Best of Central Asia

Amazing Contrasts of Central Asia Tour

Discover cultural and natural treasures of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan.

Days

21

Price

€3290

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Astana
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Almaty
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkmenistan

Themes: Cultural Tours

This tour will lead you through the modern and historic capitals of five Central Asian states. You will discover the cultural treasures and traditions of the nomadic people who have crossed the region through the ages, and of the people who have settled in its cities. Behold the modern marvel and architectural glory of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Explore the sprawling Soviet-styled cities of Almaty, Bishkek and Dushanbe. Absorb the architectural legacies of a flourishing Islamic culture and the great Timurid Empire. And visit the “city of love” – Ashgabat. In this tour, you will experience centuries of change and development in Central Asia.

highlights

  • Visit diverse capitals of all Central Asian states
  • Discover the Persian cultural heritage in Penjikent and Khujand
  • Enjoy the view at turquoise lakes of Tajikistan and alpine lakes of Kyrgyzstan
  • Sleep in yurts and get to know nomadic culture in Kyrgyzstan
  • Marvel at Registan Square and other wonders of the ancient Samarkand
  • Witness history brought to life at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Khiva and Bukhara
  • Bargain amidst the hustle and bustle of oriental bazaars
  • Camp beside the burning gas crater the “Gate of Hell” at Darvaza
  • Combine cultural highlights and natural beauty of Central Asia in one tour

ITINERARY & MAP

Baiterek seen from the Khan Shatyr, astana, central asia tour

In the early morning, you will arrive in Central Asia’s youngest capital, Astana. It is a showpiece for 21st century Kazakhstan. Talented architects have made major contributions to this futuristic city with its almost surreal skyline. During a guided tour we will see the old and new city, take a ride on a ferry along the Ishim River and we will visit Alzhir, Memorial Museum of Victims of Political Repressions during Stalin times.

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

Ala Archa national park entrance in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

This morning we will check in for our flight to Bishkek departing 07.55 am. Upon arrival in Bishkek, you will be met by our guide for the city tour. You will visit the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan, the greenest city in Central Asia. Our sightseeing program in Bishkek will include stops at the museum, the oldest park in Bishkek, Central Square and the Philharmonic Hall. In the afternoon, we will visit Ala-Archa National Park, a forty-minute drive from the city. This alpine wilderness attracts visitors with its breathtaking mountain vistas and scenic hiking trails. The raging Ala-Archa River runs through the alpine gorge, surrounded by snow-covered mountain peaks and steep, forested slopes.

Duration of tour: 4-5 hours

Song Kul lake and pasture in Kyrgyzstan trip

This is quite long and tough day, you should be ready for a long drive. The road goes over the Too Ashu pass (3586 m) to Suusamyr Valley with an amazing view from the top of the pass. Stop for picnic in Kokomeren gorge. Our yurt camp for the night is situated at an altitude of 3000m. There’ll be some time to wander amongst the beautiful lakeshore surroundings. It is possible to rent horses and practice your riding skills to blend in with the locals.  Try typical Kyrgyz drink – horse milk that is slightly fermented.  Tonight, you will be able to see the sky full of stars and sleep in a traditional yurt.
Transfer: 440 km, 7-8 hours

yurts at the shore of Issyk kul lake

After an early breakfast you will be transferred to Kyrgyz village called Kochkor in the Naryn Region.  There you can see a demonstration of how traditional felt carpets are made. After lunch we continue our journey to Issyk Kul lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world. It sits at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, its shores are backed by snow-capped peaks and you’ll be delighted with the view. Overnight is at Beltam yurt camp, where you can relax and swim in the lake.

Transfer: 250 km, 4-5 hours
Duration of Shyrdak workshop: 2-3 hours

Wooden Dungan Mosque in Karakol with colorful and wavy roof

Departure to Karakol by driving along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. You will be visiting Djety-Oguz valley. It is famous for its countless legends and the special landscape that is unlike other places in Kyrgyzstan. The most popular legends of Djety-Oguz is the “Seven Bulls” and “The Broken Heart”.  We will continue with a city tour of Karakol, visiting Przevalski’s Museum & exhibition of Ella Maillart, Swiss Traveler in 1930’s. Next, you will be able to explore a culturally diverse bazaar where you can buy many different types of locally dried fruits and nuts. The highlight of Karakol is the Dungan Mosque, built in 1904 with no metal nails and Russian Orthodox Church which has been standing since1869.  Dinner will be with local ethnic Uighur family

Transfer: 150 km, 3-4 hours
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

burana tower- best tour central asia, Silk Road

After an early breakfast, we will drive along the Northern shore of lake Issyk Kul back towards Bishkek. Visit archeological site Burana that contains petroglyphs and ancient stone carvings (Balbals). Burana Tower was originally 45 meters high, but an earthquake in the 15th century destroyed the upper layers of the tower, reducing its height to 25 meters, the present height. It was built in the 11th century in ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanid empire in the 9th century. Upon arrival in Bishkek, we will have farewell dinner with your Kyrgyz guide before you will be transferred to the airport for the 20:15 flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan. At 21:10 you will arrive in Almaty, your Kazakh guide and driver will meet you.

Zenkov wooden cathedral in Almaty with colorful full facade, city travel in Kazakhstan

Our walking city tour begins with such gems as Zenkov Cathedral, a wooden Orthodox church built at the turn of the century and the Almaty Museum of Musical Instruments. We’ll celebrate the fresh produce for which Almaty is famous with our next stop.  You’ll be able to experience local Kazakh culture first hand as you shop in Green bazaar for local produce. Outside the city we will visit, Medeu at 1691 meters above sea level, it’s the highest ice rink in the world. Of course, as we’re visiting in summer, there’ll be no snow on the ground but there’ll be plenty of time to explore both places nevertheless.

Duration of sightseeing: 5-6 hours

rudaki park in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan

Today morning we take the flight to Dushanbe, leaving from Almaty 10:10 and arriving in Dushanbe 11:00 local time. Start sightseeing in the capital of Tajikistan. Visit botanic garden – very beautiful garden with many old trees is the favorite place of Tajik people, National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan that includes the exhibits on history, natural history and art (Buddha in Nirvana is one of the valuable exhibits of the museum), Somoni Monument, Building of National Library, Rudaki Prospect and the Main Mosque of Dushanbe.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

The legend of Alexander the Great and his horse in Tajikistan

After breakfast drive to Iskanderkul Lake named after Alexander the Great, this tranquil glacial lake offers a serene location to mull over the sights and experiences we’ve had since arriving in Tajikistan.  Triangular in shape, it’s considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union nations. The route is a delightful one, past landscapes that have smoked since ancient times, a crossing of the Anzob Pass at 3437m which affords expansive views over the Zarafshan Range of the Fan Mountains and a drive along the Varzob Valley. Overnight at Saritag village not far from the lake.

Legend of Seven Lakes, Tajikistan

Dating from the 5th century, Penjikent was a thriving regional hub, superbly fortified, a planned city which together with a palace had two temples, several markets and rich dwelling houses decorated with numerous paintings, wooden ornaments and clay statues of ancient Gods.  It lay hidden until relatively recently but archaeologists have worked hard to uncover the secrets buried beneath the dirt.  These days, it’s still a ruin & you will need to have rich imagination to imagine ancient Sogdian civilization. We continue our journey to Seven Lakes – Nofin village.

Dinner and overnight at traditional home stay.

khujand-alexandria-echate-tajikistan

After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Shakhristan tunnel. Lunch in a cafe, which is located in the beautiful Shahristan gorge. Haft Kul-seven lakes of different colors in mountains of Tajikistan. See 1.Mijgon, 2. Soya, 3. Hushyor, 4. Nophin lakes (2139m.a.l), Khurdak,  6.Marguzor, 7.Hazorchashma lakes (2400m a.s.l.). Continue to Istaravshan, with its old town and friendly bazaar. With a history dating back to 500BC, this is a great place to interact with local Tajiks and see local craftsmen at work. Sightseeing of Istaravshan: visit Mugtepa fortress, HazratiShoh mosque, the short stop in a local bazaar. Further, we’ll continue our trip Silk Road town of Khujand.

Panjshanbe bazaar in Khojend Tajikistan

In Khujand, you will be visiting museums, central mosque and Panjshanbe Bazar that is located at the heart of Khujand. After lunch, we can have an optional boat trip and swim in the famous river Sirdaryo. City Park and Khujand Museum will also be visited before having dinner in a traditional restaurant.

visit Tashkent uzbekistan in tour

After breakfast transfer to Tashkent (80 km, 1 h 30 min), through Oybek cross border point. Border formalities. Transfer to Tashkent. Meet your guide at the hotel to start sightseeing in the capital of Uzbekistan, the biggest city in Central Asia.. Visit the Old City area of Tashkent where you will discover ancient historical sites: the Khast Imom Complex, which contains ancient Quran book of Caliph Uthman and the mausoleum of the Islamic saint, Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi. Join the animated throng of traders at Chor-Su Bazaar before taking a ride on the former-Soviet Tashkent Metro and visiting the Amir Temur & Independence Square and Applied Arts Museum.

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

three madrasas or religious schools in Registan square of Samarkand, uzbekistan, central asia tour, silk road

At 07:00 transfer from your hotel to railway station. Fast-speed train “Afrosiyob” departs Tashkent at 08:00 and arrives in Samarkand at 10:10 (300 km). Your guide and driver will meet you at train station to begin the city tour in Samarkand.Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue.  This was the domain of Timur, one of history’s great conquerors. Much of his architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of his power. We’ll begin in spectacular Registan Square, the focal point of ancient Samarkand and framed by three beautiful madrassas. We’ll explore one of the city’s unmissable sights, the Bibi Khanum Mosque & Gur Emir Mausoleum, before delving into the Siyob Bazaar to haggle for dried fruit and souvenirs to take home.

Transport: 270 km, ca. 2 hours

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan Overland

Today, we’ll pay a visit to the Afrasiab Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel.  Later, we’ll drive to Koni Ghil village to explore the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. In the afternoon depart Samarkand and drive to Bukhara (280 km, 4 h.*). Stop on the way at Rabati-Malik Caravanserai. Continue driving to Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara, check in to the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

Bukhara domes and minaret, Uzbekistan Tour

The second of our UNESCO World Heritage stops, even the very name Bukhara conjures up images of the exotic Orient. Today, as for centuries, it’s an important trading post and you’ll have numerous opportunities to see traditional Uzbek products being bought and sold.  The Old Town has been well preserved and is crammed full of minarets, mosques, and madrassas.  Its once notorious canals and pools, the source of many an epidemic, have now been drained but the most famous, Lyabi-Hauz, is still there, an oasis shaded by mulberry trees at the heart of the city.

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

old Uzbek people sitting in front of the mosque central asia tour

We leave Bukhara, following the highway that takes us right into the Kyzylkum desert.  The mighty Amudarya River cuts through the desert and we will stop on route to see this important waterway that flows into what remains of the Aral Sea.  It’s a long day on shaky roads, so prepare yourself with plenty of snacks and charge up your devices so the music doesn’t run out.  At the end of this arduous drive, the reward will be Khiva, where we’ll arrive late into the night and ready to rest.

Transport: Intercity transfer 480 km, 7-8 hours

walls of Khiva in Uzbekistan Tour, central asia tour

Khiva is packed with historical sites and today you will get a chance to see them all.  You will visit the walled inner city of Khiva, an area called Ichan-Kala.  This district preserves more than fifty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years.

The fortress is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  As you walk through the enormous city gates, you’ll be confronted by the glistening Islamic beacon, the Kalta-minor Minaret.  Delve deep into the town’s history on a guided tour that embraces all of the city’s unmissable sites and includes an ascent of Islam Khodja Minaret. Enjoy sweeping views of Old Khiva atop the Kunya-Ark Citadel.  Invest your free time during the afternoon to enjoy more of the city and shop for souvenirs, or perhaps enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes littered around the ancient city.  In the evening during dinner, we will experience a national folklore show.

darvaza gas crater or gate of hell in turkmenistan during the best of central asia tour

In the morning drive to Turkmenistan border point Shavat-Dashoguz (60 km, 1 h.). Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Kunya Urgench (100 km, 1 h. 30 min.). Visit mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur Minaret and Kyrk Molla hill. In the afternoon driving on 4WD vehicle from Kunya-Urgench to Darvaza Gas Crater burning non-stop for almost 50 years in the middle of Karakum desert. Overnight at tents.

ashgabat-0capital of Turkmenistan, best central asia tour

After camp style breakfast drive to Ashgabat via water crater and Erbent desert community. Arrival in Ashgabat around noon. Sightseeing tour in Ashgabat – capital of Turkmenistan which has experienced boom of “Marble Architecture” for the past 25 years. Explore the archeological site of Old Nissa (included in UNESCO World Heritage list) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, and continue to Arch of Neutrality. Continue the tour with visits to Presidential Square, Ertogrul Ghazy Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4 hours

Transfer to Ashgabat International Airport & flight back home

Inclusions

Transport
Metro, Train, Airplane, Horse, Foot, Minivan, Jeep
Meals
21 breakfasts
Accommodation
Hotel (15 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Yurt (2 nights), Tent (1 night)
Included Activities

Astana – city tour

Bishkek – city tour

Almaty – city tour

Dushanbe – city tour

Tashkent – city tour

Samarkand – city tour

Khiva – walking tour

Darvaza – Camping

Ashgabat – city tour

dates & price

Total trip price

€3290

Euro

21

Days

Single supplement available for €600

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
13 Aug 2017
2 Sep 2017
+ Available
1 Jul 2018
21 Jul 2018
Available
15 Jul 2018
4 Aug 2018
Available
19 Aug 2018
8 Sep 2018
Available
Price includes
  • All transfers, pick – ups and drop-offs
  • Accommodation based on two people sharing a double/twin room; breakfasts included
  • English speaking local guide accompanying the groups in each country
  • All entry fees as per itinerary
  • Economy class tickets for Astana – Bishkek, Almaty – Dushanbe
  • Economy class ticket for train from Tashkent – Samarkand
  • Visa support letters for tourist visa
Price does not include
  • International air fares to and from Central Asia
  • Full board (lunches and dinners)
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for tourist visas
  • Travel insurance policy required
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs etc)

Important notes

  • Find map with photos here
  • Travel insurance is required. Upon arrival, please provide your insurance details to the tour guide. Which insurance you choose is up to you. We recommend Worldnomads.

KYRGYZSTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Kyrgyz currency is called the Som (KGS). In the capital Bishkek there are many ATMs that you can find in shopping centers, supermarkets or on the main streets. All of them accept Visa cards and some, like Kyrgyz Kommerts Bank, Demir Bank and Uni Credit accept other cards such as MasterCard or Maestro card. Outside of Bishkek, we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are so few of them. We also recommend that you bring some cash in new USD banknotes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with a credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and a small number of international stores. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Kyrgyzstan is the most liberal and democratic country in the Central Asian region. For the last seven years, the political situation in the country has been calm and there is nothing to suggest that this situation might change. Guests and locals are treated with respect and the whole country can be regarded as very safe destination for travelers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only use official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Kyrgyz partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 60 days in Kyrgyzstan. To be sure whether you need a visa or not you can check on www.thevisamachine.com. Any special permits that you might need for access to places that will be visited during your tour, we will provide to you free of charge.
As soon as we receive your deposit payment, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Kyrgyzstan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Kyrgyzstan is continental and dry in the majority of the country, including the largest cities. In the Ferghana Valley in the south and in capital Bishkek, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated more than 1500 meters above the sea level, where temperatures are in the mid-20s during summer. At high altitudes of 3000 meters or more it may even snow overnight during the summer, so make sure you bring some warm clothes. The best season to visit for activity or jeep tours would be in summer and winter for skiing tours. Please note, weather in some mountain areas may be very changeable.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Kyrgyzstan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Kyrgyzstan are basic at best.

TAJIKISTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Tajik currency is called the Somoni (TJS). In the capital Dushanbe there are a few ATMs that you’ll find in shopping centres, supermarkets or on the main streets, but most of them accept only Visa cards. Outside of Dushanbe we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are only a few of them and they may run out of money.
We recommend bringing cash in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with credit card is still not possible at most places, except for few high-end restaurants and hotels. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

The political situation in the country has been calm in recent years and there are no indications of upcoming tensions. The border area with Afghanistan is safe as well, but we do not recommend crossing the border for a trip into Afghanistan. Guests and locals are treated with respect and Tajikistan can be regarded as safe destination for travelers. That being said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxi rides. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Tajik partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of almost every country can obtain an e-Visa online for stays of up to 45 days in Tajikistan. All you need to do is enter the requested information then pay a fee of 50 USD by credit card and you will receive almost immediately the eVisa by email. You can print it out and use it just like an ordinary visa to enter the country. Please note, if you are planning to visit Pamir region, you need a GBAO permit, which you can purchase online, together with the eVisa, for an additional fee of USD 20.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Tajikistan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Tajikistan is continental and dry across most of the country, including the largest cities. In regions situated at relatively low altitude, such as the capital Dushanbe, the south of Tajikistan around Kulob and the Khujand region, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated at high altitudes, where temperatures are in the mid 20s or less during the summer. If you visit the Fann or Pamir Mountains, make sure to bring some warm clothes, as it can get very cold at night at elevations of more than 3000 metres. The best season to visit is during summer.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Tajikistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Tajikistan are basic at best. Please note: there is a small risk of malaria in the south of Tajikistan by the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. None of our tours visit this region.

KAZAKHSTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Kazakh currency is called the Tenge (KZT). The banking system in Kazakhstan is the most developed in Central Asia and in big cities there are many places to exchange money and to withdraw cash from ATMs using a variety of cards. We recommend bringing some cash in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with a credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and international stores like Zara, Mango, McDonalds or Starbucks. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country with a long history of tolerance. Guests and locals are treated with respect and the whole country can be regarded as a very safe destination for travelers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and take only official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Kazakh partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 15 days in Kazakhstan. To be sure whether you need visa or not you can check on the website of The Visa Machine. Any permits you might need for access to places that will be visited during your tour, we will provide for you free of charge.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Kazakhstan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Kazakhstan is continental and dry in the majority of the country, including the largest cities. Summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius and winters extremely cold with strong winds. In the mountains, however, weather is quite changeable. If you are planning to visit the mountains the best season is summer. Be aware, however, at high altitudes of 3000 metres or more it may even snow overnight during the summer. For cultural sightseeing tours spring and autumn are the best seasons. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. In 2017 the world exposition takes place in the Kazakh capital of Astana from June 10 to September 10. If you are planning to visit Astana we recommend that you go during that time.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveller’s diarrhoea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Kazakhstan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Kazakhstan are basic at best.

TURKMENISTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Turkmen currency is called the Manat. In Ashgabat you may find ATMs that accept international payment cards. VneshEkonomBank for example accepts Visa credit cards. However, most ATMs accept only local cards issued by Turkmen banks. Credit cards may be accepted in few high-end hotels, but most stores and restaurants do not accept any cards. We recommend bringing all money in cash, in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. They will be easy to exchange. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Turkmenistan is a safe country and most trips are trouble-free. There is a visible police presence and most citizens are law abiding. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, steer clear of dark streets at night and avoid taking rides in unofficial taxis alone. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Turkmen partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of every country in the world need a visa to enter Turkmenistan. As soon as you book a tour, we will ask you to provide some additional information to apply on your behalf for a letter of invitation. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approves your application, we will send you the letter of invitation. With this letter, you will be able to purchase the visa on arrival at Ashgabat Airport. Please note: your application for a letter of invitation may be rejected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. Please do not book any flights or other non-refundable travel services before your letter of invitation is approved.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Turkmenistan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Turkmenistan is continental and dry and the best seasons to visit are spring and autumn, from mid-April until early June and then again from September until early November. Autumn is drier than spring, but even in spring chances are high you can enjoy the bluest sky you have ever seen. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you don’t mind dry heat of 40° Celsius, sometimes more, summer is the best time to go. There are few tourists and the sun is shining every single day. If you are considering visiting Turkmenistan in winter you will practically have the country all to yourself. We recommend you go in November or December, when daytime temperatures are still around 10° Celsius and the often chilly winds of January & February have not yet begun to make their presence felt.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveller’s diarrhoea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Turkmenistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Turkmenistan are basic at best.

UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Uzbek currency is called the Som (UZS). There are few ATMs in Uzbekistan and even then, most do not accept any card other than Visa. Stores and restaurants typically do not accept credit cards. We recommend you bring all money in cash, preferably carrying new USD bank notes of different denominations. They will be easy to exchange – for the best rates ask your guide – and you will be able to pay directly with USD for some souvenirs. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Uzbekistan is a safe country and most trips are trouble-free. There is a visible police presence and most citizens are law abiding. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, steer clear of dark streets at night and avoid taking rides in unofficial taxis alone. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Uzbek partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most countries need a visa. You can check your requirements on the website of The Visa Machine - http://www.thevisamachine.com. For a service fee, they can apply for the visa for you and send it to you, or you can apply directly at the nearest embassy. Please note: we will provide a letter of invitation free of charge to those booking a tour with us if it is needed.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Uzbekistan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Uzbekistan is continental and dry. The best season to visit is during spring and autumn, from mid-April until early June and then again from September until early November. Autumn is drier than spring, but even in spring chances are high you can enjoy the bluest sky you have ever seen. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you don’t mind the dry heat of 40° Celsius, summer is the best time to go. There are few tourists and the sky is blue every single day. If you consider visiting Uzbekistan in winter, having the country all to yourself, we recommend going in December, when day temperature is still around 10° Celsius and the chill wind that characterises January & February has not yet reared its ugly head.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use it for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for travelers to Uzbekistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Uzbekistan are basic at best.
As soon as we receive your deposit, we will confirm your booking and send you additional pre-departure information. There you will find the full list of medicine that it is prohibited to import into Uzbekistan and also medicine which you can import only with doctor’s prescription.

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