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Road to Samarkand | 23 days | Go Beyond Group Tour | from $13,420pp
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 Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
In Kochkor, visit a wonderful local cooperative where women are trained in traditional Kyrgyz handicrafts and given space to show and sell their work, allowing them to earn a wage while keeping old traditions alive.
Take to the tranquil, vivid-blue waters of Lake Issyk Kul, the world's second largest alpine lake, enjoying a relaxing cruise as you admire the spectacular views of the rugged Ala-Too Mountains.
One of Central Asia's most iconic experiences, witness the skill and majesty of golden eagle hunting – an age-old Kyrgyz tradition – in the spectacular setting of Kyrgyzstan's highlands.
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. 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. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
With our Book with Confidence guarantee you have peace of mind with low deposits, free changes and extended final payment. Plus, find a tour with the same inclusions cheaper and we will match it AND give you a reward. See full terms and conditions.
There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
Fly to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital and cultural hub. Enjoy a welcome lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a city tour to see Ala-Too Square, the White House and Oak Park.
This morning, drive to Ala Archa National Park for a leisurely hike through its picturesque scenery of rugged peaks and dramatic gorges. Return to Bishkek for a free afternoon.
Visit the magnificent 12th-century Burana Tower before departing for Cholpon-Ata. Set on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, visit the astonishing collection of 8th Century petroglyphs etched into glacial stone nearby. Later, take a cruise on the beautiful Lake Issyk Kul, admiring its spectacular alpine-esque surroundings.
Drive to Karakol, stopping at Semenov Gorge for a gentle hike, and Kyrchyn Jailoo ethnic village en route. This afternoon visit the Przhevalsky Museum, dedicated to the Russian explorer, and visit the striking Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and the Chinese mosque.
Rise early to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Karakol's Sunday morning animal market which rivals Kashgar's famous animal market. In the afternoon, travel to the Jeti-Oguz Gorge for a walk through the canyon of red sandstone. Visit an Irdyk village and enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local
Dungan family. This evening enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local Dungan family.
Depart Karakol early and travel to Skazka Canyon, also known as Fairy Tale Canyon, due to its unusual shapes and colours. Travel further to the village of Bokonbaevo to watch an eagle hunting demonstration, a millennia-old Kyrgyz tradition practised with majestic golden eagles. Continue to Naryn, where you
will stay the night.
Pass through dramatic mountain and valley landscapes to reach Tash Rabat, a
small stone caravansary that was of great significance at the height of the Silk Road. Enjoy the peaceful valley said to contain some of the finest landscapes in Kyrgyzstan before returning to Naryn.
Transfer to Kochkor, the centre of Kyrgyz felt handicrafts. Visit a traditional 'shyrdak' (wool carpet) workshop and a co-op that provides training for local women in traditional handicrafts. In the evening you will travel to a guesthouse near Chong-Kemin National Park.
Travel from Kochkor to Chong Kemin, a quiet valley with small villages surrounded by magnificent mountains. Enjoy a walk in the foothills before travelling to Bishkek airport for your flight to Tashkent.
Explore Tashkent's sights, including the Barak Khana Seminary, Kukeldash madrassas, Tila Shaikh mosque and their archives. Browse the wares of Chorsu bazaar before experiencing a ceramic workshop.
Travel to the legendary city of Samarkand where you will enjoy a tour of Registan Square, the Ulug-Bek and Tillya-Kori madrassah. Enjoy the rest of the day exploring at your leisure.
Explore Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane, the grandest structure of Amir
Temur's times - the chief Friday Mosque called Bibi-Khanum and the Siab Bazaar and Shahi Zinda Necropolis. Later in the afternoon see Mausoleum of the Prophet Daniel.
Visit Ulugbek's observatory, constructed by Ulugbek (Grandson of the Great Amir Temur) in 1428-1429. Later see the ancient settlement of Afrosiab. Continue to Konigil Village to visit a paper-making workshop. In the afternoon, return to Samarkand and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Travel to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the Great Amir Timur (Tamerlane). Explore the city, visiting sites such as the remnants of Ak-Saray Palace, Dorus Tilavat cemetery and Kok-Gumbas Mosque. Return to Samarkand this afternoon.
Journey to Bukhara. En route, visit Gijduvan, a centre of famous handmade ceramics. Here you will see the fascinating process of making these ceramics. Continue on to Bukhara where you will have the afternoon to begin to explore this fascinating city.
Explore the legendary Poi Kalon minaret, the Ark Fortress, and Bolo Hauz Mosque. Wander on to the peaceful 16th-century Chor Minor and Chor Bakr necropolis to tour the colourful Khonako-Medrassah-Mosque complex. Later,
visit the mausoleum of Ismail Samanid.
This morning, visit Sitora-i Mohi Khosa, the Emir's summer palace, a 20th Century confection of a building! Continue to the Bahauddin Naqshbandi Mausolem of a famous Sufi spiritual leader of the region. The afternoon is at leisure. Return to Bukhara and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
This morning, you will set out for Khiva, a journey that will take you across Kyzyl Kum desert and a stop at Amudarya River. The route runs 480 kilometres through the stark beauty of the desert, the scenery changing from sparse saksaul trees to the lush riverbanks of the Amudarya.
Explore ancient Khiva, discovering the sights of the UNESCO World Heritage inner-walled city of Itchan Kala including the mighty Kunya Ark and the turquoise tiled Islom-Khodja. Wander through the fascinating Madrassa
Rakhimkhon, a beacon of religious, astronomic, geographic and mathematical
studies, and see the 19th Century Tash Hauli Palace, decorated in blue fine china tiles.
Transfer to Urgench to fly to Tashkent. Upon arrival visit the Museum of Applied
Arts as well as the Mustakilik Square and the famous Tashkent Metro. With it's marble and granite decorations the Metro feels like an underground palace.
Fly to Australia, arriving home the following day.
Most nationalities require a visa when travelling to this destination. 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 South & Central America. 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 South & Central America 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. Tipping is appreciated for Private and Tailor-Made travel. In your final documents, we include guidelines for tipping when travelling independently.
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. Drinks such as beer, soft drinks or bottled water are at your own expense locally.
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.
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.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience the world. That's why we are touring experts - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing top sights 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. Wendy Wu and the team look forward to welcoming you soon!