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Turkey to Tajikistan Trails Istanbul - Dushanbe

Trip Overview

This 76 day overland tour journeys from Istanbul to Dushanbe through Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
76 DAYS THROUGH Iran, Kyrgyzstan (+ 4 more countries)
RATING:
of 0 reviews
PRICE FROM:
$10,190 (USD) + 2,510 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
76 days
ACCOM:
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
IIDN
DEPOSIT:
$500 USD

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1 - Istanbul ( 5th Apr 2021 )

Border Information:  If joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IATA code: IST).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip. 

The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River, Hagia Sophia and the phenomenal Blue Mosque!

In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team or your Sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul. 

* Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details. *

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century

TRY 25

Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century

TRY 20

Explore the majestic Topkapı Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years

TRY 35

Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage!

USD 20

Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul

Free

See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia

USD 17
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world
Free
Day 2 - Gallipoli Peninsula ( 6th Apr 2021 )

This morning following breakfast we will depart Istanbul and begin our journey to the shores of Gallipoli. 

After lunch we will get an insight into what happened between the ANZAC, Allied and Turkish foreces during the first World War and have a guided tour of the Battlefields and Anzac Cove. 

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hostel in Ecebat

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Pay your respects to the fallen at Gallipoli on a guided tour through the battlefields.

Included in Kitty
Day 3-4 - Troy, Selcuk ( 7th Apr 2021 to 8th Apr 2021 )

Today we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry and head to Helsik where we will do a short tour of the Troy Ruins. 

We will then continue onto Selcuk where we will be staying for two nights. In the evening we will have free time to explore the area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching. 

The second day we will spend the day exploring the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses.

Estimated Drive Time 7 - 8 hours

For the next two nights we will stay in a local hostel

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Walk the marbled streets of Ephesus, one of the best preserved ancient cities.

Included in Kitty

Guided Tour of Ephesus Ruins and the Terraced Houses

Included in Kitty

Guided tour around the ancient ruins of Troy

Included in Kitty
Day 5 - Pamukkale ( 9th Apr 2021 )

Following breakfast we will drive inland towards the small village of Pamukkale. 

After lunch we will have free time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse through the travertine pools and terraces.

Estimate driving time  3 - 4 hours

Tonight we will either camp near the village or stay in a local hotel

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Admire the brilliant white travertine terraces and submerge yourself in the warm mineral rich pools and hot springs

Included in Kitty
Day 6-7 - Olympos ( 10th Apr 2021 to 11th Apr 2021 )

Today we continue our drive south and aim to reach the popular beach town of Olympos by lunchtime.

We will have free time in the afternoon to relax or explore the local area. 

Estimate Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

On the second day there will be plenty of time to explore and participate in optional activities, in the evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows

Tonight we will stay in a basic guesthouse

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Hike up Chimera Mountain and witness the natural phenomenon of never ending fires emerging from the rocks. 

TRY 7

Half day Sea Kayaking adventure exploring the many different caves and beautiful coastline of the Southern Turkish Coast. 

EUR 15
Day 8 - Egirdir ( 12th Apr 2021 )

After breakfast we will leave the beachside town of Olympos and make our way north. 

We will have an included visit of Termessos on the way before continuing our journey towards Egirdir where we will find a good spot to bush camp for the night. 

Estimated Drive time 6 - 7 hours

Tonight we will wild camp near Egirdir

Day 9-10 - Göreme ( 13th Apr 2021 to 14th Apr 2021 )

We have an early start this morning to reach the small enchanting town of Goreme in the heart of the Cappadocia mountians. 

In Goreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are generally used here. 

Estimated Drive Time 6-7 hours

We now have a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries

Included in Kitty

Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia

USD 180

Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves

TRY 5

Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve

TRY 15

Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos

Free

Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays

EUR 30

Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme

EUR 35
Day 11-12 - Zara ( 15th Apr 2021 to 16th Apr 2021 )

Over the next two days we will travel through the stunning landscapes in eastern Turkey towards the Kurdish town of Doğubayazıt.

We will aim to wild camp or stay at a basic local campsite near Mount Nemrut on the first night, and near Lake Nemrut on the second.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours each day.

Day 13 - Doğubayazıt ( 17th Apr 2021 )

Today we will complete our drive to the Kurdish town of Doğubayazıt. On arrival we will have an included visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes and the nearby Mount Ararat.

In Doğubayazıt we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 14 - Tabriz ( 18th Apr 2021 )

Border Information: Exit Turkey at Gurbulak, enter Iran at Bazargan.

Today we will drive across the Iranian border to the city of Tabriz, where we will have free time to explore some of the sights of the old town.

In Tabriz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Constitution House of Tabriz, where the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1907 was launched, which established the Qajar Dynasty and the country's parliament

Free

Wander through the ancient bazaar of Tabriz, once one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road and the largest covered market in the world

Free

Learn all about the vast history of Tabriz and the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan in the Azerbaijan Museum

Free

Visit the beautiful Blue Mosque of Tabriz, built in 1465 and refurbished in 1973

Free

See the grave of Shahriar, the beloved local poet whose Azeri-Turkish and Persian literature has been translated into more than 30 languages across the world

Free
Day 15 - Zanjan ( 19th Apr 2021 )

Today we will continue our journey east to the small town of Zanjan, where we have free time to explore and possibly visit the fascinating historical laundry hall of Rakhatshor-Khaneh.

In Zanjan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the spectacular Dome of Soltaniyeh, the huge mausolem of the Ilkhanate (Mongolian) emperor Öljeitü built in the 14th Century and the 3rd largest dome in the world behind the Cathedral of Florence and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the historical underground hall of Rakhatshor-Khaneh, once used as the entire city's laundry-place

Free
Day 16 - Tehran ( 20th Apr 2021 )

Border Information: If joining in Tehran, you will most likely enter Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6:00pm - please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as today is usually a travel day for the leaders and they are due to arrive in Tehran by mid-afternoon.

Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, you will need to fly into Tehran on the same day as the trip starts. These transfers from the airport to your joining hotel are automatically included in your trip. If arriving outside of these times please contact your sales agent. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.

Day 17 - Tehran ( 21st Apr 2021 )

Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the former royal complex of Golestan Palace, a huge site built in the 16th century and Tehran's oldest monument

Included in Kitty

Learn all about Iran's rich and fascinating history at Tehran's National Museum of Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Iranian Artists' Forum in Tehran, a large gallery for the country's best young artists to feature their work

Free

Explore the S'ad Abad Museum in the spectacular mountainside near Tehran, once a royal summer home during the Pahlavi period

USD 4.5

Visit the shocking Ebrat Museum, once the prison used by the Shah's brutal secret police before the revolution of 1979

USD 5

See Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower, the inverted Y-shaped memorial built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian Empire

USD 2.5

Visit the viewing tower at the top of the iconic Milad Tower, one of the world's tallest towers at a height of 435 metres

USD 8

Visit the Laleh Park in central Tehran, an oasis of calm and a well-designed green space to observe local life pass by

Free

See some of Iran's most precious treasures at the Treasury of National Jewels, including the 182 carat Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light) which is thought to be the world's largest uncut diamond, and the phenomenal 34kg Globe of Jewels, made with over 51,000 precious stones

USD 4.5
Day 18-20 - Esfahan ( 22nd Apr 2021 to 24th Apr 2021 )

Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of Esfahan.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.

On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.

In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the magnificent and colossal city square of Naqsh-e Jahan, the centrepiece of the Safavid-era city of Esfahan

Included in Kitty

Explore the Shah Mosque, the public mosque of Esfahan built by Shah Abbas I and a masterpiece of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty

See the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, once a private mosque for the emperor and his harem and home to some of the world's most beautiful and masterful internal tilework

Included in Kitty

Explore the grand palace of Ali Qapu and discover the stunning wall paintings of the former residence of the Safavid emperors

Included in Kitty

Visit the stunning Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, one of the oldest mosques in Iran and an amalgamation of several different styles of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Wander the streets of Esfahan's old bazaar, dating from the 17th century

Free

Walk around Esfahan's historical centre and visit the five iconic Safavid-era bridges across the Zayandeh river

Free

Visit the Vank Cathedral, a beautiful Orthodox church set up by the Armenian diaspora in the 17th century

Free

See the curious 14th-century 'Shaking Minarets' in Esfahan, famous for the effect that if one minaret is shaken, the other will shake as well

IRR 5000

Visit the very moving Martyrs' Cemetery of Esfahan, a patriotic tribute to soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s

Free

Explore the site of the ancient Zoroastrian Fire Temples near Esfahan, where you get incredible views over the city and the surrounding valley

IRR 40000
Day 21 - Shiraz ( 25th Apr 2021 )

Today we will have a full day drive to the southern city of Shiraz.

In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 22 - Shiraz ( 26th Apr 2021 )

Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the stunning Shah Cheragh Mosque, a major pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims

Included in Kitty

Explore the 19th century Nasir ol Molk Mosque, famous for its extensive coloured glass art

Included in Kitty

Visit the Narenjestan Palace in Shiraz, the former home of the wealthy Qavam family of merchants

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the stunning citadel of the Arg of Karim Khan in Shiraz, built by the emperor Karim during the Zand Dynasty in the late 18th century

IRR 20000

Visit the tranquil site of the tomb of Hafez, a famous 14th-century Persian poet whose collected works are regarded as the pinnacle of Persian literature

IRR 60000
Day 23 - Persepolis, Zein-o-din ( 27th Apr 2021 )

Today we will drive to the phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330BCE.

After this we will continue north to the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.

In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Stay overnight in the incredible restored Safavid-era circular caravanserai in the remote deserts south of Yazd

Included in Kitty

Head out on a guided tour of the incredible historic ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, founded by Cyrus the Great in 550BCE and invaded by Alexander the Great in 330BCE

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the phenomenal site of Naqsht-e Rustam near Persepolis, the cross-shaped tombs of four of the great Emperors of Persia chiselled into the cliff face

USD 10
Day 24-25 - Yazd ( 28th Apr 2021 to 29th Apr 2021 )

Today we will take a short drive to the ancient desert town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran. On arrival we will have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex.

In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence outside Yazd, used until the 1960s to place bodies of the deceased so that they did not touch and pollute the sacred elements of fire or earth

Included in Kitty

Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd, where they keep a sacred fire that has supposedly been continuously burning since 470CE, the only Zoroastrian eternal flame of its type outside of India

Included in Kitty

See the stunning ancient Jameh Mosque of Yazd, built in the 12th century and a fantastic example of Azari architecture

Included in Kitty

Learn all about the intriguing and ingenious historical methods of getting water to the desert town of Yazd at the Yazd Water Museum

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the huge city square and mosque at the Amir Chakmaq complex, built in the 15th century

Included in Kitty

Discover the atmospheric winding streets and beautiful adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town, one of the oldest towns in the world

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the fascinating centuries-old practice of Varzesh-e Bastani at the Yazd House of Strength, a curious blend of strength training, martial arts and wrestling, accompanied by traditional music

IRR 10000
Day 26 - Khoor ( 30th Apr 2021 )

Today we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor, where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats to have dinner.

In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and see its beautiful palm trees and ruined castle

Included in Kitty
Day 27 - Damghan ( 1st May 2021 )

Today we will have a morning drive to the ancient town of Damghan. On arrival we will take a walking tour, including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year 760CE.

In Damghan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient town of Bastam, containing monuments dating from the Ilkhanate Period when Iran was controlled by the Mongol Empire

Included in Kitty

Visit the partially-ruined Tarikhuneh Mosque which features 18 rear columns dating from around 760CE, making this one of the oldest mosques in Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the splendid ancient brick building of Imamzadeh Jafar in Damghan, which has an appearance similar to a North African castle

Free

See Damghan's Jameh Mosque and it's fine brick minaret dating from the mid-11th century

Free
Day 28 - Shirvan ( 2nd May 2021 )

Today we will drive to the historical town of Bastam and visit the Sufi complex in the centre. After this we will continue to the town of Shirvan.

In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 29 - Ashgabat ( 3rd May 2021 )

Border Information: Exit Iran at Bajgiran, enter Turkmenistan at Gaudan.

Today we will head over the border to Turkmenistan and to the bizarre capital of Ashgabat

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Day 30 - Ashgabat ( 4th May 2021 )

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. 

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
Included in Kitty
Day 31 - Darvaza ( 5th May 2021 )

Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'

Included in Kitty
Day 32 - Kunye Urgench ( 6th May 2021 )

Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench

Included in Kitty
Day 33-34 - Khiva ( 7th May 2021 to 8th May 2021 )

Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.

This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The following day we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
Included in Kitty
Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
Included in Kitty
Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
Included in Kitty
Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
Included in Kitty
Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
Included in Kitty
Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva
Included in Kitty
Day 35 - Bukhara ( 9th May 2021 )

Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

Day 36-37 - Bukhara ( 10th May 2021 to 11th May 2021 )

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water
Included in Kitty

Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty

Included in Kitty

Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared

Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Watch an entertaining evening puppet show, featuring many local Uzbek and Tajik poems and songs
USD 5

See the Indian-style Char Minar Minarets, four towers nestled in a maze of alleyways in downtown Bukhara

Free

Visit the gruesome museum at the old prison of Zindon

UZS 4500
Day 38 - Nurata ( 12th May 2021 )

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts.

Included in Kitty
Day 39 - Samarkand ( 13th May 2021 )

This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 40-41 - Samarkand ( 14th May 2021 to 15th May 2021 )

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur

Included in Kitty

Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia

Included in Kitty

Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world

Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire

Included in Kitty

See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit to Shakhrisabz city

USD 20
Wander through the markets and carpet vendors of Samarkand, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the local carpet weavers
Free
Day 42 - Tashkent ( 16th May 2021 )

This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 43 - Tashkent ( 17th May 2021 )

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore urbane Tashkent and experience a surreal cabaret dinner

Free

Visit the nightclubs and Imperial Russian-style cabaret restaurants of Tashkent

Free
Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran
USD 5
Day 44 - Tashkent ( 18th May 2021 )

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore the Uzbek capital.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

*Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!*

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore urbane Tashkent and experience a surreal cabaret dinner

Free

Visit the nightclubs and Imperial Russian-style cabaret restaurants of Tashkent

Free
Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran
USD 5
Day 45 - Fergana Valley, Fergana City ( 19th May 2021 )

This morning we travel in local transport over the Kamchik Pass to Kokand, where we will have the oppurtunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey to Fergana. 

The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Fergana.

In Fergana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley including historic Kokand and Fergana City

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the impressive 19th-century Juma Mosque in Kokand in the stunning Fergana Valley

UZS 17500

See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley at the Yodgorlik Silk Factory

Free
Day 46 - Arslanbob ( 20th May 2021 )

Border information: Exit Uzbekistan at Andijon, enter Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik.

This morning we leave Uzbekistan behind and make our way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan! 

Once we have crossed the border we continue our journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we are delayed at the border we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.

In Arslanbob we will stay overnight in a local family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 47-49 - Kyrgyz Fergana Valley ( 21st May 2021 to 23rd May 2021 )

We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside.

During these days we plan to wild camp en route. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.

Estimated Drive Times - 4-8 hours each day.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan

Included in Kitty
Day 50-51 - Song Köl Lake ( 24th May 2021 to 25th May 2021 )

Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song Köl Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.

We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.

At Song Köl we will stay in traditional felt yurts.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-8 hours.

Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song Köl Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds.

Included in Kitty
Day 52 - Kochkor ( 26th May 2021 )

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!

In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village

Included in Kitty

See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here

Included in Kitty
See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit a folklore demonstration near Kockhor where you can learn all about the handicrafts of the area, see a fantastic outdoor concert of traditional music and help to erect a yurt!
KGS 1000
Day 53-54 - Jeti Oguz Valley ( 27th May 2021 to 28th May 2021 )

Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'.

The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!

In Jeti Oguz we will camp close to a local family yurt.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks) and then move via a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the incredible mountain landscapes of the Jeti Oguz Valley by horseback

KGS 800
Day 55 - Karakol ( 29th May 2021 )

Today we will move on from Jeti Oguz or Altyn Arashan to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free afternoon to explore and relax!

In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Day 56-57 - Chong Kemin Valley, Cholpon Ata ( 30th May 2021 to 31st May 2021 )

Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the beautiful area of Chong Kemin where we will spend 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

The next day we will have a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

In Chong Kemin we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan

Included in Kitty

Tourist time: pedalos, sand, sun. On Lake Issyk-Kul, it?s a time warp

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the beautiful Chong Kemin valley on horseback

KGS 300

Head out on a white-water rafting adventure through the stunning Chong Kemin valley

KGS 1800
Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
Free
Day 58 - Bishkek ( 1st Jun 2021 )

Today we have a short drive to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, with the opportunity to visit the Burana Tower en route. We will have free time to relax and explore the city upon arrival.

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Day 59 - Bishkek ( 2nd Jun 2021 )

Border Information: if joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport (IATA code: FRU).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas and GBAO permits at this initial meeting.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Bishkek before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Bishkek.

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Freely explore the vast Osh Bazaar, Bishkek's largest market

Free
Stroll around the Soviet-built Panfilov Park in Bishkek
Free
Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square
KGS 150
Day 60 - Toktugal Lake ( 3rd Jun 2021 )

This morning we will depart Bishkek early and travel through beautiful mountain scenery towards Toktugal Lake. We will have the opportunity to stop often and admire the views before reaching our destination later this afternoon.

Tonight we plan to wild camp near Toktugal.

Estimated Drive Time 6 - 8 hours. (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Day 61-62 - Osh ( 4th Jun 2021 to 5th Jun 2021 )

Today we will have a full day's drive to Osh, Kyrgyzstan's capital of the south where we will spend the next two nights.

Estimated Drive Time 8 - 10 hours

In Osh we will stay in a local hotel. 

On our second day we have an included visit to Suleiman's Mountain in the morning, we will then have free time in the afternoon to explore one of the oldest cities in the country. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex carved inside Sulaiman-Too Mountain.

Included in Kitty

Visit Sulaiman-Too Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site dominating the city of Osh. Learn about the history of the spiritual landscape reflecting both Islamic and pre-Islamic beliefs as you climb to the top enjoying panoramic views of the city and beyond. 

Included in Kitty
Day 63 - Tulpar Kol Lake ( 6th Jun 2021 )

This morning we drive over the Taldyk Pass (3615m) and onto the small remote village of Say Mogul. From there we will hire a van up to the beautiful Tulpar Kol Lake where we will spend the night. 

Estimated Driving Time 3 - 5 hours

Tonight we will either wild camp by the lake or stay in a local yurt camp

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore and hike the areas around Tulpar Kol Lake

Included in Kitty
Day 64 - Karakul Lake, Murghab ( 7th Jun 2021 )

Border Information: Exit Kyrgyszstan at Kyzylart, enter Tajikstan at Bor Dobo.

This morning we will continue on to the Tajikistan border and cross the 2nd highest border post in the world at 4336m. After the border proceedings are finalised we will continue on to Karakul Lake where we will have some time to enjoy lunch and the stunning scenery before making our way over the Ak-Baital pass and on to the town of Murghab. 

Estimated Driving Time 8 -10 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hotel. 

Day 65 - Langar ( 8th Jun 2021 )

We will have an early start this morning as we have a full day drive ahead of us. Enjoy the amazing views of the Pamirs as we make our way over high passes to the Wakhan Corridor before eventually passing through another checkpoint where you will get your first glimpses of the Panj River. For the next 4 days we will be following the river which borders between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Estimated Driving Time 10-11 hours

Tonight we will stay in a traditional Pamiri guesthouse

Day 66 - Langar, Ishkashim ( 9th Jun 2021 )

Today we will get the chance to stretch our legs. This morning before we set off there is an optional hike to see the Petroglyphs on the rocks above Langar. It is a steep climb but well worth it for the views over the village and the surrounding mountains ranges. 

After lunch we will stop in the tiny village of Vrang to visit the Buddhist Stupa and Zoroastrian Fire Temple. We will also have the chance to stop at the Village House Museum of Mubarak-i-Wakhani before spending the night in Ishkashim. 

Estimated Driving Time 5-7 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Wander around the Buddhist Stupa & Zoroastrian Fire Temple. 

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a short hike and view the ancient petroglyphs inscribed on the rockfaces above the village of Langar.

Free
Day 67-68 - Khorog ( 10th Jun 2021 to 11th Jun 2021 )

We will continue our drive on to the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region today ( Khorog ), where we will be spending 2 nights. On the way we will stop at the Garm Chasma Hotsprings, where we will have some time for a relaxing dip.

On the second day you will have free time to explore the town. Take a stroll through the local bazaar or simply relax in the parks and people watch.

Estimated Driving Time 6-8 hours

For the next 2 nights we will stay in a local guesthouse

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Feel re-energised after a relaxing dip in the Hot Springs

Free

Wander around Central Park and take refuge in the forested oasis

Free

Explore the second highest Botanical garden in the world and enjoy a breath-taking view of the city, rivers and surrounding mountains. 

TJS 30
Day 69 - Khalaykum ( 12th Jun 2021 )

We have a full day's drive today stopping for lunch en route. We will continue to follow the Afghanistan border and onto the town of Khalaykhum. 

Estimated Driving Time: 9 - 10 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

Day 70 - Kulob ( 13th Jun 2021 )

Another early start as we will eventually peel away from the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border and begin to make our way inland to Kulob.

Estimated Driving Time 7 -8 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hotel.

Day 71 - Iskanderkul Lake ( 14th Jun 2021 )

This morning we will head north passing the Nurek Reservoir on the Vakhsh River before arriving at the stunning Iskanderkul Lake where we will make a bush camp for the night.

Estimated Driving Time 6-8 hours

Tonight we will wild camp by the lake

Day 72 - Fann Mountains ( 15th Jun 2021 )

Over the next 3 days we will be trekking in the beautiful Fann Mountains. 

This morning we will begin our 3 day hike to visit some of the beautiful lakes of the Fann Mountains. We will leave the truck behind and take jeeps up to a small village called Artuch which will be the starting point of our trek. On arrival we will have some time to explore the village and get familiar with the countryside and local lifestyle. You can also do a short trek to Chukurak lake which is located approximately 2 hours away. 

Tonight we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not wish to trek an alternative option can be arranged in advance through your sales agent. Due to availability and restrictions this must be arranged at least 30 days prior to your trip departing.

Day 73 - Bibijanat Lake ( 16th Jun 2021 )

This morning our donkeys  will arrive to carry our luggage. We will have a briefing with our mountain guide after breakfast and then begin our trek towards Bibijanat Lake. 

Trekking Distance - 14 km
Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tonight we will be camping on the shore of Bibijant Lake. 

Day 74 - Alaudin Lake ( 17th Jun 2021 )

This morning we will start our ascent to Alaudin pass ( 3860 metres ). The beautiful panorama of the surrounding peaks and lakes will be seen from the top of the pass. We will then descend down to Alaudin Lake where we will camp tonight. 

Trekking Distance - 10km
Meals Included - Breakast, Lunch & Dinner

Tonight we will be camping by Alaudin Lake. 

Day 75 - Dushanbe ( 18th Jun 2021 )

Today after packing up camp we will have a little free time before making our way back to Dushanbe. On the way we will meet up with our Truck to complete the journey.

On arrival in Dushanbe we will have free time to explore this fascinating city! 

Tonight we will stay in a good quality hotel. 

Estimated Driving time 5- 7 hours

 

Day 76 - Dushanbe ( 19th Jun 2021 )

Border Information: if finishing in Dushanbe, you will most likely exit Tajikistan at Dushanbe International Airport (IATA code: DYU).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tajikistan. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

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Trip Notes
Departing: 5 Apr 2021
Returning: 19 Jun 2021
Duration: 76 days
Route: Istanbul - Dushanbe
$10,190 USD + $2,510 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $500 USD
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