This journey takes us deep into heartlands of the ancient Silk Route. Starting in the bizarre city of Ashgabat, we overland across the remote and inhospitable deserts of Turkmenistan to the incredible burning gas crater of Darvaza and the crumbling ancient ruins of Konye Urgench, before crossing into the fascinating country of Uzbekistan.
It is in Uzbekistan that we'll discover the jewels in the crown of the fabled journey of the Silk Road, at the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. History and stunning architecture vie for prominence in each city, and the wealth of culture and local heritage is breathtaking; the bazaars and souks are fascinating.
North of the Oxus River lies the Kyzylkhum Desert, where we will overnight in a yurt stay before heading to the great city of Tashkent for a bit of R&R and old fashioned night clubs.
Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).
There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.
After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book.
In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.
*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).
We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.
We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.
This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
The following day we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.
In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.
In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.
On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.
Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!
In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.
This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.
In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.
On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.
This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.
Border Information: if finishing in Tashkent, you will most likely exit Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tashkent. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: Uzbekistan & Turkmen Explorer
Duration: 15 Days
From Price: $2,525
Supplier Tour ID: STT1/157981
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