Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Central Asia Explorer tour
Bukhara Samarkand Central Asia Explorer Trip
Cultural Culture Central Asia Explorer package
Local Immersion Historic sightseeing Central Asia Explorer package

Central Asia Explorer

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
95%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
17 days
From: $ 3,060 $ 180 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Wander through the grand square Registan in Samarkand, admiring the imposing architecture from afar and the detailed craftmanship on the tiling up close.
  • Walk under pointed arches and between dome-topped mausoleums the size of apartments in the Shak-i-Zinda necropolis, which has pieces from the 14th–19th century.
  • Travel along the Chychkan River beneath the towering peaks of Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan range, mountains even more spectacular for emptiness of the valleys below them.
  • Stay in a classic felt-lined yurt on the shore of alpine Song-Kol Lake, where you can watch the sunset behind craggy mountains before warming yourself by the stove.
  • Visit a Kyrgyz village and watch locals play a traditional horseback sport like odarysh (wrestling on horseback) or kok-baru (goat polo).

Short Description

Be entranced by the beauty of Kyrgyzstan and historical wonders of Uzbekistan on this 17-day tour. Traverse landscapes of alpine lakes and mountains interrupted only by dots of yurts, feel the divine artistic power of the detailed mosaics and towering minarets of ancient cities, and be welcomed into homes and family-run businesses by locals. A mix of ancient nomadic cultures, various iterations of both conservative and progressive Islam, Soviet influence and post-independence nationalism mean Central Asia is home to unique traditions. Travels here will leave you raving about the region for years to come and planning your next trip back as soon as you get home.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Bishkek
End City Tashkent

Destinations

Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan

Attractions & Cities Visited

Bukhara Samarkand Silk Road

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement

15-99

No Single Supplement
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Itinerary

Day 1 Bishkek

Welcome to Bishkek! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Tomorrow you’ll take a tour of the city, so don’t stress too much if you don’t have time to see much today. Bishkek is tree-lined town of parks and gardens, handsome houses and wide streets perfect for strolling. If you arrive with time to spare, maybe head out in search of some samsa (pastry pockets filled with meat and vegetables).

Day 2 Bishkek

Embark on city tour that showcases the various stages of Bishkek’s history. Visit the severe Ala-Too Square, once known as Lenin Square, and learn about the towering statue depicting folkloric hero Manas. Continue to Dubovy Park, and wander among the open-air cafes before strolling between the century-old oaks along Freedom Avenue. In the afternoon, you'll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city centre, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You'll find all kinds of things on sale here, from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets.

Day 3 Don Aryk – Issyk-Kul Lake – Kochkor

Drive 60 kilometres to the 11th-century Burana Tower, a minaret that is the most visible remnant of the ancient city Balasagun. Continue to the nearby village of Don Aryk and visit a local home. Learn a little about the important role horses have played in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle and watch some displays of horsemanship, before eating a tasty lunch with your hosts. Continue to Issyk-Kul Lake, the second-largest alpine lake in the world. At 170-kilometres-long and 70-kilometres-wide, his beauty is a real sight to behold. Next up is the village of Kochkor. Explore a small local market in the centre of town and, depending on our arrival time, a local co-op that provides training for women in crafting traditional handicrafts to make an income.

Day 4 Song-Kol Lake (3016 metres)

Drive 130 kilometres to Song-Kol Lake, another alpine stunner that is considered a sacred place to many Kyrgyz people, as well as one of the best summer pastures for nomadic herders. The landscape will change depending on the season but is sure to be beautiful no matter when you travel. In the summer you might see nomadic herdsmen and their families watching over goats, sheep, and horses. Enjoy exploring your surroundings for the rest of the day, maybe hiking one of the many trails. Tonight, fall asleep in yurts set up along the shore. Made of felt and tarpaulins on a round frame, yurts are the traditional dwellings of the Kyrgyz people. Tomorrow, those daring enough for an invigorating morning splash can use the lake to wash off the sleep.

Day 5 Kyzyl-Oi

Travel along gravel roads to the tiny village of Kyzyl-Oi, which is squeezed between mountains. On the way, pass large coal deposits and travel along the Kokomeren River, which feeds into the Syr Darya. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river in the shade of the trees and use your free time to explore the village on arrival.

Day 6 Suusamyr Valley – Chychkan – Kok-Bel

Get ready for a full-day of driving though big, beautiful landscapes. As the roads in Kyrgyzstan see little regular maintenance, even short distances on a map can take hours. The road crosses the Suusamyr Valley – a high steppe plateau situated at around 2200 metres above sea level. The mountainous surroundings are often dotted with yurts. Continue along the Chychkan River that cuts through the Tien Shan mountain range. Stop here for a while and soak up the amazing scenery. Arrive at tonight's accommodation in Kok-Bel sometime in the early evening.

Day 7 Osh

After breakfast, get ready for another all-day journey to Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgystan. Stop en route at Uzgen, an ancient trading town and handicrafts centre along the Silk Road. Although much of the ancient city has been destroyed, a minaret and three mosques that have survived remain important examples of medieval Central Asian architecture. Continue to Osh. Located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, Osh is often referred to as the 'Capital of the South' and is the oldest city in the country.

Day 8 Osh

Rise and shine for a visit to the only World Heritage site in Kyrgystan, the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, also known as Solomon's Throne. For centuries Silk Road travellers have sought out the mountain's caves and their petroglyphs in the belief that they would be blessed with longevity or healthy children. Visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time in Osh. Perhaps visit the Jayma Bazaar, where you might pick up an interesting souvenir or two. Or maybe take a self-guided tour of the remnants of Osh's soviet past with a walk to the giant Lenin statue in the city square.

Day 9 Border crossing – Andijan – Tashkent

This morning, drive to Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, which is just outside of the city. After passing through the border control (approximately 1–2 hours), farewell and thank your Kyrgyz guide and meet your new Uzbek guide. Transfer to Andijan and board a local train to Tashkent (approximately 5.5 hours). The train is a great place to meet locals, so don’t be surprised if people want to chat to the chet ellik (foreigner). Arrive in the evening and check into the hotel.

Day 10 Tashkent

Begin your introduction to Uzbekistan by exploring the capital on a sightseeing tour. Visit the State History Museum, which shows exhibits and collections spanning the countries 5000-year history. Continue to the Abdul Khasim Medrassah, where craftspeople operate in many small ‘cells’, making jewellery and other things. Finally, stop by the Khast Imom complex, a restored series of religious buildings (including a mosque) and a library containing an ancient Qur’an, parts of which have been dated to the ninth century. After lunch, lose yourself in the exciting Chorsu Bazaar, browsing traditional wooden cradles, handmade musical instruments, and the extensive vegetable and spice markets.

Day 11 Samarkand

Transfer to the station for the high-speed train to fabled Samarkand (approximately 2 hours). This city is located at the very centre of the ancient Silk Road. Enjoy some free time in the city on arrival, saving some of the key sights for the tour tomorrow. Maybe inspect the remains of the remarkable medieval observatory developed by Ulug Beg, an astronomer and grandson of nomadic conqueror and Timurid emperor Tamerlane (Amir Timur). Today, only half of the below-ground semicircle track can be seen, but there is a small museum close by that gives some context. Or perhaps visit the Afrosiab Museum of Samarkand, the main attraction of which is a tenth-century mural.

Day 12 Samarkand

Enjoy a tour of Samarkand. First up is the central square called the Registan, which features mosques and mausoleums that are true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. Continue to Guri-Amir, where Tamerlane is buried, and then the enormous Bibi-Khanum Mosque. Following the tour, drive to Konigil, a village on the edge of the city. Here, visit a local family for lunch, then join them in their traditional paper mill to learn how they make the material from mulberry. Return to Samarkand and visit Shak-i-Zinda, a necropolis that features a series of gleaming blue-tiled mausoleums. This sacred site has monuments from the 14th–19th century, reflecting the development of the monumental art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty onwards. It is photo worthy at every turn, just remember to be respectful as pilgrims visit the complex.

Day 13 Samarkand – Shahrisabz – Bukhara

Continue tracing the Silk Road towards Bukhara. One of the most important portions of this ancient route connects Samarkand and Bukhara, passing through the town of Shahrisabz. Home of revered national hero Tamerlane, Shakhrisabz has sadly lost much of its authentic style and architecture due to overzealous restoration works. Regardless, there are still some incredible ruins to see, such as the gates of legendery Ak Saray Palace, the Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex and the Dorus Saodat Complex. Continue to Bukhara.

Day 14 Bukhara

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in beautiful Bukhara. First visit the Sitorai Mohi Khosa, once the summer residence of the last Emir. Designed by Russian architects, it has interiors decorated with traditional filigree plaster, mirrored surfaces and delicate floral wall paintings by local artisans. Continue to the 16th-century Chor-Bakr necropolis, where not many tourists venture. Walk through the madrasa and mosque complex. In the afternoon, visit the Ark Fortress and Kalon Mosque, the symbol of Bukhara. Continue to one of Central Asia's oldest and most exquisite structures, the tenth-century Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the superb decorative brickwork of which has survived 1000 years of rugged history. Head to the Lyabi-Haus area, a busy 17th-century plaza with hundreds-years-old trees, for dinner. Later, there is time to wander the small craft studios tucked into the nearby madrasas and trading domes.

Day 15 Gijduvan – Bukhara

Travel to Gijduvan, historically a caravan stop on the way to Bukhara. Ulugbek, the famous astronomer and grandson of Tamerlane, built a madrasa here next to the grave of a Sufi saint. The town gained further fame as a centre of glazed pottery production. Visit the private studio of a local ceramic artist, meet the family and watch them at work. Later you have some free time to explore this small town. For lunch we recommend the juicy local kebabs that are famous throughout Uzbekistan. On your way back to Bukhara, stop to see a minaret from the late 12th century in Vobkent.

Day 16 Tashkent

Enjoy some free time for your own optional sightseeing in Bukhara. In the afternoon, take a fast train back to Tashkent followed by an optional dinner with your fellow travellers.

Day 17 Tashkent

There are no activities planned today and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after check out.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,060
Price Per Day: $ 180 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Jun-01-2021Jun-17-2021$ 3,180Yes11 spots left Reserve
Jun-08-2021Jun-24-2021$ 3,180Yes12 spots left Reserve
Jun-15-2021Jul-01-2021$ 3,180Yes10 spots left Reserve
Jul-27-2021Aug-12-2021$ 3,150Yes8 spots left Reserve
Aug-10-2021Aug-26-2021$ 3,060Yes10 spots left Reserve
Aug-13-2021Aug-29-2021$ 3,060Yes10 spots left Reserve
Aug-24-2021Sep-09-2021$ 3,060Yes12 spots left Reserve
Aug-31-2021Sep-16-2021$ 3,120Yes8 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2021Sep-21-2021$ 3,180Yes10 spots left Reserve
Sep-07-2021Sep-23-2021$ 3,180Yes11 spots left Reserve
Sep-14-2021Sep-30-2021$ 3,535Yes5 spots left Reserve
Sep-17-2021Oct-03-2021$ 3,435Yes4 spots left Reserve
Sep-21-2021Oct-07-2021$ 3,305Yes10 spots left Reserve
Sep-24-2021Oct-10-2021$ 3,305Yes12 spots left Reserve
Sep-28-2021Oct-14-2021$ 3,435Yes4 spots left Reserve
Oct-05-2021Oct-21-2021$ 3,180Yes11 spots left Reserve
Apr-22-2022May-08-2022$ 3,215No12 spots left Reserve
May-10-2022May-26-2022$ 3,215Yes10 spots left Reserve
May-17-2022Jun-02-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
May-24-2022Jun-09-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
May-27-2022Jun-12-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-03-2022Jun-19-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-10-2022Jun-26-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
Jun-14-2022Jun-30-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
Jul-15-2022Jul-31-2022$ 3,215No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-02-2022Aug-18-2022$ 3,215Yes11 spots left Reserve
Aug-12-2022Aug-28-2022$ 3,215No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-16-2022Sep-01-2022$ 3,215No12 spots left Reserve
Aug-30-2022Sep-15-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-02-2022Sep-18-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-09-2022Sep-25-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-16-2022Oct-02-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-20-2022Oct-06-2022$ 3,470Yes10 spots left Reserve
Sep-23-2022Oct-09-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-27-2022Oct-13-2022$ 3,470No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-30-2022Oct-16-2022$ 3,340No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-04-2022Oct-20-2022$ 3,215No12 spots left Reserve
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3,771 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

95%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,821
Great 648
Average 124
Disappointing 59
Terrible 119
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Central Asia Explorer

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Company Reviews

Great company that I will continue to use

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I traveled with Intrepid to Morocco for 3 weeks in 2018. The style of travel is perfect for me, with many authentic local and cultural experiences, that I would not be able to do if traveling on my own (such as village homestays, or being the only tourists at the small local bathhouse). The group atmosphere is great to meet like minded travel companions and is welcoming to solo travelers and people traveling together. I have many more trips with them in mind for when we can travel again.
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Trip of a lifetime

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I traveled with Intrepid a few years back. It was certainly a trip of a lifetime. I went on a tour in southafrica and it was absolutely stunning. It was a simple tour (we slept in tents), but thats what I was looking for. Great guides and lots of local activities. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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Should give full refunds for services that cannot be provided

1.0
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Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
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Meals1.0
Booked a trip to Borneo back in Nov 2019 for March 2020,(via Flight centre) then the virus hit, happy to wait it out, now Feb 2021 and still no possibility of international travel, no requirement for tour in Aus so request a refund for services that cannot be supplied, told there will be a $1000 refund fee for "unrecoverable costs" non of which have ever been itemised to us. I strongly believe this is unreasonable and unjust. Will never use this company in the future and will advise others not to either.
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Avoid

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My family went to China with Intrepid and were abandoned there after the CCP's crackdown on HK. We were treated appallingly and the entire group signed off from Intrepid and had to make our own way out, They refused to pay compensation and everyone in the group did not travel with them again. Great guides (outside of China) but no longer the company envisioned by its founders. Complicit in the abandonment of the HK people. Avoid.
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My last (but not final) Intrepid Trip…

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My last (but not final) Intrepid Trip was on their Northern Lights Escape Tour in late Feb. 2020. While it was a short tour, it was well-curated and customer-focused. Our guide made it a point to offer tips, stops, & activities after gathering information about our interests throughout the trip. He also set realistic expectations for seeing the elusive Northern Lights, so go with an open mind to explore the other natural wonders in the country, like the also seasonal ice caves. The group had a good mix of people from eclectic backgrounds and countries (English, Aussies, Spanish) which is another reason why I gravitate to Intrepid Travel when I want to travel solo. I was the sole American on the trip, so it was almost a mini tour within a tour to me. I was lucky to catch the Northern Lights twice on this trip, but I would also jump at another chance to visit Iceland again. Intrepid Travel has my highest recommendation.
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Code PHSQ

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Code PHSQ
My Trip was the southern loop from the 24/10/2020 to the 31/10/2020

- my dad and I applied for this trip and I especially was so very excited

- our Tour guide was Sy, whom was exceptionally professional, multy talented having being the tour guide and driver both of which he did exceptionally well

- my Dad and I feel very privilidged having Sy as our tour guide since everything he said was necassary; we learnt so much

- favorite places Milford sounds, Te anau, Catlins organized accommadation lovely, centrally placed and clean practical, included activities nice/satisfactory

What stood out for my dad and I was Sy our tour guide whom is seasoned experienced, one feels secure and gaurenteed for a good time knowing that Sy is their tour guide, Thank you kindly, Sy
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private Bus,Metro,High Speed Train

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accomodations

Guesthouse/Homestay (4 night),Hotel (11 nights),Yurt (1 night)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Hotel Uzbekistan
  • 45 Мusakhanov street
  • Amir Timur Square
  • Tashkent
  • 700047
  • UZBEKISTAN
  • Phone: +998 (71)1131111

Trip ID#:

intrepid-KFSR

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