Fourteen days, two countries, eight cities and one rocket launch: there are not many journeys that you’ll make quite like this one. Over the course of two weeks, you’ll be treated to all the important historic sites of Uzbekistan and its ancient Silk Road cities, as well as witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event – the “Soyuz” rocket being launched into space from the cosmodrome in Baikonur. The itinerary route starts in the Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and a trip to the highest sports complex in the world. After a journey through the rugged Kazakh landscape to the launch site in Baikonur, it’s then on to explore three of the world-renowned jewels in Uzbekistan’s ancient crown: Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand; each city as elegant and fascinating as the next.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
After touching down in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, a short tour kicks off proceedings. Visits to Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, Central Mosque Medeo skating rink (part of the highest sports complex in the world) all feature on the bill. After lunch in Medeo, a short cable car trip Kok-Tobe awaits, which, as the highest point in the city, offers incredible panoramic views. Overnight in Almaty at the Ritz-Carlton.
This morning fly to Kzyl Orda and drive a few hours out to Baikonur and see the city’s main attractions: the Museum of Baikonur Cosmodrome History. The fascinating exhibits include various models of different rockets over the years, spaceship artifacts, and several personal items associated with the careers of Yuri Gagarin and Sergei Korolyov.
An unforgettable, once in a lifetime (for most) experience awaits on this third day; today you will witness a rocket being launched into space. Watch, listen and feel the earth shake as "Soyuz" blasts off and into the earth’s stratosphere. Following the epic show, it’s on to visit two launch complexes ("Gagarin's Start" and “Zenith”), as well as the memorial house of Yuri Gagarin and Sergei Korolev.
A good part of this fourth day will be spent on a train, as you make your way to the ancient city of Turkestan. The journey is comfortable, providing a full lunch and refreshments, and there’s the chance to take in the stunning Kazakh landscape along the way. Upon arrival in Turkestan, visit the incredible mausoleum of the great Muslim sage, Hodzha Ahmed Yassavi. There’s also time in the afternoon to check out some medieval bath houses.
It’s a new day and time for a new country. The drive to the Kazakh - Uzbek border provides a perfect opportunity to stop off and visit the interesting museum in village Shaulder and also the Otrar ruins – a settlement which was once widely known as the capital of the province and the birthplace of the great medieval philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi. After arrival in Tashkent (a 4-hour drive), the capital of Uzbekistan, you’ll have a brief tour of all the ancient sites and places of interest in the afternoon.
Leave hotel in the morning to catch a flight to Urgench. Lying 40 miles away from here is the museum-like city of Khiva; a maze of ancient Islamic architecture boasting beautiful palaces, awe-inspiring mausoleums and well-preserved ruins. On the agenda of the day-long tour are the Djuma Mosque, the spiritual center of Khiva with 212 wooden carved columns; Kunya-Ark fortress, former home of Muhammad Aurang-Khan; and the Tash Hauli Palace, a mesmerizing, intricately detailed building.
Depart to Bukhara (around 7 hours away), crossing the Kyzyl-Kum desert and Amu Darya river. On the way there’s a scenic picnic stop for lunch together with a meeting some Karakul sheep experts – famous to this part of Central Asia. Arrive later in Bukhara, a monastery city, and historic a place of religious education and pilgrimage. Check in to your hotel and prepare for a full day of exploring Bukhara tomorrow.
In the morning you’ll visit Lyabi Hauz Place – one of the most famous and beautiful places in this elegant city. The site is comprised of a plaza built of water with a series of buildings around the edge, dating back to 1620. This is then followed by a trip to the Poi-Kalyan place, with its Kalyan minaret, and Ismail Samani mausoleum – the oldest building in the Central Asia. Dinner is at the stunning Nodir Divan Begui madrasah with a traditional folk show.
The legendary city of Bukhara really deserves your time, not only for its sheer beauty but also its wealth of fascinating attractions, so spending a third full day here is understandable. Visit the Royal Mosque of Bolo Khauz, followed by Sitorai Mokhi Khosa – the former residence of Emir of Bukhara. In the afternoon it’s off to see the Bahauddin Naqshband ensemble; an incredible pilgrimage stop renowned across the world for its central dome and intricate blue tile work.
Say goodbye to Bukhara and begin the morning drive to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz (around 4 hours). The road goes through the beautiful mountain landscape and there’s a short sightseeing tour of Shakhrisabz (famous for its links to the ancient Tamerlane ruler) to break up the journey. Here, a visit to the Ak-Saray Palace – the summer residence of the great ruler – is a must. After lunch it’s back on the road to Samarkand.
Waste no time rising on this eleventh day; the blue-washed city of Samarkand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, is waiting to be explored. The day’s visits in this once Tamerlane-ruled empire include Bibi-Khanym Mosque, known for its huge blue dome that competes with the firmament; Registan Square, the heart of Samarkand with its three madrasahs; and Gur-Emir mausoleum, the burial place of Tamerlane.
Another day sightseeing in Samarkand represents another chance to unearth even more of this historic city’s captivating past. Shakhi-Zinda, which you’ll visit in the morning, is a mini necropolis comprised of narrow streets with looming buildings, sparkling blue-tiled tombs and various mausoleums. Then, head to Ulugbek observatory (the first and biggest observatory in Central Asia) and finish off with a visit to a traditional paper-making factory in the afternoon.
It’s time to leave Samarkand and make your way back to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The 400-mile journey takes you across the rugged, enthralling terrain of Uzbekistan for one last time, and there’s a chance to stop off at Bakhmal village for a quick lesson on how cotton honey is made. After arrival and check-in at your Tashkent hotel, make some last city visits before a farewell dinner.
Your two-week discovery through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan has come to an end. Enjoy a buffet-breakfast at the hotel before a comfortable morning check-out. Private transport takes you to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination.
Occupying the top ten floors of the Esentai Tower, the Ritz Carlton enjoys unrivalled views of Almaty and the sweeping, jagged, snow-peaked Ile-Alatau mountain range. Guests choosing to stay here have the best of both worlds with easy access to the city and all its famous historic sights as well as the ski slopes in the national park to the south. After a long day on the piste or exploring the city, guests can ascend the escalator into the luxurious surroundings and enjoy all that the hotel has to offer. With restaurants and bars decorated with the latest works from the hottest modern artists in the country, from cocktails with a view to sumptuous dishes prepared with expertise, dining and drinking at the Ritz Carlton is a feast for the senses. Rooms and suites boast stunning panoramas and are fitted with every modern convenience and comfort. Meanwhile, the acclaimed Six Senses Spa offers a retreat from the stresses of everyday life.
The aptly named Sputnik Hotel is located in the heart of Baikonur, a region famous for being home to Cosmodrome and Russian-controlled rocket launch pad-site. As well as being located close to the region’s main attraction, this four-star hotel also boasts a large swimming pool, a health club, conference rooms, and 120 well-appointed guestrooms, making this one of the largest accommodation options of its type in Baikonur. Each room is well-equipped with modern conveniences including Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, televisions, heating controls and refrigerators. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar at the hotel, meaning that guests don’t have to venture outside for food and drinks late at night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Located in the heart of the city, the Dilimah offers convenience and comfort to visitors of this historic city. The 11 guest rooms are furnished with contemporary amenities and furnishings, and premium rooms feature a balcony. Facilities and services include 24-hour concierge, fitness center, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, indoor pool, business center, babysitting services, and on-site restaurant and bar. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
Standing next to the National Library on Navoi Street, the Hyatt Regency Tashkent is the ideal choice for guests hoping to get the most out of Uzbekistan’s bustling, cosmopolitan capital city. Nearby are a number of historic and cultural landmarks including Independence Square, Minor Mosque and Barak-Khan Madrassah. Also within close proximity are shops, restaurants and the diplomatic district. Catering to both business and leisure guests, the hotel features a range of facilities including meeting and conference rooms, a large ballroom, a fitness center and indoor pool - not to mention an onsite spa. Guestrooms and suites are all equipped with work spaces and modern technology for ultimate comfort and convenience, and guests in Club Rooms and Suites enjoy access to the Regency Club. Three distinct dining spaces offer regional and international cuisine in laid-back, elegant spaces with themed decor.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
Uzbekistan was created by the Soviets in the 20th Century, but the land, the cities, and the people within this country’s borders have a history that stretches back centuries. These sites put modern Uzbekistan in perspective.
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