A Silk Route Adventure with World Nomad Games

On this adventurous journey, discover the unspoiled mountain landscapes and remarkable living traditions of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, two of Central Asia’s least-known countries. Range from alpine Lake Issyk-Kul in the Kyrgyz outback, where the exciting World Nomad Games present contests in eagle hunting, stick wrestling and intense Central Asian horse games, to the high, jagged mountains of the remote Pamir Highway in Tajikistan.

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Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Witness the exciting World Nomad Games
    Witness the spirit of ancient nomadic cultures at the exhilarating World Nomad Games, showcasing thrilling competitions, cultural performances and incredible feats of skill from more than 40 countries around the world....
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  • Learn how the Kyrgyz set up their traditional yurts
    Learn how the Kyrgyz set up their traditional yurts, the round collapsible homes that nomads have lived in for thousands of years....
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  • Catch your breath at Pamir Highway vistas
    Admire the unmatched mountain scenery and plunging valleys along the Pamir Highway, one of the highest international highways in the world....
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  • Dine in private homes
    Dine in the homes of local villagers and nomadic families, learning about their traditions, history, and ways of life....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Central Asia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Vassar, Dartmouth and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Central Asia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • MIR affiliate office in Uzbekistan
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Bishkek, Cholpan-Ata, World Nomad Games at Lake Issyk-Kul

Explore the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, with visits to the main square, the Ata-Beyit Memorial Complex, and the Manas Monument, dedicated to the legendary Kyrgyz folk hero. Stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's last remaining Silk Road watchtowers, then continue to Chon-Kemin, where you'll get to know the locals and learn how to set up a yurt at a special demonstration.


  • Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan at the foot of the Ala-Too Mountains
  • Burana Tower, one of few remaining Silk Road watchtowers in Kyrgyzstan
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Days 4-7: Tepke village, Karakol, day trip to Jyrgalan Valley, Jeti Oguz, Son Kul Lake

Stop near little Tepke village to visit a working Kyrgyz farm, then drive to Karakol on the eastern end of Issyk-Kul. Admire the sky-blue mosque and the Orthodox church, and enjoy dinner with a family of Muslim Uighurs. Take a day trip to Jyrgalan Valley, and experience Kyrgyz hospitality over lunch and conversations with local villagers. Venture to Jeti Oguz Canyon, known for its trademark red sandstone cliffs. Overnight in a yurt near alpine Son Kul Lake.


  • Reina-Kench Eco-farm with lunch in Tepke Village
  • Karakol, a refuge for Chinese Muslims fleeing persecution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
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Days 8-9: Kochkor, Chon-Kemin, Karakol, Bishkek

In Kochkor, visit a handicrafts cooperative where women produce high-quality handcrafted goods. spend time with a local semi-nomadic shepherd family and discover the art of traditional Kyrgyz felt-making, a craft that has survived the centuries. Continue to Chon-Kemin, where you'll get to know the locals and learn how to set up a yurt at a special demonstration. Return to Bishkek for a performance of selections from the Kyrgyz tale, the Epic of Manas.


  • Lunch with a family in little Kochkor Village
  • Visit to Altyn Kol (Golden Hands) Women’s Cooperative with handcrafted goods
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Days 10-12: Osh, Sary Tash, Murghab

Fly to Osh and visit UNESCO-listed Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, one of Central Asia's holiest Islamic sites. Head south and pick up the Pamir Highway near Sary Tash, climbing 14,000-foot Kyzyl-Art Pass into Tajikistan. Enjoy commanding mountain views on the breathtaking drive over 15,200-foot Ak-Baital Pass, descending into Murghab for an overnight stay.


  • Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, a UNESCO Site in Osh
  • Jayma Bazaar, one of the largest open markets in Central Asia
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Days 13-16: Langar, Ishkashim, Khorog, Kalaikhumb

Continue along the Wakhan Corridor, an ancient branch of the Silk Road, stopping at Buddhist stupas, Ismaili shrines and ruined forts. In Khorog, capital of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, sit in on an evening service at an Ismaili Muslim prayer house, and chat with a representative from a local Tajik NGO.


  • Khorog's botanical gardens, among the world's highest at an elevation of 7,600 feet
  • Yamchun Fort with views across the border to Afghanistan
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Days 16-20: Kalaikhumb, Dushanbe

Journey overland along the Panj River, overnighting in the village of Kalaikhumb. Arriving in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, explore the 18th century Hissar Fortress, and meet with young locals to discuss the city’s history, culture and current affairs as seen through their eyes.


  • Kalaikhumb, once home to a great fortress
  • Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan with shady traditional teahouses, chaikhanas
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

There are no departures available at this time.

Please contact us for more information and a MIR Destination Specialist will contact you shortly. Thank you!

Please note

This itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program. For an itinerary that travels through this region, you might be interested in From the Heavenly Tien Shan to the High Pamirs or another tour through Central Asia


What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located hotels, rural guesthouses and yurts. In yurts and rural guesthouses, sleeping accommodations are shared among several group members, and facilities are outhouse-style. Shared accommodations may be mixed-sex.
  • 20 breakfasts, 18 lunches and 17 dinners. A few meals are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to dine on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private mini-coach, jeep or van (size of vehicle depends on group size and terrain and will vary from country to country).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and other service personnel.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (if applicable to your itinerary; please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

Consider a post-tour extension to Uzbekistan or China and Tibet. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This Explorer Series program, by nature, is designed to be comfortable for western travelers, but is a very adventurous program to a rustic part of the world. It is important to keep in mind that the countries of Central Asia are, in general, not up to the standards North American travelers expect.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

  • Fred Lundahl’s Dispatches from Central Asia

    Fred Lundahl’s Dispatches from Central Asia

    Fred Lundahl spent 30 years serving in U.S. embassies abroad with the Foreign Service. He fell in love with Central Asia, and still travels there every couple of years. His import store in Langley on Washington State's Whidbey Island, Music for the Eyes, is filled with exotic treasures personally collected from foreign lands, especially the Silk Road countries of Central Asia. Fred traveled with MIR on a custom, private journey through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 2016. Here are his dispatches from the road.... Read More

  • Chinese Turkestan & Central Asia: Exploring the Silk Road

    Chinese Turkestan & Central Asia: Exploring the Silk Road

    Andrew Barron, MIR's Director of Scheduled Group Tours, visits the ancient Silk Road in Western China and the 'Stans with the Chinese Turkestan & Central Asia scheduled group tour. Read about his journey from Almaty to Urumqi, Kashgar and Bishkek.... Read More

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