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Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland

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Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland

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Product Description

Highlights

Pick up souvenirs in the bazaars of Tashkent. Experience the romance of the Silk Road in Samarkand. Spend a memorable night sleeping in a yurt. Walk through Bukhara’s historic Old Town

Overview

Strategically positioned along the Silk Route, the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva were famed trading centres for the caravans that passed this way in ancient times. On this Overland trip we follow in their footsteps, discovering magnificent architecture and bustling bazaars that have changed little since the rule of Tamerlane. We’ll stay with nomads in the Turkmenistan’s desert, explore the imposing Oxus Valley, tour the wonders of Samarkand and head into the markets of Ashgabat to practice our bargaining skills.



Breakfast Included: 3

Lunches Included: 3

Dinner Included: 3

Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland 1 Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland 2Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland 3Bishkek to Ashgabat Overland 4

 

 

Trip Dates

Start Date End Date Price Room Type Status
01-OCT-2018 30-OCT-2018 From: AUD $5,308.00 N/A
01-JUL-2019 30-JUL-2019 From: AUD $5,343.00 N/A
19-AUG-2019 17-SEP-2019 From: AUD $5,363.00 N/A
30-SEP-2019 29-OCT-2019 From: AUD $5,363.00 N/A



Bishkek

Border Information: if joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport (IATA code: FRU). There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Bishkek before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Bishkek. In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.* *Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!* Hotel for the night: Hotel Asia Mountains Hotel Asia Mountains (Отель Горы Азии) 1a Lineinaja St (Улица Линейная 1А, (на пересечении с улицой Гоголя)) Bishkek 720021 Kyrgyzstan Tel - +996 312 690 235 or +996 312 690 234 Activity Approximate Cost Begin our journey in picturesque Bishkek Free Freely explore the vast Osh Bazaar, Bishkek's largest market Free Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square KGS 150 Civilisation again, in the picturesque city of Bishkek KGS 60 About Bishkek: Bishkek is the relaxed capital of Kyrgyzstan, and it has a pleasant laid-back atmosphere. The city centres around Ala-too Square, previously known as Lenin's Square under the previous Soviet regime. Lenin used to stand in his concrete overcoat in the middle of the square, proudly gesturing towards the mountains. A pleasant place to watch the world go by is Dubovy (Oak) Park, where you'lll find a few open air cafes, a perfect spot to sit and have a drink and soak up the atmosphere. The century-old oaks here and all along Freedom Avenue make Bishkek one of the greenest cities in Central Asia.

Ala Archa, Chong Kemin Valley

The next 2 days will need to be fairly flexible. Many of the group will apply for Uzbekistan visas in Bishkek. However, the Uzbek Embassy opening times will often vary and therefore our itinerary will need to remain flexible over the next 2 days to accommodate this. As a general guide, we will most likely spend our first night camping in stunning mountainous Ala Archa National Park near to Bishkek. We will then return to Bishkek on the following day in order to submit our visa applications. Once this is process is complete we will continue to Chong Kemin National Park, where we will have free time to explore and hike in this beautiful area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion if time allows. In Chong Kemin and Ala Archa we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms. Estimated Drive Times - 3-5 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). Activity Approximate Cost Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey Included in Kitty through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan Explore the beautiful Chong Kemin valley on horseback KGS 300 Head out on a white-water rafting adventure through the stunning Chong Kemin valley KGS 1800 Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley Free Wild camping and hiking in the beauty of Ala Archa Gorge Free About Ala Archa: Ala Archa means "bright juniper", and indeed there are juniper bushes growing all through this beautiful gorge. The alpine area is stunning, and is abundant with wild flowers, bubbling mountain streams, glaciers and vast mountain panoramas. The gorge itself is 35kms long, and the surrounding mountains are massive and home to some of the largest glaciers in all of Kyrgyzstan. The park is also an important habitat for all kinds of wildlife, including marmots, badgers, hares, foxes, wolves, lynx, and wild goats. About Chong Kemin Valley: The Chong Kemin Valley lies within the Tian Shan mountain range separating Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The towering peaks of the Tian Shan range reach above 7,000m along their rugged run towards China. This spectacular valley is famed for its natural beauty, abundant wildlife and rich, varied flora. The valley offers several trekking possibilities along the Chong Kemin River, and recently white water rafting has become a popular activity for visitors in the area - exploring this stunning valley on horseback is also a great option. 

Karakol, Cholpon Ata

Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free evening to explore and relax! In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Tourist time: pedalos, sand, sun. On Lake IssykKul, it?s a time warp Included in Kitty About Karakol: Originally a Russian military outpost built in 1869, Karakol quickly grew in the 19th Century as explorers arrived to map the mountains and valleys of the area, and Chinese Muslims fled warfare in China. For many years the town was names Przhevalsk, in honour of a Russian explorer who died there in the 1880s, but has been known as Karakol since independence. Karakol is a picturesque town surrounded by orchards and mountains, with a delightful Russian church and gracious colonial houses on tree-lined streets sloping up towards glaciers and pine forests. About Cholpon Ata: Issyk Köl Lake is one of the biggest natural water reservoirs in the world, at 170kms long and 70kms wide. Issyk Köl means "warm lake" in the local language, and a combination of extreme depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes. On the shores of the lake is the small town of Cholpon Ata, a favourite holiday spot with the locals. The area has a number of health resorts and spas and there are also some interesting rock inscriptions and petroglyphs dating back to 500 BCE close nearby.

Jeti Oguz Valley

Today we drive up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads! In Jeti Oguz we will camp close to a local family yurt. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will take a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation. We will then stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks). Activity Approximate Cost Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains Included in Kitty Explore the incredible mountain landscapes of the Jeti Oguz Valley by horseback KGS 800 About Jeti Oguz Valley: Seven spectacular red sandstone cliffs stand guard over the entrance to the Jeti Oguz Valley. Local tradition says that the cliffs were once wild bulls, immobilised by the gods to stop them terrorising local yurt dwellers. The base of this stunning canyon lies on the northern slopes of the Terskei Ala-Too range, surrounded by a broad valley and majestic snow-capped mountains. The valley is a fantastic place for camping and hiking - by exploring the valleys and canyon by foot you'll be able to admire the unusual rock formations and alpine peaks.

Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local familyrun guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality! En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'. Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up! In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village Included in Kitty See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here Included in Kitty Visit a folklore demonstration near Kockhor where you can learn all about the handicrafts of the area, see a fantastic outdoor concert of traditional music and help to erect a yurt! KGS 1000 See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor Included in Kitty About Kochkor: Kochkor is a sleepy little Kyrgyz village and looks very much like the paintings of traditional Kyrgyz life seen in various museums and art galleries throughout the country. Here we will stay with a traditional Kyrgyz family, living with them and finding out about their daily life, food and family patterns. The Kyrgyz have embraced Responsible Tourism and actively encourage travellers to stay in the homes of local people. There is an excellent local animal market and a traditional felt making enterprise which we usually visit. Here they make a variety of the different felts used for making yurts, rugs, carpets and souvenirs.

Song Köl Lake

Today we will drive to the incredible Song Köl Lake, where we will spend the next two nights. We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking or horse-riding! At Song Köl we will stay in traditional felt yurts. Estimated Drive Time - 4-7 hours. Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song Köl Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl. Activity Approximate Cost Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds. Included in Kitty About Song Köl Lake: Song Köl lake is one of the most spectacular spots in central Kyrgyzstan. All around the lake are lush pastures favoured by local nomadic herders, who come here in the summer with their animals. On our overland trips we spend a couple of days staying in traditional felt yurts, learning about the local culture and traditions. We might get to see the local men play a game of "Ulak-Tartys" (goat polo) or have a chance to ride out with the shepherds on their small hardy ponies, or you might prefer to explore the surrounding area on foot and trek in the nearby hills. Song Köl really is a sublime and unique spot, it is a truly magical place where you are guaranteed to have travel experiences that you will never forget.

Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside. During these days we plan to wild camp en route. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead. Estimated Drive Times - 4-8 hours each day. Activity Approximate Cost Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan Included in Kitty

Arslanbob

Today we will complete our drive to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we have had a slow journey in the previous days with lots of stops, we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead. In Arslanbob we will stay overnight in a local family-run guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Fergana Valley

Border information: Exit Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik, enter Uzbekistan at Andijon. Today we will have a full day's drive across the Uzbek border to the eastern city of Fergana. In Fergana we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley including historic Kokand and Fergana City UZS 3000 Explore the impressive 19th-century Juma Mosque in Kokand in the stunning Fergana Valley UZS 1000 See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley at the Yodgorlik Silk Factory Free About Fergana Valley: A stunning corner of Uzbekistan dominated by the rolling mountains near the Kamchik Pass, the Fergana Valley is one of the most scenic drives on our route though Central Asia. The Palace of Khudayar Khan is an ornate palace from the 1870s built bu the last leader of the Kokand Khanate.

Tashkent

This morning we travel in local transport to Kokand, where we will have the oppurtunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey over the Kamchik Pass to Tashkent, the Uzbek capital. The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Tashkent. In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. About Tashkent: Whilst the historic cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva still retain much of the atmosphere of the ancient Khanates, Tashkent is very definitely a Soviet city, because old Tashkent was largely destroyed by a series of earthquakes and Soviet planners. Having said that, it is still a great place to visit - the city has a clean, modern feel and there is some unusal contemporary architecture here, which makes it an interesting contrast to many other places along the Silk Road.

Tashkent

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS). There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting. We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent. In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*  Hotel for the night: Grand Orzu Hotel Grand Orzu Hotel 27 Makhmud Tarobi Street Tashkent Uzbekistan Tel - +998 71 120 88 77  OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES  Visit the delightful traditional farmer's market at the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent's Old Town : Free See the grand 16th-century Kukeldash Madrassa and the city's principal Juma Mosque in the Old Town : Free Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran : USD 5  About Tashkent: Whilst the historic cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva still retain much of the atmosphere of the ancient Khanates, Tashkent is very definitely a Soviet city, because old Tashkent was largely destroyed by a series of earthquakes and Soviet planners. Having said that, it is still a great place to visit - the city has a clean, modern feel and there is some unusal contemporary architecture here, which makes it an interesting contrast to many other places along the Silk Road.

Samarkand

Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights. In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). About Samarkand: A city brimming with history, Samarkand became famous in the 14th Century CE as the birthplace of the warlord Timur and the capital of his Sultanate. Thanks to its cemtral location along the Silk Road, the town originally grew propserous as a crossroads between East and West, creating a melting pot of different cultures and traditions whose influences are still very much apparent today. Samarkand is perhaps the most romantic and evocative of the Silk Road cities, and is crowned by the decorative domes and minarets of the many beautiful buildings here. The must-sees include the iconic Registan Square (the central focus of the city and home to a group of impressively decorated madrassas), Guri Amir and the Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum. 

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TRIP MAP

TRIP OVERVIEW

Trip Code: KDOIC

Group Size: 21

Start: Bishkek

End: Ashgabat

Duration: 30

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