Home » Central Asia Tours » 17-day Central Aisa 3 Stan Travel Tour

17-day Central Aisa 3 Stan Travel Tour

Day By Day

Day 1 Istanbul / Ashgabad   
Meals:  None
Arrival to Ashgabad. Meeting at the airport by your guide. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 2  Ashgabat  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Old Nisa  
In the morning drive 15 km west of Ashgabat, to the fortress of Old Nisa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the earliest of Parthian Empire capitals. From Old Nisa we proceed to Kipchak village to visit an impressive complex of the biggest mosque in Turkmenistan and the family mausoleum of the first President. Return to Ashgabat to visit independence period parks and monuments. Finish the day with a visit to the National Museum of History and Ethnography (more than 327.000 objects on a display) to see the exclusive ancient artefacts from different historical & archaeological sites of Turkmenistan, like Old Nisa, Ancient Merv& etc.

Day 3 Ashgabat / Darvaza (260 km/3.5-4 hrs)
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Erbent Desert Village, Tent Camping
Morning is free at leisure. PM drive to Darvaza flaming gas crater. En-route stop at Erbent desert village (for 20-30 mins) and two other gas craters: one with water and other one with bubbling sulfur mud. Dinner and overnight in tents at Darvaza flaming gas crater “Door to Hell” (wild camping; basic facilities, but reasonable).

Day 4 Darvaza / Ashgabat
Meals: B L D
After camp breakfast drive back to Ashgabat. On arrival transfer to hotel (check-in from 13:00). PM is free at leisure. Overnight in hotel.

Day 5 Ashgabat / Mary (by air)  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Gonur Depe/Margush
Eearly morning drive tbreakfast in hotel set off north-east, towards Gonur Depe (100 km), which used to be the capital of the legendary Margush country. After two hours’ drive through fields and villages and another hour through the desert, we arrive at an important archaeological site, the centre of a remarkable Bronze Age civilisation, discovered in 1972 and explored continuously till the present day. After about two hours of sightseeing, a picnic lunch, lunch boxes that we brought with us from the city and then head back to Mary.

Day 6 Mary / Merv / Mary
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Ancient Merv  
After breakfast, we head 25 km to the east of Mary, towards Bayram-Ali, the contemporary re-incarnation of and humble suburb of the glorious Ancient Merv (UNESCO World Heritage Site). After sightseeing, we head back to Mary to visit local History Museum, presenting a wide array of archaeological finds (dating back to the III mill. BC through the late XIX century) from both Ancient Merv and Bronze Age sites of the Margush country.

Day 7 Mary / Farab (300 km) / Bukhara
Meals: B L D
After breakfast drive to Farab border via Turkmenabat. On arrival at the border, complete formalities. Enter Uzbekistan. Drive to Bukhara. Arrival. Free time. Rest in the hotel.

Day 8 Bukhara
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Nadir Divan Begi, Miri Arab Madrassa, Kalian Mosque.
Full day sightseeing of Bukhara: Lyabi-Haus ensemble, madrasah Nadir Divan Begi (1622), madrassa Kukeldash – the biggest in Buhara, trading cupolas – taki and tims.

Poi Kalyan Ensemble. Miri Arab Madrassa. Kalian Mosque.  Kalyan Minaret 47 m (Great Minaret). It was constructed in 1127 by the order of Amir Arslanhon and remained symbol of sacred Bukhara and Korakhonids’ dynasty  from generation to generation. The minaret was used not only to call Muslims to prayer, but symbolized the authority and power of its spiritual leaders.

Magok-i-Attari Mosque (today, Museum of Carpets) (12th cent) It is a unique construction where you will see  the remains of a Buddhist monastery, a Zoroastrian Temple and the mosque of the Arab invaders.

Lunch in a traditional chayhana.
Continue City Tour: Ark Fortress (2nd cent.B.C.-19th cent) which is the heart of the city. Whoever wanted to attack Bukhara, whether they were Mongol Khan, Alexander the Great or Bolsheviks, they attacked the Ark first.  The Ark was a city in itself and comprised closely spaced courtyards, offices and homes for the counties. From high walls of citadel the interesting skyline of the city is made up of a mixture of modern buildings and monuments of the past.

Bolo-Khauz Mosque (1712), opposite the Ark, it was the emir's official place of worship. The painted porch, supported by 20 columns was added in 1917.
Mausoleum of Ismoil Somoni (10th cent) – the gem of Bukhara. The monument is majestic; it marks a new era in the development of Central Asian architecture, which was revived after the Arab conquest of the region. The ancient land there continued to develop an old tradition, but in new quality; using the traditional features dating back to pre-Islamic times. The dome of the building is a symbol of Heaven, the base which is the cube is the symbol of Earth. The union of the two symbolizes unity and, thus, the building becomes a model of the Universe. Dinner in the yard of Nodir Divan Begi madrasah. Enjoy folklore dance show in the accompany of live traditional music.

Day 9 Bukhara / Samarkand  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Samarkand   
Breakfast in the hotel.  Drive to Samarkand (290 km) . En route visit famous ceramic workshop in Gijduvan city. Arrival for lunch at local restaurant.

City Tour of Samarkand: Registan Square, the heart of Samarkand consisting of Madrassa of Ulugbek, Madrassa Sher Dor and Tillya-Kori Mosque. According to an oriental saying, the Ulugbek Madrassa (1417) is so solid that, under the force of its weight, «the backbone of the Earth trembles”.  It was constructed by the grandson of the great Emir Temur, Ulugbek who was called «the scientist on the throne”.

Visit Guri Amir Mausoleum (1403) One of the most significant architectural ensembles of medieval East – the Gur Emir was built in the southwestern part of Samarkand at the beginning of the XV century. This majestic complex consisted of a khanaka, the madrasah of Muhammad Sultan - grandson of Amir Timur, and, later, tombs of Amir Timur himself and his descendants.

Bibi Khanum Mosque, once the biggest mosque in Central Asia, it was erected by order of Tamerlane after his victorious Indian campaign in 1399. The architects, artists, craftsmen from all the countries conquered by Tamerlane took part in the construction of the mosque
Free time for leisure in the Siab Bazaar in the Old City.

Day 10 Samarkand / Shahrisabz / Samarkand  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Tahtakaracha Pass, Shahrisabs, Ak Saray Palace
Drive to Shahrisabz (90 km) via picturesque Tahtakaracha Pass (highest place 2100). Photo stop at Shaitan Djiga – “The Plateau of Devils” - an extensive plateau of granite slabs stretching from the creeks of Mirankul. Its rocks look like sculptures - demons frozen in eternal dance, ancient monsters turned to stone.

City Tour of Shahrisabs: The ancient city of Shahrisabs (Green City) is indeed surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Architectural landmarks of the city are at least 500 years old with the famous Ak-Saray Palace and the Jahongir mausoleum.

Visit Ak Saray Palace (14th cent) - White Palace.  Much was written about this palace, especially by Rue Gonzales de Klavikho, the Spanish Ambassador to Amir Temur, who was an important figure in the history of Shahrisabs. Time had no mercy on this marvelous building and by the end of the 16th century this grandiose monument had been destroyed. Parts of the portal that remained are evidence of the scale of its construction; Ak-Saray is still unsurpassed in its intricate mosaic and other decorations that showed off the arts of traditional craftsmen. Above the portal of the Ak-Saray are huge letters saying: "If you challenge our power - look at our buildings!"), Doru-Siadat and Doru-Tillovat (The house of contemplation) consisting of two mausoleums - Hazreti sheih (Shamsiddin Kulyal) and Gumbazi Seyidon with the Kok-Gumbaz(Blue dome) mosque.

Shahrisabs would not be as famous if on April 9th 1346, in the village of Hodja-Ilgar, Taragai, Temur was not born to the family of a noble landlord Amir Temur - the future statesman and great commander.

After arrival to Samarkand visit  Shakhi Zinda Necropolis, a site of pilgrimage visited since the 11th century and marked by holiness. It consists of about 20 mausoleums of different centuries built between 11th – 19th centuries. The complex appeared around the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas - the cousin of Prophet Muhammad who it is said to have come to Samarkand in the 8th century. There one can see the finest samples of majolica, mosaic and terracotta tile work.  Drive back to Samarkand。

Day 11  Samarkand  / Tashkent
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Koni-Gil Village, Observatory of Ulugbek
In the morning visit the village of Koni-Gil with its crafts center which inherited the traditions of producing Samarkand’s silk paper from 751 A.D., soon after the Arabs defeated the Chinese Tang Dynasty forces in a battle of Talas which is now Kyrgyzstan.  Koni-Gil is shaded by sycamore and with the sound of running water it is called “a mini-paradise” 8 km from Samarkand. Paper is made from the inner bark of mulberry branches. You may see the whole process of producing paper and even take part in it.

Visit Observatory of Ulugbek (15th century) On the outskirts of Samarkand on the hill of Kuhak there were discovered the remains of Ulugbek's Observatory (the 15th century), with astronomical instrument, the sextant. In this observatory Ulugbek and other scholars had compiled the famous astronomical catalogue "Tables of Kuragany" with description of 1018 stars and planets.
Drive to Tashkent.  Arrival Lunch, free time

Day 12  Tashkent  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Hast-i-Imam Square, The Kukeldash Madrasah
Tashkent which is the capital of Uzbekistan is a city on border of agricultural oases of Central Asia and boundless Eurasian steppes. It exists already more than two thousand years. It is the city with the West and the Orient meet.

Hast-i-Imam Square, is an ancient square of the 16th century, locating the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, the Barak Khan Madrasah, Namazgokh Mosque and the Tillya Sheikh Mosque. Here you can see the oldest manuscript of Uzbekistan – Koran of Osman (7th cent).

The Kukeldash Madrasah, located on the square Chorsu, was built in the 16th century during the reign of the Sheibany dynasty, under the leadership of Kulbodo Kukeldash - the vizier. Now it is a college, where the basics of Islam are taught.
Lunch in a local restaurant.  

Continue City Tour: The Museum of Applied Arts. Priceless samples of applied art created by golden hands of masters from the first half of XIX century to the present time are collected in depository of the museum. Tashkent metro the construction of which started in 1968. Each station has its own unique architectural features and design: marble, granite, glass, smalt, art ceramics, carved alabaster, etc. In some stations there is the atmosphere of holiday ballroom, in others you feel like in mysterious catacombs. Each station is the separate place of interest.Dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 13 Tashkent  / Almaty  
Meals: B L D
Take a flight to Almaty. Arrival, meeting at the airport, transfer to hotel.

Day 14  Almaty
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Medeu, Panfilov Park   
After breakfast, drive to Medeu, Medeo ice skating rink and dam. Medeu sits 1,691 metres above sea level, making it the highest skating rink in the world. Then the tour will continue in one of the oldest Almaty parks - Panfilov Park, where one of the most beautiful wooden building in the world - Zenkov Cathedral is located. You will also visit the Memorial of Glory and Eternal Flame, dedicated to the memory of the fighters who died for freedom and independence of the country.

Day 15 Almaty  / Big Almaty Lake  / Almaty
Meals: B L D
Places to visit: Big Almaty Lake
After breakfast visit Big Almaty Lake, set high up in a gorge of the Bolshaya Almatinka River, 2,511 meters above sea level and 28,5 km south of Almaty. It lies in a hollow like a gleaming mirror, surrounded on all sides by majestic peaks. Three main peaks tower above the lake and can be seen from the northern end of the dam: Sovetov (4,317 m) to the south-east, Ozyorny (4,110 m) to the south, further up the river valley, and the forested slopes of Turist (3,954 m) to the south-west.

Day 16 Almaty  / Charyn Canyon  / Almaty  
Meals: B L D
Places to visit:  Charyn Canyon
After breakfast, drive to Charyn Canyon. Charyn Canyon is one of the unique natural monuments of Kazakhstan. The canyon is about 12 million years old and surprises with its vertical cliffs, reminding the ancient castles, created by wind, sun and rain.

It will take about 3 hours to reach the canyon. Meanwhile, you will hear a lot of interesting about the history and nature of the region, about Kazakh people, their life and traditions as well as have a lunch in a local cafe.

And as soon as you see Charyn Canyon you will forget about this long way at once - so much you will be impressed with the beauty and splendor of the canyon. You can admire the grand panorama and then have a walk through the maze of the Castles Valley with its inaccessible walls overhanging you.
Drive back to Almaty.

Day17 Almaty Departure
Meals: B
Transfer to the airport for your next destination.


Price Includes:

Transportation & Private Transfers:

Transportation cost covers all the domestic airfare of economy class with airport tax, train tickets between the cities as the itinerary specified.

Transfer between airports, railway station, hotels and scenic spots for sightseeing around the cities that are specified by the itinerary with private air conditioned vehicle with driver and English-speaking guide. Separate arrivals and departures will incur extra charges.

Entrance Fees:

All entrance fees to the scenic spots listed in the itinerary. The final arrangement will be determined by private tour guides depends on the real-time local circumstances wheather are beyond the control of Access China Travel. We will adhere to the original itinerary as accurately as possible.

Normal Meals:

All normal meals as the itinerary specified: B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = dinner in local restaurant. Breakfasts are served in hotel, breakfasts have Chinese or Western style for your option; Lunches are served in carefully selected quality local Chinese restaurants with best service, your lunches will be ordered by your guide catering to your preferences within normal standard. Dinners as the itinerary specified will be also served in local Chinese restaurants. The meal quotation is normalized. If you have any special request about meals, like vegetarian, famous rare dishes, Indian food or more, please inform us in advance. For the unspecified dinners, you will have dinner on your own. Feel free to ask your local guide for suggestions or recommendation.

Private Sightseeing Escort:

Normal sightseeing activities as the itinerary listed will be escorted with English-speaking guide. The English-speaking guide and driver in each city are with you throughout the entire itinerary around that city. They do not fly with you from one city to another.

Hotel Accommodation:

Hotel service criterion: two adults share on one standard twin/double-bed room; solo traveler who want to occupy one twin/double-bed room assigned is required for extra single supplement rate. A single room is available on prior request at an additional cost; if a recommended hotel unavailable, it will be replaced by one of the same class. All hotels as the itinerary listed serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.

Tour Arrangements:

The tour cost includes the planning, handling, booking, operation and communication charges.

Service Charge & Government Taxes

Price Excludes:

International airfare or train tickets for entry or exit China, unless that is noted or required otherwise.

Visa Fees, passport application or renewal fee.

Excess Baggage Charges.
Personal Expenses:
Expenses of a purely personal nature such as excess luggage fees, laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities (shows) and meals, beverages...

Any meal are not specified in the itinerary with "B", "L" or "D".
Any extra cost caused by the changes of natural disasters, fires, weather, government and local authority orders, politics, strikes, war, riots, quarantine, custom regulations; as well as tourist law violation, accident damages or injury incurred out of Access China Travel control.

Tips to guides, escort, drivers bellman, etc.