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Landscapes and Cityscapes of Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan

Spend a spellbinding 14 days exploring two mesmerizing countries on this incomparable tour, which will whisk you from the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, through the historic cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, with their stunning ancient architecture, and on into beautiful Kyrgyzstan. In the city of Bishkek, you’ll discover traditional felt and silk fusing, and enjoy a stunning scenic journey into the Tian Shan mountains to spend time picnicking by lakes, hiking in the hills and relaxing in green, verdant valleys. Stay in a traditional Kyrgyz guesthouse and watch a nomadic horseback sport before returning to beautiful Bishkek to uncover treasures in its great bazaar.

Highlights   Pricing
  • See the stunning mosques, minarets and madrassas of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan
  • Visit a felt and silk artisan in Bishkek
  • Travel by Russian military truck into the Altyn Arashan and bathe in the hot springs
  • Watch a game of Ulak Tartysh, played by Kyrgyz nomads on horseback
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

On your first day, check in to your cozy hotel and then hit the town to get familiar with your amazing new environment. Explore Tashkent’s famous Khast Imam Mosque complex, home to the world’s oldest Koran, visit the artisans at the Barak-Khan madrassah and browse the buzzing Chorsu Bazaar for local crafts and trinkets.

Day 2

Hop aboard the express train to historic Samarkand and enjoy the stunning Uzbek countryside as it slides past your carriage. Discover this historic city’s incomparable architecture from the turquoise dome of the Bibi-Khanym mosque to the three towering madrassas which surround vast Registan Square to the Gur-Emir mausoleum where lies mighty Tamarlane himself.

Day 3

Continue your adventures in this city of wonders: delve into the maze of mausoleums in the Shak-i-zinda complex and stare at the sky from Ulugbek - the world’s oldest observatory. Stand in the mausoleum of Daniel the Prophet, the place where three religions intertwine and observe ancient paper-making techniques in action at Samarkand’s old paper factory.

Day 4

Enjoy a relaxing train journey to yet another center of cultural marvels. Bukhara is home to the Lyab-i-Hauz - a madrassah complex surrounding a shady pool, and the Po-i-Kalyan with its skyscraping minaret. Be stunned by the intricacy of the mosaic work that covers Mir-i-Arab, central Asia’s biggest mosque, and visit the jewelers of Toki Zargaron and the hatters of Toki Telpak Furushon.

Day 5

Stroll around the pool by the beautiful Bolo-Khauz Mosque and get a dose of royalty in the Emir’s residence at Sitorai-Mokhi-Khosa. Then, just a short drive outside the city, visit the sacred memorial of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband and witness a 16th-century forge still in action to this day.

Day 6

Take a scenic 7-hour journey across the dramatic landscape of the Kyzyl Kum desert and marvel at the red sands stretching as far as the eye can see. Stop for a traditional Uzbek picnic lunch by the waters of the Amu Darya, the ‘unrestrained river’ and meet the shepherds and their Karakul sheep before continuing on to your destination at ancient Khiva.

Day 7

Within the crenellated walls lies Itchan Kala, the old part of Khiva, which is home to more than fifty historic monuments including the Djuma Mosque, supported by 112 columns. See inside the vast Kunya-Ark Fortress, once home to the Khan; marvel at the stone work of Tash Khauli Palace and Kalta Minor Minaret and visit the mausoleum of poet Pakhlavan Mahmud, Khiva’s holy patron. Finally drive to Urgench for your flight to Tashkent, where you will bed down for the night.

Day 8

From Tashkent, it’s a short flight to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, where you can check in and relax at your hotel. After a leisurely lunch, hit the town to visit the monument to Manas, a Kyrgyz national hero and get to grips with the local culture at Central Square and the city’s museums. Visit the workshop of Aidai Asangulova, an artisan whose felt and silk fusing techniques are famous throughout the country.

Day 9

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before a 5-hour drive into the Tian Shan mountains. Stop off to climb Burana tower, one of the only remnants of the ruined city of Balasagun. Higher up, surrounded by snowy peaks, is one of the world’s largest mountain lakes, Issyk Kul. From here, it’s on to Kochkor to meet the craftswomen who make shyrdaks - brightly colored and beautifully embellished felt carpets.

Day 10

Explore the ‘stone garden’ at Cholpon Ata, a mesmerizing gallery of prehistoric stone circles and tombs in the mountains, overlooking glassy lake waters. From here, you will drive through more beautiful scenery to Karakol (around 2.5 hours) with its wooden mosque and wooden Russian Orthodox cathedral. Visit the museum of Nikolai Przhevalsky and learn about this remarkable Russian and his geographic discoveries. In the evening, relax with dinner and traditional Kyrgyz music and poetry.

Day 11

After breakfast, climb into a Russian military truck to access the beautiful and remote Altyn Arashan alpine valley. Enjoy the views of green and verdant plains with horses and yurts overlooked by Palatka Mountain. Bathe in the natural hot sulphur springs and benefit from their healing properties before a picnic lunch on the grass. Back in Karakol, join a Dungan family for dinner in their home.

Day 12
Kalmak Ashu Village

After a restful night, take a 2.5-hour drive out to the green gorge of Jety Oguz - named ‘Seven Bulls’ for its dramatic red rocks. After a leisurely hike in the hills, relax for a picnic lunch in a pretty meadow and then continue the scenic journey through the Chon Kemin valley to the Kalmak Ashu village. Enjoy a traditional meal before bedding down in the quaint and cozy guesthouse.

Day 13

In the morning, there’s a delicious breakfast at the guesthouse before the chance to see a traditional match of Ulak Tartysh, a high energy game played on horseback by nomads. Head back to the guesthouse for lunch and then begin the beautiful 2.5-hour drive back to Bishkek. On your return, check in to your hotel and browse the treasures of Osh Bazaar before your farewell meal in the evening.

Day 14

After a refreshing night’s sleep, you’ll enjoy your final breakfast in Uzbekistan, before checking out of your hotel. You’ll be driven to the international airport, where you’ll be assisted with check-in for your onwards journey, either home, or to your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace , International Hotel Tashkent, Miran International Hotel

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Perfectly located for business, vacation and travel, the Tashkent palace is situated in the center of the Uzbek capital, just a ten minute drive from the international airport and within easy strolling distance of the fountains of the city park, the international ceramics garden, Amir Temur Square and the Alisher Navoi Opera. Built in traditional Uzbek style, the hotel features all the modern conveniences required by international travelers. All 232 rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, satellite television, mini bar and air conditioning as well as views of beautiful Tashkent. After a hard day’s sightseeing, enjoy Uzbek and international cuisine in the hotel restaurants, one of which is open air and offers views of the city and a fountain show. The hotel also has spa and fitness amenities including an outdoor pool, a gym and sauna and massage facilities to ensure guests are fully relaxed during their stay.


International Hotel Tashkent

This property lies in the heart of Tashkent with all the marvellous sights and sounds, museums, mosques and bazaars just minutes away. The International Hotel Tashkent is just 20 minutes’ drive from the airport and within walking distance of the beautiful and peaceful Japanese Garden. The elegantly appointed rooms range from standard to presidential and all are equipped with mini-bar, air conditioning, satellite television and WiFi. Enjoy fine dining and international cuisine in the Allegro Restaurant; relax with beautiful lake views and a barbecue at bright and fresh Brasserie on the Park or sip cocktails in one of the hotel bars. Aquarius Spa is fully-equipped to provide full relaxation and regain harmony of body and soul with massage, gym and sauna facilities, a gorgeous pool and even yoga classes are available. Whilst it wouldn't rank as an international 5-star standard hotel, it's the best hotel in the city. 


Miran International Hotel

The Miran International Hotel offers comfort and convenience for business and leisure travelers in the heart of Tashkent. Its 140 spacious rooms feature all mod cons including 42-inch flat-screen televisions and high-speed WiFi, while the en-suite bathrooms are equipped with toiletries and bathrobes. The hotel offers a range of cuisines in its restaurant as well as banqueting and conference facilities. What’s more, guests can spend their leisure time relaxing with a game of billiards or in the health club with its year-round indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and gym. Within walking distance to Amir Timur Square and its museum and just a short drive to the treasures of Chorsu Bazaar and the beautiful Khast Imam Mosque, this hotel surely offers something for all visitors to Tashkent.

Grand Samarkand Hotel, Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel, Samarkand Plaza

Grand Samarkand Hotel

This four-star hotel is located within a mile of the Old Town and Registan Square. It offers spacious, traditional-style rooms with free WiFi, TVs with international satellite channels, and ambient sitting area with open fireplace. The on-site restaurant offers local and international meals, with an emphasis on warm Uzbek hospitality and traditional breakfast served each morning. The streets surrounding the hotel also offer a range of restaurants for guests wanting to explore their surrounds. The centerpiece of the hotel is a picturesque garden courtyard with seating where travelers can enjoy breakfast or relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing. The Grand Samarkand Hotel is a favorite in the area for its quaintly decorated rooms and boutique feel. The architecture of the building and the detail in its stained glass and ironwork reflect the craftsmanship still evident in Samarkand’s old quarter. The hotel is located opposite its sister property - the Grand Samarkand Superior - which has a business center, fitness center and rooftop swimming pool.


Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel

This elegant hotel is located close to the heart of historic Samarkand, convenient for shopping and within a mile of the famous Registan Square and Old Town. Rooms at the Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel are decorated in a traditional manner, with Uzbek carpets and Silk Road textiles creating a cozy, comfortable ambience. Modern in-room technology includes a flat-screen TV with satellite and USB connectivity, air conditioning and free WiFi. Bathrooms amenities include robes, slippers and hairdryer. Aside from single and twin/double rooms, larger apartment-style rooms are also available for guests who require more living space. The hotel has a wide array of facilities, including a Finnish sauna, a rooftop pool with sun loungers, a fitness center with cardio machines and free weights, and a well-equipped business center offering a range of executive services. The onsite restaurant serves up Western and traditional Uzbek cuisine, with a fine collection of wines to match and a pianist providing live music every night. Just across the road is the hotel’s sister property, the Grand Samarkand Hotel. 


Samarkand Plaza

Undoubtedly the best hotel in the city, the Plaza offers international standard service and convenience. Rooms from twins to suites are all comfortably appointed and come well equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, high-speed internet and well stocked mini-bar. Thanks to its location right in the heart of ancient Samarkand, it is the ideal base from which to explore the treasures of the city. After a long day of sightseeing, relax in one of two hotel restaurants for a range of Uzbek and international dishes, lounge with a drink in the bar or take advantage of the pool with its sauna and fitness facilities. 

Asia Bukhara, Lyabi Khauz Hotel, Omar Khayyam Hotel

Asia Bukhara

Built in 2006, this 96-room hotel in central Bukhara allows guests easy access to the city’s main historic attractions. Part of a respected hotel chain within Uzbekistan, the Asia Bukhara Hotel is built in the style of a traditional madrasa and offers travelers welcoming three-star service, with facilities that include an outdoor swimming pool, business center with conference rooms and fitness center. The hotel also offers massage services to help travelers recuperate after a day exploring Bukhara’s ancient sites. Guest rooms include a modern bathroom with tub and shower, a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, and in the deluxe rooms, a safe. The on-site restaurant serves up national and international dishes and a bar and nightclub gives visitors the chance to socialize with fellow travelers and locals after hours. The Asia Bukhara Hotel is located in the heart of the ancient city, and guests will find many historic sites of note within walking distance.


Lyabi Khauz Hotel

Positioned in the heart of the Old City, Lyabi Khauz Hotel provides warm Uzbek hospitality in a beautifully restored 19th-century house. All 40 rooms have been refurbished in a comfortable, modern manner with traditional Uzbek accents and mod-cons such as satellite TV, air conditioning, fridge, work desk and full bathroom. Accommodation is available as single, twin or triple rooms with the option of a Junior Suite for travelers who require more space. Among the highlights of this beautiful hotel are its original facade and a central dining room and hall with ornate tiles and antique decorations. The place was designed and built by architect Usta Shirin Murad, whose other works include the Summer Palace of the Emir of Bukhara and the Ballet Theatre. Not only is the hotel a valuable part of Bukhara heritage itself, it’s located in the historic center of town, within steps of the 16th-century Silk Road marketplace where travelers can pick up souvenirs and handicrafts. The Lyabi Khauz Hotel is also equipped with a business center, bar, 24-hour room service and laundry service. The restaurant serves up more than 100 local Uzbek dishes, plus international favorites and vegetarian fare. 


Omar Khayyam Hotel

Named after the legendary philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and poet, the Omar Khayyam Hotel offers guests an authentic experience in the heart of ancient Bukhara. With 22 rooms, including one apartment-style studio and several deluxe suites, this property features ornate stucco arches and balconies that overlook a central courtyard. In-room amenities include satellite TV, air-conditioning, fridge, work desk and modern bathroom with hairdryer. The restaurant serves up traditional Uzbek meals as well as European dishes, vegetarian fare and Korean cuisine. In the summertime, the courtyard sets the scene for an open-air bar and cafe, providing a wide range of drinks and a taste of local sweets. For the executive traveler, there’s a business center with internet access and safety boxes. The hotel also provides laundry services and access to medical care, if required. Many of this UNESCO city’s major historic attractions - the Po-i-Kalyan complex and the 5th-century Ark-Citadel, for instance - are within walking distance of the hotel. 

Asia Khiva, Malika Kheyvak Hotel, Malika Khiva Hotel

Asia Khiva

This comfortable is perfectly situated in the city center, next to the southern entrance to Itchan Kala - the old town. Within walking distance are some of ancient Khiva’s  most famous sites, including the Stone Palace, Citadel Kunya-Ark and the Djuma mosque with its carved wooden columns. The hotel has 132 rooms, all of which feature air conditioning, refrigerators, wireless internet and satellite television as standard and though not necessarily modern and luxurious, the authentic charm of the decor is in keeping with the city surroundings. The hotel restaurant serves international cuisine and guests can dine inside or out on the terrace. After a hot and tiring day discovering Khiva’s historic sites, unwind by the outdoor pool or take advantage of the sauna facilities. 


Malika Kheyvak Hotel

This comfortable hotel, although relatively modern, is built and decorated tastefully in the authentic Uzbek style so that guests enjoy all the conveniences in an environment of intricate wood carvings, elaborate Khiva carpets and traditional design. Located within the crenellated walls of the Itchan Kala fortress, it sports stunning views of the skyscraping Islam Khoja Minaret and is a short walk from the mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud. The hotel restaurant serves delicious Uzbek cuisine and there are acclaimed local wine varieties, as well as international brands of spirits, available at the hotel bar, while the summer terrace offers wonderful views of the old city so that guests can relax and unwind, fully immersed in the marvellous culture of the city. All single and double rooms have en-suite bathrooms, satellite television and a mini bar. 


Malika Khiva Hotel

Since 2004, the Malika Khiva hotel has been charming and enchanting its guests with its blend of old world authenticity, modern convenience and colorful, quirky decor. Situated at the very entrance of Itchan Kala at Ata Darvaza and built to look like a madrasah, it serves as a perfect doorway into the old town of ancient Khiva and boasts the very best views in the city. The gorgeous main hall and reception area is decked out with colorful hanging Uzbek carpets, traditionally dressed dolls and even features a giant novelty chess set and classic Silk Road bullock cart for guests to enjoy upon check-in. The bright and cozy single and double rooms each have their own en-suite bathroom, air conditioning and satellite television; the hotel restaurant serves up tasty Uzbek dishes and room service is available 24 hours a day.

Asia Mountains 1, Asia Mountains 2

Asia Mountains 1

The gorgeous Asia Mountains Hotel in Bishkek boasts a quaint interior design and tranquil garden surroundings. Centrally-located in the city and close to the main mosque, it’s a perfect location for exploring Bishkek or making an excursion to the jaw-dropping mountains which dominate the skyline around you. The hotel was built in 2001 with a vision of creating a homely atmosphere combined with the sophistication of western architecture and eastern philosophy. Guests can enjoy cute and comfortable rooms, which all have natural wood features throughout and offer spectacular views of the Tien-Shan Mountains (ask for a southern facing room for the best view). There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout, an on-site library, bar, restaurant and swimming pool. Guests should note that this hotel company has two ‘Asia Mountains’ hotels, with this Bishkek branch labeled as number one. 


Asia Mountains 2

The second in Asia Mountain’s mini-branch of Bishkek hotels is the aptly named ‘Asia Mountains 2’, and this 20-room hotel offers all the charm and comfort of its older brother. Centrally-located, this accommodation is an ideal place to stay - whether your intention is to relax and sightsee in the city or be a little more adventurous and tackle the nearby Tien-Shan Mountains. All the rooms have ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning, telephones, WiFi, satellite TV and a refrigerator. As with the nearby ‘Asia Mountains 1’, the running theme of the rooms is that of wood - including both the furniture and floors. Downstairs there is an impressive hall, complete with restaurant, bar and a fireplace, which is lit in the colder months. 

Green Yard

Green Yard

In the northern Kyrgyzstan town of Karakol, it’s hard to find any better place to stay than the award-winning, family-run Green Yard Guest House. Take its location for starters. Set in the foothills of the majestic Tien-Shan mountains, the area offers spectacular views and trips to the nearby ski resorts or majestic gorges are only minutes away. The rooms too, are bright, warm and comfortable, with a choice of ‘luxury’ or ‘standard’ to cater for different tastes and budgets. All rooms come with satellite TV, refrigerators, Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with bathtub - perfect for a long hot soak after a day of enjoying the slopes or mountain adventure. The hotel’s restaurant downstairs cooks up both national and European dishes whilst also providing a cozy and family-friendly atmosphere. 

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Jay loves the amazing mountain scenery of Kyrgyzstan, and the friendly people living in yurts in the countryside.
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