Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Samarkand & The Fan Mountains

Group Tour

Overview

This overland tour provides an effortless way to see the highlights of the two neighbouring countries, showcasing the best of Islamic architecture, Silk Road history and stunning mountain lakes that the region boasts.

Starting in Tashkent, we’ll cross the border to begin exploring the historic cities and accessible mountains of northwest Tajikistan. Entering and exiting via the ancient cities of Khodjent and Penjikent, we’ll begin with an introduction to the shared histories of the ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

12 x Breakfasts
11 x Lunches
9 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Minibuses and a train

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6518 Wild Miles

ACCOMMODATION

Wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience. This can obviously vary greatly across both countries and tours. On this particular trip we will be in a homestay during our time in the Fann Mountains, and comfortable hotels throughout the rest of the trip. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Samarkand & The Fan Mountains
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

Day 1 Tour starts in Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

Day 1 Tour starts in Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

Rooms will be available in Tashkent from this afternoon. Those arriving on the group flights will arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

City Palace Hotel or similar

Day 2 Tashkent: Theatre & Bazaar Cultural Visits

Day 2 Tashkent: Theatre & Bazaar Cultural Visits

Tashkent is Uzbekistan’s vibrant capital which sat at the heart of the old Central Asian trading routes, gaining prominence under the Mongols and the Shabanids, before finally being absorbed by the expansionist policies of the Russian empire during the 19th century. Flattened by a devastating earthquake in the mid-1960s, the city was reinvented by the Kremlin to represent the very epitome of the socialist ideal. This afternoon provides us with an opportunity to discover a little more of the Uzbek capital, with a tour of some of its highlights including the Khast Imam Complex, the stunning edifice of the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Chorsu Bazaar, a vast open-air market that sits in the heart of the old part of the city.

City Palace Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Tashkent – Khodjent (Tajikistan): Historic Highlights

Day 3 Tashkent – Khodjent (Tajikistan): Historic Highlights

Bidding a temporary farewell to Uzbekistan, this morning we’ll leave the capital and drive through rural towns to the border with Tajikistan. Completing border-crossing formalities, we’ll then continue on another hour to the Tajik city of Khodjent, which once played host to Alexander the Great’s armies. After some time for lunch, this afternoon’s tour around the city’s main sites provides an introduction to the shared Silk Road, Samanid and Soviet histories of the two countries.
Driving distance 170km, 3-4 hours approx.

Firuz Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Khodjent – Fan Mountains: Istaravshan Old Town & Bazaar

Day 4 Khodjent – Fan Mountains: Istaravshan Old Town & Bazaar

We’ll round up our time in Khodjent with a visit to the Sheikh Muslihiddin Memorial Complex and the central bazaar this morning. Our route then takes us up over the Shakristan Pass and through a 6km-long tunnel to arrive in the Fan Mountains. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty lying south of the Zarafshan River and the legendary Iskandar Kul (the lake of Alexander the Great, 2,200m). During the drive there’ll also be a stop at Istaravshan’s old town and welcoming bazaar, a great place to see local Tajiks and craftsmen at work. Tonight we’ll stay at a homestay in the beautiful village of Saratog, where the scenery is totally unspoilt.
Driving distance 260km, 4-5 hours approx.

Shahboz Homestay or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 In Fan Mountains: Mountain Lakes

Day 5 In Fan Mountains: Mountain Lakes

We’ll have a full day to explore the famed alpine scenery of this rarely visited part of Central Asia. Abounding in deep blue lakes and inhabited in the summer months by Tajik pastoralists, the area is still relatively undiscovered and allows for a fascinating insight into this gem of a country.

Shahboz Homestay or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Fan Mountains – Penjikent: Ancient City & Ruins

Day 6 Fan Mountains – Penjikent: Ancient City & Ruins

Descending from the Fan Mountains today, we will take the four-hour drive west into the greener Zerafshan valley and on to Penjikent, another of Tajikistan's historical highlights. It is also home to Penjikent Plov, known as the best in the country due to its unique local rice. This afternoon, we will start at the Ethnographic museum for an overview of the culture and history of this ancient city before heading to the city bazaar to meet some of the locals and soak up the atmosphere. Later, we head for the 2,000-year-old ruins of Penjikent. This Sogdian town was once home to 20,000 people during the early days of the Silk Road and in its on-site museum you can see some of the frescoes that once adorned the walls of the city's better homes. Wandering the ruined streets, you can easily imagine the goods-laden caravans that would have passed this way. Notable sites here include the ruler's fortified citadel, the Shakhristan (inner walled city), two Zoroastrian temples and the Necropolis.
Driving distance 190km, 3-4 hours approx.

Panjakent Plaza or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Penjikent: Margazor Lakes Day Trip

Day 7 Penjikent: Margazor Lakes Day Trip

We'll head out south to enjoy a full day at the picturesque Margazor Lakes; there are seven lakes in total, each a different tone of turquoise. The morning will be spent walking paths around the lakes of Mijgon, Soya, Hushyer and Nofin, taking in the stunning surrounding landscapes. We’ll stop by a traditional homestay in the scenic village of Padrud for some lunch and a rest. The afternoon then provides further opportunity for exploration of the lakes to make the most of our time here, returning to Penjikent for the evening.

Panjakent Plaza or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Penjikent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan): Via Sarazm UNESCO Site

Day 8 Penjikent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan): Via Sarazm UNESCO Site

Our final Tajik excursion today will be en route to the Uzbek border. Sarazm is a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the oldest settlements in Central Asia, and yet only began being excavated in 1976 after a local man was found to have secretly discovered a bronze axe. An exciting site to visit as discovery continues, with the religion of these people from over 5,500 years ago yet to become clear. We will then continue the short distance further to the Uzbek border before reaching the most famous of all Silk Road cities, Samarkand. Arriving by lunchtime, there will be time to explore the iconic Registan this afternoon, a sublime combination of three magnificent madrassahs overlooking a square for which this ancient city is so famous.
Driving distance 60km, 1-1.5 hours approx.

Malika Classic Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Samarkand: Iconic Architecture & Wine Tasting

Day 9 Samarkand: Iconic Architecture & Wine Tasting

Once one of the greatest cities on earth, Samarkand is a name that resonates with the commerce and colour of the old Silk Road. Our tour of the city continues today with a visit to the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the final resting place of Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire. We’ll also take in the Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis and the giant 15th century Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once considered one of the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. After a chance to explore the bustling Siyob Bazaar, there will be some free time before we set out for wine-tasting at the Khovrenko Winery.

Malika Classic Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10 Samarkand – Bukhara: Along The Great Silk Road

Day 10 Samarkand – Bukhara: Along The Great Silk Road

Today we’ll drive along the Royal Road to Bukhara, stopping during the journey to look at the remains of an old caravanserai and to enjoy lunch. On arrival in Bukhara, we will familiarise ourselves with the town’s mellow streets and alleyways. There will be some free time before dinner this evening.
Driving distance 300km, 4-5 hours approx.

Sasha & Son or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Bukhara: Mosques, Madrassas & Crafts

Day 11 Bukhara: Mosques, Madrassas & Crafts

We have all morning for sightseeing today. Starting with the Ismaili Samani Mausoleum, we will continue via the Jama Majid (or the mosque of forty pillars) to the Ark where Connolly and Stoddard – two luckless British officers – met their deaths while playing the Great Game. From here we will visit the historically important Zindan, followed by the Kolan Minaret and beautiful mosques and madrassas that lie beneath it. En route there is silk weaving, knife making and metal engraving. Lunch will form part of a cooking demo at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day will be free for shopping and generally relaxing in this most characterful of the old Silk Road towns.

Sasha & Son or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12 Bukhara – Tashkent: Train & Farewell Dinner

Day 12 Bukhara – Tashkent: Train & Farewell Dinner

After the morning in Bukhara, we’ll take the afternoon high-speed train to Tashkent, arriving in the evening in time for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

City Palace Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 Tour ends in Tashkent

Day 13 Tour ends in Tashkent

Today those taking the suggested group flights will depart for the airport after breakfast. For those that have made alternative arrangements, the tour will finish after breakfast this morning.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Homestay

In Tajikistan, we will stay in the home of a hospitable Tajik family. This is a great way to meet and interact with local people and be introduced to their culture and way of life. With the homestays we use, the money goes straight to the families of these remote communities and so benefits the people directly.

Local Lunches

Throughout the itinerary we’ll be enjoying lunches and dinners in a variety of local eateries, opting for family-owned restaurants and homestays for our meals where possible. As these small businesses are owned and run by local families, the money generated goes straight into their pockets.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

We recognise the environmental issues and challenges around single-use plastic in many countries we visit and are actively working with our partners on the ground to reduce plastic waste on our tours and within the hotels and restaurants we visit. You can help to reduce your personal plastic waste by taking a refillable, filtered water bottle with you on your trip. Filtered water bottles can be refilled from water sources including your hotel room and restaurant taps, drinking fountains and refill stations. Every time you refill your bottle without the use of single-use plastic, you will be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. Filtered Water Bottles | Wild Frontiers (wildfrontierstravel.com)

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
TK 1990 London Heathrow (LHR) 13:05 Istanbul (IST) 19:05
HY 274 Istanbul (IST) 21:40 Tashkent Airport (TAS) 04:10
HY 201 Tashkent Airport (TAS) 11:10 London Heathrow (LHR) 14:50

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Tajikistan only.

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENT

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Alternatively, you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries*. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your requirements.

*Please note bespoke, tailor-made itineraries need to be a minimum of 7 days and we can only offer them in countries where we have a tailor-made expert

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. There are two days of walking in Tajik mountains, however they are not particularly strenuous. There are also a few long transfers of around 4-5 hours on some days.

Please note that during this tour there are two nights where you will be staying in a homestay so you should be prepared for basic facilities, such as shared bathrooms, during this time. We think that what you will be witnessing will easily make up for any discomfort!

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip. 

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except for the two nights we will be staying in a homestay, where you will be sharing a room with others.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A 10% deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6518 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.