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Golden Central Asia
20 day Deluxe quality tour from $9,056
Visiting - Ashgabat, Margush, Mary, Geokdepe, Kov Ata, Nokhur, Balkanabat, Yangy Kala Canyons, Yangy Suw, Turkmenbashi, Damla, Darvaza, Kunyaurgench, Dashoguz, Khiva, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Samarkand, Tashkent
Activities - Culture, History, Nature, Photography, Architecture
Group size - 2 to 15 guests
- Kov Ata
- Yangy Kala Canyons
- Yangy Suw
ARRIVAL IN ASHGABAT
Upon you arrival in Ashgabat, your Turkmen Guide and Driver will greet, welcome and escort you to your hotel. Later in the morning, begin exploring Ashgabat, visiting independence-period parks and monuments, including Neutrality Square (and its futuristic Arch of Neutrality) and the National Museum of history and ethnography, exhibiting a rich collection of artifacts from all over Turkmenistan, including the famed ivory rhytons (drinking vessels) from Old Nisa. The museum also offers the opportunity to view miniature models of many of the sites that we are going to visit. In the evening, we head south to the Kopetdag Mountains and take a cable-car ride and see a splendid view of this capital city, known as The White-Marble City. Overnight in Ashgabat.
ASHGABAT, MARY, MARGUSH/GONUR DEPE
Early in the morning we hop a short flight to Mary where, upon arrival, we set off toward the northeast and Margush/GonurDepe (100 km). Here the first agricultural settlements appeared in the Murgab River Delta around the 3rd Millennium BC. Fertile silt from the mountains, an abundance of water and a moderate climate created optimal conditions for crops, and which expedited the centuries-long evolution of this ancient culture and economy. The anthropological theory naming GonurDepe as one of the 5 most ancient civilizations (acquiring equal stature with Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China) has gained great credence since its (GonurDepe’s) discovery in 1972and its subsequent continuous excavation. A restful picnic lunch precedes your afternoon ride back to Mary. Overnight in Mary.
MARY, MERV, ASHGABAT
This morning we will take a close look at one of UNESCO World HeritageSites,Ancient Merv. Consisting of a series of cities---each succeeding one another as capitals of the famous oasis---Ancient Merv is the only site of its kind in Central Asia. The Erk-Kala, Gyaur-Kala (Antioch of Margiana), the medieval Sultan-Kala (Seljuk “Queen of Cities”)and the post-medieval Abdullakhanand Bayramalikhan-Kala are not the only places to admire here. Being an architectural as well as an archaeological treasure, Merv offers numerous standing monuments, such as theGreat and Little KizKalas, the magnificent Seljuk mausoleums of Sultan Sanjar and Muhammad ibn Zaid,ArabTombs, Askhabs, and many more. To make our historical and cultural understanding of the area complete, we return to Mary to visit an exciting ethnographic and archaeological display in the newly built and impressive Regional Museum. We then take a quick evening flight back to Ashgabat. Overnight in Ashgabat.
ASHGABAT, GEOKDEPE, KOV ATA, NOKHUR
After breakfast we head west, towards the mountain village of Nokhur. En route we’ll stop inGeokdepe to visit theSaparmurat Haji Mosque. We then continue to visit a local stud farm (to gaze upon the fabled Akhlateke Thoroughbred Horses) and then Kov-Ata, the site of a unique hot-water sulfur lake. After a restorative dip in the lake (optional), we drive on to Nokhur. Dinner and overnight in a local house or in tents (wild camping).
Today we explore Nokhur Valley, with visits to a Nokhur village and several other interesting mountain sites. Lunch in a local house. PM we drive back toward Ashgabat on the Turkmenbashi main road and then drive westward to Balkanabat. En-route we stop to see the legendary local shrine of Parau Bibi (Parau-Bibi is the patroness of pregnant women and children in Turkmen mythology), near Serdar Town. Overnight in Nebitchi hotel.
In the morning we escort you to the Yangy Suw Canyons via Yangy Kala Territory. The YangySuw canyons are known for their multi-colored cliffs which once bordered the coastline of the Caspian Sea. Overnight in the Caspian Sea.
In the morning we take advantage of our last chance to explore and take photos around these magnificent canyons, after which we then return to Turkmenbashi. Overnight in Turkmenbashi.
In the morning we explore Turkmenbashi and the Awaza Sea Resort, widely referred to as one of the most eccentric and strange resorts in the world. In the evening we’ll hop a flight back to Ashgabat where, upon arrival, we will escort you back to your hotel. Overnight in Ashgabat.
After a hearty breakfast, we begin the day visiting the fabled Bazaar of Tolkuchka(open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays), which attracts colourfully dressed people from all parts of Turkmenistan. The Bazaar is the region’s epicentre of trade, where camels, cattle, poultry, amulets, carpets, clothing and jewelry of all kinds are haggled over, bought and sold. We will later visit the impressive Old Nissa Fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and then the Complex at Kipchak (housing one of the biggest mosques in Turkmenistan as well as the family mausoleum of the first President) before returning to your hotel. (note: the animal market of Tolkuchka is openonly on Sundays) Overnight in Ashgabat.
Morning is free at leisure. PM drive deep into the forbidding Karakum Desert following the traditional, ancient route, with some stops along the way to take photos of the stunning desert landscape and villages. We drive to Darvaza’s flaming-gas crater, referred to by locals as The Gate to Hell. Dinner and overnight in tents – wild camping (a short distance from the flaming gas crater). Wow!
DARVAZA, KUNYAURGENCH, DASHOGUZ
In the morning we pack camp and head out towards Kunyaurgench, where uponarrival we begin our exploration of its Historical Park as well as the former capital of the Khorezmshah Empire. Our next stop is Kunya-Urgench(another UNESCO site) featuringTurabegKhanum (one of the finest architectural examples of its time), the Minaret of KutlugTemur (the highest medieval minaret in Central Asia), the Mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh(with its distinctive cone-dome) and also the Mausoleum of Il-Arslan(founder of the pre-mongolKhorezmshah Empire). Later we continue on to Dashoguz, and Hotel Dashoguz 3* for check-in. Overnight in Dashoguz.
DEPARTURE TO UZBEKISTAN, KHIVA
In the morning transfer to theTurkmen/Uzbek borderat Shavat. After completing the border-crossing formalities, meet your Uzbek guide and driver who will escort you toKhiva. An afternoon tour of Khiva follows, during which we visitIchan Kala and it’s intriguing backdrop of madrassahs, caravanserais, bazaars, mosques and mausoleums. Overnight in Khiva.
In the morning drive to BukharaviatheKyzylkum Desert. We will enjoy a tasty boxed lunch en route, and then check-in upon arrival.The afternoon is at your leisure. Overnight in Bukhara.
Today we will explore a wide array ofBukhara’s fascinatingmonuments and attractions, including: The SitoraiMohiHosa(the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara), the Mausoleum of Samanid, ChashmaiAyubMausoleum (and its holy spring),the Ark Fortress, the Boloi Hauz Mosque, the Poi Kalon Complex(with its formidable Kalon Minaret), theKalon Mosque and the Miri Arab Acting Madrassah for Boys, the Magoki At-Tori Mosque, and the LabiHauz Complex. Overnight in Bukhara.
Free day at your leisure; a chance to explore Old Bukhara on your own. Overnight in Bukhara.
BUKHARA, SHAKHRISABZ, SAMARKAND
In the morning we road-trip toShakhrisabz and visit AK Saray (the former summer residence of Tamerlane), theFriday Mosque, the DorusSaodat Complex(with Timur’sFamily Mausoleums) andthe DorusTilovat Complex(with Kuk Gumbaz Mosque). We then continue on to Samarkand. Overnight in Samarkand.
Today we enjoy a full day ofSamarkand sightseeing:Afrasiyab and its wonderful museum, the Samarkand City ruins, the St. Daniel Mausoleum, theObservatory of Ulugbek, the Meros Handicraft Center(where guests can see raw mulberry transformed into the famous Samarkand Paper) and also the Shahi Zinda Complex. Overnight in Samarkand.
Today’sSamarkand tour includes: the Gur Emir Mausoleum, Registan Square, theBibi Hanim Mosque, and the Siab Bazaar (the oldest and largest market in Uzbekistan). Afterwards, we will escort you to the railway station for a trip to Tashkent on the high-speedAfrasiyabTrain. Overnight inTashkent.
We will today enjoy a half-day of sightseeing in Tashkent. We will visitthe Hast Imam Complex (with its mosque, madrassah, mausoleum and library andHoli Osman’s Koran), and we will ride the Tashkent Metro and visit Independence Square plus the History Museum. Overnight in Tashkent.
After check-out from the hotel, we will escort you to the airport for your departure flight home. End of services.
- Hotel accommodation as per program
- English speaking guide
- Airport transfers
- Camping gear (camping tents as per rooming; sleeping bags/mats 1 p/p)
- Entrance fees to sites/museums mentioned
- Train ticket from Samarkand to Tashkent on 2nd class
- Visa/Consular fees
- Immigration duty - $14 p/p (ASB airport)
- International and domestic flights
- Personal expenses
- Porters in hotels, airport, train station & borders
- Tips for guide and drivers
- Services not mentioned in the itinerary
|Tashkent||Ramada Hotel||5 star|
|Turkmenbashi||Yacht Club Hotel||5 star|
|Ashgabat||Oguzkent Hotel||5 star|
|Balkanabat||Nebitchi Hotel||3 star|
|Khiva||Asia Khiva Hotel||4 star|
|Bukhara||Asia Bukhara Hotel||4 star|
|Samarkand||Grand Samarkand Superior||4 star|
|7 May 17||26 May 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
|11 Jun 17||30 Jun 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
|23 Jul 17||11 Aug 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
|23 Aug 17||11 Sep 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
|17 Sep 17||6 Oct 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
|4 Oct 17||23 Oct 17||$9,056||$1,862||Available||Book Now|
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