23 DAYS ●
Go Beyond Tour
Journey through the heart of Central Asia crossing beautiful deserts and mountain landscapes. Discover ancient cities full of intricate Islamic architecture,
thriving bazaars and a mystical old-world atmosphere, all linked with the legends of the Silk Road.
Cruise on beautiful Lake Issyk Kul
Discover the ancient and pre-Soviet styles of this intriguing city
Be mesmerised by this UNESCO city
Explore the ancient city of Khiva
Our Road to Samarkand itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly to the city of Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. The rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture. In the evening, enjoy a traditional folklore show during dinner.
This afternoon, drive south to Ala Archa National Park where you will stop at the park’s base camp. From here, your guide will take you on a 1 hour leisurely hike through the National Park whilst you take in the picturesque scenery of snow-capped mountains and freshwater rivers.
This morning, you will visit the 12th Century Burana Tower and enjoy the breath-taking views along the road as you continue another 3 hours to Cholpon-Ata. The town is located at the northern shore of Lake Issyk Kul and is known for its large open-air collection of petroglyphs of ibex, wolves and deer etched into glacial stone that date back to the 8th century. Afterwards, cruise on Lake Issyk Kul and view the stunning, alpine scenery.
Continue this morning with a 3-hour drive to the Russian town of Karakol and check in for a two-night stay. First visit the picturesque Semenov Gorge to enjoy a gentle hike at the gorge. This afternoon you will visit the interesting Przhevalskii Museum and examine the region’s diverse religious influences with visits to the striking Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and the Chinese mosque from the outside as visits inside are not always guaranteed.
Rise early and travel to the outskirts of town for the unforgettable Karakol Sunday Animal Market. In the afternoon, travel to the Valley of Flowers and Jety-Oguz Gorge where you can enjoy a light hike through the magnificent canyon of red sandstone. Later, visit Irdyk village to see a local mosque and enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local Dungan family.
Visit Skazka Canyon, also known as Fairy Tale Canyon. This canyon was named so due to its bizarre rock formations, including depictions of snakes, dragons and hippopotamuses.
Continue travelling for around 2 hours to Bokonbaevo Village and watch a demonstration of Eagle Hunting. Return to your vehicle for the 3 hour journey with breath taking views as you make your way to Naryn.
Today visit Tash Rabat's historic caravanserai located in a peaceful valley setting where the only habitation is a series of seasonal yurt-camps. The scenery in this valley is some of the finest landscapes you will encounter in Kyrgyzstan. The altitude here is 3,200 metres so do prepare accordingly.
This morning travel to Kochkor, the centre of Kyrgyz national felt handicrafts.
Visit a local workshop in Kochkor and see the manufacturing of the traditional Kyrgyz wool carpets, called ‘shyrdak’. Explore a small local market in the centre of the village and visit a local co-op that provides training for local women in traditional handicrafts.
Some areas of Kyrgyzstan look as if artists have sculpted and painted nature. This is especially true on the drive between Kochkor and Chong Kemin National Park, where the latter is set in a quiet valley with small villages surrounded by magnificent mountains and a fir forest. Enjoy a walk along the foothills of these mountains as well as witnessing life in the nearby village. Finish with a walk to a fabulous viewpoint offering spectacular views of the valley below. In the afternoon, continue to Bishkek airport to board the flight to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel and enjoy dinner.
This morning journey back in time exploring Tashkent’s town sights: Barak Khan Madrassah, Kukeldash Madrassah and Tila Shaikh Mosque and their archives known for rare copies of the Koran. Stop at Chorsu Bazaar – the oldest market in Tashkent. In the afternoon, you will be invited to the workshop of a famous family of ceramists in Uzbekistan – Akbar and Alisher Rakhimov. Here you will learn about the secrets of their craftsmanship that have been passed from one generation to another. Uzbekistan is renowned for its ceramics that date back thousands of years.
In the morning, journey back in time exploring Tashkent’s town sights; Barak Khan Madrassah and Kukeldash Madrassah and Tila Shaikh mosque and their archives – known for rare copies of the Koran. Stop at Chorsu Bazaar – the oldest market in Tashkent. see Independence Square and Amir Timur Maydoni. Your last stop will be to the Tashkent Metro, with its opulently decorated marble, granite and chandeliers.
In the afternoon, transfer the 5 hours to the pleasant city of Uzbek city of Fergana.
This morning we continue exploring Samarkand to see Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane, the grandest structure of Amir Temur’s times - the chief Friday Mosque called Bibi-Khanum - the Siab Bazaar and Shahi Zinda Necropolis. Later in the afternoon we also see Mausoleum of the Prophet Daniel, which is a unique burial place of the saint, revered in all three world religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. You have the remainder of the day at leisure.
This morning visit Ulugbek’s observatory, constructed by Ulugbek (Grandson of the Great Amir Temur) in 1428-1429. Later see the ancient settlement of Afrosiab.
Following your tour of Afrosiab, continue to Konigil Village to visit a papermaking workshop. Try your hand at the unique method of papermaking, which involves cleaning tree branches from the bark, polishing paper with a stone and painting on it. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the courtyard of the paper making mill. After lunch, return to Samarkand and remainder of the day at leisure.
This morning you will travel the 2 hours to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the Great Amir Timur (Tamerlane), located approximately 90km south of Samarkand. Explore the city, visiting sites such as the remnants of Ak-Sarai Palace, Dorus Tilavat cemetery and Kok-Gumbas Mosque. Return to Samarkand this afternoon.
This morning continue the journey by road to Bukhara. En route,
visit Gijduvan town which is a centre of famous handmade ceramics. Here you will see the fascinating process of making these ceramics as well as witnessing local life in this small town. Arrive in Bukhara this afternoon and remainder of the day is at leisure.
Today you have a full day to explore fabulous Bukhara. This incredible city, one of the most famous of medieval Islam, is home to hundreds of registered monuments. On today’s tour, we visit some of the main highlights as well as some lesser known sights along the way. Bring a fully charged camera battery. Today's sightseeing includes Lab-i-khauz ensemble - modern centre of traditional Uzbekistan, Madrassah Nadirkhon Devanbegi, Khanaga and Mogaki Attari Mosques, Poi Kalon Minaret and Mosque, see Madrassahs Aziz Khan and Ulugbek Madrassah. After lunch you will visit the Ark of Bukhara, Balakhauz Mosque and the Mausoleums of Ismail Samanid and Chashma Ayub. We will also visit Hunarmand UNDP Assisted workshops near Lyabi-Hauz. See block printing, metal chasing, suzani embroidery, carving and gold embroidery.
Continue your sightseeing of Bukhara with an out-of-town excursion to visit the summer residence of the last Emir at Sitora-i Mohi Khosa. See the unique mixture of traditional Russian style of architecture harmoniously mixed with local oriental traditions. The famous white hall decorated with carved alabaster resembles the halls of Petergof Palace in St Petersburg. Continue with an excursion to Bahauddin Naqshbandi Mausoleum, a famous Sufi spiritual leader of this region in the 14th century. Bahouddin Naqshband's cult was highly venerated among folks. The rulers, too, paid a considerable attention to this architectural ensemble. You have the afternoon at leisure for your own exploration.
Set out for Khiva in the early morning driving across the famous Kyzl Kum Desert (Red Sands). During this journey, watch in awe as the scenery changes from saksaul trees to the Amudarya riverbank. We will make several photo stops to see the desert flora and fauna. On arrival in Khiva, check into your hotel for a two-night stay.
Khiva is made for walking. It is compact, well maintained, lived in and basks in beautiful desert light. Participate in this leisurely walking tour and see all the major sights of the Ichtan Kala, the citadel. The truncated Kalta Minor Minaret, the Kurkna Ark Fortress, the Madrassah Rakhimkhon, the Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud and Islam Khodja Minaret - from the latter you will see the entire town beneath you and the desert beyond. The ravages of modern development have been largely kept away from the citadel itself, much to your advantage.
This morning you will be transferred 1 hour to Urgench Airport for your return flight to Tashkent. On arrival in Tashkent, visit the Museum of Applied Arts, Mustakillik Square, Amir Temur Square and the famous Tashkent Metro, opulently decorated with local marble and granite like an underground palace. You have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Australia via Dubai. On arrival in Dubai you will connect to your flight to Australia returning home the same or following day.
Due to flight schedules for some clients, a layover at the Dubai Airport may be necessary. If this is the case a transit hotel will be arranged in Dubai. A local Wendy Wu representative will meet and greet you at in Dubai and escort you to this hotel for check in. You will then be transferred back to the airport the following day for your onward flight to Australia.
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability of specific economy class fare levels. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
Wendy Wu Tours inspects all hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service, which we require for our guests. We pick the right hotel for the specific destination, meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family-run guesthouse in a smaller town. Chosen hotels are also chosen for ease of navigation around tourist sights. Government laws in China require air conditioning be switched on nationally in May and central heating in November (this may vary slightly depending on the region). View Hotels Here
Most nationalities require a visa when travelling to China. Travellers should arrange visas well in advance of departure. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your visa in the price of your tour. We handle the entire application process – all you need to do is complete the paperwork and send your passport to us eight weeks prior to departure. We are always on hand to help you with any queries you may have while completing the application form.
While travelling overseas, the Wendy Wu Tours contact number during business hours is +61 2 9224 8888. Emergency Assistance (24-hours) is 0044 1888 288 288. You will find mobile phone coverage to be quite high throughout Asia. We recommend contacting your mobile carrier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated call and data costs before you leave Australia. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi, which usually comes at a cost.
Tipping is not commonplace in Australia. In Asia however, it is anticipated that a tip be given to reward good service. With that in mind, we have a tipping system for our group tours. Each passenger ‘tips’ a set amount to the National Escort at the start of the tour or on arrival in each country. They then distribute this as appropriate. The Yangtze River cruise service charge is paid when embarking. We advise tipping amounts in your final documentation. Tipping is appreciated for Private and Tailor-Made travel. In your final documents, we include guidelines for tipping when travelling independently.
Shopping is a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests while on holiday, your tour includes a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. Included are visits to establishments that provide locally produced goods, unique to your destination. Witness the creation of these products, and see first-hand how their production supports the local economy. As most travellers like to take home souvenirs, we ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or too unusual. Breakfast at your hotel includes local and western dishes. In remote areas, we suggest embracing local specialities. Lunch and dinner consists of shared dishes. Meals generally finish with fruit to clean the palate. Drinks such as beer, soft drinks or bottled water are at your own expense locally. Beer is drunk in small glasses; not large glasses that you may be used to.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and Australia's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th.
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