Day 1 Arrival in Almaty
Meet and transfer to hotel. Sightseeing in Almaty. Sight seeing around Almaty includes visiting of Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, St.Nicholas Cathedral, National Musical Instruments Museum, Central State Museum, Almaty’s Green Bazaar, Panoramic view at observatory (Medeo).
The name of the Panfilov Park comes after the heroes of Panfilov. Inside the park there is a big monument in commemoration of the heroic actions made by 28 Almaty Soldiers who died back in 1941 fighting against Nazi tanks somewhere near Moscow. Zenkov Wooden constructed Cathedral is one of the eight most unique wooden buildings in the world. It is one of the few tzarist-era buildings to survive the 1911 earthquake, despite the fact it is built entirely of wood and constructed without nails. Central State Museum provides an introduction to Kazakhstan’s history and includes a miniature replica of the country’s chief archeological treasure, the Golden Man – a warrior’s costume made from 4.000 gold pieces, many finely decorated with animal motifs. In the Museum of Musical Instruments one can find various national musical instruments, the oldest of which are dated from the XVII century. Medeo is a picturesque valley located 15 km above Almaty. Besides beautiful nature there are some other attractions to see, one of which is the world’s largest speed skating ring know as Medeo.
Transfer to a hotel in the end of city tour. Overnight
DAY 2 Almaty – Karakol
After breakfast depart Almaty and drive to Karakol (430 km, 6-7 hours) via a Karkara valley, see the natural landscapes on the way and visit the Charyn canyon which is also known as Valley of Castles for its unusual rock formations. The width of it ranges from 20-80 meters (66 – 262 ft). The length is 2 km (1.24 mi) long. Continue driving to Karakol. Arrive to Karakol after 18.00. Overnight.
DAY 3 Karakol – JetiOguzGorge – Karakol
Today we will drive to Jeti Oguz gorge. It’s famous for its red rock formations that are called the Seven Bulls – Jeti Oguz. Also you will see Broken Heart Mountain. We will take as many photos there as you’d like and if you want it is possible to walk to the top of a mountain (20 minutes) to see a panoramic view of the gorge! Here you will enjoy watching an Eagle Hunting show. There are yurts in the gorge and people can offer you Kumis to drink. It is a national drink that is made from fermented mare’s milk, and it is mildly alcoholic. Back to Karakol for overnight.
DAY 4 Karakol – The north shore of Issyk Kul lake – Chon-Kemin valley
In the morning there will be excursion around Karakol: visit wooden Russian-orthodox church also known as The Holy Trinity Cathedral, a fine example of a Russian Orthodox Church. The building consists of wooden walls on a stone foundation, and it is highly decorative. Then we you will visit the Dungan (Chinese) mosque built by a Chinese architect and 20 artisans between 1907 and 1910. It was built entirely of wood, without a single nail. Next stop is in Prejevalskiy museum devoted to famous Russian explorer and traveler in Central Asia.
Transfer to Cholpon Ata (180 km, 2-2,5 hours) and visit Petroglyphs or Open Air Museum, sometimes referred as a Stone Garden, which covers some 42 hectares and contains a number of prehistoric monumental structures (stone circles, tombs, the remains of a boundary stone wall, balbals) and stone inscriptions (dating from the II millennium BC upto the Middle Ages upto the VI century AD).
Boat riding at Issykul lake followed by tasty lunch on boat. Afternoon transfer to Chon-Kemin valley. Chong Kemin lies within the Tian Shan mountain range separating Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with lush green valley and snow-capped peaks.
You will have a chance to explore one of the famous old soviet collective farms with potato fields. We will have dinner with locally made traditional meals.
We spend a night in one of the local guest house fully decorated with antique embroidery of handicrafts and felts with modern facilities. Overnight in hotel
DAY 5 Chon-Kemin valley -Bishkek
By 11 AM we will drive onto Bishkek. On the way visit Burana Tower. It is an 11th century minaret, and one of the first buildings of such type in Central Asia. Burana tower was one of the capital of Karakhanid khanate. In Karakhanids’ time new towns and settlements were developing and Burana tower, mausoleums and other buildings found after archeological excavations are the witnesses of that build up. The next stop is in nearby Don-Aryk village where you will witness the famous horseback game called Ulak-Tartysh (Headless Goat fighting or known as Buzkashi). After the horseback game, around midday, lunch at the local house of Mukan Baike in Don-Aryk village. Continue to Bishkek, 70 kms away.
Arrival in Bishkek. Walking city tour of Bishkek, which includes Central Square Alatoo, White House, Parliament House, Manas on Horse Statue, Lenin Statue, and Oak Park. Overnight.
DAY 6 Bishkek – Tashkent
Transfer to airport for Tashkent flight. Arrival to Tashkent, transfer to the hotel.. Afternoon city tour of Tashkent. Visit center of Tashkent, Amir Temur Square, the center of Tashkent city which supposed to be the second 2nd St. Peterburg of Tzarist Russia at the end of 19 C where you will see the European architecture of 19 C. Now it is the center of Modern Tashkent.
Independence Square, once it was named as Lenin Square, the main place for celebrating national holidays, parades. In the old town, you will see the city how it looked before the earthquake of 1966 with simple mud –clay houses and mosques and madrasah. Old City part of Tashkent with Khast-Imom Complex, one of the main pilgrimage place of Muslim people as it keeps the original Qoran of 8 C, Osman Qoran and Chor-Su bazaar, the biggest bazaar of Tashkent, It has many sections where you will buy fruits, dry fruits, spices, handicraft items, textile and clothes.
The day can be ended with Opera or Balet show at Alisher Navoic Opera house, renovated in October 2015 (Optional, not included, upon availability of any show on this day). Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 7 : Tashkent-Bukhara HY flight time to be advised
Transfer to airport for Morning flight to Bukhara. Arrival to Bukhara, transfer to the hotel (check in can be available if the rooms are ready, or afternoon).
Sightseeing tour in Bukhara. Bukhara was the main center of Islamic region in Central Asia. It has many historical sites dating back to Arab period of 5-7 C, functioning madrasah since 17 C, Bazaar, workshops, trade domes of Bukhara of 16-19 C, Hammam, Jewellery shops. Visit Samani dynasty mausoleum, the first local ruling dynasty of Bukhara of 9 C, Ark Fortress, dating back 1-19 c AD.
The main square of Bukhara city. Chashma-Ayub mausoleum of 9 C, Kalon ensemble with Kalyan mosque and Kalyan minaret, the biggest mosque in Central asia, medrese Miri-Arab, once of the madrasah which has been giving religious education since Soviet period. Magoki-Attori mosque,now it is used a museum of Central Asian carpets and rugs. Madrasah of Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan 15-17 C, trade domes, Lyabi Hauz complex, medrese Chor-Minor. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 8: Bukhara-Shakhrisabz-Samarkand, (290 km, 4hrs + 90 km, 1,5 hrs. Only sedan cars can drive over Mountain pass from Shahrisabz to Samarkand, Van and Bus drive around the mountain which is 140 km, 2,5 hrs)
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz. The birth place of Amir Temur. You will see the empty tomb of Amir temur because he is buried in Samarkand, his son’s mausoleum, Juma Mosque, the Madrasah built by Ulughbek in 15 C. Visit ruins of Ak-Saray palace, mausoleum Dorut-Tilovat where Tamerlane’s father and his spiritual tutor are buried, Kok-Gumbaz mosque. In the afternoon continue driving to Samarkand. Arrival to Samarkand, check in to the hotel. Free time.
Day 9: Samarkand
Sightseeing of legendary Samarkand starts with Registan square, famous place in the world with 3 madrasah built in different times but gives complete look of one architectural complex. There is a madrasah of Ulughbek built in 15 C, Madrasah of Sherdor built in 16-17 C and Tilla Qari mosque constructed in 17 C. It is one of the main square in Uzbekistan which is famous for holding oriental Song festival Sharq Taronalari held every 2 years. Then you will proceed to ruins of Bibi-Khanum Mosque, built by the wife of Temur bibi Hanum. The legend says it was built as a gift for her husband when he was returing from Military campaign from India in 1399. There is also famous Siab bazar of Samarkand. Shakhi-Zinda necropolis, the cemetery of Temur’s relatives, military generals and sisters, architecture and spiritual teachers. Gur-Emir mausoleum, the burial place of Emir, Temur and his sons and grandsons. Ulugbek observatory, the grandson of Temur who was a scientist rather than a ruler. He contributed more in sciences, education in his country. Built many madrasah, mausoleums around the country. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Samarkand-Tashkent, (297 km, 4hrs)
In the first half of the day free time in Samarkand. In the afternoon transfer to Tashkent. (Depending on time of departure from Tashkent, transfer from Samarkand can be arranged by car, Van or bus or by fast Train Afrosiab at 1700-1910. Arrival to Tashkent. End of the tour.
The exact order of sightseeing each day is subject to change due to weather and operational conditions.