SOVIETISTAN – THE BIG SILK ROAD TOUR; Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan 01.09 – 23.09 - Fantastic round trip to all highlights and major attractions in Central Asia with 2 Tour Leaders
Departure 01. September - 23. September 2022
Dates 01.September - 23.September 2022 (23 days)
Type Roundtrip with bus, flights and English / Scandinavian and German speaking tour leaders. Cultural tour Tour Leader Two tour leaders (Sovietistan Travels owner/founder Michael + 1 more tour leader) + local guides.
Price From 4.690 USD pr. person in shared DBL room
Sngl room 645 USD
Deposit 900 USD pr. person
Visa Yes - information when booking the tour
Vaccination Yes, against COVID-19
Full Monty · Kazakhstan’s new capital Nur-Sultan · Norman Foster’s award-winning architectural design · ALZHIR Gulag camp/museum · Nur Alem, the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (a legacy of EXPO 2017) · Almatys Ascension Cathedral · Medeo skating rink (“The factory of records”) · Tashkent · Nukus Museum of Art (Savitsky Museum) · Kunya Urgench (UNESCO) · Darwaza gas crater "Gate to Hell" · Ashgabat – the city of white marble · Nisa (UNESCO) ancient settlement · Merv (UNESCO) · Bukhara (UNESCO) · Citadel Ark · Poi Kalan Complex with Kalyan Mosque, Kalyan Minaret (Tower of Death) and Mir-i-Arab Madrasah · Gijduvan (ceramic) · Samarkand (UNESCO) · Registan Square · Guri Amir Mausoleum · Shah-i-Zinda necropolis · Tajikistan · Panjakent · Rudaki museum · Khujand · Kokand · Rishtan – oldest city of ceramic art · Margilans silk bazaars · Fergana · Ferghana Valley · Osh · Sulayman mountain (UNESCO) · Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan · Burana ‘tower’ · Lake Issyk Kul · Tian-Shan Mountains · Karakol (former Przhevalsk) · Przhevalsky Museum · Dungan Mosque · Jeti Oghuz · ”Seven Bulls’ and "Broken Heart" · Shyrdak (nomadic traditional carpets) · Edelweiss · Hot springs · Silk Road · Gagarin · Yurt · Manas · Apricots · Roses
Sovietistan -visit the five Central Asian countries: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan
Central Asia exudes millennial history and adventure. Nowhere is the outline of the history and architecture of the Silk Road more clearly drawn than in the region's old towns and landscapes. For many travellers, the Silk Road shimmers on the distant horizon with an almost hazy allure: Caravans, exotic-scented bazaars and magic beautiful azure domes. It was here that the kingdoms of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Timur Lenk arose, sparkled and burst. To travel in their footsteps is to embark on one of the world’s great journeys. To this day, much of the Silk Road’s legacy is still visible, not least in the many cities that grew rich along its trade routes.
Unlock the secrets of the Silk Road’s wonders on this 23-days immersive journey across Central Asia, all the way across five contrasting countries. Follow the route of the ancient Silk Road, travelling in the footsteps of countless generations of nomads and traders. We’ll take in not only some of the world’s most iconic sights, but we’ll also cross mountains, deserts and grasslands and meet amongst others the Uighur, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen peoples who have made these lands their home. On the journey we visit the famous caravan towns, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Merv, Kokand and Osh. From the architectural splendours to the arid high mountains plateaus. We drive through the Karakum desert, admire the pristine Tian-Shan mountains, endless steppes in northern Kazakhstan, the second largest mountain lake in the world: Issyk-Kul, the Pearl of Kyrgyzstan, at amazing mosques and mausoleums, etc. Journeys along the Silk Road are steeped in history, with breathtaking views to match.
Kazakhstan is an endless steppe bathed in sunshine and Central Asia's Giant. Its huge surface makes it the 9th largest country in the world, but with only 17 million residents there are vast expanses with minimal human presence. We will take you on an adventure across eastern Kazakhstan: from the new capital, Nur-Sultan through endless steppe, abandoned gulags (ALZHIR Gulag museum), to the old capital, Almaty. Nur-Sultan is the melting pot of the country, a reflection of Kazakhstan’s growth, with its government agencies, corporate businesses and modern architecture, e.g. Norman Foster’s award-winning architectural design, Nur Alem, the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (a legacy of EXPO 2017). In Almaty, we of course visit Zenkov Cathedral – the second tallest wooden building in the world, and Medeo skating rink (“The factory of records”).
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Central Asian oases and the Silk Roads cultural legacy. From Uzbekistan’s huge Soviet-era capital, Tashkent to world famous Nukus Museum of Art (Savitsky Museum). The architecturally splendid ancient cities. Samarkand conjures images of stunning architecture, elaborately tiled mosques, palaces, luminous emerald domes that has come to epitomise the exoticism of the Silk Road and artistic masterpieces. The stunning blue tilework of the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis and the Guri Amir Mausoleum of 15th-century warlord Tamerlane. Get lost in Registan Square - one of the true pinnacles of Islamic architecture, considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful squares. In Bukhara, You'll be wowed by the scale, grandeur and beauty of the monuments, the Persian influenced madressas, mosques and mausoleums all with fascinating histories. Wandering the mud-walled backstreets of Bukhara at dusk near the impressive fortress of the emir and the Poi Kalan Complex with Kalyan Mosque, Kalyan Minaret (Tower of Death) and Mir-i-Arab Madrasah. The old trading halls here are the place to do your own bit of Silk Road trading for a Bukhara-style silk carpet or Uzbek-style suzani embroidery. Kokand, Rishtan and Gijduvan – oldest cities of ceramic art, Margilans silk bazaars and Fergana Valley – Uzbekistan’s Fruit Basket. You truly will feel as though you've entered another world that’s tantalizing to the senses.
Beyond this, Turkmenistan offers unique travel experiences. The ever-blazing phenomenon of the Darvaza Gas Crater “Gate to Hell”, a fiery pit of seeping natural gas that has been burning in Turkmenistan’s northern Karakum Desert for decades, before heading south to capital Ashgabat, an ostentatious white marble-clad capital like no other. Historians should also pencil in the ruins of Konye Urgench, on the Uzbekistan border, Nisa and Merv (west of the capital), two of the Islamic world’s greatest cities until the Mongols pulverized them in the 13th century. Tajikistan – the fourth country on our journey. Experience for yourself the legend that is Central Asian hospitality - there's really nothing like being welcomed into a local society, chatting with stall holders at bazaars or simply marvelling at the sights in Khujand and Panjakent alongside locals.
Kyrgyzstans mountains are its monuments and its majesty. Kyrgyzstan is hard to beat in terms of breathtaking scenery, with landscapes of grassy steppe, primal forests and turquoise lakes, along with the remote and striking mountains. The landscapes here will stay with you long after the journey is over. Issyk Kul, a huge alpine lake fringed by the snowcapped mountains of the Tian Shan“Mountains of Heaven”. Flocks of sheep, goats and herds of horses watched over by nomadic herdsmen and their families. Osh, Kyrgyzstans 3.000 year old Silk Road city and Sulayman mountain. Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, Karakol (former Przhevalsk), administrative centre of eastern Issyk-Kul region, Jeti Oghuzs red sandstones with ”Seven Bulls’ and “Broken Heart”. Handmade felt and Shyrdak (the Kyrgyz nomades traditional carpets).
Full of warmly hospitable locals, spectacular expanses and constant evocations of a legendary past, this is the Silk Road at its magical best.
Take a deep breath – this is truly epic. The most important thing about Central Asia is the unexpected.
Day 1: Departure. Flight to Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan (former Astana)
Day 2: Nur-Sultan. City tour. Independence Square, Palace of Independence, National Museum, Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Baiterek Monument and Khan
Day 3: Nur-Sultan. Sightseeing. ALZHIR Gulag camp/museum, Nur Alem, the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (a legacy of EXPO 2017)
Day 4: Nur-Sultan – Almaty (domestic flight). City tour in Almaty. Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen, Ascension Cathedral, Green Bazaar, Ili Alatau mountains; Medeo skating rink (“The factory of records”) and Kök Töbe Park with its magnificent panoramic view of the city
Day 5: Almaty – Tashkent, Uzbekistan (international flight). Tashkent city tour. State Museum of Fine and Applied Arts of Uzbekistan, Sailgokh “Broadway” street: local artists and painters, Statue of Amir Temur (Tamerlane) and photo-stop at Mustaqillik Maydoni (Independence Square), Monument of Courage and Minor Mosque
Day 6: Tashkent – Nukus (domestic flight). Necropolis of Mizdakhan (bus) and world famous Nukus Museum of Art (Savitsky Museum)
Day 7: Nukus – Khodjeyli border check-point (bus, 20 km). Welcome to Turkmenistan. Kunya Urgench (30 km) - Darwaza (270 km); "Gate to Hell." On arrival, time for walking around and photo-shooting. Enjoy the sunset, the spectacular views, and BBQ dinner, enabling the discovery of the burning crater at night.
Day 8: Darwaza – Ashgabat (bus, 275 km) – time at own leisure. Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.
Day 9: Ashgabat – the city of white marble. City tour. Nisa (UNESCO) ancient settlement, National Museum of History, Neutrality Arch, Alem Ferris Wheel (the world's largest enclosed Ferris wheel), Independence Park, Independence Monument, the gilded statue of Turkmenbashi, the world’s highest flagpole, Wedding’s Palace viewpoint and Sunday bazaar
Day 10: Ashgabat – Mary (bus, 350 km). Interesting drive through desert landscapes along the Kopet Dag Mnts. The old Silk Road town Abiward, Mary History Museum, Bazaar (local color guaranteed), and Russian-Orthodox Church Pokrovskaya.
Day 11: Visit to the ancient Merv (UNESCO) – Turkmen-Uzbek border checkpoint of Farab – Bukhara (UNESCO), Uzbekistan (120 km)
Day 12: Bukhara sightseeing. Samanids Mausoleum, Bolo-Khauz mosque (UNESCO), the Citadel Ark, Mausoleum of Chashma-Ayub, Poi Kalan Complex with Kalyan Mosque, Kalyan Minaret (Tower of Death) and Mir-i-Arab Madrasah, Ulugbek Madrasah, Abdul-Aziz khan Madrasah, Magoki-Attor Mosque, trading domes, Lyabi Khauz Ensemble, Nodir Devonbegi Madrasah. Evening folklore performance (subject to availability)
Day 13: Bukhara – Gijduvan (ceramic) – Samarkand (260 km). Visit ceramic workshop, then continue to Samarkand. Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to the abundance of unique monuments of ancient architecture, heritage of scientific and arts schools
Day 14: Samarkand. City tour. City tour in Samarkand. Famous Registan Square (considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful squares). Ulughbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah and Tillya-Kori Madrasah. Guri Amir Mausoleum. Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Siyob national bazaar, Shah-i-Zinda necropolis and Ulugbek Observatory
Day 15: Samarkand - Djartepa, the Uzbek-Tajik border checkpoint (60 km) – Welcome to Tajikistan. The Sarazm excavations – Panjakent; Rudaki museum. Excavations of the old city of Panjakent – local bazaar – Istaravshan – Mug Teppe – Khujand
Day 16: Khujand sightseeing. The Arbob Cultural Palace, the Lenin statue (largest Lenin monument in Central Asia, erected in 1974, when Khujand was called Leninabad), Central Mosque, Panjshanbe Bazaar, Timur Malik museum – Patar on Tajik-Uzbek border (80 km) – Kokand, Uzbekistan (60 km). Kokand short-city tour. Khudayar Khan’s Palace, and the Juma mosque
Day 17: Kokand – Rishtan (50 km). Rishtan – oldest city of ceramic art. Visit ceramic workshops with beautiful handmade ceramic to bargain – Margilan (50 km), city of Silk - Yodgorlik factory, a famous Margilan Silk Factory – Fergana (20 km)
Day 18: Fergana – Dustlik, the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border checkpoint (110 km) – Welcome to Kyrgyzstan! – Osh, easy stroll up aside Sulayman mountain (UNESCO). Splendid views of Osh. The National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Asia, and a mosque originally built by Babur in 1510
Day 19: Osh – Bishkek (domestic flight). Transfer to hotel (25 km) and relaxed city excursion (relaxed stroll) in the old central part of Bishkek. Panfilov Park, Ala- Too Square and shopping malls with excellent handcraft
Day 20: Bishkek – Burana ‘tower’ (60 km), remains of the ancient city of Balasagun from the end of the 9th century, a large minaret with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums – Lake Issyk Kul – Karakol (former Przhevalsk), administrative centre of eastern Issyk-Kul region (380 km)
Day 21: Excursion to the beautiful Tian Shan mountains (60 km). Afternoon Przhevalsky Museum and Memorial Complex, the Dungan Mosque and Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Karakol
Day 22: Karakol – Jeti Oghuz (20 km); ‘Seven Bulls’ – Bokonbaeva; handmade felt & Shyrdak production – Bishkek; farewell dinner
Day 23: Flight home. Early morning transfer to Manas International Airport (25 km). Welcome home!
Sovietistan 5-stan tour 01.th September – 23.th September 2022
Price per person (in shared double-room): 4.690 USD/PAX.
Deposit: 900 USD/PAX. The final balance is due 150 days prior to departure)
Single room: 645 USD/PAX
Price include: Sovietistan Travels’ rates include all accommodations; all meals, activities and excursions as described in the itinerary; from Nur-Sultan to Bishkek; services of two Sovietistan Travel leaders and local guides throughout the itinerary; airport transfers; permits and entrance fees.
● International flight ticket home (european destination; Turkish Airlines - Nur-Sultan and from Bishkek – (european destination; Turkish Airlines, Economy Class (usually with Turkish Airlines)
● International flight Almaty, Kazakhstan – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
● 3 domestic flights: Nur-Sultan – Almaty, Kazakhstan, Tashkent – Nukus, Uzbekistan and Osh – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
● Necessary permits for Restricted Area sites
● Administration from Sovietistan Travel
● Visa support, e.g. Letter of Invitation (LOI)
Price does not include: Costs not included in the price of your Sovietistan Travel include travel to and from the start and end point of trip; travel insurance (mandatory); airport departure taxes; excess baggage fees; items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc.); and independent travel arrangements pre- or post-trip.
● Beverage during the tour and at meals in restaurants and cafes
● Arrangements not mentioned in the program
● Tips for local guides and drivers (calculate approx. USD 100, - per traveler)
● Passport and Visa fees. Visa to Turkmenistan (single-entrance, approx. USD 100 - payable in cash upon entry). Tajikistan (single entrance, USD 60)
● Sickness cancellation insurance 6% of the trip price
● Luggage handling at accommodations
● Single room supplement
● Photo and video fees for attractions visited
● Everything not mentioned under "Price includes"
Payments & Terms
900 USD will confirm your place on the tour. The final balance is due 150 days prior to departure. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars and must be paid in U.S. dollars or otherwise agreed with Sovietistan Travel. Per person pricing is based on double occupancy. The solo rate is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations and is subject to availability. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. However, if a roommate is not available, the published solo rate will be charged. Please note that solo accommodations are limited and cannot always be guaranteed throughout.
Active travel! On this trip, a little hiking is included, and it is a prerequisite that you are in generally good physical shape and can move on your own. The trip is not suitable for people who have difficulty walking due uneven terrain.
Climate Distinctive desert climate in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which will feel warm and comfortable. Depending time of year, the weather in the Kyrgyz mountains and on the Kazakh steppe can be pretty cold.
Visa. Visas are required upon entry into Turkmenistan and are required upon arrival in Ashgabat. The price can vary from 75-120 USD, which you are asked to bring in cash, as the settlement is in cash.
Please send a clear color copy of your passport (personal information page), a passport photo and a completed visa form to Sovietistan Travel as soon as possible - and no later than 60 days before departure. The visa form will be sent to you once you have booked the trip. Please also note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the duration of the stay, and there must be at least 2 blank pages in the passport.Visas to Tajikistan are made by Sovietistan Travel for a small fee and sent by post. e-mail to travel participants before departure.
Transport. The transport is mainly provided by A/C tourist buses with the necessary necessities. On some parts of the trip, however, it may happen that we use several smaller buses or 4-wheel drive, which means that the group is divided up. There are several flights included in the program. This takes place to the extent that the timetable is followed as expected. However, it happens that the flights due weather or other circumstances is withdrawn for official use, which is why we might depart/arrive on a different time of the day.
Border formalities. Border crossings in Central Asia are a story in themselves. However, the cumbersome bureaucracy is far less than before, and in most places you get away with it without problems. The tour guide's will inform in advance - as well as pls do not bring purchased souvenirs that fall outside the import rules. If in doubt, ask the tour guide before making unnecessary purchases. At some border crossings, you are transported over no-man's land with smaller vehicles, and you must expect to take care of your luggage during transport.
More about your destinations. Prior departure Sovietistan Travel will send you plenty of information: What to bring, information of each country, food, culture, people, health advises (vaccination) etc
Domestic flight. On this trip there is three domestic flights in Kazakhstan between Nur-Sultan and Almaty, in Uzbekistan between Tashkent and Nukus, and in Kyrgyzstan between Osh and Bishkek. In addition there is two international flights: From your home country to Nursultan, Kazakhstan – from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to your home country, and from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In order to avoid problems with excess luggage, pls keep your check in luggage of 20 kg and hand luggage of 5 kg!
Hand on heart. About traveling in Central Asia.
Central Asia is an exciting and for many unknown destination. Tourism is not widespread in large parts of the area and the majority of the population speaks only the local language and Russian. Not everything takes place in the same way as at home and one must expect that changes may occur to the program during the trip. Sovietistan Travel and its partners will of course try to minimize the extent of these changes, but should they occur, take it as part of the experience.
Accomodation. There is a big difference in the hotel standard in the different countries in Central Asia. In short, the standard on this journey is comfortable on 4****-level. Sovietistan Travel strives to always find the most suitable hotels in terms of price, standard and location. However, this is not a trip with an emphasis on hotel comfort, but more on the exciting experiences that all Central Asian countries have in abundance.
General conditions. A safe travel experience. We want you to feel safe as an Sovietistan Travel traveler, from the moment you book your trip until you return home with a lot of good experiences - even in a world with coronavirus. That is why we have made a number of measures to minimize the risk of infection, while at the same time giving you all the travel experiences you dream of. All tour guides are certified in the WHO guidelines for infection control. Extra high demands on our partners in relation to cleaning. We inform all our travel participants about travel insurance and minimization of infection.
The requirements of the journey for physical ability. As a general rule, all travel participants must be self-sufficient. At the same time, we must emphasize that our travels are generally not suitable for people with walking difficulties. Even on bus and train journeys, there will often be a need to go to and from sights. On many of our cultural trips, just a day's total visit to sights, etc. will easily exceed 5 kilometers of walking.
Travel insurance – mandatory. All participants in Sovietistan Travel must take out travel insurance that at least covers the costs of medical treatment and repatriation. As most public health insurance can no longer be used as travel insurance, it is a prerequisite for participation in our travels that you have taken out a travel insurance. We recommend that the insurance also includes a luggage cover in the event of damage or loss of luggage.
Sovietistan Travel's tour leaders and local guides. On Sovietistan Travel's group trips, the trip will always be led by two tour leaders (might be one if the group size is less than 15 participants, who will either meet the group at the airport before departure or on arrival at the destination.
Gratuity. On our travels you come into contact with everyday life and its customs. There may be conditions you do not like or are not used to, such as the custom of tipping. In many countries, the gratuity system is more organized than we Europeans are used to, and there is an expectation that local guides and drivers will receive a certain amount of gratuity during the journey, as the salary in the service industry is often adjusted accordingly. We indicate an amount in our travel program so that you can take this into account from home. The price of the trip does not include gratuity, as it is an individual matter, and the gratuity system is part of the culture you choose to visit, and which you should therefore respect. For the sake of good order, we must emphasize that gratuity is, of course, voluntary.
Supplement for single room. The prices quoted on our travels are based on 2 people traveling together and living in a shared double room. For our guests traveling alone, there will be a supplement for single room. The surcharge is a reflection of the price level we as a tour operator are met with when we buy rooms and cabins from our subcontractors. A single room will always be relatively more expensive per. person than a double room. This is a condition that has been in place in the travel industry for many years and is thus considered customary. The supplement will always appear on our material.
Passport. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after returning from the destination. This requirement applies to all our travels, regardless of whether individual countries may require shorter validity. That we as a tour operator make this 6-month validity requirement is to avoid situations where a country's validity requirement may be changed from booking the trip until departure. If you have to travel with children who are not your own (eg grandchildren), or if you and your children do not have the same last name, some countries may deny you entry. It may therefore be necessary to bring a birth and name certificate or a birth and baptism certificate in English and a signed declaration allowing the minor to travel in the company of a named adult. Also remember to check the rules for the validity of the documents - ie. when they must be issued in relation to the departure date, how they must be stamped, etc.
Seating in the bus. When traveling by plane, transport to the destination usually takes place by bus. Here you can not reserve a fixed seat on the bus, nor is it possible to buy a specific seat before the start of the journey. It is of course possible to arrange shifts during the journey, so that everyone in turn will sit in front as well as in the back of the bus.
Seating in the aircraft. We must point out that it is the airline that is sovereignly responsible for the distribution of seats in the aircraft.
Catering on board the aircraft. On most of our trips we use scheduled flights. Most Central Asian companies serve water, juice, coffee or tea for free. On the long overseas routes, food is usually included, and with a few companies also beverages. On flights, special diets such as diabetic or vegetarian food must be ordered no later than 45 days before departure. Note that some airlines require payment for special diets. We always pass on requests for special diets on the flight to the airline, but can not guarantee it.
As a starting point, we do not have the opportunity to offer special diets on our trips, as many of our trips include shared meals, where the menu is determined and ordered in advance. One must therefore expect to eat the same food as the others
participants in the journey. We are happy to note and pass on requests for special diets or information about allergies, but we unfortunately do not have the opportunity to guarantee that you can be served special meals, or that special consideration can be given to allergies
Reservations / changes
We reserve the right to make changes to the program. Sovietistan Travel and our local partners always strive to run the trip carefully according to the program, but due to the sights' opening hours or practical circumstances, it may be necessary to complete the route in a different order than stated. In addition, program items may be deleted due to force majeure situations such as weather conditions, road conditions or delayed flights.
Finally, we must point out that our travels is continuously revised and improved based on the feedback we receive after each trip. Revision of the trip might therefore result in changes in the program from the time it was purchased until the departure takes place.
Before departure, all participants will receive the latest updated program, which intends to serve the customers' best and ensure the most smooth running of the trip.
The trip is sold as a whole "package", and it will not be possible to refund the parts of the package that may. not used.
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