Best of Central Asia Tour

Travel Central Asia

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

Days

22

Price

€3970

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Astana
  • Bishkek
  • Almaty
  • Dushanbe
  • Tashkent
  • Ashgabat

Themes: Cultural Tours, Immersive Experiences

Best of Central Asia Tour combines cultural highlights and natural beauty of five countries in one epic journey. Travel through the modern and historic capitals of five Central Asian states. Explore the cultural treasures and traditions of the nomadic people who have crossed the region throughout centuries, and of the people who have settled in its cities. Discover the modern marvel and architectural glory of Astana as well as “city of love” – Ashgabat. Travel the sprawling Soviet-styled cities of Almaty, Bishkek, and Dushanbe. Visit the architectural legacies of a flourishing Islamic culture and the medieval Timurid Empire.  Traveling through Central Asia you will experience centuries of change and development of the “Five Stan countries”.

highlights

  • Combine cultural highlights and natural beauty of Central Asia in one tour
  • Visit diverse capitals of all Central Asian countries
  • 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
  • Shop in oriental bazaars
  • Camp beside the burning gas crater the “Gate of Hell” at Darvaza

ITINERARY & MAP

Astana City Tour - Baiterek Tower on Nurzhol Boulevard

Most Central Asia flights arrive early in the morning in Astana. We will meet you at the airport and transfer to the hotel, where you can check in right away. You can have a rest after the long flight, take a shower and have breakfast. Meet your fellow travelers and your guide at 10:00 in the hotel lobby to start the city tour.

Astana is Central Asia’s youngest capital and a showpiece for the 21st century Kazakhstan. Talented architects have made major contributions to this futuristic city with its almost surreal skyline. But before exploring the modern city we drive 40km to the Memorial Museum Alzhir to learn more about the dark history of Kazakhstan. Alzhir was the biggest concentration camp in USSR for wives of “betrayers of the homeland”. There you will get an understanding of how people lived, worked and survived in Soviet concentration camps, the infamous “Gulags”. Back in Astana, we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy nice city view from the top of Baiterek Tower, which has become the symbol of Astana. Its shape represents a poplar tree with a golden egg laid by a magic bird from Kazakh folk tales. We will as well visit Hazrat Sultan Mosque, the National History Museum of Kazakhstan and have a walk on the Nurzhol Boulevard. Along the boulevard, which was designed by Kisho Kurokawa, most of Astana’s modern buildings are placed. We will end the walk at Khan Shatyr, giant tent-like shopping center designed by architect Norman Foster.

Overnight in hotel Kazzhol or similar.

Bishkek City Tour - Nice view

This morning we need to get up early to catch our flight to Bishkek departing 08:00 with Air Astana. Upon arrival at 09:45 in the Kyrgyz capital, your Kyrgyz guide will meet you and transfer to the hotel, where you can leave your luggage. You will have lunch and we will do some light touring in the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan, the greenest city in Central Asia. Our sightseeing program in Bishkek includes stops at the newly renovated National History Museum, Oak Park, the Central Square Ala Too and the Philharmonic Hall.

Overnight in hotel Asia Mountains or similar.

Best of Central Asia Tour - Yurt Camp at Song Kul Lake Kyrgyzstan

This is quite long and tough day, you should be ready for a long drive on bumpy roads. The first stop after 80km is at Burana Tower. The minaret was built in the 11th century in the medieval town of Balasagun, capital of the mighty Karakhanid empire. You can climb up the winding staircase to enjoy a nice view of the Chuy Valley. There is also an open-air museum featuring a collection of ancient balbals, carved stone figures used as monuments. We then continue driving to the village of Kochkor, where we stop for lunch. From Kochkor it’s another 3-4 hour mostly on dirt road driving up to lake Song Kul and driving along its southern shore to the yurt camp. The lake is situated on around 3000m altitude and only accessible in summer.

There will be time before dinner to walk to the lake shore and enjoy the amazing scenery. It is also possible to rent horses and do some horse-riding in Kyrgyzstan. Tonight, you can see the sky full of stars and sleep in a traditional nomad yurt.

Overnight in yurt – 4 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water)

After breakfast, it is time to leave Song Kul and drive to Issyk Kul – the “Pearl of Kyrgyzstan”. On the way, we stop in Kochkor to see a presentation of how traditional felt carpets are made and you can even try to make your own. Shortly after Kochkor we arrive at Issyk Kul and drive along the southern shore to the “Skazka” or “Fairytale” canyon. The canyon derived its name from its bizarre landscape with fabulous formations from rocks. From there it is just a few more minutes’ drive to our overnight stay – a nice yurt camp about 200 meters from the beach of lake Issyk Kul. Usually, in summer the hot weather is inviting to take a swim.

Lake Issyk Kul is the second-largest mountain lake in the world, after Titicaca. Located at an altitude of 1600m, it is a slightly saline lake with no outlet, surrounded completely by the Tien Shan Mountains. Some evidence suggests that ruins of an old trade center from 2nd century BC can be found under the water.

Overnight in yurt – 2-4 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water)

Karakol City Tour Kyrgyzstan

After breakfast, we drive further eastwards along the southern shore of Issyk Kul towards the town of Karakol. On the way to Karakol, we drive into the side valley of Jety Oguz, famous for its two red rock formations called “Seven Bulls” and “The Broken Heart”. You will see these rocks and your guide will tell you the legend behind their interesting names.

In Karakol, we will have lunch and have a short sightseeing tour of the town’s most interesting sights. The tour includes the Dungan Mosque, built in 1904 with no metal nails and the wooden Russian Orthodox Church which has been standing since 1869. We will also visit the small Historical Museum of Karakol with the photo exhibition of Ella Maillart, Swiss traveler, who embarked on an extensive journey through Central Asia in the 1930s. She wrote an interesting book about her travels called “Turkestan Solo”.

From Karakol, it is another 30km driving north to the village of Tepke where we will spend the night in a nice guesthouse of farmers who breed Kyrgyz horses. You can see their horses and learn how “Boorsok” (deep fried bread, typical for Kyrgyzstan) is made.

Overnight & dinner in guesthouse “Reina Kench” – Twin/ Single rooms with shower and toilet in the room

Best of Central Asia Tour - Charyn Canyon in Almaty Region of Kazakhstan

Today we cross the mountains into Kazakhstan and drive to Almaty, former capital and biggest city of Kazakhstan. It is a very long ride and partly on a bad road. About half-way between Karakol and Almaty, we will stop for lunch (picnic) at one of the most famous natural sights of Kazakhstan – Charyn Canyon. The canyon is often compared to the Grand Canyon, although it is much smaller in size with a total length of 80-90 kilometers. The part of the canyon you will visit is known as “Valley of Castles” for its unusual rock formations. It is 3 kilometers long and 100 meters deep. We will walk these 3 kilometers down to the river, where we will have a picnic. In the evening, we arrive in Almaty on time for dinner.

Overnight in hotel Kazzhol or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour: Almaty, Zenkov wooden cathedral

Almaty is the largest city of Central Asia’s richest country, Kazakhstan. Until 1997 it was the country’s capital and it remains today the country’s business and educational center. Roads are wide and tree-lined and there are good views of the Zailisky Ala-Too mountains that form a backdrop to the city. The name Almaty means “the place with apples” and it is believed that this is where apples originated from.

We will visit Panfilov Park to see the most famous sight of Almaty, Zenkov Cathedral. It was built in 1904 without a single metal nail and is one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. In the same Park is the impressive Soviet Glory Memorial, a tribute to 28 men who, as the narrative goes, repulsed 50 German tanks from the outskirts of Moscow during World War II. Adjacent to the park is the Museum of Musical Instruments. On display are many traditional instruments from the region. At the Green Bazaar, you get a chance to explore local Kazakh culture as you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. In the afternoon, we drive half an hour up to Medeo ice skating rink and take a cable car to enjoy a nice view at the top of Shymbulak skiing area. It will be quite chilly and windy on top at 3200m altitude, so make sure to bring a sweatshirt or light jacket.

Overnight in hotel Kazzhol or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour - Somoni Monument in Dushanbe

After breakfast transfer to Almaty Airport to catch Air Astana flight to Dushanbe, departing at 11:10. At 12:00 arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Originally, Dushanbe was a small village around a market that took place every Monday. The word Dushanbe translated from Persian means Monday. It was during the Soviet Union that it became the industrial center of Tajikistan.

Meet your Tajik guide, transfer to hotel for check in and have lunch in the city. In the afternoon, we will have a walk in the shade of the trees in the Botanical Garden. We will then visit Ismail Samani statue. The large monument commemorates the 1100th anniversary of the Samanid State, the heyday of the Tajik nation, when science and arts flourished.  From there we walk up to Rudaki park, dedicated to great Persian poet Rudaki, who also lived during Samanid time in the 9th century.

Overnight in hotel Sheraton or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour - Iskander Kul Tajikistan tourists enjoying nice view

Today after an early breakfast we drive to Iskanderkul Lake, named after Alexander the Great. Triangular in shape, it is considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union nations, nestled in the Fan Mountains on 2,200m altitude. The route is a delightful one, past rugged mountains scenery. At the shore of the lake we will have lunch and you can go for a swim if you like. We then take a short hike to a nearby waterfall, also called the Niagara Falls of the Fan Mountains.

We then continue driving for another 4 hours to reach the town of Penjikent, where we arrive just in time for dinner and will stay for overnight in a hotel.

Overnight in hotel Umaryon or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour: Legend of Seven Lakes, Tajikistan

Penjikent is a town of around 130,000 inhabitants, famous for its past as a Sogdian trade center. However, except for some ruins unfortunately there is not too much left of its glorious past.

Today you have the choice between the following two options:

  1. You may decide to spend the day in Penjikent and have a relaxed city tour, including the Rudaki Museum of History, the historically important sights of Old Penjikent and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm, and visit of the local market.
  2. You may instead want to take a bumpy ride into the mountains, to explore the area of the “Seven Lakes”. This option includes a hike from the 6th to the 7th lake and some walks in traditional Tajik villages. The mountain valley is not far from Penjikent, but due to the terrible road condition this trip takes a full day.

Your guide will explain to you above listed two options in more details. Overnight in Penjikent.

Overnight in hotel Umaryon or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour Blacksmiths in Istaravshan making knives

From Penjikent we drive up North to Istarafshan first and finally to Khujand. The road to Istaravshan is very scenic, crossing Shahriston Pass. Istarafshan was founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC and recently celebrated its 2500th anniversary. The Timurids of the 14th century then called Istaravshan Ura-Tube and the city’s artisans were highly regarded in Central Asia. Today, Istarafshan is well known in Tajikistan for its blacksmiths, hand-crafting knives of high quality. We will visit the workshops of the blacksmiths near the entrance of the market. We will also meet a famous wood carving master, who will tell you more about his work and passion.

From Istarafshan it is another one and a half hours driving to Khujand. Check in at the hotel and have dinner in the second largest city of Tajikistan.

Overnight in Grand Hotel or similar

Khujand is situated not far from the Fergana Valley on the Syr Darya river. It is another ancient city with history dating back to Cyrus the Great of Persia and Alexander the Great. Today it is the second largest city in Tajikistan with Tajikistan’s biggest market – Panjshanbe Bazaar. City tour of Khujand includes the bazaar and the adjacent Maslihaddin Mosque, the historical Museum of Khujand, and Arbob palace.
In the evening we will have a walk around Kmaoli Khujand park and see the Lenin statue.

Overnight in Grand hotel or similar

Central Asia, Silk Road Tour

After breakfast transfer to Oybek border point. On the Uzbek side of the border you will meet the new guide and driver. Transfer to Tashkent. Transfer to the hotel and start city tour of Tashkent, the biggest city in Central Asia. Tashkent is one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan, but most of its historic buildings were destroyed in a major earthquake in 1966.

We will 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 (from 7th century!) 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.

Overnight in hotel Ichan Khala or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour - Registan square of Samarkand

At 07:00 transfer from your hotel to railway station. High-speed train “Afrosiyob” departs Tashkent at 08:00 and arrives in Samarkand at 10:10 (300 km). 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 will begin in spectacular Registan Square, the focal point of ancient Samarkand and framed by three beautiful madrassas. We will go on to explore more 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.

Overnight in hotel Platan or similar

City Tour Samarkand Uzbekistan - Samarkand Paper Workshop Koni Ghil Village

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. Stop on the way at Rabati-Malik Caravanserai. Continue driving to Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara, check in to the hotel.

Overnight in hotel Asia or similar

Bukhara domes and minaret, Uzbekistan, Best of Central Asia 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.

Overnight in hotel Asia or similar

Best of Central Asia Tour- Bukhara city 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 is a long day on shaky roads, so prepare yourself with plenty of snacks and charge up your devices so the music does not run out.  At the end of this arduous drive, the reward will be Khiva, where we will arrive in the evening, just in time for dinner.

Overnight in hotel Asia or similar

Central Asia Tour - Blue minaret in Khiva, Kalta minor

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 and completely protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This district preserves more than fifty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years.

As you walk through the enormous city gates, you will 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.

Overnight in hotel Asia or similar

Today it is time to enter the last of the five “Stans”, Turkmenistan. In the morning drive to Uzbekistan-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 the ancient city of Kunya Urgench (100 km, 1.5h). 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 continue 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 in tents.

After camp style breakfast drive to Ashgabat via water crater and Erbent desert community. Arrival in Ashgabat around noon. Have lunch, check in at the hotel and have some rest during the midday heat and after the long and shaky ride of the past couple days.

In the afternoon have a short sightseeing tour in Ashgabat – capital of Turkmenistan which has experienced a boom of “Marble Architecture” for the past 25 years. Tour includes visit of the Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia, the National Museum of History, the Arch of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertogrul Ghazy Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park.

Overnight at Grand Turkmen Hotel or similar

City Tour Ashgabat - Akhal Teke Horse Turkmenistan

Today we have another busy day. After breakfast we drive to a farm nearby Ashgabat, where you can see the famous Turkmen horses called Akhal Teke. If you like, you can take the unique chance to ride on such a beautiful horse. Our next destination is Kov Ata underground lake, located about 90km to the West of Ashgabat. The Turkmen word “Kov Ata” translates as “father of the caves”. The water has a constant temperature of 33-37° Celsius. Swimming in the lake apparently is good for your health, so we suggest you go ahead and give it a try! After a picnic for lunch we continue driving a bit further West to the village Nokhur. The village is in the valleys of the Kopet-Dag mountains and unique Turkmen traditions have survived there. The villagers claim to be direct descendants of Alexander the Great. In fact you can find there fair-skinned people with blue eyes and red hair. Testimony of the unique culture in the village is the cemetery with hundreds of overgrown graves, each one equipped with impressive horns of mountain goats. In the evening we drive back to Ashgabat for our farewell dinner.

Overnight at Grand Turkmen Hotel or similar

Kalpak Travel, Central Asia Adventure Company

Transfer to Airport for departure flight back home. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Central Asia and will return soon to discover more places in this beautiful part of the world!

Inclusions

Transport
Metro, Train, Airplane, Horse, Foot, Minivan, Jeep
Meals
22 breakfasts, 21 lunches, 21 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (18 nights), Yurt (2 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Tent (1 night)
Included Activities

Astana – city tour

Bishkek – city tour

Almaty – city tour

Dushanbe – city tour

Tashkent – city tour

Samarkand – city tour

Bukhara – city tour

Khiva – walking tour

Darvaza – camping

Ashgabat – city tour

Download PDF

dates & price

Total trip price

€3970

Euro

22

Days

Single supplement available for €750

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
17 Jun 2018
8 Jul 2018
+ Available
15 Jul 2018
5 Aug 2018
+ Available
19 Aug 2018
9 Sep 2018
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers, pick – ups and drop-offs
  • Accommodation based on two people sharing a double/twin room; breakfasts included
  • Full board (all lunches & dinners)
  • English speaking local guide accompanying the group in each country
  • All entry fees as per itinerary
  • Economy class tickets for flights Astana – Bishkek, Almaty – Dushanbe
  • Business 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
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for tourist visas
  • Travel insurance policy
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs etc)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Important notes

  • Departure for this tour is guaranteed
  • 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 for example 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. For citizens of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom a facilitated visa regime applies, meaning if you are from one of these countries you do not need an invitation letter. Everybody else needs an invitation letter to apply for a visa. Please note: If you book a tour with us we provide invitation letter free of charge and assist you with getting your visa.
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-March 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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