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Journey Through Central Asia: The Five 'Stans

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"Excellent tour itinerary and tour manager...Uzbekistan was outstanding and I am glad we spent a considerable amount of time there."

Elaine Cohen

Hillsborough, CA

More than 2,000 years ago, the great trade routes that linked Europe and China opened Central Asia to foreign cultures, customs and religions. Join a modern-day caravan on an epic journey to five of these exotic countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - visiting eight awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way.

Days 1-4: Almaty, Lake Issyk-Kul, Bishkek

Begin the tour in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, drive to the majestic Tien Shan mountain range. Cross into Kyrgyzstan and spend a night at beautiful alpine Lake Issyk-Kul before exploring Bishkek, the country's capital.

Days 5-7: Osh, Fergana, Margilan, Rishtan, Khujand

Fly to the lush Fergana Valley, divided among three of the five 'Stans. Ascend to UNESCO-listed Suleiman-Too Sacred Mountain, one of the holiest Islamic sites in Central Asia. It rises from the outskirts of Osh, where you meet with a group of locals. In the Uzbek portion of the valley, visit Margilan and Rishtan, villages specializing in silks and ceramics. Cross the border into Tajikistan for an overnight
in historic Khujand, founded by Alexander the Great.

Days 8-16: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Nukus

Journey overland to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent and admire one of the oldest Korans in the world. Explore the blue-tiled mosaics of Samarkand, Tamerlane's UNESCO-listed Ak Sarai Palace in Shakhrisabze, the interlocking brickwork of Bukhara and the winding alleys of Khiva. Drive through the Kyzyl Kum (Red Sands) desert to the astonishing Savitsky Museum of avant-garde Russian art in remote Nukus, capital of Karakalpakstan, for an overnight.

Days 17-21: Kunya Urgench, Tashauz, Ashkabad, Nisa, Merv

In Turkmenistan explore the ruins of Khorezm's Kunya Urgench, the Parthian city of Nisa and mythical Merv, all three of them UNESCO Sites. In the modern capital of Ashkabad, discover the white marble monuments, so plentiful that they were awarded a Guinness World Record in 2013.

Trip Details

2014 Tour Information
Length of Trip: 21 Days

2014 Departures: 5
Dates: April 8-28, 2014* (Sold Out)
  April 29-May 19, 2014 (Sold Out)
  August 19-Sept 8, 2014 (Sold Out)
  September 9-29 (New Departure!)
  Sept 16-Oct 6, 2014 (Sold Out)
  October 14-Nov 3, 2014 (Sold Out)

2014 Land Tour Cost:
6-16 travelers $7,495
Plus internal air
$250 (economy class, subject to change)
Single Supplement $1,295
*This is a special departure featuring Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. For more information on this departure please click here.
Trips are filling fast - call for current availability.
Call 800-424-7289 for more information.
No Hidden Costs!

MIR Signature Experiences

  • Observe Kyrgyz national horse games after a home-cooked meal in a Kyrgyz village
  • Savor traditional Uzbek meals in the home of a family in Fergana Valley
  • Admire the trove of rescued Russian art with an expert who leads you behind the scenes at the Savitsky Museum in Nukus

Map - Click to Enlarge

Day Activity  
Days 1-2: Almaty  
Day 3: Almaty, drive to Lake Issyk-Kul  
Day 4: Lake Issyk-Kul, drive to Bishkek  
Day 5: Bishkek, fly to Osh, drive to Fergana Valley  
Day 6: Fergana Valley  
Day 7: Fergana, drive to Kokand and Khujand  
Day 8: Khujand, drive to Tashkent  
Day 9: Tashkent, drive to Samarkand  
Day Activity  
Day 10: Samarkand  
Day 11: Drive to Shakhrisabze, Bukhara  
Days 12-13: Bukhara  
Day 14: Drive to Khiva  
Day 15: Khiva  
Day 16: Drive to Nukus  
Day 17: Drive to Khojeli and Kunya Urgench, fly to Ashkabad  
Days 18-21: Ashkabad with day trips to Merv, Nisa  
List of Highlights
Almaty Tien-shan Mountain Range, Panfilov Park & Zenkov Cathedral
Lake Issyk-Kul Second-largest high-altitude lake in the world
Buryan Tower The only remaining watchtower of the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek Capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Ala-Too Mountain Range
Fergana Valley Margilan Sunday Market, Ceramics Master in Rishtan Village, Kokand
Tashkent Square of Independence, the Navoi Theatre, Kukeldash Madrassah, Kaffal-Shashi Mausoleum
Samarkand Crossroads of Culture (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Registan, Shah-i-Zinde, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Uleg Bek Observatory
Shakrisabze (Shakrisabz) "Historic Centre of Shakrisabze" (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Ak Saray (White Palace)
Bukhara "Historic Centre of Bukhara" (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Lyab-i-Khauz Plaza, Kukeldash Madrassah, Kalon Mosque and Minaret, Ark Citadel, Zindan Prison, Ismael Samani Mausoleum
Khiva Ichon-Qala (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Kyzyl Kum Desert, Amu Darya River, Tash-Hauli Palace, Dzhuma Mosque, Kunya Ark
Ashkabad Tolkuchka Oriental Bazaar, Museum of Carpets and Textiles, Turkmen Jewelry Studio
Nisa Parthian Kingdom of Nisa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Kopet-Dag Mountains
Merv Ruins of Marghiana and Archaeological Museum in Ancient Merv (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Suggested Extensions

Combine this tour with Treasures of the Trans-Caucasus. Contact us for more details.

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Some images on this page courtesy Peter Guttman

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