Capitals of Central Asia Tour

Central Asia Express

Visit all 5 Central Asian Capitals, Darwaza & Silk Road Cities of Uzbekistan

Days

13

Price

€3890

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Route:

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

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 and Bishkek. Tour the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. Absorb the architectural legacies of a flourishing Islamic culture and the great Timurid Empire. And visit the “city of love” – Ashgabat. In your short stay, you will experience centuries of change and development in Central Asia.

highlights

  • Wonder at the futuristic designs of world renowned architects in the Kazakh capital of Astana
  • Visit Bishkek, the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan
  • Discover the Persian cultural heritage of Central Asia in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe
  • Take in the city of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in Central Asia
  • Marvel at Registan Square and other wonders of the ancient Uzbek city of Samarkand
  • Witness history brought to life at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Khiva
  • Camp beside the burning gas crater at Darvaza, Turkmenistan, also known as the “Gate of Hell”
  • Explore the marble city of Ashgabat and the archaeological ruins found in Old Nisa

ITINERARY & MAP

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

Welcome to Central Asia! Our representative will be waiting to meet you for the transfer to your hotel. Most flights arrive early in the morning and you can have a rest at the hotel before enjoying a late breakfast.

Central Asia’s youngest capital, Astana, is a showpiece for 21st century Kazakhstan. Talented architects have made major contributions to this futuristic city with its almost surreal skyline. The city’s history dates back to 1830, when Akmoly settlement was first established. In the following years it’s been renamed Tselinograd in 1961, Aqmola in 1992 and finally Astana (literally “capital” in the Kazakh language) in 1997.

Your guide will be waiting in the hotel lobby to begin our day’s sightseeing.  Visit the city’s “Old Centre”, the district known as Akmolinsk, the town of merchants.  Stroll down the Millennium Axis line, so named by Kisho Kurokawa, the chief architect, and creator of Astana’s city plan.  Delight in the glory of the Astana Opera House.  Gaze into the fountains of the Round Square. Continue on down the Nurzhol and Green Water Boulevards, with their distinctive skyscrapers towering overhead.  In Kazakhstan’s most important history museum, you will learn about the fascinating heritage of this country covering nomadic, Soviet and modern eras. At the end of the tour, visit the shopping and entertainment center in the world’s largest tent, the Khan-Shatyr.

The evening will provide a great opportunity to become acquainted with your traveling companions as you share your first dinner together. We will discuss the adventures that lie in store and you can ask any questions you might have about your tour.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for airport transfer and city tour

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5hours

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, altitude 347m

Astana Alzhir Prison Museum

After breakfast, we’ll depart Astana to drive to the memorial complex at Alzhir, located 40km outside of the city. The memorial complex you will visit is particularly dedicated to a camp that was there for wives of the betrayers of the motherland.  From different regions of the USSR, 20 000 women were brought to that particular camp. From the 1930s, Stalin began to build the infamous labor camps called “Gulags” in this area, bordering Russian Siberia. These camps in the middle of the vast Kazakh steppe were still functioning when Stalin died in 1953. In 2007 the memorial complex was opened to commemorate the people that fell under Stalin’s repression.

In the afternoon we will return to Astana and take the flight departing at 5:10 pm for Almaty, the former Kazakh capital and still the biggest city in Kazakhstan. We will arrive at Almaty at 6:50 pm, have dinner and check you in at the hotel.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards

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

Under Soviet rule, Almaty was a capital city with settlement dating back to pre-historic times. Today it has a rich history as Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis and it boasts many interesting places to visit. Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel lobby after breakfast to start your Almaty sightseeing tour. See examples of colonial Russian architecture like the wooden Orthodox Church, the Zenkov Cathedral, and the National Musical Instruments Museum.

After a visit to the museum, walk in the cooling shade of the verdant Panfilov Park, named after the Panfilov division that heroically defended Moscow in World War II.  Next, experience the oriental market at Green Bazaar, where you can buy anything from dried fruit to fresh meat to fermented camel’s milk. Ascend Kok-Tobe Hill on the funicular and enjoy sweeping views of the “Green City.” Finish your tour enjoying the wild beauty of Medeo Gorge.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, altitude 800m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

Rudaki Park in Dushanbe, favorite place of local population & highlight of tourism in tajikistan, central asia

After breakfast, your day will begin with a transfer to Almaty International Airport for your flight to Dushanbe departing 11:10 am.  Upon arrival, our guide and driver will meet you at the airport to begin a guided tour of the city, beginning with a visit to the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.  The museum contains exhibits on the country’s history, nature and art, including a stunning thirteen-meter long ancient statue of Buddha in Nirvana and many other ancient relics.  Continue from there to Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum and get to know the rich musical history of the region from its roots during the golden age of the Silk Road.

The main square of the capital features a monumental statue of the founder of the Samanid Empire, Ismail Somoni, with his crown of gold.  Before you enjoy dinner and a restful evening, stroll around Rudaki Park, where famous Persian scientists and poets are memorialized with impressive statues.

Transport: Flight and minivan with A/C for transfer/city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 5* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

statue of manas in front of the Philarmonic Hall in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan

This morning we will check in for our flight to Bishkek departing 11.00am.  Upon arrival in Bishkek, you will be met by our driver and transferred to your hotel to check in.  In the afternoon you will be guided through the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan, the greenest city in Central Asia.  Our sightseeing program in Bishkek will include stops at the museum, Oak Park (the oldest park in Bishkek), Central Square and the Philharmonic Hall.  Later, amble through more of the city’s charming parks and listen as your guide recounts the stories behind its most beloved landmarks and monuments.

Transport: Flight and minivan with A/C for transfer

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Ala Archa national park entrance in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Your guide and driver will greet you at your hotel after breakfast. After a fifty minute drive you will arrive at your first destination for the day: Ala-Archa National Park. This Alpine wilderness attracts visitors with its breathtaking mountain vistas and scenic hiking trails. The raging Ala-Archa River runs through a narrow gorge, surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks and steep, forested slopes.

Enjoy your time in the park either resting or hiking amidst the stunning scenery.  When evening comes, you’ll make your way to Bishkek International Airport and unwind on an evening flight to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Your flight will arrive in Tashkent at 7 pm.

Transport: Flight and minivan with A/C for transfer/city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Mosque in the centre of Tashkent with two blue domes, uzbekistan adventure tour in central asia

Meet with your group and the tour leader in the hotel lobby after breakfast.  Today it is time to begin our journey delving into the remarkable history of Uzbekistan. Tashkent, the largest city in Central Asia, is a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences.

Visit the Old City area of Tashkent where you will discover ancient historical sites: the Khast Imom Complex, which contains the ancient holy books of Islam; the Madrassa of Barak-Khan; the Tilla Sheikh Mosque; 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 Soviet-built Tashkent Metro, which features some of the most ornately decorated stations in the world. Exit the metro at Amir Temur Square Station to view the statue of Timur, the great conqueror and founder of the Timurid dynasty, and, next to that, the grand Independence Square. Complete the day with a visit to the Applied Arts Museum to immerse yourself in the vibrant Uzbek art scene.

During dinner at one of the top restaurants in Tashkent, you will be regaled with stories of Uzbekistan by your tour leader: its rich history, its customs, its traditions and of course its people.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

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

An early breakfast will be served at 6.30am so that you will be able to catch the high-speed Afrosiyob train which leaves Tashkent railway station at 8.00am. We will travel 300km in just over two hours – with speeds in places approaching 250 kilometers per hour – before arriving in the ancient city of Samarkand. There you can delve into the history of one of the earth’s greatest conquerors: Timur.  He is considered the last of the great nomadic conquerors of the vast region of the Eurasian Steppe.

At the heart of ancient Samarkand at the time of the Timurid dynasty lies the jewel in the crown of Uzbekistan’s great sites: spectacular Registan Square. Let your imagination loose to feel the history of this ancient site while you explore this amazing complex. From there you will move on to the remains of the once-glorious 15th century Bibi-Khanum Mosque. Then, take your time bargaining in the Siyob Bazaar, the largest in Samarkand.

Your next destination was once the workplace of Ulugbek, the famed astronomer who was decades ahead of Western astronomers with his observations of the solar system and earth. You will undoubtedly enjoy the well-preserved observatory bearing his name. You will return to the train station at 5.15pm in time to catch the 6pm train back to Tashkent. Upon arrival at 8pm in Tashkent, we will have dinner and then you can take a well-deserved rest.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour, high-speed train from Tashkent to Samarkand and back

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

panorama of Khiva with three minaretes

Another day begins at the airport for your 7.55am flight to the western part of Uzbekistan. Once you arrive in the city of Urgench, you will take a thirty-five-minute drive to your hotel in Khiva.  Khiva is packed with historical sites and today you will get a chance see them all.  We 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 the Khodja Minaret, the highest in Uzbekistan.  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.

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 706m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours

Gate of Hell, gas crater during Turkmenistan Travel

The morning is yours to continue your exploration of fascinating Khiva.  This afternoon, we will check out of the hotel and take a one hour drive to the Turkmenistan border crossing at Shavat-Dashoguz.  After some border formalities at both checkpoints, you will cross the 1.5 km neutral zone between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (transportation may not be available).

Once you are across the border you will meet your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Kunya-Urgench (100 km, 1h 30 min). Kunya-Urgench was once an important capital of Khwarezm, part of the greater Achaemenid Empire on the Silk Road, but its inhabitants left the place in 1700 and it remained untouched since then. You get the chance to see the most important sights of this important historic town.

In the afternoon we will drive to the Darvaza gas crater, also known as the “gate of hell” and located in the middle of Karakym desert (270 km, 4h). We will set up our camp right next to the burning crater. For dinner, we will enjoy a delicious fire-cooked meal. Overnight will be in tents.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for transfer

Accommodation: Tents next to burning crater

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3 hours 

Ashgabat independence park-Turkmenistan

After breakfast camp style we can enjoy this bizarre scenery of the burning crater in the desert one last time, before heading to Ashgabat (280 km, 4h). Along the way, we will stop at village Erbent to see how people live completely surrounded by desert.

In the afternoon we will reach the final destination of our Central Asia Express tour – Ashgabat. You can check-in at the hotel, have a rest and take a shower, before going out to a nice Restaurant for dinner.

Transport: Minivan with A/C 280 km, 4h

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 219m

 

Golden Statue of Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan

The capital city of Turkmenistan has recently been noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest number of white marble-clad buildings in the world. Your Ashgabat tour will take you 18 kilometers southwest to the excavated ruins of the ancient city of Old Nisa, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  You will also visit one of the largest mosques in Central Asia, Spiritual Mosque.  You will stop at the National Museum of History, the Monument of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the newly-built Independence Park.  To wrap up the day, you will visit a staple of Turkmen tradition, the Akhal-Teke horse stables, home of the “Golden Horses” and you might also catch sight of a remnant of Russian influence, the Lenin Monument.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

Accommodation: Hotel 4* by Western standards, altitude 219m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6 hours

library in Ashgabat-central-asia-tour-turkmenistan

Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to Central Asia.  After breakfast you will make your way to Ashgabat International Airport for your departure.  We hope you have enjoyed your journey and that you will consider a return trip to explore in depth your favourite state of Central Asia.

Inclusions

Transport
Metro, Minibus, Train, Airplane
Meals
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (11 nights), Tent (1 night)
Included Activities

Astana – city tour

Almaty – city tour

Bishkek – city tour

Dushanbe – city tour

Tashkent – city tour

Samarkand – city tour

Khiva – walking tour

Darvaza – Camping

dates & price

Total trip price

€3890

Euro

13

Days

Single supplement available for €650

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
20 May 2017
1 Jun 2017
+ Available
16 Sep 2017
28 Sep 2017
Available
Price includes
  • All transfers by 20-seater bus, 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
  • Swiss tour leader accompanying the group for the entire tour
  • All entry fees as per itinerary
  • Economy class tickets for flights: Astana-Almaty-Dushanbe-Bishkek-Tashkent-Urgench, Dashoguz-Ashgabat
  • Economy class ticket for train from Tashkent-Samarkand-Tashkent
  • Full board (breakfasts, lunches, dinners)
  • 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 is required
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs etc)

Important notes

  • We strongly recommend you to get travel insurance for this tour. Upon arrival, please provide your insurance details to the tour guide. Which insurance you choose is up to you. We recommend this one: https://www.worldnomads.com
  • Minimum group size is 3 people, we recommend waiting for our confirmation before purchasing non-refundable travel services like air tickets

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.

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.

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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