Welcome to Ashgabat! Upon arrival, meet your local guide, who will transfer you privately to your hotel for check in and overnight stay.
The rest of the day is for you to explore more of Ashgabat through city visits to well-known landmarks, including Nissa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Turkmenbashi mosque-mausoleum, the Russian bazaar, and Lenin and Pushkin monuments. Then, prepare to proceed to the domestic airport for your flight to Turkmenbashi. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your hotel for check in and an overnight stay.
Begin the day with a drive to Yangiqala Canyons via the Balkan Mountains, where impressive white, green, and red limestone formations rise up from the desert sands. These cliffs are the remains of a massive coastline and seabed of the pre-historic Parathetys Sea. As stunning as it is at any time of day, this surreal scenery is at its most breathtaking during sunrise and sunset. The area is reachable only by 4-wheel drive, passing through the Balkan Mountains and a vast highland area where camels, sheep, and horses graze. After that, you may eat your picnic lunch while looking out over the canyons and then explore the area further in a jeep or on foot. Afterwards, return to Turkmenbashi and take an evening flight back to Ashgabat.
After breakfast, the morning is free for you to explore the area or simply rest. Then, proceed with a drive to Darwaza in the Karakum desert, with a visit to the Erbent desert community along the way. Darwaza, the center of a gas-rich area in the heart of the Karakum desert, attracts travelers from all over the world because of its unique burning crater, which offers a particularly spectacular view in the dark. In the early seventies, an underground cavern filled with natural gas was identified here, remained unexploited, and therefore today looks like a large, circular, 60-m-wide hole with hundreds of fires burning inside, some of them with flames up to 10-15 m high. Afterwards, enjoy a camp dinner before returning to Ashgabat.
After breakfast, get ready for a thrilling half-day visit to Ashgabat's city highlights including visits to Ertogrul Gazy Mosque, Independence Park, Neutrality Arch, Nissa and Turkmenbashi Mosque-Mausoleum. Afterwards, prepare for an evening flight to Almaty. Upon arrival, proceed to check in at your hotel for an overnight stay.
Get ready to experience the splendor of Almaty! On this adventure, learn more about the history and development of the southern capital of Kazakhstan and see its major attractions: the Central State Museum, the Palace of the President, Republic Square, and the Monument of Independence. There will also be stops at the Abai Opera and Ballet Theatre, Astana Square, Almaty Railway Station, Central Mosque, Green Bazaar, Abai Square, and the Palace of the Republic.
After exploration of the sport, cultural, and business areas of the city, including Medeo Gorge, Sport Palace, Central Stadium, Kazakh Circus, Wedding Palace, Auezov Drama Theatre, Almaty Towers, Nurlytau Business Center, Financial Center, and Kok-Tobe Hill, the excursion route will take you to one of the oldest Almaty parks, Panfilov Park, where you will learn more about the history of the city and see one of the highest wooden buildings in the world, Zenkov Cathedral. You will also visit a popular place for town people, the Green Bazaar, where it is impossible to refrain from shopping. As the day comes to a close in Kazakhstan, you will be transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast, proceed to the airport for your flight to Tashkent. Upon arrival, proceed to check in to your hotel and take some time to rest. Then, get ready for a half-day adventure in Tashkent, where you can see Independence Square, the city's centerpiece and a monument to the country's victory against fascism in World War II. After that, you may stroll down Broadway, a pedestrian thoroughfare connecting Independence Square and Amir Timur Square. A journey on the Tashkent metro, widely regarded as one of the world's most aesthetically pleasing underground systems, is the next stop. Then, enjoy an authentic dinner afterwards, before heading back to your hotel.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the railway station in Tashkent for your train to Samarkand. Samarkand is situated in the valley of the river Zerafshan. It is the second-largest city in Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the cities of Babylon and Rome. Upon arrival, visit some of its most outstanding sights, such as Registan Square, Shakhi-Zindeh, the Mausoleum of Guri Emir, and the Bibi Khanum Mosque. Registan Square, a complex of three fascinating madrasahs dating back to the 15th and 17th centuries, is the main highlight of Samarkand, and no one can stop admiring its beauty and majesty. The architectural complex of Shakhi-Zindeh represents a big collection of mausoleums dating back to the 11th–15th centuries and is a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bibi Khanum Mosque was built in honor of Tamerlane’s wife after his successful campaign in India. After a full-day adventure, cap off the night with a good rest at the hotel.
Start with a morning train ride to Bukhara and enjoy the scenic view from the window. Upon arrival, transfer to the city for lunch and check in to the hotel. Then, proceed with a city tour to explore more of Bukhara. First, visit the most ancient citadel in Bukhara, dating back to the 4th century, named Citadel Ark, which served as a palace for several dynasties of the Bukhara Empire. Then you will see the Samanids' Mausoleum, a real masterpiece of the architecture of the 9th and 10th centuries. Then, the excursion continues to Chashma Ayub, meaning Job's well, and Bolo-Hauz mosque, also known as the mosque of forty columns, built in honor of Bukhara governor Abu-Fayud Khan. Cap off the day with an authentic Bukharan dinner before heading to the hotel for check in.
Take in the beautiful scenery that surrounds Bukhara. The first visit is to the Bahauddin Naqshbandi Complex, which is a monument complex for the renowned Sufi leader and scholar Sheikh Bahauddin Naqshbandi and is considered a holy place for Muslims all over the world. Amir Timur included him among his spiritual advisors. He was one of the spiritual masters of Amir Timur. Today, the complex consists of the mosques of Kushbegi and Muzafarohana, a courtyard with a pool, a madrasah, and the burial vaults of Bukhara rulers and Dakhma upon the tomb of Saint Bakhauddin Nakshbandi. Following that, proceed to transfer to Tashkent by train or an evening flight. Upon arrival, head on over to the hotel to check in and stay the night.
Begin the day with a visit to the Courage Monument, which is a memorial complex erected in honor of the elimination of the consequences of the Tashkent earthquake. Then, continue on with the adventure to the Zangi Ota Memorial Complex. Zangi-Oota was a shepherd known for his wisdom and good deeds, according to legend. Then, make a stop to visit the old part of the city, which includes the Chorsu Bazaar, the Kukaldash Madrasah, and the Hast Imam Complex, which consists of several madrasahs, mosques, and mausoleums. The highlight of its exhibits is the Othman Quran, which is the world’s oldest Quran copy, dating back to the 8th century. The Quran belonged to Othman Ibn Affan, the Third Caliph (of the four righteous Caliphs who succeeded the prophet Muhammad). Othman was killed by non-Muslims in the 8th century. His blood splattered all over the Quran, which is still visible on its pages. Then, spend the night at the hotel to rest.
This day marks the end of our beautiful Central Asia experience. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home