Overview

Day 1 - London / Almaty
Day 2 - Almaty
Day 3 - Almaty / Kolsay Lakes
Day 4 - Kolsay Lakes / Almaty
Day 5 - Almaty / Bishkek
Day 6 - Bishkek / Issyk-Kul Lake
Day 7 - Kajlsay / Karakol
Day 8 - Karakol
Day 9 - Karakol / Bishkek
Day 10 - Bishkek / Osh / Fergana Valley
Day 11 - Fergana Valley
Day 12 - Fergana Valley / Tashkent
Day 13 - Tashkent / Khujant
Day 14 - Khujant / Iskanderkul
Day 15 - Iskanderkul / Samarkand
Day 16 - Samarkand
Day 17 - Samarkand / Bukhara
Day 18 - Bukhara
Day 19 - Bukhara / Mary
Day 20 - Mary / Merv / Ashgabat
Day 21 - Ashgabat
Day 22 - Ashgabat / Dashoguz / Khiva
Day 23 - Khiva
Day 24 - Khiva / Khorezm / Nukus
Day 25 - Nukus / Tashkent
Day 26 - Journey Home

LEGENDS AND EMPIRES

Experience a Central Asian Odyssey on this epic 26 day journey exploring the ancient lands and medieval cities of the fabled Silk Route

Explore the Legends and Empires that are The five ‘stans’ of Central Asia. The backdrop to our tour is one of incredible diversity, both scenic and cultural, experience incredible history, fabulous local hospitality aswell as the cosmopolitan cities of today.  Tucked between India, Russia and China and comprised of  mountains, steppe grassland and desert, they were once a mix of feudal khanates and nomadic people and later formed republics under Stalin's rule. Amongst this varied landscape are traditional villages and  ancient towns reflecting the glories of the passing Greek and Persian armies, the  marauding Mongolian hordes, the traders who would sell their wares along the Silk Road, and the  philosophers and astronomers that trod these roads in bygone times. Perhaps amongst some of the world’s least visited and least well-known destinations, making this trip a true journey of discovery.  Discover the architectural wonders of Uzbekistan’s Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Travel into the countryside of Kazakhstan where tulips stretch across the steppe and edge clear blue lakes. Explore Kyrgyzstan’s stunning mountains and discover its nomadic horse-riding culture. Step into mountainous Tajikistan filled with wild flowers with its wonderfully simple way of life, and finally Turkmenistan’s breath-taking sights, including Merv, a desert city stacked by Genghis Khan, the sandy Kopet Dag mountains and the famed Akhal-Teke horses.

Key Features

Chauffeur Driven Transfers*
Most Meals Included
UK Tour Manager
Local Expert Guides
Price Guarantee
Group Size: 6 – 18

Day 1 Fly via Istanbul, to Almaty.

Day 2 Transfer to the Ritz Carlton for overnight. (D)

Day 3 Drive to Charyn Canyon, a unique natural wonder formed 12 million years ago. Discover unspoiled nature and breathtaking vistas. Picnic lunch before continuing to the Kolsai Lakes, check-in at the Saty Village guesthouse for an overnight stay. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Drive to stunningly beautiful Kaindy Lake . Explore and enjoy lunch before our return to Almaty and the Ritz Carlton. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Explore the leafy city of Almaty with its backdrop of the snowcapped Zailiysky Alatau. Visits include Panfilovtzev Park, Zenkov Cathedral, the Monument of Independence, Republic Square and Central Mosque, Evening flight to Bishkek, overnight at the Hyatt Regency. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Drive to Kajissay on the south of Issyk-Kul Lake, stopping en route for a stroll to “Eol Castles”. Overnight Al-Khayat hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Visit Djeti-Oguz gorge to enjoy a waterfall walk and lunch at the yurt camp. Continue to Karakol and the hotel Karagat. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Explore Karakol on foot, a shady grid of tree-lined streets with a backdrop of snowy peaks. Later drive to Altyn-Arashan gorge to visit the thermal wells. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Drive along the northern bank of Issyk-Kul to Bishkek, visiting Ruh-Ordo historic centre in Cholpon-Ata en route. Overnight at the Hyatt Regency. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Morning flight to Osh for a short visit. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to Fergana Valley, overnight at the Asia Fergana. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Full day tour of Fergana, the garden city, known for its exceptional crafts and artisans and its kaleidoscopic bazaars. Visit General Skobelev House, the Russian Army Assembly Hall and History Museum with a stop at the silk weaver’s workshops in Margilan. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Drive to Tashkent across the Kamchik Pass, stopping at Rishtan, famous for its brilliant blue glazed pottery. Continue to Kokand, one of Uzbekistan’s most ancient towns and once an important trade centre on the Silk Road. City tour before we continue to the Lotte City Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 13 Drive to the Uzbek-Tajik border and to Khujand. Visit the museum and city’s 7th century fortification, explore Payshanba oriental bazaar, the biggest in Central Asia. Overnight at the Khujand Delux. (B, L, D)

Day 14 Drive to Iskanderkul via Istaravshan. Visit Mug Tepa, in Ura-Tube, one of the ancient settlements of Tajikistan. Explore Khazrati Shoh complex and continue to Iskanderk Lake, named, according to legend, after Alexander the Great. Enjoy a “Dilovar” lunch and explore the five springs, Zmeinoe lake (Snake lake), and the waterfalls, “Fan Niagara“. Overnight, at Iskanderkul Cottage. (B, L, D)

Day 15 Depart for Penjikent, birthplace of Abu Abdallah Rudaki, the father of Persian Poetry. Visit the Museum of Rudak and the excavated remains at Penjikent. Proceed to Samarkand. Overnight at the Samarkand Dilimah (or similar). (B, L, D)

Day 16 Explore the glorious city of Samarkand; Ulugh Beg Observatory, Shah-i-Zinda necropolis and Bibi Khanym Mosque, one of the largest in Central Asia built by Tamerlane. After a traditional Pilov lunch visit the famous mausoleum of Tamberlane and Registan Square, the most spectacular architectural ensemble in Central Asia. (B, L, D)

Day 17 Day at leisure to explore the city of Samarkand, or take an optional excursion to the fabled city of Shakhrisabz. Timur’s home, across the Aman-Kutan mountain that once rivaled Samarkand. (£50 per person) Evening high-speed train to Bukhara, transfer to the Zargaron Plaza. (B, L, D)

Day 18 The magical city of Bukhara is over 2,000 years old and is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia. Explore the city, enjoy lunch at at Lyabi-Haus square and later visit the Minaret Kalan Complex and the Summer Palace. (B, L, D)

Day 19 Drive to the border at Farab and continue to Mary, an oasis city in the Karakum Desert. Overnight at the Mary Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 20 Transfer to Merv, one of the main cities of the ancient Silk Road and, reputedly, once the largest city in the world. At this World Heritage site, the beautiful monuments bear witness to the city’s glorious days passed. Return to Mary, visit the museum before the an evening flight to Ashgabat and two nights at the Oguzkent Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 21 Visit the beautiful, World Heritage fortress of Old Nisa, at the foot of the Kopet Dag Mountains, the earliest of the Parthian Empire capitals. Visit Arkadash stud farm, home of the famous AkhalTekke horses, one of the oldest breed in existence. Return to Ashgabat, visit the Russian market and see the rare collection of hand-made Turkmen carpets at the National Museum. (B, L, D)

Day 22 Morning flight to Dashoguz. Drive to Kunya Urgench, the ancient capital of Khorezm, which was part of the Achaemenid Empire. Visit the mosque, the gates of the caravanserai, the fortress, mausoleum and minaret. Lunch in Dashoguz before we cross the Uzbek border for Khiva and two nights at the Asia Khiva Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 23 Full day exploration of the beautifully preserved, medieval town of Khiva. As you enter the city gates and wander the fabled Ichon-Qala (inner walled city) it’s hard not to feel transported to another era. Explore Kunya Ark (old citadel), the Emir’s Palace, the magnificent Juma Mosque with its 200 individually carved wooden pillars, and the Caravanserai. Enjoy the sunset from the old city walls, when the moonlit silhouettes of tilting minarets and medressas are quite magical. (B,L,D)

Day 24 Travel to the ancient fortress of Ayaz-Kala, one of the largest surviving castle fortresses of the Khorezm region. Visit Toprak-Kala before travelling to Nukus. Visit the Igor Savitsky museum, with the world’s second largest collection of Russian avant garde art. Overnight at the hotel Jipek Joli. (B, L, D)

Day 25 Morning flights to Tashkent. Explore Uzbekistan’s 2,000-year-old capital. A city of fascinating contradictions, with Soviet-style architecture and traditional mud-walled houses. A city rich in museums, mosques and impressive monuments. Visit the Khast-Imam Islamic complex, the Museum of Applied Arts, the History Museum and Amir Timur Square. Later explore the Tashkent metro, where each station is uniquely decorated. Check in at the Lotte City Hotel. This evening visit the famous Navoi Theatre to enjoy a performance followed by a farewell dinner in the city. (B, D)

Day 26 Transfer to the airport for our homeward flight, via Istanbul to London. Alternately stop for a few nights in Istanbul. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner

Notes

Hotels in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are simple and unpretentious but well-located with a restaurant, bar and air-conditioned rooms with private facilities and satellite TV. There may be water and electricity shortages and, on occasion, alternative hotels may be used. WiFi (free) is available at all tour hotels although it can be intermittent. Food is nutritious, based on fresh local produce but can be repetitive and the provision of special dietary requirements may be limited.
Travel between the cities by road, whilst being the classic way to experience the country, involves some long journeys, some on uneven roads with only limited opportunities for comfort breaks.
Porters are unavailable at some hotels and during border crossings.
The order of sightseeing may vary in accordance with local conditions.

2021

per person in a twin room 
Turkish Airline from London 

Date Price
September 4 £7995

2022

per person in a twin room
Turkish Airline from London 

Date Price
May 7 £8495
September 3 £8495
Great Journeys

A Jules Verne Limited Edition

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £1695

Flight Options

Business class from £1785
Regional Airport Available - nil

Extension Options

Extension - Istanbul
3 nights
Twin £595
Single Supplement £115

Privately Guided

Add £2995 per person

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 24 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, 22 lunches and 24 dinners, itinerary as described, services of a UK Tour Manager and expert local guides and representatives. VIP Chauffeur Driven Transfers.* If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

Notes
*On all of our Great Journeys, we provide a VIP chauffeur driven transfer for passengers living within a 70-mile radius of the point of departure. For those passengers that live outside of this 70-mile radius, we will provide the most competitive quotation for the additional mileage.

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Legends and Empires

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