Bishkek to Tashkent via Kashgar

Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan overland via China

Be amazed by the nomadic lifestyles of the tribes that populate mountainous Kyrgyzstan and then travel on to immerse yourself in the vibrancy of Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road city surrounded by the vast and inhospitable Taklamakan Desert.

Days

22

Price

€2990

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: 12

Countries: Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Bishkek
  • Kashgar
  • Osh
  • Bukhara
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent

Themes: Active Adventures, Cultural Tours

This trip will see you follow the famous Ancient Silk Road, from the Tien Shan (celestial) Mountains to Osh through the Uyghur region of Xinjiang and finally through marvelous cities of Uzbekistan. Discover the natural and cultural treasures of Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang, the wild shores of Issyk Kul Lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains. We travel further into the interior of the country and to the alpine pastures of the impossibly serene Son Kul Lake before heading south to the Chinese border where we stop to visit the ancient Tash Rabat caravanserai.

We cross into North Western China and towards the endless sand dunes of the Taklamakan desert and take in the mesmerizing city of Kashgar in far west Xinjiang province. Exploring further we head towards the Himalayas to take in the majestic Mustag Ata and Kongur Tagh Mountains. Stunning landscape, mosques, madrassas, fortresses and bazaars combine to create a timeless atmosphere, while out in the countryside, the country’s incredible landscapes will, we promise, capture both your imagination and your heart.

highlights

  • Explore Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan
  • Visit Issyk-Kul Lake, second largest mountain lake in the world
  • Stay in a yurt on the shore of Son Kul Lake
  • Enter the ruins of the ancient Tash Rabat caravanserai
  • Discover the rich history of Kashgar, stretching back more than 2000 years
  • Take a walk among the sand dunes of the Taklamakan desert
  • Walk to the foothills of majestic Lenin’s Peak (alt. 7134 m)
  • Visit the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan, Osh
  • Modern Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan and largest city of Central Asia
  • Charming old city of Bukhara, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit the architectural wonders of ancient  Samarkand
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of oriental bazaars

ITINERARY & MAP

state museum of history and culture in Bishkek. kyrgyzstan

Today we’ll have a chance to explore Kyrgyzstan’s interesting capital, Bishkek.  The group will arrive in the morning and we’ll make sure you’re collected and taken to your hotel where you’ll have the chance to freshen up before our orientation meeting.  Over lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and ask any questions you have.

The afternoon will be spent taking a city tour of Bishkek. On a clear day, the mountain peaks of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too form the perfect backdrop to the city’s many parks.  We’ll also get our first glimpse of national hero Manas, protagonist in the epic tale recited by special Kyrgyz storyteller. His statue takes pride of place in Ala-Too Square where you’ll also see the changing of the guard ceremony performed. In the evening, after a drive to a local viewpoint, you can try Kyrgyz food for the first time at a popular restaurant.

Over dinner you will be given more details about the tour as well as a general introduction to the region’s history and culture.  In this cozy atmosphere, you can get to know your guides, barrage them with questions and get acquainted with your fellow explorers.

Transport: Minivan with A/C during the city tour

Accommodation: “Rich Hotel”, 3* by Western Standards

Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours

burana tower reflects history of kyrgyzstan- architectural monument

We’ll depart Bishkek after breakfast to begin our journey exploring Kyrgyzstan’s many treasures.

Our first port of call is to the Burana Tower site, located at the ruins of the ancient Karakhanid’s capital, Balasagun.  Standing on a grassy plain against a backdrop of rocky hills, its setting is magnificent.  It’s possible to climb the winding staircase inside the tower to reach the top and if you do so, you’ll appreciate the care and skill that went into the construction of the brickwork. Originally, however, it was twenty metres taller than it stands today, the top part the victim of a 15th century earthquake.

Moving on, our next stop is at the Konorchek Canyon.  There, we’ll take a short walk to admire the red natural red rock formations before having lunch in Boom Gorge.  Later, we’ll arrive at Aida’s place, our yurt camp for the next two nights, located on the southern shore of Issyk Kul, the second largest mountain lake in the world. Discover the lake, which sits at an altitude of 1600 metres above sea level.  Its vegetated shores are backed by snow-capped peaks and you’ll be delighted with the view.  If it’s warm enough, why not go for a swim?

Driving distance: Minivan with A/C, 295 km, 4 hours driving

Accommodation: Yurt camp with western toilets and shower, alt. 1600m

fairytale skazka canyon in kyrgyzstan holidays near issyk kul

In the morning we’ll drive to Boz Salkyn jailoo, from where we start hiking to the wonderful mountain viewpoint overlooking Issyk Kul Lake.  Jailoo is the name Kyrgyz herders give to their grazing lands, the pastures verdant and lush.  Many nomadic farmers still make a living from this land to this day, just as their ancestors did.

After a picnic we visit Skazka Canyon. Translating as fairytale Canyon, the deep red and orange sedimentary rocks are stunning and seem almost alien.  Back at our yurt camp, as night falls, we’ll dine under the stars and enjoy a traditional folklore music show with a Manaschi, storyteller of the national epic Manas.

Transport: Minivan with A/C, 115 km and 2.5 hours driving

Walking: 3.5 hours on 2500m altitude

Accommodation: Yurt camp with western toilets and shower

This morning, we’ll take our last lingering glances over Issyk Kul Lake.  Then we’re off to meet an Eagle hunter, we will learn about his passion and watch a live performance. Later, we’ll visit a village of yurt makers and see them going about their business in their workshops. Lunch today will be in a café in the village of Kochkor.  Afterwards, we’ll drive up to Kalmak-Ashuu.  The Kalmak-Ashuu Pass is one of four leading to Song Kul and affords visitors panoramic views stretching for many miles.  You might even see a yak herd in these parts, though they’re known for being a little shy.

In the afternoon, we’ll arrive at Roza’s place, our new yurt camp for the next two nights which situated at an altitude of 3000m. There’ll be plenty of time to wander amongst the beautiful lake-shore surroundings and you’ll also have the chance to herd and milk the cows if you wish.

Transport: Minivan with A/C, 225 km, 4 hours driving

Walking: 1 hour at 3450m altitude

Accommodation: Yurt with drop toilet, no shower, alt. 3000m

horse games and horse riding during Kyrgyzstan tour in summer

A stay at Song Kul Lake is all about getting back to nature, so today if you like you may take a leisurely horse ride, trekking across vast meadows strewn with Edelweiss flowers.  Even if you’re a novice rider, you’ll enjoy becoming acquainted with horse riding among the grazing cattle, scattered yurts and nomadic herders.  It’s a tranquil and serene place, and as you ride you’ll feel the stresses and worries of your everyday life just melt away.

Later, we’ll have the opportunity to watch traditional nomad horse games such as Kok Boru, in which two extremely competitive teams attempt to place a calf or goat carcass in the goal of their opponents.  Your hosts will make it look easy though you won’t be expected to demonstrate the same skill as a spectator.

Horse Riding: 4 hours at 3150m altitude

Accommodation: Yurt camp with drop toilet, no shower

This morning, we’ll leave Roza’s place and drive to the Moldo-Ashuu Pass. Glimpsing Song Kul for the last time, we start walking and discover the Naryn River valley. This is the source of the mighty Syr-Daria, known as Jaxarte to the ancient Greeks, responsible for irrigating Central Asia together with its sibling Amu-Daria.  The scenery is breathtaking.  The Terek Canyon is a great cleft in the landscape, a reminder that nature has immense power to sculpt the earth beneath our feet.

After a walk, we continue driving across the Tien Shan Mountains and visit some 18th and 19th century mausoleums before enjoying lunch at Baetov’s oasis. We cross the mountains over another pass called MELS (Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin).

In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at Nazira’s yurt camp next to the Tash Rabat caravanserai. Caravanserais were inns used by foreign merchants making their way along the Great Silk Road.

Transport: Minivan with A/C 220 km and 5.5 hours driving

Walking: 2.5 hours at 2500m altitude

Accommodation: Yurt with drop toilet, no shower, alt. 3450 m

 

Tash Rabat ancient Caravan Sarai in Central Asia kyrgyzstan

Today we will have time to visit the Tash Rabat Caravanserai, constructed between the 9th and 11th century and at 3200m it’s the highest one in the world. For the rest of the day you can choose to relax near the Yurts or go on a hike in the nearby mountains. If you decide to go for a hike, you will get your first glimpse of neighbouring China! This is a landscape on a scale hard to comprehend, where the impressive Tash Rabat caravanserai with its warm stone shrinks into insignificance against a dramatic backdrop of green felted hills and snow-capped mountain peaks. Tonight, we will spend another night at Nazira’s yurt camp.

Hiking time (optional): 5-6h, max. altitude 3900m

Accommodation: Yurt with drop toilet, no shower, alt. 3450 m

kashgar traditional clothes and people, culture

In the morning we leave Tash Rabat and head to the Chinese border on the Torugart pass (3750m). Of course, as with any international border crossing, there’ll be some administrative formalities to take care of, but we’ll soon be able to hit the road again – from now on with a Chinese driver and guide. Our destination will be the oasis of Kashgar, located on the crossroads of the Silk Roads at the gateway to the Taklamakan Desert.  After a long but exciting car ride, we’ll enter the ancient city of Uyghur and begin discovering the fascinating blend of culture it presents.

Transport: Minivan with A/C 170 km, 5 hours driving

Accommodation: 3* Hotel by Western standards

We’ll leave Kashgar early in the morning because we are driving to another oasis on the Silk Road, Yarkant.  Its fertility amidst the arid Taklamakan is a result of the Yarkant River which makes its way north from the Karakorum and through the Kunlun Mountains.  Farming is important here.

Browse at the typical Uyghur market, where you’ll find local produce such as pomegranates, pears and apricots.  Amannisakhan’s mausoleum and the royal cemetery are also sure to delight.  Leaving Yarkant, we’ll drive into the vast Taklamakan desert to scale the huge sand dunes.  Finally, we’ll head back to Kashgar and arriving at the hotel in the late evening.

Transport: Minivan with A/C 480 km, 7 hours’ driving

Accommodation: 3* Hotel by Western standards,altitude 1400 m

kashgar central asia tour

Today, we devote to a visit to Kashgar: an ancient Silk Road city in the heart of the Uyghur world.  Its sights are numerous – the Id Kha mosque, the Abakh Hodja mausoleum and an atmospheric old town that just begs that you be lost within it.

Early in the morning we will start our city tour with a vist of the famous Sunday animal market. You’ll see three-wheeled trucks laden with their cargo of sheep, and be amidst the hustle and bustle that accompanies the ritual of buying and selling animals. Following the animal market we will visit and learn more about Kashgar’s numerous historical sights.

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, altitude 1400 m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

karakul lake on the border of kyrgyzstan

Today, we’ll drive along the famous Karakoram Highway.  As we gain altitude, the landscape is nothing short of spectacular. Yaks and camels graze on mountainous pastures. The road is long but the journey is one that can be found on many bucket lists.

We’ll arrive at the shore of Karakol Lake, meaning “black lake” in the Uyghur language. We take the time to discover this magical place, with its breathtaking scenery and snowy summits of “Mountain’s Father” Mustag Ata which rises to a height of 7509 metres and Kongur Tagh, slightly higher at 7649 metres. Eventually, though, the time will come for us to drive back to Kashgar, arriving at the hotel in the late evening.

Transport: Minivan with A/C 400 km, 8 hours driving, 3800 m

Accommodation: 3* Hotel by Western standards

We leave the oasis of Kashgar this morning and drive up to Irkeshtam Pass (3000m) at the Kyrgyz border.  Returning to Kyrgyzstan will ease the pain of leaving beautiful Kashgar and of course we’ll still be on the ancient Silk Road.   Leaving China behind us we’ll drive on the Chon-Alay high plain to Sary Mogol. We cross the Pamir Highway and discover the high summits of this border region between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.  The tarmac stretches endlessly in front of us, but with scenery this splendid no one will mind being on the road.  Tonight, we’ll spend the night in a guesthouse in village of Sary Mogol.

Transport: Minivan A/C, 350km and 8 hours driving

Accommodation: Simple family guesthouse with western toilet and shower, alt. 3000m

a boy sitting on the yak in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan border

In the morning, we have a short drive to reach the foothills of Lenin, a mountain peak with an impressive altitude of 7134 m.  We start walking from Tulpar Kul Lake (alt. 3500 m) in the valley and head towards Peak Lenin, which stands ahead of us, imposing with its height and its covering of pure white snow and glaciers.  The walk is easy and the scenery impressive. We’ll lay out a picnic on the foothills of the mountain to savour this incredible view.

Our return walk takes us back along Tulpar Kul Lake to Amid’s place, home of a yak farmer who lives in the surrounding hills.  It’s a family affair – even the younger children play their part in the life of the farm, looking after the yaks.  Once there, we will adopt the ways of the local nomadic herders.  Aicha, Amid’s wife, will teach us how to cook the typical Central Asian bread, lepioshka.  It’s delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a traditional supper.  Tonight will be spent in a traditional yurt, its plain exterior no clue to the richly decorated interior furnishings.

Transport: Minivan A/C, 20 km, 45 minutes

Walking: 4-5 hours, max. altitude 3800 m

Accommodation: Yurt with drop toilet, no shower, alt. 3500m

visit kyzyl alai mountains in kyrgyzstan

We leave Amid and Aicha’s family to drive through the Alai Mountains back towards Osh.  On the way, we’ll make several stops to admire the beautiful landscape and take little detours.  We arrive at Osh by the afternoon.  Located in the Ferghana Valley, Osh is the capital of the south, another stop-off on the ancient Silk Road. The city of Osh is proud of its history stretching over more than three millennia. Uzbek culture is very prominent there and you might notice this difference in culture.  We will be staying for the night in a typical Uzbek family home.

Transport: Minivan with A/C, 250 km and 4 hours’ driving

Walking: ca. 2 hours

Accommodation: Simple family guesthouse with western toilet and shower, alt. 1000 m

people walking on the Sulaiman mountain

We visit the southern capital of Kygyzst – Osh city and its highlights.  There’s much to see: Suleiman’s mountain, which pops-up in the city centre, its museum, the old bazaar, parks and city monuments.  We’ll make time to have a tasty lunch in a traditional Uzbek chaykhana (tea house) where we will taste the famous plov (traditional Uzbek dish with rice and meat), the best in the country.

Accommodation: local guesthouse

Transport: Minivan with A/C, 1 hour driving

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours,altitude 1000 m

Ferghana, Silk Road Uzbekistan

In the afternoon transfer to Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan border point Dostuk.  After the border formalities, your guide will welcome you on Uzbek side and take you further on your journey to Fergana. This is one of the world’s great drives, with desiccated slopes rippled with the marks of dried gulleys stretching as far as the eye can see.  Beyond, a backdrop of craggy peaks, their summits dusted with snow even in summer, help to take our minds off the sometimes uncomfortable road.  On the way visit Andijan and Quva.  This is the stuff of adventures, where dust and discomfort will be forgotten long before the incredible panoramas that will surely be etched into our memories.

Arrival at Fergana.  Your tour leader will be by your side to explain and inform, offering context on topics as varied as history, people and tradition.  We’ll meet over dinner in one of the city’s great restaurants and discuss our plans, so rest assured you’ll have myriad opportunities to ask questions.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 590 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

palace of the last khan in kokand, Uzbekistan tourism in Ferghana Valley

Today is all about the journey as we begin our way over the Kamchik mountain pass, located at 2267 meters above sea level. We’ll pause at Margilan and Kokand, once a bustling transport hub for Silk Road merchants bound for the Fergana Valley. our driver will take us to Margilan.  Our first stop is at the Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrassa, its geometric architecture softened by the trees planted around it.  These days, it’s the base of craftsmen carrying on the age-old tradition of producing carpets and silk.

At the Yodgorlik Silk Factory, the wooden looms click as bolts of cloth are produced the old-fashioned way, the vibrancy of their colours matched only by the dresses of the women that work them.  The traditional Ikat patterns that you’ll see are created before the cloth is woven by binding yarn and dip dyeing to form elaborate patterns.  Kokand was formerly the capital of Uzbek Khanate and an important religious center, it fell to the Russians in 1883 and surrendered its independence to become part of the Russian Republic of Turkestan.  Its many mosques and madrassas will offer a welcome diversion from the road.  The palace built by the last Kokand Khan, Khudoyar, is an impressive sight, the turquoise domes at its gate rising above an intricately tiled structure that combines shades of blue, yellow and brown which glint in the sunshine.  By the evening, we will reach Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s lively capital.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for transfer 320 km

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 500m altitude

visit Tashkent uzbekistan in tour

The largest city in Central Asia is a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences and we’ll continue our exploration today.  We’ll return to the Old City area of Tashkent to visit the Khast Imom Complex which contains ancient holy books and the Madrassa of Barak-Khan, as well as taking a closer look at the Tilla Sheikh Mosque and the Mausoleum of Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi.

Then, we will take a ride on the city’s famous Soviet-era metro system which like Moscow’s features some of the most ornately decorated stations in the world.  You’ll exit at Amir Temur Square Station for a look at the statue of the great conqueror and next to it, the grandeur of Independence Square.  We visit Applied Arts Museum where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the vibrant Uzbek art scene. As the afternoon fades into evening we’ll make our way to the airport for our flight to Bukhara.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour, domestic flight to Bukhara

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 225 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Bukhara domes and minaret, Uzbekistan Tour

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 this, Uzbekistan’s holiest city, 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.  Your guide will show you the city’s unmissable sights, after which there’ll be plenty of time for you to wander Bukhara’s labyrinthine alleyways to soak up the atmosphere by yourself.

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 225 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

bukhara pillars of the mosque during central asia tour

A single day isn’t enough to do Bukhara justice and so we devote a second to exploring this fascinating place.  This morning, we’ll take you to the summer residence of Bukhara’s last Emir, a unique site which blends Oriental and Russian architecture.  In the afternoon, hit the road, as tonight’s destination is the exotic city of Samarkand.

Transport: Intercity transfer with minivan with 280 km, 4 h

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 702 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours 

Building in Samarkand, tomb of Great Timurlan, cultural tour

Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue.  This was the domain of Timur, one of history’s great conquerors.  His vast empire rivalled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe, who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist while at the same time patronizing the arts and literature.  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, before delving into the Siyob Bazaar to haggle for dried fruit and souvenirs to take home.  Finally, our guide will show us the well-preserved Ulugbek Observatory.  Uzbek astronomer Ulugbek was decades ahead of the west with his observations of the solar system and the earth and we’ll learn more about his story in this prestigious setting. At 17.00 we take speed train Afrosiyob to Tashkent which takes just little more than two hours.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 500 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

souvenirs of colorful Uzbek statues

Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to marvellous Central Asia.  Our driver will provide your transfer to Tashkent International Airport. We hope you’ve enjoyed your trip and will return soon to explore other Central Asian countries

Inclusions

Transport
Metro, Minibus, Train, Horse, Minivan
Meals
22 breakfasts, 21 lunches, 21 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (12 nights), guesthouse (3 nights), yurt ( 7 nights)
Included Activities

Bishkek – city tour

Climbing up ancient Burana Tower

Visiting medieval Tash Rabat caravanserai

Horse riding from Tash Rabat to Chatyr Kul

Kashgar – city tour

Osh – city tour

Tashkent – city tour

Bukhara – walking tour

Samarkand – city tour

dates & price

Total trip price

€2990

Euro

22

Days

Single supplement available for €650

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
21 Jul 2017
11 Aug 2017
Available
11 Aug 2017
1 Sep 2017
+ Available
Price includes
  • Organisation of the stay
  • All transfers in vehicle 4WD (max 6 tourists/car) incl. from/ to airport
  • Еnglish-speaking tour guide
  • Full board incl. drinking water and tea
  • Accommodation described in the programme
  • Border permits
  • All activities mentioned in the programme
  • Entrance fees for monuments and parks mentioned in the programme
Price does not include
  • International air fares and taxes
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Travel insurance (we strongly recommend you obtain this) and visas if needed
  • Personal expenses e.g. souvenirs
  • Alcohol or sweetened beverages
  • Rental of personal equipment (flashlights, sleeping bags, sleeping pads etc.)
  • Tips (always optional, but always appreciated)

Important notes

  • You are required to obtain travel insurance with repatriation included as part of that policy. You are free to choose any insurance company of your choice. We usually recommend using World Nomads. Before the tour starts, Kalpak Travel requests that we have all your insurance documents on file.
  • This tour takes place in remote areas with limited comfort and limited accessibility to medical facilities. It’s recommended that you’re in good physical health to fully enjoy this tour.
  • Minimum group size is 2 people, we recommend waiting for our confirmation before purchasing non-refundable travel services like air ticket.

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.

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.

CHINA TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Chinese currency is called Rembini (RMB) and also known as Yuan. In the main cities of east and central China there are numerous ATMs that you can find in shopping centres, supermarkets or on the main streets. All of them accept Visa or Mastercard. In the west of China though - where our tours are going to - things are a little different as the pace of development is a little slower and ATMs are not often seen. We recommend you bring new USD/EURO/GBP bank notes in denominations of at least 20 USD/EURO/GBP to exchange in China. There are exchange offices and banks to help you change currency. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and a few international stores. An emergency fund of around 500 USD/EURO/GBP in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Xinjiang is a very safe region in world terms, although the political situation can change. Guests and locals are treated with respect and China is regarded as very safe destination for travellers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Chinese partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Travellers from most Western countries need a visa to enter China. You can check the current situation on the website of The Visa Machine. Any special permits 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 vital information on customs regulations for China.

BEST TIME TO GO:

Xinjiang province of China has a harsh continental steppe climate. There is little rainfall throughout the year and hot summers are followed by cold winters.
At high altitudes of 3000 metres or more it may even snow during summer at night, so make sure to bring some warm clothes. The best season to visit is summer for activity or jeep tours. Please note, weather in some mountain areas is likely to be very changeable.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing your teeth or making ice. 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 China. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Xinjiang province of China are basic at best.

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