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Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan - Mountains and Cities of the Silk Road

Group Tour

16 Days From $4,039

Overview

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan may be Central Asian neighbours, but they couldn’t be more different. For while Kyrgyzstan is a land of epic mountain scenery and semi-nomadic shepherds, Uzbekistan is home to the atmospheric towns of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, probably Central Asia’s most revered Silk Road trading centres.

Starting in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, we’ll spend much of our time in traditional yurts and will be introduced to the ways of mountain life on the ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

15 x Breakfasts
14 x Lunches
13 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses in Kyrgyzstan and coaster buses and cars in Uzbekistan, as well as a domestic flight and train.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

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

ACCOMMODATION

2 nights x Premium
7 nights x Superior
6 nights x Simple

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip.

On this particular trip when in Kyrgyzstan, outside of the capital, we will mostly stay in traditional yurts and homestays with communal (often long-drop) toilets and limited washing facilities. The yurts have beds, but both here and in the homestays it is often necessary to share rooms with up to 6 people. Once we reach Uzbekistan, the hotels we stay in are again more comfortable and often characterful. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

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.

VERY 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.

Map & Itinerary

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

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN BISHKEK (KYRGYZSTAN)

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN BISHKEK (KYRGYZSTAN)

The tour will begin this afternoon at our hotel in Bishkek, one of the world’s more relaxed capitals. We will head out this evening to enjoy a local dinner, soaking up the city's atmosphere.

Ramada By Wyndham Bishkek Centre Hotel or similar
Dinner

DAY 2: BISHKEK - SON KUL

DAY 2: BISHKEK - SON KUL

This morning we will make a short walking tour to see the main sights, before heading out of Bishkek. We will also have a chance to visit the restored 11th century Burana Tower and we’ll stop in Kochkor village for lunch at a family-run handicraft centre. Our final destination of the day will be Son Kul, the spectacular 3000m mountain lake used as summer pastures for many local shepherds. There, we will be welcomed by our hosts and enjoy a traditional dinner, and maybe the odd vodka toast!

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: IN & AROUND SON KUL

DAY 3: IN & AROUND SON KUL

Today we will walk or ride (optional and payable locally) up into the hills looking for petroglyphs and enjoy the mind-blowing views over the lake. Those wishing to relax can hang out at the camp and enjoy some down time, with a chance to watch the plethora of bird life. Or you might like to visit the local shepherds and try a taste of kumis (fermented mare’s milk). We may also get the chance to see some traditional Kyrgyz horse games today.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: SON KUL - TASH RABAT

DAY 4: SON KUL - TASH RABAT

In the morning, we’ll take a beautiful drive on to Tash Rabat, where we will spend the next two nights. We’ll stop on the way in Naryn to visit the town and enjoy a local lunch. Having settled into our yurt camp later this afternoon, we’ll have a chance to look around the famous ancient Silk Road caravanserai.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: IN & AROUND TASH RABAT

DAY 5: IN & AROUND TASH RABAT

Today is free to explore the stunning mountain surroundings. The walking in this area is wonderful and those wishing to ride (optional and payable locally) can also do so. We might head up towards the 3,500m Tash Rabat Pass or follow another beautiful circular route, or you could just do your own thing. This valley, just 35km as the crow flies from the Chinese border, is lush and green - home to horses, yaks, sheep and, of course, nomads. We will take a packed lunch with us, as the ride or walk can take most of the day. This evening we’ll have another traditional dinner at our camp.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: TASH RABAT - KAZARMAN

DAY 6: TASH RABAT - KAZARMAN

Today we have a long drive but through some really stunning mountain scenery. We’ll stop en route for a picnic lunch and the odd photo opportunity. Arriving in the small village of Kazarman this evening, we’ll stay with a local family and enjoy some of their home-cooking.

Karzarman Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: KAZARMAN - OSH

DAY 7: KAZARMAN - OSH

This morning we’ll drive over Kaldama Ashuu pass, which at 3062m offers some amazing views. We'll stop in Jalal-Abad for lunch with a local family and then continue on to the ancient city of Osh, where we’ll have a chance for some sightseeing this afternoon. We’ll visit Solomon’s Throne – Suleiman Too – the rock that looms over the city and is an important Muslim pilgrimage site protected by UNESCO. Tonight we’ll stay in the wonderful home of our friend Imanjan, enjoying traditional cuisine and hospitality.

Imanjan's Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: OSH - KOKAND (UZBEKISTAN)

DAY 8: OSH - KOKAND (UZBEKISTAN)

Today we make the short drive to the Duslik border, say farewell to our Kyrgyz team and go through formalities to enter Uzbekistan. Here we will be met and driven through the Fergana Valley, an incredibly fertile region that was the breadbasket of the Central Asian USSR and is still one of the wealthiest parts of the whole region. Our first stop today will be in the town of Margilon, centre of the still thriving silk trade in the area, where we’ll see the entire silk-weaving process from cocoon to end product. We will also visit nearby Rishton, renowned for its blue and green ceramics, before reaching Kokand where we spend the night.

Silk Road Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: KOKAND - TASHKENT - KHIVA

DAY 9: KOKAND - TASHKENT - KHIVA

After a chance to visit the 19th century Palace of Khudayar Khan this morning, we will drive in cars through the mountains to reach Tashkent. From here, we’ll take a short flight to Khiva and check into our hotel for the next two nights, in the heart of this UNESCO protected old town.

Orient Star Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: IN KHIVA

DAY 10: IN KHIVA

There’ll be ample time to soak up the atmosphere of Khiva today, wandering around the quiet streets of this wonderfully preserved Silk Road city. We’ll visit some of the most colourful and sumptuous sites, including the Kukhna Arc, Mohammed Khan Madrassa and Kalta Minor Minaret. In addition, there'll be opportunity to explore the Jama Majid Mosque with its amazing wooden pillars and the Alloquli Khan Madrassa, bazaar and caravanserai. There will be some free time later this afternoon and evening to be able to explore further at leisure.

Orient Star Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: KHIVA - BUKHARA

DAY 11: KHIVA - BUKHARA

Today, we will take a train to the wonderful city of Bukhara. This afternoon, there will be time to take a first wander around the old town before enjoying dinner by Labi Hauz, the 17th century pool and eating area.

Sasha & Sons Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: IN BUKHARA

DAY 12: IN BUKHARA

Today we have all day for sightseeing. We will start at the Ismaili Samani Mausoleum, and continue via the Jama Majid (or the mosque of forty pillars) to the Arc 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 with a local family. We will then have the remainder of the day free for shopping and generally relaxing in this most characterful of the old Silk Road towns.

Sasha & Sons Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: BUKHARA - SAMARKAND

DAY 13: BUKHARA - SAMARKAND

After breakfast, we’ll drive along the Royal Road to the famous Silk Road city of Samarkand, stopping during the 4-hour journey to view the remains of an old caravanserai. After checking into our hotel, we will make our visit to the Registan, the public square that is the heart of historic Samarkand and a particularly beautiful sight at sunset. There will be plenty of time to explore the three madrassas that make up the ensemble and to take plenty of memorable photographs.

Malika Classic Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: IN SAMARKAND

DAY 14: IN SAMARKAND

We have all day in this amazing town, wandering through the gargantuan sights. In the morning, we will visit Tamerlane’s Tomb, followed by the Bibi Khanym Mosque and the town’s excellent bazaar. In the afternoon, we will visit the Shah-i-Zindar – the street of the dead, and then take some free time to explore this city at our leisure. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Malika Classic Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: SAMARKAND - TASHKENT

DAY 15: SAMARKAND - TASHKENT

This morning we will drive back to Tashkent where there’ll be time for some sightseeing in this city that once played a pivotal role during the Great Game between the expanding 19th century British and Russian Empires. We plan to visit Kukeldash Madrassah, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum and Barak Khan Mosque on Khasty. Tonight we’ll have our final dinner together and reflect on our journey.

City Palace Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: TOUR ENDS IN TASHKENT

DAY 16: TOUR ENDS IN TASHKENT

The tour ends after breakfast today, although those on the suggested group flights will depart in the early hours of the morning before breakfast.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

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.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Travel, Discover, Help

For every passenger that our local agent in Kyrgyzstan hosts, $1 per day is donated to their charitable project during your stay.
 
Travel, Discover, Help enables children from orphanages to learn more about Kyrgyzstan, by offering excursions to the countryside and events throughout the year.  
 
Additionally, they provide 40,498 days of work for locals annually and support ecological campaigns - transporting waste from glaciers and mountain gorges across this beautiful country.

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
SU 2585 London Heathrow (LHR) 22:30 Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) 05:20
SU 1880 Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) 08:00 Bishkek Airport (FRU) 15:15
SU 2578 Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) 10:00 London Heathrow (LHR) 12:05
SU 1871 Tashkent Airport (TAS) 04:45 Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) 07:05

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 our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders do not currently require a visa for Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan. Your passport is simply stamped on arrival. 

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

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas 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? Or 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.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Uzbekistan

Explore more of this fascinating country with an extension to the Aral Sea or the beautiful Yangikishlok region. Allow 3-5 days.

Turkmenistan

For an even more in depth insight into the Silk Road, why not extend your trip with a visit to Turkmenistan? This bizarre country is home to the ancient city ruins of Merv, the spectacular Darvaza gas crater, and one of the world’s most memorable cities, Ashgabat. Allow 5-7 days.

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

CLIMATE

The weather conditions can be extremely varied on this trip. In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan you will often be travelling at heights in excess of 3000m and even in the middle of summer it can turn cold with snow falling, although in general we expect daytime temperatures in the early 20s (C). At the same time Uzbekistan has a dry, desert climate and so mercury in the thermometers of Bukhara can be nudging 40C.

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, as many of the walks and rides are optional.

There are some long drives involved in this tour due to the distances we need to cover, but the changing scenery throughout make these an interesting aspect of the trip.

It should be noted that whilst in Kyrgyzstan you will be staying in yurts and homestays for much of the time, so you should be prepared for communal sleeping, long-drop toilet facilities and no showers for this part of the trip. But don’t panic too much – this is genuine adventure travel and your overall experience will easily make up for the lack of modern conveniences, plus accommodation in Uzbekistan is considerably more comfortable!

Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for, but the selection and variety is likely to be limited.
 

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 while staying in the yurts and homestays in Kyrgyzstan, where it is often necessary to share 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. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. 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 £200 (or equivalent) 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 6826 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.

INSPIRATION