Ashgabat to Dushanbe along the Silk Road

Along the Silk Road in Central Asia

Travel highlights of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan

Days

17

Price

€4100

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 16 persons

Countries: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Ashgabat
  • Samarkand
  • Dushanbe

Themes: Cultural Tours

In 17 days you can explore the heart of the Great Silk Road, winding your way across deserts and through a mountain range from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, via Uzbekistan, to Dushanbe in Tajikistan. These three Central Asian republics offer a fascinating diversity of cultural experiences and natural wonders, making for an unforgettable tour.

 History lovers will relish the huge number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way. The ruined desert cities of Merv and Konya Urgench contrast sharply with the still-thriving metropolises of Bukhara, Khiva, and Samarkand, with their dazzlingly tiled mosques, madrassas, and mausoleums. Bukhara was one of the most important intellectual and religious centers of the medieval world, and it remains a place of Sufi pilgrimage.

 Traveling in the spring or fall when temperatures are at their most pleasant, you’ll see the seasons on the cusp of change. The desert has an undeniable romance, especially when a herd of Bactrian camels wanders by; and there are few places more beautiful than turquoise Iskanderkul (Alexander’s Lake), surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Fann Mountains.

highlights

  • Combine the cultural highlights and natural beauty of Central Asia in a single tour
  • Visit three of Central Asia’s most exciting capital cities, Ashgabat, Tashkent, and Dushanbe
  • Explore the ruins of Merv, Konya Urgench, and Sarazm, three ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Marvel at Registan Square and other wonders of Timurid architecture in Samarkand
  • Lose yourself in the bustling streets of Khiva and Bukhara, surrounded by dazzling medieval monuments
  • Shop in authentic oriental bazaars for everything from hand-woven silks to spices
  • Feast on a barbeque next to the dramatic burning gas crater known as “the Gates of Hell”
  • Visit Iskander Kul, the idyllic mountain lake named after Alexander the Great

 

 

ITINERARY & MAP

Welcome to Central Asia and Turkmenistan! Most of the flights arrive early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in. Have a rest after the long flight and free time. Meet your fellow travelers in the hotel lobby in the evening.

The Turkmenistan welcome dinner will be accompanied by a folk performance at the Bagt Koshgi restaurant. On the way to the hotel, we will stop by the viewpoint at the Wedding Palace to take pictures.

Overnight at Hotel Diwan (4*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Old Nisa in Turkmenistan

The capital of Turkmenistan, nicknamed “the City of Love,” has been rebuilt several times throughout its long history. Today, Turkmenistan’s natural gas wealth is evident in the capital’s opulent marble architecture, which holds a Guinness record for the highest density of white marble buildings in the world. As you will see during today’s city tour, the city boasts several other world records as well.

We will start the city tour with a visit to the Halk Hakydasy National Memorial Complex with its World War II and earthquake memorials. We will then drive on to the Old Nisa fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the earliest of the Parthian Empire’s capitals. It is located on a hilltop at the foot of the Kopet-Dag Mountains. 14 hectares in size, the fort incorporates two semi-excavated complexes from the Parthian period (3rd century BC – 3rd century AD), which have been identified as a royal residence and a temple complex.

Back in Ashgabat, we will visit the Alem Ferris Wheel (the world’s largest indoor ferris wheel), as well as the Arch of Neutrality.  We will eat lunch and then continue to the Park of Independence, the Ertogrul Gazi Mosque, and, finally, the Russian Bazaar.

In the evening, we will be invited for dinner at the private house of a local family and then marvel at Ashgabat’s nighttime illuminations on the way back to the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel Diwan (4*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ruins of Merv Turkmenistan

On today’s day trip, we will take the domestic flight from Ashgabat to Mary (9:50 am – 10:30 am) to explore the vast archaeological site of Merv, just outside the modern city of Mary. Merv was founded in the Bronze Age and was an important city on the ancient Silk Road. Merv was one of the world’s largest cities until it was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century, and its loss was hugely detrimental to civilization.

We will have a comprehensive tour of the ruins of ancient Merv (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and then return to Mary for late lunch. Our tour will continue at the local history museum, Juma mosque, and Russian Orthodox church. The flight back to Ashgabat departs at 7:10 pm, and on arrival in the capital, we will return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight at Hotel Diwan (4*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Burning Gas Crater Darvaza

After a late breakfast we will drive to a farm in Goekdepe, about 50 km west of Ashgabat, to see Turkmenistan’s famous Akhal Teke horses. Stopping on the way back at the Turkmenbashi Mosque and Mausoleum in Kipchak, we will then have lunch, pick up our luggage from the hotel, and transfer to 4WD cars to visit Darvaza, the burning gas crater in the Karakum Desert. Arriving at Darvaza before sunset, we will have dinner in a yurt camp right next to the dramatically flaming gas crater which has been appropriately nicknamed “the Door to Hell”. Fittingly, our dinner will be barbequed over the fire, and we will spend the night in the yurts.

Overnight in a yurt camp (shared bathroom facilities)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kunya Urgench in Turkmenistan

Today, which will inevitably come too soon, is our last day in Turkmenistan as after breakfast we will drive towards Nukus, Uzbekistan. Just before the border, we will stop at Turkmenistan’s other remarkable UNESCO-listed archaeological site, Kunya Urgench. Here we will visit the most important mausoleums and also see the Kutlug Timur Minaret, built in 1011.

After lunch, we will cross the Khojeyli border post into Uzbekistan. Be prepared for some lengthy border procedures. It is then a half-hour drive to the city of Nukus, but we will stop en route for a photo stop at the Mizdarkhan necropolis, parts of which date back to the 4th century BC.

In the evening our tour manager will give a welcome to Uzbekistan talk, and there will also be a chance to reflect on your experiences of the trip so far. Dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant and we will then learn more about the cultural significance of Nukus through a wonderful film, Desert of Forbidden Art. The movie tells the extraordinary story of Igor Savitsky, a Soviet painter, archaeologist, collector, and avant-garde art connoisseur who single-handedly founded the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (also known as Nukus Museum, or the Savitsky Museum), which we will visit tomorrow.

Overnight at Hotel Jipek Joli (3*)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

nukus savitsky museum in karakalpakstan uzbekistan travel

Nukus is the capital of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic. Due to its secluded location near the Aral Sea, Nukus was a closed city throughout the Soviet period, when the Red Army researched and developed chemical warfare weapons here.

After a leisurely breakfast, we will walk the short distance from the hotel to the Savitsky Museum, where we will be met by a curator and art specialist. The museum houses thousands of ancient treasures and important ethnographic objects, along with the world’s second-largest collection of Russian avant-garde art, which Savitsky kept hidden from the watchful eyes of the KGB in this isolated desert location. We will eat lunch at the museum and in the afternoon have some free time to explore the city independently.

Later on, a local professor will talk about the Aral Sea disaster, a tragic topic he is studying in-depth. Then, we will drive to the home of a local Karakalpak family to enjoy some home-cooked food accompanied by a performance of traditional music and dance.

Overnight at Hotel Jipek Joli (3*)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khiva city Walls in Uzebkistan

It is now time to drive through some of the remotest areas of Uzbekistan to reach the oasis town of Khiva. Although the road conditions are not easy, our four-hour journey will take us through a region with stunning ancient fortresses. We will make a short stop at one of them, Chilpik Kala, which was inhabited by Zoroastrians two millennia ago.

Lunch will be served once we arrive in Khiva. We will have time to settle into our hotel and then head into the Ichan Kala, the walled city, to visit a craft center where local children are learning the traditional art of woodcarving.

Overnight at Zarafshan Boutique Hotel (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khiva is a classic silk road city in Uzbekistan

After breakfast, we will start sightseeing in earnest. Khiva is one of the oldest cities in ancient Khorezm, a pearl of eastern architecture. Legend has it that it was founded by Shem, the son of Noah, and archaeological records trace its origins back to the 4th or 5th century BC. Today, Khiva is the most architecturally intact of Uzbekistan’s UNESCO-listed Silk Road cities. The entire citadel is an open-air museum, protected as a World Heritage Site.

Khiva is packed with rich cultural sites: there are more than 50 historic monuments and hundreds of traditionally-built houses within the Ichan Qala alone. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you are confronted by a glistening beacon of Islam, the Kalta Minor, a bejewelled minaret. The guide will lead us through Khiva’s labyrinthine streets to explore magnificent buildings including the dazzlingly-tiled harem within the Tash Khauli (Stone Palace) and the Juma Mosque, with its beautifully carved wooden pillars, every one of which is unique.  We will watch the sunset from the top of the Kunya-Ark, which grants us a perfect panorama of the Ichan Qala in the early evening light, before enjoying dinner, music, and dancing courtesy of Khorezm’s finest local musicians.

Overnight at Zarafshan Boutique Hotel (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Vacations in Bukhara

Rising early, we will transfer to the train station and ride the rails from Khiva to Bukhara, crossing the Kyzylkum Desert, the 16th largest desert on the planet. Lunch will be served on board, and we will arrive in Bukhara at 1:35 pm.

Bukhara was a major staging point on the Silk Road, its wealth derived from overland trade. In the medieval period, Bukhara was also a hugely important religious and intellectual center, rivaling Baghdad. A UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, 2,500 years of history and traditions are well preserved in the Old City. On this first day in Bukhara, you will have time to walk, admiring some of the 300+ mosques and monuments before enjoying a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Hotel Safiya (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bukhara

The day will begin with a visit to the Ismail Somoni Mausoleum, a unique monument dating from the 10th century which was the architectural inspiration for later domed mausolea across Central and South Asia. Nearby, the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum is a local pilgrimage site connected with the Old Testament Prophet Job.

Our tour itinerary will continue at the elegant Bolo Hauz Mosque and the Ark Citadel, Bukhara’s original fortress, which was founded at least 2,000 years ago. We will eat lunch together and then visit the Poi Kalon complex, a highlight of the city, where the Kalon Mosque, Kalon Minaret, and the Mir-i-Arab Madrassah surround an open plaza teeming with local vendors and their colorful stalls.

We will also visit Lyabi Hauz, the social hub of Old Bukhara, where locals come to meet friends, eat, drink, and relax in the shade. The Nodir Devon Begi Khanagha, built as a rest house for Sufi dervishes, overlooks this attractive square. It is only a short stroll from here to the famous trading domes where Silk Road merchants sold their exotic goods and their modern descendants still trade. We will have some free time in the late afternoon and then regroup for dinner at a local house.

Overnight at Hotel Safiya (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Uzbek Merchant in Bukhara Uzbekistan

This morning you can choose to wander independently in Bukhara’s Old City, and perhaps indulge in some shopping, or join the guide to visit the Sitorai Mokhi Khosa, the summer palace of the last emir of Bukhara. The palace was built from 1912-18 on the outskirts of the city, and it has an eclectic architectural and decorative style that includes both Russian and local influences.

We will have a last lunch in Bukhara and then board the high-speed Afrosiob train to Tashkent at 3:50 pm. We will arrive in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s modern capital, at 7:45 pm and transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner.

Overnight at Hotel Wyndham (4*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tour Group in Tashkent Uzbekistan

With a population of over 3 million people, Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia. Its history dates back to the first century BC when an urban settlement grew up around a major caravan crossroad on the Silk Road. Much of what you see today, however, dates from the late 20th or 21st centuries, as a devastating earthquake in 1966 destroyed much of the older city. Rebuilding Tashkent was a major Soviet infrastructure project, with laborers coming to work here from across the Soviet Union.

We will start the day’s sightseeing at the Monument of Courage, which remembers the victims of the earthquake. We will then walk to Independence Square, a symbol of freedom for Uzbekistan’s citizens, who declared their independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Next, we drive to Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent’s green-domed market, with its acres of spices, fresh produce, and traditional crafts. Our last stop before lunch is the Barak Khan Madrassah, a historical monument that has become a center for local artists and craftsmen. We will also get to Uzbekistan’s holiest relic, the world’s oldest Koran.

Lunch will be served at the Central Asian Plov Center: you had better be hungry! Full of delicious plov, Uzbekistan’s national dish, we will then visit the Museum of Applied Arts, an ornate, rainbow-colored building that was previously the official residence of the Russian Ambassador. We are saving the best until last, however, and we will now go underground to discover the subterranean art gallery that is Tashkent Metro. Each station has was designed by leading Uzbek architects and artists, and their inspirational themes vary from the Soviet space program to the literature of national poet, Alisher Navoi.

At 6:45 pm we will drive to the railway station to get the high-speed Afrosiob train to Samarkand, arriving at 8:53 pm for a late dinner and a comfortable night in the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel Rabat (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Registan with three madrasahs and mosque, the central square in Samarkand

Sublime Samarkand was the imperial capital of Emperor Timur, one of history’s greatest (and most ruthless) conquerors. His vast empire stretched across the Eurasian steppe, reaching as far as Ankara and Delhi. As well as a successful military leader, Timur patronized 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 its power.

We will start the day with a visit to the Gur-e-Amir, the gilded mausoleum where Timur is buried. We will hear about his astonishing life and how his investment in Samarkand’s monuments created much of the city we see today. In the Registan, arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark, we will explore the three beautiful madrassahs (religious schools) which frame Samarkand’s central square, Ulugbek, Sher-Dor, and Tillya Kori. Next, we will stroll through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, which legend has it was built for Timur as a gift by one of his wives. Siab Bazaar is right next door, where fruit and vegetables grown in the rich soil of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market.

We will finish today at a bakery in one of the backstreets of the Old Town, where a family bakes bread for the local community. You are welcome to try making a loaf of your own. Before dinner, we will watch a fashion show at Valentina Romanenko’s Ayesha Studio. Valentina is a well-known designer in Uzbekistan. She creates her stunning original designs from hand-painted silks, antique lace, and traditional suzani embroidery, enhanced with her secret, plant-based dyeing techniques.

Overnight at Hotel Rabat (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Shahizinda mausoleum photographed by tourists in Samarkand

We need more time to explore majestic Samarkand, so today is another full day in the city. We will start at Afrasiyab Museum, which showcases the ancient history of Samarkand (then known as Afrasiyab) before it was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. Then, we will go to the Shah-i Zinda, the family necropolis of the Timurid dynasty, which has the finest tilework of any site in Uzbekistan. At Ulugbek’s Observatory, you will learn about the Timurids’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy, and how Emperor Ulugbek used a huge sextant to enrich our knowledge of the stars.

As part of the My City project, we plan to meet local English teachers and students. They will be your local hosts, guiding you around their homes and neighborhoods, and to see their community centers and schools. This immersive activity allows you to appreciate firsthand what life is like in Samarkand, and to have your burning questions answered.

In the evening, Farida and Olim, two natives of Samarkand, will welcome us in their home. Together we will prepare manti, One of Uzbekistan’s most popular dishes, with the family.

Overnight at Hotel Rabat (3*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Iskanderkul oder Alexandersee in Tadschkistan

The time has come to say goodbye to the Silk Road cities and deserts of Uzbekistan and head towards mountainous Tajikistan. After breakfast, we will drive to the Uzbek-Tajik border, which takes about one hour. Crossing the border on foot, we will meet our Tajik guide and driver on the other side.

Shortly after the border, we will stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm, the ruins of which date from the 4th to 2nd millennia BC. We have a short look around the site and then continue driving past the town of Penjikent and through the verdant Zeravshan Valley. We will take a detour for lunch to Iskander Kul, a turquoise mountain lake about 30 kilometers off the main road. The high altitude lake, named after Alexander the Great, is triangular in shape and considered one of the most exquisite lakes in the former Soviet Union. If you wish, you can take a short hike to a nearby waterfall.

In the afternoon, we will depart from Iskander Kul and drive to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. It’s a wonderfully scenic route along the Vazob River and through the Varzob Gorge, a popular weekend getaway from Dushanbe. In the evening we will arrive in Dushanbe, check-in at a comfortable city center hotel, and have dinner.

Overnight at Hotel Serena (5*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

As well as being the capital, Dushanbe is the largest city in Tajikistan. It was a small village with a market every Monday. The Persian word for Monday is Dushanbe, and that’s how the settlement got its name. It was not until the Soviet period that Dushanbe grew into the political and industrial center of Tajikistan.

Our Dushanbe city tour will start at the large, modern National Museum of Tajikistan to get an overview of the country we are about to explore. We will see the Navruz Palace, which was conceived as the largest teahouse in the world, but became so impressive during its construction that it is now used as a palatial venue for official government meetings and conferences. It’s over the top inside and out! This contrasts with the peaceful atmosphere of Rudaki Park, dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki; and our final stop, the golden statue of Ismail Somoni, which commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of the Samanid State, a golden age in Tajik history when science and the arts flourished.

Overnight at Hotel Serena (5*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

departure passport with stamps

On the final morning, you will transfer to the airport at an appropriate time to catch your flight back home.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

Transport
Train, Airplane, Minivan, Jeep
Meals
Accommodation
Included Activities
  • Ashgabat – city tour
  • Tashkent – city tour
  • Samarkand – city tour
  • Bukhara – city tour
  • Khiva – walking tour
  • Dushanbe – city tour
  • Bishkek – city tour
Download PDF

dates & price

You can choose to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or book a private tour on the date of your choice
*
*
*
Total trip price

€4100

Euro

17

Days

Single supplement available for €700

Deposit: €500

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
15 Apr 2022
1 May 2022
+ Available
17 Jun 2022
3 Jul 2022
+ Available
16 Sep 2022
2 Oct 2022
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers, including airport collection and drop-off
  • Accommodation based on two people sharing a double/twin room, with breakfasts included
  • Full board (all lunches and dinners) on most days, except where mentioned in the itinerary
  • English speaking local guide in each country, plus one tour leader accompanying the group for the duration of the trip
  • All entry fees as per the itinerary
  • Train tickets from Khiva-Bukhara, Bukhara-Tashkent, and Tashkent-Samarkand
  • Economy class flights from Ashgabat-Mary-Ashgabat
  • Visa support
Price does not include
  • International air fares to and from Central Asia
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for tourist visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs etc)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips for guides and drivers (optional)

Important notes

  • All listed departures are guaranteed
  • The maximum group size is 16 people
  • One tour leader will accompany the group for the whole trip
  • Segments of the tour can be booked individually. We can also arrange extra nights before or after the trip, and suggest private tour extensions.
  • We can advise and take care of all visas for you. Citizens of most countries are eligible for an e-visa for Tajikistan, and a visa on arrival for Turkmenistan, with a letter of invitation pre-arranged by us. Uzbekistan is visa-free for most nationalities and for others we can get an electronic visa.
  • A €500 per person deposit is required at the time of booking, and the balance is due 30 days prior to departure. Please take note of our Terms & Conditions.
  • Read more about food in Central Asia and see our books recommendations
  • We are happy to suggest flights to get to Central Asia and back home: please contact us

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 malls, 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 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 in most places, except for a 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 a 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 electronic visa 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 after 2-3 days 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. If you book a tour with us, we can get the visa for you.
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 altitudes, 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 meters. The best season to visit Tajikistan is during summer when it's possible to go to the mountains.

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 a few high-end hotels, but most stores and restaurants do not accept any cards. We recommend bringing all money in cash, in new USD banknotes 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 a 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 prior to checking with us. Depending on your nationality, and circumstances we can advise you on your chances of getting the visa letter approved for Turkmenistan.
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 traveler’s diarrhea. 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 do no longer need a visa to visit Uzbekistan for a period of up to 30 days. A notable exception is the United States - US citizens need to apply for an electronic visa to visit Uzbekistan. You can get the visa yourself through the official government website for 20 USD per person: https://e-visa.gov.uz/. If you book a trip to Uzbekistan with us we will get the visa for you.

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 characterizes 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.

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