Uzbekistan Roundtrip

Ultimate Uzbekistan Roundtrip

Take a guided tour to explore Uzbekistan and visit its historic cities, the gems of the ancient Silk Road.

Days

16

Price

€2890

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Tashkent
  • Ferghana Valley
  • Karakalpakstan
  • Silk Road Cities

Themes: Cultural Tours

Uzbekistan’s long history permeates every pore of this culturally rich nation.  For well over a thousand years, merchants carried their wares over remote mountain passes, along with verdant river valleys and through seemingly endless deserts following what’s now known as the Ancient Silk Road.  These nomads, conquerors, and settlers left behind an architectural legacy that draws on forgotten empires and ancient religions.

Uzbekistan has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for four of its age-old cities: Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, Khiva and of course Samarkand, arguably the jewel in the country’s dazzling crown. Their 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

  • Modern Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan and largest city of Central Asia
  • Capital of Kokand Khanate and center of Fergana
  • Spectacular Registan Square and other architectural wonders of ancient Samarkand
  • Charming old city of Bukhara, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Ancient Khiva, UNESCO World Heritage Site, remarkably well preserved and surrounded by city walls of plastered mud
  • Shakhrisabz, a city with a 2700 year history
  • Experience the oriental charm of Uzbek bazaars
  • Visit different workshops to learn about ancient traditions like making Samarkand paper and watch silk carpet production

ITINERARY & MAP

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

Your journey back in time begins today as you touch down in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s lively capital.  A sprawling mass of contradictions, unraveling the city’s complexities is half the fun.  From its modern high rises to Soviet-era architecture by way of the narrow almost medieval alleyways of its bazaar, this is a fascinating city of contrasts.  Visit the Old City area of Tashkent where you will find the Khast Imom Complex which contains ancient holy Quran.  Experience the bustling crowds of traders at Chor-Su Bazaar before taking a ride on the city’s famous Soviet-era metro system. We complete the day with a visit to the Applied Arts Museum where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the vibrant Uzbek art scene.

During dinner at one of the top restaurants in Tashkent, you will learn more about the rich history, customs, traditions and people of Uzbekistan. You will get a chance to discuss your first impressions about the land and adventures awaiting you in the coming days.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 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. 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. Make sure to take interesting audiobooks to hear during a shaky drive or plenty of good music.

We’ll pause at Kokand, once a bustling transport hub for Silk Road merchants bound for the Fergana Valley.  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 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.  Leaving Kokand, we’ll continue on to Fergana City where the Akhmad Al-Fergani Park will mark the end of today’s exploration.

Transport: Inter-city transfer with minivan with A/C 320 km to Fergana City

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Rishtan ceramic is worldwide famous for its quality an intricate handmade Silk Road patterns decoration

Departing Fergana in the morning, 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 colors 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.

We’ll leave Margilan bound for Rishtan where we’ll make a stop at the home of well-known ceramicist Rustam Usmanov.  The fluid shapes of his work and the quality of the decoration have seen his work exhibited in galleries throughout the world.  You’ll get a chance to see close-up the techniques used as we visit a pottery workshop and see the finished articles on display in the on-site museum.  Later, we’ll move on to craftsman Bakhrom-aka’s home and see how a Kyrgyz family makes wool carpets.  Reaching Ok Yer village, we’ll make our way back to Tashkent.

Transport: Intercity transfer with minivan with A/C

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

abandoned ships at aral sea, near muynak, the cemetery of ships, uzbekistan

This time, we’ll board a flight to Nukus and from there drive to the archaeological complex of Mizdakhan, an ancient cemetery located next to Gyaur-Kala fortress and one of the most visited sites in this part of Uzbekistan.  From there, we’ll make our way to the former port at Muynak. Once, this was a thriving fishing village located on the shores of the Aral Sea. In just forty years, the Aral Sea lost more than 90% of its volume.

Today, the ships lie stranded in a sandy grave, their rusting hulls a forlorn sight reminding us that people and nature live in precarious balance.  In the local museum, we’ll learn more about this catastrophic policy and the ramifications that continue to afflict ports such as Muynak.  There’s much to ponder as we make our way back to Nukus for our overnight stop.

Transport: Flight – 2 hrs 45 min, Inter-city transfer with minivan with A/C220 km, 3 hours

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 75 meters altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours

savitsky museum in Karakalpakstan vacations, forbidden Soviet Art-

We won’t be in a rush to leave Nukus this morning as our first stop is at the Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum with its collection of forbidden art of the Soviet Union. The museum hosts the world’s second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and also features an exhibition of Karakalpak applied arts.  Whether you’re fond of paintings, sculptures or other pieces, there will be something here that delights.

As we leave, we’ll take a brief city tour that will give us the chance to get a glimpse of some of Nukus’ other important sights: the statue of Karakalpak poet Berdakh, Nukus City Hall and its Drama Theatre.  Eventually, it will be time to move on and this time Khiva is the draw.  En route, we’ll wend our way past several archaeological monuments from ancient Khorezm: first, to Shylpyk-Kala, a round roofless tower perched atop a bleak hill and used by the Zoroastrians to bury their dead, their bones picked clean by the birds of prey that gathered overhead.  We’ll also pause at Toprak-Kala, the capital of Khorezm dating back to the 3rd century, before arriving at Khiva in time for dinner.

Transport: Inter-city transfer with minivan with A/C 200 km, 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 109 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

panorama of Khiva in the evening light

UNESCO-listed Khiva is a real treat.  This low-rise city is constructed in sandstone, punctuated by towers and domes in vibrant shades of emerald and turquoise.  Our first stop is at the Ichan-Kala fortress.  Part fortress, part city, it looks now as an open air museum, its crenellations topping a wall that encloses the homes of an estimated 300 families who still make their living as artisans to this day.

The clay wall has four gates and we’ll enter to find ourselves in front of the glittering Kalta-minor Minaret.  We’ll take our time as we explore in order to soak up the atmosphere, climbing the Khodja Minaret.  After your orientation tour, you will have some free time. Whether you browse for souvenirs or sip green tea at one of the many cafés dotted around the old city is up to you.

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, ‎109 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours

wide mud wall of Khiva surrounding the ancient city, Uzbekistan destinations

Leaving Khiva will be a drag, but as our destination today is the equally delightful Bukhara, we’re sure you’ll forgive us. Heading west, we’ll follow the highway that takes us right into the Kyzylkum desert, just as the ancient Silk Road traders once did.  The mighty Amudarya River cuts through the desert and we will stop on route to see this important waterway that flows into what remains of the Aral Sea.  It’s a long day on shaky roads, so prepare yourself with plenty of snacks and charge up your devices so the music doesn’t run out or take some audiobooks to hear.  At the end of this arduous drive, the reward will be Burkhara, where we’ll arrive late into the night and ready to rest.

Transport: Intercity transfer with minivan with A/C 480 km, 7-8 hours

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

Bukhara domes and minaret, Uzbekistan Tour

The second of our UNESCO World Heritage stops, even the very name Bukhara conjures up images of the exotic Orient.  Today, as for centuries, it’s an important trading post and you’ll have numerous opportunities to see traditional Uzbek products being bought and sold. The Old Town has been well preserved and 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.

Transport: Inter-city transfer with minivan with A/C 200 km, 4-5 hours

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

Chor Minor building with four minarets during Uzbekistan architecture Roundtrip 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.  Later, you’ll have more free time to explore the city and its two and a half thousand year history.  We’d recommend you take lunch in one of the city’s Jewish houses to fuel up for an afternoon strolling around the old town’s 140 monuments, parks and gardens. In the evening we will visit national folklore show and get to know ancient culture of modern Uzbekistan

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours 

unique yurt camp in the desert of Uzbekistan, near aidarkul lake

Today we leave Bukhara as we drive to the small town of Nurata.  We’ll pause at the Gijduvan pottery workshop and also pay a visit to a mosque with a hot spring.  Out of that holy spring pours 420 liters every second and fish in their hundreds are drawn to its warmth.  In the afternoon, we’ll head back to the minivan to climb the Nurata Pass, where we’ll stop to have a look at the petroglyphs found there.  Our destination today is a yurt camp located in the Kyzylkum Desert.  These traditional felt tents can be seen throughout Central Asia and it’s a treat to be able to stay in one.  There’ll be the opportunity to ride camels and as night falls, we’ll dine under the stars around a camp fire to the sounds of Kazakh folk songs.

Transport: Intercity transfer with minivan with A/C 230 km, 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Yurt camp, 490 m altitude

aydarkul- desert lake in Uzbekistan holidays

Even deserts contain water, and we’ll discover this for ourselves as we walk along the shores of Aidarkul Lake.  Using camels as our means of transport, we’ll ride for a half hour to the neighboring village of Dungalak where you’ll be shown how to make bread in the traditional way.  Lunch will, of course, be based around the “non” we’ve baked.  We’ll linger a while to find out more about village life, enjoying the change of pace from the bustle and action of old Bukhara. Returning to camp, we’ll pack up our belongings and hit the road, as tonight’s destination is the exotic city of Samarkand.

Transport: Intercity transfer with minivan with A/C 270 km, 5-6 hours

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

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

Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue.  This was the domain of Timur, one of the history’s great conquerors.  His vast empire rivaled 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.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

Building in Samarkand, tomb of Great Timurlan, cultural tour

Today, we’ve included a second day at this incredible UNESCO-listed city as we know there’s just too much to take in during a single day.  We’ll pay a visit to the Afrasiab Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel.  Later, we’ll drive to Koni Ghil village to explore the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry and Silk carpet factory.  After this sightseeing, you’ll retain some leisure time before we visit Samarkand Theatre of historical costume.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for city tour

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours 

ancient city architecture in Shakhrisabz-uzbekistan-tour

In the morning, it’s time to depart Samarkand.  We have one more UNESCO-listed site to visit: Shakhrisabz, a city with a 2700 year history.  Reached across the beautiful Alpine Pass of Takhta-Karacha, it’s an easy drive from Samarkand so we’ll be there in good time. This is the birthplace of Timur, also known as the Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire and we’ll visit his mausoleum and memorial complex, as well as the burial vault of his father.  Whilst Emperor, Timur built his Ak-Saray Palace, translating as White Palace on account of the colour of the stone used in its construction.  Today it stands as a ruin, but is impressive nonetheless.  After a traditional lunch, we’ll get back on the road and head for Termez, tonight’s overnight stop.

Transport: Inter-city transfer with minivan with A/C to Shakhrisabz 90 km, 2 hours; to Termez 290 km, 5 hours

Accommodation: Hotel 3* by Western standards, 302 m altitude

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

termez 40 girls fortress in uzbekistan, important archeological monument of central asia

Termez, an ancient Buddhist centre, is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and the focus of today’s sightseeing programme.  It was sacked by Genghis Khan in 1220 after it refused to capitulate.  Some of its most impressive sights are located just outside the modern day city, so we’ll begin there to visit Zhurmal Tower, Buddha’s stupa.  Nearby, we’ll also explore the Mausoleum of Al-Hakim at-Termezi and the Buddhist archaeological site of Fayaztepa.  Finally, we’ll explore the sprawling ruined fortress of Kampir Tepe, located in a picturesque setting on the banks of the Aru-Darya River.  Old Termez awaits, its chequered history fascinating.  We’ll see the summer residence of the Samani rulers and visit the city’s archaeology museum to complete our education.  As the afternoon fades into the evening we’ll make our way to the airport for our flight back to Tashkent.

Transport: Domestic flight to Tashkent

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

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

visit Tashkent uzbekistan in tour

Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to marvelous Uzbekistan. 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, Airplane
Meals
16 breakfasts, 15lunches, 15 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (15 nights), yurt stay (1 night)
Included Activities

Kokand – city tour

Nukus – Savitski museum

Khiva – walking tour

Bukhara – walking tour

Camel riding

Yurt Camp

Samarkand – city tour

Samarkand – paper making from mulberry

Shakhrisabz -city tour

Termez- city tour

Tashkent – city tour

dates & price

Total trip price

€2890

Euro

16

Days

Single supplement available for €400

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
7 Oct 2017
22 Oct 2017
Available
6 Oct 2018
21 Oct 2018
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers by minibus according to the itinerary, pick-ups and drop offs
  • Accommodation based on sharing a double/ twin room
  • English speaking tour leader accompanying the group for the whole time
  • All entrances as per itinerary
  • Full board (breakfasts, lunches, dinners)
Price does not include
  • International air fares
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa
  • Travel insurance (we strongly recommend you take this out)
  • Personal expenses e.g. souvenirs

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
  • Make sure to declare all money and valuables when entering Uzbekistan (see more on entry & exit section below about customs regulations)
  • It is strictly prohibited to take photos of government & military buildings as well as metro in Uzbekistan. If unsure, please ask your guide.
  • Minimum group size is 3 people, we recommend waiting for our confirmation before purchasing non-refundable travel services like air ticket

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.

Related articles

Travellers' Impressions of Uzbekistan