Uzbekistan Tour in Two Weeks

Uzbekistan in Depth

Guided tour to explore Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Termez and Fergana Valley

Days

14

Price

€2590

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 16

Countries: Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Tashkent
  • Fergana
  • Termez
  • Samarkand
  • Bukhara
  • Khiva

Themes: Cultural Tours

Experience the best of the Silk Road cities during Kalpak Travel’s two weeks Uzbekistan tour. Now protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these ancient settlements were formed by nomads and conquerors, and the flourishing of Islam and the great Timurid Empire left a permanent architectural legacy. Mosques, madrassas, fortresses, and unforgettable landscapes await, with views ranging from fertile valleys to open steppe and never-ending deserts…

highlights

  • Tour modern Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in Central Asia
  • Visit the Fergana Valley to learn about the strong local traditions of ceramics and silk production
  • Discover Termez, a historic regional center of Buddhism
  • Explore remarkably well-preserved Khiva, a museum city surrounded by mud brick walls
  • Spend time in the charming Old City of Bukhara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Be wowed by the spectacular Registan and other architectural wonders of ancient Samarkand
  • Meet master craftsmen, who will share with you their expertise in paper making, ceramics, and silk production.

ITINERARY & MAP

Tashkent Amir Timur statue on the main square

Arrival at Tashkent Airport (for example, the Uzbekistan Airways’ flight from New York arrives at 9:55 AM; Turkish Airlines’ flights from Istanbul arrive at 7:40 AM and 1:55 AM). Transfer to the hotel and rest after your flight. You will have free time until the evening when you will meet your group and the tour leader in the hotel. After the welcome briefing, we will enjoy the short walk through Independence Square and along Sayilgoh Promenade, where artists gather to showcase their works. Together we will enjoy a lively welcome dinner and celebrate the start of what will no doubt be a captivating journey through Uzbekistan.

Meals: Dinner
Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

Silk maker in Fergana, Margilan silk factory

Following breakfast, we will travel by train to the Fergana Valley. Surrounded by the Tien Shan Mountains and watered by tributaries of the Syr Darya River, this is the most fertile part of Central Asia. Since the time of Alexander the Great and throughout the heyday of the Great Silk Road, it was a rich oasis. We will stop in Margilan, a famous Silk Road staging post, the economic life of which is still dominated by large-scale production of silk and other textiles. We will learn firsthand about the manufacturing process during a visit to the Margilan Yodgrolik Silk Factory. At Yodgorlik, silkworms are raised on mulberry leaves, and the cocoons are unraveled to yield the raw material. The artisans use natural dyes and Uzbekistan’s traditional ikat technique to produce stunning pieces.  Several different grades of fabric are produced, from the pure silk khon atlas to cotton and silk blends called adras. After sightseeing, we will check-in and have dinner at the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Grand Fergana Hotel 3*  or similar

Kokand city tour of the palace of Khudoyar khan in Fergana, Uzbekistan

This is our second day exploring the Fergana Valley. The region is famous in Uzbekistan not only for agriculture but also for its artisans and markets. After visiting the local market in Fergana, we will drive around one hour to Rishtan, which is celebrated as a center for ceramics. It is no coincidence that pottery became such a prominent industry here: the local red clay and pigments are of excellent quality. We will have the chance to visit the studio of a master potter, and to learn more about his job and passion, which has been passed down from generation to generation. From Rishtan, we drive on to Kokand, another city with a rich history as a trading and religious center. In the 19th century, Kokand was the capital of the Kokand Khanate, which stretched to the southern Kazakh steppe. Our short sightseeing tour will include the remains of the Khudayar Khan’s Palace, as well as the impressive Jami Mosque. At 5:30 PM our train will depart from Kokand to Tashkent. We will arrive in Tashkent at 9:20 PM and transfer to the hotel for a late dinner and bed.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

Khast imom complex in Tashkent

Tashkent is the biggest city in Central Asia and one of the oldest. Unfortunately, most of its historic buildings were destroyed in a catastrophic earthquake in 1966, after which Tashkent was rebuilt as a model Soviet city. Amongst the older buildings which did survive are those of the Khast Imom Complex, which is where we will head first on today’s city tour of Tashkent. The library contains the Quran of Caliph Uthman, which dates from the 7th century and hence is maybe the oldest Quran in the world. In the same place is the mausoleum of an Islamic saint, Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi. We will then join traders at the vibrant Chorsu Bazaar before taking a ride on the stunningly decorated Tashkent Metro. Our city tour will end with a visit to the Applied Arts Museum, after which we will go to the railway station and board the night train to the southernmost city of Uzbekistan, Termez.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight train (two people per compartment)

Termez

We will arrive in Termez early in the morning and immediately begin exploring the city. Few tourists ever venture as far south as Termez. It is a pity, as it is a place of exceptional historic importance and with a wealth of intriguing archaeological sites from pre-Islamic times. In the 6th century  BC, Termez was already known to the Achaemenids, and it was later conquered by Alexander the Great. The city’s medieval fortifications ran for 10 miles, and the famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta wrote of its lively bazaar, fine buildings, canals, and gardens. It is still possible to see the ruins of Kara Tepe and Fayaz Tepe, two important ancient Buddhist monasteries; plus the Kyrk-Kyz Fortress. Termez’s archaeological museum is one of the best in Central Asia, and we will visit it to learn about the millennia of Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and Islamic history in the region. This will provide the context for our subsequent visit to the archeological sites of Fayaz Tepa and Kampir Tepa.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Meridian 3* or similar

Derbent in Surkhan Darya, Uzbekistan

After breakfast, we will drive north to the village of Derbent. Derbent translates as “Dead End Valley” in the local language. It sits amidst the huge Hissar Mountain Range, a place steeped in nature and history. Historically, trading caravans traveling between the famous Silk Road cities of Kabul, Samarkand, and Bukhara would pass through this village. Derbent had a favorable strategic location: it was lush, populous, and situated on one of the main passes through the mountains. This pass was also a major crossing point between the ancient kingdoms of Bactria and Sogdia.

It is not by accident that both Alexander of Macedonia and Timur used this pass to move their armies through the area. The famous Iron Gate of Timur, a natural, narrow gorge through the rocky mountains, probably its name from the occasion when Timur led his soldiers through here en route from Samarkand to Balkh.

On arrival, we will have a short walk in the village. We will enjoy lunch with a local family and then go for an easy hike through the mountain foothills, perhaps also visiting the sacred spring which is a lifeline for the village. Dinner will be together with the villagers, so you can once again experience authentic rural hospitality.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Guesthouse (Shared bathroom)

Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Timur

Today is the day we journey to Samarkand! On the way, we will stop in the hometown of Emperor Timur, Shakhrisabz. Shakhrisabz is one of Uzbekistan’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We will arrive in time for lunch, then visit the Ak Saray, which was built as a summer palace for Timur. Next, we will explore the Dorut Tilovat memorial complex and the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque before continuing on our way and reaching Samarkand in the early evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Rabat 3* or similar

Uzbekistan tour

Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue. This was the domain of Emperor Timur, one of history’s greatest conquerors. His vast empire rivaled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe. Timur ruled his kingdom with an iron fist, whilst at the same time patronizing the arts and literature. Much of Samarkand’s Timurid-era architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have looked at the peak of Timur’s power.

Today is devoted to exploring Samarkand. We will start the day at the Gur-e-Amir, the gilded mausoleum where Timur is buried. We will hear stories from his life and how he began the construction of Samarkand. Then, we will go on to the Registan, the most famous (and arguably most impressive) landmark in Uzbekistan. The square is the historic focal point of Samarkand, and it is framed by three beautiful madrassas, Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya Kori. We’ll stroll from here through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, a structure which legend says was gifted to Timur by one of his wives. After lunch, we’ll have time to explore the Siyob Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown in the rich soils of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market. You may explore the city on your own during your free time this evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Rabat 3* or similar

Shahizinda full of tourists in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

After breakfast, we will visit Konigil Paper Mill to see the same process of paper production from mulberry tree bark which was used in 8th century Samarkand. We then go to the Shah-i Zinda, the magnificent royal necropolis decorated with turquoise and blue mosaics and domes. After lunch together, you can choose to have free time or to visit Ulugbek’s Observatory and Afrasiyab Museum with our guide. The museum explores the ancient history of Afrasiyab – Samarkand’s precursor – which was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. Dinner will be in the city center, and once we’ve eaten we will transfer to the train station to catch the Afrosiyob high-speed train to Bukhara at 9:00 PM. We’ll arrive at 10:40 PM and transfer to the hotel to check-in.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Safiya 3* or similar

Bukhara domes seen on Uzbekistan tour

After breakfast, we will start our walking tour of Bukhara. Even the name, Bukhara, conjures up images of the exotic Orient. For centuries, it was an important trading hub and a center of scholarship and religion. The Old City – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – has been well preserved and is crammed full of minarets, mosques, and madrassas. Its once-notorious canals and pools, the source of many an epidemic, have now been drained, but the most famous, Lyabi-Hauz, is still there, and today it is an oasis shaded by mulberry trees in the heart of the city. Your guide will show you Bukhara’s unmissable sights, and you can soak up the atmosphere wandering through the city’s labyrinthine alleyways. Key sights on today’s walking tour include the Samanid Mausoleum, Poi Kalon, Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, and the historic trading domes still used for handicrafts markets. Dinner will be served in the city center.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner on your own
Hotel Safiya 3* or similar

Khiva city Walls in Uzebkistan

This morning is free for you to relax, shop for souvenirs, or sip tea in the famous Lyabi Hauz square. Before mid-day, we will transfer to the railway station, and our journey through the Kyzylkum Desert to the walled city of Khiva will take approximately six hours on the train. Enjoy the scenery of the desert along the way. We will reach Khiva – the heart of which is an open-air museum – in the evening and have our dinner next to the minaret.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Zarafshan 3* or similar

Silk Road city in Uzbekistan-Khiva

A jewel of desert architecture, Khiva is one of the most important centers of ancient Khorezm. Locals believe that Shem, son of Noah, founded the city when he discovered a freshwater spring in the middle of this vast desert. Archeologists believe the city was founded some 2,500 years ago. Today, Khiva is the most architecturally intact Silk Road city in Uzbekistan. Its intense green and blue tilework ranks as some of the most spectacular in Central Asia, and the entirety of the Ichan-Kala – the inner city – is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Khiva is full of incredible architecture, and today we will get the chance to see it all. The focus of our tour is the walled Ichan-Kala, within which are preserved more than 60 historic monuments and hundreds of centuries-old houses. As you walk through the massive city gates, you’ll be met by the dazzlingly patterned tiles of the Kalta-Minor, a minaret that is a masterpiece of Islamic design. The walking tour will be complemented by panoramic views of Old Khiva from the top of the Ak Sheikh Baba observatory platform.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner on your own
Hotel Zarafshan 3* or similar

pottery Uzbekistan

After breakfast we will transfer to Urgench Airport for the flight to Tashkent, which arrives in the capital around noon. We will check-in at the hotel and you will then have free time to do as you wish, before rejoining your fellow travelers and guide for a final goodbye dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

Departue of Central Asia Tour

We will arrange a complimentary transfer to Tashkent International Airport.

Departure to New York (JFK): 7:05 AM on flight HY101
Departure to Istanbul: 3:25 AM or 9:10 AM on Turkish Airlines flights

Meals: Breakfast

 

Inclusions

Transport
Minibus, Train, Airplane
Meals
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 11 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (12 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tashkent – city tour
  • Fergana valley tour
  • Termez tour
  • Samarkand – city tour
  • Bukhara – walking tour
  • Khiva – walking 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

€2590

Euro

14

Days

Single supplement available for €500

Deposit: €500

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
28 Mar 2022
10 Apr 2022
+ Available
11 Apr 2022
24 Apr 2022
+ Available
26 Sep 2022
9 Oct 2022
+ Available
10 Oct 2022
23 Oct 2022
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers by minibus according to the itinerary, including airport pickup and drop off
  • Accommodation based on double/ twin room sharing, incl. early check-in on Day 1
  • English-speaking local tour guide accompanying the group
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Train tickets as per the itinerary
  • Economy class flight ticket from Urgench to Tashkent
  • Meals as per the itinerary
Price does not include
  • International air fares
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Personal expenses, e.g. souvenirs

Important notes

  • This tour is scheduled to fit with direct flights from New York (JFK) to Tashkent.
  • Travel insurance is required for this tour. You are free to choose any insurance company.
  • All listed departures are guaranteed
  • The maximum group size is 16 people
  • A €500 per person deposit is required at the time of booking, and the balance is due 15 days prior to departure. Terms & Conditions: https://kalpak-travel.com/terms-and-conditions/
  • One local English speaking tour leader will accompany the group for the whole trip
  • You can opt to book the whole itinerary as a private tour. We can also arrange extra nights before or after the trip, and suggest private tour extensions in Uzbekistan or neighboring countries.
  • Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan (US citizens do need an electronic visa, though). If you do need an electronic visa, we will get it for you. The official fee is 20 USD: there is no extra charge from our side. We will send the visa to you as a PDF; you just need to print it out and take it with you.
  • We are happy to suggest flights to get to Tashkent and back home: please contact us
  • Read more about food in Uzbekistan
  • Read more about the best time to travel to Uzbekistan

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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