From the snowy mountains to the steppes of Central Asia
Duration : 15 days
Level : easy
from 1755 € / p. from 4 to 12 personsInfos & Booking
I propose you to explore two countries of Central Asia. On one side, Tajikistan, famous for its high mountains with peaks between 5500 and 6000 meters of altitude, and on the other side, Uzbekistan, known for its emblematic cities of the Silk Road.
This trip, which starts in the mythical Samarkand, will first take you to the Fan Mountains, a mountain range covered with lakes with turquoise waters that will amaze all travelers. After a few days of hiking, you will discover the inescapable cities of the Silk Road. Several civilizations have left their traces here, traces that you will discover by visiting Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, three cities forming a historical triangle.
In short, you will travel a beautiful route from the mountains to the endless steppes of Central Asia.
To better discover this part of Central Asia, I also propose a mtb trip on the roads of Uzbekistan and a hiking and cultural trip in Uzbekistan
D1: Europe - Istanbul - Samarkand.
Flight to Samarkand on a regular Turkish Airlines flight. Night on board.
D2: Samarkand, arrival in the Timurid city.
After landing, transfer to the hotel and breakfast, you will discover the city and its historical wonders. Samarkand was not only the center of trade, but also an important astronomical center. Tamerlane's grandson, Ulugbek, had a large observatory built there in the 15th century with a huge sextant to observe stars and planets. The visit of this astronomy center allows you to imagine their scientific knowledge in medieval times. This day rich in discoveries ends with a night walk in the city to see the illuminated monuments.
Dinner in the city and night at the hotel.
D3: Samarkand, visit of the grandiose wonders.
This day is dedicated to the exploration of this mythical city of the Silk Road. You will visit the mausoleum of Amir Timur (Tamerlane) built in honor of his grandson where the great conqueror also rests. But also the hills of Afrosiyob, classified by Unesco as a historical antiquity, and which house a museum relating the pre-Mongolian history of Samarkand. You will discover traces of the commercial, cultural and religious exchanges of the Silk Road. Afterwards, you will have some free time to enjoy the atmosphere of the old city before going to a wine cellar to taste delicious local wines.
Dinner at the restaurant and overnight at the hotel.
D4: Transfer to Tajikistan.
Today we head for Tajikistan, whose border is only one hour away from Samarkand. After the formalities, you will arrive in the city of Punjikent which was a historical cultural center, as important as Samarkand. You will visit this city of the Sogdian era with the ruins of the archaeological site of Bunjikath founded in the 5th century and the Rudaki museum (poet of Persian literature). In the afternoon, departure for the mountain village of Guintan (about 3 hours drive). Arrival in the village, accommodation in the local house and preparation of your bags for the next day.
Dinner and night at the inhabitant's house.
D5: Trekking to Guintan pass and Artush base.
Stretching over a length of almost 150 km and a true foothill of Pamir Alai Mountains, the Fan mountains (Fansky in Russian) attract all trekking enthusiasts. This is due to the unique and unspoiled beauty of the rocky and wooded mountains where breathtaking views are numerous. For the first day of your adventure in Tajikistan, you leave in the morning from the village to reach, by a path, the Guintan pass and its magnificent panorama. Picnic before going down to the mountaineers' base of Artouch to sleep in a bungalow (water, electricity).
4 hours of walking, positive altitude difference: 700 meters, negative altitude difference: 400 meters.
D6: Chukurak lake and pass, Koulikalon lakes, exploration of sublime natural lakes.
On this sixth day of adventure, you leave the base of Artouch and continue to follow the trail up to Chukurak lake. The word chukurak means "deep" in Tajik. Once you reach the Chukurak pass, you have a magnificent view of the bright turquoise Kulikalon lakes. After the descent to one of these big lakes, you have a picnic and have the opportunity to swim in the third lake, the one with the warmest temperature. At the end of the afternoon, you arrive at the shores of Bibidjanat lake, located at 2700m above sea level.
Dinner at the camp and stargazing before returning to your tent.
5 to 6 hours of walking, D+: 825m, D-: 340m.
D7: Hike to the Dushokha lake.
After breakfast, you continue your adventure by first exploring the other Koulikalon lakes while enjoying the beautiful scenery and quiet surroundings. Today's objective is not to stay fascinated in front of these lakes, but to explore another one located not far from there. Dushokha lake is located 40 minutes walk from Kulikalon lakes, at an altitude of 2900m. On the spot, you set up camp before dinner and then spend the night in a tent.
3 hours of walking, D+: 210m.
D8: Alaoutdine pass and Alaoutdine lakes.
On the menu of the day: the pass of Alaoutdine located at 3800m of altitude and accessible by crossing alpine meadows. From the top, you can admire the lakes of Alaoutdine considered as the natural wonders of the Fan mountains. It is also possible to observe the snowy peaks of Chapdara, Bodkhona or Zamok in the distance. The descent to the lakes of Alaoutdine takes place on a stony path and offers a beautiful view on the oasis. After having a picnic, you go for a nice walk around the lakes, then join the camp for dinner and overnight.
From 5 to 6 hours of walking, D+: 710m, D-: 950m.
D9: Hike to Mutnoye Lake.
Tajikistan has several peaks piercing the sky. The last day of your adventure in the Fan mountains is an opportunity to admire them. Some of them are more than 5000 meters high, among which Paygambar or Prophet peak (4938m) and Energiya or Energy peak. The trail also passes by the Piala lake whose name is explained by its round bottom. The highlight of your trek will be the glacial lake of Mutnoye (3500m) located at the foot of the famous Chimtarga peak, the highest peak of the Fan mountains. After exploring the lake and having a picnic lunch, you will return to the camp to spend the evening and night.
From 5 to 6 hours of walking, D+ and D-: 700m.
D10: Return to Samarkand.
The end of your adventure in the mountains is approaching! After having dismantled the camp, you have only one hour of walking to join your means of transport to return to Uzbekistan. Time to say goodbye to the mule team, then transfer to the border. Arriving in Samarkand at the end of the day, free time to rest at the hotel and go for a last walk in the city.
Dinner in town and overnight at the hotel.
About one hour of walking, D-: 80m.
D11: Travel by train to Bukhara.
Taking the local high speed train from Samarkand station in the morning, you will head for the second caravan city of Uzbekistan, Bukhara. The city was, for many centuries, the real crossroads of caravaneers going to China or Iran. Upon arrival, you will first drop off your belongings at your hotel and then have lunch at a chaikhana (local tea house). Get ready to discover a city with many minarets, madrasas (old Koranic schools), mosques and alleys in the old city. In the evening, you will have dinner at a craftsman's house to discover not only his ancestral handicraft, but also to taste Bukhara's plov rice.
Dinner at the craftsman's house and overnight at the hotel.
D12: Bukhara, walking tour of the caravan city.
You walk to the Samanides park to visit the Samanides mausoleum, built in the 9th century by the founder of the Persian Muslim dynasty. The great Bolo-Khaouz mosque (17th century) as well as the Ark citadel (residence of the Bukhara emirs) were visited until the collapse of the power of the emirs in the early 20th century. A stroll through the Bukhara market will be an opportunity to buy spices. In the late afternoon, you have free time to stroll through the streets of the old city. A session in a traditional hammam can be organized at the end of the day.
Dinner in the courtyard of an old madrasa and night at the hotel.
D13: Crossing the great red desert of Kyzylkoum and arrival in Khiva.
Early departure from Bukhara for a long day drive to Khiva. The city, registered on the Unesco World Heritage List, is located in the northwest of the country. To get there, you will first cross the great red desert of Kyzylkoum and make a few stops to photograph the desert dunes that stretch to infinity. Along the Turkmen borders you have the opportunity to photograph the Amu Darya river which used to flow into the Aral Sea. To reach the Khiva region, you cross this river on a bridge. Arrival in Khiva at the end of the day and accommodation in a charming hotel in the heart of the inner city. In the evening, walk on the ramparts to watch a magnificent sunset.
Dinner in the city and night at the hotel.
D14: Khiva, discovery of the Unesco heritage.
This day takes place entirely on foot since the visited monuments are located inside the city Itchan Kala (inner fortress) making Khiva an open-air museum-city. In addition to these historical sites, you will discover the woodcarving workshops where beautiful wooden columns are still made. At the end of the day, an aperitif is organized on a terrace of a guest house with a magnificent view on the minaret. A warm moment to close your journey on the Silk Road.
Dinner in the city and night at the hotel.
D15: Transfer to the airport and flight back home.
In the morning, you will be transferred to Urgench international airport to take your flight to Istanbul. I wish you a great trip back home!
Note: this tailor-made tour is given as an indication and can be modified or personalized according to your wishes. For more details and information, you can contact me.
The price includes
- Supervision by a local guide for the duration of the trip.
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels in the cities, with shower and toilet.
- Meals throughout the trip.
- Entrance tickets to the sites during the visits.
- Nights in local houses, in guest houses with a correct comfort (mattress, shower and common WC).
- Economy class train tickets according to the program.
- Air-conditioned transport according to the size of the group.
The price does not include
- Round trip airfare from your country of departure to Uzbekistan.
- Your personal equipment for the trek.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Repatriation and COVID insurance.
- Activities not mentioned above.
- Tips for the guide and the driver.
- Anything not mentioned in "The price includes".
- Comfortable hotels in the cities.
- Guest houses in the homes of local people.
- Under the tent in bivouac.
No scheduled departure, but you can contact me to book your dates.Infos & Booking