Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan: Discover The 5 Stans of Central Asia on this 21-day itinerary, departing from JFK Airport.
Day 1 & 2: Departure from JFK to Almaty
Overnight flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan via Istanbul, Turkey.
Day 3: Arrive Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Welcome to Central Asia! Upon arrival to Almaty International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure!! Overnight in Almaty.
Day 4: Almaty (Kazakhstan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast you will have a full day of sightseeing in Almaty: visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov (wooden constructed) Cathedral, St. Nicholas Cathedral, National Musical Instruments Museum, Central State Museum, Almaty Green Bazaar, Panoramic view from Kok Tobe. Overnight in Almaty.
Day 5: Almaty – Bishkek (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we depart from Almaty and drive to Bishkek via a newly built highway. In route watch the natural landscapes. Afternoon arrival at Bishkek. Check into the hotel. In the afternoon sightseeing of Bishkek: visit State History Museum (museum is closed for reconstruction), Independence Square, Philharmonic Square, University Boulevard, and TSUM. Overnight in Bishkek.
Day 6: Bishkek – Karakol – Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we drive to Karakol, a town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tian Shan. The way passes along the south shore of Issyk Kul. Follow the way along the shore of Issyk Kul until the town of Karakol. On the way stop in yurt maker’s village Kyzyl Tuu and visit yurt masters home. Visit Djety Oguz canyon on the way. Djety Oguz in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls”. This picturesque gorge is named so because of the red rocky sand formations covered with forests of Tien Shan Spruces. Overnight in Karakol.
Day 7: Karakol – Cholpon Ata – Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, you start city-tour in Karakol: visit the wooden Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral. It was completed in 1895 and used as an officers’ club during Soviet Times; it is now restored and in use again as a church. There is also a small section of Russian Colonial ‘gingerbread’ style residential buildings. Also, you visit a wooden mosque, built entirely without nails by Chinese Artisans between 1907 and 1910 for the local Dungans (Muslims of Chinese origin who fled China during the aftermath of the XIX Century Hui Minorities’ War). Next, we visit is to the Museum of Nikolay M. Prjevalskiy, the outstanding Russian Explorer of The Asian Continent. Drive to the city of Cholpon Ata, situated in the Northern shore of Issyk Kul Lake. Upon arrival to Cholpon Ata, visit a Petroglyphs site, the temple in the open air of Scythians and Hungsuns civilizations in VIII to IX Century B.C. until, III to IV Century A.D. Overnight in Issyk kul.
Day 8: Issyk Kul – Bishkek – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast we transfer back to Bishkek. En route visit Burana Tower historical complex in Tokmok District, which used to be center of Karakhanid Kingdom Culture. Lunch on the way in local restaurant or local family. We continue driving to Bishkek, Manas Airport to take flight to Tashkent. Upon arrival immigration and customs clearance. Meet outside of arrival hall. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 9: Tashkent (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, a full day of sightseeing in Tashkent, visit the old part of the city – Khast Imam Complex as well as possessing a rich Islamic Library with immense Osman Koran of the VII Century, Chorsu Bazaar, Kukeldash Madrasah. Afternoon visit Independence (Mustakillik) Square with governmental buildings, A. Navoi Theater Square, A. Temur Museum and Square. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 10: Tashkent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we transfer to the railway station for the bullet train AFROSIYOB to Samarkand. Upon arrival to Samarkand start tour of “Rome of the East” visiting: Registan Square, Gur Emir Mausoleum, Bibi – Khanum Mosque and Central Bazaar in Samarkand, Afrosiyob Museum, and Museum of Ulugbek Observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis. Overnight in Samarkand.
Day 11: Samarkand – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we transfer to Shakhrisabz, hometown of Great Tamerlane, arrival to Shakhrisabz: visit remains of Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, Khazrati Imom Ensemble. After sightseeing Shakhrisabz, depart back to Samarkand and visit Paper Mills. Overnight in Samarkand.
Day 12: Samarkand – Bukhara (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we drive to Bukhara via Gijduvan. In route visit remains of Caravanserai and Sardoba, a water reservoir. Excursion to Gijduvan – famous pottery house. Arrival to Bukhara, check in to the hotel. Sightseeing tour in Bukhara: Kalon ensemble, Madrasah Miri-Arab, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chashma-Ayub, Madrasah Ulugbek and Abdulaziz Khan, Kosh Madrasah, Trade Domes, Lyabi Hauz Complex, Madrasah Chor – Minor. Overnight in Bukhara.
Day 13: Bukhara (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we continue sightseeing of Bukhara: summer palace of Bukhara, Emirs Sitora-i-Mokhi Khosa, Necropolis Chor Bark, burial of Sheikhs and Royal family members, Complex of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband, place of locals to worship, visit Samanid Dynasty Mausoleum, Ark Fortress. Overnight in Bukhara.
Day 14: Bukhara – Farab – Turkmenabat – Mary (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we depart Bukhara and drive to Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan border point in Farab. Border formalities on both sides, cross the border. Transfer to Mary via Turkmenabat and Merv (4.5 hrs.). Upon arrival tour of Merv which was located at the crossroads 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. Overnight in Mary.
Day 15: Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast,we transfer to the airport for your flight to Ashgabat. Visit Ashgabat famous Oriental Bazaar, Hippodrome of Ashgabat, Arch of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Gulistan Bazaar, Monument of Lenin, Ertogrul Gazy Mosque, National Museum of History & Ethnography Excursion to Nisa (Visit Old Nisa Ruins), discover Kopet Dag Mountains, Turkmenbashi Spiritual Mosque. Afternoon sightseeing of Monument of Independence and Ruhnama. Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 16: Ashgabat – Dashoguz – Kunya – Urgench – Nukus (Turkmenistan -Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for flight to Dashoguz. Arrival in Dashoguz, transfer to Kunya-Urgench (120 km/1.5 hrs.). Sightseeing tour in Kunya Urgench: visit Portal of Caravanserai, Mamur Minaret, II Arslan Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Academy of Khorezm, Kutlug Timur Minaret, Turabek Hanum Mausoleum. After sightseeing, return to Dashoguz and transfer to border checkpoint. Border formalities on both sides. Enter Uzbekistan and transfer to Nukus, in route visit oldest Necropolis Mizda Khan and remains of Gaur Kala Fort. Overnight in Nukus.
Day 17: Nukus – Kala – Khiva (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, a morning tour in Nukus, capital of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, visit the Savitskiy State Museum, a collection of over 95,000 pieces including fine arts, applied Karakalpak Folk Art, and ancient art from the region of Khorezm. After lunch drive to the ruins of Toprak Kala from the Kushan period, built in the II and III Centuries. Next, stop is Kizil Kala, a frontier fortress from the Kang Kuyi period. Last will be Ayaz Kala, the Fort of Wind, built in early A.D. Continue to Khiva, upon arrival check into your hotel. Overnight in Khiva.
Day 18: Khiva – Urgench – Tashkent (Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, a full day sightseeing of Khiva: visit Ichan Qala Fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where monuments Alla Kuli Khan Madrassah, Muhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, Kalta Minor, Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khoja Minaret, Juma Mosque, Tosh Hovli and other monuments are located. Evening transfer to the airport in Urgench for your flight to Tashkent. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 19: Tashkent – Khujand (Uzbekistan/Tajikistan) [B,L,D]
After early breakfast, today we’ll head on to a 2-day excursion of Tajikistan. We’ll drive to the border checkpoint Oybek and after border crossing formalities, we’ll continue on to the city of Khujand. 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 XIII 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. Overnight in Khujand.
Day 20: Khujand – Oybek – Tashkent (Tajikistan/Uzbekistan) [B,L,D]
After breakfast, we’ll continue our sightseeing of Khujand: visit ancient part of Khujand, Timur Malik Fortress, Archaeology, History Museums, and 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 Mosque and Mausoleum, Museum of Archaeology. We’ll then have lunch at the local restaurant and in the afternoon transfer back to Tashkent. We’ll have a farewell dinner followed by a show and return to the hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 21: Tashkent (Uzbekistan) [B]
We’ll have breakfast at the hotel and arrange for your transfer to the airport for your flight home.