ASHGABAT TO KASHGAR – Unveil Central Asia

                                                                                                                 Section 3

 

Dates:                                                 September 28 – October 19, 2016 
Length:12 days 
Countries to be visited: Azerbaijan – Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan
Total distance:                                  ±3646 km 
Per person price:                              USD$9360 (based on twin-share) 
USD$1980 (single room supplement) cash payment at your trip’s starting point.

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DAILY ITINERARY

Day 01, Wednesday, September 28                         Arrive Baku
                                                   
Those who joins the group for the Central Asia section should arrive Baku today and will be transferred to hotel to join the group
Welcome dinner.
D Central Park Hotel

Day 02, Thursday, September 29                               Depart Baku, cross the Caspian
Due to the uncertain nature of the Caspian cargo ship sailing, we might be able to get on board but might not. If not, we will spend an extra night in Baku.
In case our ship docks and departs from Alat, a port 70-some km from Baku, we need to drive out there before dark and wait at the port’s parking lot.
(About the Caspian sailing, please see details described in Section 2)
D Hotel or ship


Day 03/04, September 30/October 01                     Cross the Caspian
We need to leave these days available since the arrival often gets delayed due to harbor traffic. Bring extra books to read on board, there won’t be internet available.
In case we arrive Turkmenistan early, we will have an alternative route to take and drive through some amazing valleys before entering Ashgabat.
On board of Caspian cargo ship


Day 05, Sunday, October 02                         Arrive Turkmenbashi
Our ship will arrive the Caspian harbor city, Turkmenbashi. After a long cross-border formality process, we will be able to drive into town and overnight at a local hotel.
B/L/D local hotel

Day 06, Monday, October 03                       Turkmenbashi – Ashgabat (driving distance: 580 km)
If we arrive Turkmenbashi a day earlier, we will have time to break this long drive, visit the Yangykala Canyon and overnight somewhere near Gozli Ata. If we only arrive Turkmenbashi on October 02, then we will drive straight to the capital, Ashgabat. Arrive the city around supper time.
B/L/D President Hotel or Yyldyz Hotel

Day 07, Tuesday, October 04                       Ashgabat
Today we will have a full day of sightseeing in and around Ashgabat; including a city tour, a visit to the Carpet Museum, visiting the Bakharden underground lake as well as Kipchak Mosque. Later, we will tour the Old Nisa – the remains of the Parthian kings’ residence. Continue to National museum and return Ashgabat.
B/L/D President Hotel or Yyldyz Hotel

Description: Ashgabad

Day 08, Wednesday, October 05                               Ashgabat
One more day in Ashgabat.
This morning, we will drive out to explore the mystical Nisa ruins.
Nisa was an ancient city, located near modern-day Bagir village, 18 km southwest of Ashgabat. It is described by some as the first seat of central government of the Parthians. It is traditionally assumed to be founded by Arsaces I (reigned c. 250 BC–211 BC), and was reputedly the royal necropolis of the Parthian kings, although it has not been established that the fortress at Nisa was either a royal residence or a mausoleum. The fortress at Nisa was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
Return to Ashgabat in the afternoon, relax and walk around town.
B/L/D President Hotel or Yyldyz Hotel



Day 09, Thursday, October 06                     Ashgabat
Darvaza (driving distance: 255 km)                                 
Morning at leisure in Ashgabat. After lunch depart for a night of camping in the Karakum Desert.  Tonight there will be an amazing experience of a life time!                                                                                                        
B/L/D Desert Camping

Description: Turkmen2

Day 10, Friday, October 07                           Darvaza Dashoguz Khiva, Uzbekistan  
(driving distance: 395 km)                                                        
Drive through the desert and arrive at Dashoguz, a small town by the Uzbek border. After lunch, we will cross the border to enter Uzbekistan.      
Upon arrival in Khiva, check into the hotel and walk around the old city at leisure.                                
B/L/D  Hotel Kheivak Malika

Day 11, Saturday, October 08                      Khiva
Khiva was the capital of the Khiva Khanate in the 17th century, and has still retained the exotic flavour of a medieval Oriental town. Today we will tour Ichan-Kala (the inner town), which is encircled by brick walls, whose foundations are believed to have been laid in the 10th century. Our visits will include: Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah, Kunya Ark, Islam Khoja Madrassah and Minaret, Jummi Mosque, and Tash Hauli Palace. We will also see desert sights such as Toprak Kala and Koi Krylgan Kala.      

B/L/D  Hotel Kheivak Malika

Description: UZ_Khiva

Description: 150  Description: UZ_Khiva2

Day 12, Sunday, October 09                         Khiva Bukhara (driving distance: 410 km)                                    
Drive to Bukhara through the KizilKum Desert. The drive can be very difficult if the new road is not yet ready.
En route we stop to see the Amudarya River, known to many western explorers as the Oxus River. Local fish restaurant for lunch. We will arrive at Bukhara in the late afternoon. In the evening we will see a folk performance in Nadir Devanbegi Madrassah.
B/L/D Asia Hotel Bukhara

Uzbek

Day 13, Monday, October 10                       Bukhara
Bukhara is the only city in Central Asia where the flavour of the East has been preserved intact. It is a town-museum with about 140 architectural monuments dating back to the Middle Ages.

Today our excursion in Bukhara includes visits to the mausoleum of Ismail Samani, a masterpiece of classical Eastern architecture, and the Poi Kalon Ensemble with its 50 meter-tall minaret decorated with unique patterns, towering over the centre of ancient Bukhara. In evening we will have dinner in a local traditional style restaurant.                                                     
B/L/D Asia Hotel Bukhara

Description: 159

Day 14, Tuesday, October 11                       Bukhara Samarkand (driving distance: 280 km)                                                  
After breakfast we will start our trip to Samarkand, arriving in the afternoon where we will have lunch and some leisure time.                                                                                                 
B/L/D Hotel Sultan

Day 15, Wednesday, October 12               Samarkand
Samarkand was once known as the Garden of the Universe. It reached the height of its glory during the reign of Tamerlane who cherished the dream to make his capital the most beautiful city in the world. Today we will have a city tour of Samarkand including the famous Registan, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble, Ulugbek Observatory (15th century), and Chupan Ata (1440s). Later we will visit Khoja Abdi Darun, Khoja Abdi Birun and Ishrat Khana Mausoleums, and the famous Samarkand carpet factory.       
 B/L/D Hotel Sultan

Description: http://a4.att.hudong.com/12/27/01300000247486122347276010468.jpg  Description: UZ_building

Day 16, Thursday, October 13                     Samarkand Tashkent (driving distance: 310 km)
In the morning we will start out for the capital, Tashkent. Upon arrival, check into the hotel and rest. Leisure time in the afternoon.
B/L/D Tashkent Palace Hotel

Description: Tashkent

Day 17, Friday, October 14                           Tashkent Ferghana Valley Osh (driving distance: 426 km)
Today we will start early in the morning heading towards Eastern Uzbekistan: the famous Ferghana Valley. The road from Tashkent to Ferghana Valley is a bit challenging, crossing many mountain passes on the way. We will arrive in Andijan for lunch.
In the afternoon drive to the Kyrgyz border and continue to Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan; reputed to be about 3000 years old. There are several legends about the origin of the city, including claims that it was founded by Solomon or Alexander the Great. Even if such a grand personage did not establish Osh, its position at a crossroads along the ancient trading routes that became known as the Silk Road almost guaranteed that it would become a major settlement.

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Excursion to Osh Bazaar, one of the biggest bazaars in Central Asia, stretching for about one kilometre along the river. Visit holy mount Suleiman-Too (Solomon’s Throne). According to legend this mount appeared after King Solomon rested here. For Central Asian Muslims, “Taht-I-Suleiman” is the 3rd most sacred place after Mecca and Medina. At the top there is a 16th century mosque and a museum.                                                                      
 B/L/D Sunrise Hotel

Day 18, Saturday, October 15                      Osh – Arslanbob  (driving distance 208 km)
This morning, drive to Arslanbob to spend the night in a village.
Arslanbob is an amazing mountain range with scenic forest area. It is said that the Arslanbob woodland has the largest walnut grove on earth.  If weather permits, we will take a light trek into the gorge and view waterfalls.
B/L/D Local home stay

  

Day 19, Sunday, October 16                         Arslanbob Chichkan Valley (driving distance: 335 km)                             
Drive to the Chichkan Valley.  Following the Ferghana Valley the road climbs through spectacular mountains and follows the Naryn River. We will overnight in the valley at a mountain lodge near the river.
B/L/D Oson Lodge

Description: Kyrgyz  

Day 20, Monday, October 17                       Chichkan Valley Kochkorka (driving distance: 260 km)
Today the drive becomes challenging after 155 km of paved road. The route takes us through some of the alpine mountains and meadows of Kyrgyzstan. Along the way we will get a chance to meet Kyrgyz shepherds, and learn about their paths and their nomadic life. Drop in at a local nomadic yurta for tea.
In the afternoon, arrive the village of Kochkorka and stay at a local B&B-style accommodation.  Enjoy a Kyrgyz dinner and folk show.                                                                            
B/L/D Family stay

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Description: 174  029

Day 21, Tuesday, October 18                       Kochkorka  Bishkek (driving distance: 190 km)
Today the group members who  will leave the team heading home will be transferred to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Overnight at a city center hotel.  Others will continue to the Chinese border.
B/L  Hotel Asia Mountains

Description: Description: Kirgizstan-15
This will be the end of the third section and the beginning of the fourth section of the journey.

Day 22, Wednesday, October 19                               Depart
Bishkek
Depart Bishkek for home city.
B


What’s included in AAST’s services:

  • 4WD vehicle throughout the journey (3-4 people per vehicle).
  • Petrol charges, toll fees, maintenance and repair of the vehicle.
  • Leadership of experienced group leaders including mechanical support.
  • Local sightseeing tours with entrance fees (sometimes via chartered van or coach).
  • Accommodation: 3 & 4-star hotels in major cities, local guest houses or best available in remote areas and camping facilities for one night in desert in Turkmenistan.             
  • Hotel taxes and service charges.
  • Meals which are indicated in the day-by-day itinerary (B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner)
  • Arrival and departure transfers.
  • All cross-border handling.
  • Banquets, parties and special events.
  • Travel manual and educational materials.
  • Use of travel accessories (GPS, maps, GMRS Radio Walkie-Talkie, tools, general emergency kit)

What would be your extra cost:

  • Your international flights and related taxes.
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory) .
  • Visa fees.
  • Vaccinations (not mandatory).
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls, use of internet, laundry, shopping.
  • Cash payment (5 euro or 6 dollars per traveller, per day). This will cover all gratuities and incidentals. The group leader will collect this cash payment at your trip’s starting point.

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