutrality – famous rocket and tripod style built building symbolizing neutral status of Turkmenistan. Its’ height is over 300 feet including 40 feet rotating statue of first President of Turkmenistan: Saparmyrat Nyyazow (Turkmenbashy). Enjoy short walking tour within the Park of Independency along the hundreds of fountains and statutes with stops to visit Monuments of Independency and Ruhnama. We’ll enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants and overnight at hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 15 – Ashgabat – Dashoguz – Kunya – Urgench – Khiva – 190 mi (Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel today in the morning we transfer to the airport of Ashgabat for flight to Dashoguz at 6.50AM arriving at 7.50AM (subject to change). Upon arrival we’ll drive another 75 mi to Koneurgench – the capital of Khorezmshahs, have sightseeing of Old City which will include: Portal of Caravansaray, Mamun Minaret, Il Arslan Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Academy of Horezm, Kutlug Timur Minaret – one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia and Turabek Hanum Mausoleum. After half day excursion of Koneurgench we’ll drive back to Dashoguz where we’ll stop for a lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we’ll transfer to the border pass Dashoguz – Shavat which is located 10 mi from Dashoguz. Upon arrival proceed the way through passport control and customs procedures and return to Uzbekistan. After border formalities on both sides we’ll continue our way to Khiva. Upon arrival we’ll accommodate in hotel in Khiva for rest and relaxation. Khiva is a fascinating place, walk through Ichan Kala – old walled city of Khiva, will give you an insight into the life led there from ancient days up to the present time. We’ll have a dinner at the local restaurant followed by a show program. Overnight is at the hotel in Khiva.
Day 16 – Khiva – Urgench – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing in Khiva: visit Ichan Kala – a UNESCO World Heritage Site including madrasah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kelta Minar, Kunya Ark, madrasah Muhammad Rakhimkhan. We’ll have lunch at local restaurant and continue sightseeing program: visit Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khodja Minaret and Madrasah, Djuma Mosque and Minaret, Tash Hovli Palace. After dinner at the local restaurant we’ll proceed to airport for a flight back to Tashkent leaving at 08:40PM and arriving at 10:10PM (subject to change). Upon arrival to Tashkent, we’ll accommodate in hotel for overnight and rest.
Day 17 – Tashkent – Khujand – 150 mi (Uzbekistan/Tajikistan)
After early breakfast at the hotel in Tashkent today we’ll head on to a 2 day excursion of Tajikistan. We’ll drive to the border check point Oybek and after border crossing formalities we’ll continue on to city Khujand. Upon arrival we’ll accommodate at the hotel after a long drive and start sightseeing. Khujand – the country's second largest city – situated in the north of Tajikistan and is one of its most ancient, founded about 2,300 years ago during the time of Alexander the Great. Standing in a favorable location in the Ferghana valley, Khujand prospered for a long time, becoming rich and building palaces, mosques, and citadels. In the 13th century it was conquered and destroyed by the Genghis Khan's army. We’ll have a close city tour in second part of the day, and end the day with dinner at a local restaurant followed by a show program. We’ll overnight in Khujand.
Day 18 – Khujand – Oybek – Tashkent – 135 mi (Tajikistan/Uzbekistan)
After breakfast at the hotel we‘ll continue sightseeing of Khujand: visit ancient part of Khujand: Timurmalik fortress, Archeology and History museums, Orient bazaar Panjshanbe – famous Panjshanbe city market is one of the most interesting sights of Khujand. Near the market we’ll stop by Sheikh Muslihiddin Masque and Mausoleum, Museum of Archaeology and Resporation. We’ll have lunch at the local restaurant and in the afternoon transfer back to Tashkent. Once back to Uzbekistan, we’ll have a rest at the hotel before making a long way back home. We’ll have a Farewell dinner followed by a show program and return to hotel for overnight in Tashkent.
Day 19 – Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Today is the last day of the tour; we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and arrange transfer to the airport for your flight home. End of tour.