Turkmenistan Full Itinerary

14 DAY THE GREAT SILK ROAD TOUR
(Current as at 15 May 2014)

 

This tour which starts in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, takes in the Silk Road countries of:
TURKMENISTAN (3 Days),
UZBEKISTAN (8 Days),
TURKEY (2 Days – See Note 3),

Day 1: In Ashgabat
Today we arrive in Ashgabat, probably early in the morning depending on flight schedules. After getting our visas and completing passport and customs formalities, we will be met by our representative at the airport and transferred to our hotel. We take breakfast at the hotel if it is an early morning arrival. The morning is free for rest and relaxation.

NOTE: There are direct flights into Ashgabat from several cities including Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai in Asian; Istanbul, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Moscow in Europe. Flights from most of these arrive in Tashkent late evening or early morning.
Day 1 is for ‘arrival’, some rest and a little sightseeing. So, we suggest that you arrive in Ashgabat in the morning of Day 1 or the day before.
Please note that your airport-to-hotel transfer is included if you arrive on Day 1 and you don’t need to book pre-tour accommodation.


The name Ashgabat literally means ‘the city of love’. With many colourful weddings on the weekend, it’s little wonder that it is called that.

After lunch, we take an excursion to see Nusay Fortress dating back 2300 years, the sprkling Goktepe Mosque, the largest in Turkmenistan. On the way back we visit the Kipchak Mosque built by the late Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov and his nearby mausoleum.

In the evening, we have a traditional dinner at a local restaurant. With most buildings and monuments floodlit, the city looks its best at night. So, stroll through the city centre after dinner is recommended if you have the energy. (B/L/D)

Overnight at Nissa Hotel in Ashgabat

Day 2: In Ashgabat (Mary Excursion)
Today we have an optional excursion to Mary to visit Ancient Merv, once one of the largest, most cosmopolitan cities of the ancient world. Rising above a lush oasis straddling the Silk Road, with legendary libraries and splendid architecture, Merv once rivalled Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo as a trading centre. Today, Merv is one of Central Asia 's most extensive archaeological sites. While at Mary, we also visit the Mausoleum of Soltan Sanjar, Great and Little Kyz Kalas (castles) and the Historical Museum.

The Mary excursion involves a morning flight returning to Ashgabat in the evening. Lunch is at a local restaurant in Mary.
Those not going on the Mary excursion could go for a walk to discover this unusual city at leisure and see other sites of interest such as local markets, museums, mosques, etc. or just relax at the hotel. Dinner is at the hotel. (B/D)

Overnight at Nissa Hotel in Ashgabat

Day 3: Ashgabat - Khiva
In the morning, we see the sights of this sparkling city, including the Russian Bazaar, Ertogrul Gazy Mosque built by the Turkish Government as a gift to the people of Turkmenistan, the Independence Square, and the magnificent Carpet Museum with its rich collection of Turkmen carpets.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we transfer to Ashgabat Airport for our afternoon flight (details to be advised) to Dashoguz near the Uzbek border. We then transfer to the border to cross into Uzbekistan, the ‘Gem’ on the Silk Road. Our guide and driver will be waiting for us on the Uzbek side.


NOTE: Today we may need to travel the short distance between the two border posts on foot. As well, we may have to wait for some time at one or both of the border crossings. So, some sense of adventure and a little patience are virtues that will stand us in good stead during this border crossing.

We arrive in Khiva and check into our boutique hotel in the ‘Inner City’.

Day 4: In Khiva
This morning we, we go on a sightseeing tour of this 2500-year old historic city which was once one of the most important trading centres at the crossroads of the trade routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia. Its former wealth is evident in the fabulous buildings, mosques, bazaars and minarets. Located within the well preserved historic heart called Ichon Qala. They include Kuhna Arc, Juma Mosque, Alloquli Khan Medressa, Tosh Hovli Palace and more.

We have lunch in a local restaurant and the afternoon is free to wander around and take in the atmosphere of this unique Silk Road city. Dinner is at the hotel or a nearby local restaurant. (B/L/D)

Overnight in a 4* hotel in Khiva

Day 5: Khiva – Tashkent - Fergana
After breakfast, we transfer to Urgench for our morning flight to Tashkent, the capital. We then drive (or fly depending on flight availability), to the town of Fergana in the lush Fergana Valley. After lunch at a local restaurant, we check into our hotel in Fergana. The rest of the day is free. Dinner is at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Overnight at a comfortable 4* hotel

Day 6: Fergana - Tashkent
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive a short distance to Rishtan to see pottery works and to Margilan to visit a silk making factory. After lunch at a local traditional restaurant, we drive to Kokand to visit Khudoyar-Khan Palace and Djami Mosque before driving back to Tashkent. (B/L)

Overnight at Tashkent Palace hotel (or similar)

Day 7: In Tashkent
Even though Tashkent had a colourful history with different rulers and influences, including the Arabs, Mongols and Timurids, today’s Tashkent reflects its most recent conquerors – the Russians.

This morning we continue with our sightseeing programme. Today’s sights include the small but magnificent Applied Arts Museum, the fascinating Juma Mosque and the impressive 16th Century Barakxon Madrassa where we see local artisans at work. We then have lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, we go on a sightseeing tour which includes the Opera House, the Amir Temur Square, the Independence Square and gardens and the Memorial commemorating the victims of the earthquake that devastated Tashkent in 1966.

The rest of the day is free to explore this modern city with its many parks and well planned squares. (B/L)

Overnight at Tashkent Palace Hotel

Day 8: Tashkent - Samarkand
After early breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to the railway station to catch our 8:00am bullet train (Afrosiyob Talgo) to Samarkand, the capital of Timur Khan (also known as Tamerlane or Emir Timur).

On arrival in Samarkand, we first see Gur-Emir Mauseleum, (the family tomb of Emir Timur the founder of the Timurid Dynasty. We then visit the renown Ulughbeg’s Observatory. Ulughbeg, the grandson of Emir Timur, was an accomplished scientist, an architect, a philosopher, an artist and a master of astronomy. His times were marked by huge progress in art and in science.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we check into our hotel and the rest of the day is free. Dinner is at a local restaurant. (Kerim Beg or similar).

Overnight at President Palace Hotel (B/L/D)

Day 9: In Samarkand
With a history stretching back 2,500 years, Samarkand is the most evocative of all Silk Road cities. It has witnessed many upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane but every time it revived becoming more beautiful than before. Often called “Rome of the East”, Samarkand is a real gem and a UNESCO World Heritage listed site.

This morning we continue with our sightseeing tour of this fabled city. The sites include Registan Square, the epicenter of Timurid architecture with its highly decorated madrassa and mosque.

We then visit Bibi-Khanum Mosque built by Timur for his favourite wife. The majestic blue dome of the mosque which is likened to the ‘Dome of Heaven’ is sure to take one’s breath away. The last sight before lunch is Siob Bazaar, the central markets of Samarkand.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we see Shakhi-Zinda, a complex of mausoleums built in the 14th and 15th Centuries as burial places for leading members of the Timurid Dynasty and other nobles. The buildings which are adorned by bright blue domes are decorated inside and out by exquisite tiles like those shown here. Any remaining time is free. Dinner is not included. (B/L)

Overnight at President Palace Hotel or similar

Day 10: Samarkand - Bukara
After breakfast at the hotel, we travel to Bukhara by coach or minibus (268 km). We stop about half way to see a ‘Water Dome’ and the remains of an old Caravanserai. On arrival in Bukhara, we have lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch and a well deserved rest, we visit some of the amazing sites of this wonderful city, including Ark Castle and Bolo-Hauz Mosque. The rest of the day is free to get acquainted with this fabled Oasis city on the Silk Road. Dinner is at the hotel. (B/L).

Overnight at Minzifa boutique hotel or similar.

Day 11: In Bukara
After breakfast, we set out to see more of the amazing sites of this wonderful city, including Kalyan Minaret and Mosque built in 1127, Trade Domes, Lyabi-Hauz Complex, Nadir-Divanbegi Madrassa If you were to climb the 47meter high Kalyan Minaret and look around, you know that you are in the land of Omar Khayyam, Ibn Sina and Timur. The rest of the day is free to do as you please.

In the evening, we enjoy dinner with folklore show at Nadir-Divanbegi Madrassa. (B/L/D)

Overnight at Minzifa boutique hotel or similar.

Day 12: In Bukhara
This morning, we go to visit Sitorai Mohi Hossa Palace, the country palace of Bukhara Emirs. It is an extensive complex surrounded by excellent gardens. You can get a real indication of the wealth generated the Silk Road trade.

We also visit Ismoil Somaniy Tomb and Chasma Ayub, the water supply centre before lunch at Lyabi-Hauz Restaurant. The rest of the day is free. You can further explore this fascinating city, go shopping, go to see a puppet show or just relax in the serene surroundings of Lyabi-Hauz pool. (B/L).
Well, all good things come to an end. So, we say farewell to this wonderful city and take the evening flight to Tashkent to connect with our onward flight to Istanbul. (B/L)

Overnight on board Turkish Airlines flight.

Day 13: In Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our boutique style hotel in the old city. The morning is free. You could just rest in your charming hotel or take a stroll to familiarize yourself with this exotic city.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we go on a walking tour of the old city to see the Hippodrome dating from the Roman times, the magnificent Blue Mosque built by the Ottoman sultans with its unequalled blue tiles and six minarets and the world famous Grand Bazaar with over 4000 shops.

For most traders Istanbul was the end point of the Silk Road. Goods brought by traders were either sold locally or exported by sea to cities such as Venice, Rome, Genoa, etc. So a visit to the Grand Bazaar makes a fitting finale to our Silk Road tour. In the evening, we have a farewell dinner at local restaurant. (L/D).

Overnight in boutique style hotel in the old city.

Day 14: In Istanbul
After breakfast, we go on a walking tour of the Sirkeci and Eminonu districts of the old city. Here we see the small but very vibrant and colourful Spice Bazaar, the small but very charming Sokulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque and check out the artisans’ shops in the area. We head to the water front for a lunch which is grilled fish served in half a loaf of crusty Turkish bread and washed down by ‘ayran’, a refreshing yogurt drink. It is very flavoursome and a must do in Istanbul.
The tour ends after lunch. Those with transfers to the airport will be advised of the transfer details.

For those interested, an optional city tour can be organised to major sites of the old city including Hagia Sophia, one of the wonders of the Byzantine era; the VI century Underground Cistern and the renown Topkapi Palace from where Ottoman Sultans ruled the empire for over 400 years.

If you are staying on in Istanbul and have time you may also visit the fascinating Archeological Museum or the opulent Dolmabahce Palace* on the shores of the Bosphorus. A cruise on the Bosphorus or a ferry trip to islands in the Marmara Sea is also recommended. Your tour leader will be at hand to give you tips about things to do and places to go.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
THE GREAT SILK ROAD TOUR

This tour starts in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and finishes in Istanbul Turkey

  2014 2015 
Tour Code: SR140416 SR150417
Tour Dates: 
(See Note 2)
Wednesday 16 to Tuesday 29 April
CLOSED
Wednesday 17 to Tuesday 30 April
BOOK NOW
Tour Prices (AUD):
$3,350 for 15 – 16 persons
$3,500 # for 10 – 14 persons
$3,650 for 8 – 9 persons
Single Supplement: $495
$3,350 for 15 – 16 persons
$3,500 # for 10 – 14 persons
$3,650 for 8 – 9 persons
Single Supplement: $495
Tour duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Group Size: Minimum 8 Maximum 16  

 
Tour price includes:
• Arrival transfers in Tashkent and departure transfers in Istanbul.
• All transportation from the time of arrival in to the time of departure from Tashkent, including domestic flights and all airport transfers.
• Accommodation in centrally located, boutique style or four-star hotels.
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).
• Modern air-conditioned minibus or coach with spare seats.
• All entrance fees, tips to hotels and restaurants, and other charges
• Services of Australian tour leader who is with the group 24/7.
• Services of bilingual professional tour guide.
• Visa support services
• Drinking water on the coach and with meals.


Tour price does NOT include:
• All international airfares (including Tashkent/Istanbul on Day 13)
• Departure taxes, levies and other charges
• Passport and visa fees
• Items of a personal nature such as drinks, minibar, phone calls, etc.
• Beverages at meal times except water with meals.


IMPORTANT NOTES
1. Deposit amount is 10% of the price marked #.
2. Tour details including the itinerary, tour date and price may change without notice.
3. Tour prices which are based on current or expected future exchange rates are subject to change. Once full payment has been received, the tour price will not be varied.
4. Participants may leave the tour at the end of the day on Day 13 in Tashkent, in which case the tour price will be reduced by $350.
5. All three countries require visas from nationals of most western countries. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have valid visa. Visas for Turkmenistan and Turkey may be obtained on arrival at the airport. Visas for Uzbekistan may be obtained at Uzbekistan Embassy in Ashgabat. We are happy to assist clients obtain visas. Please contact us if assistance is required.
6. There is a discount of 4% on the lower priced tour (or tours, when clients book two or more tours in the same calendar year.
7. Arrangements for Days 12 and 13 may change depending on flight schedules.
8. This itinerary is current as at 15 May 2014.
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