This is basically a classic tour with a very interesting addition: stay in nomadic yurts, colorfully decorated in local style, in the desert, cooking local food together in the open campfire, listening to songs of local singers called 'akyns', camel riding in the desert, and water-based activities such as fishing, boating etc. at the Aydarkul Lake. Visiting Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Yurts.
Uzbekistan, Archaeology, History, Culture and Traditions, Folklore and Ethnic, Handcrafts and Shopping, Rural Stay, Yurt Stay, Outdoor Activities, Ecotourism, Camping and Trekking, Medium Classic
October, November, March, April, May, June, August, September
Arrival and Transfer to Urgench/Khiva
We meet you at the Tashkent International Airport and accompany to the domestic flights terminal for your flight to Urgench by Uzbekistan Airways (1.5 hours). You drive straight to see the ancient Khiva, the capital of the ancient Khorezmian Kingdom. In Khiva, you visit the most prominent monument of the Mongol era, the 14th century tomb of the Sufi master Said Allauddin, Kunya Ark, Muhammad Aminkhan Madrassah and minaret, Juma Mosque and minaret with carved wooden columns, the Stone Yard (harem) of Khiva rulers, the tomb of Pakhlavan Makhmud, a famous ancient wrestler and poet, who was declared Saint. Overnight in a Khiva hotel.
Early in the morning you head east, to Bukhara, 480 km through the desert (5-6 hours drive). On the way, you make stops to enjoy specatular views of the great Amudarya (Oxus) river. Overnight in a Bukhara hotel.
The whole day is devoted to Bukhara, the majestic pearl of Central Asia. The city tour includes Ark fortress, Bolo Hauz mosque, Ismail Samani's mausoleum with magnificent brickwork, Chashma Ayub, great Kalyan minaret, Maggoki Attori, Mir-i-Arab Madrassah, Lyabi Hauz, a complex with three buildings and a beautiful pool where swans live. Overnight in Bukhara.
You drive to Navoi, then north to Nurata, a small town in the desert, where you visit an interesting mausoleum, with a stream, running from beneath a mountain and a pool with clean water, abundant in fish. After a lunch, you head north again, to the middle of the desert, and reach a Yurt camp, located at the western extremity of the Aydar Kul Lake. Stay in Yurts.
In the camp, you will be offered a stay in original nomadic yurt, colorfully decorated using local handcrafts. Also, as an option, you can have a small expedition to the Lake on camels. If season allows, you can have a picnic at the lake; fishing, boating, swimming and sun-tanning are the choices here. In the evening, you will be invited to cook your dinner at the campfire, with the fish you cought, and enjoy the remoteness and genuine tranquillity of the desert. You can also invite a local singer, 'Akyn', to listen to original Kazakh songs. Stay in Yurts.
In the morning, you leave the Yurt Camp, and head south to Samarkand (approx. 3 hours driving). Upon arrival and check in a local hotel, you start your tour of Samarkand: you go to see Great Observatory of Ulugbek and Afrosiab Museum. Then you see Bibi Khanum Mosque, Shahi Zindah (Complex of Mausoleums) and Oriental Bazaar. Then, the three gorgeous Madrassahs at the Registan Square and the mausoleum of Tamerlane, Guri Amir. Next stop is the memorial complex of Ismail Al Bukhoriy, with a spectacular mausoleum made of whole onyx slabs. Overnight in Samarkand hotel.
You drive to Tashkent (350km, 4-5 hours) and after a quick fresh up, we will invite you to have a half day excursion in Tashkent. It will include a visit to the mausoleum of Kafal Shashi and Barak-khan Madrassah followed by a walk inside the largest covered market in Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar. Attending the Library of the Clerical Board of Moslems, where a copy of the Koran written by Osman, the fourth Caliph, is kept behind a thick glass. Departure home.