CENTRAL ASIA COUNTRIES – THE "STANS"
After many years as part of the Soviet Union the exotic countries of Central Asia are now independent and openly welcome travellers from the USA to view their traditional cultures and ancient history. The warm nature and hospitality of the local people is what makes a visit special in addition to the awe inspiring historic sights you will see in these lands.
DAY 01: Depart USA by own arrangements (or check with us for flight suggestions).
DAY 02: Arrive Almaty. You will be met and transferred to hotel OTRAR or similar. Balance of day at leisure to relax after your long flight.
DAY 03: Sightseeing in Almaty by car with your own English speaking guide. The tour includes Zhenkov's Cathedral built entirely of wood with no nails used in it's construction; the National Museum and the local markets area.
DAY 04: Drive by car across the border and through the Steppes to Issyk-Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan. Overnight at ROYAL BEACH hotel.
DAY 05: Morning sightseeing includes a visit to the interesting small local museum with it's displays of flora and fauna native to the area. Free afternoon to enjoy the Lake area.
DAY 06: Onward drive to Bishkek. Sightseeing of the city on arrival including the History Museum and the Burana Tower Archaeological Museum located on the site of an ancient Caravan town. Overnight at hotel PINARA.
DAY 07: Today you will be transferred to the airport for the flight from Bishkek to Tashkent. You will be met on arrival and taken to the LE MERIDIEN TASHKENT PALACE hotel.
DAY 08: Tahskent suffered a devastating earthquake in 1966 and was largely rebuilt in modern ”Soviet” style after that. The city sightseeing will include what is left of the old part of the city, the Kukeldesh Madrasseh, as well as a stop at the colourful local markets and the History Museum.
DAY 09: Today you will travel by car, or possibly a short flight, to Samarkand. Overnight in AFROSIAB PALACE hotel or similar.
DAY 10: Full day sightseeing in Samarkand including the impressive Madressah Square, the stunning Gur Emir mosque and Ulek Beg's observatory and other sights in this historic town.
DAY 11: Day trip to Penjikend in Tadjikistan. (if local conditions do not permit then a substitute trip to Shakhrisabz will be provided).
DAY 12: Another short flight or travel by car to Bukhara. Overnight in NEW BUKHARA hotel.
DAY 13: Bukhara is another fascinating formerly important Silk Road city. Full day sightseeing includes the Ark fortress, the Poi Kalon Minaret, the Samanid mausoleum with it's beautiful and intricate brick work from the 10th Century as well as a visit to the summer residence of the Emirs.
DAY 14: Travel by car across the Kyzul-Kum desert to Urgench. Overnight at hotel KHOREZM PALACE.
DAY 15: Excursion to the nearby World Heritage site of Khiva. This city looks like time has stood still for hundreds of years. Sightseeing here includes several of the most important mosques and madrassahs as well as the Khodja Minaret. The view from the top of it affords an amazing panorama of the town and surrounding desert.
DAY 16: Today you will travel by car to the border then cross into Turkmenistan and onward to Tashauz with sightseeing along the way. From here you will proceed by a short flight to Ashgabat, the capital city, and hotel NISSA.
DAY 17: Sightseeing in Ashgabat includes the Talkuchka “Carpet Bazaar”, the ancient remains of Nisa, the National museum, which has some splendid Neolithic exhibits, and the Carpet museum where examples of the local tribe types are displayed as well as many other articles such as prayer rugs, horse bags and blankets.
DAY 18: Today you will have an excursion to the ancient archaeological site of nearby Merv. The history of this area dates back to before the 6th Century. It was invaded by Alexander the Great and later by the Mongol hoards in the 13th Century but still much remains including a nice collection of artifacts at the museum you will visit in Mary on the way back to Ashgabat.
DAY 19: Transfer to airport for departure fight.
TOUR COST: $4865 per person, twin sharing.
TOUR INCLUDES: Moderate first class or good tourist class hotel with breakfast and dinner daily, internal transportation, sightseeing as mentioned with English speaking guide including admission fees, porterage and transfers on arrival and departure in cities.
NOT INCLUDED: International airfares, airport departure fees and taxes, visa fees, meals and sightseeing other than mentioned in the itinerary, services of a personal nature such as telephone calls, laundry etc. or anything else not specifically mentioned as being included.