Central Asia Travel: Essential Silk Route Tour, Three “Stans” Tour

The Heart of the Great Silk Road

Silk Road – Caravan Silk Route Tour – Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan

Journey back in time and take an epic Central Asia Essential Silk Route tour.

See traces of the Great Silk Road and get acquainted with the history and modern life of Central Asian states.

On this guided small group tour you will not only visit the fascinating cultural highlights of the “Stans.” Additionally, venture off the usual tourist circuit for insight into rural lifestyles in sleepy provincial towns and quaint villages.

Travel along the Silk Road caravan route. Experience a wonderful mix of monuments, museums and mosques. As well as ancient ruins, traditional bazaars, music and dance programs. Enjoy the pristine natural beauty of mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers and parks.


The tour begins in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan. Absorb its’ wild landscapes of the Tien-Shan Mountain Range, densely planted forests of conifers and magnificent canyons. The image is complete with raging rivers, unique mountain lakes, magic glaciers, herds of horses, sheep and yaks.

After visiting sites, we drive through picturesque scenery of Varzob Valley to Penjikent excavations from the Bronze Age.


Onward to Uzbekistan with tours of Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, Khiva and Tashkent.


Cross the border into Kyrgyzstan. Discover the charms of Bishtek, located where the Kazakh steppe meets the foothills of the majestic snow-capped Tien-Shan mountains.

Enjoy the pristine Chon Kemin Gorge, located in a quiet valley with several small villages and farmers’ lands surrounded by magnificent mountains and fir forest.

In Jeti-Oguz Gorge, admire fantastic rock formations made of red sandstone and local pastures used by shepherds to graze flocks of sheep and herds of horses.

The Original World tour features full days of activities with ample time to enjoy the local culture.


  • Explore the rich traditions of Islamic architecture
  • Venture into remote Tajikistan to view important archeological ruins
  • Tour the historic town of Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • Revel in the open steppes and the snow-capped mountains of Kyrgyzstan
  • Experience Shakhrisabz, one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia


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Countryside Tajikistan

  • 1
    Day 1-2: Dushanbe

    Early morning arrival into Dushanbe. Breakfast & a leisure morning to rest after the long flight.
    This afternoon, a city tour. Named for the Persian word for Monday, Dushanbe was at one point a small market village where traders would gather each Monday to sell their goods. During the Soviet era, the city grew to be the most important center of production in Tajikistan. The Shohmansur covered market reflects Dushanbe's historical ties to local trade.

    Discover the charms of Dushanbe, including visits to the blue domed mosque and the Museum of Archaeology which exhibits the largest Buddha in Asia.

    Second day, an excursion to Hissar Fortress; then visit Tajikistan Antique Museum.

  • 2
    Day 3: Penjikent

    We drive through picturesque scenery of Varzob valley and Anzob pass-tunnel to Penjikent, one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia (5500 years).

    Visit the Penjikent excavations & The Rudaki Museum. Frescoes from the Old Penjikent archaeological site are a highlight of the museum.

  • 3
    Day 4-5: Samarkand

    We drive to the historic town of Samarkand, a melting pot of the world’s cultures and a World Heritage Site.

    In Samarkand we admire the stunningly-tiled, medieval architectural wonder of the Registan Ensemble (a main highlight of Samarkand).

    We visit “Stars above Samarkand ” – Ulugbek observatory, the “Ruins of Afrosiab” - the excavation and museum of the ancient town (6 BC-13 AD) and the Gur Emir Mausoleum.

    One evening we attend a show at “El Merosi,” Theater of Historical Costumes.

  • 4
    Day 6-7: Bukhara via Shakhrisabz

    En-route to Bukhara, we stop to visit Shakhrisabz, one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia and the birthplace and home town of Central Asia’s foremost conqueror - the Great Amir Temur.

    Bukhara was one of the great trading centers on the Silk Road, an independent Emirate and scene of Anglo Russian rivalry in the 19th century. Surrounded by vast expanses of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara retains the atmosphere of an ancient Silk Road city.

    Start with a visit to Makhallya Khuma,” the ancient Jewish block of houses and synagogue. Then traditional covered bazaars including Toki Zargaron Trading Dome; Toki Telpak Furushon Trading Dome, Toki Sarrafon Trading Dome.

    The Kosh Madrassah Ensemble, the most successful khan of Shaibanid dynasty, Ulugbek Madrassah; Magak-i Attari Mosque (16c) - one of the earliest religious buildings of Islamic era in Bukhara, Chor Minor Madrassah and Lyabi Khauz Ensemble.

    Folk Show at Nadir-Divanbegi Madrassah.

  • 5
    Day 8-9: Khiva

    An afternoon train ride brings us to Khiva, regarded as an open-air museum - included in the UNESCO list, because here, every building is an ancient treasure.

    It is a most unique Uzbek city and major trading town on the Silk Road. One of the oldest towns in the world, Khiva, a once ruined desert town, has been magnificently restored through Soviet and UNESCO funded projects. 

    A walking tour inside the walls of the Old City. Afternoon visit Juma Mosque, Tash Hauli Palace and Harem, Ensemble Islam Chodja (Khodja) minaret, Madrasah Alla Kuichan.

  • 6
    Day 10-11: Tashkent

    A short morning flight to Tashkent. This wonderful city is a real embodiment of the modern elegance that is inherent in many world capitals. At the same time, it remains an oriental city.

    Enjoy an immersive visit to the Old Quarter of Tashkent, the excellent Applied Sciences Museum and soak up the ambiance at one of the world's oldest markets

  • 7
    Day 12: Fergana

    A full day driving to Fergana visiting interesting sites along the way. Our first stop is Rishtan – center of unique ceramic production in Uzbekistan.

    Then to Margilan to see the process of handmade production of Han-Atlas silk fabric. The caravan routes connected Europe with East Asia via Margilan.

  • 8
    Day 13: Osh & Bishtek

    Cross the border into Osh located at the northern foot of the Pamir -Alai mountain range, nestled in green slopes. Osh lies on both sides of the Ak-Bura River, at an altitude of 940-1070 m above sea level. The age of the city can be judged from the rock drawings and inscriptions found on the northern slope of the four-headed Suleiman Mountain.

    Visit Suleiman Mount, the mosque of Babur and browse the national bazaar.

    This evening we will fly to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyz Republic.

  • 9
    Day 14: Bishtek

    Tour Bishkek, located where the Kazakh steppe meets the foothills of the majestic snow-capped Tien-Shan mountains.

    Our tour explores the ancient city and its architectural masterpieces including Ala-Too Square, The National Museum of History, Frunze House, The Art Museum; see the Opera House and the Concert Hall (near which there is a statue of National Hero Manas).

  • 10
    Day 15: Chon-Kemin Gorge

    Chon Kemin is a quiet valley with several small villages and farmers’ lands surrounded by magnificent mountains and fir forest. It is just a wonderful place to be, to sit on the doorstep and watch time pass by with a pot of tea.

    Enjoy this beautiful gorge! Our evening our dinner will be accompanied by a song of Manaschi.

  • 11
    Day 16-17: Karakol-Issyk-Kul Lake

    A beautiful drive along the southern shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake. The lake sits in a hollow surrounded by snowcapped peaks of Terskei and Kungei Ala-Tau mountain ranges at the altitude of 1600 m.

    We stop in Bokonbaevo village where we attend a demonstration of a traditional form of falconry found throughout Central Asia – hunting with eagles.

    Continue to Karakol. The town will bring you hundred years back and give you an impression of Tsarist Russia. Next day tour Old Russian Style houses (1870 – 1910), Russian Orthodox Church (1886), Dungan Mosque (1899) that was made out of wood with no nails and Karakol Bazaar.

    Onward, proceed along the northern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake. Our hotel is located on the shore of the lake near Cholpon-Ata. Enjoy a free afternoon to soak up he serenity and relax!

  • 12
    Day 18: Cholpon-Ata - Bishkek

    This morning visit the petroglyphs ‐ a large open-air collection of rock carvings sometimes referred to as a Stone Garden, which covers some 42 hectares and contains a number of prehistoric monumental structures (stone circles, tombs, the remains of a boundary stone wall, balbals) and petroglyphs (dating from the II millennium BC thru the Middle Ages and up to the VI century AD).

    After lunch, drive to Bishkek. Folklore show in the evening during the dinner. Artists will demonstrate different national musical instruments and techniques of playing.

  • 13
    Day 19: Depart

    Transfer to airport.

  • Trip Length

    19-day trip begins in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and ends in Bishtek, Kyrgyzstan

  • Dates

    May 22 PM (or early AM May 23) – June 12 PM (June 13 early AM), 2023
    September 27 PM (or early September 28 – October 18 (October 19 early AM), 2023

  • Land Cost

    Price: $5825 based on min 4 people. Single Room: $1350
    $200 discount when booked with The Caucasus tour.
    All Airfares within the tour are included (4 flights).
    Plus Flight Istanbul-Dushanbe

    2023 Price TBA

  • Accommodations

    9 nights 4-star hotel
    7 nights 3 star hotels (best available)

  • Group Size

    6-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    Daily breakfast, 21 lunches, 4 dinners, bottled water

  • Reading List

    Suggested Reading

  • Extend Your Trip

    The Caucasus Tour: Armenia-Georgia-Azerbaijan
    Precedes the Stans tour
    China's Silk Route Tour > The Stans tour

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Khiva, Khorezm Province, Uzbekistan

Bukhara, Bukhara Province, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, Samarkand Province, Uzbekistan

Termez Airport, Termez, Uzbekistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Valley Service Dacha, Дачные участки, Fergana, Uzbekistan

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