See all the 'stans (well, most of them) on this comprehensive 26-day tour through Central Asia. Learn about nomadic life in Song Köl, explore natural landscapes like Kaindy Lake's sunken forest, and witness the hustle and bustle of capital cities and their bazaars, cathedrals, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll sleep like the locals do in homestays and yurts to get even closer to this underexplored destination.
What's Included : Your G for Good Moment: Yurt Building Demonstration, Barskoon Your Welcome Moment: Welcome Meeting - Meet Your CEO and Group, Bishkek Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Ozero Sonkël’ Your Local Living Moment: Tamga Village Stay, Tamga Your Local Living Moment: Community Homestay, Kŭli Iskandarkŭl Your Local Living Moment: Overnight in a Yurt, Aydar Kŭl Camp. Half-day city tour (Bishkek). Burana Tower visit (Bishkek). Przhevalsky Museum visit (Karakol). Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu). Saty village stay. City tour (Almaty). Charyn Canyon Visit. City tour (Dushanbe). Waterfall hike (Kŭli Iskandarkŭl). City tour (Khujand). Mug Yepe Visit (Istaravshan). Market visit (Khujand). City tour (Samarkand). Walking tour (Bukhara). Chashma Complex and Holy Spring Visit (Nurata). Fortress of Alexander the Great visit (Nurata). City tour (Bukhara). Khiva Ancient City tour. City tour (Tashkent). Felt-making workshop visit. Hikes and picnic lunch. Daravaz gas crater ("Door to Hell") visit. Erbent visit. City tour (Ashgabat). Internal flight. Transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Highlights : Embark on the ultimate road trip across 5 countries in central Asia, Browse the stalls of markets and local shops, Stay overnight in traditional yurts and camps, Camp under the stars near the Darvaza crater and witness the gates of Hell, Traverse mountains–forests and desert.
Itinerary Disclaimer : While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Important Notes : CULTURE Central Asia is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Mixture of Soviet heritage and Islam, summer heat and winter cold, religious conservatism, traffic and crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. DRESS CODE Though you can see lots of people in traditional clothes, Central Asia has adopted western style clothing as well. Don't hesitate to pack your usual travel clothes: in summer it can be shorts and t-shirts, sandals etc. We recommend not to bring tank tops/singlets and any types of clothes with bare shoulders and backs - it is unacceptable in most areas, even in bigger cities. Our tour takes us to many religious sights, where dress code is very strict. We recommend women to have a headscarf in their day bags to cover up when going inside mosques (it's also a great help in the heat in summer). Best things to pack for the hot Central Asian climate is loose, long clothing - long trousers and sarongs or long skirts for women. In colder months (from the end of October through the end of April) it can rain and snow - bring warm clothes, jackets and comfortable warm shoes for walking. ALTITUDE CONSIDERATIONS This trip operates at altitudes over 800m (max altitude 3016m at Song Kul). Whilst we travel slowly allowing plenty of time to acclimatize you may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, especially when visiting Song Kul & Iskanderkul. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one's tolerance especially on long driving days. MONEY Due to the restrictions on changing money in Central Asia region, only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition will be accepted for exchange. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rate. We recommend to bring smaller denominations as well - many vendors accept them if you don't have local currency. RAMADAN According to the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between Apr 12th - May 14th 2021, and Apr 1st - May 3rd 2022. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can't at that time. COMBO TRIP Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes. ACCOMMODATION NOTE: Please be aware that properties we stay in with only two stories may not have elevators installed and climbing the stairs with your luggage will be necessary.
Group Leader Description : All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes : Max 20, avg 14
Meals Included : 25 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 9 dinners
Transport : Private vehicles, plane, walking.
Local Flights : Please be aware that flight delays between Bishkek and Dushanbe can occur. Your CEO may need to make adjustments to your itinerary in case of flight schedule changes.
Solo Travellers : We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation : Standard hotels/guesthouses (20 nts), yurts (4 nts), homestay (1 nt).
My Own Room : Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Rooming and "My Own Room" Exceptions : Nights 3, 5 & 17 (Yurt camp); Nights 10-11 (Lake homestay); Night 23 (Camping)
About Accommodation : Standard hotels/guesthouses (19 nts), yurts (3 nts), CBT homestays (2 nts), tented camp (1 nt). Please note that there will be shared bathroom facilities when staying in the yurts.
Joining Hotel : For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Joining Instructions : When you arrive to Bishkek International Airport (Manas International Airport), you will have two options to get to your starting hotel. TAXI: we always recommend printing out the address of the hotel (in the native language as well as English if available), to show to your taxi driver. Once you exit from the customs area there will be a lot of drivers offering taxi services, but on the ground floor there is also an Information Desk where you can get assistance with arranging an official taxi service. If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi. Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned. A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Arrival Complications : We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Emergency Contact : Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. AIRPORT TRANSFER If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that: Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly: Mr. Arlan +996700602090, Mrs. Asel +996777202888 EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS G Adventures Office Central Asia: Mr. Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager - Central Asia) Mobile 1: +99890 963 4779 (24h) If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here. Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take : What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking though, you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage (please see below for exceptions), and though you will not be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg/22lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures travellers! Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags with wheels are acceptable, although we recommend your bag has carry straps as well, as you may be required to negotiate bus and railway station steps. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day walks and day trips.
Packing List : Cold Weather: • Long-sleeved shirts or sweater • Scarf • Warm gloves • Warm hat • Warm layers Conservative Dress: • Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders) • Shawl or scarf (for temple visits) Documents: • Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border) • Insurance info (required) (With photocopies) • Passport (required) (With photocopies) • Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies) • Vouchers and pre-departure information (required) Essentials: • Binoculars (optional) • Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries) • Cash, credit and debit cards • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights) • Ear plugs • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) • Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal) • Fleece top/sweater • Footwear • Hat • Locks for bags • Long pants/jeans • Moneybelt • Outlet adapter • Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.) • Reusable water bottle • Shirts/t-shirts • Sleepwear • Small travel towel • Sunglasses • Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable) • Watch and alarm clock • Waterproof backpack cover • Windproof rain jacket Health & Safety: • Face masks (required) • Hand sanitizer (required) • Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.) • Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test Light Hiking: • Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes • Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended) Warm Weather: • Sandals/flip-flops • Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended) • Sun hat/bandana • Swimwear Note: Though you can see lots of people in traditional clothes, Central Asia has adopted western style clothing as well. Don't hesitate to pack your usual travel clothes: in summer it can be shorts and t-shirts, sandals etc. We recommend not to bring tank tops/singlets and any types of clothes with bare shoulders and backs - it is unacceptable in most areas, even in bigger cities. Our tour takes us to many religious sights, where dress code is very strict. We recommend women to have a headscarf in their day bags to cover up when going inside mosques (it's also a great help in the heat in summer). Best things to pack for the hot Central Asian climate is loose, long clothing - long trousers and sarongs or long skirts for women.
Laundry : Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements : All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements. Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here Uzbekistan: For the following multi-country trips, the days spent in Uzbekistan are as follows: AWTU - Best of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan: Days 5-15 AYBT - Best of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Days 13-14 AYKU - Multi-Stan Adventure - Bishkek to Tashkent: Days 13-23 AYBA - The Five Stans of the Silk Road: Days 13-22 Some travellers may need to apply for an e-visa to enter Uzbekistan. To apply, please follow this link: https://e-visa.gov.uz/main Nationalities which are not listed on Uzbekistan Visa exemptions list or not on the E-Visa list are required to apply for Visa Approval/Telex No prior to their Uzbekistan Visa application at the Uzbekistan Consulate. In order to get Visa Approval/LOI you will be required to fill out & submit the request form (https://www.gadventures.com/visa-forms/Uzbekistan/). It takes about 7-10 business days to get the approval from Uzbekistan MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Once Visa Approval No/LOI is received we will forward it to you/your agent. Please print out the Visa Approval/Telex No along with duly completed Uzbekistan visa application form & submit to the Uzbekistan Consulate Tajikistan: Some travellers may need to apply for an e-visa to enter Tajikistan. To apply, please follow this link: https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html Essential info & answers for online E visa application: Applicant Type: Individual Purpose of the visa type: Tourism GBAO Permit: No (you will not be required to apply for this permit) Date of arrival: The date you enter & exit from Tajikistan (below are the days per trip code you enter & exit from Tajikistan) AWDT - Highlights of Tajikistan: Days 1-5 AWTU - Best of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan: Days 1-5 AYBT - Best of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Days 9-13 AYKU - Multi-Stan Adventure - Bishkek to Tashkent: Days 9-13 AYBA - The Five Stans Of The Silk Road: Days 9-13 Address in Tajikstan Dushanbe – “Atlas Hotel” – 32,34 Nisor Mukhammad st, Dushanbe, Tajikistan 734124 Khujand – “Feruz Hotel” - Lenina street 223, Khujand If required: The local operator in Tajikistan – “Panjakent Intour” Address: 12, Borbadi Marvazi street, Panjakent Tel: +992 3475 56674 Kazakhstan: IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TRAVELERS WHO REQUIRE A VISA: Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Kazakhstan, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Kazakhstan and you will be emailed your Kazakhstan Invitation Letter about 60 days before the trip start date. Kazakhstan LOI’s cannot be rushed. Kazakhstan visas can be used up to 3 months from the date the visa is issued, and once you have entered Kazakhstan, the visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days. Therefore, please time your application accordingly and do not apply for the visa more than 3 months in advance of your trip. Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names - all of them have to be listed under "first name"). If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the English alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue). For the following multi-country trips, the days spent in Kazakhstan are as follows: AYBT - Best of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Days 7-9 AYKK - Highlights of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan: Days 7-9 AYKU - Multi-Stan Adventure - Bishkek to Tashkent: Days 7-9 AYBA - The Five Stans of the Silk Road: Days 7-9 The Kazakhstan Government has implemented a new requirement asking passengers to provide a Letter of Employment (LOE) in order to issue the LOI. Please make sure to attach this LOE to your LOI application below as both are required to begin this process. This should be a letter from your employer, dated and on company letterhead, that states where you work, your role and how long you have worked there. It should also have the issuer's name, signature, as well as their role and the company address and phone number. If you are retired, a LOE is not necessary. If your country has an official Kazakhstan Consulate/Embassy, you must choose this as as your 'Visa pickup Embassy’. If you do not see a local Consulate/Embassy on this list or you are unable to go there due to prior travel arrangements, please contact your Travel Agent or G Adventures for further assistance. Certain nationalities may be able to obtain a visa upon arrival at the Almaty Airport, but you must make sure to check with your Embassy if this applies for your nationality before choosing this option. At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy): 1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa 2. 1 colour, passport sized photos (taken within 14 days) 3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank - check with your Embassy to confirm details) 4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity 5. Kazakhstan Letter of Invitation/reference number 6. Flight tickets providing entrance and proof of onward travel 7. Copy of travel insurance in a hard copy 8. We also recommend bringing your vouchers and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed. Kyrgyzstan: IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TRAVELERS WHO REQUIRE A VISA: Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Kyrgyzstan, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Kyrgyzstan and you will be emailed your Kyrgyzstan Invitation Letter about 60 days before the trip start date. Kyrgyzstan LOI’s cannot be rushed. Kyrgyzstan visas can be used up to 3 months from the date the visa is issued, and once you have entered Kyrgyzstan, the visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days. Therefore, please time your application accordingly and do not apply for the visa more than 3 months in advance of your trip. Please apply for stamp visa, DO NOT apply for an E Visa. E Visas will not be accepted as an exit document when crossing the border of Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan. Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names - all of them have to be listed under "first name"). If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the english alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue). For the following multi-country trips, the days spent in Kyrgyzstan are as follows: AYKU - Multi-Stan Adventure - Bishkek to Tashkent: Days 1-7 AYBT - Best of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Days 1-7 AYKK - Highlights of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan: Days 1-7 AYBA - The Five Stans of the Silk Road: Days 1-7 If your country has an official Kyrgyzstan Consulate/Embassy, you must choose this as as your 'Visa pickup Embassy’. If you do not see a local Consulate/Embassy on this list or you are unable to go there due to prior travel arrangements, please contact your Travel Agent or G Adventures for further assistance. Certain nationalities may be able to obtain a visa upon arrival at the Bishkek Airport, but you must make sure to check with your Embassy if this applies for your nationality before choosing this option. At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy): 1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa 2. 1 colour, passport sized photo, taken within 14 days 3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank - check with your Embassy to confirm details) 4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity 5. Kyrgyzstan Letter of Invitation/reference number 6. Flight tickets providing entrance and proof of onward travel 7. Copy of travel insurance in a hard copy 8. We also recommend bringing your vouchers and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed. ***Please carefully check all the information below prior to submitting*** Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the Kyrgyzstan Embassy you listed in the online application. Please remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct. Turkmenistan: All nationalities require a Visa to enter Turkmenistan. In order to secure your visa, you must first apply for a Letter of Invitation through G Adventures. Once your trip is confirmed, please submit your application for your Turkmenistan Letter of Invitation no later than 40 days before the start of your tour. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. At the approximate 40 day mark from date of first travel, your Visa application details will be forwarded to our local agent in Turkmenistan, who will submit your documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. This will take around 2 to 4 weeks to process. Important Note: If you submit your Letter of Invitation application inside of 40 days from departure date, you will be subject to having your Letter of Invitation process expedited for an additional fee of approximately $70USD per person. It will take approximately 7 to 10 business days in order to process and approve your expedited Turkmenistan Letter of Invitation application. Once your Letter of Invitation is processed and approved, we will send this information to your CEO guide who will be leading that trip. As our trip crosses in to Turkmenistan overland, Visa can be obtained at the (Shavat) border. Our CEOs will be responsible for presenting the LOIs to Immigration officials, each traveller will then collect their Visa individually in their passport after paying for their Visa Fee and Immigration tax. Visa fees vary per nationality. European, US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand nationals pay approximately $60USD per person. Nationals from the United Kingdom pay approximately $90USD per person. Immigration tax paid at the border is approximately $15USD per person. Important Note: Visa at the border can be paid only in cash in USD (Good condition notes without marks or stamps are accepted). In case our travellers had no chance to get cash USD in their home country, there is a possibility to withdraw USD cash in Uzbekistan's bank prior going to border. The days spend in Turkmenistan are as follows: AUTA - Best of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Days 9 - 13 AYBA - The Five Stans of the Silk Road: Days 22 - 26 Information accurate as of September 12th, 2018
Detailed Trip Notes : Border Crossings for AYBA: Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan border - Kegen – Tup/Kensu border Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border - Oybek border
Spending Money : Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Money Exchange : In general Central Asia is a cash operating region, and travellers cheques are not recommended. Due to bank restrictions, only banknotes printed after 1996 can be exchanged. Better to bring notes without marks or stamps on them. We recommend to bring about 70 USD in small denominations: 1, 5 and 10 USD notes. If you are not able to get local currency it's always possible to pay in USD or EUR. Uzbekistan There are lots of ATM's to withdraw local currency (UZS), and banks around to exchange USD or EUR. Travellers cheques are not recommended, as only limited amount of banks work with them. Please, note that you can withdraw only local currency (Uzbek Sums) from ATM's. Some banks in Tashkent allow USD cash advance, but this option depends on the amount of USD cash in the bank. Kazakhstan The preferred currency for local transactions is the tenge, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. ATMs in Kazakhstan are accessible in the larger cities, and withdrawals can be made by credit card. There are many currency exchange locations available to exchange EUR, USD, GBP, Russian rouble, Kyrgyz som and Chinese yuan. Kyrgyzstan The preferred currency for local transactions is the som, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. There are many of ATMs accessible in Bishkek and other larger cities such as Cholpon Ata and Karakol. Larger cities will also have money exchange locations that will trade EUR, USD, Roubles; some locations will trade GBP, and Chinese yuan. Tajikistan The preferred currency for local transactions is the somoni, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. You may be able to pay in USD and EUR in some places, however, it is recommended that you take out somoni at ATMs in Dushanbe; there are very few ATMs outside of Dushanbe, and those that exist are less dependable.
Emergency Fund : Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping : In Central Asia It is not customary to tip service providers such as waiters, but it is very appreciated, depending on the service we recommend 3-5%. Tipping shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-$3 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
Optional Activities : Song-Köl - Hiking in Song Kül (Free) Kolsaiskie Lakes National Park - Hiking in Kolsay Lakes National Park (Free) Almaty - Zelyony Bazaar (Free) - Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos Samarkand - Amir Timur Mausoleum Visit (3USD per person) - Tomb of the Old Testament Prophet Daniel Visit (3USD per person) Aydar Kŭl Camp - Kazakh Singing (Free) Bukhara - Bukhara Hammam Visit (20USD per person) - Carpet Museum (1USD per person) - Chor-Bakr Complex - Jewish Area and Synagogue Visit (Free) Dashoguz - Bai Bazaar (Free) - Dashoguz Museum (10USD per person) Ashgabat - Ashgabat Hippodrome (Free) - Ertugrul Gazi Mosque (Free)
Health : Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security : Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions. Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately. Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s). Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit: www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/
Trip Specific Safety : We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
A Couple of Rules : llegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance : Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures : Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally. G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need. G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation. Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment. Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
Local Dress : Central Asian dress is quite conservative. Plan to pack loose-fitting light clothing appropriate for hot weather and plan to cover knees, shoulders and chest. For women, a hair scarf is recommended, though they are easy to buy in country.
Feedback : After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
Minimum Age : You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
International Flights : Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Alert Message : For the foreseeable future, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Uzbekistan online E-Visa website is not accepting any applications for travellers from a number of countries worldwide. Please ensure you check visa information specific to your destination and nationality found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page using the link below. https://www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/prepare-for-your-tour/?ref=footer
Group Leader : CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.
Arrive at any time.
After breakfast, embark on a city tour of Bishkek before travelling to the serenity of Chong-Kemin Valley. Along the way, stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower and learn about this ancient structure, rare in nomadic culture. Tonight, stay in a cozy guest house run by Ashuu villagers. Soak in the stunning scenery while exploring the village and savour a home-cooked traditional dinner.
In the morning, opt for a hike to the nearby mountains or explore the famous gorges of Chong-Kemin. After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive along the Kalmak-Ashuu mountain pass to Song Kul Lake. Immerse yourself in Kyrgyz culture with an overnight stay in a traditional yurt. Experience daily nomadic life and wander the breathtaking landscape. With an altitude of 3,016 meters above sea level, it's possible to experience four seasons in one day! Indulge in delicious home-cooked cuisine for dinner, then get cozy in the yurt around the stove.
Spend the morning soaking in all the beauty of Song Kul Lake before departing for Kochkor to learn the importance of felt-making to Kyrgyz culture and local artisans. Learn the craft during a hands-on workshop creating a small version of the traditional carpet known as ala-kiyiz, and enjoy lunch together. Afterward, head to Tamga village in the clutches of the Terskey Ala-Too and celestial Issyk-Kol’ Lake, where you'll spend the night at a village guesthouse and get to know the local community members.
Enjoy a free morning getting to know this isolated village. Around midday, transfer to Ak-Orgo Workshop Centre to observe how traditional yurts are built and learn about the importance of this Kyrgyz craft. Continue to Jety-Oguz Gorge and overnight in another one of those cozy yurts.
Say goodbye to the beautiful valley of Jety-Oguz and ride to Kyrgyzstan's 4th largest city - Karakol. Stop for a visit at the Prejevalskiy Museum, dedicated to the famous Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky, followed by a city tour. See the Russian Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and pagoda-style Dungan Mosque, built by Chinese Muslims in the early 20th Century. Spend the afternoon as you wish, exploring Karakol.
Cross the border into Kazakhstan on the journey to Saty Village, part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park. On arrival, jump in a Russian 4x4 for the ride to Kaindy Lake, then embark on a trek to explore the sunken forest. Soak in the bright hues and marvel at the eerie sight of submerged trees. Spend the night in a homestay and indulge in traditional Kazakh meals for a true Kazakh experience.
Depart early this morning for Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, stopping along the way to marvel at Charyn Canyon. Boasting stunning shades of red, orange, and brown, the Charyn Canyon is a natural wonder comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. On arrive in Almaty, take a city tour visiting sights such as Independence Square, Zenkov Cathedral, Panfilov's Park, and the striking WWII memorial. Time permitting, opt to climb Green Hill for panoramic views, visit the local markets, or sip coffee in one of the plentiful cafés.
In the morning, transfer to Almaty airport and board a flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on the Varzob River. Enjoy an evening in the city.
Enjoy a morning tour of Dushanbe, visiting the main monuments, museum, and mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains to Kuli Iskandarkul for a short hike to Iskander Darya waterfall. Afterward, continue the drive—passing Alexander the Great's lake—to your overnight stay at a local home in the stunning mountain valley. Meet the local people and explore the gorgeous landscape of the Fann Mountains.
After breakfast, embark on a trek alongside Sarytag and the Karakul River. Return to the homestay for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure. Later, head to Sarytag Village to experience local living and get a better understanding of life in this remote region. After the village exploration, head back to the homestay for a delicious Tajikistan dinner.
Continue on to Khujand, stopping first in Istaravshan to explore a local mosque and Mug Teppe, an ancient citadel fortress stormed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before continuing the drive to Khujand. Wander the city in the afternoon, visiting the Historical Museum of Sughd, resembling a castle, and the Mausoleum of Sheik Muslekheddin.
Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent, where modern skyscrapers mix with Soviet-era architecture and mosaic mausoleums. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.
Spend the day freely exploring this unique bustling city. Check out one of the many museums, wander the streets admiring the modern, Soviet-era architecture, venture up Tashkent Tower (which offers city views from its observation deck), or wander through the bazaar.
Travel on to Samarkand, known for intricately beautiful mosques and mausoleums, situated on the Silk Road. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum, dedicated to the famous conqueror who once hoped to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan.
Embark on a city tour, visiting Ulugbek Observatory, Shaki Zinda complex, the bazaar, Bibi Khanum, and Registan Square. With a free afternoon, continue exploring the Samarkand sights, have a cuppa in a local tea house, or wander around the bazaar. Opt to explore the Tomb of Prophet Daniel, famous for the Biblical story of Daniel and the lions.
Travel out into the desert to visit Chashma Complex, a pilgrimage site in the territory of Nurata, dominated by ruins of Alexander the Great's fortress, Juma mosque, a bath-house, and the ancient Panjvakta mosque. All of this, hiding a holy spring believed to heal diseases. After exploring the complex, head to Aidarkul Lake and opt for a swim before continuing on for an overnight stay in a local yurt camp. Enjoy an authentic Uzbekistan dinner and an evening Kazakh singing show.
Travel to Bukhara, known as one of the most charming cities in the country, and get your bearings on an orientation walk. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, enjoy a traditional dinner cooked by a local family, visit a hammam (bathhouse), or just relax in the pleasant atmosphere of this Silk Road city.
Explore Bukhara on a half-day guided walking tour around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets, or trading domes, that make up the Old City. A centre for pottery, cloth, and carpets, Bukhara is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees. Wander the artisan shops and narrow twisting streets and alleyways, or sit at a café table and let the evening drift by. Opt to watch a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai, or indulge in a rejuvenating hammam bathhouse.
Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert on a full day's journey to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva, well worth the arduous drive. Get to know this peaceful, picturesque city on a late afternoon orientation walk, and pick your favourite spots to explore more in-depth tomorrow.
Before exploring this historic town on your own, enjoy a guided tour to learn about local life here. Wander through the narrow labyrinth mudbrick alleyways of old town, bargain with locals at the bazaar, admire the madrassas and blue mosaic domes, climb up towering minarets, and venture into the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. Explore the inner walls of Ichon-Qala, and enjoy spectacular sunset views of the sand-coloured mosques and homes.
Spend the morning in Khiva, enjoying your last moments here to experience anything you couldn't squeeze in yesterday, or do some last minute shopping. After lunch, drive to the Uzbek-Turkmen border and continue to Dashoguz. Take an orientation walk and opt for dinner in local café, or explore the city and it's Bai Market.
Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kunya Urgench to visit the ancient capital of the Khorezmian Empire. After lunch, continue to the Kara-Kum desert and witness the fiery Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Gates of Hell." This evening, enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner and spend the night camping under the stars at a yurt camp.
After breakfast, begin the journey to the capital of Turkmenistan - Ashgabat. On the way, stop near the community of Erbent and admire its golden sand dunes that stretch out to the horizon. On arrival in Ashgabat, spend the evening at leisure. Opt to visit the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, also known as Gypjak Mosque, and capture the sun setting on the symmetrical minarets and golden domes.
Spend the day exploring bustling Ashgabat. Enjoy a tour of the city in the morning, visiting several city treasures such as the Monument of Independence and the National museum or Neutrality Arch. Afterward, opt to venture to the ancient ruins of Nisa, or continue exploring Ashgabat.
Depart at any time.
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