Uzbekistan & Expo 2017 Tour

Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan

Combine Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, the gems of the ancient Silk Road with a visit to modern capital Astana, the host of World Expo 2017

Days

14

Price

€2490

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan

Route:

  • Tashkent
  • Samarkand
  • Bukhara
  • Khiva
  • Almaty
  • Astana

Themes: Cultural Tours, Festivals

Combine the best of Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan with World Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan. Travel the ancient cities frequented by nomads and conquerors, the architectural legacy left by a flourishing Islam and the great Empire of Timur. Mosques, madrassas, fortresses and unforgettable landscapes await, ranging from fertile valleys to open steppes and never-ending deserts…

highlights

  • Modern Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan and largest city of Central Asia
  • Remarkably well preserved Khiva, surrounded by city walls of plastered mud
  • Charming old city of Bukhara, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Spectacular Registan Square and other architectural wonders of ancient Samarkand
  • Experience hustle and bustle of Uzbek bazaars
  • Learn about ancient traditions like making Samarkand paper from mulberry
  • City Tour in charming Almaty and modern Astana
  • World Expo 2017 in Astana dedicated to “Future Energy”

ITINERARY & MAP

Statue Temirlan in Tashkent during Uzbekistan & World Expo 2017 Tour

Welcome to your Uzbekistan & World Expo 2017 Tour. After a long flight you will be met by our driver at the airport and transfer to hotel for an early check in. Free time until evening. 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.

Tashkent Mosque in Uzbekistan in combination tour with expo 2017

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.

Registan Square is one of the must see highlights in any Uzbekistan Tour

Breakfast is served at 6:30 am in time for an early transfer to Tashkent train station to catch the high speed “Afrosiyob” train at 8:00 am. We will travel 300km in just over two hours before arriving in the ancient city of Samarkand.  There, you will 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 Eurasian Steppe, his vast empire one of the largest in the region.

What is arguably the jewel in the crown of all the sites in Uzbekistan awaits you as you take a visit to the spectacular Registan Square.  We then move onto the remains of Bibi Khanum Mosque before a chance to explore amongst the hustle and bustle of the Siyob Bazaar. Uzbekistan astronomer Ulugbek was decades ahead of the west with his observations of the solar system and the earth and we’ll learn more about him at the Ulugbek Observatory overlooking the city.

Samarkand Paper Factory - Koni Ghil-workshop in Uzbekistan 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.  You’ll have the chance to try this for yourself; with expert tuition, it’s not as hard as it looks

Bukhara Chor Minor- 4 minarets as featured in Lonely Planet and Classic Uzbekistan Tours

The drive to Bukhara takes around four hours and on route we shall visit the Rabati-Malik Caravanserai, an especially well-preserved piece of Iranian architecture in the middle of an expansive desert which the road to Bukhara cut through.

After checking into the hotel in Bukhara you spend the afternoon in the magical Old City of Bukhara. This is a true UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with minarets, mosques and ancient trading domes.  It’s still as busy today, the workplace of a host of traders offering traditional Uzbek products.  Explore the narrow, winding alleys and soak up the essence of Bukhara, past and present.  This is where you begin to uncover the true Uzbekistan.

Bukhara Ark Fortress- huge entrance with two towers as visited in Uzbekistan Tour

The history of the Bukhara region stretches back for millennia; the city itself is about two and a half thousand years old.  Due to its location on the Silk Road, it became an important center for traders and scholars.  Your first full day in the city will feature a visit to the Ark Fortress and summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir, a unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. The afternoon is yours to spend exploring more of the city, perhaps visit of one of the few remaining Jewish houses for lunch or have a relaxing drink by the large pond situated next to the impressive Bolo Hauz Mosque.

Khiva outer wall made of plastered mud part of journey in Uzbekistan Tour

We leave Bukhara and head west on the highway leading into the seemingly endless Kyzylkum desert, following in the footsteps of ancient Silk Road traders who traversed this same route many centuries ago.  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. don’t forget to take audiobooks and good music to listen on the long way.

View of rooftop Khiva with minarets visited in Classic Uzbekistan Tour

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’s now an open air museum, its crenellations topping a wall that encloses not only the museum, but 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 enjoy the breathtaking views over Old Khiva at Kunya-Ark.  After your orientation tour, your guide will leave you to branch out on your own.  Whether you browse for souvenirs or sip coffee at one of the many cafés dotted around the old city is up to you.

In the evening you will take a short transfer to Urgench Airport for the flight back to Tashkent. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.

old wooden and beautifully carved door seen in Uzbekistan Tours

Check-out from the hotel before noon. Free time until transfer to Tashkent International Airport and at 14.20 we take a flight to Almaty. Flight duration is ca 2 hours and after transfer to the city, we can enjoy dinner at a Kazakh restaurant.

Zenkov cathedral in Almaty as seen in World EXPO 2017 Tour 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.”

Astana Glass builidngs in World Expo 2017 Tour

After breakfast, your day will begin with a transfer to Almaty International Airport for your flight to Dushanbe departing 11:40 am.  Upon arrival in Astana, we will visit the National Museum. It is a modern glass building with huge halls dedicated to ancient nomadic past, Scythian gold artifacts and modern history.

Khan Shaty in Astana during World Expo 2017 tour

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.

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.

World Expo 2017 Tour in Astana, Kazakhstan

Astana hosts Expo 2017, following a long line of distinguished predecessors that have held this prestigious global event.  We’ll begin, of course, at the Kazakh Pavilion. Astana is a relatively new city, founded by Russian Cossacks in 1824, and an even newer capital, taking the reins from Almaty only in 1997.  Once called Akmola, or “White Grave”, its name was changed to Astana, meaning capital, to reflect its new role. Now, its modern buildings are lit by neon and its flourishing economy is a draw to young and dynamic Kazakhs looking to make their fortune. Expo 2017 dedicated to the topic of “Future Energy” sounds very promising and we will have enough time to visit different pavillions.

Departue of Central Asia Tour

Today it’s time to say a fond goodbye to Central Asia.  Our driver will provide your transfer to Astana International Airport.

Inclusions

Transport
Metro, Minibus, Train, Airplane
Meals
14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 13 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (13 nights)
Included Activities

Tashkent – city tour

Samarkand – city tour

Samarkand – paper making from mulberry

Bukhara – walking tour

Khiva – walking tour

Almaty – city tour

Astana – city tour

Visit World Expo 2017

dates & price

Total trip price

€2490

Euro

14

Days

Single supplement available for €300

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
27 Aug 2017
9 Sep 2017
Available
Price includes

All transfers by mini bus according to the itinerary, pick ups and drop off

Accommodation based on double/ twin room sharing

English speaking local tour guide accompanying the group

All entrances as per itinerary

Business class ticket for train Tashkent – Samarkand

Economy class ticket for flight Urgench – Tashkent

Full board (breakfasts, lunches, dinners)

Price does not include

International air fares

Hotel charges for additional services

Travel insurance is required

Personal expenses, e.g. souvenirs

Important notes

  • Travel insurance is required 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 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.

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.

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