Central Asia Explorer

Central Asia Explorer
Central Asia Explorer
Central Asia Explorer
Central Asia Explorer
Central Asia Explorer
Become a TourHound member today to access personalised recommendations and bucket lists to help plan your trips. You’ll also receive rebates on selected tours. It’s free to become a member, sign up here.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • FAQ
  • Dates
  • Intrepid Travel

Be entranced by the beauty of Kyrgyzstan and historical wonders of Uzbekistan on this 17-day tour. Traverse landscapes of alpine lakes and mountains interrupted only by dots of yurts, feel the divine artistic power of the detailed mosaics and towering minarets of ancient cities, and be welcomed into homes and family-run businesses by locals. A mix of ancient nomadic cultures, various iterations of both conservative and progressive Islam, Soviet influence and post-independence nationalism mean Central Asia is home to unique traditions. Travels here will leave you raving about the region for years to come and planning your next trip back as soon as you get home.

Highlights
  • Wander through the grand square Registan in Samarkand, admiring the imposing architecture from afar and the detailed craftmanship on the tiling up close.
  • Walk under pointed arches and between dome-topped mausoleums the size of apartments in the Shak-i-Zinda necropolis, which has pieces from the 14th–19th century.
  • Travel along the Chychkan River beneath the towering peaks of Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan range, mountains even more spectacular for emptiness of the valleys below them.
  • Stay in a classic felt-lined yurt on the shore of alpine Song-Kol Lake, where you can watch the sunset behind craggy mountains before warming yourself by the stove.
  • Visit a Kyrgyz village and watch locals play a traditional horseback sport like odarysh (wrestling on horseback) or kok-baru (goat polo).
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse/Homestay (4 night), Hotel (11 nights), Yurt (1 night)
Transport
  • Private Bus , Metro , High Speed Train
Included Activities
  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Shamsy Valley - Burana tower
  • Don Aryk - Local home visit & horsemanship demonstration
  • Kochkor - Market
  • Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op
  • Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex
  • Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain
  • Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex
  • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
  • Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
  • Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
  • Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
  • Samarkand - Registan
  • Samarkand - Paper making workshop & home cooked lunch
  • Shakhrisabz - Ak Saray Palace
  • Shakhrisabz - Kok-Gumbaz Mosque
  • Shakhrisabz - Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex
  • Shakhrisabz - Dorus Saodat Complex
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
  • Bukhara - Chor-Bakr Necropolis
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
  • Vobkent - Minaret
  • Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop
Destinations
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
Tour Types
  • Museum
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Cultural
  • Flowers and Gardens
  • History
  • Ruins-Archaeology
  • Youth
  • Active
  • Hiking
  • Adventure
  • Small Group
  • Family-Kids
  • Singles

Location: Bishkek

Welcome to Bishkek! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Tomorrow you’ll take a tour of the city, so don’t stress too much if you don’t have time to see much today. Bishkek is tree-lined town of parks and gardens, handsome houses and wide streets perfect for strolling. If you arrive with time to spare, maybe head out in search of some samsa (pastry pockets filled with meat and vegetables).

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Dinner,

Location: Bishkek

Embark on city tour that showcases the various stages of Bishkek’s history. Visit the severe Ala-Too Square, once known as Lenin Square, and learn about the towering statue depicting folkloric hero Manas. Continue to Dubovy Park, and wander among the open-air cafes before strolling between the century-old oaks along Freedom Avenue. In the afternoon, you'll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city centre, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You'll find all kinds of things on sale here, from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Bishkek - City Tour</description><br/><br/>Optional Activities:<br/>-<description>Bishkek - State Historical Museum</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Don-Aryk, Issyk Kul, Kochkor

Drive 60 kilometres to the 11th-century Burana Tower, a minaret that is the most visible remnant of the ancient city Balasagun. Continue to the nearby village of Don Aryk and visit a local home. Learn a little about the important role horses have played in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle and watch some displays of horsemanship, before eating a tasty lunch with your hosts. Continue to Issyk-Kul Lake, the second-largest alpine lake in the world. At 170-kilometres-long and 70-kilometres-wide, his beauty is a real sight to behold. Next up is the village of Kochkor. Explore a small local market in the centre of town and, depending on our arrival time, a local co-op that provides training for women in crafting traditional handicrafts to make an income. <br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Shamsy Valley - Burana tower</description><br/>-<description>Don Aryk - Local home visit &amp; horsemanship demonstration</description><br/>-<description>Kochkor - Market</description><br/>-<description>Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op</description>

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Song-Kul

Drive 130 kilometres to Song-Kol Lake, another alpine stunner that is considered a sacred place to many Kyrgyz people, as well as one of the best summer pastures for nomadic herders. The landscape will change depending on the season but is sure to be beautiful no matter when you travel. In the summer you might see nomadic herdsmen and their families watching over goats, sheep, and horses. Enjoy exploring your surroundings for the rest of the day, maybe hiking one of the many trails. Tonight, fall asleep in yurts set up along the shore. Made of felt and tarpaulins on a round frame, yurts are the traditional dwellings of the Kyrgyz people. Tomorrow, those daring enough for an invigorating morning splash can use the lake to wash off the sleep.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Kyzyl-Oi

Travel along gravel roads to the tiny village of Kyzyl-Oi, which is squeezed between mountains. On the way, pass large coal deposits and travel along the Kokomeren River, which feeds into the Syr Darya. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river in the shade of the trees and use your free time to explore the village on arrival.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Suusamyr Valley, Chychkan, Kok-Bel

Get ready for a full-day of driving though big, beautiful landscapes. As the roads in Kyrgyzstan see little regular maintenance, even short distances on a map can take hours. The road crosses the Suusamyr Valley – a high steppe plateau situated at around 2200 metres above sea level. The mountainous surroundings are often dotted with yurts. Continue along the Chychkan River that cuts through the Tien Shan mountain range. Stop here for a while and soak up the amazing scenery. Arrive at tonight's accommodation in Kok-Bel sometime in the early evening.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Osh

After breakfast, get ready for another all-day journey to Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgystan. Stop en route at Uzgen, an ancient trading town and handicrafts centre along the Silk Road. Although much of the ancient city has been destroyed, a minaret and three mosques that have survived remain important examples of medieval Central Asian architecture. Continue to Osh. Located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, Osh is often referred to as the 'Capital of the South' and is the oldest city in the country.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret &amp; Complex</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,

Location: Osh

Rise and shine for a visit to the only World Heritage site in Kyrgystan, the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, also known as Solomon's Throne. For centuries Silk Road travellers have sought out the mountain's caves and their petroglyphs in the belief that they would be blessed with longevity or healthy children. Visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time in Osh. Perhaps visit the Jayma Bazaar, where you might pick up an interesting souvenir or two. Or maybe take a self-guided tour of the remnants of Osh's soviet past with a walk to the giant Lenin statue in the city square. <br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain</description><br/>-<description>Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex</description><br/><br/>Optional Activities:<br/>-<description>Osh - Bazaar - Free</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Andijan, Tashkent

This morning, drive to Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, which is just outside of the city. After passing through the border control (approximately 1–2 hours), farewell and thank your Kyrgyz guide and meet your new Uzbek guide. Transfer to Andijan and board a local train to Tashkent (approximately 5.5 hours). The train is a great place to meet locals, so don’t be surprised if people want to chat to the chet ellik (foreigner). Arrive in the evening and check into the hotel.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

Begin your introduction to Uzbekistan by exploring the capital on a sightseeing tour. Visit the State History Museum, which shows exhibits and collections spanning the countries 5000-year history. Continue to the Abdul Khasim Medrassah, where craftspeople operate in many small ‘cells’, making jewellery and other things. Finally, stop by the Khast Imom complex, a restored series of religious buildings (including a mosque) and a library containing an ancient Qur’an, parts of which have been dated to the ninth century. After lunch, lose yourself in the exciting Chorsu Bazaar, browsing traditional wooden cradles, handmade musical instruments, and the extensive vegetable and spice markets.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar</description><br/>-<description>Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex &amp; Moyie Mubarek Library Museum</description><br/>-<description>Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Samarkand

Transfer to the station for the high-speed train to fabled Samarkand (approximately 2 hours). This city is located at the very centre of the ancient Silk Road. Enjoy some free time in the city on arrival, saving some of the key sights for the tour tomorrow. Maybe inspect the remains of the remarkable medieval observatory developed by Ulug Beg, an astronomer and grandson of nomadic conqueror and Timurid emperor Tamerlane (Amir Timur). Today, only half of the below-ground semicircle track can be seen, but there is a small museum close by that gives some context. Or perhaps visit the Afrosiab Museum of Samarkand, the main attraction of which is a tenth-century mural. <br/><br/>Optional Activities:<br/>-<description>Samarkand - Ulugbek's Observatory</description><br/>-<description>Samarkand - Afrosiab Museum</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Samarkand

Enjoy a tour of Samarkand. First up is the central square called the Registan, which features mosques and mausoleums that are true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. Continue to Guri-Amir, where Tamerlane is buried, and then the enormous Bibi-Khanum Mosque. Following the tour, drive to Konigil, a village on the edge of the city. Here, visit a local family for lunch, then join them in their traditional paper mill to learn how they make the material from mulberry. Return to Samarkand and visit Shak-i-Zinda, a necropolis that features a series of gleaming blue-tiled mausoleums. This sacred site has monuments from the 14th–19th century, reflecting the development of the monumental art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty onwards. It is photo worthy at every turn, just remember to be respectful as pilgrims visit the complex. <br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque</description><br/>-<description>Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum</description><br/>-<description>Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda</description><br/>-<description>Samarkand - Registan</description><br/>-<description>Samarkand - Paper making workshop &amp; home cooked lunch</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,

Location: Samarkand, Shahrisabz, Bukhara

Continue tracing the Silk Road towards Bukhara. One of the most important portions of this ancient route connects Samarkand and Bukhara, passing through the town of Shahrisabz. Home of revered national hero Tamerlane, Shakhrisabz has sadly lost much of its authentic style and architecture due to overzealous restoration works. Regardless, there are still some incredible ruins to see, such as the gates of legendery Ak Saray Palace, the Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex and the Dorus Saodat Complex. Continue to Bukhara.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Shakhrisabz - Ak Saray Palace</description><br/>-<description>Shakhrisabz - Kok-Gumbaz Mosque</description><br/>-<description>Shakhrisabz - Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex</description><br/>-<description>Shakhrisabz - Dorus Saodat Complex</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Bukhara

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in beautiful Bukhara. First visit the Sitorai Mohi Khosa, once the summer residence of the last Emir. Designed by Russian architects, it has interiors decorated with traditional filigree plaster, mirrored surfaces and delicate floral wall paintings by local artisans. Continue to the 16th-century Chor-Bakr necropolis, where not many tourists venture. Walk through the madrasa and mosque complex. In the afternoon, visit the Ark Fortress and Kalon Mosque, the symbol of Bukhara. Continue to one of Central Asia's oldest and most exquisite structures, the tenth-century Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the superb decorative brickwork of which has survived 1000 years of rugged history. Head to the Lyabi-Haus area, a busy 17th-century plaza with hundreds-years-old trees, for dinner. Later, there is time to wander the small craft studios tucked into the nearby madrasas and trading domes.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum</description><br/>-<description>Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace</description><br/>-<description>Bukhara - Chor-Bakr Necropolis</description><br/>-<description>Bukhara - Ark Fortress</description><br/>-<description>Bukhara - Kalon Mosque</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Gijduvon, Bukhara

Travel to Gijduvan, historically a caravan stop on the way to Bukhara. Ulugbek, the famous astronomer and grandson of Tamerlane, built a madrasa here next to the grave of a Sufi saint. The town gained further fame as a centre of glazed pottery production. Visit the private studio of a local ceramic artist, meet the family and watch them at work. Later you have some free time to explore this small town. For lunch we recommend the juicy local kebabs that are famous throughout Uzbekistan. On your way back to Bukhara, stop to see a minaret from the late 12th century in Vobkent.<br/><br/>Included Activities:<br/>-<description>Vobkent - Minaret</description><br/>-<description>Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop</description>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

Enjoy some free time for your own optional sightseeing in Bukhara. In the afternoon, take a fast train back to Tashkent followed by an optional dinner with your fellow travellers.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

There are no activities planned today and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after check out.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Included
  • Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop
  • Shamsy Valley - Burana tower
  • Bishkek - City Tour
  • Kochkor - Market
  • Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op
  • Don Aryk - Local home visit & horsemanship demonstration
  • Osh - Sulaiman-Too Mountain
  • Uzgen - Uzgen Minaret & Complex
  • Osh - National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex
  • Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
  • Tashkent - History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
  • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
  • Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Samarkand - Paper making workshop & home cooked lunch
  • Samarkand - Registan
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
  • Shakhrisabz - Dor-ut Tilovat Memorial Complex
  • Shakhrisabz - Ak Saray Palace
  • Shakhrisabz - Kok-Gumbaz Mosque
  • Shakhrisabz - Dorus Saodat Complex
  • Bukhara - Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
  • Bukhara - Chor-Bakr Necropolis
  • Bukhara - Kalon Mosque
  • Vobkent - Minaret
  • Meals
    -16 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Accommodation
    -Guesthouse/Homestay (4 night), Hotel (11 nights), Yurt (1 night)
  • Transport
    -Private Bus, Metro, High Speed Train

Not Included
  • International Travel
    -
  • Tipping and Gratuities
    -

Dates Price Single Availability
22-Apr-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
10-May-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
17-May-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
24-May-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
27-May-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
03-Jun-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
10-Jun-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
14-Jun-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
15-Jul-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
02-Aug-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
12-Aug-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
16-Aug-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
30-Aug-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
02-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
09-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
16-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
20-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
23-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
27-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
30-Sep-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
08-Oct-2022
16 Nights
Central Asia Explorer View live deal View live deal

Touring with Intrepid Travel

Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.

After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.

Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.

Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.

Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.

{{shortLabel}}

tour details

This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel

16 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
View live deal View live deal Up to 25% off last minute Asia trips
Start:Bishkek
Finish:Tashkent
Group size:1 - 12
Suitable for: 15-99 years
Accommodation:Guesthouse/Homestay (4 night), Hotel (11 nights), Yurt (1 night)
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:16 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
Diets:Vegetarians
Tour operated in: English
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
View live deal View live deal View live deal View live deal
tour hound
Why TourHound?