Tour itinerary can be seen below.
Arrive at Ashgabat airport early morning and transfer to the city centre to begin our tour. Visit the square and parks to see the huge monuments and statues of the leaders as well as Ertogrul Ghazi mosque.
We will then drive on to visit the Turkmenbashy mosque and mausoleum.
In the afternoon we will drive to the incredible Darvaza gas crater. En route we stop off for supplies in the desert village of Erbent. We then turn off road and drive across desert dunes.
Arrive at Darvaza early evening when the light is fading and all you can see for miles around is the glow of the crater.
Our guide will set up camp in tents at a safe distance from the crater before cooking dinner while you relax and stare in awe at the gas crater.
After breakfast we leave Darvaza and drive north to Konye Urgench historical site. It is a UNESCO heritage site and contains the remains of the capital of Khwarezm, part of the Achaemenid empire.
In the afternoon we will drive onward to the city of Dashoguz where we will check into our hotel and then take a tour of the city in the afternoon. The rest of the evening is to be spent at leisure.
After breakfast we drive onto the border crossing and pass through into Uzbekistan. Our Uzbek guide will meet us here and drive to Khiva where we will check into our hotel. After lunch and some free time we will take a walking tour of the city visiting the Ichan Kala fortress with its minarets, madrassah, mosque and mausoleums. After a group dinner there will be free time in the city.
After a bit of free time for any last minute sightseeing we will depart on the 7 hour drive to Bukhara across the desert. We will have a packed lunch during the journey and also make a stop at a Chai Khanah (Tea house) in the early afternoon for tea and kebabs. On arrival to Bukhara we will check into our hotel and after dinner have free time to enjoy the atmosphere around the Lyabi Hauz pool.
In the morning we will take a half day sightseeing tour of Bukhara, visiting Samanids mausoleum, Ark fortress, Polkalon complex, trading domes, the Lyabi Hauz complex and Chor Minor. After lunch we will have free time in the city to explore the Jewish quarter and the covered shopping areas. Overnight in Bukhara.
After some free time in the morning we will take a 5-6 hour drive to the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand.
Today we tour the historical city of Samarkand, taking in the Registan square, Gur Emir Mausoleum, Slab bazaar, Ulugbek observatory, Afrasiab museum wall paintings and the Meros handicraft centre.
Today we have free time in Samarkand to explore the city and its surrounds. We'll have dinner in Samarkand before departing on the 22:00 overnight train to Termez.
If you are taking the Afghanistan extension, instead of the above itinerary you will arrive into Termez station and transfer to the Afghan border (approx 1 hour). Border formalities take around 90 minutes. Transfer to Mazar for lunch before taking a tour of the city, including the blue
Arrive into Termez at 9:30 and drop our luggage off at our hotel before starting a full day tour. We will visit the archaeological museum, Sultan Saadat complex, Kirk Kiz hanaka and Fayaztepa Buddhist monastery. After a farewell dinner with our Uzbek guide, spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
If you are on the Afghanistan extension, instead of the above itinerary you will visit the Buddhist caves in Samangan before visiting the fort at Balkh.* In the afternoon transfer back to the border and return to Termez to meet up with the rest of the group for dinner.
*Balkh is currently off limits for security reasons. If this is the case by the time the tour comes around then we'll replace it with an alternative
At 9:00 we depart for the Sariosiyo border crossing. Pass the border and meet our Tajik guides. En route to Dushanbe we will visit Hisor town to visit the Hisor fortress, one of the most important historical sites in Tajikistan. We will also visit the nearby 16th Century Kunha Medrassah, Museum of Tajik Life and the mausoleum of the Sufi Saint, Mahdumi Azam. On arrival into Dushanbe we will visit the Museum of National Antiquities before checking into our hotel and spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
Today is a free day in Dushanbe.
Today we depart Dushanbe and head up through the Anzob pass en route to the beautiful Iskenderkul Lake. We'll drive through the 5km 'Tunnel of Death' before reaching the lake where there will be free time to swim, hike to the waterfall or go on speed boats rides around the lake ($10 a person). We'll then head to the next valley to spend a night at a local homestay.
After breakfast we drive to Khujand. On arrival to Khujand we will visit the Shikh Muslihiddin mosque, Oriental bazaar (the biggest in Central Asia), the Arbob palace and the Lenin monument. Check into our hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
After breakfast we'll drive to the border and then onward to the Kyrgyz city of Osh. Arrive in Osh and check into our hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
We will take a morning tour of Osh before starting the scenic drive north, stopping at a motel half way to Bishkek.
After breakfast we will continue our drive through the beautiful scenery of Kyrgyzstan arriving in Bishkek in the afternoon. Evening at leisure and overnight in the city.
We have a well earned day of rest today with the chance to spend your day at leisure around the capital, checking out the great Soviet architecture and monuments.
After breakfast we will depart Bishkek for Issyk Kul, stopping en route to visit the Burana tower. We will continue up in to the mountains and see Issyk-Kul, the 10th largest lake in the world where we'll have time for a swim. Overnight in Yurts in Jeti-Oguz Gorge.
Today will be a free morning at the Yurt Camp where your tour leader can assist to arrange excursions such as hikes or horse riding ($10 an hour or so). We then drive to Karakol for lunch and short tour of the cities Chinese style mosque and Orthodox Church. Overnight in Karakol.
After breakfast we will depart Karakol and head to the Kazakh border. After crossing we will make a visit to the spectacular Charyn Canyon taking the 30-40 min walk in to and out of the canyon (local transport in the gorge is $3 a person). We'll have a chance to paddle in the Charyn River before continuing the drive on to Almaty. Overnight in Almaty.
Today we will take a tour of Almaty taking in sights such as the Ascension Cathedral, ice rink, WWII monument and the cities squares plus the quirky Beatles statue. Overnight in Almaty.
Today the tour ends. Checkout from the hotel is at 12:00.
Airport transfers are only included if you arrive in the morning on the first day of the tour. Anyone arriving earlier will need to pay for a transfer. Transfers are not included at the end of the tour.
AFGHANISTAN EXTENSION DETAILS:
The Afghanistan extension is a side trip from Uzbekistan during the tour; you will lose one of the days in Samarkand (day 8) and the day in Termez (day 9) and instead spend 2 days and 1 night in Mazar-i-sharif, Afghanistan. The additional price is £450pp. We can only take 2 groups of 6 into Afghanistan for safety and security reasons, so places on the extension are limited.