Travel from Bishkek to Ashgabat on this 28 day ‘Five Stan’ cultural experience. This in depth tour will see you visiting the Silk Road gems of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, the quirky Turkmenistan, colourful markets, fascinating villages and Swiss Alps type scenery. Retrace the footsteps of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great on this unforgettable Central Asian journey.
Lake Issyk Kul
Cruise on beautiful Lake Issyk Kul
Discover the ancient and pre-Soviet styles of this intriguing city
Be mesmerised by this UNESCO city
Explore the ancient city of Khiva
Our Journey Through Central Asia itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
DAY 1: FLY TO DUBAI AND BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN
Fly to Dubai. Upon arrival a local Wendy Wu representative will meet and escort you to your transit hotel where you can freshen up and relax before your connecting flight to Bishkek late this evening.
DAY 2: BISHKEK
Arrive in Bishkek early this morning, the remainder of your day is at leisure before an afternoon lunch and welcome meeting. Later this afternoon, you will take a city tour and visit Ala Too Square and finish in Dubovy Park where you can wander among the open-air cafes before strolling between the century-old oaks along Freedom Avenue.
DAY 3: BISHKEK
This morning you will visit the Dordoy Bazaar, the largest wholesale and retail market in Bishkek. Visit the vibrant and colourful Osh Bazaar where you can shop for small souvenirs and many other locally produced items relevant to the traditional and modern culture of Kyrgyzstan and tour and the newly restored Museum of History This afternoon, you will drive south to Ala Archa National Park where you will stop at the park’s base camp. From here, your guide will take you on a leisurely hike through the National Park whilst you take in the picturesque scenery of snow-capped mountains and freshwater rivers.
DAY 4: CHONG KEMIN
This morning, you will visit the 12th Century Burana Tower and enjoy the breath-taking views along the road as you continue another 2 hours to Chong Kemin. Arrive at the Chong Kemin National Park in the mid-afternoon. Chong Kemin is a quiet valley with small villages surrounded by magnificent mountains and a fir forest. Take in the daily life in Ashu Village and witness horseback games, a nomadic tradition and custom of the Kyrgyz people.
DAY 5: BOKONBAEVO
Travel to the town of Kochkor, visit a local workshop in Kochkor and see the manufacturing of the traditional Kyrgyz wool carpets, called ‘shyrdak’. Explore a small local market in the centre of the village and visit a local co-op that provides training for local women in traditional handicrafts.
DAY 6: KARAKOL
This morning depart for Karakol. On the way you will stop at Barskoon Gorge to take a light hike to a waterfall named 'Tears of Leopard'. The gorge is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Issyk Kul area. You will also visit Skazka Canyon, also known as Fairy Tale Canyon. This canyon was named so due to its bizarre rock formations, including depictions of snakes, dragons and hippopotamuses.
DAY 7: KARAKOL
This morning you will visit the interesting Przhevalskii Museum and examine the region’s diverse religious influences with visits to the striking Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and the Chinese mosque from the outside as visits inside are not always guaranteed. All touring this morning is at a comfortable pace. In the afternoon, travel to the Valley of Flowers and Jety-Oguz Gorge where you can enjoy a light hike through the magnificent canyon of red sandstone.
DAY 8: KARAKOL SUNDAY ANIMAL MARKET / ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN
Rise early and travel to the outskirts of town for the unforgettable Karakol Sunday Animal Market, the largest and most colourful in Central Asia. In the early morning transfer to 2 hours via beautiful scenery to the Kegen border crossing and cross into Kazakhstan. Cross the border with your National Escort who will assist with border formalities and travel a further 2 hours to the Charyn Canyon. Visit magnificent Charyn Canyon and its Valley of the Castles, named due to the pillars and rock formations forming imposing, almost lookalike manmade structures.
DAY 9: ALMATY
This morning take part in an orientation walk visiting Republic Square, Abai Opera Theatre, the Central Mosque, the Green Market and Zenkov Cathedral. This afternoon visit the turquoise Big Almaty Lake nestled in the Tian Shan mountains and see the Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory. Spend half the day relaxing in the scenic surrounds and return to Almaty in the late afternoon.
DAY 10: DUSHANBE
This morning in Almaty is yours at leisure. This afternoon, we will transfer to the airport for the evening flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
DAY 11: DUSHANBE
Embark on a tour of Dushanbe followed by a visit to the Fortress of Hissor, the Medrassah Kuhna and the Museum of Tajik Way of life.
DAY 12: KHUJAND
Continue on and stop at the breathtaking Lake Iskander Kul, surrounded by mountains and spend time here taking in the memorable views. Travel via Istaravshan, located in the northern foothills of the Tajik mountain range and arrive in Khujand in the late afternoon.
DAY 13: KHUJAND-TASHKENT
Enjoy a tour of Khujand, visiting Pushkin Square, Timur Malik's Fortress and the atmospheric Panjshanbe Bazaar. Travel to Tashkent this afternoon.
DAY 14: TASHKENT
See the highlights of Tashkent today, including Barak Khan and Kukeidash Madrassahs, Chorsu Bazaar and the opulently-decorated stations of Tashkent's metro system.
DAY 15: TASHKENT - SAMARKAND
Drive to Samarkand, where after checking into your hotel you will visit the iconic Registan Square, the heartbeat of Samarkand Admire the three beautiful madrassahs on the square's perimeter.
DAY 16: SAMARKAND
Enjoy a full day's tour of Samarkand, starting with Gur Emir, the mausoleum to Tamerlane. Next, continue to Bibi Khanum Mosque before visiting Ulugbek's observatory and the ancient settlement of Afrosiab.
DAY 17: SAMARKAND - BUKHARA
Head out of Samarkand to the town of Shakhrisabz where you will explore the remains of Ak-Sarai Palace, Dorus Tilavat Cemetery and KokGumbas Mosque. Continue your journey this afternoon as you make your way to Bukhara.
DAY 18: BUKHARA SIGHTSEEING
You have a city tour of one of the most famous spots on the Silk Road. Visit sites including Madrassah Nadirkhon Devanbegi, Poi Kalon Minaret and Mosque and the Ark of Bukhara.
DAY 19: BUKHARA
Head out of Bukhara to Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer residence of the former Emir of Bukhara. Bahauddin Naqshband Mausoleum, a famous Sufi spiritual leader of this region in the 14th century. Enjoy some downtime this afternoon.
DAY 20: BUKHARA - KHIVA
Travel across the famous Kyzyl Kum Desert today. Watch in awe as the scenery changes from saksaul trees to the Amudarya riverbank.
DAY 21: KHIVA
Enjoy a leisurely walking tour of Khiva's most famous sights, finishing at the Friday Mosque and the 19th century Tash Hauli Palace.
DAY 22: KHIVA - ASHGABAT
Transfer overland to Kunya-Urgench, the once-glorious capital of the Khorezmshah Empire and a now KUNESCO World Heritage Site. After, transfer to Dashoguz for your evening flight to Tashkent, Turkmenistan.
DAY 23: ASHGABAT
Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore Ashgabat in your own time. Afterwards, head to Arkadash stud farm and learn about the “winged” Akhal Tekkes horses. En route back to Ashgabat stop at the Kipchak Complex where the largest mosque in Turkmenistan and the family mausoleum of the country’s first president is located.
DAY 24: THE ANCIENT CITY OF MERV
Rise early for your flight to Mary. From the airport you will transfer overland to the ancient city of Merv; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous archaeological sites in Central Asia. Return to Mary after to visit the local History Museum.
DAY 25: DARVAZA FLAMING CRATER
Fly back to Ashgabat and enjoy a morning tour of the city. In the afternoon you will head to Darvaza to witness its famous Flaming Crater. Enjoy a walk around the perimeter and tuck into a delicious nomadic-style camp-side dinner under the starts. Following dinner, you will return to Ashgabat.
DAY 26: ASHGABAT
Learn about the Turkmenistan’s important cotton and gas industries before Visit the Old Nisa Fortress; the former residence of the Parthian Empire. After lunch you will continue the fun at the colourful Russian Bazaar. Later, continue to the National Carpet Museum that exhibits an interesting collection of hand-made Turkmen carpets and various carpet objects.
DAY 27: FLIGHT FROM ASHGABAT TO DUBAI
Early in the morning transfer to the Ashgabat airport for your flight to Dubai and onto Australia. On arrival in Dubai you will connect to your flight to Australia returning home on the same or the following day.
DAY 28: LAND IN AUSTRALIA
Land in Australia where the tour finishes.