Caucasus & Silk Route Wanderer

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

Highlights
  • Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour
  • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge
  • Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
  • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
  • Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek
  • Visit Lake Sevan a high altitude lake known for its beaches
  • Explore the old town of Baku
  • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
  • Overland in to the Karakum desert
  • 3 nights in Bukhara with guided tour of the many unique sites
  • Stay in the fascinating city of Tbilisi
  • See a demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
  • Explore the 1797 built Palace of the Sheki Khans
  • Explore the Armenia's capital, Yerevan and learn about its extensive history
  • Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater
  • Visit Georgian Vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Köl Lake
  • Explore the ruined city of Kunye Urgench
  • Explore Armenia's ancient city of Gyumri, with its great churches and Soviet Era grandeur
  • Learn how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made
  • Visit Vardzia, a cave monastery on the UNESCO World Heritage list
  • Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley in local transport
  • See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley
  • Hike to the amazing Gergeti Trinity Church at Stepantsminda
  • Guided tour of the historic city of Samarkand and surrounding area
  • Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Jeep, Russian Bus, Overnight Boat
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, Local Crew Member in certain areas
Destinations
  • Europe
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Armenia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • Overland
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Cultural
  • Camping
  • Eco
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Horse Riding
  • Active
  • Jeep & 4WD
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Overland truck
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking Tour

Location: Bishkek

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport (IATA code: FRU).<p>There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.</p><p>The rest of the day is free for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city.</p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Bishkek before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Bishkek.</p><p><em>*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*</em></p><p><em><em>*Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!*</em></em></p></p>

Location: Chong Kemin Valley

<p><br/><p>Today we will begin our journey to Chong Kemin National Park, where we will have free time to explore and hike in this beautiful area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion.</p><p>In Chong Kemin we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms.</p></p>

Location: Chong Kemin Valley

We will have a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area today or perhaps get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

Location: Karakol

<p>Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk K&#246;l and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free evening to explore and relax!</p>

Location: Jeti-Oguz Valley

<p>Today we drive up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz.<p><em>Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will take a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation. We will then stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks).</em></p></p>

Location: Jeti-Oguz Valley

We will have a 2nd night here in Jeti Oguz with a chance to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads.

Location: Kochkor

<p>This morning we will drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality! En route we will have an included demonstration from a local 'eagle hunter'.<p>Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!</p></p>

Location: Son-Kol Lake

<p>Today we will drive to the incredible Song K&#246;l Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.<p>We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking or horse-riding! </p><p><em>Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song K&#246;l Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk K&#246;l.</em></p></p>

Location: Son-Kol Lake

On our 2nd day in Song Kul Lake we have free time to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking or horse-riding!&nbsp;</p>

Location: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

<p>We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside.<p>During these days we plan to wild camp en route. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.</p><p> </p></p>

Location: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

We will have another day of scenic driving as we make our way to our second wild camp near Toktugal Lake

Location: Arslanbob

Today we will complete our drive to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we have had a slow journey in the previous days with lots of stops, we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.

Location: Arslanbob

<p>Today we have a free day to explore the local area. There will be options to do an all day hike to a big waterfall or alternatively do an optional horseride through the Walnut Forest</p>

Location: Fergana Valley

<p><strong>Border information: </strong>Exit Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik, enter Uzbekistan at Andijon.<p>Today we will have a full day's drive across the Uzbek border to the eastern city of Fergana.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Tashkent

<p>This morning we travel in local transport to Kokand, where we will have the oppurtunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey over the Kamchik Pass to Tashkent, the Uzbek capital.<p>The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Tashkent.</p></p>

Location: Tashkent

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).<p>There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.</p><p>We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.</p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent.</p><p><em>*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*</em></p></p>

Location: Samarkand

<p>Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.</p>

Location: Samarkand

<p>Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.</p>

Location: Samarkand

We will have a free day today with the chance to wander the streets and delve into this beautiful city and its history further.

Location: Kyzylkhum Desert

<p>Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a swim in Lake Ajdar Kul and head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!</p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>Today we will drive to the beautiful city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights. Our drive will take us via the desert town of Nurata, which we will have a brief stop. <p><br/></p></p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.</p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>Spend the day exploring this incredible historic city and its surroundings further and soaking up the atmosphere. </p>

Location: Khiva

<p>Today we have a full day drive to the incredible historic town of Khiva. <p><br/></p></p>

Location: Khiva

<p>After breakfast we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.</p>

Location: Kunye Urgench

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot.<p>This morning we will drive across the border into Turkmenistan, visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, and explore the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.</p></p>

Location: Darvaza

<p>Today we continue south through the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).<p>We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.</p></p>

Location: Ashgabat

<p>Today we will complete our drive to the interesting capital of Ashgabat, usually arriving mid-afternoon.<p><br/></p></p>

Location: Ashgabat

<p>Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. The afternoon will be free to freely explore Ashgabat and its museums.</p>

Location: Turkmenbashi

<p>This morning we have a full days drive to Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. If time permits we will stop at the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake on the way. <p>Our itinerary in Turkmenbashi and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here! </p><p>In Turkmenbashi we will stay in a local hotel for as many nights as is needed until we finally depart on the ferry over the Caspian Sea. Most trips tend to be able to set off on the ferry 1 or 2 days after arriving in Turkmenbashi.</p><p>Azerbaijan Visa Note - as the timing of the Caspian ferry crossing can be very unpredictable, please get your Azerbaijan E Visa issued with at least 2 - 3 extra days before the entry date listed on these notes. Please see the detailed visa notes below. <br/><br/></p><p> </p></p>

Location: Caspian Sea

<p>From Turkmenbashi, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku in Azerbaijan.<p>The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board.</p><p>Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also highly unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Baku while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.</p><p>There will be basic seats on the ferry overnight. Generally there are no cabins available for passengers. <br/><br/></p></p>

Location: Baku

<p><strong>Border information: </strong>Exit Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi, enter Azerbaijan at Baku.<p>Today we plan to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Azerbaijan.</p><p>We will have free time on these days to explore the sights of Baku and the surroundings.</p><p><em>Please note that if the ferry is severely delayed we may not have much time to explore the town of Baku and will need to continue on to catch the itinerary up. </em></p></p>

Location: Baku

Today we will have a free day to explore Baku - depending on when our ferry arrives into Baku.

Location: Baku

<p><strong>Border Information: </strong>If joining in Baku, you will most likely enter Azerbaijan at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA code: GYD).<p>There will be an important group meeting at 6.00pm - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Baku. </p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Baku before the start of your trip with us - please contact your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre - tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Baku. </p><p><em>* Important note - please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details. *</em></p></p>

Location: Baku

<p>Today we will have free time to explore all the sites of Baku and the surroundings. </p>

Location: Lahij Village

<p>This morning we will make our way to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains. </p>

Location: Sheki

<p>Leaving the village behind we make our way to the old town of Sheki this morning. Here we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace.</p>

Location: Lagodekhi

<p>Border Information: Exit Azerbaijan at Balakan, enter Georgia at Lagodekhi.<p>Today we will continue our journey west and cross the border into Georgia. </p><p>We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodehki National Park shortly after crossing the border. </p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Telavi

<p>Today we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourseves for 2 days to explore this fascinating region. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route, and have a free afternoon on arrival in Telavi to explore the area. </p>

Location: Telavi

<p>The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality.</p>

Location: Stepantsminda

<p>Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). <p>Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Church (the Church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains. </p></p>

Location: Mtskheta

<p>We spend the morning in and around Stepantsminda, where we can trek to the Tsminda Sameba Church if we haven't done so already. <p>This afternoon we have a beautiful drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. </p></p>

Location: Borjomi-Kharagauli NP

<p>After breakfast we will make our way to Borjome National Park where we will have time to do a small hike through the ancient forest and an optional cable ride up the mountain. <p>In the afternoon we will continue on to Vardzia where we will find a place to wild camp for the night in the stunning valley. If time permits we will have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves this afternoon if not we will have the chance to explore them tomorrow morning also. </p></p>

Location: Armenian Highlands

<p>We continue south towards the Armenian border this morning. Once we have crossed we will drive through the beautiful Armenian Highlands before finding a place to bush camp for the night. </p>

Location: Yerevan

<p>Today we will make our way to the city of Yerevan. On the way we will have an included visit to Khor Virap Monastery. </p>

Location: Yerevan

We have a free day today for any optional activities or simply spend the time relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere.

Location: Lake Sevan

<p>We will leave the city of Yerevan behind this morning and make our way to the World Heritage - listed Geghard Monastery which has been carved out of the rock face of the Azat River Gorge. We will also spend some time exploring the Garni Temple before we continue onto the beautiful Lake Sevan.<p><br/></p></p>

Location: Tbilisi

<p>Today we will be driving through the beautiful Dilijan National Park before arriving at the Georgian Border. Once the formalities are over we will continue onto the ancient city of Tbilisi. </p>

Location: Tbilisi

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> If you are leaving in Tbilisi, you will most likely exit Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).<p>Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tbilisi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your sales agent if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional acitivities listed below. </p></p>


Thirumalai Govindan P

Loved the journey and the atmosphere.




Patricia R

Rashida is a very good truck!




Patricia R

I am enjoying myself since the first day. The crew is very helpful. Domingo is very patient and a good driver. Same with Euan, I feel safe all the time.




Merinda B

Fantastic way of travelling, very organised yet free enough to make spontaneous decisions!




Timothy B

Really interesting and full itinerary - highly recommend the trip. A good way to visit lesser known areas and see how life is conducted in fairly extreme conditions.




Tatjana P

Overall, the trip was great




John B

I may have been lucky with my fellow travellers but a good trip was made memorable by how well everyone got on. This has to be down partly to how hard our crew worked to make it such fun but I suspect also partly to how Dragoman now attracts travellers who are willing to put more into a trip to get more out.




Darren O

Really enjoyed Kyrgyzstan....a real wonder. Spectacular scenery, unspoiled, charming people




Susan C

The mountains of Kyrgyzstan and the ancient sites of Uzbekistan were my highlights.



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28-Jun-2021
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Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

48 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal View live deal 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:Bishkek
Finish:Tbilisi
Group size:0 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 17 nights. Wild Camp 10 nights. Basic Hotel 6 nights. Homestay 4 nights. Yurt Camp 3 nights. Camping without facilities 3 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night. Guesthouse 4 nights
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:Breakfasts x 68, Lunches x 26, Dinners x 40
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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